Business & Education

The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Rule Allowing In-Flight Phone Calls Clears First FCC Hurdle

A passenger checks his cellphone while boarding a flight in Boston. The Federal Communications Commission is proposing new rules to allow using cellphones for data and voice calls during airline flights.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:04 pm

Update at 4 p.m. ET: Commissioners Approve Rules Proposal

By a vote of 3-2, the FCC has approved the initial proposal to allow passengers on U.S. flights to use their cellphones for voice calls — something that's been forbidden on U.S. flights. The vote opens the door for further consideration by the commission's five members, as well as comments from the public.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Sriracha Maker Told To Hold Its Sauce For 30 Days

Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 11:14 am

Already under orders from a court to partially shut down production because of concerns that spicy smells from its Irwindale, Calif., plant are irritating neighbors' eyes, noses and throats, Huy Fong Foods has now been told it can't ship its Sriracha hot sauce until at least 30 days after bottling.

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Shots - Health News
9:15 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Tagging Along On A Wisconsin Man's Odyssey To Buy Insurance

Doug Normington is 58, self-employed, and has diabetes.
Courtesy of Doug Normington

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 1:47 pm

Enrollment is picking up in new health insurance marketplaces. But the 365,000 who've signed up as of November 30 is a fraction of just one high-visibility group – those whose previous insurance has been cancelled because it didn't meet Affordable Care Act standards.

They're people like Doug Normington, a 58-year-old self-employed videographer in Madison, Wis., who has struggled to buy new insurance since late October.

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Big Jump In Jobless Claims Blamed On Seasonal Factors

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:18 am

Data such as the weekly figures on jobless claims are supposed to be "seasonally adjusted" to account for temporary factors that aren't really connected to the underlying strength or weakness of the economy.

But Thursday morning's report seems to underscore how hard it can be to make such adjustments.

According to the Employment and Training Administration, there were 368,000 first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week — far above the 300,000 applications the week before.

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Business
5:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Scotland's Royal Bank Fined For Violating Iran, Cuba Sanctions

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a bank writing another big check.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The Royal Bank of Scotland was fined $100 million yesterday for violating American sanctions on Iran and Cuba. The bank had given its U.K. employees step-by-step instructions on how to keep transactions from being detected for sanctions violations.

Last year, the London-based banks Standard Chartered and HSBC also received fines for breaking U.S. sanctions. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
5:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

WestJet Plays Santa To Calgary-Bound Passengers

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:00 am

Passengers told a virtual Santa what they wanted before boarding their flights. While they were in the air, secret shoppers at their destination hit the stores. The passengers arrived in Calgary to find their gifts on the baggage carousel.

Economy
5:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

California Still Owes U.S. Billions For Unemployment

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

California, according to recent budget numbers, is slowly recovering from its years of multi-billion dollar budget deficits. The state is on track to turn a $2.5 billion budget surplus at the end of the current fiscal year. But that's general fund money. It does not address another gaping deficit. The state owes almost $10 billion to the federal government for money spent on unemployment benefits.

NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.

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Movie Interviews
4:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

At 90, Disney Animation Nowhere Near Drawing To A Close

When it premiered in 1937, Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first feature-length animated movie to hit theaters. This year is the 90th anniversary of Disney animation.
PRNewsFoto/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:50 am

This year marks a milestone in the world of make believe.

Walt Disney Animation Studios is celebrating its 90th anniversary, a history spanning scores of classic films and a menagerie of beloved characters.

Walt Disney's world has grown a bit larger since it acquired Pixar — the company behind hits like Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc.

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Latin America
4:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Mexico's Patron Saint Is Also Its Hello Kitty

The Virgencita Plis character from Distroller in Mexico.
Distroller

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:52 pm

In Mexico, Dec. 12 is the day to celebrate the country's most revered religious icon: the Virgin of Guadalupe.

As many as 6 million pilgrims have made their way to the Mexican capital to pay homage to the country's patron saint on Thursday, and one woman has taken her devotion of the Virgin and turned it into a multimillion-dollar company.

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Shots - Health News
4:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

High Insurance Rates Anger Some Ski-Country Coloradans

Early December brought a foot of fresh powder to the resorts of Vail, Colo., but some residents are still steaming.
Zach Mahone, Beaver Creek Resort AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:36 pm

Some of the biggest ski resorts anywhere lie in U.S. Rep. Jared Polis' Colorado district, dotting the peaks of Summit and Eagle counties, about a hundred miles west of Denver. The area has a high rate of uninsured people and also, it turns out, health plans that are much more expensive than similar plans in surrounding regions. So expensive that Polis, a Democrat, has asked the federal government to exempt some of his constituents from the requirement to buy health insurance.

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All Tech Considered
4:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Amid Cuts And Tax Hikes, Tech Companies Get Love in Ireland

Tech companies around the world have set up shop in the financial district in Dublin, Ireland.
Peter Muhly AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:47 am

Ireland is about to become the first European country to emerge from an international bailout in the wake of the financial crisis. Like other European countries, Ireland has been in a period of austerity — higher taxes and more cutbacks.

The nation's technology sector has been protected, however, as Ireland makes a concerted effort to attract foreign businesses through tax incentives and development programs.

But Ireland's methods have also been criticized — locally and internationally.

Apple In Ireland

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The Two-Way
5:50 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Extended Unemployment Benefits On Track To Expire Dec. 28

A prospective job seeker gets information at a job resource fair for military veterans in Van Nuys, Calif., on Oct. 24.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:38 pm

Unless Congress acts very quickly, some 1.3 million workers will lose their extended jobless benefits on Dec. 28.

Democrats were scrambling late Wednesday to link an extension of benefits to a budget deal that is expected to get a vote as soon as Thursday. But if the effort fails, they will come back at it in 2014.

"We're going to push here after the first of the year for an extension of emergency unemployment insurance when the Senate convenes after the new year," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Wednesday.

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Code Switch
4:23 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

A Midwestern Meatpacking Town Welcomes Immigrants

Binh Hua (left) and My Nguyen, both 18, work in the Garden City Community College chemistry lab. Both of their parents are employed by the Tyson Foods plant in Garden City, Kan.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:42 pm

Meatpacking plants used to be located in urban centers like Kansas City and Chicago. Over the past few decades, many plants have moved to rural Midwestern towns, which have seen a huge influx of immigrants as a result. Yesterday, we reported on tiny Noel, Mo., which has struggled to help assimilate the newcomers who work at a large poultry plant.

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Law
11:43 am
Wed December 11, 2013

No Cake For You: Saying 'I Don't' To Same-Sex Marriage

A Colorado judge recently ordered Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to serve gay couples, after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Lindsay Pierce Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:15 pm

There were a few snickers when a Colorado state judge ruled that a baker has to produce wedding cakes for gay couples even though he opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

A cake? What's the big deal?

But the decision, handed down late last week, is just the latest slice in a debate that has gone front burner with gay marriage now legalized in 16 states, and counting.

Can individual businesspeople like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver be compelled to provide wedding (or commitment ceremony) goods and services to gay couples?

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The Two-Way
11:27 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Lululemon Bets New Leaders Will Help It See Through Woes

Lululemon clothes at a store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Yoga clothier Lululemon began the year with an embarrassing problem — pants that allowed way too much of women's bottoms to be seen through their sheer fabric.

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