Business & Education

Business & education news

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Duchenne Drug Delayed After Outrage Over Price

Feb 14, 2017

In response to outrage from patients and lawmakers, Marathon Pharmaceuticals has delayed the launch of an $89,000 drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The company had announced the annual list price for Emflaza, which is a steroid, after the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Thursday.

A prominent YouTube star has lost a lucrative contract after The Wall Street Journal pointed out a series of anti-Semitic jokes and Nazi-related images in his videos.

Felix Kjellberg is better known as PewDiePie — a profane, prolific video producer and comedian. He rose to prominence largely through videos of him playing video games, but now creates a wide range of popular videos, from pranks to sketches to commentary.

Health insurance companies Aetna and Humana have called off their planned merger, citing a federal court ruling last month that blocked the deal.

"While we continue to believe that a combined company would create greater value for health care consumers through improved affordability and quality, the current environment makes it too challenging to continue pursuing the transaction," Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement.

During his campaign and now as president, Donald Trump has made Twitter part of the daily news cycle, with a single early-morning or late-night Trump tweet setting the news agenda for hours, if not days.

One year after removing full-frontal nudity from its pages, Playboy is returning to its roots. "Naked is normal," the magazine announces on the cover of its March/April 2017 issue. The cover also omits a long-used tagline: "Entertainment for Men."

A heart-shaped box of chocolate is a sign of love, a symbol — and often tool — of romance, and an intrinsic part of Valentine's Day.

From at least the time of the Aztecs, chocolate has been seen as an aphrodisiac. So it's reasonable to assume that it has been connected to love's dedicated day of celebration for many centuries. But, that isn't the case.

It became clear in the last election that a stark division existed between urban and rural areas. In places such as north Idaho, people with similar political stripes have begun seeking each other out.

When Adrien Koch retired last summer from her job with FEMA in the Bay Area, she and her husband resettled in the wooded mountains of north Idaho. They had visited only a few months before on a vacation but had quickly fallen in love. For Koch, Idaho reminded her of the California she knew in the 1970s.

Episode 754: I'm So Happy For You!

Feb 13, 2017

Regret. Self-loathing. Jealousy. Love. Happy Valentine's Day! We have it all.

When we're not making podcasts, we're reading and watching and listening to stories on other podcasts and magazines and websites. And when we love something, we always ask, "Why didn't we do that?"

Today on the show, we bring you the little stories that we love so much we wish we had thought of them ourselves.

Our valentines go out to:

The Senate voted to confirm Steven Mnuchin as President Trump's Treasury secretary in a 53-47 vote Monday.

Mnuchin's approval came over the objections of some Democratic senators who pointed to Mnuchin's business record running a bank that hastily foreclosed on homeowners. It also drew fire from those who say that with the appointment of Mnuchin and other former bankers to key roles close to the White House, the administration is going back on its promise to get tough on Wall Street.

A utility in California is cutting a small fraction of its information technology jobs and shipping them off to India. By doing so, Pacific Gas and Electric is stepping into a complex debate in Washington right now about immigration, jobs and the H-1B, a visa designed for high-skilled labor.

The logic behind sending IT jobs to India is straightforward: Workers there are cheaper.

Brian Hertzog, a spokesperson for PG&E, says the utility is offshoring 70 jobs, which he describes as routine IT work the company plans to eventually phase out.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV, which is now hitting the market, could be the first of a new wave of game-changing electric vehicles.

Its longer range and lower price could attract new buyers to the electric car market, but there's uncertainty over whether federal tax incentives will continue and whether California will be allowed to keep tougher emissions rules under President Trump.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Well, joining us now is Ann Cun, who's an immigration lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area who helps tech companies bring over foreign employees on the H-1B visa program. Welcome to the program.

ANN CUN: Thanks for having me.

President Trump says he is looking at "tweaking" portions of the North American Free Trade Agreement that deal with trade between the U.S. and Canada.

Trump spoke at a brief news conference after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House on Monday. Trump said U.S.-Canada trade is "a much less severe situation" than trade with Mexico.

Trudeau pointed out that Canada is the largest trading partner of 35 states in the U.S., and that trade between the two countries is responsible "for millions of good paying jobs on both sides of the border."

You can't drive anywhere in Charleston without being reminded of the upcoming vote at Boeing.

On Wednesday, about 3,000 workers at Boeing's South Carolina plant will decide whether they want to join the International Association of Machinists, or IAM. The state has the lowest union membership rate in the country.

Around Charleston, Boeing has billboards, T-shirts and ads criticizing the IAM. And the union is countering with its own rallies and ads.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

The other day, in Puerto Rico, I stumbled across one small piece of an agricultural revolution. It didn't look all that revolutionary — just an abandoned sugar plantation where workers are clearing away a mass of grass, bushes and trees in order to create better pasture for cattle.

President Trump has gotten off to a rocky start with one NAFTA partner — Mexico. On Monday, he turns to the other partner, Canada, when he hosts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House.

Hundreds of billions of dollars of trade pass between Canada and the U.S. each year, $540 billion in 2015 alone. Yet Trump has called NAFTA the worst trade deal ever and is threatening to rip up or at least renegotiate it.

President Trump and his companies have been trying to navigate potential conflicts and the emoluments clause of the Constitution since before he was sworn in. The list of questions about those conflicts continues to grow, including how Trump is adhering to constitutional rules around compensation from foreign leaders and states.

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LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Everyone loves a cheap eats list. A treasure map to $1 tacos! $4 banh mi! $6 pad Thai! More often than not, the Xs that mark the cheap spots are in the city's immigrant enclaves. Indeed, food media is never so diverse as when it runs these lists, its pages fill with names of restaurateurs and chefs of color.

These lists infuriate me.

Before I became a restaurant owner, I spent my childhood in my relatives' pho restaurants. Because of that, I have deep compassion for and understanding of the pressures facing immigrant restaurateurs.

The country's largest African-American beauty show turns 70 this weekend. The hair product company Bronner Bros. holds the show at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga.

The event's formal name, the Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show, might sound masculine. But behind it is a league of black women. They overcame Jim Crow laws to lay the groundwork for the industry.

On Thursday, President Trump told airline executives visiting the White House that tax relief for corporate America is on the way.

"We're going to be announcing something, I would say over the next two or three weeks," said Trump, adding that it would be "phenomenal."

But there's at least one big issue that stands in the way. It's called the border adjustment tax. House Republican leaders want it, but the president and some other Republicans are skeptical.

A Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City debuted a new dish last week that's getting a lot of buzz. It's a burger made entirely from plants.

This isn't just another veggie knock off. The rap is that this burger looks, cooks and even bleeds like the real thing.

The Impossible Burger, as it's known, is the culmination of a dream for Pat Brown. For 25 years, Brown was a professor at Stanford University. He was one of the stars in his field, studying a range of biomedical topics.

"Genetics and genomics ... cancer research — nothing to do with food," says Brown.

Patients in Alexandria, La., were the friendliest people Dr. Muhammad Tauseef ever worked with. They'd drive long distances to see him, and often bring gifts.

"It's a small town, so they will sometimes bring you chickens, bring you eggs, bring you homemade cakes," he says.

One woman even brought him a puppy.

"That was really nice," he says.

Tauseef was born and raised in Pakistan. After going to medical school there, he applied to come to the U.S. to train as a pediatrician.

Mike Ilitch, founder of Little Caesars Pizza and a former minor-league baseball player who went on to own the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, has died, reports WDET's Pat Batcheller.

Ilitch, born in Detroit to Macedonian immigrants, opened his first pizza store with his wife, Marian, in the Detroit suburb of Garden City in 1959, Pat reports; today Little Caesars' parent company says it's the world's largest carryout pizza chain.

Episode 753: Blockchain Gang

Feb 10, 2017

Charlie Shrem had a prison epiphany. Instead of using packets of mackerel to buy and sell things, inmates should use something more like the digital currency Bitcoin. He even came up with a way it could work in prison, never mind that it was Bitcoin that got him arrested in the first place.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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