NPR's business news begins with a Google deal that's under scrutiny.
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GREENE: The Federal Trade Commission is looking into Google's recent deal to acquire the map company Waze. The question is whether Google was trying to buy up a potential competitor. Waze, based in Israel, makes an app that uses crowd sourcing to provide real-time traffic data.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene.
The scandal at the Internal Revenue Service is becoming more of a muddle. We're learning more this morning about which groups were targeted for extra scrutiny. Turns out both conservative groups and progressive groups were on the so-called Be on the Lookout List at the IRS. Meanwhile, the man currently leading the agency says an internal investigation has found no evidence of intentional wrong doing.
And our last word in business today is: Weekend Shift.
The weekend - as we know it in the West - takes place on Saturday and Sunday. That's not true in many Muslim countries, though. In Saudi Arabia, the weekend is Thursday and Friday - Friday being the holy day in Islam.
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But that was out of sync with most other Muslim countries - which go with a Friday/Saturday weekend.
The Erie Canal was cut through upstate New York almost 200 years ago. It opened up new shipping routes to the West and proved to be an economic lifeline for the Great Lakes region. The canal fell out of favor as faster transportation methods, like the railway, became available. But lately, it's been getting a second life.
When the blood pressure drug Bystolic hit the market in 2008, it faced a crowded field of cheap generics.
So its maker, Forest Laboratories, launched a promotional assault on the group in the best position to determine Bystolic's success: those in control of prescription pads. It flooded the offices of health professionals with drug reps, and it hired doctors to persuade their peers to choose Bystolic — even though the drug hadn't proved more effective than competitors.
New agriculture statistics prepared for Alabama counties reveal that agriculture, forestry and related industries have an annual economic impact in Alabama of $70.4 billion.
The study was conducted by Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. It shows that the Alabama counties that receive the greatest economic impact from agriculture are Mobile, Cullman and DeKalb.
And now, time for the Opinion Page. There's a new kind of labor movement in the United States led by those who are not in unions, primarily retail and fast-food workers. These workers are protesting before they unionize. And in a column for the Chicago Tribune, columnist Clarence Page compares this new labor movement to Occupy Wall Street.
Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insist that gun control legislation is not dead — they say they're strategizing on how to bring the issue back to the Senate floor.
Even if it does return, one proposal unlikely to survive is an assault weapons ban. Military-style assault rifles now form a nearly $1 billion industry supported by gun owners who spend thousands of dollars collecting these firearms.
It's no great secret that Republicans are behind in applying digital technology to politics. They admitted as much after the last presidential election. And in an effort to catch up, over the weekend, political conservatives staged an event called the Liberty Hackathon in San Francisco. The sponsor of the app building competition was the Charles Koch Institute, named for its benefactor the billionaire backer of the Tea Party Movement.
NPR's Nathan Rott went to the event and sent us this report.
NPR's business news begins with another bad day for Chinese stocks.
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GREENE: The major indexes in China closed down more than five percent - making it the worst day of losses since 2009. And the plunge reverberated, weighing down markets across Asia. The losses we apparently caused by the Chinese government's ongoing attempt to reform its banking system. It's using high interest rates to cut down on risky loans, making access to cash very tight. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The leaks this month by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed just how widespread government surveillance of phone and online information actually is. The revelations of the government's PRISM program have been raising the concerns about privacy, but also have boom to companies that promise greater privacy online.
Emma Jacobs of member station WHYY in Philadelphia has this report.