Business & Education

The Two-Way
9:47 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Why Does Anyone Care About Minutes Of Weeks-Old Fed Meetings?

The Federal Reserve's headquarters in Washington, D.C. What goes on inside there is of intense interest to investors.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 11:30 am

There's been a bit of a brouhaha over the Federal Reserve's inadvertent early release Tuesday evening of minutes from its closed-door March 19-20 policy meeting.

As The Associated Press writes, "employees at JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs Group, Wells Fargo and Citigroup were among those to receive [the] market-sensitive information."

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Japanese Car Makers Recall Millions Of Vehicles Over Faulty Airbags

The 2002 Toyota Corolla. At least some of them are subject to recall.
Jeff Kowalsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 12:14 pm

Some 3.4 million vehicles produced by four Japanese automakers are being voluntarily recalled due to faulty airbag inflators.

The inflators were installed in some of Toyota's top-selling Camry and Corolla models produced since 2000. Certain Honda Civics and Mazdas are also subject to recall, which also reportedly includes the Maxima and Cube, according to Reuters.

The defective passenger-side airbag inflators were produced by Tokyo-based Takata at a Mexican plant, Reuters says.

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Montgomery Area Transit System
8:14 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Montgomery Transit Workers Threaten to Strike

Kala Kachmar/ Montgomery Advertiser

Unionized bus drivers and mechanics with the Montgomery Area Transit System are threatening to go on strike.


The Montgomery Advertiser reports (http://on.mgmadv.com/12LGxXJ) that wages and insurance costs are key issues in the dispute.


The workers, who are part of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 765, are taking action against First Transit, a company contracted by the city of Montgomery to operate the bus system, which is also known as MATS.

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The Two-Way
7:52 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

Many Americans hope to see more signs like this in coming months. (Photo taken earlier this year in San Rafael, Calif.)
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 10:52 am

There were 346,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits, down 42,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

Meanwhile, the "4-week moving average" of claims was 358,000, up by 3,000 from the previous week's 355,000. That measure smooths out some of the volatility in the numbers.

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Business
4:15 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an airbag recall.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: The recall affects some three million vehicles made by four Japanese car makers: Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda. All are citing a problem with passenger-side airbags that causes them to deploy abnormally and potentially cause a fire.

Business
4:15 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Federal Housing Administration May Need Bailed Out

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 11:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now the Federal Housing Administration might need its first bailout in its 79 year history. So-called reversed mortgages are at the heart of the problem here, as fallout from the housing crisis continues.

NPR's Dan Bobkoff explains.

DAN BOBKOFF, BYLINE: Perhaps you've seen ads like this one on TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV AD)

FRED THOMPSON: A government-insured reverse mortgage allows seniors to stay in their own home and turn their equity into tax-free cash...

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Politics
4:15 am
Thu April 11, 2013

'Chained CPI' Worked Into Obama's 2014 Budget

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep reporting this week from Caracas, Venezuela.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Business
4:15 am
Thu April 11, 2013

How Will Obama's Budget Affect You?

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. President Obama's budget is out - two months behind schedule. It is four volumes, 2,509 pages.

To tell us what pages we should be looking at closely, we turn, as we often do, to David Wessel. He's The Wall Street Journal's, economics editor and the author of a book on the budget called "Red Ink."

David, welcome back.

DAVID WESSEL: Thank you. Good to be with you.

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Business
4:15 am
Thu April 11, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now to Paris, France - where a walkout briefly shut down one of the world's most visited museums. Our last word in business: Pickpocket Protest.

The Louvre is famous for its priceless works of art - think the Mona Lisa - which it protects with high-tech security. But apparently, the Paris museum is less effective at protecting the valuables of patrons and staff.

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Planet Money
4:15 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Whose MP3s Are They, Anyway?

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 2:50 pm

If you have a CD or book you don't want anymore, you can sell it. The law says that's perfectly legal. But what about an MP3 or an e-book? Can you legally resell your digital goods?

This was the question before a judge in the case of Capitol Records v. ReDigi Inc.

Launched in 2011, ReDigi is basically a digital version of a used-record store. You can sell the company your old MP3s, and you can buy "used" MP3s that other people have sold.

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Latin America
2:23 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Venezuela's Next Leader Faces Tough Choice On Oil Program

Venezuela's acting president, Nicolas Maduro, fist-bumps a worker of the state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., last month. Maduro faces opposition candidate Henrique Capriles in Sunday's presidential election. Whoever wins will have to tackle the legacy of Chavez's oil programs.
Miraflores Presidential Press Office AP

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 9:59 am

As Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez thought in grandiose terms, and his country's vast oil riches enabled him to act on his vision. But Chavez died before he had to deal with the flaws in his model, and some hard choices await his successor.

Key to Chavez's notion of "21st Century Socialism" was the redistribution of Venezuela's oil earnings. The country's oil reserves — estimated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to be the largest in the world — are worth tens of billions of dollars a year in potential revenue.

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Business
2:21 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Texas Contractors Say Playing By The Rules Doesn't Pay

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 7:35 pm

This story is part of a two-part series about the construction industry in Texas. Find the first part here.

Homes in Texas are cheap — at least compared with much of the country. You can buy a brand new, five-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot house near Fort Worth for just $160,000.

But that affordability comes at a price — to workers, many of whom are in the country illegally and make $12 an hour or less, but also to business owners.

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Planet Money
4:38 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Two Centuries Of Energy In America, In Four Graphs

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Until well into the 19th century, if you lived in the U.S. and wanted to heat your house, fire your forge, or whatever, you did what people had done for thousands of years: You chopped down a tree and burned it.

It wasn't until the rise of the railroads in the mid 19th-century that coal became a significant energy source in this country. As industrialization continued in the second half of the century, the use of coal continued to rise, powering heavy industry (think U.S. Steel), heating urban homes, and generating electric power.

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Business
3:34 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Postal Service Backs Off Ending Saturday Mail Delivery

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 6:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Turns out that Saturday first-class mail service isn't going anywhere. The Postal Service today backtracked on its decision to reduce deliveries in an effort to save money. But it says that's only because language in the bill funding the federal government currently bars such a change. As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, this means the service will be running even deeper in the red.

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Dealer Says He Doctored Most Valuable Baseball Card Ever Sold

A rare example of the 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card. In 2007, one of them fetched a whopping $2.8 million.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 4:17 pm

A judge has rejected a plea agreement from the former head of a sports memorabilia auction house who admitted to using shill bidders to drive up prices and to altering the most valuable baseball card ever sold.

William Mastro of Mastro Auctions admitted to doctoring the 1909 Honus Wagner cigarette card that was once owned by hockey great Wayne Gretzky. The card sold for $2.8 million in 2007.

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