Business & Education

Business & education news

Broke, the documentary that brings ESPN's outstanding "30 For 30" back tonight, begins with this pair of statistics, courtesy of Sports Illustrated: "By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress; within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke."

Can Saving Money Cost Money?

Oct 2, 2012

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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, style maven Stacy London tells us about the psychology of fashion and what messages you're sending with your choice of clothing. That's in a few minutes.

When French peasants stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789, they weren't just revolting against the monarchy's policies. They were also hungry.

From the French Revolution to the Arab Spring, high food prices have been cited as a factor behind mass protest movements. But can food prices actually help predict when social unrest is likely to break out?

Click through Swedish furniture giant IKEA's U.S. (online here) and Saudi (online here) catalogs.

You'll find all the same stuff.

But you won't find women in the Saudi catalog.

Birmingham News file

A new superintendent could be picked for Jefferson County next week.

The county's Board of Education plans to meet Monday morning to discuss which person it should select among the five candidates who were recently interviewed.

The Birmingham News (http://bit.ly/QpsFrj ) reports that the board received a total of 24 applicants from 15 states. Officials have aimed to have the new superintendent in place by Jan. 2. The current superintendent, Phil Hammonds, will retire early next year.

waaytv.com

An automotive parts manufacturing company is officially opening its newly expanded facility in Cullman and has created 250 new jobs.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will take part in the ribbon cutting and dedication at 2 p.m. Friday of the newly expanded Topre America Corp. facility in Cullman. Bentley will be joined by Cullman area-leaders and Topre America officials at the ceremony.

Topre America supplies parts to Honda, Toyota and Nissan. This is the company's fourth expansion since it located in Cullman in 2004.

Pat Henneberry is an airline's dream customer. She flies all week, every week, and buying an $800 ticket so that she can have full flexibility is standard operating procedure. She's an American Airlines platinum customer. But she is fed up with the endless delays and cancellations.

The Last Word In Business

Sep 25, 2012

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business comes from Tony the Tiger.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMERCIAL)

LEE MARSHALL: They're greeeaaat.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: A simple statement. But Tony may have to learn how to say it in Chinese because his parent company, Kellogg, just inked a deal with a firm in Singapore.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Alabama education officials say the state is No. 1 in the nation for the growth in high school students making qualifying scores on Advanced Placement exams for the last five years and for the growth in minority students taking AP courses.

Gov. Robert Bentley, state school Superintendent Tommy Bice and supporters of the A Plus College Ready program announced Monday in Millbrook that qualifying scores have gone up 102 percent and minority participation 318 percent over the last five years.

At one point overnight as many as 2,000 workers at a Foxconn plant in Taiyuan, China, were involved in a riot that drew 5,000 police officers to the site and has closed the facility that makes parts for Apple's iPhones and hardware for other companies including Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.

Business News

Sep 24, 2012

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a media divorce.

Village Voice Media Holdings, the company that publishes the newspaper of the same name, is breaking up with its controversial advertising service. Backpage.com has been accused of facilitating sex trafficking, and activists have been pressuring the Village Voice to shut down its adult classifieds service - so the company is splitting up its portfolio.

The Last Word In Business

Sep 24, 2012

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Dow Jones industrial average may be the most famous barometer of stock market sentiment. It's not a broad measure. Only 30 stocks are in the Dow and this elite group of big blue chip companies supposedly represents the health of the U.S. economy. So, it is noteworthy when a company is kicked off the Dow or allowed in.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

An unusual parliamentary meeting is due to open Tuesday in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, amid speculation of sweeping changes ahead. In the first such confirmation from within the country, farmers told The Associated Press they would be given more control over their crops under new agricultural rules. Long seen as an economic basket case, North Korea now could be on the cusp of economic change.

Tech companies like Google, Facebook and Zynga are on a shopping spree. They're buying small startups with innovative products and apps. But, many times, the tech giants don't care about what the small companies were producing. They just want the engineers.

There's a new name for these deals: the "acqui-hire," and it could mean the end to your favorite app.

Automaker Fiat announced its commitment to remain in Italy after a meeting Saturday between the company's CEO and the country's president.

Fiat had threatened to shut down its operations in Italy unless it received additional state assistance. The crisis came at a time the entire country is undergoing a steep decline across all industrial sectors.

When you walk into a McDonald's in India, it doesn't feel that much different from one in the U.S. That is, until you try to order.

When McDonald's first came to India 15 years ago, it ditched the Big Macs and Quarter Pounders to try to fit in in a country where cows are sacred and most people frown on eating beef. The chain tried re-creating its American classics with lamb, but it was a flop.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Chicago teachers voted to end their strike this week, the first in 25 years, and came back to class. It brought an end to a heated confrontation between leaders of the Chicago teachers union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who repeated this phrase time and again during the strike.

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: This was a strike of choice and it's a wrong choice for the children. Really, it was a choice.

Labor Unrest In S. African Mines Spreads

Sep 22, 2012

In South Africa, thousands of mineworkers have embarked on industrial action that began with a deadly pay strike by platinum workers. They've agreed a wage deal with their management, this week, but the labor unrest is spreading to other platinum and gold mines in an industry that's the engine of South Africa's economy. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton discusses the repercussions with host Scott Simon.

After saving money for years, Lola Sanchez was finally able to buy a car refitted with a ramp and space for a wheelchair in the back for her teenage son, who has cerebral palsy.

A nurse used to come each day to help with her son's care. That service was cut amid government austerity measures, though Sanchez still gets a small check every month.

"What I need is physical help, even more than financial assistance," Sanchez says, "because I can't physically lift him on my own."

And then there were three — record labels, that is. Regulators in the United States and Europe have approved the acquisition of EMI Music by Univeral Music Group. The combined label will own close to 40 percent of the world music market with a trove of acts that includes The Beatles.

Even as it has received praise for bringing innovative ideas to life, Kickstarter has been criticized for allowing creators to be a little fuzzy about their plans — and for providing little recourse to investors who become unsatisfied with the project they've supported. The site has now announced changes that it hopes will ease those troubles.

The biggest change is a new section called "Risks and Challenges," which requires potential entrepreneurs to list the obstacles they face, and how they plan to deal with them.

It's a "now familiar global ritual," as The Associated Press says: Apple fans are lining up today at stores "from Sydney to Paris to pick up the tech juggernaut's latest iPhone."

That would be the iPhone 5, which the company unveiled earlier this month.

According to a Senate investigations subcommittee, Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and other multinational corporations took advantage of an ambiguous U.S. tax code to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.

Here's how Bloomberg wraps it up:

Shelton State Community College

The new chancellor of Alabama's two-year college system will receive more than $270,000 a year. Mark Heinrich has agreed to a three-year contract that will pay him $250,000 annually in salary. It will also provide a yearly housing allowance of $21,000. The State Board of Education approved the deal Thursday. Heinrich has agreed to the terms but still has to sign the contract. The board voted last week to hire Heinrich, who has been president of Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa. Heinrich's predecessor, Freida Hill, was paid $289,900 annually.

Every election season, political signs sprout like dandelions from lawns across America. They also pop up at more than a few businesses. For some, expressing political preferences is a calculated move to attract customers. But it can just as easily turn clients away.

Jeff Reiter, who owns the Blue Plate Lunch Counter & Soda Fountain in Portland, Ore., proudly displays a 2008 Obama campaign sign inside his restaurant and says he has "never tried to hide" his support for the president.

Tens of thousands of students are back in school this morning in Chicago.

As we told you yesterday, the Chicago Teachers Union voted to end the seven-day walkout. This morning, reports The Chicago Sun-Times, everyone was excited to get back to normal — the teachers, the students and even the mayor.

The Sun-Times reports:

manifestcollegemag.com

The U.S. Department of Education is awarding millions in grants to historically black colleges in Alabama.

The five-year grants will affect curriculum and teaching programs, campus building improvements and the purchase of scientific equipment.

BOC / Alabama State Treasury

The legal battle over Alabama's financially troubled prepaid college tuition program is headed back to the Alabama Supreme Court. A Montgomery judge ruled Monday that a law passed by the Legislature in the spring to permit reduced tuition payments is constitutional. The state Supreme Court had asked Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick to review the law before the high court considers it. If the Supreme Court agrees with Hardwick, then the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Plan will be able to pay reduced rates rather than full tuition.

Update at 8:03 p.m.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he wills seek a court order to end the teachers strike, and that the strike is illegal under state law.

Update at 12:57 p.m. ET. University of Texas Reopens:

The University of Texas has reopened, after a phoned bomb threat prompted the evacuation of its entire Austin campus this morning.

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