Business & Education

Business & education news

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Reporters are often told to follow the money. A newspaper in West Virginia followed a trail of pills.

ERIC EYRE: The top four counties in the United States for prescription opioid drug overdose deaths are all in southern West Virginia.

President-elect Donald Trump insists he can do all the business deals he wants while serving in the White House, but a 2012 law barring insider trading by government officials could make doing so a lot more complicated.

President-elect Donald Trump has appointed several Cabinet members with strong ties to oil and gas. And he's been clear about his support for coal. That could leave renewable energy companies out in the cold.

Uber will have to park its self-driving cars in California for now.

California's Department of Motor Vehicles on Wednesday said it had revoked the registrations of 16 autonomous vehicles owned by the ride-hailing company.

"We have stopped our self-driving pilot in California as the DMV has revoked the registrations for our self-driving cars," an Uber spokesperson said. "We're now looking at where we can redeploy these cars but remain 100 percent committed to California and will be redoubling our efforts to develop workable statewide rules."

Updated at 6:42 pm to add details of Snapchat's access to location data.

Uber has fixed a problem you didn't know you had. Instead of setting places as the target location, Uber's newest feature will let you set people as the destination.

Instead of typing a location in the "Where to?" box, Uber wants riders to type the name of the friend they are meeting with, and the app would route the ride to them.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Two Democratic members of Congress want three federal agencies to work together to get a more accurate count of coal miners suffering from progressive massive fibrosis, the worst stage of the fatal disease known as black lung.

The request is a response to an NPR investigation that shows 10 times as many cases of the advanced stage of black lung as identified and reported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Imagine living in a world where you need cash to buy virtually everything — from food to clothes to a new home. Yet you have no cash. The best you can do is stand in line at the bank for hours in the hope of withdrawing a small amount of paper money.

Maybe you could use a smartphone to pay for goods — only you're too poor to afford one.

Welcome to India, land of the cash crunch.

Two Brazilian companies accused of a massive bribery scheme will pay more than $3.5 billion in fines to U.S. and Brazilian authorities.

This story was reported by Latino USA in collaboration with All Tech Considered. The audio version of this story aired earlier on Latino USA; it is embedded below.

Micaela Honorato is looking from the sidelines as boys from her after-school program take turns racing their hand-made hovercraft on a dirt field in a city park.

People who want to sign up for a policy on HealthCare.gov after the annual open enrollment period ends Jan. 31 may have to produce a paper trail proving that they qualify for a "special enrollment period," before their coverage can begin, according to details of a pilot program described by federal officials.

But the verification measures, long sought by insurance companies, may deter the very consumers the marketplace needs to attract: healthy people who may not bother signing up if doing so is a hassle.

Updated at 8:00 p.m. ET

The North Carolina Legislature began a special session on Wednesday morning to vote on the repeal of a controversial state law that limits civil rights protections for LGBT people, but the effort failed by day's end as the Legislature adjourned without passing any bill.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Beth Briczinski has been keeping a list of all the things companies are turning into products labeled as a kind of milk. "There's soy and almond and rice," she says. "Hemp, pistachio, macadamia nut, sunflower."

Briczinski is highly annoyed by these products. She's vice president for dairy foods and nutrition at the National Milk Producers Federation, which represents the original milk producers: dairy farmers.

Donald Trump should deal with how to handle his business holdings before he takes office, says former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an adviser to the president-elect. But Gingrich says it would be "an absurdity" to put Trump's holdings in a blind trust.

President Obama has indefinitely blocked offshore drilling in areas of the Atlantic Ocean and in Arctic waters, a move aimed at advancing environmental protection during his final days in office.

The Arctic protections are a joint partnership with Canada. "These actions, and Canada's parallel actions, protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on earth," the White House said in a statement.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

If you have a lot of money to spare, and want to spend time with the Trump family right after the inauguration, earlier Tuesday it seemed you might have been able to make that dream come true.

A new nonprofit organization, the Opening Day Foundation, had advertised access to the Trumps at a big charity event to be held Jan. 21.

The online invitation raised questions about exchanging huge charitable donations for face time with Trump's oldest sons.

Now, the site just says "Coming Soon."

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Tech toys have become popular holiday gifts. Many are interactive; some even claim educational benefits. But one such toy has privacy advocates very worried this year.

It's called My Friend Cayla. It's a doll and looks pretty much like most dolls do. She is available in various skin tones and hair colors, and according to her website, she is the smartest toy you'll ever have.

But My Friend Cayla also has some issues. She sings, talks and listens — maybe a little too well.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And in this season, we also have the latest on Christmas lights.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Light up your home with the classic green Star Shower laser light today for just $39.99.

The monks at Assumption Abbey in Ava, Mo., were making concrete blocks when Father Cyprian Harrison joined the order in 1965. As demand for the blocks waned, the order explored other options to support the men who call the cloistered monastery home.

"After a lot of inner reflection, we decided [to get out of the concrete block business and start making] fruitcake. We only had to change the recipe a little," quips Harrison.

President-elect Donald Trump has financial stakes in hundreds of companies. But one line of business is particularly important to him: golf courses.

He owns more than a dozen courses, which provide the Trump Organization with major streams of revenue and bolster his "luxury" brand image.

But they also created conflicts of interest. As president, he will be able to steer environmental and labor policies that could boost the income from his golf courses.

President-elect Donald Trump says he will double the nation's growth rate during his time in office. That promise will be difficult to keep.

Trump isn't talking about a temporary boost in growth. He says he can make the economy grow in the long term at a rate of about 4 percent a year.

President-elect Donald Trump is adding another billionaire to the top ranks of his administration.

Trump plans to nominate a wealthy financial executive, Vincent Viola, to be secretary of the Army. Viola would be at least the fourth Trump nominee with a net worth in the billions. And that's not counting Trump's own 10-figure fortune.

The International Monetary Fund's executive board expressed its "full confidence" in IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Monday, hours after she was found guilty of negligence for improperly overseeing a 2008 case when she was France's finance minister.

Lagarde has led the IMF since 2011.

Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET

A French court found Christine Lagarde, the current head of the International Monetary Fund, guilty of negligence for improperly overseeing a 2008 case when she was France's finance minister. Later Monday, the IMF's executive board expressed its "full confidence" in Lagarde.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Pretty extraordinary few days in the relationship between the United States and China, all, of course, amid the uncertainty of a presidential transition here in the United States. Last week, China seized a U.S. drone in international waters.

The story of a new law starts with some online Christmas shopping gone wrong.

In the winter of 2008, John Palmer of Layton, Utah, decided to buy his wife, Jen, a couple of holiday tchotchkes. Things like desk toys and keychains.

The order, from the online retailer KlearGear, never arrived.

After a testy back and forth with the company's customer service, Jen Palmer did what many thousands of consumers do every month: She posted about her negative experience on an online business review site.

"I posted the review and then we forgot about it," she says.

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Pages