Business & Education

Shots - Health News
2:35 am
Fri February 21, 2014

As Deadline Nears, State Insurance Exchanges Still A Mixed Bag

Oregon's road to health coverage continues to be bumpy; the website for the state's health insurance marketplace still isn't fully open to consumers.
ilbusca iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 4:53 pm

With a bit more than a month left for people to sign up for health insurance plans set up under the Affordable Care Act, the federal website known as HealthCare.gov finally seems to be working smoothly — in 36 states.

But what's happening in the 14 states that are running their own exchanges?

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Around the Nation
2:35 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Maryland Bill May Require Holocaust Reparations From Rail Company

Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz's Change.org petition has more than 107,000 signatures.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 8:29 am

Lawmakers in Maryland are considering a bill that would block one of the firms seeking to bid on a multibillion-dollar light rail project from winning its bid unless its majority stockholder agrees to pay reparations to Holocaust victims.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Maryland Delegate Kirill Reznik, would block a consortium including Paris-based rail company Keolis from winning a public-private partnership for the state's Purple Line project, a 35-year contract worth more than $6 billion.

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All Tech Considered
2:33 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Risk Is Low And Business Is Booming In The Malware Market

Stolen credit card data are sold on underground markets, along with the malware and tools the thieves need to steal the data themselves.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 1:29 pm

Malware is malicious, bad software. It's the code that cybercriminals use to steal credit card numbers and bank accounts. And the big hack against Target showed how good these criminals are getting: They've built a thriving underground where credit cards go on sale before anyone even knows that a massive breach has happened.

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Planet Money
2:32 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Duke: $60,000 A Year For College Is Actually A Discount

Students attend graduation ceremonies at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Two-thirds of college students now graduate with debt, owing an average amount of $24,000.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:36 am

In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it's $60,000 a year. "It's staggering," says Duke freshman Max Duncan, "especially considering that's for four years."

But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that's actually a discount. "We're investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student," he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it's one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.

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The Salt
6:26 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

'Piglet Smoothie' Fed To Sows To Prevent Disease; Activists Outraged

A screen grab from an undercover video released by the Humane Society of the U.S. shows a pig in a gestation crate at Iron Maiden Farms in Owensboro, Ky.
Courtesy of The Humane Society of The United States

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 1:37 pm

Animal welfare groups go to great lengths to show us how "the sausage" is made inside the factory-style farms that produce most of our meat. For the past few years, they've armed activists with video cameras and sent them undercover to document alleged abuses or risky practices.

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It's All Politics
6:14 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Obama Buoys Democrats By Dropping Social Security Cut Idea

President Obama very likely made Democrats' midterm campaign messaging easier by dropping from his new budget a proposal that would have reduced the size of Social Security checks.
Matt Rourke AP

For a political party already facing a difficult midterm election the way the Democrats are, the fewer internally divisive issues the better.

And few items were more divisive among Democrats than President Obama's previous proposal to reduce Social Security entitlement spending by using a less generous formula to calculate cost-of-living increases, so long as Republicans agreed to raise revenue by ending or reducing loopholes that would raise revenue.

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All Tech Considered
5:46 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Video Streaming Is Straining, But Who Will Ease The Tension?

Internet service providers are having trouble keeping pace with growing demand for video streaming services. But there's disagreement over how to fix the problem.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 1:16 pm

Suzie Felber's kids are only just learning what a commercial is.

"They start screaming when they come on," she says. "They think the TV's broken."

The Felbers usually stream television shows over the Internet in their New Jersey home.

More and more people are following suit, using services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. But these programs take up a huge amount of digital bandwidth, and that's led to a dispute between these services and the Internet service providers that carry them.

Slower Service

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Business
5:25 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

After A Weak Holiday Season, Wal-Mart Profits Shrink

A man shops at a Wal-Mart store in San Jose, Calif., in September. Wal-Mart on Thursday reported that its annual profits fell.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 2:37 pm

Wal-Mart on Thursday reported that its annual profits failed to grow. And failed by a lot.

Full-year net income tumbled to $16 billion, down by nearly $1 billion from the previous year.

That tells you a great deal about how hard the economy has been on the lower-income shoppers who make up Wal-Mart's core customer base, according to Charles Fishman, author of The Wal-Mart Effect.

"This clearly reflects the economic constraints on people who shop at Wal-Mart," Fishman said.

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Business
3:18 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

What's Up With Facebook's Big Acquisition?

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 7:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Yesterday, Facebook bought a little startup for a lot of money, $19 billion in cash and stock. It's hard to fathom a price tag that big. Half the companies in the S&P 500 aren't worth that much. But a look at who exactly is using the application called WhatsApp may explain the value that Facebook sees in it. Here's more from Aarti Shahani of member station KQED in San Francisco.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Automated Landing System, Crew Fatigue, Eyed In UPS Plane Crash

A field north of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport where UPS flight 1354 crashed on August 16, 2013.
Joe Songer AL.COM/Landov

The crew of a United Parcel Service Airbus A300 freighter that crashed during an early morning landing at Birmingham, Ala. were forced to make a "non-precision approach" when a computerized landing system became overloaded, investigators told the NTSB on Thursday.

The plane crashed short of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Ala., killing both the pilot and co-pilot.

The New York Times says:

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Business & Education
12:07 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

School Proposed "Traditional Couples Only" Prom

http://ghs.butlerco.k12.al.us/

A south Alabama school superintendent says one high school erred in its attempt to limit prom attendance to "traditional couples."

Greenville High School has since rescinded the rules that stated only male/female couples would be allowed to dance at the 2014 Junior/Senior Prom.

Butler County Superintendent Amy Bryan says the school made a mistake and that discrimination of any kind would not be tolerated in the district.

Bryan says the school administrator who issued the prom rules was mistaken in trying to micro-manage the event.

The Two-Way
11:37 am
Thu February 20, 2014

3 Al-Jazeera Journalists In Egypt Plead Not Guilty To Terrorist Links

Journalists hold placards as they demonstrate across the street from Egypt's embassy in central London, on Wednesday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:44 pm

Three journalists working for Qatar-based network Al-Jazeera English who are on trial in Egypt for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood have pleaded not guilty on Thursday. The trio were denied bail and their trial was adjourned until March 5.

Australian Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, wearing white prison outfits, appeared in metal cages, according to Reuters, which says several others identified as al-Jazeera journalists are being tried in absentia.

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All Tech Considered
11:23 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Why Facebook Thinks WhatsApp Is Worth $19 Billion

Facebook announced it acquired WhatsApp late Wednesday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 12:19 pm

Facebook's purchase of messaging service WhatsApp — at a price tag of up to $19 billion — is its largest acquisition yet. To put things in perspective, the social giant tried to purchase Snapchat for a fraction of that cost — $3 billion. And it successfully bought Instagram for $1 billion.

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The Two-Way
9:52 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Nebraska To Appeal Ruling That Blocks Keystone Pipeline In State

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling comments on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska during a January 2013 news conference in Calgary, Alberta.
Todd Korol Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:43 am

The company in charge of the Keystone XL extension said Thursday that it is considering its next move now that a Nebraska judge has struck down a law that allowed the pipeline to be routed through that state.

"We are disappointed and disagree with the decision of the Nebraska district court and will now analyze the judgment and decide what next steps may be taken," TransCanada Corp. said in a statement. "Nebraska's attorney general has filed an appeal."

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The Two-Way
8:06 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Dip In Weekly Jobless Claims Seen As Sign Of Better Times Ahead

As the weather warms, will more signs such as this pop up? Economists say the latest data on claims for unemployment benefits may signal that better times are ahead.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 9:37 am

There were only 3,000 fewer first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week, but the slight decline is being seen as another sign that the nation's labor market will gain some strength once spring arrives.

The Employment and Training Administration said Thursday that 336,000 applications were submitted last week, versus 339,000 the week before.

That means the pace of claims is still running about where it's been since late 2011.

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