Business

Business
1:26 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Bucking Bulls Draw Crowds, And Dollars

Bulls are judged with a "dummy" weight for four seconds to see how hard they will jump and twist to buck a rider. Bulls that do well can sell for up to $50,000.
Laura Ziegler KCUR

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 3:04 pm

The bucking bull has long been the embodiment of the American rodeo, and it takes just four seconds for a strong young bull to reap its owner as much as $50,000 in prize money.

Four seconds is how long each 1- or 2-year-old bull will wear a weight strapped to its back as the massive animal is judged on how high it kicks and how much it twists.

In the past 10 years, bucking bulls have become a major industry. The price of the best bloodlines can soar to $250,000, and competitions take place everywhere from Madison Square Garden to Wyoming.

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Economy
4:12 pm
Sat July 14, 2012

A Tale Of Two Cities: Too Many Jobs, Or Not Enough

Agriculture is a key job sector in Yuma, Ariz., where the seasonal workforce and migrant labor tend to boost the unemployment rate.
Jacob Lopez AP

Maria Arvizu continues to fill out job applications even though she has yet to deposit her last paycheck.

Arvizu, 53, relocated to Yuma, Ariz., to become a bus driver for the local school district last year. After school closed for summer break, she was caught off guard when she was laid off. She had expected to get another driving assignment and was denied collecting unemployment because she was still considered a school employee.

"I just keep looking for a job," Arvizu says.

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Energy
3:29 pm
Sat July 14, 2012

Miners Weather The Slow Burn Of Coal's Demise

Equipment for transporting and housing coal sits idle in Cowen, W.Va. Since the natural gas boom, several mines in Webster County have either slowed or shut down operation, laying off hundreds of workers.
Guy Raz NPR

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 6:21 pm

At some point today, you will probably flip on a light switch. That simple action connects you to the oldest and most plentiful source of American electricity: coal.

Since the early 1880s — when Edison and Tesla pioneered the distribution of electrical power into our homes — most of that power has come from the process of burning coal.

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Business
5:54 am
Sat July 14, 2012

$6B Deal Eases Credit Card Surcharge Restrictions

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 2:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Visa, MasterCard, some of the nation's other largest banks have agreed to a multibillion dollar settlement of a class action suit involving credit card transaction fees. Now, those are what merchants pay when you use plastic instead of cash. Retailers allege that the two largest payment networks conspired with the banks to keep so-called swipe fees high. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

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Mitt Romney
3:49 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Bain, Bain, Go Away: In Defense, Romney Attacks

Mitt Romney appears on ABC News in one of the five TV interviews he did Friday. He mostly responded to comments from the Obama campaign about his role at Bain Capital.
ABC News

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 2:54 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sat for a hastily arranged flurry of TV interviews Friday, strongly denying he had any role in running Bain Capital at a time when, according to reports, the company invested in firms that outsourced jobs overseas.

He also called for an apology from President Obama for statements by his campaign that Romney said were beneath the dignity of the presidency.

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All Tech Considered
4:26 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Apple's Change Of Heart On Green Certification

Attendees of Apple's 2012 World Wide Developers Conference look at the new MacBook Pro with Retina display.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 8:24 pm

It's not often that one of the world's biggest companies says, "We goofed."

But in a surprising turn of events Friday, Apple admitted it made a mistake in pulling out of an environmental rating system for computers and other electronics. The company said it would rejoin the so-called EPEAT certification system, placing all 39 of its originally certified products back on the list. The company is also requesting certification for more products, including its new MacBook Pro model.

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Business
3:52 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Documents Lift Veil On Bank-Rate-Rigging Scandal

Police wait for protesters to appear at a branch of Barclays Bank in London on July 4.
Olivia Harris Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 8:24 pm

As the financial crisis began to unfold in 2007, the New York Federal Reserve learned that some banks might have intentionally underestimated the rates they expected to pay for loans from other banks.

Documents the New York Fed released Friday, in response to a request from Congress, show that the banking regulator began to be concerned about the accuracy of LIBOR — or the London Interbank Offered Rate — late in 2007.

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Planet Money
3:48 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

What's It Mean That Romney Was CEO, Anyway?

Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 7:47 am

Mitt Romney faces new scrutiny over his time at the helm of Bain Capital, the private equity shop he ran from 1984 until — well, that's exactly the question.

The political fight of the moment is just when Romney stopped running Bain Capital, which specialized in buying troubled companies and turning them around.

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Energy
3:00 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

What's Killing 'King Coal' In West Virginia?

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 8:24 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This week, one of the biggest coal mining companies in Central Appalachia, Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy protection. Over the past three months, a wave of layoffs has hit coal country hard, and this past month, the share of all U.S. electricity generated from coal hit its lowest level since the 1940s. Our colleague Guy Raz visited Webster County in the middle of West Virginia to find out what's killing King Coal.

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Business
2:59 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

JPMorgan's Growing Loss Shakes Investor Faith

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 8:24 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Five billion dollars of net income in three months. Sounds like a pretty good quarter, right? Well, for almost any other company, it would be, but for JPMorgan Chase, those profitable second-quarter results have been overshadowed by news of a ballooning trading loss that shook investor confidence in the bank. As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, JPMorgan's CEO is trying to restore what was once a good reputation for risk management.

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Business
2:58 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Apple Rejoins Green Product Registry After Criticism

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 3:52 pm

Apple announced Friday that it is rejoining a widely-used registry of environmentally-friendly electronic devices called EPEAT. That's after pulling out of the registry just last week. The company had come under harsh criticism from those who said the company was turning its back on its green environmental image. Melissa Block speaks with Wendy Kaufman about Apple's decision.

Planet Money
2:46 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

The Cost Of Free Doughnuts: 70 Years Of Regret

U.S. soldiers receive refreshments, including doughnuts, from an American Red Cross clubmobile in London. Soldiers today still resent a Red Cross move to charge for doughnuts.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 3:06 pm

A lot of the online services you probably use are free. Gmail is free. Facebook is free. Yahoo News and NPR are free (though we certainly solicit contributions!). But increasingly, online companies are trying to figure out how to start charging, at least for some services, some of the time.

But today, we have a cautionary tale about charging for things that were once free. It's the story of how one small mistake moving away from free can cause trouble that's impossible to fix.

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Presidential Race
8:26 am
Fri July 13, 2012

How Battleground States See The Economy

A young supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a sign during an election party at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas in February.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:33 am

For all the chatter that the winner of the 2012 presidential election will be determined by the economy, you wouldn't know it by looking at the most closely contested states.

The recovery is still tepid in most parts of the country, and there's a sense of trepidation that signs of improvement might not last. Among the swing states, some are doing comparatively well while others are struggling — but the political picture looks roughly the same in all.

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Business
5:48 am
Fri July 13, 2012

JPMorgan: Trading Loss Grows To $4.4 Billion

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 12:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The largest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase, this morning released its second quarter results. It's net income was $5 billion, but it turns out that loses in a failed hedging strategy involving a secretive trader were much higher than what the bank originally said the loss would be. In fact, JPMorgan lost $4.4 billion last quarter on those risky trades.

As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, that's not the full extent of the firm's damage.

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Fri July 13, 2012

JPMorgan Earned $5B In Second Quarter Even After $4.4B Trading Loss

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:30 pm

Though it suffered an estimated $4.4 billion second-quarter loss related to its bungled trading in some very risky types of investments, JPMorgan Chase said this morning that it still did well enough in its other businesses that it had net income of $5 billion in those three months.

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Business
3:09 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Geithner Pointed Out LIBOR Concerns In 2008

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:04 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a warning about LIBOR.

It came years ago. We now know that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner pointed out problems with the way that London's key interest rates were set. He did this in 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis at the time he was head of the New York Federal Reserve.

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Business
3:09 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Uzbekistan Sets Up Rival To Facebook

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:04 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business comes from the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan, which by the way, won six medals in the last Olympics. But today's last word is about another kind of competition, this one between social networking sites. And the word is: YouFace. That's the name of a new social networking site that aims to lure local Internet users away from Facebook, and, quote, "boost patriotism among young people in Uzbekistan."

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Business
3:09 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Team USA Predicted To Take The Most Medals

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:04 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some future news now. The Olympics begin two weeks from today in London, and we can already tell you the likely big winners. China will take the most gold medals, followed by the U.S. and host country, Great Britain. Team USA will win the most overall medals, followed by China and Russia.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Asia
3:09 am
Fri July 13, 2012

China's Economy Slows To 3-Year Low

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:04 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renée Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. China's economic growth has slowed down to a three-year low. That's according to new figures released today. The numbers matter to us because of the way the world economy is so interconnected. Americans import a lot from China, sure, but have also been working to boost exports to other nations, including China.

NPR's Louisa Lim joins us from Beijing to make sense of the latest news. Hi, Louisa.

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Business
3:09 am
Fri July 13, 2012

JPMorgan To Reveal Earnings, Trading Losses

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 12:26 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the biggest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase, says it has lost $4.4 billion from its failed hedging strategy involving a secretive trader. That's more than twice the bank's earlier estimate. The company released its second-quarter earnings report this morning, and NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us now to talk about them. Jim, what is the company telling investors this morning about that money?

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Crisis In The Housing Market
1:20 am
Fri July 13, 2012

County Considers Eminent Domain As Foreclosure Fix

Half of San Bernardino County's 300,000 mortgages are underwater. In an attempt to ease the mortgage crisis, the Southern California county is considering taking control of some of those properties by eminent domain.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:04 am

County and city officials in San Bernardino, Calif., are considering a controversial plan: using the power of eminent domain to take over "underwater" mortgages, where the value of the home is worth less than the original loan. Taking on those properties, officials say, would allow the homeowners to refinance those troubled loans.

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Planet Money
1:19 am
Fri July 13, 2012

The European Central Bank's Guide to Influence

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, left, speaks with Spanish Finance Minister Luis De Guindos on Monday. The ECB has increased its influence over European countries struggling with debt.
Georges Gobet AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 4:08 pm

Europe is struggling, thanks to a relentless debt crisis. Compounding its problems: It is not one country, but 17.

Many observers agree that to solve their problems, those countries have to start looking a lot more like one country. And there is a force in Europe trying to make that happen: the European Central Bank. The weapon it has that everyone else lacks? Money.

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Presidential Race
1:17 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Why Would Romney Bury Treasure In Bermuda?

The Thistle House in Hamilton, Bermuda, is listed as the address of Mitt Romney's Bermuda corporation.
David Welna NPR

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:04 am

New questions about Mitt Romney's overseas investments have dogged the GOP presidential contender all week. Many arose from a report in the latest issue of Vanity Fair. It describes how the day before Romney was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts, he put a corporation he'd set up in Bermuda in a blind trust held by his wife, Ann. Romney insists he did nothing wrong.

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Asia
3:02 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Global Markets Brace For China's Slowing Economy

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 4:10 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Global stock markets are anxiously awaiting new figures from China. Analysts are expecting the numbers to show the world's second largest economy suffering its biggest slowdown since the global financial crisis.

NPR's Louisa Lim is in Beijing.

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Asia
2:41 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Pimp My Rickshaw: India's Drivers Pump Up The Glam

You know you want one: rickshaw seat covers emblazoned with Bollywood stars. It's just one way New Delhi rickshaw drivers are trying to outdo each other in the battle for passengers.
Elliot Hannon for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 4:10 pm

Dashboard statues of glow-in-the-dark Hindu gods, hubcaps painted like soccer balls and seat covers adorned with Bollywood stars — all this and more rickshaw bling is all the rage in India.

The motorized three-wheeled buggies are a fixture on India's crowded city streets, scooting in and out of traffic, picking up and dropping off passengers.

In New Delhi alone, there are some 50,000 of these vehicles. And that number is set to double as the city recently lifted a decades-long cap on the number of rickshaws allowed on the road.

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Business
2:35 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Lobster Glut, Low Prices Leave Boats High And Dry

A lobster on a boat off Mount Desert, Maine, is measured to see if it is a legal size. There has been a glut of lobster this season, driving down prices.
Robert F Bukaty AP

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 4:10 pm

This summer is shaping up to be a record season for lobster landings in Maine. That sounds like good news for a state where lobstering makes up a large part of the economy.

It may be welcome news for consumers and food retailers, but for the state's 5,000 lobstermen, it's a different story.

Hard To Make A Living

On Portland's waterfront, about five lobster boats are tied up at one of the piers. Half a dozen lobstermen stand around discussing the current problem of oversupply.

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Poverty In America: The Struggle To Get Ahead
2:26 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Turning Trash Into Cash To Help Nation's Poor

A worker dismantles a mattress at a recycling facility in Oakland, Calif. The material will be used to make carpet products and proceeds will help support the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, a nonprofit that helps low-income families in Eugene, Ore.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 4:10 pm

The bad economy has hurt many nonprofits around the country, even as demands for their services have grown. That's certainly the case in Reading, Pa., which has been labeled the poorest city in America, with a poverty rate of more than 41 percent.

Now, one local nonprofit, Opportunity House, hopes to salvage some of its services by salvaging junk.

Looking For Help

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Planet Money
2:23 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Waiting For JPMorgan And The Whale

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, here seen in June testifying before a congressional committee, will try to explain the bank's trading losses to investors on Friday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Ever since the peak of the financial crisis, we've been treated to the occasional spectacle that leaves the market and its hangers-on in a tizzy: unveiling the terms of new bailout programs, revealing bank stress-test results, and, not long ago, JPMorgan Chase's chief executive

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Opinion
12:51 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Weekly Standard: Obamacare Cost Estimates Rise

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the NAACP National Convention on July 11 in Houston, Texas. Romney was booed by the audience when he reiterated his commitment to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Eric Kayne Getty Images

Daniel Halper is an online editor at The Weekly Standard.

The Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee released the following chart yesterday, detailing the rising projected cost of President Obama's signature legislation, Obamacare:

The latest estimate, as the chart details, is that Obamacare will cost $2.6 trillion dollars in its first real decade. The bill does not fully go into effect until 2014, therefore the estimate begins with that year.

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Opinion
12:50 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

New Republic: Obamacare Means Higher Employment

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks about the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act at George Washington University on July 11 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a technical consultant to the Obama administration during the development of the Affordable Care Act.

Forget death panels. Lately critics of the Affordable Care Act have been promoting a different claim — that "Obamacare" is a job-killer. Specifically, they say, it will stifle the economy with regulations and taxes. But the economic literature doesn't support this claim. If anything, it suggests the opposite: The Affordable Care Act will boost the economy.

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