Business

The Two-Way
5:10 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Spain's Borrowing Costs Soar; Latest 'Ominous Sign' In Europe

The Spanish flag blowing in the wind in Madrid earlier this month.
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 6:32 am

Today's developments in Europe's financial crisis focus mainly on Spain:

-- The Wall Street Journal writes that "Spain, on the edge of losing debt market access, paid around 2 percentage points more in interest rates Tuesday than a month ago to lure investors to its Treasury bill sale, an ominous sign ahead of a critical government bond auction Thursday."

Read more
Business
2:58 am
Tue June 19, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word business is about a bank takeover that was more of a fake over. Businessman Li Chunping made headlines in China earlier this year. He spoke in the Chinese media of how he took over an American bank - the Atlantic Bank of Delaware, which he said went bankrupt in 2008.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The story got him plenty of public praise. The communist party touted him as a model citizen, rising from poverty to be a successful businessman in the rice trade. He even got a position as a government adviser.

Read more
Business
2:58 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Microsoft's Surface Tablet To Compete With iPad

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now in Hollywood last night, Microsoft unveiled its newest product: a tablet computer to compete with the iPad. Putting out a computer is an unusual move for Microsoft, which is mostly known for software.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco was at the announcement.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: At Milk Studios in Hollywood, a photo studio for the stars, Microsoft engineers revealed their snazzy new tablet, which they call Surface.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Read more
Business
2:58 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 7:48 am

The Federal Reserve starts its latest two-day meeting Tuesday, and analysts around the globe are wondering whether the central bank will end ease monetary policy. The meeting follows some tough U.S. labor data and the recent Greek elections.

Business
1:07 am
Tue June 19, 2012

It's Taxis Vs. Limos In Laid-Back Portland

Portland, Ore., imposes two different fare structures on taxis and other kinds of short-trip vehicles. Two town car companies say those different rules are unconstitutional.
Thomas Hawk Flickr

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 7:48 am

With just over a half-million residents, Portland, Ore., is not exactly a major metropolis. In this bike- and mass-transit-friendly city, there are typically more bikes and buses plying the downtown streets than taxis and town cars.

So when Mike Porter wanted to drum up business for his town car company, he did what a lot of businesses do: He took out a Groupon ad, offering a discounted fare to or from the airport.

Read more
All Tech Considered
2:18 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

You Know You Want One: Personal Robots Not Ready For You Yet

Research scientist Leila Takayama poses with a PR2 robot at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif., that produces programmable robots.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 9:06 pm

Read more
The Two-Way
10:31 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Microsoft Promises A 'Major' Announcement; What Will It Be?

Microsoft's Surface.
Microsoft

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 7:01 pm

Update at 7:23 p.m. ET. The Surface:

Read more
Business
5:37 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Microsoft Expected To Debut Tablet Rival To iPad

Microsoft isn't confirming but the company is expected to unveil a tablet device at an event in Los Angeles on Monday. Bloomberg News reports sources say the device would compete with Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle. Meanwhile, IBM has created a computer that ranks the fastest in the world. The Sequoia machine beat out the previous No. 1, the Japanese Fujitsu.

Business
5:32 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Chevy Volt Sales Begin To Show Improvement

General Motors is pinning some of its hopes for the future on its gas-electric hybrid the Chevy Volt. After a slow start last year, Volt sales are beginning to pick up. According to Edmunds.com, Volt sales so far this year are almost level with all of last year's sales. GM has sold about 7,000 of the hybrids.

The Two-Way
5:09 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Market Rally Fades As Investors Turn Attention From Greece To Spain

Frankfurt: A German flag hung today in front of a board displaying the DAX stock index.
Daniel Roland AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 11:19 am

At midday in New York, Bloomberg News' headline pretty much sums up the story for the markets so far today and their reaction to the news about Sunday's vote in Greece:

"U.S. Stocks Swing Between Gains, Losses Amid Europe Woes."

And this paragraph from Bloomberg's account seems to capture what traders are thinking:

Read more
Business
5:05 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Markets React To Greek Election Results

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 6:20 am

Markets in Asia and Europe initially responded positively to the results of the Greek election. Of greatest concern, is another rise in Spanish interest rates to another euro-era record.

Latin America
1:09 am
Mon June 18, 2012

G-20 Leaders In Mexico Concentrate On Euro Crisis

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 8:39 am

President Obama and other world leaders are gathering in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Monday for the G-20 summit. They're hoping to get some assurances that European governments are getting control of their financial problems before they become a further drag on the global economy.

Read more
Europe
1:05 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Locals Fear Venice Becoming 'A Big Shopping Center'

A gondola sails in front of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, which has been sold to Benetton Group. The clothing company plans to convert the Venice landmark into a shopping mall.
Marco Secchi Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 1:45 pm

As Italy tries to fight its way out of a full-blown recession, the state and local governments are coming up with creative — and some say questionable — sources of revenue.

The latest example comes from Venice, where Benetton, the trendy Italian clothing-maker, is poised to put the city's first shopping mall right on the Grand Canal. Residents are up in arms, but officials say deals like these keep the lagoon city afloat.

Read more
The Salt
1:03 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Is The Coconut Water Craze All It's Cracked Up To Be?

John Gordon Gauld, a 35-year old artist, bikes with coconut water in New York City.
Jacob Anderson

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 10:48 am

You've probably seen them in the grocery store — cans of coconut water with their come-hither photos of young, green coconuts, tops sheared off, a straw poking out, and blue and green boxes that evoke cool, tropical breezes. Some vendors even sell the real thing. Artist John Gordon Gauld enjoys fresh coconut water when he's thirsty after biking through New York City.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
1:02 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Consumers Stuck With Murky Sunscreen Labels Another Summer

Which one of these sunscreens would be considered safe and correctly labeled by the Food and Drug Administration? Not a single one. Safe sunscreens are SPF15 or higher, and the new rules require those with broad-spectrum protection to include the term next to and in the same style as the sun protection factor.
Benjamin Morris NPR

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 7:41 am

Anyone who has gone to the drug store knows that the labels on sunscreens can be confusing. The sun protection factor, or SPF, numbers are all over the place. Some say "sunblock"; others says "sunscreen." What's the difference between "waterproof" and "water-resistant?"

Read more
Around the Nation
3:30 pm
Sat June 16, 2012

State Of The Unions: Labor And The Middle Class

Occupy Wall Street protesters joined with unions in New York on May 1, a traditional day of global protests in sympathy with unions and leftist politics.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 7:05 pm

For many full-time employees in the United States, the five-day work week, paid overtime and holidays are expected benefits. This wasn't always so, and many workers' benefits today are the achievements of labor unions.

Just five decades ago, unions were on the frontline of the fight for the rights and wages of the middle class. But today, unions are on the decline.

Read more
Law
2:58 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Hedge Fund Tycoon Convicted In Insider Trading Case

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 4:25 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta was found guilty today of conspiracy and securities fraud. Prosecutors had accused Gupta of passing on inside information about the firm to hedge fund tycoon Raj Rajaratnam. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The verdict came on only the second day of deliberations. Gupta was acquitted of two charges but convicted of four others. The 63-year-old Indian-born Gupta is the most prominent business leader convicted so far in the government's ongoing insider trading investigation.

Read more
Planet Money
12:58 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

The Karl Marx MasterCard Is Here. It Needs A Tagline.

The Karl Marx credit card.
via Sparkasse Chemnitz

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 3:48 pm

The German bank Sparkasse Chemnitz recently launched a Karl Marx credit card. The bank let people vote online for 10 different images, and Marx was the "very clear winner," beating out a palace, a castle and a racetrack, among others. Reuters has more on the story.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:10 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Rajat Gupta Guilty In Insider Trading Case

Rajat Gupta on Wednesday as he arrived at the federal courthouse in Manhattan.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

"Rajat Gupta, who reached the pinnacle of corporate America as managing partner of McKinsey & Co. and was a director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Procter & Gamble, was convicted by a federal jury of leaking inside information to hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam," Bloomberg News writes.

The Associated Press recaps the case:

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
10:09 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Insurers Wait For Verdict On Health Care Law And Their Bottom Line

Demonstrators both for and against the health care law turned out on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 27, the second day of oral arguments before the court.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 4:25 pm

All eyes these days are trained on the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to rule sometime this month on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

But some people are waiting more anxiously for the court to rule than others. Among them are those with a major financial stake in whether the law goes forward or not and if so, in what form.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:13 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Central Banks 'On Standby' As Greek Elections Loom

The European Central Bank "is on standby to keep banks flush with liquidity" if Greeks effectively vote on Sunday to support politicians who want to reject austerity measures and pull the nation out of the eurozone, The Financial Times writes this morning.

The ECB joins "a global chorus of central bankers pledging support ahead of Sunday's elections," the FT adds.

Read more
Economy
7:12 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Three Frightening Phrases You Should Understand

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a press conference in Brussels.
John Thys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 9:42 am

The economy has so much going for it: low inflation, low interest rates, affordable homes, falling gasoline prices and 27 straight months of job growth. Good times, no?

No.

The economy is slowing, but not because of current conditions. The slowdown reflects the fear of what may be coming next. Economists say employers and investors are paralyzed by the uncertainty surrounding three huge problems: one in the United States, another in Europe and the third in China.

Read more
Economy
6:36 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Markets Encouraged By Plans To Calm Eurozone Panic

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 8:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And coming to the end of a tumultuous week of global economic news, we're seeing rising shares Asia, plus the euro coming close to a three-week high.

As NPR's Philip Reeves reports, markets are encouraged by reports that the world's central banks have come up with a plan to try to calm panic in the eurozone.

Read more
Business
6:36 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Domain-Name Expansion Prompts Rush Of Applications

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 8:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Our last word in business today is dot free for all.

The group that governs Internet names is allowing for more top-level domain names - that's the technical term for endings like dot-com and dot-net. Nearly 2,000 applications poured in from companies hoping to grab domain name endings like dot-app, dot-eat and dot-baby.

Google went all out, spending more than $18 million to apply for the rights to obvious endings like dot-google and dot-goog. But Google also applied to own dot-love. Hmm.

Read more
Business
6:36 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Yammer Agrees To $1.2 Billion Sale To Microsoft

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 8:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a new owner for Yammer.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Yammer, the social networking company has agreed to sell itself to Microsoft for $1.2 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Yammer is often called Facebook for the workplace. Co-workers can use it to share files, message one another and organize meetings and events.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:12 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Coca-Cola Returning To Myanmar; Now It Sells In All But 2 Nations

Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 6:29 am

Read more
Asia
2:44 am
Fri June 15, 2012

China's Economy Cools, Perhaps More Than Planned

A Chinese worker operates a machine at a factory in Binzhou in northeast China's Shandong province. China's exports and imports shot up in May year-on-year, the customs agency said on June 10, defying expectations amid a slowdown in the world's second largest economy.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 9:14 am

In recent months, economic growth in China has not only slowed — it's slowed faster than most people expected. Last week, for the first time since the depths of the global financial crisis, the government actually cut lending rates to try to spur growth. All of this has people wondering: Where is the world's star economy headed?

Read more
Planet Money
2:43 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Can Lincoln Be Cool Again?

An ad for the 1965 Lincoln Continental.
courtesy Lincoln

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 8:56 am

In the car business, Lincoln once stood as the pinnacle of luxury. Frank Sinatra drove a Lincoln. So did the Shah of Iran. In the U.S., the presidential limo was a Lincoln.

The brand peaked with the 1961 Lincoln Continental, a beautiful, innovative car that stood for style, individuality and sophistication.

But after the '60s, Lincoln started on a long, slow decline that mirrored the slide of the American auto industry.

Read more
Economy
3:44 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

New Schedules Push Graveyard Shift Off The Clock

A worker builds cars on the assembly line at Ford's Chicago Assembly plant, which has adopted the "three crew" work schedule. The new third shift can increase efficiency in factories, but it can also wreak havoc on sleep needs and home lives.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 8:54 pm

As car companies struggle to meet growing demand, the third shift is making a comeback. But many factories running on three shifts are doing it differently from in the past. And that new "three crew" shift pattern could make what's normally a hard job even harder.

At Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, employees work 10-hour shifts four days a week. The so-called A crew gets days, while the B crew gets afternoons. But the C crew shift rotates its start time every week. On Fridays and Saturdays, workers start at 6:00 a.m. On Mondays and Tuesdays, they start at 4:30 p.m.

Read more
American Dreams: Then And Now
3:11 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Nailing The American Dream, With Polish

A model shows off an ABC student's work. Most of the students are studying manicuring.
Courtesy of Advance Beauty College

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 6:25 pm

If you've had a manicure in California, odds are the person at the other end of the emery board was of Vietnamese heritage.

Vietnamese immigrants now dominate California's nail-care industry — and make up a significant percentage of all manicurists nationwide.

The story began with a hurried immigration after the fall of Saigon almost four decades ago.

Sparked by the interest of a group of refugees and the help of a Hollywood star, the demand for affordable manicures quickly became the foundation of the American dream for many Vietnamese newcomers.

Read more

Pages