Business

Author Interviews
4:36 am
Thu May 3, 2012

How The Valdez Oil Spill Shaped ExxonMobile

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:13 am

Steve Inskeep talks to Steve Coll about his new book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. In it, Coll delves into the business model of one of the country's largest and most profitable corporations. He explores how the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 shaped the culture at the company for years to come.

Europe
4:19 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Angry Greek Voters May Lash Out In Sunday's Polls

A member of the Golden Dawn far-right political organization takes part in a demonstration in Peraia, a suburb outside Thessaloniki, on April 26. Some polls indicate that in the national elections May 6, Golden Dawn may surpass the 3 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament.
Sakis Mitrolidis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 9:50 am

Greeks go to the polls Sunday in a climate of intense voter anger at the politicians they blame for turning their country into an international economic pariah. Protest votes could fill Parliament with an array of new parties, and most surprising is the growing popularity of the xenophobic Golden Dawn, which espouses a neo-Nazi ideology.

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NPR Story
4:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Last night at the Sotheby's auction house in New York, there was something to scream about. Our last word in business is: "The Scream."

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

As we reported yesterday, the Expressionist masterpiece by Edvard Munch went up for sale. There are four versions of this composition, but just one had been privately held by an heir of one of Munch's patrons.

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NPR Story
4:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Argentina Takes Over Spanish Energy Firm YPF

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with control of the energy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: In South America, a shift towards political populism has led to the nationalism of an oil company in Argentina and an electricity provider in Bolivia. Both of the companies seized are Spanish. The nationalizations are hitting Spain during a time of deep economic crisis. And as we'll hear in a few minutes from reporter Lauren Frayer, they sparked a lot of anger in Spain.

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NPR Story
4:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Take Over Moves By Bolivia, Argentina Angers Spain

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Bolivia and Argentina's nationalization of Spanish companies hasn't gone over well in Madrid. Spanish officials say Bolivia and Argentina will pay the price in the long run, as investors become weary of doing business if their assets could ultimately get seized.

Europe
4:43 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Investors Flee Spain As Economy Spirals Downward

People attend a demonstration in Madrid organized by unions against financial cuts in health and education on April 29.
Dominique Faget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

The news keeps getting worse for Spain. This week came word that the country has fallen back into recession. Meanwhile, Spain's unemployment rate is the highest in Europe. Investors are once again fleeing the country and interest rates on government debt are climbing.

The numbers coming out of Spain these days are stark. The economy contracted at a 0.3 percent rate during the first part of this year. Housing prices are down 21 percent from their peak, and unemployment is nearly 25 percent.

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Business
3:44 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Home Sweet Mobile Home: Co-Ops Deliver Ownership

Gary Thulin, 70, says he used to dream of financial stability. Now, the New Hampshire co-op resident and mobile home owner says he and his wife could sell their home, pay off the loan they took out on it, and still walk away with $10,000.
Dan Gorenstein for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Judy Stoddard, 71, lives in Carver, Mass., but every weekday morning, she picks herself up out of bed and drives to Boston.

"I do the back roads, which gets me there in an hour and 40 minutes," Stoddard says. "I'm exhausted when I get there. I'm exhausted when I come home."

Stoddard drives those back roads for a reason — she can't see out of one eye. But as long as her rent keeps creeping up, she keeps going back to work.

"I can't retire. I want to keep my house. I put a lot of work in this house. I don't want to lose it," she says.

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Economy
2:11 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Coming Of Age In An Ever-Recovering Economy

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 4:26 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

While California's state budget woes have contributed to the stress on public university kids there, students across the country are feeling the squeeze in other ways. More than 7 million students could face a doubling of their federal loan rates if Congress can't agree on a plan to prevent it. At the same time, students of all backgrounds are coming of age in an era when the economy is always described as recovering, never recovered.

So with graduation coming up, how are they feeling about their prospects?

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Monkey See
2:03 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Studios To Movie Fans: Take Our Clips, Please

Robert Duvall and Al Pacino in a scene from The Godfather Part II.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Maybe you needed a good cry, but you were at work and didn't have easy access to your DVD of "The Notebook." So, you searched for that heart wrenching break-up scene on YouTube and let the tears flow freely.

Could be, nostalgic for times past when "real" men wore suits and drank bourbon, you were itching to watch Humphrey Bogart tell Ingrid Bergman, "Here's lookin' at you kid."

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Author Interviews
8:36 am
Wed May 2, 2012

ExxonMobil: A 'Private Empire' On The World Stage

Steve Coll was a managing editor at The Washington Post and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for reporting about the Securities and Exchange Commission and in 2004 for his book Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 10:30 am

In Private Empire, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Steve Coll investigates how ExxonMobil has used its money and power to wield significant influence in Washington, D.C., particularly during the Bush administration.

Executives at the company maintained close personal connections with members of the Bush administration — but Coll says the "cliched idea that Exxon-Mobil was just an instrument of the Bush administration's foreign policy — a kind of extension of the American government during the Bush years — is just wrong."

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The Salt
8:35 am
Wed May 2, 2012

What Pizza Hut's Crown Crust Pizza Says About Global Fast Food Marketing

The new Crown Crust Pizza from Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut Middle East/YouTube

Perhaps you've heard by now of the Crown Crust pizza, the pizza-cheeseburger hybrid recently unveiled by some of Pizza Hut's international franchisees. Available only at Pizza Hut Middle East, this fast food chimera features a vaguely crown-shaped crust studded with "cheeseburger gems," topped with lettuce and tomato, and drizzled with "special sauce."

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Business
6:25 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Virgin Atlantic Puts Richard Branson On Ice

The airline is molding ice cubes into Richard Branson's image to promote the in-flight bar.

Business
5:03 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Pfizer Settles Suit Involving Celebrex

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Pfizer, one of the worlds largest drug companies, will pay Brigham Young University nearly half a billion dollars to settle a patent related lawsuit involving the company's blockbuster painkiller Celebrex.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, the settlement comes as the case was about to go to trial.

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Business
5:03 am
Wed May 2, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 6:08 am

A home for the Academy Awards ceremony has been secured. The Kodak Theatre will now be called the Dolby Theatre. The audio technology company has signed a naming-rights deal with the real estate group that owns the property where the Oscar ceremony is held. Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, gave up its naming rights.

Business
5:03 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Business news

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 5:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with falling profits for UBS.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Suisse Bank UBS announced today that their profits fell 54 percent in the first quarter of this year. The drop is blamed on a decrease in investment banking income, and also because of an accounting charge on its debt.

NPR Story
4:37 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Texas Battling Pollution From Poultry Production

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 10:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Americans are now eating more chicken than beef or pork. And meeting that demand is an industry that some have dubbed big chicken. Texas is a major player in the industry, and so now Texas must manage a problem that in other circumstances we might describe as fallout or blowback. Dave Fehling of member station KUHF in Houston explains what that problem is.

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All Tech Considered
1:23 am
Wed May 2, 2012

NBC Will Stream The London Olympics Live — But Only To TV Subscribers

Many track fans watched online four years ago, as sprinter Usain Bolt set a world record at the Beijing Olympics. This year, NBC will stream video of all 302 events online. And Bolt, seen here showing his appreciation for video in 2010, will try to repeat his feat.
Mark Dadswell Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 5:03 am

For decades, Olympics fans have loathed two words: "tape" and "delay." But this summer, things will be different: For the first time, NBC will stream live video of the London Games, online and via mobile.

If you think that decision is overdue, you're not alone. Sports Business Daily media reporter John Ourand says he is shocked it has taken this long for the network to put live video of all Olympic events online.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
1:21 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Should Banks Maintain Abandoned Properties?

An abandoned home on Chicago's South Side, which neighbor Ruben DeSantiago says attracts gang activity. DeSantiago and other neighbors mow the lawn and pick up trash because they say no one else is caring for the house.
Odette Yousef

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:49 am

Like hundreds of cities across the country, Chicago is trying to tackle the issue of too many foreclosed and vacant homes. The city is now requiring lenders to ensure that those abandoned properties are secured and maintained. Other cities have similar laws.

But the federal government is suing Chicago over its new rules in what's seen as a test case that could affect whether any city would be allowed to keep lenders on the hook for abandoned properties.

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Planet Money
1:20 am
Wed May 2, 2012

How Colleges Fight For Top Students

"My mom opened the letter and she called me and told me I got the Marquis Scholarship. And she's like, 'It's a humungous scholarship!'" -Michele Tallarita
Jacob Goldstein NPR

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 1:56 pm

It's a gray April evening, and two men have driven from Easton, Pa., to Manhattan. The men are administrators at Lafayette College. They're wearing solid black suits with Lafayette pins on their lapels.

They're here to see 12 students — high school seniors who have been admitted to Lafayette and are trying to decide where to go to college.

The men have come to make the students "feel that Lafayette is in their future and make them think that they'll ruin their lives if they go elsewhere," says Greg MacDonald, Lafayette's dean of admissions.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
3:59 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Time To Trade The Lease For A Mortgage?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, homeownership rates got even closer to pre-housing boom numbers in the first quarter of 2012.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

This week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that in the first quarter of 2012, the American homeownership rate hit its lowest level in 15 years. During the housing boom, millions more Americans bought homes, bumping the rate to nearly 70 percent. Now, that buying spree has been replaced with millions of foreclosures, and most of those gains have been lost.

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Energy
2:54 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

With Purchase, Delta May Revive Ailing Pa. Refinery

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Delta Airlines has decided to do something about high gas prices. The company is buying a refinery from ConocoPhillips for the bargain basement price of $150 million.

WHYY's Emma Jacobs reports that, with this purchase, Delta becomes the first major U.S. airline to get into the business of producing its own jet fuel.

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Media
2:54 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Parliament: News Corp.'s Murdoch Not Fit To Lead

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Rupert Murdoch has long been one of the world's most powerful media barons. Yet today, members of Britain's parliament declared him unfit to run a major international company. They released a report accusing Murdoch's News Corporation of a huge failure of corporate governance. NPR's Philip Reeves has the story.

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Media
2:20 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

News Corp. Contrite In Wake Of Scathing Report

An influential group of British lawmakers says Rupert Murdoch, shown above with his son James (left) last July, is unfit to lead his global media empire. The scathing report also says his company misled Parliament about the scale of phone hacking at one of its tabloids.
Sang Tan AP

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 3:04 pm

News Corp. executives Rupert and James Murdoch can give a small sigh of relief, perhaps, that U.K. lawmakers investigating the tabloid hacking and bribery scandal did not conclude they misled Parliament in earlier testimony.

But that may be just about the only relief the Murdochs receive.

The scathing report accuses the company and several of its former top British executives of lying to Parliament and of seeking to cover up widespread phone hacking, computer hacking and bribing of government employees.

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Science
1:20 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Psychology Of Fraud: Why Good People Do Bad Things

Adam Cole/NPR

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, the subprime mortgage crisis.

Over the past decade or so, news stories about unethical behavior have been a regular feature on TV, a long, discouraging parade of misdeeds marching across our screens. And in the face of these scandals, psychologists and economists have been slowly reworking how they think about the cause of unethical behavior.

In general, when we think about bad behavior, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate.

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The Salt
11:24 am
Tue May 1, 2012

What Will Make the Food Desert Bloom?

Symbols like these are designed to help shoppers make healthier choices
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

There's a battle for better health going on in poor neighborhoods across the country, and part of that battle involves getting people living in so-called food deserts access to healthy food.

But as many activists have learned, it takes a combination of access, innovation, and education to change peoples' habits for the better.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Stocks Rallying After Bullish Manufacturing News

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 2:34 pm

Adding 87 points, the Dow closed at 13,339, its highest level since December of 2007.

CNN Money reports that the index rose in reaction to a rise in U.S. manufacturing activity.

The Wall Street Journal adds:

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Planet Money
10:23 am
Tue May 1, 2012

How Can Europe Save Itself? (Again.)

KENZO TRIBOUILLARD AFP/Getty Images

In the past week, the debate over how Europe can save itself has shifted away from austerity (government spending cuts) and toward policies that would slow spending cuts and try to promote economic growth.

There have been a few big drivers of this shift. It became clear that Francois Hollande, a Socialist who says he would push for more growth in Europe, is likely to be the next president of France.

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Your Money
9:54 am
Tue May 1, 2012

When Are You Going To Start Your 5 Year Plan?

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 12:48 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now to matters of personal finance, as you may know, we are celebrating TELL ME MORE's fifth anniversary on the air. We're celebrating all week long.

Now, five years may not seem like a long time, but our next guest says it's more than enough time to put a plan in place that will help you achieve your financial goals. Here to tell us more is the person we have turned to most often for insight into personal finance issues.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Rupert Murdoch 'Not A Fit Person' To Lead A Major Company, Report Charges

Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, as they were being driven away from the Royal Courts of Justice following his testimony last Thursday in London.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 12:33 pm

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is "not a fit person" to lead a major international company, a committee of U.K. parliament members concludes today in a scathing report about the News Corp. chief and the actions of his British tabloids, NPR's Philip Reeves tells our Newscast Desk.

The report also accuses Murdoch's companies of "misleading a parliamentary committee," Philip says, and exhibiting "willful blindness" regarding their illegal activities.

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Business
2:37 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Bank Of America To Lay Off More Workers

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 5:23 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with more job cuts at Bank of America.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The Wall Street Journal reports that the nation's second-largest bank is planning about 2,000 layoffs at its investment banking, commercial banking and wealth management units. These cuts are notable because they include high-earning employees in operations that account for most of Bank of America's profits since the financial crisis.

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