Business

Planet Money
2:47 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Bankrupt In Paradise

A rainbow over the sea in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.
Koichi Kamoshida Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 9:05 am

The Northern Mariana Islands are about 4,000 miles west of Hawaii. They look like the kind of tropical islands you see in the movies with bright blue water and white sand beaches.

The people who live on the islands are American. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is a U.S. territory. And just like a lot of U.S. states, the commonwealth has a pension plan for its government employees.

Sixto Igisomar used to run it.

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Europe
4:49 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Radical Left Reshaping Face Of Politics In Greece

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:22 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Greece holds parliamentary elections next month because the elections earlier this month failed to produce a governing coalition. The two big parties that had signed on to Europe's austerity terms no longer account for a majority of the seats in parliament. The big new player, coming in second was the Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, which opposes Europe's terms for a bailout, but says Greece should continue to use the euro.

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Europe
4:49 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

E.U. Leaders Hold 'Mini-Summit' On Debt Crisis

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:22 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

This evening in Brussels, a dinner that was sure to cause some heartburn. European leaders met behind closed doors to talk about the region's worsening debt crisis. The heads of all 27 EU nations talked jobs, growth, and how to help troubled banks and the indebted Greek economy.

NPR's Eric Westervelt has our story.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Wall Street Titans, Behaving Badly

Television correspondent Sabrina Quagliozzi reports from inside the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square on Monday.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:30 am

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Business
4:32 am
Wed May 23, 2012

CBO Report: U.S. Economy Could Slide Into Recession

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 4:41 am

The Congressional Budget Office is warning the U.S. economy could fall back into a recession if Washington doesn't address the looming fiscal crisis. The Bush-era tax cuts are supposed to expire as is a temporary reduction in the payroll tax. Meanwhile, deep cuts in federal spending are supposed to take place if Congress and the White House can't agree on a debt-reduction plan.

Around the Nation
3:38 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Fight Over Flame Retardants In Furniture Heats Up

More than 80 percent of furniture sold in the U.S. is treated with flame-retardant chemicals.
Steve Mullis/NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 4:41 am

If you pick up a cushion from any sofa or piece of furniture that has foam, you're likely to find a small white tag that reads: "This article meets all flammability requirements of California Bureau of Home Furnishings technical bulletin 117."

The law, referred to as TB 117, was passed in California in 1975. It says that the foam inside upholstered furniture must be able to resist a flame, such as from a cigarette lighter or a candle. Rather than make different furniture just for California, big furniture makers adhere to those standards in all 50 states and even Canada.

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Business
3:36 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Xerox CEO: 'If You Don't Transform, You're Stuck'

Xerox CEO Ursula Burns began her career with the company in 1980 as a summer intern. In 2009, she became the first African-American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:14 am

Xerox is one of America's most venerable companies. Founded in 1906, its name is virtually synonymous with "photocopy."

But in recent years, in an era of email and paperless offices, Xerox has struggled to stay relevant. Today, the company is trying to turn itself around and thrive in the digital age.

Leading Xerox through that transformation is Ursula Burns, a woman who has undergone tremendous change in her own life. Burns, 53, grew up in New York City's Lower East Side, an area she has described as a tough, drug-infested ghetto.

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Politics
3:25 am
Wed May 23, 2012

U.S. Politicians See Opposite Messages In Euro Crisis

President Obama talks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande (upper left), NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (center) and other leaders during the official photo at Soldier Field in Chicago during the NATO summit Sunday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:41 am

European stock markets have rallied in anticipation of an informal summit of European Union leaders Wednesday in Brussels. A major policy pivot is expected to address the eurozone's debts and deficits crisis.

Up to now, European leaders have emphasized austerity, and that has cost some of them their jobs. The new approach is likely to focus on the same kind of growth President Obama has pursued in the United States — where Democrats and Republicans are drawing opposite conclusions from the euro crisis.

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It's All Politics
12:00 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Voters Agree It's The Economy, But Split On Who Best To Fix Things

Don Meikle attends an April job fair in Portland, Ore. A new poll shows the economy remains the most important factor for Americans in deciding who to back for president, but with adults split over who would best lead the U.S. economy.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 1:21 pm

President Obama and his expected Republican challenger are tied on the all-important question of who can best deal with the ailing economy, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Among registered voters, 47 percent said Obama and 47 percent said Mitt Romney when asked which candidate they trust to do a better job handling the economy.

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Money Coach
12:00 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Do Credit Card Laws Not Value Homemakers?

Stay-at-home mom Holly McCall says she manages her family's finances and has perfect credit. But due to a federal law, she was denied a credit card because she doesn't make an income. McCall wants the law changed, but Aracely Panameno with the Center for Responsible Lending says the law is necessary. Host Michel Martin speaks with both women.

The Two-Way
11:26 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Facebook's Stock: What Should It Cost?

Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 4:08 pm

As the downward pressure continues on the price of Facebook's newly issued shares, let's see what our collective financial wisdom tells us.

The initial public offering was priced at $38 a share. After technical snafus on Friday, and only thanks to lots of help from Facebook's bankers, that's about where the stock settled its first day.

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The Two-Way
10:43 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Existing Home Sales And Prices Both Rose In April

As sales of existing homes rose 3.4 percent in April from March, prices of those previously owned houses, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops also rose, the National Association of Realtors said this morning.

"The recovery appears to be extending to home prices," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says in a report issued earlier.

Sales were 10 percent above the level of April 2011, NAR adds. Last month's pace: a 4.62 million annual rate.

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The Two-Way
9:44 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Europe's Crisis Threatens To Kill Global Economic Recovery, Experts Warn

Unless leaders in Europe act quickly, the financial crisis there could drag down the global economy and kill what appears to be a "fragile, extremely uneven" recovery, the multi-national Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned today.

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Author Interviews
5:21 am
Tue May 22, 2012

'Road To Freedom': Moral Debate For Free Enterprise

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 6:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Economic issues are shaping this year's presidential campaign, as we're hearing in this morning's news. Arthur C. Brooks, of the American Enterprise Institute, says that debate involves more than money. It's a question of which economic policies are morally right.

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Economy
5:21 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Opposition To Austerity Sweeps Ireland

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 6:12 am

A mass tax revolt is under way in Ireland, and hundreds of thousands of people have resolved to break the law and refuse to pay a newly-introduced levy on households. The tax is $125 a year, but protesters say it could lead to larger property taxes in the future.

Europe
3:24 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Spain's Beloved Four-Day Weekends Are At Risk

People relax at a beach in Barcelona, Spain, on a Monday last summer. Many Spanish workers are upset that some traditional four-day holiday weekends might be scaled back to just three days.
Manu Fernandez AP

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 5:36 am

One of the perks of living in Europe is the generous vacation schedule. But the austerity moves across the continent could be changing that, at least in some places. Portugal, for example, recently cut four of its 14 annual holidays.

And Spain is shuffling its calendar to shorten extended weekends — something the prime minister says it can no longer afford. The change could mean the loss of a celebrated tradition: the four-day weekend.

A Holiday For Bullfighting

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Business
3:16 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Time To Move Grandma: What To Do With Her Home?

Frank Christian takes a break from packing in the dining room of his home in Glen Allen, Va., which he co-owned with his mother. The family recently sold the home in order to free up money for Ida's care.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 9:04 am

Making the decision to move a parent out of the homestead can hurt.

The house may be full of good ghosts and happy memories. But it also has too many steps and too much lawn to mow. So the time comes to pack up and move on.

A decade ago, at least one part of that transition wasn't so tough. When the for-sale sign went up, an eager buyer was likely to show up with a good offer. But today, families are facing a much more difficult real estate environment.

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Europe
3:45 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

In Fiery Protest, Italian Museum Sets Art Ablaze

Antonio Manfredi, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Casoria, Italy, burns an artwork by French artist Severine Bourguignon. Manfredi is burning the museum's works to protest deep cuts to the arts.
Roberta Basile AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 8:21 pm

Casoria is a small town in the Naples hinterland known mostly as a hotbed of the local mafia. But last month, it achieved a different kind of notoriety when Antonio Manfredi, director of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) launched his provocative challenge to the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Manfredi's "art war" consists of setting works of art on fire to protest cuts to Italy's arts budget. He's pledged to incinerate two or three pieces of art each week from a museum collection housing about 1,000 exhibits.

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Business
6:58 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Ex-Goldman Director Faces Insider Trading Trial

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A giant of American business goes on trial in New York today. Rajat Gupta is accused of insider trading. He's the one-time chief executive of the consulting firm McKinsey and Company and a former board member of Goldman Sachs.

Prosecutors allege he passed on information about Goldman to billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, who's already in prison for insider trading.

NPR's Jim Zarroli is covering this story from New York. Hi, Jim.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

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NPR Story
4:37 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Did Bank's Culture Lead To JPMorgan's Big Loss?

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 4:49 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The head of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, has gotten an invitation to testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee about his bank's recent trading loss of at least $2 billion.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Dimon is very much the public face of his firm. In a Wall Street culture where banks are defined as much by the executives who run them is by the assets they hold. So, what kind of culture led to the multibillion dollar losses at JPMorgan Chase?

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Digital Life
2:00 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Facebook Users Should Expect Changes After IPO

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 2:40 pm

Facebook hopes to raise more than $100 billion in its initial public stock offering. In a piece at Slate.com, tech columnist Farhad Manjoo warns that Facebook users can expect to see changes, including lots more ads. But he warns the company must balance profit seeking with the desires of users.

Shots - Health Blog
10:47 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Embattled Hospital Debt Collector Taps Politicians For Defense

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announces a lawsuit against Accretive Health in Jan., saying the company failed to protect the confidentiality of health care records for thousands of Minnesota residents. The charges have widened to include the company's tactics in collecting debts.
Jim Mone AP

So what do you do when you're accused of hitting up sick patients in the hospital to pay their bills — sometimes even before they get treatment?

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Business
6:58 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Skechers To Settle FTC Complaint

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that Skechers will pay more than $40 million to settle charges that the company made unfounded claims about its shape-up shoes. The FTC says the marketing was deceptive.

Economy
6:58 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Fed: Sizeable Risk From Capitol Hill Gridlock

The Federal Reserve has unsealed the minutes of its Open Market Committee meeting in April. Fed officials warn that a failure to agree on a federal budget plan could mean businesses will delay hiring plans.

Television
5:12 am
Thu May 17, 2012

TV Networks Try To Sell Advertisers On Fall Lineups

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 6:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. And let's talk a little TV now. The broadcast networks are all gathered up in New York this week for what's known in the biz as the upfronts. This is when they tout their fall lineups to advertisers with star-studded presentations, trying to get their share of about $9 billion worth of advertising.

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Business
4:29 am
Thu May 17, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 6:58 am

The hot dog is topped with lobster tail, contains safron aioli and is covered in gold dust. Four of the expensive dogs have been sold, and the proceeds donated to charity.

NPR Story
4:22 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Foreclosures Are Down For Third Straight Month

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 6:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with some good news for the housing market.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Home foreclosures in the United States are down for the third straight month, according to the foreclosure listing from RealtyTrack. Nationwide, a new RealtyTrack report finds foreclosure rates in April were down 14 percent over last year, hitting the lowest monthly level in nearly in five years. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Europe
3:31 am
Thu May 17, 2012

'Dire Consequences' If Greece Exits Euro

People walk past the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 10:46 am

Euros are being drained out of Greek banks at a rate of up to $1 billion a day this week. In the wake of the country's election turmoil, depositors are nervous about the heightened possibility of a Greek exit from the euro. If that were to happen, euros left in Greek banks could be worth much less than euros outside the country.

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The Salt
3:29 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Betting Better Fake Chicken Meat Will Be As Good As The Real Thing

Those who've tried it say fake chicken salad looks and tastes like the real thing.
Yuki Noguchi NPR

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 9:49 pm

Beyond Meat, a new company based in Maryland, has come up with an alternative to chicken meat that it claims is a dead ringer for the real thing. And unlike other meat alternatives on the market, this one aims to be cheap as well as tasty.

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