Business

The Two-Way
4:20 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Many States Now Have $2 Gasoline, Analyst Says

On Cue in Oklahoma City, was reportedly the first station to lower regular unleaded below $2 a gallon. Now, 24 states have $1.99 gasoline.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 4:21 pm

Remember when we told you earlier this month that a gas station in Oklahoma City had lowered its price for regular unleaded to $1.99 a gallon?

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Goats and Soda
7:03 am
Sat December 20, 2014

The Africa I Know Isn't The Africa In The Headlines Today

Todd Moss on a 1992 visit to Tanzania.
Courtesy of Todd Moss

Stepping off the plane in Zimbabwe a quarter century ago was a huge shock. A college student on my very first visit to Africa, I was surprised how familiar everything felt.

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Economy
5:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Government Sells Last Major Stake In A Bank Post-Financial Crisis

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:58 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Book News & Features
7:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

3 Business Best-Sellers Show Inequality Is Now The Hot Topic

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 2:30 pm

Best-selling business books typically tell you how to get rich — either by becoming a better worker or investor, or perhaps by learning the secrets of successful entrepreneurs.

And in 2014, readers could find plenty of books promoting pluck and hard work, such as MONEY Master the Game and The Innovators.

But three books broke the pattern, generating headlines and big sales by focusing on unfair aspects of wealth creation.

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Your Money
5:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Poorest Patients

Keith Herie is swamped in debt from medical issues he and his wife encountered starting about a decade ago. Heartland hospital is seizing 10 percent of his paycheck and 25 percent of his wife's wages, and has placed a lien on their home.
Steve Hebert for ProPublica

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 10:32 am

On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.

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Business
5:02 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Tourism Industry Gears Up For Lifting Of Cuban Travel Ban

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:17 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Economy
6:08 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Opportunity, Caution Seen For U.S. Banks As Cuba Rules Ease

President Obama announces changes to U.S. policy on Cuba, including relaxing restrictions on U.S. banking in the country, in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Doug Mills / Pool EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:32 pm

Among the changes to U.S. restrictions on Cuba President Obama announced Wednesday was a relaxation of the rules barring U.S. banks from doing business there.

Americans traveling in Cuba will now be able to use their credit cards and ATM cards, but many U.S. banks see the new rules as something of a legal minefield.

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Energy
5:43 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

No Fracking In New York? That's OK With Pennsylvania

Leslie Roeder of New York City cheers outside New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office on Wednesday after the state announced a ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Andrew Kelly Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 11:23 am

Pennsylvania's fracking boom has led to record-breaking natural gas production, but its neighbor, New York, announced Wednesday it was banning the practice. Industry and environmental groups say New York's decision could be good for Pennsylvania.

New York's ban comes six years after the state placed a temporary moratorium on fracking to study the gas drilling technique. Now, officials question fracking's economic benefits and cite environmental risks.

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Goats and Soda
3:56 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

And The Award For Most Offensive Fundraising Video Goes To ...

The "Rusty Radiator" award for most offensive or stereotypical portrayal of the developing world in a fundraising video went to Feed a Child South Africa.
Feed a Child South Africa

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 2:34 pm

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Putin: Sanctions, Falling Oil Prices Causing Ruble's Tumble

Russian President Vladimir Putin at his annual news conference in Moscow on Thursday, where he blamed Western sanctions and falling oil prices for his country's economic troubles.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 8:32 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at the West in a year-end news conference today, blaming international sanctions and a steep plunge in oil prices for the precipitous drop in the value of the ruble.

Putin, speaking during a more than three-hour news conference attended by some 1,200 journalists, "promised never to let the West chain or defang his proud nation," according to The Associated Press.

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NPR Story
5:11 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Rapprochement With Cuba: What It Includes And Excludes

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:31 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, that report came to us from NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, and she's on the line with us still this morning. Hi, Lourdes.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Hi.

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Economy
4:46 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Fed: Interest Rates Could Rise As Early As May 2015

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:07 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Economy
6:16 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Fed Officials May Be Closer To Raising Interest Rates

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:29 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
5:09 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Ruble's Drop Has Implications For Global Economy

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:29 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Europe
5:08 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Is Russia's Currency On Its Way To Collapse?

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:29 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Russian president Vladimir Putin has succeeded in taking a bite of Ukraine, but Russia may be paying a price.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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NPR Story
5:04 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Obama Expected To Impose New Sanctions On Russia

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:15 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Economy
5:02 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Ruble's Troubles Tied To Falling Oil Prices, International Sanctions

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Business
1:23 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Economists: Congress Gets A Hat Tip (Barely) For Its Efforts

The Capitol's dome and Christmas tree are illuminated on Dec. 11 as Congress worked to pass a $1.1 trillion U.S. government-wide spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 10:59 pm

As the latest Congress draws to a close, economists are looking back — and seeing little.

Lawmakers passed no measures addressing tax reform, trade, immigration or even the minimum wage.

But judged by the very low standards of recent years, the 113th Congress did manage to win at least light applause from economists who are watching as the curtain goes down.

Sure, Congress allowed a disruptive government shutdown in 2013 — but it avoided repeating that drama in 2014.

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Economy
3:36 am
Tue December 16, 2014

'Reshoring' Trend Has Little Impact On U.S. Economy, Study Finds

An "Assembled in the USA" stamp is seen at the side of a box containing a 32-inch television set May 29 in the warehouse of Element Electronics, in Winnsboro, S.C. For the phenomenon of "reshoring," or bringing overseas jobs back to the United States, the electronics sector has been a leader.
Chris Keane Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:27 pm

A report on the phenomenon known as "reshoring" — the opposite of offshoring — shows that while a growing number of companies are returning to the United States to do their manufacturing, the trend is smaller and less significant to the economy than it appears.

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Parallels
3:24 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Argentina's Approach To Inflation: Ditch The Peso, Hoard U.S. Dollars

A man gets information about how to buy dollars at a foreign exchange business in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Jan. 27.
Natacha Pisarenko AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:00 pm

Kelly Brenner ushers in guests at the Adentro Dinner Club. This is a "​puertas cerradas"​ restaurant — meaning behind closed doors. It's a culinary movement where people cook for paying guests in their homes. Adentro is the most well-reviewed in Buenos Aires​.

​Brenner, who is originally from Boulder, Colo., acts as the host, and her Argentine fiance, Gabriel Aguallo, does the cooking, focusing on grilled meat.

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The Two-Way
5:50 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Russia Boosts Interest Rates To 17 Percent Amid Currency's Slide

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:11 pm

Russia's central bank raised its interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent in an early Tuesday decision that comes as the ruble continues its year as the world's worst-performing major currency.

"This decision is aimed at limiting substantially increased ruble depreciation risks and inflation risks," the Bank of Russia said in a statement on its website.

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Planet Money
10:53 am
Mon December 15, 2014

How The Gender Pay Gap Has Changed (And How It Hasn't)

Quoctrung Bui/NPR

The pay gap between men and women has been narrowing for decades. But it persists, and it gets larger as women move toward the middle of their careers.

In a recent paper, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin looked at the gap in a bunch of different ways — how it's changed over time, how it changes over the course of people's careers, and how it varies from industry to industry.

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Politics
4:19 am
Mon December 15, 2014

'Warning Shot': Sen. Warren On Fighting Banks, And Her Political Future

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (right), a member of the Senate banking committee, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the House financial services committee, express their outrage to reporters that a $1.1 trillion spending bill that was passed in Congress contains changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that regulates complex financial instruments known as derivatives.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:20 pm

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET

Sen. Elizabeth Warren failed to stop a change in bank regulations last weekend, but she raised her profile yet again.

The Massachusetts Democrat tells NPR that her fight over a provision in a spending bill was a "warning shot." She intends to continue her fight against what she describes as the power of Wall Street, even though that fight brought her to oppose leaders of her own party.

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Your Money
3:30 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Lockheed Martin Case Puts 401(k) Plans On Trial

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is being sued for choosing retirement funds that shortchanged its employees and charged high fees.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:16 am

A trial gets under way in St. Louis on Monday that could have a big impact on the way companies select 401(k) plans for their employees.

Lockheed Martin is being sued for choosing retirement funds that shortchanged its employees and charged high fees. The case tests the limits of a company's responsibilities to its employees at a time when 401(k) plans have become a central part of the nation's retirement system.

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Around the Nation
3:26 am
Mon December 15, 2014

When Grandma's House Is Home: The Rise Of Grandfamilies

The number of grandparents living with their grandchildren is up sharply.
Stephanie Wunderlich Getty Images/Ikon Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 10:42 am

In a shift driven partly by culture and largely by the economy, the number of grandparents living with their grandchildren is up sharply. According to recent U.S. census data, such families have increased by about a third over the past generation.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Sat December 13, 2014

Senate Passes $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Friday, as the Senate considers a spending bill.
Lauren Victoria Burke AP

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 2:28 pm

Updated at 10:05 p.m. ET

The Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending package Saturday night on a 56-40 bipartisan vote, after overruling an objection from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Earlier Saturday, the Senate had voted on a short-term continuing resolution that extended their deadline to pass the spending bill. But in the evening, Senate leadership came to an agreement and the legislative body voted to move the bill forward sooner than anticipated, ending debate and allowing a vote Saturday night.

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Economy
6:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Mortgage Giants Ease Down Payments For First-Time Homebuyers

A new directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 8:05 pm

A federal directive will go into effect Saturday making it easier for some Americans to come up with a down payment to buy a house.

The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator in charge of Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.

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Business
4:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Low Gas Prices Expected To Continue As Crude Oil Drops To $58 A Barrel

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
1:43 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Confusion Over Job-Based Insurance Can Shortchange Consumers

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:20 am

Misunderstandings about whether some types of job-based coverage disqualify consumers from signing up for subsidized insurance through the health law's marketplaces may lead some people to buy skimpier employer plans instead.

In recent weeks, some of the people called assisters, who help shoppers find coverage, say consumers are being told by employers that their bare-bones plans meet the minimum requirements under the law. That kind of insurance would cover preventive benefits, for instance, but might leave out prescription drugs and emergency care.

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The Two-Way
1:23 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Wealth Gap Between Races Widened During Recession, Study Says

Occupy Wall Street protesters join a labor union rally in Foley Square before marching on Zuccotti Park in New York's Financial District in 2011. A new report shows that wealth inequality between whites and nonwhites grew during the Great Recession.
Jason DeCrow AP

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 3:50 pm

The Great Recession has widened the wealth gap among white, black and Hispanic Americans, with median net worth in white households increasing to 13 times that for African-Americans, a new Pew Research Center study shows.

The study also shows that from 2007 to 2013, the wealth of white households has grown to 10 times that of Hispanic households.

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