Business

The Two-Way
10:22 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Russia's Credit Rating Cut To Just Above 'Junk'

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 12:18 pm

Saying that "the tense geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine" could accelerate the already heavy flow of money coming out of Russia, Standard & Poor's on Friday cut that nation's credit rating to just above "junk" level.

What's more, S&P says it doesn't expect things to improve anytime soon:

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The Salt
3:08 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Got My Goat? Vermont Farms Put Fresh Meat On Refugee Tables

Theoneste Rwayitare, a Rwandan refugee who resettled in Vermont last year, pours powdered milk into a bucket for milking at the Vermont Goat Collaborative's Pine Island Farm.
Angela Evancie for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 11:47 am

It's easy to find goat milk and goat cheese in Vermont. Goat meat, not so much.

That's frustrating for the refugees, immigrants and others who've settled in the state who are accustomed to eating fresh goat meat. Though it's not so common in the U.S., it's a mainstay in many African, Asian and Caribbean diets.

But there's a movement afoot to meet the demand for goat meat throughout New England.

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Shots - Health News
3:07 am
Fri April 25, 2014

With Medical Debt Rising, Some Doctors Push For Payment Upfront

Bridgeit Vaughn (left), of the billing office at Mid State Orthopaedic, meets with Gayle Jackson-Pryce to discuss the costs of Jackson-Pryce's upcoming shoulder surgery.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 7:52 am

Mid State Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center is hard to miss. The practice's new 30,000-square-foot building is marked with an enormous sign along one of the main roads in Alexandria, a central Louisiana city of about 48,000 people.

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Shots - Health News
3:04 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Confusion, Cost Lead Some Californians To Go Uninsured

Informational pamphlets are displayed during an enrollment fair on the last day before the sign-up deadline at the Bay Area Rescue Mission in Richmond, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 10:32 am

Despite a surge in enrollment in the two weeks before the April 15 deadline to enroll for health insurance under the federal health law, many more Californians still haven't signed up, and they're unlikely to.

Many people are uninterested, confused or skeptical.

Scott Belsha, from Long Beach, Calif., falls in the skeptical category.

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Law
12:06 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Is Drug Testing For Welfare Fair?

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 12:20 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're starting again today as we did yesterday, with an important court decision. Yesterday, we focused on the Supreme Court's decision to let stand Michigan's ban on the use of race in public university admissions. That was passed by the voters a while back. Today, we want to talk about an issue the justices actually decided to bypass.

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Jobless Claims Bounce Up From Earlier Weeks' Low Levels

More than 3,600 people lined up to apply for about 1,000 openings at a job fair earlier this month in New Orleans.
Ted Jackson The Times-Picayune/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:57 am

After two straight weeks in which the figures tracked near their lowest levels in seven years, the number of first-time applications for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week.

The Employment and Training Administration says there were 329,000 such claims filed, up by 24,000 from the previous week's slightly revised figure.

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Business
7:30 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Competition Watches As Wal-Mart Debuts Money Transfer Service

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:06 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Wal-Mart is rolling out a new money transfer service today. The company says this will make things much simpler for people seeking to send and receive cash. For years, consumers might otherwise have looked to services like Western Union or Money Gram, and some wonder whether those companies can survive this new competition.

Here's NPR's Allison Keyes.

ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: Tunoa Hampton was standing in line at a Wal-Mart Money Center in Washington, D.C., but she wasn't waiting to transfer funds.

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NPR Story
5:04 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Small Businesses Fight Big-Box Stores By Specializing

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:30 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, we know mom and pop shops have been struggling for some time now, trying to compete against big-box stores and online retailers. Just in the last quarter, online sales jumped by 16 percent. But all is not lost for the shop around the corner. Some small retailers are actually embracing their size by making their businesses very, very specialized.

Here's NPR's Sonari Glinton.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD)

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Paying For College
3:37 am
Thu April 24, 2014

When Money Trumps Need In College Admissions

For many low-income students, economic trends are making the prospect of getting into the college of their choice, and reaching graduation, even more difficult.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 12:51 pm

At some schools, the admissions process itself can work against low-income students, according to Georgia Nugent, former president of Kenyon College and a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges.

Nugent says during her tenure at Kenyon, there were low-income students at the bottom of the admissions list who sometimes weren't accepted so the school could make room for more affluent students.

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Economy
4:01 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Big-Time Home Sales Stoke Hope For Northeast Housing Market

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Spring is the time house hunters expect to see a slew of listings. But in many parts of the country, inventory is pretty low. When that happens, home prices go up. WSHU's Kaomi Goetz takes a look at the housing market. She checked out a listing that led to a history-making home sale in Connecticut.

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Shots - Health News
7:43 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet

Even some euro bank notes may need a good scrubbing. Like dollar bills, these notes are made from cotton and they harbor an array of bacteria.
Thomas Leuthard The Preiser Project/Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:23 am

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.

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Education
5:54 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Income Inequality Is A Major Barrier To Attending College

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 2:27 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

We're continuing our look at how Americans pay for college. Income inequality is a greater barrier to college than in years past.

Here's our colleague David Greene.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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NPR Story
5:23 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Urban Libraries Become De Facto Homeless Shelters

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 8:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Whether they like it or not, libraries in some cities serve as homeless shelters. People come off the streets to find quiet and warmth. If libraries want to do something about this, they have some choices: They can put homeless visitors back out on the street. San Francisco libraries want to get them back on their feet.

Scott Shafer reports from member station KQED.

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Education
5:03 am
Wed April 23, 2014

One Approach To Head Start: To Help Kids, Help Their Parents

Tiffany Contreras walks her daughter Kyndall, 4, to preschool at Disney Elementary in Tulsa, Okla.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 11:08 am

President Obama has called repeatedly on Congress to help states pay for "high-quality preschool" for all. In fact, those two words — "high quality" — appear time and again in the president's prepared remarks. They are also a refrain among early childhood education advocates and researchers. But what do they mean? And what separates the best of the nation's preschool programs from the rest?

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All Tech Considered
4:33 am
Wed April 23, 2014

The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet

A Google data center in Oklahoma is shown. Google recently slashed prices for its cloud services; Amazon responded by cutting its cloud prices.
Connie Zhou AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 8:02 am

This week, our tech reporting team is exploring cloud computing — the big business of providing computing power and data storage that companies need, but which happens out of sight, as if it's "in the cloud."

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U.S.
4:31 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Subminimum Wages For The Disabled: Godsend Or Exploitation?

Workers shrink-wrap products at the Sertoma Centre outside Chicago. Sertoma provides employment opportunities to about 250 people with disabilities through subcontracting jobs.
Courtesy of Sertoma Centre

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 5:37 pm

The president recently signed an executive order raising the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 for workers employed by federal contractors — including those with disabilities.

That's a victory for disabled workers who can make just pennies per hour at so-called sheltered workplaces.

While some call sheltered workshops a godsend, others say they are examples of good intentions gone wrong.

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All Tech Considered
4:39 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Online Sales Taxes Shift Consumer Behavior, Study Shows

Monica Chavez packs up a box at an Amazon.com fulfillment center Dec. 2, in Phoenix.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 5:34 pm

Technically, consumers are supposed to pay taxes on things they buy online. In fact, few do.

Congress is considering a bill called the Marketplace Fairness Act that would force many online sellers to collect sales taxes for the first time.

In the meantime, some states have already enacted so-called Amazon taxes, forcing the giant online retailer to collect sales taxes the same way traditional brick-and-mortar stores do.

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Shots - Health News
11:11 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Change Your Income, Change Your Health Insurance Plan

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:46 am

People who qualified for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act aren't necessarily locked into the plan they chose. And that can be good news for people whose income fluctuates during the year. Here's our response to the latest reader questions on coverage through the health exchanges.

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Asia
4:58 am
Tue April 22, 2014

8-Day Asia Trip Critical To Obama's Regional Strategy

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:34 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

The schedule of President Obama's trip to East Asia offers a reminder that there are at least two East Asias. There's the giant of the region, China, the focus of so much attention.

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The Salt
3:26 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Fields And Farm Jobs Dry Up With California's Worsening Drought

Recent rains kept Suzanne and Mike Collins' orange grove alive, but the rainy season is ending. If they don't get federal irrigation water by this summer, their trees will start dying.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 6:47 pm

On a recent afternoon on the main drag of Orange Cove, Calif., about a dozen farm workers gather on the sidewalk in front of a mini-mart.

One man sits on a milk crate sipping a beer. A few others scratch some lotto tickets. Salvador Perez paces back and forth with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans.

If there is no water, there's no work, he says in Spanish.

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Around the Nation
12:27 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

No Longer Marching Out To Work, More Mothers Stay Home

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 3:24 pm

A growing number of American mothers are staying home to raise their children, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. Listeners share their own stories about making that choice.

Education
12:27 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

A 'Tennessee Promise' To Educate The State's College Students

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. This spring, along with NPR's Morning Edition, we're helping you navigate the higher education money maze with our "Paying for College" series.

We've heard about how college got so expensive and how families and students are taking on massive loans to pay for it. But today, we want to talk more about an effort to make college not just affordable, but free.

(SOUNDBITE OF STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS)

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Economy
12:27 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

President Obama Will Skip China, But Asia Trip Sends A Message

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. President Obama heads overseas this week to Asia. He hopes to strengthen U.S. economic ties with that region.

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Business
5:20 am
Mon April 21, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Arguments In Argentina Debt Case

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:53 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Argentina and its teetering economy will be affected by case being heard today by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case goes back more than a decade and could have wide implications, not just for Argentina's economy, but also to relations with the U.S.

NPR's Laura Sydell reports.

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All Tech Considered
3:44 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Who Should Pay To Keep The Internet's Locks Secure?

A lock icon signifies an encrypted Internet connection. But thanks to a recently discovered (and now fixed) bug, it's been bleeding out information for a few years.
Mal Langsdon Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 1:01 pm

The encryption code unlocked by the Heartbleed bug last week provided vital security for some of the most widely used websites on the Internet. Fortune 1000 companies rely on the open source code for their core business. But it turns out no one is paying for it.

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Your Money
3:42 am
Mon April 21, 2014

How Do Companies Boost 401(k) Enrollment? Make It Automatic

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:15 pm

More Americans are saving for retirement through their employers' 401(k) programs. That's because in recent years they've been given a strong nudge — more companies are automatically enrolling workers in retirement savings programs.

Some firms are also automatically increasing the amount employees contribute. That's just as important, experts say.

And all of this makes a big difference: Without it, millions of Americans don't save at all.

Making Time For Retirement Planning

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Shots - Health News
3:40 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Scribes Are Back, Helping Doctors Tackle Electronic Medical Records

Medical scribe Connie Gayton keeps the electronic records, allowing orthopedic surgeon Devesh Ramnath to focus on his patients.
Brandon Thibodeaux for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 9:43 am

Like many other doctors across the country, Dr. Devesh Ramnath, a Dallas orthopedic surgeon, recently made the switch from paper to electronic medical records. This meant he no longer had to just take notes when he was examining a patient — he also had to put those notes into the computer as a permanent record.

"I was really focused on just trying to get the information in, and not really focusing on the patient anymore," Ramnath says.

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The Changing Lives Of Women
5:12 am
Sun April 20, 2014

Advice From Women About Negotiating For A Raise: Just Ask

Many of the women who told us their stories said they didn't negotiate terms for their first job offers because they didn't know they could.
Thomas Barwick Getty Images

Twice Juno Schaser asked for a raise. Twice she was turned down, she says. If her group of female friends is any indication, it's a common experience.

" 'At least they'll respect you for trying,' " a friend told Schaser, a 23-year-old museum publicist.

"I think I'd feel more respected if I was paid at the same level as my male co-workers," Schaser says.

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All Tech Considered
5:08 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Tech Week: Earnings, A Heartbleed Arrest And Digital Distraction

Google and other tech companies reported earnings this week, amid fears of another tech bubble bursting.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

There was really only one tech story last week — the potentially disastrous Heartbleed bug. This week, we return to more of a panoply of tech-related news, starting with NPR stories in the ICYMI section, the broader topics in the industry in The Big Conversation and fun links you shouldn't miss in Curiosities.

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All Tech Considered
5:41 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Airbnb To Start Charging Hotel Taxes In A Handful Of Cities

Airbnb, the online home-rental service, says it will start collecting hotel taxes in a few American cities.
Chris Weeks Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 7:13 pm

When Regitze Visby, a tourist visiting San Francisco from Denmark, searched for accommodations for her trip and saw she could stay at one of the famed "painted ladies" on Alamo Square through Airbnb, she took it.

At $135 a night, "it was a good deal," she says.

But does she know if she's paying a transient occupancy tax or a hotel tax? "I have no idea," she says.

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