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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 Sun January 4, 2015 4:13 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 Sun January 4, 2015 4:10 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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Technology
5:18 am
Fri December 12, 2014

After Law Requires Payments To Papers, Google News Shuts Down In Spain

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 2:40 pm

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

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Economy
4:35 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Controversial Budget Bill Would Roll Back Dodd-Frank Provision

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 6:39 pm

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

Planet Money
4:35 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Iceland Experiments With A Jubilee Of Debt Forgiveness

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 8:51 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

'Cromnibus' Spending Bill Passes, Just Hours Before Deadline

The U.S. Capitol is seen at dusk Thursday. The House approved a massive spending bill just hours before a midnight deadline to fund the federal government.
Shawn Thew EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 8:08 am

Post updated at 9:38 p.m. ET.

A massive federal spending bill finally won the House's approval Thursday night, less than three hours before a midnight deadline that threatened a federal shutdown. The measure's fate had been in doubt after it narrowly survived a rules vote earlier in the day. The final tally was 219-206.

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NPR Ed
9:57 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Community College Programs Can Lead To Big Payoffs — In The Right Fields

Dental students use practice dummies Aug. 27 in a newly renovated section of Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Mich. Health care is one field for which a recent study found that a community college degree produced a strong financial return.
Zach Gibson MLive.com/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:54 pm

When it comes to higher education, we've all heard the talking points: More people than ever are pursuing four-year degrees — despite skyrocketing tuition costs — because they don't have many other choices if they want to be competitive in the workforce.

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Politics
5:15 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Pension Deal In Spending Bill Will Cut Benefits Before Safety Net Fails

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:13 am

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

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Around the Nation
3:54 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Here's Why Retailers Keep Sending You Catalogs

The number of catalogs mailed in the U.S. peaked in 2007, according to the Direct Marketing Association. It's come down since then, but last year it reached 11.9 billion.
NPR

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:51 pm

Many things made with paper have become relics because of computers and the Internet: the Rolodex, multivolume encyclopedias, even physical maps.

Now take a look in your mailbox or somewhere around your house. There's a good chance you'll see a shopping catalog, maybe a few of them now that it's the holiday season.

"I ignore them," says Rick Narad, a professor at California State University, Chico. "I get them in the mail sometimes, and they don't make it into the house. I walk past the recycling bin, and they go right in."

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The Two-Way
6:07 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Stocks Are Battered As Oil Hits Another 5-Year Low

Today was another big day for energy news: Oil prices fell to a new five-year-low, below $61 per barrel on world markets; the U.S. said its supplies of crude oil increased last week; and OPEC said it expected lower demand next year.

The news prompted a selloff on Wall Street. Jim Paulson, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, tells our NPR's Newscast unit investors fear global economic tumult.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Detroit's Bankruptcy Is Over, Michigan's Governor Says

Gov. Rick Snyder speaks today flanked by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (left) and emergency manager Kevyn Orr. Snyder said that the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy will end at midnight.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 1:59 pm

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said today that Detroit's bankruptcy, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, will end at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday.

"The financial emergency in the city of Detroit will be defined as wrapping up today," Snyder said at a news conference in Detroit.

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The Salt
4:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Mexican Megafarms Supplying U.S. Market Are Rife With Labor Abuses

At the end of the day, Roma tomatoes are ready for transport in Cristo Rey in the state of Sinaloa. Half the tomatoes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico.
Don Bartletti Los Angeles Times

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 9:06 pm

"Product of Mexico" — it's a label you see on fruit and vegetable stickers in supermarkets across the U.S.

It's also the name of an investigative series appearing this week in the Los Angeles Times.

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Economy
4:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Cheap Crops Mean Tight Times For Midwest's Fledgling Farmers

Like many beginning farmers, Grant Curtis wants to invest in his operation, but expectations of low prices are tying his hands.
Abby Wendle Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:18 pm

Farmers who just got into the business in recent years found it was a good time to both plant and harvest.

"We were all spoiled little brats the past two years, with $5, $6, $7 corn, yep," says farmer Grant Curtis.

He's sitting in the captain's chair of his combine on a brisk, overcast day in western Illinois. He's driving back and forth over rows of corn on his family's farm. Then he arcs the 80,000-pound machine off course towards a single stalk he missed.

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The Two-Way
7:42 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Congress Will Get A $1.1 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill This Week

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 10:10 am

Faced with a Thursday deadline to finance the U.S. government, leaders of both parties in Congress have worked out a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government until October 2015. But a vote isn't likely to come before the day of the deadline.

Update at 8:45 p.m. ET: Welcome, Cromnibus: Bill Is Published

The House Committee on Appropriations gives an overview of the newly published bill:

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Law
4:16 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Supreme Court Rules Employers Are Not Required To Pay For Security Time

The court's ruling came Tuesday in a case involving Amazon warehouses and a temp agency, Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. Hourly workers were required to wait in line for an average of 25 minutes after they clocked out.
Ross Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 5:03 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that companies do not have to pay workers for time spent in anti-theft security screening at the end of a shift.

The decision is a major victory for retail enterprises and manufacturing businesses that could have been on the hook for billions of dollars in back pay for time spent in security screenings.

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Parallels
2:19 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Argentina: Where Cash Is King And Robberies Are On The Rise

A newsstand owner counts Argentine pesos in Buenos Aires. Many Argentines carry large amounts of cash, saying they do not trust banks. This has contributed to a surge in robberies.
Leo La Valle AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:10 pm

Leonel Kaplan, an Argentine jazz musician, often has to travel abroad.

Before a recent trip to Europe, he went to a bank in Buenos Aires to change money and then went to get a haircut. Kaplan felt happy and relaxed and took the bus home after what had been an uneventful trip.

That, however, was about to change.

"As I get down from the bus, a motorcycle with two people wearing helmets cuts me off," he recalls. "One gets off and takes out a gun and says to me directly, 'Give me the 500 euros you got in the bank.' "

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Governing
5:11 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Sources: FAA May Require Licenses To Fly Commercial Drones

Amazon is developing an unmaned aircraft project that it hopes will deliver purchases in 30 minutes or less. The FAA has been struggling to write regulations for such aircraft, but is expected to release rules this month.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 12:27 pm

Drones, drones, drones.

Everybody wants one. Amazon, to deliver packages, Hollywood to shoot movie scenes, agriculture interests to monitor crops.

And everyone is waiting for the FAA to issue regulations as to how commercial drones might be allowed to operate in the U.S. Those regulations are supposed to come out by the end of the month.

The FAA has been struggling to write the rules for unmanned aircraft for several years. In 2012, Congress told the agency to get on with it and set a deadline for final regulations by September 2015.

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