Business & Technology

Planet Money
1:44 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Competing Against The Nicest Guy In Town

Hondo (left) and Dizz.
Chana Joffe-Walt NPR

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 1:36 pm

For more: Why does the government subsidize crop insurance in the first place? We try to answer that question in our latest podcast.

The federal government spends about $7 billion a year on crop insurance for U.S. farmers. Policies are sold by private companies, but the government sets the rates, so the companies can't compete on price.

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All Tech Considered
5:35 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

What's In Your Wallet? Wait, You Don't Need One

A barista processes a customer's payment using Square, a device that turns a mobile device into a card swiper. More businesses are using the devices to simplify credit card payments. Others are embracing technology that allows consumers to pay with their cellphones.
Jeff Wheeler MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 5:39 pm

Most Americans pay with plastic or cash when they visit the grocery store, buy their daily coffee, or fill up the gas tank. But a growing number of large companies are trying to change that.

Google, Starbucks and Wal-Mart are among the many firms that are eager to replace consumers' wallets and stores' cash registers, with smartphones and other mobile devices.

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The Two-Way
3:56 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

EBay Says Users Will No Longer Be Able To Sell Magic, Potions, Curses

A "powerful" love potion for sale on eBay. The "buy it now" price is $21.
eBay

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:04 pm

It's a tough day for the Harry Potters among us: Ebay said today that beginning in September it will no longer allow the sale of some, um, metaphysical products.

Among them: advice, spells, curses, hexing, conjuring, magic, prayers, blessing services, magic potions and healing sessions.

The Los Angeles reports:

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Facebook Shares Battered As Insiders Are Allowed To Sell

An illustration of an Apple iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen in front of the login page.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 2:42 pm

At one point today, Facebook's stock price sunk to a new low. At about $19.69, it was worth about half of what it was initially sold for in May.

Bloomberg explains that what is happening is that early investors in the company — including founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg — were allowed to sell some of their stocks for the first time today.

Bloomberg adds:

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Jobless Claims Held Steady At 366,000 Last Week

There were 366,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 2,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

So what we said last week applies again:

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Business
4:35 am
Wed August 15, 2012

British Bank Settles Money Laundering Charges

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A British bank has agreed to settle charges that it illegally laundered Iranian money. The settlement with Standard Chartered was announced by New York banking regulators, who'd brought the charges just a week ago. The bank still is under investigation by the federal government. NPR's Jim Zarroli has more.

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Business
4:14 am
Wed August 15, 2012

BBC Exec to become head of NY Times

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 6:32 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the top man at The Times.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The New York Times has named its new president and CEO. The man who got the job is Mark Thompson, a former BBC executive. Thompson will face a different business model from the non-profit British broadcaster. The paper is run by a board that's largely elected by a family trust.

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Entergy
4:24 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Court won't make AR, MS utilities pay to exit pact

A federal appeals court has rejected an effort by Louisiana utility regulators to make Entergy Corp. subsidiaries in Arkansas and Mississippi pay for ending an agreement with their Entergy counterparts in Louisiana and Texas.

The ruling Tuesday by an appeals court in Washington deals with an agreement requiring the separate Entergy utilities to offer roughly equal electricity rates. At times, this has resulted in Entergy Arkansas making payments to Entergy affiliates with higher production costs — causing Arkansas customers to pay more.

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Work Sharing
11:05 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Louisiana gets $1.5M work-sharing labor grant

The U.S. Department of Labor has set aside nearly $100 million in grants for states to set up or improve existing short-term compensation programs, commonly referred to as "work sharing."

Louisiana's share of the grant is $1.5 million. Work sharing allows employees to keep their jobs and helps employers to avoid laying off their workforce during economic downturns by reducing the hours of work for a group of affected workers.

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Business & Technology
10:56 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Chevron completes storage facility in Terrebonne

Chevron has completed construction on a 150,000-square-foot storage facility in Terrebonne Parish to support its operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

The facility, located on Louisiana Highway 24 in Gray, will employ 25 people and serve as the storage hub for materials essential to Chevron's oil and gas exploration activity in the Gulf.

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