Business

3:35am

Fri February 21, 2014
Shots - Health News

As Deadline Nears, State Insurance Exchanges Still A Mixed Bag

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:53 pm

Oregon's road to health coverage continues to be bumpy; the website for the state's health insurance marketplace still isn't fully open to consumers.
ilbusca iStockphoto

With a bit more than a month left for people to sign up for health insurance plans set up under the Affordable Care Act, the federal website known as HealthCare.gov finally seems to be working smoothly — in 36 states.

But what's happening in the 14 states that are running their own exchanges?

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3:35am

Fri February 21, 2014
Around the Nation

Maryland Bill May Require Holocaust Reparations From Rail Company

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:29 am

Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz's Change.org petition has more than 107,000 signatures.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Maryland are considering a bill that would block one of the firms seeking to bid on a multibillion-dollar light rail project from winning its bid unless its majority stockholder agrees to pay reparations to Holocaust victims.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Maryland Delegate Kirill Reznik, would block a consortium including Paris-based rail company Keolis from winning a public-private partnership for the state's Purple Line project, a 35-year contract worth more than $6 billion.

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3:33am

Fri February 21, 2014
All Tech Considered

Risk Is Low And Business Is Booming In The Malware Market

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 2:29 pm

Stolen credit card data are sold on underground markets, along with the malware and tools the thieves need to steal the data themselves.
Elise Amendola AP

Malware is malicious, bad software. It's the code that cybercriminals use to steal credit card numbers and bank accounts. And the big hack against Target showed how good these criminals are getting: They've built a thriving underground where credit cards go on sale before anyone even knows that a massive breach has happened.

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3:32am

Fri February 21, 2014
Planet Money

Duke: $60,000 A Year For College Is Actually A Discount

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 10:36 am

Students attend graduation ceremonies at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Two-thirds of college students now graduate with debt, owing an average amount of $24,000.
Butch Dill AP

In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it's $60,000 a year. "It's staggering," says Duke freshman Max Duncan, "especially considering that's for four years."

But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that's actually a discount. "We're investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student," he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it's one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.

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7:28pm

Thu February 20, 2014
The Salt

'Piglet Smoothie' Fed To Sows To Prevent Disease; Activists Outraged

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 2:37 pm

A screen grab from an undercover video released by the Humane Society of the U.S. shows a pig in a gestation crate at Iron Maiden Farms in Owensboro, Ky.
Courtesy of The Humane Society of The United States

Animal welfare groups go to great lengths to show us how "the sausage" is made inside the factory-style farms that produce most of our meat. For the past few years, they've armed activists with video cameras and sent them undercover to document alleged abuses or risky practices.

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7:14pm

Thu February 20, 2014
It's All Politics

Obama Buoys Democrats By Dropping Social Security Cut Idea

President Obama very likely made Democrats' midterm campaign messaging easier by dropping from his new budget a proposal that would have reduced the size of Social Security checks.
Matt Rourke AP

For a political party already facing a difficult midterm election the way the Democrats are, the fewer internally divisive issues the better.

And few items were more divisive among Democrats than President Obama's previous proposal to reduce Social Security entitlement spending by using a less generous formula to calculate cost-of-living increases, so long as Republicans agreed to raise revenue by ending or reducing loopholes that would raise revenue.

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6:46pm

Thu February 20, 2014
All Tech Considered

Video Streaming Is Straining, But Who Will Ease The Tension?

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 2:16 pm

Internet service providers are having trouble keeping pace with growing demand for video streaming services. But there's disagreement over how to fix the problem.
iStockphoto

Suzie Felber's kids are only just learning what a commercial is.

"They start screaming when they come on," she says. "They think the TV's broken."

The Felbers usually stream television shows over the Internet in their New Jersey home.

More and more people are following suit, using services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. But these programs take up a huge amount of digital bandwidth, and that's led to a dispute between these services and the Internet service providers that carry them.

Slower Service

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6:25pm

Thu February 20, 2014
Business

After A Weak Holiday Season, Wal-Mart Profits Shrink

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 3:37 pm

A man shops at a Wal-Mart store in San Jose, Calif., in September. Wal-Mart on Thursday reported that its annual profits fell.
Jeff Chiu AP

Wal-Mart on Thursday reported that its annual profits failed to grow. And failed by a lot.

Full-year net income tumbled to $16 billion, down by nearly $1 billion from the previous year.

That tells you a great deal about how hard the economy has been on the lower-income shoppers who make up Wal-Mart's core customer base, according to Charles Fishman, author of The Wal-Mart Effect.

"This clearly reflects the economic constraints on people who shop at Wal-Mart," Fishman said.

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4:23pm

Thu February 20, 2014
Business

What's Up With Facebook's Big Acquisition?

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Yesterday, Facebook bought a little startup for a lot of money, $19 billion in cash and stock. It's hard to fathom a price tag that big. Half the companies in the S&P 500 aren't worth that much. But a look at who exactly is using the application called WhatsApp may explain the value that Facebook sees in it. Here's more from Aarti Shahani of member station KQED in San Francisco.

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2:18pm

Thu February 20, 2014
The Two-Way

Automated Landing System, Crew Fatigue, Eyed In UPS Plane Crash

A field north of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport where UPS flight 1354 crashed on August 16, 2013.
Joe Songer AL.COM/Landov

The crew of a United Parcel Service Airbus A300 freighter that crashed during an early morning landing at Birmingham, Ala. were forced to make a "non-precision approach" when a computerized landing system became overloaded, investigators told the NTSB on Thursday.

The plane crashed short of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Ala., killing both the pilot and co-pilot.

The New York Times says:

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