Business

2:04pm

Thu October 24, 2013
Parallels

In Almost Every European Country, Bikes Are Outselling New Cars

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 4:11 pm

A mechanic repairs a bike at Calmera bike shop in Madrid in September. As car sales slump across Europe, bicycle sales in Spain are outpacing cars — a trend seen across much of the Continent.
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez Getty Images

We know that Europeans love their bicycles — think Amsterdam or Paris. Denmark even has highways specifically for cyclists.

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10:00am

Thu October 24, 2013
The Salt

Report: Meat Producers Ignore Pleas For Health, Environmental Reform

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 10:41 am

Chickens in a mechanized hatchery in Monroe County, Ala.
Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Five years ago, a landmark report excoriated the animal agriculture industry's practices and laid out a road map for how it could do better. But in the years since, the problems are just as bad — and maybe even worse.

That's the conclusion of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. This week, the center scolded the industry again with a review of how it has fared in the years since the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production released its original report.

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8:46am

Thu October 24, 2013
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Dipped Last Week

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 9:00 am

There were 350,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week (the period ending Oct. 19), down 12,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

A broader measure — the "4-week moving average" — rose by 10,750, to 348,250. That gives a sense of the pace of claims over the course of a month.

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5:29am

Thu October 24, 2013
Business

Bank Of America Found Liable For Fraud

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 8:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a verdict against Bank of America.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Last night, a jury in New York found the bank liable for fraud after a month-long civil trial. It was considered a win for the Justice Department's prosecution of misdeeds during the financial crisis. Federal prosecutors argued that a division of Bank of America, Countrywide Financial, wrote bad home mortgages to people clearly unable to repay the loans.

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3:17am

Thu October 24, 2013
Author Interviews

'Blockbusters': Go Big Or Go Home, Says Harvard Professor

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:54 am

Getty Images

Movies like The Dark Knight or the Harry Potter series are touted as blockbusters — big-budget spectacles sure to make box office bank.

And though wannabe blockbusters can — and do — flop, like the $120 million disappointment Speed Racer, big budget is still the way to go, according to Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse.

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6:49pm

Wed October 23, 2013
The Two-Way

Bank Of America Liable For Fraud In Countrywide Mortgages

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 6:59 pm

The Countrywide Banking and Home Loans office in Glendale, Calif., in an April 2007 photo.
Damian Dovarganes AP

A Manhattan jury has held Bank of America liable for fraud related to bad loans its Countrywide Financial Corp. unit sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the housing market soured.

The verdict was returned on Wednesday after several hours of deliberation in a month-long trial that focused on loans Countrywide completed in 2007 and 2008, as the housing crisis was already underway. Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America in 2008.

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6:01pm

Wed October 23, 2013
NPR Story

Partisan Squabbles Raise Questions Over U.S. Global Influence

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 7:39 pm

The U.S. Capitol is shown at sunset on Oct. 15, the 15th day of a government shutdown that some analysts say damaged the U.S. reputation worldwide.
Win McNamee Getty Images

The U.S. performance on the global stage has looked a little rocky in the past few weeks.

The Obama administration had to let Russia take a lead in managing the security challenge in Syria. The United States was also embarrassed when allies like Germany, France and Brazil reacted angrily to the news that the National Security Agency had monitored their leaders' communications.

Finally, the government shutdown and the congressional fight over the debt ceiling prompted critical comments about U.S. political dysfunction.

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5:39pm

Wed October 23, 2013
All Tech Considered

It's Easy To Blame The Canadians For HealthCare.gov Problems

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 6:43 pm

Heavy Internet traffic and system problems plagued the launch of the new HealthCare.gov insurance exchange site.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is putting former CEO Jeff Zients in charge of the "tech surge" — the administration's emergency effort to fix the Web portal at the heart of the federal government's new health care market. But what about the contractors that built the system? What's their responsibility?

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1:07pm

Wed October 23, 2013
The Two-Way

Chinese Paper Makes Unprecedented Plea For Reporter's Release

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 5:55 pm

A woman reads the New Express newspaper with Wednesday's headline: "Please Release Him."
AFP/Getty Images

"Please Release Him."

That was the simple but startling front-page headline on Wednesday in New Express, a cutting-edge newspaper based in China's southern city of Guangzhou. "Him" is Chen Yongzhou, one of the paper's investigative journalists who New Express says was taken away by police after reporting "problems with the accounts" at Zoomlion Heavy Industries."

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11:41am

Wed October 23, 2013
Intelligence Squared U.S.

Debate: Should The U.S. Break Up Big Banks?

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 2:52 pm

Douglas Elliott (left) and Paul Saltzman argue against the motion "Break Up The Big Banks" in an Oxford-style debate on Oct. 16.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

Too big to fail.

Those four words loomed large in 2008, as a crisis in the banking world threatened the global economy. Fears that the failure of large financial institutions would undermine the entire economic system led Congress to step in, passing a $700 billion bailout package.

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