Like it or not, we are now in holiday shopping season. And for gift givers who are simply stumped about what to get that special or not so special someone, there is always the gift card. They might be derided as impersonal, but Americans spend billions and billions of dollars on gift cards.
To help us sort through the array of gift cards, and also to give us some warnings about fees we might find, we called up Janna Herron. She writes about gift cards for Bankrate.com.
We begin NPR's business news with some cyber power.
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GREENE: The Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday because of all the online shopping deals that are offered up. And this year, online retailers had a field day. A survey by IBM of 500 online businesses found sales jumped 30 percent over last year, as millions of people went online to get their fix of holiday gadgets. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
When Toni Walker is not in Hartford, Conn., serving as a state representative, she can usually be found at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center.
"We basically educate approximately 800 people a day," says Walker, an assistant principal at the center. "It is open enrollment, so when somebody gets an epiphany and says, 'I need to get my high school diploma so that I can get a job,' they can walk through the doors, and they can get [their GED] here."
Just a few years ago, Cyprus was considered a wealthy country, though that referred mostly to the Greek Cypriots on the southern part of the divided island. When Cyprus entered the eurozone in 2008, analysts were wondering what would become of the much poorer north, which has been occupied by Turkey since a 1974 war.
Now, the Turks in northern Cyprus have the booming economy, while Greek Cypriots, crippled by exposure to ailing Greek banks, are waiting for final approval on what will be the fourth sovereign bailout of a eurozone country.
Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 7:30 pm
Credit AFP/Getty Images
In the aftermath of the maps fiasco, the heads continue to roll at Apple. Today, there is news that one more employee has been let go. This time it was manager Richard Williamson, who oversaw the maps project, who lost his job.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 11:22 am
By Priska Neely
Credit Robert Zuckerman / Paramount Pictures
At one point in the film Flight, alcoholic pilot William "Whip" Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, peers into a hotel-room mini-fridge filled with pretty much every type of wine and liquor imaginable.
The shot showcases wine brands Yellow Tail, Barefoot, Sutter Home, plus Amstel Light and Heineken beers — even Red Bull.
This scene raised a lot of questions for me: When has any hotel minibar ever contained so much alcohol? Why has Denzel done three films focusing on transportation –- two trains and now a plane — in as many years?
And now to matters of personal finance. If you're one of the millions of people already on the prowl for that hot must-have gift this holiday season, you might have already noticed something new at your favorite big box store and we're not talking about stocking stuffers. More and more of the big box stores are also offering financial products, like home mortgages or small business loans, along with the flat-screen TVs, lumber and paper towels.
Its widely watched consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 from 73.1 in October. The index is the highest it has been since February 2008, when the economy had just fallen into recession and was headed down.