Cost overruns are threatening to shut down a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal aimed at allowing the world's largest ships to pass through the short cut between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
A European consortium funding the project says it won't continue the work until Panama coughs up the extra cash — which amounts to $1.6 billion over and above an original $3.2 billion bid to build a third set of locks.
When members of Congress return to work next week, at the top of the "to-do" list is whether to renew emergency unemployment benefits. An extension of the benefits expired at the end of 2013, which means 1.3 million out-of-work Americans are no longer getting unemployment checks.
The widening gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. has become a central touch point for economists, pundits and politicians across the U.S. New York City's newly sworn-in mayor, Bill deBlasio, was elected after campaigning against a city divided between the haves and have-nots. President Obama has called tackling inequality the defining challenge of our time, saying that growing inequality and a lack of upward mobility jeopardizes the American dream. But what, exactly, is income inequality?
If you're a wine drinker, you've probably noticed that screw caps are no longer considered the closure just for cheap vino. Increasingly, bottles of very good wines are unscrewed, rather than uncorked.
And our last word in business today is green rush.
The first legal sale of recreational marijuana in recent memory happened in Denver yesterday.
TONY FOX: 8 a.m., we're going to do.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
That's Tony Fox, who owns the 3-D Cannabis Center. She was making the ceremonial first sale, surrounded by dozens of reporters, to Sean Azzariti, an Iraq War veteran with PTSD, who was involved in the campaign to legalize pot in Colorado.
NPR's business news starts with Fiat and Chrysler.
The Italian automaker Fiat has paid $4.3 billion to gain complete ownership of Chrysler. The agreement announced yesterday is not a big surprise. Fiat already held a majority share of the Detroit automaker that produces Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles.
Industry analysts say this final step in the merger creates a global company that's better able to compete with the likes of General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
A Harvard economist finds there are psychological connections between the bad financial planning of many poor people and the poor time management of busy professionals. In both cases, he finds the experience of scarcity causes biases in the mind that exacerbate problems.
And even as things are looking up for the auto industry, many Americans still feel the sting of the 2008 recession. In the years since, many banks have been hit with large fines, but no major Wall Street executive has been convicted of criminal charges for their role in the financial crisis. That's not always how it went. A few years ago, a series of corporate scandals generated outrage and some stiff prison sentences.
Let's hear now about a new reality show featuring a mild-mannered Canadian who gives outlandish advice to companies looking to up their game. It's called "Nathan for You." And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, it's become an unlikely hit for Comedy Central.
(SOUNDBITE OF A BARKING DOG)
MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: On a sunny winter day in North Hollywood, Nathan Fielding is directing his latest quirky marketing ploy, this one for a new housecleaning service.