Business

8:57am

Thu December 12, 2013
The Two-Way

Big Jump In Jobless Claims Blamed On Seasonal Factors

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:18 am

Data such as the weekly figures on jobless claims are supposed to be "seasonally adjusted" to account for temporary factors that aren't really connected to the underlying strength or weakness of the economy.

But Thursday morning's report seems to underscore how hard it can be to make such adjustments.

According to the Employment and Training Administration, there were 368,000 first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week — far above the 300,000 applications the week before.

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6:54am

Thu December 12, 2013
Business

WestJet Plays Santa To Calgary-Bound Passengers

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:00 am

Passengers told a virtual Santa what they wanted before boarding their flights. While they were in the air, secret shoppers at their destination hit the stores. The passengers arrived in Calgary to find their gifts on the baggage carousel.

6:42am

Thu December 12, 2013
Business

Scotland's Royal Bank Fined For Violating Iran, Cuba Sanctions

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a bank writing another big check.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The Royal Bank of Scotland was fined $100 million yesterday for violating American sanctions on Iran and Cuba. The bank had given its U.K. employees step-by-step instructions on how to keep transactions from being detected for sanctions violations.

Last year, the London-based banks Standard Chartered and HSBC also received fines for breaking U.S. sanctions. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

6:42am

Thu December 12, 2013
Economy

California Still Owes U.S. Billions For Unemployment

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

California, according to recent budget numbers, is slowly recovering from its years of multi-billion dollar budget deficits. The state is on track to turn a $2.5 billion budget surplus at the end of the current fiscal year. But that's general fund money. It does not address another gaping deficit. The state owes almost $10 billion to the federal government for money spent on unemployment benefits.

NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.

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5:22am

Thu December 12, 2013
Movie Interviews

At 90, Disney Animation Nowhere Near Drawing To A Close

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:50 am

When it premiered in 1937, Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first feature-length animated movie to hit theaters. This year is the 90th anniversary of Disney animation.
PRNewsFoto/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

This year marks a milestone in the world of make believe.

Walt Disney Animation Studios is celebrating its 90th anniversary, a history spanning scores of classic films and a menagerie of beloved characters.

Walt Disney's world has grown a bit larger since it acquired Pixar — the company behind hits like Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc.

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5:22am

Thu December 12, 2013
Latin America

Mexico's Patron Saint Is Also Its Hello Kitty

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:52 pm

The Virgencita Plis character from Distroller in Mexico.
Distroller

In Mexico, Dec. 12 is the day to celebrate the country's most revered religious icon: the Virgin of Guadalupe.

As many as 6 million pilgrims have made their way to the Mexican capital to pay homage to the country's patron saint on Thursday, and one woman has taken her devotion of the Virgin and turned it into a multimillion-dollar company.

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5:22am

Thu December 12, 2013
Shots - Health News

High Insurance Rates Anger Some Ski-Country Coloradans

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:36 pm

Early December brought a foot of fresh powder to the resorts of Vail, Colo., but some residents are still steaming.
Zach Mahone, Beaver Creek Resort AP

Some of the biggest ski resorts anywhere lie in U.S. Rep. Jared Polis' Colorado district, dotting the peaks of Summit and Eagle counties, about a hundred miles west of Denver. The area has a high rate of uninsured people and also, it turns out, health plans that are much more expensive than similar plans in surrounding regions. So expensive that Polis, a Democrat, has asked the federal government to exempt some of his constituents from the requirement to buy health insurance.

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5:22am

Thu December 12, 2013
All Tech Considered

Amid Cuts And Tax Hikes, Tech Companies Get Love in Ireland

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:47 am

Tech companies around the world have set up shop in the financial district in Dublin, Ireland.
Peter Muhly AFP/Getty Images

Ireland is about to become the first European country to emerge from an international bailout in the wake of the financial crisis. Like other European countries, Ireland has been in a period of austerity — higher taxes and more cutbacks.

The nation's technology sector has been protected, however, as Ireland makes a concerted effort to attract foreign businesses through tax incentives and development programs.

But Ireland's methods have also been criticized — locally and internationally.

Apple In Ireland

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5:22am

Thu December 12, 2013
Code Switch

Shifting Gears To Make Bike-Sharing More Accessible

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 1:51 pm

Bike-sharing is increasingly popular. But those who need it most often have the least access to it.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

This story is part of a project on commuting in America.

Millions of commuters across the country have a new way to get around. In the past few years, bike-sharing systems have popped up from Boston to Minnesota to Washington, D.C. They're supposed to make commuting easier, greener and cheaper. But the people who arguably need these bikes the most are often the least likely to access them.

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6:50pm

Wed December 11, 2013
The Two-Way

Extended Unemployment Benefits On Track To Expire Dec. 28

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:38 pm

A prospective job seeker gets information at a job resource fair for military veterans in Van Nuys, Calif., on Oct. 24.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Unless Congress acts very quickly, some 1.3 million workers will lose their extended jobless benefits on Dec. 28.

Democrats were scrambling late Wednesday to link an extension of benefits to a budget deal that is expected to get a vote as soon as Thursday. But if the effort fails, they will come back at it in 2014.

"We're going to push here after the first of the year for an extension of emergency unemployment insurance when the Senate convenes after the new year," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Wednesday.

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