This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Later in the program, exit interviews with Senator Joseph Lieberman and Congressman Ron Paul as they leave Congress after many years. But first we continue our Opinion Page series on the fiscal cliff.
And now to matters of personal finance. We all remember the financial crisis the country faced four years ago. The numbers suggest that the economy is improving slowly but surely. Interest rates are at near record lows, but our next guest says - and this is something you might have experienced yourself - a lot of people are still having a difficult time getting access to credit, especially small-business owners and home owners with less than perfect credit.
There is a lot of speculation now about what issues - big and small - the Obama administration should tackle in its second term. Education is one thing on many of those lists, and in Washington yesterday, the talk was about one of the hottest trends in the field - something called MOOCS. MOOCS is short for Massive Open Online Courses; college courses, to be exact.
And our last word in business today, some rumors confirmed. After a three-year break, Fleetwood Mac will be touring again next year. The band has announced a 34-city tour which will kick off in Columbus, Ohio in the spring.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the release of "Rumors," hits including, "Dreams" and "Go Your Own Way" were on that album.
GREENE: And, I guess when you're Fleetwood Mac, you don't need a new album to prompt a tour. The band's last studio release came out back in 2003.
Internet radio service Pandora is being closely watched by investors. The company is set to announce its latest quarterly earnings Tuesday. Last week, the head of Pandora was in Washington to push for lower music royalties.
News Corp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, yesterday, revealed the details of his plan to split his media and entertainment conglomerate. One side will include the newspapers and publishing house. The other will contain its profitable television properties and movie studios. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, Murdoch is trying to appease shareholders, and at the same time, save the newspapers that propelled his initial fortune.
NPR's business news starts with questions for Chinese regulators.
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The United States has accused five Chinese auditing firms of violating U.S. securities laws. A lawsuit says the auditors are refusing to turn over documents tied to companies that the U.S. wants to investigate.
Are the days of "daily deal" coupons about to expire? Shares of email coupon company Groupon are down nearly 80 percent since going public last year. And its smaller rival, Living Social, plans to lay off as many as 400 employees, after reporting a net loss of more than $560 million in the third quarter.
Those struggles have raised questions about the future of the daily deal strategy, and whether a company like Groupon can stay in business.
A few days ago, two big names in food policy squared off for a formal debate on the following proposition: There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the food and beverage industry's interests and public health policy interests on obesity.