Business

8:53am

Fri March 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Consumer Spending Rose 0.7 Percent In February; Higher Gas Prices A Factor

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 10:30 am

Retailers are doing all they can to attract consumers, who drive the economy. (File photo from 2012 of a store window in Santa Monica, Calif.)
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

There was a slightly larger-than-expected increase of 0.7 percent in consumer spending from January to February, the Bureau of Economic Analysis says.

Higher gasoline prices, though, were much of the reason for the rise. According to the bureau, if spending is adjusted for inflation the increase was a more modest 0.3 percent — the same as in January. And higher energy costs were behind most of the inflationary pressures last month.

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4:43am

Fri March 29, 2013
Business

Business News

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a good read.

The social website Goodreads, where readers share reviews and book picks, got picked up yesterday by online retail giant Amazon. The price hasn't been disclosed. The co-founder of Goodreads says after the sale closes next quarter, the site will be integrated with Amazon's Kindle eReader. Goodreads has about 16 million members. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

4:43am

Fri March 29, 2013
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is a takedown of everyone's favorite giant radioactive reptile.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "GODZILLA")

MONTAGNE: That pop-culture monster, Godzilla, hatched nearly 60 years ago in a Japanese movie production studio.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

He stomped through cities battling other giant creatures, from Mothra to King Kong. Well, now The Wall Street Journal reports that Godzilla has been vanquished. His box office attendance records, at least, has been beaten.

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4:43am

Fri March 29, 2013
Business

BRICS Nations Reveal World Bank Alternative

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The leaders of five giant economies gathered in South Africa this week for a summit. The group is known as the BRIC nations - that would be Brazil, Russia, India and China. Now South Africa is sometimes in the group, which puts the S in BRICS. The meeting and the grouping are largely an effort to counterbalance what many in the developing world see as the dominance of America and Europe in the global economy.

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3:07am

Fri March 29, 2013
Planet Money

The Trick To Selling Fancy Wine From New Jersey: Don't Say It's From New Jersey

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:14 am

A sign outside Lou Caracciolo's winery, Amalthea Cellars
Courtesy Amalthea Cellars

Halfway between the New Jersey Turnpike and the Atlantic City casinos is a little slice of France: Amalthea Cellars. There's an old farmhouse, and a field full of grapevines.

Lou Caracciolo, who founded Amalthea, is walking through the field. "Here's something I put in the ground in 1976," he says. "You have to have a feel for it, and after 30 years I have a pretty good feel for it."

Caracciolo calls himself a hopeless romantic. And, really, you have to be a romantic to try to make a $33 bottle of cabernet sauvignon blend in New Jersey.

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3:07am

Fri March 29, 2013
Economy

Cyprus' Crisis Frames Eurozone As 'Work In Progress'

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:14 am

Banks in Cyprus reopened to customers for the first time in nearly two weeks Thursday, albeit with strict restrictions.
Petros Giannakouris AP

On the second day since Cyprus reopened its banks, depositors continue to face restrictions on getting at their money. ATM withdrawals are limited to 300 euros a day, and there are limits on how much cash travelers can take abroad.

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3:06am

Fri March 29, 2013
Shots - Health News

Obamacare Won't Affect Most 2012 Taxes, Despite Firm's Claim

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 10:22 pm

Taxes this year will be as much of a drag as ever. But not because of the Affordable Care Act.
iStockphoto.com

If you haven't done your taxes yet, this ad from H&R Block might make you feel even more anxious.

"The Affordable Care Act means big changes this year when you file your taxes," says the young woman in the ad, with a smug smile. She then claims to have read "all 900 pages" of the law so she can offer you a "solution."

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3:03am

Fri March 29, 2013
Middle East

Syrian Financial Capital's Loss Is Turkey's Gain

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 10:20 pm

Syrian refugees are pictured at Kilis refugee camp in Gaziantep, Turkey, on Nov. 1. An estimated 150,000 Syrians are reported to be living in the Turkish border town.
Maurizio Gambarini DPA/Landov

There is a brain drain in Syria, an exodus of the skilled and the educated as the Syrian revolt grinds into a third year.

The health care system is one casualty, as hospitals and clinics are shelled and doctors flee the country.

The business community is another — particularly in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and once the country's industrial and financial hub.

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5:33pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Business

Farm Bill's Sugar Subsidy More Taxing Than Sweet, Critics Say

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 11:55 pm

While many people enjoy sweet treats — like these chocolate bunnies — the price of a key ingredient has some people bitter. A government subsidy program is criticized for keeping sugar prices too high. But as prices fall, the government may buy sugar to help processors.
Toby Talbot AP

While you indulge in some Easter Peeps and chocolates this weekend, you might want to think about all that sugar. No, this isn't a calorie warning. In the U.S., raw sugar can cost twice the world average.

Critics say U.S. sugar policy artificially inflates sugar prices to benefit an exclusive group of processors — even though it leads to higher food prices. But this year, prices fell anyway. Now, the government could be poised to use taxpayer dollars to buy up the excess sugar.

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5:12pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Around the Nation

In Phoenix, A New Quest For Diverse Public Pool Lifeguards

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 6:57 pm

After noticing that most of the lifeguards at the public pools used by Latino and African-American kids were white, the Phoenix aquatics department decided to try to recruit minorities.

More than 90 percent of the students at Alhambra High are black, Latino or Asian. On a recruiting effort there over the winter, the city's Melissa Boyle tells students she's not looking for strong swimmers. Like many under-resourced schools, Alhambra doesn't have a swim team.

"We will work with you in your swimming abilities," Boyle says.

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