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Business news

There might be a way to eliminate traffic jams

Aug 26, 2016
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David Lazarus and Crystal Castle

Next weekend for Labor Day, AAA estimates that 35 million Americans will travel. And about 86 percent are due to fill up their gas tanks for one final summer road trip. 

The company also estimates that it costs about 57 cents a mile to drive. But with so many people on the road, most of that fuel will be wasted idling in traffic. However, there is a glimmer of hope. Benjamin Seibold, a professor at Temple University who studies traffic, said jams can be mitigated simply by changing the way you drive. 

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Donna Tam

The burkini just keeps making waves. France’s highest administrative court has made it possible to overturn the bans implemented on the full-body swimsuit, the BBC reported today.

The court said the ban  in one Mediterranean town "seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms," and the ruling could set precedent for other towns with similar bans. The burkini covers everything, but a person’s hands, feet and face.

On today's show, we'll talk about the possible demise of ITT Tech; a billion-dollar hit to Japan's pension fund; and the Port of Houston's efforts to gain some post-Panamax traffic.

 

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Andy Uhler

The U.S. Department of Education said Thursday that ITT Educational Services – which is the parent company of ITT Technical Institutes – can’t use federal financial aid to enroll new students anymore. It’s the latest in the department’s move to assert closer regulation on for-profit colleges.

Houston spends millions to woo post-Panamax ships

Aug 26, 2016
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Gail Delaughter

The widened Panama Canal is likely to have a significant impact on global shipping. Here in the U.S., gigantic ships that could only fit on West Coast docks can now get through the canal to the Gulf of Mexico. That means a sizable increase in traffic for the Port of Houston — which has already begun a billion-dollar plan to upgrade its infrastructure.

Prince's Paisley Park will open its doors to fans

Aug 26, 2016
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Reema Khrais

The rumors are true. Paisley Park – Prince’s 65,000 square foot compound outside of Minneapolis – is becoming a museum.

In October, guests will be able to tour through his recording studios, video-editing rooms, rehearsal rooms and the performance hall. They’ll also get glimpses of more personal items: his wardrobe, dozens of instruments, motorcycles, artwork and rare music.

“It keeps his name alive. It keeps his music alive,” said John Kellogg, who teaches music business and management at Berklee College of Music.

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Dan Bobkoff

The residents of Kibera, in Nairobi,  have a message for foreign aid groups in their community: if you want us to come hear what you have to say, you need to pay us. 

So many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have flooded this poor area that many locals have become disillusioned by the foreigners who say they want to help. 

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Gigi Douban

Today the CEO of Mylan responded to the uproar over her company's price increases for EpiPens, the life-saving anti-allergy injectors. A pack of two EpiPens now costs $600, up from $100 in 2007. CEO Heather Bresch said Mylan will offer more financial assistance to help people pay their out-of-pocket costs — the piece that health insurance doesn't cover. But she did not offer to take back any of the price increases.

On today's show, we'll talk about emergency measures to help those affected by Wednesday's earthquake in central Italy; why Nevada is an unusual battleground state, economically, for presidential candidates; and how the U.K. is doing two months after the Brexit vote. 

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Andy Uhler

Representatives of Orlando Regional Medical Center and Florida Hospital who treated victims of the Pulse nightclub attack, the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history, said they're not going to send those people bills for the medical services they received. 

New home sales up, existing home sales down

Aug 25, 2016
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Mitchell Hartman

Late August has delivered a mixed picture on the U.S. housing market, seven years after the Great Recession ended and a long, slow economic recovery began.

New home sales in July were reported at an annual rate of 654,000 units, up 12.4 percent from the previous month, and up 31.3 percent from July 2015, to the highest rate since 2007.

In UK, Brexit vote effects still unclear

Aug 25, 2016
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Sam Beard

Two months ago, the Brits woke up to find that they had voted to leave the European Union. Doom mongers predicted disaster. So two months on, what effect has the Brexit shock had on the U.K. economy?  

EU supporters had warned that Brexit could cause mass unemployment — that as many as 3 million people could be thrown on to the dole. 

That has not even begun to happen. Unemployment has fallen to 4.9 percent, an 11-year low.  

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton is scheduled to campaign in Nevada. Statewide polls show a tight race there between her and Donald Trump.

Nevada is a most unusual battleground state. Unlike traditional Rust Belt swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, the economic concerns of Nevada present a new set of problems for would-be presidents, a potent cocktail of America’s economic past, present and future. This includes issues currently scorching the campaign trail, such as immigration and infrastructure.

Graduate students win recognition as employees

Aug 24, 2016
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Amy Scott

Colleges and universities are still absorbing the news of a ruling Tuesday by the National Labor Relations Board. The board voted 3-1 that graduate student research and teaching assistants at Columbia University are employees and have the right to unionize. Grad student unions have been recognized at many public universities since 1969. Among private schools, just New York University voluntarily recognizes a student union.

TPP proponents face a tough crowd this election season

Aug 24, 2016
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Sabri Ben-Achour

Trade deals are rarely popular in election years but this year they seem to be extra unpopular.  Mr. Trump appears opposed to most of the U.S. trade deals up to this point and both he and Secretary Clinton oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership.  That complicates the efforts to get the thing passed, even as President Obama has said he would make a push for the deal after the election. 

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Sam Beard

The warnings were dire.  Vote for Brexit and Britain will suffer a disaster, said a whole slew of experts before the referendum . The stock market will crash.  House prices will plummet. Three million people will be thrown onto the dole.

Two months on, none of this has happened. In fact, the opposite has occurred: the stock market has reached new highs, unemployment has sunk to its lowest level for a decade and house prices are stable and retail spending is up.

Big banks team up to create digital currency

Aug 24, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about a decline in stock market volatility over the summer; a collaboration between four big banks to create an alternative to Bitcoin; a labor ruling that's granted graduate students from private colleges the right to unionize; and the return of Fugitive Tech CEO Kobi Alexander to the U.S. 

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Andy Uhler

Graduate students at Columbia, Duke and other places of higher education are celebrating a labor ruling made Tuesday night. The National Labor Relations Board decided that graduate students working as teaching or research assistants at private universities have the right to bargain collectively, to organize a union. Students at public institutions can already do this.  

How HP is faring with its printer-PC business

Aug 24, 2016
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Gigi Douban

The Hewlett-Packard Company's share price fell by half last year after HP broke itself into two smaller companies, and hasn't recovered much. As HP — the HP that kept the printer and computer lines — reports quarterly earnings, investors are looking for clues that getting smaller is working.

Consider this: In the printer world, there’s an old running joke. And if you’ve ever bought cartridges or toner, you’ll get it.

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Grace Hood

In Colorado, nothing quite says summer like a rafting trip down thrilling rapids. In the southwestern town of Durango, hundreds sign up for trips in July and August.

On a late June afternoon, Dylan and Elizabeth Burton from Washington stepped out from the Animas River in Durango riding a rush of adrenaline. “Perfect, beautiful, fantastic in every way possible,” Dylan Burton said.

KFC releases fried-chicken scented sunscreen

Aug 23, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal

Some of you will remember that time KFC decided to release fried chicken-flavored nail polish a while back. The restaurant chain is out with another non-edible fried chicken product — I'm just gonna let this speak for itself, you decide:

Paris begins construction of urban refugee camp

Aug 23, 2016
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Emma Jacobs

The city of Paris has started construction on a pair of urban refugee camps, which will provide modular shelters for more than 1,000 people.  The city hopes the project, announced by Mayor Anne Hidalgo in May, will help to eliminate tent cities that have emerged in public spaces throughout Paris.

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Gigi Douban

People who buy individual health plans through the federal exchange in Alabama might soon see a big premium jump, anywhere from 26 to 41 percent over last year. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, soon to be the state’s only health insurance provider, has proposed the rate hike to take effect in 2017. 

The business of building sandcastles

Aug 22, 2016
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Andy Uhler

Sandcastles have been around a while. In the 1970's, a couple of guys even started an organization called Sand Sculptors International — sort of the de-facto source for sandcastle standards.

Marketplace for Monday, August 22, 2016

Aug 22, 2016
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Caitlin Esch

A look at what welfare dollars are being spent on now and how life has changed for those on welfare, 20 years after welfare reform; European Union's deal with Turkey over migration could be in jeopardy in the aftermath of the country's recent attempted coup; why Donald Trump's supporter base of disaffected white male voters are angry and what it might mean for the election.

Weekly Wrap: Jobs, oil and markets

Aug 19, 2016

Joining us to talk about the week's business and economic news are Sudeep Reddy of the Wall Street Journal and Linette Lopez from Business Insider. This week, they discuss a hopeful report on middle-income jobs from the Fed the upcoming OPEC meeting.

What visual albums say about today's music industry

Aug 19, 2016
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Sabri Ben-Achour

If you haven't been waiting for Frank Ocean's first new album in four years, you probably know someone who has. Or maybe you found out about the whole thing when your Twitter blew itself up last night over Ocean’s new 45-minute-long "video album." It's called "Endless" and is available, at least now, only on Apple Music.

Ocean's taking a page from Beyonce, who did the same thing with "Lemonade," which debuted on HBO and then was released exclusively on the streaming service Tidal. That's the one co-owned by her husband, Jay Z. 

A machine that puts sunscreen on for you, in a snap

Aug 18, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal

People are taking in the last rays of summer, but others may be soaking up too many. According to Snappy Screen founder Kristen McClellan, a major problem is that people are not reapplying sunscreen enough (or not applying at all in the first place). So, she was determined to fix the problem and invented a machine that applies sunscreen for you, in less than 10 seconds. 

On where her inspiration came from:

Arctic climate change: less ice, more cruise ships

Aug 18, 2016
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Graelyn Brashear

The Crystal Serenity set out from Seward, Alaska this week on a historic trip. With 1,700 people onboard, it will be the first big luxury ship to chart a course through the Northwest Passage, the once-elusive sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific above North America.

Marketplace for Thursday, August 18, 2016

Aug 18, 2016
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Andy Uhler

The Justice Department announced today that it will end the use of private companies to run prisons; how the government plans to pay for the flood damage in Louisiana; and how coal companies in bankruptcy are getting out of huge liabilities for cleaning up their mine sites because of a loophole

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