NPR Business

The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

EPA Temporarily Halts New Federal Contracts For BP

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Citing a "lack of business integrity," the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was temporarily suspending the oil giant BP from entering into new contracts with the federal government.

In a press release, the EPA said BP demonstrated the lack of integrity during the Deepwater Horizon "blowout, explosion, oil spill and response." This kind of suspension, the EPA explained, is "standard practice when a responsibility question is raised by action in a criminal case."

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The Two-Way
10:37 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Mine Disaster Probe Leads To Conspiracy Charges Against Former Executive

Mine helmets and painted crosses at the entrance to Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine, as a memorial to the 29 miners killed there.
Jeff Gentner AP

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 12:36 pm

Federal prosecutors in West Virginia stepped higher up the corporate ladder at Massey Energy Wednesday with new criminal charges stemming from the investigation of the 2010 coal mine explosion that killed 29 workers.

David C. Hughart was president of Massey's Green Valley Resource Group, a major coal mining subsidiary based in Leivasy, W. Va., from 2000 to 2010.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Wed November 28, 2012

New Home Sales Dipped A Bit In October, But Were Well Above Year Before

A sold sign at a new home site in Danville, Calif., earlier this year.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Sales of new homes edged down 0.3 percent in October from September, but were a healthy 17.2 percent above the pace of October 2011, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

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Business
7:33 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Rock Star Parking? Hong Kong Spot Going For $88,000

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 8:08 am

Hong Kong is trying to cool its housing market, so investors are looking for other places to put their money. One Hong Kong developer recently sold 500 spaces for $167,000 each. The $88,000 spot goes on the auction block Thursday.

Business
7:33 am
Wed November 28, 2012

As Battery Demand Falls, Can Energizer Keep Going?

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 6:15 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now, let's turn to today's business bottom line. As more people buy smartphones and other devices that run on rechargeable batteries - this will come as no surprise - sales of single-use, disposable batteries are dropping; and that is not without consequences. Energizer announced this month that the company will close three plants because of decreased demand. That is a 10 percent cut of its global workforce. Vermont Public Radio's Kirk Carapezza reports on one community that is feeling the pain.

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Business
7:33 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Gift Cards: What's New, What's Hot, What To Avoid

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Like it or not, we are now in holiday shopping season. And for gift givers who are simply stumped about what to get that special or not so special someone, there is always the gift card. They might be derided as impersonal, but Americans spend billions and billions of dollars on gift cards.

To help us sort through the array of gift cards, and also to give us some warnings about fees we might find, we called up Janna Herron. She writes about gift cards for Bankrate.com.

Janna, welcome to the program.

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Business
7:33 am
Wed November 28, 2012

HP Mired In Messy Allegations

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

For decades, Hewlett Packard was a Silicon Valley icon. Today, the company is mired in messy allegations about accounting irregularities at a software firm it bought called Autonomy.

From Silicon Valley, NPR's Steve Henn reports Autonomy allegedly inflated its earnings prior to that sale.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Last week, HP's CEO Meg Whitman told investors the company was writing off more than $8 billion in losses, largely because of what happened at Autonomy.

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Business
7:03 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Online Businesses See Cyber Monday Sales Jump

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We begin NPR's business news with some cyber power.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: The Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday because of all the online shopping deals that are offered up. And this year, online retailers had a field day. A survey by IBM of 500 online businesses found sales jumped 30 percent over last year, as millions of people went online to get their fix of holiday gadgets. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Around the Nation
5:13 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Educators Worry Revamped GED Will Be Too Pricey

Administrators at the adult education center are concerned that the GED overhaul will make it harder for many test takers to complete the exam.
Diane Orson WNPR

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 10:03 am

When Toni Walker is not in Hartford, Conn., serving as a state representative, she can usually be found at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center.

"We basically educate approximately 800 people a day," says Walker, an assistant principal at the center. "It is open enrollment, so when somebody gets an epiphany and says, 'I need to get my high school diploma so that I can get a job,' they can walk through the doors, and they can get [their GED] here."

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Europe
5:55 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

For Cyprus' North And South, A Reversal Of Fortunes

Fikri Toros, a Turkish Cypriot businessman, says his family's company struggled for years because of embargoes and a weak Turkish lira. But its fortunes have improved with Turkey's economy.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 6:05 pm

Just a few years ago, Cyprus was considered a wealthy country, though that referred mostly to the Greek Cypriots on the southern part of the divided island. When Cyprus entered the eurozone in 2008, analysts were wondering what would become of the much poorer north, which has been occupied by Turkey since a 1974 war.

Now, the Turks in northern Cyprus have the booming economy, while Greek Cypriots, crippled by exposure to ailing Greek banks, are waiting for final approval on what will be the fourth sovereign bailout of a eurozone country.

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