Business & Education

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Morning News Brief

Sep 10, 2018

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A familiar face re-emerged on the campaign trail over the weekend.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARACK OBAMA: The biggest threat to our democracy, I said yesterday, is not - it's not one individual. It's not one big superPAC, billionaires. It's apathy. It's indifference.

The quiet beach resort of Lubmin on Germany's Baltic coast has long been an energy hub. Just a mile from the pier are the remains of what was once East Germany's largest nuclear power station.

Now the town is the entry point for natural gas from Russia. Construction began in May on a new pipeline that will enable Russia to increase its natural gas exports not only to Germany but to other countries in Europe as well. The gas will be supplied by Russia's state-owned Gazprom.

Lubmin's Mayor Axel Vogt is delighted.

When Drew Calver had a heart attack last year, his health plan paid nearly $56,000 for the 44-year-old's emergency hospital stay at St. David's Medical Center in Austin, Texas, a hospital that wasn't in his insurance network. But the hospital charged Calver another $108,951. That sum — a so-called balance bill — was the difference between what the hospital and his insurer thought his care was worth.

Though in-network hospitals must accept previously contracted rates from health plans, out-of-network hospitals can try to bill as they like.

Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET Monday

Les Moonves has stepped down as the chairman, president and CEO of CBS Corporation, after 12 women accused him of sexual misconduct that spanned decades in two reports published in The New Yorker.

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Barbershop: Online Censorship

Sep 8, 2018

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Tesla shares fell more than 6 percent on Friday, after top executives resigned and CEO Elon Musk appeared to smoke pot in a video.

It wouldn't be the first time that investors were rattled by Musk's unconventional ways, sending stocks haywire.

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President Trump is ramping up trade tensions with other countries. Today, he said he's ready to impose even more tariffs on Chinese imports, and he hinted that he may take similar action against Japan. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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It's jobs day. The numbers look good. Employers added 201,000 jobs in August, and the unemployment rate is steady at 3.9 percent.

On today's show, The Indicator's Cardiff Garcia talks with Martha Gimbel, Executive Director of The Hiring Lab at Indeed, where she oversees a team of economists whose very mission is to analyze labor market data.

Over the last couple of days, you sent in truckloads of queries about the job market. Cardiff selected a handful and then Martha answered them, adding her own take on America's employment situation.

For weary travelers, hotel blackout curtains can be crucial for rest and relaxation.

"It's a product you're familiar with it, but you never think much about," said Mark Berman, the CEO of Rockland Industries, a Baltimore-based textile company that's been manufacturing the fabrics since the 1960s.

Surfing's governing body has announced that it will give equal prize money to male and female athletes in all of its events, starting next year.

British Airways says it is "investigating, as a matter of urgency, the theft of customer data from our website and our mobile app," after it found a breach that exposed financial information over a two-week period.

The U.S. economy added 201,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said on Friday, continuing its nearly eight-year streak of monthly gains. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at a very low 3.9 percent.

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When the Trump administration decided to pay subsidies to farmers hurt by trade, it reminded NPR's Planet Money podcast team about the time another president tried to help farmers. Kenny Malone has the epic tale of government cheese.

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Updated at 6:29 p.m. ET

Twitter on Thursday said it has "permanently suspended" conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars outlet, citing "new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy."

Last month, YouTube, Apple, Facebook and Spotify banned Jones' main platforms over concerns about his content. But Twitter only suspended some of his privileges, a move that drew criticism.

Some two million Ford F-150 pickup trucks are being recalled by the company after more than 20 reports of smoke or fire coming from the seat belts.

The recall, which was announced Thursday, applies to certain Regular Cab and SuperCrew Cab vehicles from model years 2015-18.

Why Aren't We More Productive?

Sep 6, 2018

Advances in technology have driven eye-popping advances in productivity over the last hundred years. As machines have replaced artisans, individual humans have gone from making a single item every so often to producing hundreds of lamps or chocolate bars or T-shirts every hour.

What Happens When A.I. Takes The Wheel?

Sep 6, 2018

For many, if not most Americans, the idea of a world in which we don't drive cars is a distant and possibly unlikely future.

I can feel the warmth from the wood-burning oven just over my shoulder and catch myself intermittently gazing off into a heat-induced trance from the blaze.

Despite the place feeling crowded (probably another reason for the heat), it's eerily quiet inside: My table of five occasionally lowers our voices as if we were in the library. But a library this is not: Mozzeria is one of the most talked-about pizzerias in the heart of a vibrant San Francisco neighborhood, where wait times on Saturday nights can extend as long as two hours.

Sometimes IV bags are hard for hospitals to come by. Other times it's injectable folic acid to treat anemias. Right now, the tissue-numbing agent lidocaine is in short supply.

Shortages of commonplace generic drugs have plagued hospitals in recent years. And with short supplies and fewer suppliers for key drugs, there have been price increases.

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Tomorrow, Starbucks will open its first store in Italy, the country that considers itself coffee's spiritual home. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli knows coffee, and she knows Italy. And she says the company has set itself up for a challenge.

If you've checked any economic news lately, there's a decent chance you've heard a pretty scary word, and there's a decent chance you've heard it a lot: contagion.

To be clear, economists have not been discussing an epidemic the past few weeks — at least, not the kind that directly concerns physical health. They're talking about the economic health of emerging markets around the world. And the diagnosis doesn't look great.

Toyota announced a voluntary recall of certain hybrid models, including certain Prius cars, Wednesday. The manufacturer cited a risk of vehicle fires as the reason for the announcement.

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