Business & Education

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Companies buy back their stock from shareholders when they have excess cash lying around, and they want to hand some of it over to the owners. And they've been doing it a lot more recently: companies are on track to spend more than a trillion dollars on buybacks this year. Today on the Indicator, dueling opinions on buybacks. One economist says they're a way to get cash to companies that need it; another argues they're a brake on the economy.

Music: "Break Me"

Earlier this month, British pianist James Rhodes received a notification from Facebook. A short video he had recorded and uploaded of himself playing a passage of Bach's Partita No. 1 had been flagged by Facebook's copyright identification system as belonging to Sony Music, resulting in 47 of the video's 71 seconds being muted.

"Stop being a**holes," Rhodes tweeted in response.

Uber is paying $148 million to settle claims over the ride-hailing company's cover-up of a data breach in 2016, when hackers stole personal information of some 25 million customers and drivers in the U.S.

The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has stepped down amid allegations that he ordered the firing of journalists deemed too critical of the government.

Justin Milne resigned his post as the head of the independent, government-funded network after "his board turned against him and staff threatened to walk off the job," The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Since Amazon announced Tuesday that sportscasters Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer would become the first all-women team to call NFL games, the pair has faced public backlash.

You can add Robert Rodriguez to a growing list of Angelenos living right on the brink of homelessness. Rodriguez shares his story, talking softly, as he leans on his walker outside his old apartment. He was evicted the day before.

"Everything is gone," he says. "It's all in storage."

Why So Many Brands Are Rebranding

Sep 26, 2018

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Dunkin' Donuts, purveyor of, well, donuts and other confections typically ingested in far too much haste, is dropping Donuts from its name starting in January. The company says it's making the move to become better friends with its customers.

"After 68 years of America running on Dunkin', we're moving to a first-name basis. Excited to be #BFFstatus with you all," the company announced in a heavy emoji-laden tweet on Tuesday.

President Trump recently slapped tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The aim is to level the playing field with China on trade. U.S. administrations have been trying to do this for decades, often preferring a multilateral approach. Trump's trade war is simply an attempt to reach the same goal using a different means. The problem with trade wars is that they're unpredictable, and they inflict pain on everyone involved.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve announced another quarter-percentage-point increase in interest rates Wednesday as expected, citing a strong labor market and economy.

The Fed raised the benchmark borrowing rate to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent, the third hike this year.

What Will They Be Dunkin' Without Donuts?

Sep 26, 2018

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What To Expect From The Fed

Sep 26, 2018

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I'm Audie Cornish with All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF ULRICH SCHNAUSS' "NOTHING HAPPENS IN JUNE")

The financial crisis was brutal for the American economy, so it's no surprise that we still bear the scars. But some of the lingering damage is evident in areas that you might not expect. Today on the Indicator, where we're a lot more cautious than we used to be.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

Officials from 14 states' top legal offices and the Justice Department have begun a coordinated conversation about ways to keep tabs on — and potentially rein in — the fast-growing tech giants.

Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer will become the first female announcing team to cover an NFL game this Thursday, with Amazon Prime Video offering the pair as an online alternative to the Fox broadcast crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

"Teaming up with Hannah and Amazon for this is truly special," Kremer said in a news release. "Hannah is a brilliant journalist and she has been a friend for many years. With decades of experience as storytellers, we will be bringing a different voice and viewpoint to covering the game of football."

Fashion company Michael Kors is buying Versace, the Italian luxury brand founded by Gianni Versace in 1978, for $2.12 billion. The two fashion houses made the announcement Tuesday, one day after speculation spread about a potential deal.

Donatella Versace, the artistic director of the Milan-based fashion house who helped lead the company after her brother's death in 1997, said it's the perfect time for the company to join with Michael Kors.

Instagram Co-Founders To Step Down

Sep 25, 2018

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, co-founders of Instagram, have announced their plan to leave the company that produces the popular photo-sharing application.

"We're planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again," Systrom said in a statement on the company's website. "Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that's what we plan to do."

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This week, back in 1933, a team of American Geologists from Standard Oil Company in California arrived on the shore of a small, sparsely populated Middle Eastern country called Saudi Arabia. Today on the Indicator: what the team of geologists found and how it changed the economy of a country and the global economy for better ... and for worse.

Archival Footage: "Desert Venture"

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Satellite radio giant SiriusXM is buying the Oakland, Calif.-based digital radio company Pandora in an all-stock deal valued at $3.5 billion, the companies announced Monday. The deal is expected to close in early 2019.

The merger would create "the world's largest audio entertainment company," SiriusXM CEO James Meyer said in a conference call. The deal would still need to be reviewed by antitrust regulators and shareholders, he added.

Philadelphia-based Comcast outbid 21st Century Fox on Saturday to take control of British broadcaster Sky for about $39 billion.

The U.S. cable giant came out on top in a three-round auction held by British regulators by offering about $2 more per share.

Both Comcast and Fox wanted Sky to compete with online streaming services Netflix and Amazon.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Walmart Inc. on Friday, alleging the company has unlawfully discriminated against pregnant workers for years at one of its warehouse locations in Wisconsin.

The complaint, filed in federal court on behalf of Alyssa Gilliam, claims Walmart failed to accommodate workers' pregnancy-related medical restrictions, even though job modifications were provided to non-pregnant employees with physical disabilities. It also says the company denied pregnant workers' requests for unpaid leave.

China has warned the U.S. to withdraw sanctions on its military or face consequences. The U.S. imposed the sanctions on Thursday over China's purchase of Russian fighter jets and surface-to-air missile equipment.

Rent!

Sep 21, 2018

Ever since the end of the financial crisis, rents have been rising all across America. A recent report from Zillow put the median monthly accommodation rental payment in the U.S. at $1440.

The good news is, that it is the same as last year. After years of rising, rents are finally leveling off. Susan Wachter of the Wharton school talks with Stacey and Cardiff about what that means for renters and for the entire U.S. economy.

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