It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
We're going to spend some time this morning, examining tax examiners at the IRS. The Internal Revenue Service is under fire for paying extra attention to conservative groups that were seeking tax exempt status. The groups had names suggesting they were linked with the Tea Party.
GREENE: Now, social welfare organizations can claim tax exemptions, political groups are treated differently.
This IRS scandal has given Republicans an unexpected opportunity to chide the Obama administration. And it comes as the GOP was resurrecting questions about how top Washington officials, including the president, handled the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya last year.
NPR's David Welna has more on the latest political firestorm.
Last year, almost the entire Michigan apple crop was lost because of 80-degree days in March and then some freezing April nights. This year, the apples are back, but everything always depends on the weather. The state was under a freeze warning Sunday night — a scary prospect if you're an apple grower and your trees have just come into bloom.
The Associated Press is protesting what it calls a massive and unprecedented intrusion into its gathering of news. The target of that wrath is the U.S. Justice Department, which secretly collected phone records for several AP reporters last year. The AP says it's caught in the middle of a Justice Department leak investigation.
The scope of the Justice Department subpoenas is what gives David Schultz, a lawyer for AP, pause.
Dr. Joyce Brothers, whose long-running television show dispensed advice on life and relationships to her viewers, has died in New York at age 85, according to her publicist.
She died on Monday of natural causes, Sanford Brokaw said.
Brothers, who was a pioneer of the television advice show, first gained fame as a winning contestant on the television game show "The $64,000 Question" in 1955, becoming the only woman ever to win the top prize. The AP says:
There's another way television is moving online. Starting Tuesday, ABC will let viewers in New York and Philadelphia watch their local stations over the Internet. But this is not a way to cut your cable bill.
NPR's Dan Bobkoff discusses the change with All Things Considered co-host Audie Cornish.
The editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News is apologizing. That's after admitting his reporters tracked how subscribers use the company's famous financial data terminals. The disclosure has caused an uproar in the financial services world. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the episode has roots both in Bloomberg's innovations in data management, and its corporate culture.
A worker with The Empowerment Plan creates a coat that will later be donated to a homeless person. The organization works inside Ponyride, a 30,000-square-foot warehouse near downtown Detroit. The warehouse hosts other local businesses, too.
Credit Courtesy of Order & Other
The Ponyride warehouse hosts several Detroit-based businesses.
Detroit is littered with empty warehouses — more than 7,000, by one estimate. They've become skeletons of the city's industrial past.
But not this warehouse, where Jennifer Blake is feeding quilted fabric through a sewing machine. She's making a coat. Fashioned with Velcro fastenings, it has a sleeping bag that slips out on the bottom, and is made of recycled car parts, she says.
Four retailers who represent the largest purchasers of clothes produced in Bangladesh announced Monday that they have will help finance safety upgrades at apparel factories in the South Asia country after the collapse of a garment complex killed more than 1,000 workers.
The news comes as the death toll in the April 24 collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza near Dhaka rose to at least 1,127, according to officials.
Tea Party activists gather on Capitol Hill in 2011. A surge in applications for 501(c)(4) status in recent years has revealed sometimes murky and contradictory rules governing the political activities of tax-exempt groups.
President Obama expressed outrage Monday over the Internal Revenue Service's admission that it targeted certain conservative groups for extra scrutiny. By the time the president weighed in, members of both parties in Congress had already begun preparing hearings to grill IRS officials on the issue.
The controversy is rooted in a question neither the IRS nor Congress has answered clearly: Exactly what kind of political activity is allowed for tax-exempt groups — particularly those with secret donors?
It's been three weeks since a factory collapsed in Bangladesh's garment sector, killing more than 1,000 people. Today, several major retailers that buy clothing made in the country signed onto an ambitious safety plan meant to prevent future tragedies. The agreement is being applauded by worker advocates around the world.
To tell us what's in it, we're joined by NPR's Jim Zarroli. And Jim, give us the details. What does the agreement say, and what does it actually commit retailers to do?
Finally, this hour, we remember the man behind a famous bicycle design. Now, if you spent your childhood riding a bike with big handlebars and a banana seat, then you owe Al Fritz your thanks. The former executive for the bike company Schwinn died last week. In 1963, Fritz introduced the model known as the Sting-Ray, and it got a boost with ads on the TV show "Captain Kangaroo."
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UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: Captain will be back after these messages.
A San Francisco judge will decide this month whether to approve a settlement in a class-action lawsuit that could affect more than 70 million Facebook users. The $20 million deal would mark the end of a years-long battle over the social network's "Sponsored Stories" advertising.
But Facebook users' images could still appear in ads if they don't change their settings. And many users say the deal before the judge doesn't go far enough to protect their privacy.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, as we head into graduation season, we want to talk about a new report about changes and challenges at the nation's historically black colleges and universities. That's coming up. But first, it's also the beginning of what has been historically the spring home buying season.
NPR's business news starts with a big recall for jeeps.
Chrysler is recalling about 470,000 Jeep SUVs worldwide. Certain Jeep Grand Cherokees and Commanders are being recalled because the transmission could shift by itself - from park into neutral - with no warning to the driver. The source of the problem: cracks in the circuit board that can cause a faulty signal on start-up.
Giant financial data company Bloomberg is acknowledging that some of its subscribers were tracked by the company's reporters. The reporters were allowed to see what kind of information the subscribers were looking at and how long it had been since they logged on. The tracking came to light after Goldman Sachs Raised questions about the practice. Over the weekend, the Federal Reserve said it is looking into whether its employees were tracked as well.
Drivers will find this summer's gas prices are lower than last year's, the result of a spike in crude oil production. Government forecasters say a gallon of regular gasoline will cost about $3.50 this summer — a slide of more than 10 cents from last year.
And the deaths in Bangladesh have prompted a number of American clothing companies to disclose where their products are made. Everlane is an online clothing retailer based in San Francisco that has always done that. Michael Preysman is the CEO and founder of Everlane, and we asked him where and how his company's T-shirts are manufactured.
Here's what's big in Japan - inflation. That's the start of NPR's business news.
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INSKEEP: OK. The Japanese currency, the yen, is falling like crazy against the U.S. dollar - which is just the way the Japanese central bank planned. The economy has been stagnant for nearly two decades, and a weak yen makes Japan more attractive to tourists and foreign investors.
The Internet has managed to disrupt many industries, from publishing to music. So why not lending?
Google is teaming up with the nation's largest peer-to-peer lender. The search and tech giant is investing $125 million in Lending Club, which gets borrowers and lenders together outside the conventional banking system. Google's move and the actions of other big players reflect a growing interest in peer-to-peer lending.