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Investigations into the causes of the two Boeing 737 Max crashes, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, have focused on software — and the possibility that it was autonomously pointing the planes' noses downward, acting without the pilots' consent.

It's a nightmare scenario. It's also a reminder that software is everywhere, sometimes doing things we don't expect.

This sank in for a lot of people four years ago, during the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. It turned out that software inside the cars had been quietly running the engines in such a way as to cheat on emissions tests.

The Last American Baseball Glove Factory

Mar 24, 2019

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Here's the good news: There's a lot of high-quality streaming video available right now, with great scripts and A-list actors. The bad news? Maybe there's just too much content to choose from.

It can be frustrating when viewers try to figure out which service has what they want to watch — Netflix, Prime, Hulu? It's about to get worse, as more streaming services launch this year.

The Ongoing Investigations Facing Trump

Mar 23, 2019

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The stock market tumbled Friday as investors digested an ominous warning sign: Interest rates on long-term government debt fell below the rate on short-term bills. That's often a signal that a recession is on the horizon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 460 points Friday, or about 1.8 percent. The broader S&P 500 index fell 1.9 percent.

Ordinarily, the yield on long-term debt is higher, just as 10-year certificates of deposit tend to pay higher interest rates than three-month CDs.

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With Facebook Live, you can broadcast anything, any time.

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Sex work is illegal in much of the United States, but the debate over whether it should be decriminalized is heating up.

Former California Attorney General and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris recently came out in favor of decriminalizing it, as long as it's between two consenting adults.

Tyler Cowen is an economics professor at George Mason University and a columnist at Bloomberg Opinion. He hosts the podcast "Conversations with Tyler," and his new book is called "Big Business."

Today on The Indicator, we play "Overrated, Underrated," a game we stole from him (with his permission!) We hear his take on work from the late, libertarian economist Milton Friedman, dual-class voting shares, and neighbors.

Updated at 10:45 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday he will nominate conservative TV commentator and former Trump campaign adviser Stephen Moore to one of two vacant seats on the Federal Reserve Board.

Moore, 59, has joined the president in criticizing the central bank, led by Chairman Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates.

"I have known Steve for a long time — and have no doubt he will be an outstanding choice!" Trump said in a tweet.

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Mexico's criminal gangs have turned their expertise at smuggling illegal goods to smuggling a legal one. The gangs move drugs and weapons and also, apparently, gasoline. Here's Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast.

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A new drug to treat postpartum depression is likely to reach the U.S. market in June, with a $34,000 price tag.

Unknown to hundreds of millions of Facebook users, their passwords were sitting in plain text inside the company's data storage, leaving them vulnerable to potential employee misuse and cyberattack for years.

"To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them," Facebook's Vice President for Engineering, Security and Privacy Pedro Canahuati said in a statement Thursday.

In recent days, Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel and some of its corporate siblings have faced renewed and withering criticism for the way they depict Muslims and immigrants. Calls for boycotts of shows and pressure campaigns on advertisers ensued.

Last weekend, a Muslim news producer said she quit Fox's corporate cousin, Sky News Australia, over its coverage of Muslims following the massacre at two New Zealand mosques. Her post went viral.

Traditionally, taking a company public involved a trade-off: on the one hand, selling shares in your company could mean bringing in a ton of money; on the other hand, you had to give up some of your power to shareholders. And then tech CEOs started using a trick to make sure they could raise money and keep a lot of the power for themselves: dual-class stock.

Music: "Morning Start".

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is under investigation by the Pentagon's Office of Inspector General because of allegations he improperly advocated on behalf of his former employer, Boeing Co.

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Meet Q, The Gender-Neutral Voice Assistant

Mar 21, 2019

For most people who talk to our technology — whether it's Amazon's Alexa, Apple Siri or the Google Assistant — the voice that talks back sounds female.

Some people do choose to hear a male voice.

Now, researchers have unveiled a new gender-neutral option: Q.

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Boeing's bestselling jetliner, the 737 Max, has crashed twice in six months — the Lion Air disaster in October and the Ethiopian Airlines crash this month. Nearly 350 people have been killed, and the model of plane has been grounded indefinitely as investigations are underway.

Boeing has maintained the planes are safe. But trust — from the public, from airlines, from pilots and regulators — has been shaken.

So far, experts say, Boeing has mishandled this crisis but has the opportunity to win back confidence in the future.

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There's a story about China that's taken hold during this trade war, and it goes something like this. China is garbage at protecting American intellectual property. But the story I'm about to tell is a little different.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Why Are Venezuelans Starving?

Mar 20, 2019

People are starving in Venezuela. There isn't enough food. What little food that is available is becoming increasingly expensive due to hyperinflation. The result is a humanitarian crisis.

But it wasn't always that way. In the past two decades, Venezuela's leaders have turned a country that was one rich in agriculture into an economy focused almost entirely on the production of oil. And when the price of oil tanked, so did Venezuelans' ability to access food.

Today on The Indicator, how this came to be.

Updated at 4:16 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve is signaling that it may be done hiking interest rates this year, amid signs of economic slowing.

The European Commission is hitting Google with a fine of 1.49 billion euros (some $1.7 billion) for "abusive practices" in online advertising, saying the search and advertising giant broke the EU's antitrust rules and abused its market dominance by preventing or limiting its rivals from working with companies that had deals with Google. The case revolves around search boxes that are embedded on websites and that display ads brokered by Google.

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