Economy & Business

Business news

The U.S. Department of Agriculture took a largely symbolic step to help struggling dairy farmers this week. It announced that it will buy $20 million worth of cheese and give it away to food banks. The USDA is doing this, it says, to help "reduce a cheese surplus that is at a 30-year high."

Houston spends millions to woo post-Panamax ships

Aug 26, 2016
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Gail Delaughter

The widened Panama Canal is likely to have a significant impact on global shipping. Here in the U.S., gigantic ships that could only fit on West Coast docks can now get through the canal to the Gulf of Mexico. That means a sizable increase in traffic for the Port of Houston — which has already begun a billion-dollar plan to upgrade its infrastructure.

Prince's Paisley Park will open its doors to fans

Aug 26, 2016
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Reema Khrais

The rumors are true. Paisley Park – Prince’s 65,000 square foot compound outside of Minneapolis – is becoming a museum.

In October, guests will be able to tour through his recording studios, video-editing rooms, rehearsal rooms and the performance hall. They’ll also get glimpses of more personal items: his wardrobe, dozens of instruments, motorcycles, artwork and rare music.

“It keeps his name alive. It keeps his music alive,” said John Kellogg, who teaches music business and management at Berklee College of Music.

A fully public Fed?

Aug 26, 2016
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Sabri Ben-Achour

The Fed is an odd bird.  The headquarters in D.C. is a federal agency, the regional branches are not. You can even tell by the email addresses. Headquarters' addresses usually end in .gov, regional Fed addresses end in .org. 

“The 12 regional banks are private institutions owned by the commercial banks ,” said Andrew Levin, professor of economics at Dartmouth.

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Amy Scott

As kids continue heading back to school, the new book "Policy Patrons" looks at what many see as the outsize role of private philanthropy in public education.

Groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation have spent billions of dollars to promote causes like high school and college completion, charter schools, and the Common Core standards.

Marketplace Tech for Friday, August 26, 2016

Aug 26, 2016
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Marketplace

On today's show, we'll talk about technology's presence at Burning Man, a Nevada festival of art and self-expression; play this week's Silicon Tally with Tricia Berry, director of the Women in Engineering Program at the University of Texas at Austin; and look at how Nextdoor, the social network for neighborhoods, is aiming to get neighbors to do less racial profiling. 

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Marketplace

On today's show, we'll talk about why some want the Fed to change the way it operates; the role of private philanthropy in public education; and the fall opening of Prince's estate, Paisley Park.

Top Federal Reserve officials defended their handling of monetary policy in a freewheeling meeting with liberal activists at the annual Fed conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Much of the meeting centered on whether the Fed should raise interest rates, as it's widely expected to do before the end of the year, and the likely impact of a hike on poor and minority communities.

Today Volkswagen announced a tentative agreement with its 652 franchise dealers in the U.S. The company didn't reveal the price tag but sources tell the Reuter news service the deal is worth $1.2 billion.

According to a statement from the company, Volkswagen has agreed to pay cash to the dealers and "to resolve alleged past, current and future claims of losses in franchise value."

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET with detail on limiting spam

The messaging service WhatsApp is changing its privacy policy for the first time since being bought by Facebook in 2014. The app will begin sharing some of its data and phone numbers with the social network. It will also start testing how businesses, too, can talk to its users, for instance by offering flight or shipping or banking notifications.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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Dan Bobkoff

The residents of Kibera, in Nairobi,  have a message for foreign aid groups in their community: if you want us to come hear what you have to say, you need to pay us. 

So many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have flooded this poor area that many locals have become disillusioned by the foreigners who say they want to help. 

Tesla Motors moved a step closer in its bid to buy SolarCity after federal regulators said the $2.6 billion deal doesn't present antitrust concerns.

Tesla announced plans to purchase the solar panel installer earlier this month, and Reuters says the Federal Trade Commission quickly signed off "because the merging companies have few or no overlaps."

NPR's Jeff Brady has more on the deal:

"Tesla is pursing the acquisition because on top of building cars, the company says it wants to produce the renewable energy that could power them.

If the popularity of quinoa has taught us anything, it's that Americans are increasingly open about exploring grains besides the familiar wheat and rice. Now, researchers at Tennessee State University are hoping consumers are ready to give another ancient grain a try: amaranth.

Amaranth was revered by the Aztecs in Mexico. Today in the U.S., it's mostly grown in people's backyards or on research farms, like an experimental field at Tennessee State University.

City of Milwaukee (Department of City Development)

Could jobs be headed to Milwaukee's north side? A local businessman is hopeful, and he’s talking with others.

Tim Sullivan used to lead South Milwaukee giant Bucyrus, a mining manufacturer. Now he's CEO of REV Group, a firm headquartered in Milwaukee, which makes ambulances, buses, street sweepers and a range of other vehicles.

REV Group has bid on a contract with the United States Postal Service to build vans.

Sullivan says the city's north side would be the perfect place to do the work because of the area's huge labor pool.

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