Business

Business
11:32 am
Thu October 16, 2014

As Oil Prices Fall, Who Wins And Who Loses?

Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, shown in Kuwait last month, has played down the drop in oil prices. The country continues to pump oil at high levels, saying it wants to preserve its market share. But this has also contributed to a 25 percent drop in oil prices since June.
Yasser Al-Zayyat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 1:47 pm

With oil around $85 a barrel and tumbling to its lowest levels in several years, here's the upside: Gasoline prices are down, the U.S. is feeling less dependent on foreign crude, and serious economic pressure is growing on oil producers such as Iran and Russia.

Here's the downside: The low demand for oil reflects a fragile global economy that's vulnerable to additional shocks, like falling stock markets around the world.

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Business
11:52 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Reviving A Southern Industry, From Cotton Field To Clothing Rack

Fashion designer Natalie Chanin stands in front of in-progress garments at the Alabama Chanin Factory. Chanin and Billy Reid, internationally acclaimed designers, have teamed up to test the concept of organic, sustainable cotton farming and garment-making.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 2:31 pm

You've probably heard of "farm to table," but how about "field to garment"? In Alabama, acclaimed fashion houses Alabama Chanin and Billy Reid have a new line of organic cotton clothing made from their own cotton field.

It's not just an experiment in keeping production local; it's an attempt to revive the long tradition of apparel-making in the Deep South. North Alabama was once a hub for textile manufacturing, with readily available cotton and access to cheap labor. But the industry all but disappeared after NAFTA became law, as operations moved overseas.

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Business
2:36 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Bedbugs, Lava And Bowling Balls: Inside My Homeowners Insurance Policy

The details in a homeowners insurance policy are amazing
Jacob Goldstein NPR

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 8:02 am

My homeowners insurance policy reads as though somebody took all of the bad things that can happen in the world and divided them into two buckets: stuff that is covered and stuff that is not covered.

I'm covered for damage from fire, lightning and malicious mischief. I'm covered if a volcano spews lava onto my house. It's right here under "Additional Coverages." Paragraph 10. "Volcanic Action."

But there's this other section, "Losses Not Insured," that tells you how insurance really works. For example, Paragraph 2, Subparagraph e:

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Business
2:33 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Sayonara To 'Super-Size Me'? Food Companies Cut Calories, So Do We

Wouldn't this salad make a healthful addition to your pizza for dinner?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 7:48 am

It just might be the dawn of a new era in American eating. Two-thirds of us are now more likely to go for foods marketed as lower-calorie and "better for you," and that means we're finally eating fewer calories.

But all this calorie-cutting from our cookies and cupcakes isn't just benevolent behavior on the part of the big food and beverage companies. It's also good for their bottom line.

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Business
6:48 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Marvel's New Hero Wants To Save The World — And The Citrus Industry

A new comic features Captain Citrus teaming up with the Avengers to defeat a villain. The new superhero, who uses the power of the sun to generate "energy items," is sponsored by Florida's citrus industry.
Florida Citrus

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 4:40 pm

Marvel's latest superhero, Captain Citrus, draws his power from the sun and hails from a Florida orange grove. And here's his true origin story: He was developed by Marvel for Florida's citrus growers, who hope the hero will use his powers to help them sell more orange juice.

Captain Of An Industry

Marvel's successful films and comics, from Spider-Man to The Avengers to Guardians of the Galaxy, have made them a hit with not just audiences, but also businesses.

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Business
11:08 am
Wed September 17, 2014

How Catholic Insurance Companies Outsource Contraceptive Coverage

Contraceptive coverage has long been required by state laws or sought by nonreligious employers the religious health plans serve.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:15 am

Catholic and other religious hospitals and universities have been arguing in federal court for much of the past two years that they shouldn't have to offer or facilitate birth control as part of their employee health plans because it violates their religious beliefs.

But what happens when the insurance company is itself Catholic? It turns out that Catholic health plans have for years been arranging for outside firms to provide contraceptive coverage to their enrollees.

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Business
1:51 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

BP Lawyers Use Old-School Trick; Judge Not Amused

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled nearly two weeks ago that BP acted recklessly in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig accident and oil spill.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:04 am

Back in school, did you ever fudge the spacing on a report to meet the teacher's page-length requirement? Lawyers representing oil company BP tried something similar in a recent court filing connected to the company's 2010 drilling rig accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Business
2:43 am
Tue September 16, 2014

With U.S. Oil Supply Climbing, Some Call For End To Export Ban

Pump jacks are seen in an oil field over the Monterey Shale formation near Lost Hills, Calif. Much of the U.S. oil industry wants to lift an export ban that followed the 1970s energy crisis.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 9:37 am

An oil drilling boom that has made the U.S. the world's leading oil and petroleum product producer has some people urging an end to the four-decade ban on exporting domestic crude.

Some in the oil industry are launching a campaign to lift the ban, and they hope to win over a skeptical public.

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Business
5:31 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Despite Latest BP Spill Ruling, Deepwater Drilling in the Gulf Still Worth It

Credit U.S. Coast Guard

BP was to blame — that was U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s ruling a week ago in the case over the Macondo well disaster. The judge found Transocean, which was operating the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010, and cement contractor Haliburton at fault too. But Barbier said BP was guilty of “gross negligence”. And that could mean that payouts by BP balloon to $50 billion or more ultimately.

Dr. Jim Richardson, professor of public administration and economics at LSU explains some of the business implications.


Business
2:22 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Here's What's Becoming Of America's Dead Shopping Malls

New transit-oriented, mixed-use walkable downtowns, like this one in Rockville, Md., are often replacing indoor shopping malls and strip malls that once defined suburban America.
Federal Realty Investment Trust Courtesy of WDG Architecture

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 9:56 am

Chances are your local mall is hurting. There are roughly 1,200 enclosed malls in the U.S. and only about a third of them are doing well.

Online shopping, the recession and demographic shifts are some of the factors killing shopping malls. And as these changes leave behind huge concrete carcasses, they're being "reimagined" into everything from medical centers to hockey rinks.

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