Business

NPR Tech/Business
11:04 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Facebook's growth: A tale of two headlines

Are its days of "wild user growth" over, or is Facebook "eating the world"?
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 10:32 am

I love this. Here is a headline today at The Wall Street Journal's online edition: "Days of Wild User Growth Appear Over at Facebook."

And over at The Next Web: "Facebook is eating the world, except for China and Russia."

And the best part is the two sites really are telling the same story.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
4:21 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Officials break ground on Seattle's deep-bore tunnel

The excavator that will dig a hole for the world's largest-diameter tunnel boring machine
Ashley Gross KPLU

The long goodbye to Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct has begun.

With some ceremonial scoops of dirt, officials today began digging a pit for the giant machine that will chew up the earth under Seattle like a massive termite creating the deep-bore tunnel.

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News
5:01 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Fines for fatal mining accident less than predicted

The Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho. Photo by Jessica Robinson

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 4:38 pm

The federal government is fining a north Idaho mining company $360,000 for unsafe practices that killed a miner last year. That’s about a third of the penalties that were expected.

Last year federal inspectors said the Hecla Mining Company engaged in “aggravated conduct” when it allowed miners to extract silver ore from a mass of unstable rock. It happened about a mile underground at the Lucky Friday Mine near Mullan, Idaho.

The practices led to a tunnel collapse that killed 53-year-old Larry Marek, according to a investigation.

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Washington wines
4:44 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Gallo buys Columbia Winery and Covey Run Wine

Dan Klimpke Flickr

YAKIMA, Wash. — Washington's wine industry is marking a new milestone with word that the world's largest privately-owned winery has bought two longtime Washington brands.

E. & J. Gallo Winery announced the purchase of Columbia Winery and Covey Run Wine from Ascentia Wine Estates on Monday. The price was not disclosed.

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Business
4:02 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Sayonara, pumpkin scones? Starbucks buys San Francisco bakery chain

Pastries at a La Boulange bakery
AmyHH

Starbucks is thinking beyond cake pops and pumpkin scones. The coffee giant says it’s spending $100 million to buy a company called Bay Bread in San Francisco. It’s an acknowledgement that the company’s baked goods have lagged behind the quality of its coffee.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
7:15 am
Mon June 4, 2012

A Waiting Game For Homeowners Trying To Sell Short

Cathy Yamauchi has been waiting since Thanksgiving to hear from her mortgage lender regarding a short sale of her home in Ramsey, Minn. She is planning to move to a townhome, but is mostly living out of boxes while waiting on the short sale.
Jennifer Simonson MPR

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 8:10 am

Banks are often accused of dragging their feet when a homeowner wants to sell for less than the balance on the mortgage. A lot of those "short sales" might be better dubbed "really long and drawn out" sales. New federal guidelines, though, could now push lenders to approve short sales faster.

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Business
3:51 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

'It's a buying frenzy' - first day of private liquor sales

Alyssa Royse stocked up on tequila, vodka, gin, scotch and vermouth on the first day of private liquor sales.
Ashley Gross KPLU

"It's a buying frenzy. That's why I came - I wanted to see it on the first day. How could I miss it?" - Kyle Johnson outside a Costco in Seattle

The state of Washington has officially bid good riddance to its state-run liquor stores. About five times as many stores will now sell hard liquor, and the new law that went into effect today means shoppers can head to supermarkets to buy vodka or rum. It’s a welcome change for some people, like Alyssa Royse.

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Business
1:03 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Liquor in stores tomorrow; caps may thwart booze thieves

As the liquor privatization law goes into effect, many Washington state supermarkets will add security caps to bottles
Ashley Gross KPLU

A huge shift takes place tomorrow when we’ll be able to walk into a Fred Meyer or Safeway and walk out with a bottle of gin. But if you walk out without paying, beware. You may trigger an alarm. 

It's just like when you buy a pair of jeans and the clerk snaps off a security tag so you don’t beep when you exit the store. Now when you go buy a bottle of booze, you may see something similar. The device is like a thick plastic sheath that covers the top of the bottle, and it’s designed to make thieves think twice.

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Privatizing liquor
8:45 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Liquor initiative upheld by Washington Supreme Court

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Supreme Court has upheld a voter-approved initiative privatizing liquor sales, one day before the initiative takes effect.

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Privatizing liquor
9:28 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Idaho: How will Washington law affect cross-border booze runs?

Could Washington's liquor laws become a boon to Idaho? Photo by Tom Banse

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 5:18 pm

Washington retailers are getting ready for the 78-year-old state monopoly on liquor sales to end this Friday. It’s not yet clear what privatization will do to the price of alcohol in Washington. One entity with a big stake in the matter … is the state of Idaho.

Some of Idaho’s most profitable state-run liquor stores just happen to be along its northwestern border.

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Business
7:42 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Can Seattle sustain another major sports venue?

Could a new basketball and hockey arena hurt ticket sales for other teams in the city? That’s what some King County officials are worried about. The fear is that Seattle could end up with too many big-time sports teams and that there wouldn’t be enough entertainment dollars to go around.

Fake drugs
6:54 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Fake Adderall pills hit the market

If the label of ingredients on the Adderall pack says "singel entity," that's a tip-off for trouble.
FDA/Flickr

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 5:48 am

A shortage of Adderall began last year, sending millions of people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy on perpetual wild goose chases to find drugstores with the pills they need to stay alert and focused.

So it's not surprising that Adderall counterfeiters have seized a big marketing opportunity. What is surprising is their clumsiness.

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NPR Tech/Business
2:48 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Facebook stock falls another 9 percent

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 1:52 pm

Facebook's stock fell $3.07 to end the day at $28.84. That's first time it's fallen below $30 since the stock went public.

That price is also 24 percent below its opening price of $38.

The Wall Street Journal that the drop had to do with negative sentiment about the stock, as well as the fact that today traders were able to trade on derivatives.

The Facebook stock saw so much trading, the Journal reports, that it triggered Nasdaq's short sale circuit-breaker.

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Economy
8:39 am
Mon May 28, 2012

Alaska Airlines tries do-it-yourself luggage tagging

Alaska Airlines will try out a new do-it-yourself luggage tagging system at SeaTac. Photo courtesy Alaska Airlines

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 4:49 pm

Alaska Airlines is trying out a new luggage-tagging system at SeaTac Airport. It relies on customers using new kiosks to weigh their own bags and print out and attach labels.

Travelers still must drop off luggage with agents and show I.D. But airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan says the change should save some time. She says Alaska and its sister carrier Horizon tried out the system last year in Bend.

"We wanted to roll it out very slowly so that we could work out any kinks and basically interact with our customers and find out how they like it."

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Salmon virus
9:56 am
Sat May 26, 2012

Virus found in Washington fish farm; stock killed

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. — A deadly fish virus detected in Washington state waters for the first time has forced a salmon fish farm to kill its entire stock.

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