Business and Economy

The Salt
4:26 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

Food companies spend a lot of time and resources coming up with the perfect plastic packaging to keep their products fresh.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:39 pm

Like it or not, plastic packaging has become an ingrained part of the food system.

While it's clearly wasteful to buy salad, sandwiches and chips encased in plastic and then promptly throw that plastic away, we take for granted how it keeps so much of what we eat fresh and portable.

And behind many of those packages that allow us to eat on the go or savor perishable cookies or fish imported from the other side of the globe is a whole lot of science and innovation.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:21 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers of a lockout if a contract deal isn't settled by July 31.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:22 pm

The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.

For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.

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Business
2:33 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

4 Theories About Why Wal-Mart Changed Its U.S. Chief

Bill Simon, head of Wal-Mart's U.S. division, is leaving the retail giant after being passed over for the company's top post.
Rick Wilking Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 3:23 pm

Bill Simon, head of Wal-Mart's U.S. division, is leaving the retail giant, the company said Thursday.

Any major shake-up at Wal-Mart is closely watched because the company is so important — it tops the Fortune 500 list with annual sales approaching a half-trillion dollars. So lots of people are speculating about what Simon's departure really means. Here are some theories:

The Simplest Explanation

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The Two-Way
7:19 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Book News: Amazon Exec Says Hachette Is Using Authors 'As Human Shields'

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 7:44 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Business
6:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Rural Startups, Often Overlooked, Are The Focus Of New Investment Programs

Copyright 2014 North Country Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/.

Business
6:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

New Rules Proposed For Oil-Carrying Trains In Wake Of Fiery Crashes

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Economy
5:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

How High Debt From The Housing Collapse Still Stifles Our Economy

An artist's installation shows pre-foreclosed homes in Newark, N.J., in July 2009 at the Queens Museum of Art in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 12:05 pm

"Foreclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure."

Real estate broker John Susani drives down a Paterson, N.J., street where every third house seems to be abandoned or boarded up. During the boom years, money flooded into Paterson.

"The banking industry allowed everyone to be a homeowner; they gave mortgages to people [just because they were] breathing," Susani says.

In some cases, he says, home prices jumped as much as 50 percent. The homes on these streets aren't worth nearly that much anymore.

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NPR Story
5:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

As Millions Of People Fast For Ramadan, Does The Economy Suffer?

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:39 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

GM Recalls Nearly 718,000 Vehicles For 'Varying Safety Issues'

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 3:01 pm

Announcing six different safety recalls Wednesday, GM said it needs to fix problems that range from a turn-signal bug to an unpredictable loss of power steering. The flaws were found in vehicles from model years 2011 to 2015.

GM says no deaths and only two crashes have been linked to the recalls, which come in a year that has already seen the Detroit carmaker recall nearly 30 million vehicles worldwide. The company has "passed the 22 million vehicles recalled by all automakers last year," the AP says.

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Parallels
12:12 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

After Two Disasters, Can Malaysia Airlines Still Attract Passengers?

Malaysia Airlines had been struggling even before two of its flights were lost this year. Analysts say the national carrier faces either bankruptcy or privatization.
Mohd Rasfan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 9:36 pm

The year 2014 is well on its way to being Malaysia Airlines' annus horribilis. Flight 17, shot down last week over eastern Ukraine, is the second Boeing 777 the airline has lost in the past five months, after MH370 disappeared, it's believed, somewhere over the Indian Ocean.

But even before the double calamity, Malaysia's national carrier was struggling to adapt to momentous shifts in Asia's aviation industry.

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