Harriet Jones / WNPR

Pratt and Whitney says 2014 was a transformational year for the company, and it’s ready to put development problems behind it, as its new family of engines goes into service this year. 

Some typical crowdfunding proposals posted online may look like this: Help my band record our next album or please contribute to my child's medical expenses.

But here's one thing the average investor can't do through crowdfunding: buy stake in a private company. That policy, however, is under closer scrutiny. With more competition for venture capital funding, equity crowdfunding is getting more attention.


United Technologies Corp. has announced a change in leadership at Sikorsky Aircraft, less than a month after announcing it may spin off the helicopter-making subsidiary.

UTC on Thursday appointed Robert Leduc as president of Sikorsky, moving predecessor Mick Maurer to the newly created role of UTC senior vice president of strategic projects. 

Pratt and Whitney

Jet engine maker Pratt and Whitney is harnessing big data to try to cut down on engine maintenance problems, and save airlines money. 


Connecticut’s Starwood Hotels and Resorts is one of the companies condemning efforts by state legislatures to pass discriminatory legislation. 

The current upheaval in Yemen is a sharp reminder of the fragility of the global oil market. Airstrikes by Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels in Yemen has stoked fears of a disruption to the supply market.

Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, share a long border. While Yemen is only a small producer of crude oil, it controls the Bab el-Mandeb Strait at the southern entrance to the Red Sea.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut is one of just two or three places in the U.S. where stationary fuel cells are made on a large scale. While it's been an important industry here for decades, it's never been profitable. But could that be about to change? 

Brad Bedard / Creative Commons

Connecticut is one step closer to adding more casinos. The legislature's public safety and security committee voted this week 15-to-eight in favor of the legislation

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut lawmakers are considering an expansion of the state’s gambling enterprise, urged forward by competition from Massachusetts. Operators of Connecticut's two existing casinos believe that if this legislation passes, their business will remain competitive.

On Thursday, the legislation -- Senate Bill 1090 An Act Concerning Gaming -- was approved 15 to eight by the General Assembly's Public Safety and Security Committee. It awaits further action in the Senate to clarify details still under negotiation.

Grendelkhan / Creative Commons

Snowstorms are being blamed for a drop in revenue and slot machine bets at Connecticut's two casinos last month.

Creative Commons

United Technologies will move from its long-time Hartford headquarters to another office in Farmington. The move is aimed at saving $100 million in overhead cost. 

On Tuesday, a California federal jury delivered its verdict after eight days of trial testimony examining whether Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright for Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”

The Gaye estate walked away with a victory and Thicke and Williams were ordered to pay more than $7 million in damages, plus profits attributable to infringement. It is a sad day for the “Blurred Lines” duo, but what could the ruling mean for the music industry?

Beasts of No Nation is the story of a West African child who is forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters. Actor Idris Elba portrays a brutal warlord who recruits the child soldier.

Fast food giant McDonald's announced Wednesday it will begin sourcing chickens raised without antibiotics.

Over the next two years, the chain says its U.S. restaurants — which number around 14,000 — will transition to the new antibiotics policy, which prohibits suppliers from using antibiotics critical to treating human illness.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Pratt and Whitney has completely changed the way it builds its engines. The company unveiled a revamped production line at its Middletown plant, which it says will help it keep up with a huge increase in demand. 

The Federal Communications Commission approved the policy known as net neutrality by a 3-2 vote at its Thursday meeting, with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saying the policy will ensure "that no one — whether government or corporate — should control free open access to the Internet."

The Open Internet Order helps to decide an essential question about how the Internet works, requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways — and at different costs.

"Today is a red-letter day," Wheeler said Thursday.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, is continuing support for a broadband initiative started under former Democratic governor Deval Patrick. The state is releasing $50 million of previously approved capital funding to expand internet connectivity in western Massachusetts.

John Narewski / U.S. Navy

The retired Navy admiral who served until last year as the top officer at the Groton base has been hired as an executive at submarine builder Electric Boat.

The company says Kenneth Perry will begin work next week as its Washington-based vice president of program integration and concept development.

Governor Dannel Malloy / Twitter

An executive at a Connecticut vaccine manufacturer said it is difficult to consider expanding in the state because the governor's administration won't commit to buying the vaccine for state workers.

Dan Adams, executive chairman of Meriden-based Protein Sciences, which makes the Flublok vaccine, said he was frustrated that Governor Dannel Malloy received a flu shot made by an overseas company. A Malloy spokesman said the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District administered the vaccine to the governor last Friday, using what was available.


More than a million people in Connecticut are potentially at risk from the massive data breach at health insurer Anthem. The company is the biggest insurer in the state, and also covers 200,000 state employees and retirees. 

Governor Dannel Malloy said Thursday he’s pushed Anthem to provide two years of credit monitoring for everyone affected. But he said Anthem customers should also take steps to protect themselves.

"Monitor your accounts, look for suspicious activity," Malloy appealed. "The criminals who stole this information may look to open up new lines of credit, steal tax refunds, obtain new credit cards or take other fraudulent actions, so be alert."

The call for more systemic changes to prevent mega-hacks is getting louder after hackers hit Anthem, the nation's second-largest health insurer. The company says cyberthieves gained access to the addresses, employment information and Social Security numbers of 80 million customers and employees.

Eighty million individuals is a lot — it's roughly the populations of California, Texas and Illinois combined.

[At the top of this post, you'll find a discussion I had with Stephen Thompson, my Pop Culture Happy Hour co-panelist, about the Oscar nominations. Tomorrow's full PCHH episode more fully covers the film Selma.]

If you've traveled outside the U.S. recently, or sent your U.S.-made products abroad, you've probably noticed that the dollar is getting stronger. The stronger dollar is the sign of a healthier U.S. economy, but its strength has the potential to erode growth.

There are a number of factors behind the dollar's rise, says economist Jens Nordvig, a currency expert at Nomura Securities. The main one is the health of the U.S. economy.

Updated at 4:48 p.m. ET

President Obama is expected to lay out plans today intended to make it easier for cities, towns and rural communities to offer their citizens fast and cheap broadband Internet.

Online Security: A Battle You Just Can’t Win?

Jan 13, 2015
Hlib Shabashnyi/iStock / Thinkstock

The highly publicized hacking of Sony Pictures and Monday’s infiltration of Central Command’s Twitter account are just two of the most recent examples of Internet crime.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is trying to persuade his fellow OPEC leaders to reduce oil production as the price of crude continues to slide and hurt the Venezuelan economy, which depends on oil for 95 percent of its export revenue.

Maduro was in Qatar this week, seeking billions to shore up his economy.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

These days of falling oil prices may be causing alternative fuel suppliers a few sleepless nights. But one tiny company in Eastern Connecticut is forging ahead with plans to break into the fuel pellet market with a surprising new ingredient. 

Senator Chris Murphy said he believes he can get debate this session on one of his signature issues – making the U.S. government buy American more often. / wikimedia

WNPR’s Business Desk has a tradition at this time of year of asking our contributors from around the state to reflect on the year just past, and make a few predictions for the future. 

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

More than 200 theaters will now show The Interview on Christmas Day, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures tells NPR.

Sony had pulled the controversial comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after ominous threats were made, allegedly by a group that hacked the studio's emails. The nation's largest theater chains had also said they won't show the movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.