industry

Oscar Noms
9:38 am
Thu January 15, 2015

At The Oscar Nominations, It's A Good Year To Be An Idiosyncratic Man

In Birdman, Michael Keaton (a real-life former Batman) plays a former movie superhero who's trying to get a grasp on his career.
Atsushi Nishijima/ Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 1:26 pm

[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.]

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Business
6:48 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Dollar's Rise Is Good News For The U.S., For Now

A pedestrian passes a currency exchange in London Jan. 5. The value of the U.S. dollar has risen about 15 percent against the euro since last summer.
Andy Rain EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 8:17 pm

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.

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Municipal Internet
5:16 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Broadband A 'Necessity,' Obama Says, As He Pushes FCC To Expand Access

President Obama speaks at Cedar Falls Utilities in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Wednesday. He encouraged the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt state laws that stifle competition for high-speed Internet service.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:58 pm

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.

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Technology
4:06 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

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

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.

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Price of Crude
3:20 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

OPEC Members Feeling The Pain Of Falling Oil Prices

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is welcomed by Saudi Crown Prince Salman in Riyadh on Sunday. The meeting was part of Maduro's diplomatic tour of OPEC members to discuss falling oil prices, which have hit Venezuela's economy hard.
Reuters /Landov

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.

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Alternative Energy
2:38 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Big Ambitions for Alternative Fuel Pellet Business in Norwich

Dr. Michael Curtis of Frog City Fuels in Norwich, Connecticut.
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. 

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Defense Procurement
2:12 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Sen. Chris Murphy Pursues Strengthened "Buy American" Legislation

Senator Chris Murphy

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.

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New Year Reflections
7:42 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

Some 2015 Predictions from Connecticut's Business Community

"Vuurwerk in New York"
PDPhoto.org 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. 

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Movies
8:20 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

'The Interview' To Play In More Than 200 Theaters On Christmas Day

A poster for The Interview. Some theaters now say they will show the comedy, which Sony Pictures had pulled following threats.
Jim Ruymen UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 8:32 am

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.

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Product Safety
11:32 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Keurig Recalls 7 Million Coffee Machines Following Reports Of Burns

Keurig is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31).
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:50 pm

Keurig, the company that makes the popular single-serve coffee machines, is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31), the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today.

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Rhode Island
3:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Rhode Island Governor-Elect Taps Stefan Pryor as First Commerce Secretary

Stefan Pryor in a WNPR file photo.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Rhode Island's governor-elect Gina Raimondo has picked Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, a fellow Yale alum with experience leading economic-development efforts in New York and New Jersey, as her choice to be Rhode Island's first commerce secretary.

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Springfield
3:24 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Hundreds Hear MGM Officials Outline Casino Construction Plans

Hundreds attended a construction information meeting hosted by MGM Resorts,which plans to start building an $800 resort casino in downtown Springfield next year

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 10:52 am

More than 400 business owners, contractors, and tradesmen packed a meeting Thursday morning to find out how to bid for work building the MGM Springfield casino. 

MGM officials outlined a construction timetable, explained hiring goals for women, minorities and veterans, and provided contact information. Hunter Clayton, MGM Resorts top construction official said building the casino, hotel, retail stores, restaurants and other amenities is a unique and special project.

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Hartford History
9:10 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Senate Vote Nears on Making Hartford's Coltsville a National Park

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra in October 2013 announced a plan to borrow $5 million and build more apartments at the former Colt factory.
Credit David Panagore

The effort to turn Hartford's historic Colt gun factory into a national park is continuing. 

A century and a half ago, the Colt complex was where Sam and Elizabeth Colt made the revolver. Now, it's a fundamental part of the country's industrial history, and supporters want to turn it and some of the surrounding neighborhood into a national park.

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Still Revolutionary
8:21 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Key Issues Forum Focuses on Innovation

Dan Haar moderates the Key Issues Forum.
CPBN

The Hartford Courant presented a Key Issues Forum on Thursday morning in collaboration with the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network. 

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Journalism
2:51 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Alan Rusbridger, Editor Of 'Guardian,' To Step Down

Alan Rusbridger said today that he will step down as editor in chief of the Guardian next summer. Rusbridger oversaw the U.K. newspaper's publication of Edward Snowden's leak of classified material.
Alastair Grant AP

Alan Rusbridger, best known in the U.S. for shepherding the Guardian newspaper through its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of Edward Snowden's leaks of classified material, will step down as editor in chief of the British newspaper next summer. He said today he will become the chairman of the Scott Trust, which runs the Guardian.

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Springfield
10:10 am
Wed December 10, 2014

MGM To Discuss Casino Construction Plans With Interested Builders

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:40 am

MGM officials have invited contractors to a meeting this week in Springfield, Massachusetts to discuss the company’s casino construction plans.

At the public meeting Thursday at the MassMutual Convention Center, there will be a presentation about the design and the construction timetable for the $800 million development in downtown Springfield.  Chris Boss, a carpenter from West Springfield said a project of this scope is a once in a lifetime opportunity for people in the construction trades.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
11:24 am
Tue December 9, 2014

UTC Appoints New CFO

UTC's new CFO, Akhil Johri.
Credit United Technologies

United Technologies is bringing back a long-time executive to serve as chief financial officer.

Akhil Johri succeeds Greg Hayes, who became president and CEO of the conglomerate last month after the unexpected departure of CEO Louis Chenevert. 

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Olive Oil
6:11 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Olive Oil Producers In 'Crisis' From Weather, Pests And Disease

Damaged olives hang in the grove belonging to Augusto Spagnoli, an oil producer from Nerola, near Rome. Producers and experts declared Italy's 2014 olive harvest the worst in history, due to adverse climatic conditions that helped the olive fly proliferate, thus destroying the olives before they could be harvested.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:15 pm

There's been a dramatic drop in oil production, but it's not barrels of light sweet crude. It's olive oil.

Curtis Cord, publisher of the Olive Oil Times, tells Audie Cornish on All Things Considered there are many reasons why production has fallen so much in Italy and Spain this year.

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Health Care
11:32 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Operating Profits Drop at Connecticut Hospitals: New Report

Windham Hospital in Willimantic.
Credit C-HIT

Connecticut’s acute-care hospitals saw gains from their operations tumble 35 percent in the last fiscal year, with seven of 29 hospitals reporting operating losses, according to a new state report.

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Technology
4:14 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Apple's Success Continues Under Tim Cook, But Steve Jobs Still Looms Large

Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple's market capitalization neared $700 billion late last month.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 5:55 pm

Since Tim Cook has been CEO of Apple, the company's market capitalization (or the value of its outstanding shares) has increased by more than $300 billion. On Nov. 26, it reached its highest level yet, almost $698 billion.

Numerically, this is a feat. Quartz says, "In nominal terms no company has ever been as big as Apple." Of course, Quartz goes on to say that, adjusted for inflation, Microsoft was bigger at its 1990s peak.

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Orion
5:45 am
Tue December 2, 2014

NASA Prepares To Test New Spacecraft (That You've Likely Never Heard Of)

The Orion capsule is poised to make its first test flight Thursday. If all goes as planned, the unmanned vehicle will orbit Earth twice before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Kim Shiflett NASA

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 3:43 pm

NASA is about to launch a new spaceship into orbit, and Mallory Loe has never heard of it.

"I mean, technically, NASA doesn't have another spaceship, do they?" she asks incredulously during a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

She's hardly the only one who doesn't know about this new spacecraft. In fact, none of a half-dozen tourists NPR interviewed in the museum's lobby was aware of the Orion spaceship.

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Emissions
3:12 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

EPA Proposes New Rules To Curb Ozone Levels

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy testifies at an oversight hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 23.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 1:49 pm

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new rules today to reduce emission levels for smog-causing ozone, which is linked to asthma and other health problems.

The draft measure calls for lowering the threshold for ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 ppb and 70 ppb. The agency said it would take comments on an ozone level as low as 60 ppb.

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Corporate Leadership
2:15 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Mystery Surrounds UTC Change of Command

New UTC CEO Greg Hayes
Credit UTC

Investors and employees have been left baffled by the sudden resignation of Louis Chenevert, the chief executive of United Technologies. 

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Connecticut Business Briefs
9:12 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Pfizer, Merck in Cancer Drug Partnership

Cancer cells in a 3D rendering. Merck and Pfizer will initially target lung and ovarian cancer.
Credit iStock / Thinkstock

Pfizer has signed a major cancer drug deal with German firm Merck. The news dampens speculation that Pfizer is still interested in a renewed bid for British drug maker AstraZeneca. 

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Automobiles
4:29 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

For Best-Selling Truck, Ford Bets Big On Aluminum

A 2015 F-150 rolls off the assembly line at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The aluminum-sided F-150 could set a new industry standard — or cost the company its pickup truck crown.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 5:30 pm

The first 2015 Ford F-150 rolled off the assembly line this week, and it is no normal truck. The new F-150 pickup is the first with an aluminum body, making it hundreds of pounds lighter than its predecessors.

Ford isn't taking this gamble on just any truck — the F-150 is the company's most important vehicle. Morgan Stanley estimates the F-Series truck line and SUV derivatives represent 90 percent of Ford's global profits.

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Business
5:43 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

As Casinos Fold, Stakes Are High For Atlantic City Transformation

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian stands in front of an outdoor goods store under construction. The state's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority contributed land and $12 million for the project.
Rob Szypko NPR

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 6:46 pm

In gambling, they say, the house always wins. But that hasn't been the case in Atlantic City this year. By year's end, the city that once had an East Coast monopoly on gaming may lose its fifth casino.

The city is reeling from the closures. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that the first order of business is to "stop the bleeding." So city and state officials are trying to reposition Atlantic City by literally building it up.

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Fishing Industry
4:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Regulators Ban Cod Fishing In Gulf Of Maine As Stocks Dwindle

Fishermen Ed Stewart (left) and Tannis Goodsen mend groundfishing nets on Merrill Wharf, in Portland, Maine, last November.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 2:13 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown, Mass., up to the Canadian border, in an effort to reverse plummeting numbers of the iconic fish in the Gulf of Maine.

Starting Thursday, no fishermen — commercial or recreational — may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod for the next six months. Local cod fishermen, who now face an uncertain future, say the government hasn't done enough to maintain cod populations, and they challenge NOAA's cod counts.

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Technology
7:23 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Microsoft Wants To Mine Data Like A Social Network

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at the Future Decoded conference in London on Nov. 10. The company hopes to create new social tools to increase productivity in and out of the workplace.
Kevin Coombs Reuters /Landov

Microsoft — a company most associated with Word documents and Excel spreadsheets — is getting a makeover.

Under new leadership, the software developer is analyzing vast troves of data about its users to create social tools for the workplace. They've got the goods — just think of all those Office emails that bind us together — but the question is, will customers want to cozy up socially with Microsoft, on and off the job?

Old Data, New Strategy

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Business
3:45 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Frontier Offers Refunds to Customers Affected by Outage

Credit Thinkstock

Frontier Communications said it will offer refunds to customers who have been affected by outages in service. The Stamford-based company just switched over all of AT&T'’s landline, Internet and streaming video customers.

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Sexual Orientation
9:04 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook Comes Out As Gay

Apple CEO Tim Cook waves to a crowd before he is honored by the Alabama Academy of Honor at the Alabama state Capitol on Monday.
Brynn Anderson AP

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 4:15 pm

Tim Cook, the head of the world's most iconic technology company, has come out today in an op-ed on Bloomberg Businessweek, saying he's never denied his sexual orientation but "I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now.

"Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day," Cook writes.

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