NPR's business news starts with Target customers targeted.
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INSKEEP: This is the story of a recent cyber-attack on Target customers around the country, which is now under investigation by the giant retailer. Over 1,500 stores may have been compromised, and at least one million customers. It's being described as one of the largest retail breaches to date. The credit card data was apparently stolen with software installed on the machines customers use to swipe their cards.
President Obama's intelligence review panel has produced a report that is hundreds of pages long. The advisors have a list of recommendations for how to protect privacy while still trying to prevent terrorist attacks. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, some of these are recommendations that the Obama White House has long resisted.
The two-year budget deal approved by the Senate on Wednesday is aimed at preventing another government shutdown.
It also includes a familiar annual rider — language to avert a steep pay cut to doctors who treat Medicare patients. But this time might be different, with a fix that lasts. After more than a decade of temporary solutions, it appears Congress might be on the verge of permanently solving its persistent problem in the way it makes Medicare payments to doctors.
"Dear Father Christmas," the letter reads, "my name is Larissa. I know that you are very busy and that you live a long way away in the North Pole, but I'd like to ask you for a gift because my mother doesn't have enough money to buy what I want."
There are piles of similar letters — many decorated with stickers, drawings and hand prints — lying on makeshift tables in the main hall of the post office in downtown Sao Paulo.
Not in North America, necessarily, but "you can't keep fur in stock in Russia," says furrier Greg Tinder. "The higher the price tag you put on it, the faster it sells."
Tinder, who left Saks Fifth Avenue to start his own label, says the East has always been a furrier's dream — think big, plushy Soviet-era hats. But now, with Russia's economy on the rise, there's some new money on the block, and designers know that.
There's one part of Obamacare that doesn't get mentioned a lot, but that could end up being a big deal. It sets up experiments in hospitals all over the country to try to figure out how to save money without lowering the quality of care.
On today's show, we visit a hospital in Akron, Ohio that's engaged in one of these experiments. We sit in on a tense conversation where doctors argue about why it's so hard to start surgery on time. And we hear what happens when you change the way hospitals and doctors get paid.
Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 6:24 pm
The Senate passed a two-year bipartisan budget deal aimed at easing automatic spending cuts and avoiding a government shutdown, following a House vote on the measure last week.
The vote by a simple majority was absent the partisan brinksmanship that has become a hallmark of budget deals in recent memory.
The appropriations committees in both chambers must now set in stone a $1.012 trillion fiscal 2014 spending bill before current spending authority expires. Congress also faces a spring 2014 to raise the debt ceiling — another potential partisan standoff.
In the past five years, the Federal Reserve has created roughly $3 trillion out of thin air.
The Fed uses the money it creates out of thin air to buy bonds. The idea is to drive down interest rates, which encourages people and businesses to borrow and spend money. It's called quantitative easing.
Melissa Block talks with Paul Crompton, executive producer at Barge Pole Productions, about train robber Ronnie Biggs, who died Wednesday at 84. Crompton made the film The Great Train Robber's Secret Tapes with former Daily Express reporter Colin MacKenzie, who tracked the robber to Rio after he escaped from prison, and recorded his interviews with him over a period of days.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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This week we're dipping our toes into the waters around the British Isles. We're exploring a few of the places behind the names listed in what's known as the Shipping Forecast. It's basically a report of sea and weather conditions around the isles, broadcast several times a day on BBC Radio.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block. Activists in Syria say the most intense bombardment of that country's civil war is now in its fourth day. Government aircraft are dumping barrels packed with explosives on the city of Aleppo. Close to 200 people have been killed in the assault so far, according to the group Doctors Without Borders.
Washington Irving High used to be a large school of 4,000 students. But today, the elegant, century-old building, its walls painted with murals depicting scenes from New York history, is home to seven separate schools.
The changes at this school, near the hustle and bustle of Manhattan's Union Square, offer a window into the imprint outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made on the city's public school system.