Economy

Financial and business news

If you've stopped for gas lately, you've probably noticed a price jump.

A week ago, the national average for a gallon of regular gas was around $1.70. Now it's about $1.80, according to GasBuddy.com, which tracks prices.

So rising gas prices must reflect shrinking oil supplies, right?

Nope.

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Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp. who was charged Tuesday with orchestrating a conspiracy, has died in a car crash.

The fatal crash occurred Wednesday morning, the Oklahoma City Police Department said on Twitter.

The local media are calling it the "Robin Hood" budget. The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, eager to win support among the urban and rural poor, is announcing programs to improve conditions for low-income people and provide tax breaks for necessities and items that might improve their lives.

Meanwhile, to bring in more funds for government spending, there are now higher taxes for luxury items.

Removing any doubt about whether you're allowed to puff away on an electronic cigarette while airborne, the Department of Transportation has explicitly banned vaping on commercial flights.

Medical device maker Olympus Corp., already under federal investigation for its role in superbug outbreaks, has agreed to pay $646 million to resolve criminal and civil probes into illegal kickbacks and bribes to doctors and hospitals.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that the company's settlement is the largest ever for violations of the U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute. A portion of the company's payout, $22.8 million, will resolve similar bribery allegations in Latin America.

Sports Authority has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, looking to restructure its debt and close a number of stores to try to regain its financial foothold.

The sporting goods retailer is carrying a heavy debt load.

In its restructuring, Sports Authority plans to access nearly $600 million in debtor-in-possession financing and close or sell approximately 140 stores and two distribution centers. The company operates more than 460 locations.

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow Tuesday to nascent efforts to track the quality and cost of health care, ruling that a 1974 law precludes states from requiring that every health care claim involving their residents be submitted to a massive database.

The arguments were arcane, but the effect is clear: We're a long way off from having a true picture of the country's health care spending, especially differences in the way hospitals treat patients and doctors practice medicine.

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The U.S. Postal Service is in dire financial straits. If the price of stamps goes down as scheduled in April, it could cost the already hemorrhaging post office $2 billion per year, according to a statement released by USPS.

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Chances are, you've never heard of flubendiamide. It's not among the most toxic insecticides, and it's not among the widely used chemicals, either. In recent years, it has been used on about a quarter of the nation's tobacco and 14 percent of almonds, peppers and watermelons.

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Google's self-driving car has hit an obstacle. That's actually not a figure of speech, it is a literal fact. On February 14, one of Google's self-driving prototypes hit a bus.

When Godwin Ndosi first heard the word "Airbnb," he said, "Airbnb? Is that the name of a person?

Now it's the way he makes his living.

His introduction to the accommodations rental website came a year ago. Ndosi, a 23-year-old from Arusha, Tanzania, runs a safari business. A client had nowhere to stay after his hotel plans fell apart, so Ndosi invited him to spend the night at his pad.

The badge denoting a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the star worn by Knights of the Order of the Bath and other famous British medals are slated to be produced in France next year — a decision that has brought criticism from Britons who don't want their country's highest honors made on foreign soil.

While a caffeinated workforce is generally a happy one, it may not be an efficient one — at least, not from a planetary point of view, according to the German city of Hamburg. As part of a wider effort to reduce waste and energy consumption, Hamburg has banned the use of coffee pods in government-run buildings, offices and institutions like schools and universities.

For many years, cellphone operators around the world have complained about Facebook and Google: The American tech giants use the operators' cables and towers to hand out free phone calls and messaging services to people in their countries, eating into profits and grabbing customers' data.

Recently, one operator, Telenor, decided: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And in the process, it hunted down the kind of link between people's digital and physical personas that not even Google has.

After A Terrorist Attack, A Fingerprint Drive

FBI Director James Comey says encryption is making phones "warrantproof" — and the agency's dispute with Apple over an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters shows the challenges encryption poses in criminal and counterterrorism investigations.

When Samuel Smith graduated with a master's in engineering from Cornell, he thought the $190,000 in debt he incurred would pay off. But it took him a while to land job at a software firm in Austin, Texas. And now, after paying $1,750 a month in loan payments, rent and food, he says he doesn't have much left over.

He doesn't own a TV and says "it'd be nice to go out for drinks once in a while."

Clear Channel Outdoor — one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the U.S. — is starting a new program called Radar that will use billboards to map real-world habits and behaviors from nearby consumers.

The technology is sure to help advertisers better target their ads. But privacy advocates argue that it's, well, a little creepy.

A magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court in New York has handed Apple a legal victory in a Brooklyn drug case where federal investigators asked for help getting into a locked iPhone.

For decades massive, open-pit coal mines have been feeding the country's appetite for energy. Once coal companies are done with the land, they're supposed to restore it. But as America's coal industry declines, it may not have the funding to keep its cleanup promises.

The technology of the day has everything to do with how you get your music — and the music business is pushing more and more toward streaming.

With services like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and Apple Music, there are a bunch of companies that want your ears — and your money.

With Spotlight winning the Oscar for Best Picture, NPR's Audie Cornish talks to Sacha Pfeiffer, one of the reporters portrayed in the film who worked to break the story of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. This story originally aired on Nov. 9, 2015 on All Things Considered.

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Argentina has reached an agreement with some of its creditors that should help end a long and acrimonious dispute that has blocked the country from the international bond markets.

The deal, which must be approved by Argentina's Congress, calls for the government to pay $4.653 billion to four of the so-called holdout U.S. hedge funds. That equals about 75 percent of what they claimed they were owed.

Denmark is once again distinguishing itself in the race against food waste — this time, with a supermarket hawking items once destined for the trash bin.

Those items might include treats for a holiday that happened last week, a ripped box of cornflakes, plain white rice mislabeled as basmati, or anything nearing its expiration date. In other words, perfectly edible items that are nonetheless considered unfit for sale by the retailers and manufacturers who donate them.

This post was updated on March 4.

On March 7, the film that won the Oscar for best documentary, short subject, will have its television premiere, airing on HBO at 9 p.m..

A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness is by Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The 40-minute documentary tackles the tough topic of honor killings in Pakistan, from a rare point of view: a survivor's. Saba, an 18-year-old girl, was shot and thrown in a river by her own family for secretly eloping with her lover — and lived to tell the tale.

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