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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The showdown between the FBI and Apple could result in huge changes for security and privacy, but one thing it may not do is deliver a big break in the San Bernardino case.

Ask anyone "How was your flight?" and you'll likely hear some kind of complaint: It was late, my luggage was lost, there was no legroom.

And it appears that more airline passengers are not just sounding off to friends and family, but are filing official complaints with the government.

New figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation show a large increase in the number of consumer complaints against airlines last year, even as the airlines are showing slight improvements in on-time performance and how well they provide other services.

It's hard to overstate the tech world's fascination with the legal standoff between the FBI and Apple. Laymen might look at the dispute and shrug; after all, the FBI is just asking Apple to help hack into one phone, and it's not unusual for tech companies to help the police.

In a few days, Apple will formulate its formal response to the federal judge's order seeking the company's help for the FBI to get inside a phone used by Syed Farook, one of the attackers in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A leaking natural gas storage well on the outskirts of Los Angeles has been permanently sealed and shut down, after spewing methane into the atmosphere for months, California officials say.

These things we know for sure:

  • The sun rises in the East.
  • The Earth is round.
  • Wal-Mart sales increase every year.

Oops. We'll need to scratch that last one.

On Wednesday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported that that for the fiscal year ended in January, annual revenues totaled $482.1 billion — down 0.7 percent from the previous year's $485.7 billion.

The Freedom 251 smartphone, which went on sale Thursday, has sparked intense interest in India and beyond. Priced at 251 rupees ($3.65), the 3G device is being called the cheapest smartphone in the world. But it's also sparking questions about how the phone works — and whether it's legal.

Updated at 8:11 p.m. E.T.

California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health rejected proposed regulations Thursday that would have required actors in all pornographic films statewide to use condoms.

Cal/OSHA's Standards Board voted 3-2 to accept the new regulations, but needed four "yes" votes to pass them. The board then voted to ask Cal/OSHA staffers to get to to work on new regulations for the porn industry.

The standards board heard five hours of testimony from scores of actors, writers, directors and producers at the hearing in Oakland.

Manny Pacquiao will need to look for a new apparel sponsor, after his remark that homosexuals are worse than animals led Nike to terminate its dealings with the boxer, who's also running for a Senate seat in the Philippines.

Fashion Week Wraps Up In New York

Feb 18, 2016

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

One of the leading figures in the government's bailout of banks deemed "too big to fail" after the 2008 financial crisis says major banks are still at risk.

Neel Kashkari, now the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that despite changes to Wall Street made as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, big banks are still too big to fail.

A Los Angeles hospital paid a nearly $17,000 ransom to hackers who breached and disabled its computer network, the hospital said in a statement Wednesday.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid the ransom of 40 bitcoins, which is currently worth $16,664, in order to restore the computer system that was infiltrated on Feb. 5.

The hackers used a malware that locks systems by encrypting files and demanding ransom to obtain the decryption key.

For the oil industry, this is what passes for good news:

Iran said Wednesday that it would be great if other countries would limit their oil production to boost prices.

As for itself, Iran will continue to ramp up oil production.

That may not sound like much reason for celebration, but Iran's expression of support for multi-nation plan to restrain oil output was enough to give the energy market a boost. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.62, or 5.6%, to settle at $30.66 a barrel.

Remember the cryptex, the little handheld safe from The Da Vinci Code where entering the correct combination will reveal the secret message and entering the wrong one will destroy it?

Now replace the little safe with an iPhone, and instead of a secret message, it's holding evidence in a terrorism case. The critical combination? It's a passcode — one the FBI doesn't know, and one that Apple is reluctant to help the agency figure out.

Thousands of small investors who lost some or all of their savings when a large bank in Spain failed in 2012 may now get their money back. Bankia, which needed a $19 billion bailout just one year after its initial public offering, announced the surprise move Wednesday.

Taxpayers Confused By Late Health Law Forms

Feb 17, 2016

As the 2015 tax filing season gets underway, tax preparers said a delay in health law tax forms is tripping up some consumers, while others want details about exemptions from increasingly stiff penalties for not having insurance.

Under the law, most people must have health insurance or pay a fine. In 2015, the penalty was $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975, or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

A federal judge in California has ordered Apple to help unlock a phone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attack. Apple CEO Tim Cook has vowed to resist the judge's order, which pits digital privacy against national security interests.

A U.S. magistrate has ordered Apple to assist the government in unlocking the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The FBI is seeking information that may be on Farook's employer-issued phone as it investigates the Dec. 2 shootings that left 14 people dead.

At the time of the attack, Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, destroyed two personally owned cellphones and removed a hard drive from their computer.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2016 KUT-FM. To see more, visit KUT-FM.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The coal industry is hurting. For decades, coal was the go-to fuel for generating electricity. Now that is changing.

The connection between coal and generating electricity goes back to the late 19th century. A good place to get a sense of that history is the small town of Sunbury, Pa. — specifically at the corner of Fourth and Market streets at the Hotel Edison.

In northeast Scotland, there is a cluster of homes on the outskirts of a pristine golf course near Aberdeen owned by none other than Donald Trump. The U.S. presidential hopeful's business venture promised thousands of jobs, tourism and a new way to diversify the oil economy.

Trump wanted to build the golf course in Scotland, he said, because his mother was born there. But almost a decade later, he has angered his neighbors and turned some of his former supporters against him.

Eminent domain isn't one of those issues — like abortion or foreign policy — that's guaranteed to come up every election cycle. But the slightly wonky debate over when property owners should be forced to give up land for the public good is coming up this year — especially in South Carolina, where Republicans hold their primary this weekend.

Millions of Americans have been freezing in record-low temperatures this month.

Now many are mapping out road trips, preparing to head south soon for Easter and spring breaks. And with gas prices averaging just about $1.70 a gallon nationwide, they are looking forward to affordable travel.

But on the other side of the world, oil producers are trying to engineer a different kind of freeze — one that could heat up gas prices again.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here's a little secret: It's possible to go online and buy a knockoff — a generic version of the drug Adderall, a fake "North Face" jacket or "Gucci" handbag. Now, we're not telling you to do it. But a big reason you can, it turns out, is that major banks in China are willing to handle the money.

Guerilla Marketing

Say you want Beats by Dre headphones. You don't want to pay Beats by Dre prices. Type in the brand name in a search engine and add words like "cheap," "super-sale."

U.S. manufacturers of medical devices started 2016 with a windfall — a two-year suspension of a controversial tax on their revenue.

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