North Dakota, which is in the midst of an oil boom that has filled government coffers, is considering property tax legislation that would cut taxes by $812 million a year, according to the state Tax Department.
Bolivia and Argentina's nationalization of Spanish companies hasn't gone over well in Madrid. Spanish officials say Bolivia and Argentina will pay the price in the long run, as investors become weary of doing business if their assets could ultimately get seized.
NPR's business news starts with control of the energy.
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GREENE: In South America, a shift towards political populism has led to the nationalism of an oil company in Argentina and an electricity provider in Bolivia. Both of the companies seized are Spanish. The nationalizations are hitting Spain during a time of deep economic crisis. And as we'll hear in a few minutes from reporter Lauren Frayer, they sparked a lot of anger in Spain.
Steve Inskeep talks to Steve Coll about his new book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. In it, Coll delves into the business model of one of the country's largest and most profitable corporations. He explores how the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 shaped the culture at the company for years to come.
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a strategic partnership agreement in the Afghan capital Kabul. The deal put a spotlight on a future Afghanistan that does not include a massive number of American and NATO troops.
Last night at the Sotheby's auction house in New York, there was something to scream about. Our last word in business is: "The Scream."
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
As we reported yesterday, the Expressionist masterpiece by Edvard Munch went up for sale. There are four versions of this composition, but just one had been privately held by an heir of one of Munch's patrons.
As the presidential campaigns refocus on November, they're zeroing in on digital domains. In fact, the Obama campaign has spent six times as much money advertising online as it has on TV so far, though that's certain to change.
And Republicans are fighting back with a new Facebook app called the "Social Victory Center." (You have to be a Facebook user to access the site.)
Newt Gingrich is officially out of the presidential race. The former House speaker said Wednesday that he's suspending his campaign, and he's ready to help the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, battle President Obama. But Gingrich might have a more pressing problem: His campaign has about $4 million in debt.
In Gingrich's exit speech, he opened by thanking people — first his family, then his financial backers.
"I also want to single out, first of all, the over 179,000 donors who helped us at Newt.org and who helped make the campaign possible," he said.
Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's record for career home runs as he hits No. 715 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, on his way to a career 755 home runs. Research suggests that in a wide variety of professions, including collegiate and professional sports, a small but significant number of individuals perform exceedingly well and the rest of individuals' performance trails off.
For decades, teachers, managers and parents have assumed that the performance of students and employees fits what's known as the bell curve — in most activities, we expect a few people to be very good, a few people to be very bad and most people to be average.
The bell curve powerfully shapes how we think of human performance: If lots of students or employees happen to show up as extreme outliers — they're either very good or very bad — we assume they must represent a skewed sample, because only a few people in a truly random sample are supposed to be outliers.