NPR News

The voice of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking is to be broadcast into space after his memorial service on Friday, according to British media outlets.

Specifically, it will be directed toward the nearest black hole. Hawking, who died in March, revolutionized the scientific understanding of black holes — and won the hearts of people across the world with his tireless scientific advocacy.

Kentucky's Attorney General announced on Thursday that the state is suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens for allegedly exacerbating the "man-made" opioid crisis, by playing a dual role in in the supply chain as both the distributor and dispenser.

The lawsuit also asserts the company willfully ignored its own safeguard systems that are designed to protect consumers and monitor their drug consumption.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to explain why the Trump administration has launched a policy of separating families seeking illegal entry into the United States.

"I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order," Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Updated at 5:14 p.m. ET

House Republicans plan to vote next week on a pair of immigration bills, including one that would end the Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the Southwest border.

Republican leaders released a draft version of the bill Thursday after House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters he does not support the "zero tolerance" policy that was implemented as a result of a court decision. In the House GOP proposal released Thursday there is a provision ending the policy.

Chicago has selected Elon Musk's Boring Company to build and operate an "express service to transport people to O'Hare Airport from downtown in 12 minutes on electric vehicles in underground tunnels," Mayor Rahm Emanuel says.

Seattle fought Amazon ... and Amazon won

Jun 15, 2018

The Seattle City Council voted this week to undo a new tax that would have made big businesses pay per employee to generate money for public housing and help for the homeless. Seattle's housing costs and homeless population have both exploded in recent years as the tech industry, mainly Amazon, has brought higher salaries and lots more jobs. But Seattle businesses, including Amazon, pushed back hard on the new tax. One month after it passed, the city council flipped the reset button.

The International Monetary Fund warned this week U.S. tariffs could dent global growth, but according to reports, President Trump is preparing to unveil $50 billion worth of new tariffs on another batch of Chinese imports. If you’ve lost track of what’s covered and what’s not, we’ll take a step back and bring you up to speed. Then, China’s ride-hailing app Didi is the world’s most valuable startup, and it’s now expanding into Melbourne, Australia. Plus, the world’s most expensive movie poster ever sold fetched half a million dollars at auction, but what makes a poster so valuable?

Gas prices are on the rise just in time for summer travel. But will that give drivers second thoughts about hitting the road during the summer vacation season?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

New numbers out Thursday show that Americans spent a lot of their paychecks on retail last month. U.S. retail sales were strong in May, rising about eight-tenths of a percent from a month earlier.  That may sound small, but it’s the biggest one-month jump since last November. Among the merchants that got a lot of love are those that sell building materials.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

ECB to end stimulus. Is Europe's economy out of the woods?

Jun 14, 2018

The European Central Bank announced today it is doing something the Federal Reserve has been doing for several years now: It's taking its foot off the gas pedal of the economy — in this case, the eurozone economy. Specifically, it's ending its practice of buying up bonds. So is the eurozone back on track?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

What reporters couldn't see when they toured a Texas shelter for child migrants

Jun 14, 2018

Life for children inside a privately run facility for migrant children at the Southern border is a cross between living in a detention center and temporary shelter.  

That’s according to people who got a brief glimpse inside. This week, a small group of reporters toured Casa Padre, a converted former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that houses nearly 1,500 boys ranging in age from 10 to 17 who were caught crossing the border between checkpoints. Most come from Central America.

If all goes as planned, a long-anticipated ceremony will be held in Fort Worth, Texas on the first official day of summer. It's to mark the nation of Turkey taking possession of its first F-35 jet fighter.

The F-35 is widely considered the world's most advanced and versatile warplane. Not only has Turkey ordered more than 100 of them - it's also part of a nine-nation consortium manufacturing the 300,000 parts that make up Lockheed Martin's 5th-generation stealth fighter.

In the potential tariff war between China and the United States, each state is choosing to protect different sectors. Which is right? And is there a way for a country to engage in “good” protectionism for its own interests?

First off, economists in general agree that tariffs should be avoided because they bring costly trade-offs. If a country taxes imported sneakers, for instance, it helps domestic shoemakers but deprives shoe buyers of the best, low-price kicks.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A Look At How North Korea's Economy Works

Jun 14, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated June 15 at 12:50 p.m. ET

This is the largest government-contracted migrant youth shelter in the country: Casa Padre, a former Walmart supercenter converted into living, recreational and dining quarters for nearly 1,500 immigrant boys.

Shelter managers took reporters on a tour of the facility in Brownsville, Texas, on Wednesday, amid criticism over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that has led to separating migrant families who crossed the border illegally.

Sedans; we write songs about them, from the 1964 Impala to a little deuce coupe (OK, that’s a two-door but you get the drift). But it seems we’re changing our tune.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF SNAIL MAIL SONG, "FULL CONTROL")

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In the 10 years that real estate agent and part-time basketball coach Laura Krier has lived in Concordia, Kansas, she has seen the small rural city of 5,000 residents get progressively smaller. Without some kind of economic development, she fears things will only get worse.

“I just want to see it grow,” Krier said. “I want my kids to want to come back home.”

That’s why, when a deal to build a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant in Tonganoxie, Kansas, collapsed, she fully supported her city’s efforts to lure the plant to Concordia.

Updated at 2:37 p.m. ET

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood is suing the Donald J. Trump Foundation and its board of directors over what she calls "extensive and persistent violations of federal law," her office announced Thursday.

The directors of the foundation named in the suit are President Trump and three of his children: Donald J. Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.

Last week, Mexican congressional candidate Fernando Purón was shot while posing for a selfie with his supporters, and his murder was captured on video.

New York attorney general sues Trump Foundation

Jun 14, 2018

President Donald Trump’s charitable foundation served as a personal piggy bank for his businesses, legal bills and presidential campaign, New York’s attorney general said Wednesday as she sued the charity, Trump and three of his children.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation “was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” Democratic Attorney General Barbara Underwood said as she sued to dissolve the foundation and seek $2.8 million in restitution.

The Fed is getting interest rates closer to "just right"

Jun 14, 2018

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates and set the stage for two more increases in the cost of borrowing this year. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the economy is getting close to what he considers a "normal level," where the Fed won't have to do as much fussing and tinkering. Marketplace senior reporter Nancy Marshall-Genzer was at the Fed briefing yesterday and spoke about it with David Brancaccio. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

What's the "perfect" U.S. economy?

Jun 14, 2018

(Markets Edition) The perfect U.S. and EU economies are growing in tandem, but America is a bit further along. The European central bank is backing off its stimulus program, while Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell says the American economy nearing a Goldilocks-esque "just right" level where the bank can stop tinkering. But what's that actually look like? Surely, wages would have to come up, right? Then: A new study says you'd need to make $17.90 an hour to afford a modest one bedroom rental in the U.S. Trouble is, the minimum wage in most of the country is much lower.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

A month after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan stepped off a helicopter in the town of Ceiba with a mission: Get relief supplies to people in need.

Pages