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Zadie Smith is justly celebrated for her chameleon-like gifts as a writer. In novels like White Teeth and On Beauty she's ventured deeply into the lives of a multi-racial assortment of immigrants to Great Britain and the United States. Her characters run the gamut from aspirational working-class kids, self-important academics, pensioners, young dancers and, to date, one Chinese-Jewish Londoner with a fixation on Golden Age Hollywood.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says his government will begin pre-selling a cryptocurrency today, called the "petro." It’s backed by the cash-strapped country’s oil reserves. Maduro is hoping to circumvent U.S.-led sanctions, attract investment and bring the country back from the brink of full-blown default. There’s significant skepticism about this strategy.

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02/20/2018: The black market for food carts

Feb 20, 2018

(Markets Edition) Bond yields on the 10-year Treasury note are at their highest level in four years. On today's show, we'll look at whether their rise will continue. Afterwards, we'll talk about Venezuela's decision to pre-sell a cryptocurrency known as the "petro," which is backed by the country's oil reserves. Plus: We dive into the illegal black market for food carts in New York City. The number of legal street food permits issued by the city has barely increased since the '80s. 

What are apps like Venmo doing with your money?

Feb 20, 2018

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands? What do you wonder?

'Decarcerating America' Is A Powerful Call For Reform

Feb 20, 2018

Criminalization is frequently America's answer to social issues.

The privately held owner of Safeway, Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation's third-largest drugstore chain.

Albertsons Companies is offering either a share of its stock and $1.83 in cash or slightly more than a share for every 10 shares of Rite Aid. A deal value was not disclosed in a statement released Tuesday by the companies.

Shares of Rite Aid, which have shed more than half their value over the past year, jumped 40 cents, or 18.8 percent, in premarket trading after the deal was announced.

Selling food on the streets of New York City might seem like an easy way to make money, but it’s an almost impossible gig to land — legally. The number of legal street food vending permits issued in the city has barely increased since the 1980s.

02/20/2018: Splurging during Chinese New Year

Feb 20, 2018

(U.S. Edition) The grocery chain Albertsons is planning to buy part of Rite Aid in a $24 billion deal. On today's show, we'll look at the tough supermarket landscape that big chains have to face these days. Afterwards, we'll discuss Walmart's venture into new apparel brands so that it can compete with Amazon, and then find out what some people in China are planning to splurge on this Chinese New Year.

For many, Chinese New Year is a time to splurge

Feb 20, 2018

Chinese people are known as big savers, but the lunar new year, also known as the spring festival, is the one time of year when even farmers must splurge. Think of it as a combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The festival began on Friday and ends on Wednesday. Last year, Chinese people spent $122 billion during the weeklong holiday, and they’re expected to spend even more this year. What are Chinese people buying? Marketplace caught up with people at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Railway Station before they rushed back to their hometowns.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … The World Bank says pensions will consume Brazil’s entire federal budget by 2030 …but the country today shelved a vote on reform. What does it mean for a nation recovering from financial crisis, and will October elections bring light at the end of the tunnel? Then, a new cryptocurrency launches today, this time backed by Venezuelan oil. We’ll explain who’s investing — and who’s not. Afterward, to Spain where a key business witness will give evidence today in ongoing Spanish corruption investigations.

It's shaping up to be one of the worst flu seasons in years.

If you are one of the thousands of Americans who are sick with the flu, this one's for you.

MLB Sets New Rules To Speed Up The Game

Feb 20, 2018

The average nine-inning baseball game took 3 hours and 8 minutes to play last season. That's up from 2 hours and 46 minutes in 2005.

Major League Baseball has long had the goal of moving things along, and on Monday, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced new rules aimed at shortening how long it takes to get a game played.

Advocates for people with disabilities are fighting to keep a bill passed by House Republicans Thursday from becoming law. The ADA Education and Reform Act would make it harder for people to sue businesses that do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

02/19/18: Life after a mass shooting

Feb 19, 2018

A couple of weeks ago on this show, we told you about some of the funding and resources available for mass shooting victims to help with their short-term recovery. Today, we consider what life and work is like five, or even ten years after surviving a high-profile shooting. Two survivors of a mass shooting describe long term recovery. Also on today's show, we continue with our project called "Divided Decade," as we hear stories of how people's lives changed since the financial crisis ten years ago.

In the fall of 2008, Omega Young got a letter prompting her to recertify for Medicaid.

But she was unable to make the appointment because she was suffering from ovarian cancer. She called her local Indiana office to say she was in the hospital.

Her benefits were cut off anyway. The reason: "failure to cooperate."

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Every Olympics it seems like people turn into overnight experts on whatever event happens to be on. Who knew that we could so easily master the subtleties of 4x10 cross-country ski relay and...

(SOUNDBITE OF CURLING)

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Fifty years ago Monday, when Fred Rogers showed up on national public television as the host of what then was a brand new children's show called Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, TV was a lot different. PBS wasn't even a network then — not by that name, anyway — and aside from CBS, NBC and ABC, there were only a few independent local channels to watch, if that.

In more than three decades of work, Doug Jones has carved out a niche in the acting world by playing strange and otherworldly creatures. He was a demonic superhero in Hellboy and a monster with an appetite for children in Pan's Labyrinth.

But there was one storyline that proved elusive: Jones says, "I never saw romantic leading male [stories] coming with any creature roles."

(Markets Edition) The U.S. Commerce Department has outlined a series of steep tariffs on steel and aluminum from some foreign countries, and China is not happy. We'll look at why the Trump administration is pushing for these tariffs and how China might retaliate if they go into effect. Plus: With the markets' wild swings a couple weeks ago, we look at the attitudes young investors have toward stocks. 

Even dogs need to have experience to get a job

Feb 19, 2018

After a year and a half of basic coursework, six months of professional training, and a final exam, Patch — a Labrador-golden retriever mix — was ready to become an assistance dog for Annette Ramirez.

Ramirez, a 53-year-old resident from Manhattan Beach, California, is a quadruple amputee who lost her limbs due to a medical mishap that occurred when she was undergoing a hysterectomy back in 2012.

Seawater is infiltrating the Runit Dome, an atomic bomb-waste repository on a remote Marshall Island atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, posing a potential risk of radiation exposure for the small, local population. 

The economics of presidential libraries

Feb 19, 2018

There’s more to Presidents Day than furniture and mattress sales. It’s a day when we recall the men who’ve held the country’s highest office. Thirteen presidents have libraries to jog the collective memory. We look at the economics of two presidential libraries.

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New tax law includes incentives for poor areas

Feb 19, 2018

A line item in the tax law creates a new Opportunity Zone program, with incentives to draw business to underdeveloped places. This strategy has been tried by former administrations, and state and local governments, with results that have often been disappointing.

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02/19/2018: Opportunities in the new tax law

Feb 19, 2018

(U.S. Edition) There's a section in the new tax law that aims to help chronically poor, underdeveloped areas in the U.S. The law creates an Opportunity Zones program, which gives incentives to draw businesses to these regions. But do they actually work? We'll dive into that question on today's show. Afterwards, we'll look at the group that President Trump's 2019 budget would most likely impact — if it were to go into effect. Plus: We discuss the economics of two presidential libraries: Ronald Reagan's in California and Herbert Hoover's in Iowa.

Tim Armstrong: People need to vote on net neutrality

Feb 19, 2018

Less than a year ago, Yahoo and AOL officially merged after AOL’s parent company, Verizon, bought Yahoo for more than $4 billion. Since then, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has moved on to an unannounced venture. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has had the job of blending the two companies into a digital content behemoth named Oath, vying to challenge Facebook and Google for advertising revenue. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Armstrong about how Oath fits in the digital media landscape at the Makers conference in Los Angeles earlier this month.

The Source Code: Tim Armstrong

Feb 19, 2018

Tim Armstrong worked at Google for years, then as the head of AOL. Now he's the CEO of Oath, the company that was created when Verizon bought Yahoo, and Yahoo and AOL merged. In this long cut of the interview, Armstrong talks about the future of digital content, as well as the awkwardness of sponsoring a women’s leadership conference that doesn’t have former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer at it.

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

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

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