NPR News

Has "the film business passed away" with its "most popular" Oscars category?

Aug 9, 2018

The ratings for the Oscars awards ceremony, as a television event, have been dropping steadily for years, with last years' program on ABC the least watched in history. So the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced some changes, including a new category: most popular film. This has a lot of people confused — what makes a movie "popular"?

How savvy investments help members of Congress

Aug 9, 2018

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins of New York was arrested and charged this week with allegedly passing on information he learned as a board member of a Australian pharmaceutical company to family members who quickly sold their stock to avoid big losses.

Collins, like about of half of his colleagues in Congress, owns stock in publicly traded companies.

Why mergers are as complicated as relationships

Aug 9, 2018

Today we learned that the merger of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Co. has been called off. Albertsons and Rite Aid also announced their merger will not happen.

That’s two big breakups on one day, but in the grand scheme of things, merger failures aren’t that rare. It happens about 20 percent of the time, according to David King, an associate professor at Florida State University, who has studied merger success and failure.

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After a disputed presidential election, Zimbabwe has cracked down on the opposition. One of its leaders sought asylum in neighboring Zambia, but he was returned, then detained. Now he's out on bail. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports.

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At the Pentagon today, Vice President Mike Pence laid out plans for a new branch of the military in outer space - a Space Force.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Vice President Pence described the White House's plans for a Space Force, a sixth branch of the U.S. military that would be responsible for operations in outer space, in a speech on Thursday.

The White House says that the Space Force will be created by 2020. The change, which would require approval from Congress, would be a dramatic change in the organization of the Defense Department.

"We must have American dominance in space, and so we will," Pence said in his speech at the Pentagon.

Day laborers are pressed by Trump immigration policies

Aug 9, 2018

In Woodburn, Oregon, a small city in the Willamette Valley, there’s a Fiesta Mexicana every summer where families gather at a local park for Latin music and dancing, Mexican food and carnival rides. A busy freight rail line runs through the center of town, past small shops catering to the Latino community. On the outskirts, fields of corn, vegetables and grass seed spread in every direction. 

"Undocumented" is a picture book that's not just for kids

Aug 9, 2018

There are millions of undocumented workers in the United States. That part of the workforce is economically significant but not often heard from. Author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh, a dual Mexican and American citizen who grew up on both sides of the border, is trying to tell the story of some of those people in a picture book.

Half of (corporate) marriages don't work out

Aug 9, 2018

There are no trade stories in today's podcast (you're welcome). Instead, we're talking about mergers and acquisitions. This summer has seen several high-profile deals go through and others fall apart. That's not unusual. In fact, one out of five announced mergers don't end up happening at all, and only half are successful. Why do they fall apart? Mostly because of people. Then, in light of the insider trading charges against Rep. Chris Collins, we'll look at congressional investing do's and don'ts.

Sadia Kahn ended up at UC Berkeley because of a look her dad gave her. When she was in middle school she told him she wanted to go to Berkeley because she’d noticed adults perked up when they heard the word, but in this case it backfired.

“He had the saddest look in his eye,” Kahn recalls. “I think he felt guilty. He knew that was something we couldn’t afford.”

Attending a university in California can be a financial burden beyond the means of many college hopefuls. Rising tuition is compounded by the lack of affordable housing in the state and the high cost of living.

Pence outlines plan for new Space Force by 2020

Aug 9, 2018

Faced with growing competition and threats from Russia and China, the White House on Thursday said it will create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military service by 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence told a Pentagon audience that the plan fulfills President Donald Trump’s vow to ensure America’s dominance in space — a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested that has now become crowded and adversarial.

The Pew Research Center estimates that there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States — and that approximately two-thirds of them have been here for more than a decade.

Journalist Frank Foer says that for many years, there was a tacit agreement among politicians of both parties that there would be a pathway to citizenship for many of the long-term undocumented immigrants.

The citizens of democracies have always been suspicious about concentrations of unelected power. In the late days of the Roman Republic, Cicero denounced the triumvirate who had usurped the role of the Senate as the imperium in imperio, or the government within the government. Nowadays, the alleged usurpers go by more pedestrian names: the invisible government, the hidden government, the shadow government.

The New York City Council has banned new permits for Uber and Lyft-style cars in New York City for a year. It’s the first city to do this at a time when these Silicon Valley disruptors are seen to be disrupting traffic and disrupting the lives of traditional yellow taxi and limo drivers.

The city council has also cleared the way to require Lyft and Uber to top up drivers’ salaries if they don’t meet the minimum wage.

(Markets Edition) The government says there was no inflation from June to July. But what does that mean, given how inflation impacts our daily decisions? Also, many businesses are joining forces to support the U.S. Postal Service — they may not be the Avengers, but they do have a name: the Package Coalition.

The U.S. Postal Service gives an update on its finances on Thursday morning. For years, pension costs and decreasing mail volume have caused the postal service to lose money. Now, many businesses are banding together to support the service, forming a lobbying group called the Package Coalition. It includes Amazon and other major e-commerce sellers. They are concerned that calls to reform the USPS could mean price hikes and service cuts. 

Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

(U.S. Edition) The U.S and Japan meet to talk trade for the first time since the U.S. pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’re also keeping an eye on the rising inflation in Turkey as the Lira continues to drop. Also, New York City has stopped Uber and Lyft in its tracks there, halting permits for a year due to concerns about traffic. Today's show is sponsored by Avast (avast.com) and Indeed (Indeed.com/marketplace). (08/09/2018)

U.S.-Japan trade talks open today in Washington

Aug 9, 2018

Japan trade talks are set to open today in Washington, D.C. for the first bilateral trade meeting since President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership last year. It’s a high level meeting between Japanese Economic Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Negotiating a free trade agreement and tariffs on Japanese auto exports are expected to top the agenda.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

How to protect yourself from a bad boss

Aug 9, 2018

Even in 2018, there are a lot of people that don't get the fact that bullying is not OK. And when the person doing the bullying is your boss, it can suck the joy out of work, or worse, interfere with your home life, relationships and health. 

The next thing you know, that boss isn’t just dictating work — they’re ruining your life.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Fresh controversy around the ongoing European migrant crisis deepens after hundreds of farm workers in Italy go on strike. Then, Swedish meatballs and D-I-Y furniture have landed in India after IKEA opened its first store there today. We’ll hear from the company’s boss about its plans for future investment in the country.

The Senate in predominately Roman Catholic Argentina has rejected a law that would have legalized abortion, rebuffing a grass-roots abortion-rights movement.

Senate lawmakers voted 38 to 31 against the measure, which would have allowed abortion for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

In a letter to its members sent this morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) listed three changes approved by its Board of Governors.

1. A three-hour Oscars telecast

We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.

Medicaid home care aides — hourly workers who help elderly and disabled people with daily tasks like eating, getting dressed and bathing — are emerging as the latest target in the ongoing power struggle between some conservative lawmakers and organized labor.

Updated at 4 a.m. ET

Bowing to congressional pressure, the Trump administration has announced new sanctions to punish Russia for a nerve agent attack in the U.K. on former spy Sergei Skripal.

This week we’re diving into stories about venture capital. There’s a group of venture capital firms that want to change the world for the better and make money. This is called impact investing. One of the firms working in this space is Impact America Fund, which invests in companies with diverse missions — for instance, a startup that helps African-American stylists sell their own hair extensions. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with Impact America Fund founder Kesha Cash about the sometimes complex collision of money and mission in venture capital.

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