Business and economic news

The latest travel ban targets electronic devices

Mar 21, 2017
Reema Khrais

There’s news today of another travel-related ban from the Trump administration, but this one impacts what happens when you get on the plane. Passengers coming to the U.S. on direct flights from eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa will not be able to carry anything larger than a smartphone on the plane.

Administration officials cite security for the new travel restrictions, but they didn’t point to any specific threat. Some of the people who will be most impacted are business travelers, and it’s also not good news for airlines in the region.

Kai Ryssdal

We use a lot of words to talk about problems in the economy: inflation, CPI, GDP, the jobless rate. But LIBOR? That stands for the London Interbank Offered Rate, and it's one of the most important numbers in the world. In fact, it's an interest rate that trillions of dollars depend upon each day. During the height of the financial crisis, one London banker decided he could make a lot of money if he just fudged that number. And he did, until he was caught.

9: Everything or nothing is a crisis

Mar 21, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood

The FBI director testified on Capitol Hill, confirmation hearings begin for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and more changes to the health care bill. And that was just Monday. We take a look at what happens when everything, or maybe nothing, is a crisis. Spoiler alert: It all depends on your point of view. 

Alyssa Mastromonaco talks to us about what it was like in the White House under President Barack Obama and her new book, "Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?" Also, she answers our Make Me Smart question, and you do, too. 



On Thursday night, the House is expected to vote on a bill to repeal Obamacare. The only hurdle is Republicans themselves. House leaders are desperate to get enough conservatives on board to get the bill to the Senate, so last night they made some changes to it. One sweetener: letting states add work requirements to Medicaid eligibility rules.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

03/21/17: GOP tweaks health care bill

Mar 21, 2017

The House GOP is out with some revisions for its Obamacare replacement, with the aim of drawing more support for the bill. We'll look at what some of these proposed changes are, which include more tax credits. Next, we'll explore Emory University's decision to call itself a "safe harbor" instead of a "sanctuary campus" over concerns that it could be defunded. And finally, we'll talk about the other competition happening amid March Madness: the shoe companies vying to be number one on the market.

WBFO's Mike Desmond

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is blasting the effects of proposed Trump Administration budget cuts on county spending and programs, from helping kids with lead poisoning to checking summer water quality at beaches. He calls the cuts "cold-hearted callousness" because of their effect on the average citizen.

Google Maps

Niagara Falls city government wants to make it a little easier for arriving tourists to get to some prime tourist attractions.

House Republicans look for more support with revised health care bill

Mar 21, 2017
D Gorenstein and Marketplace staff

Top House Republicans have released a slate of revisions for their Obamacare replacement that they hope will draw more support. The American Health Care Act has been sharply criticized by members of both parties; an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office estimated that nearly 24 million people would lose their coverage under the plan.

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Canada

Two Ontario cabinet ministers are heading to New York Tuesday to urge legislators to exempt Canada from a Buy American policy it plans to introduce.

Nike makes a full-court press

Mar 21, 2017

March Madness is upon us and college basketball teams aren’t the only ones competing. The games are also a battleground for shoe and apparel brands like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. Nike still rules when it comes to sponsorships, but the competition is gaining.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Museums embrace virtual reality

Mar 21, 2017
Adrienne Hill

Between the megamouth shark, the bison diorama, and gangs of excited school kids, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has added a virtual reality exhibit called theBlu.

For an extra $10, on top of the $12 general admission fee, visitors can strap on a headset and explore the virtual ocean. A blue whale swims overhead. A school of silvery fish darts by. Visitors use virtual flashlights to explore the abyss.

Want to know when it’s a good time to go to the hospital? Seems it’s when the doctors are being watched. Every few years the accrediting agency known as the Joint Commission conducts random hospital inspections. A new study out in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine finds that mortality rates drop when the inspectors show up for their surprise visit.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Tasnim Shamma

The word "sanctuary" is being used these days to describe cities and organizations that show support for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and one place where that word has become a sticky topic is at Emory University in Atlanta.

That’s because any private school in Georgia that adopts “sanctuary policies” could lose state funding. So Emory's president Claire Sterk is opting to call the university a “safe harbor” instead.


African citizens who were trying to attend an economic development conference in California were recently denied U.S. visas. We'll look at the possible reason behind the denial and its consequences. Next, we'll explore a new study that says the percentage of people dying at a hospital drops when inspectors show up, and then discuss the rise of virtual reality exhibits at museums. 

03/21/17: Warfare through tech

Mar 21, 2017

FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers sat in front of the House Select Intelligence Committee this week for a hearing on Russia's interference in last year's presidential election. Patrick Tucker, tech editor for Defense One, joins us to talk about the role of technology in the hacking scandal. Afterwards, we'll look at how the Nintendo Switch console is performing on the market and what its release says about the larger video game business.



Hello, goodbye: When execs make a quick exit

Mar 20, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

On Sunday, Uber confirmed that its president Jeff Jones resigned just six months after taking the job. Jones said he decided to leave because his values no longer aligned with those of Uber.

Britain announces date for Brexit negotiations

Mar 20, 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May will start Brexit negotiations Wednesday, March 29. She will formally notify the 27 remaining European Union leaders that Britain intends to pull out of the bloc. Two years of talks are scheduled, and it could well turn out to be two years of hard bargaining.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

America's tense meeting with other top economies

Mar 20, 2017
David Brancaccio and Marketplace staff

The world’s top finance ministers have decided not to pursue an anti-protectionist agreement after resistance from the U.S.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to agree to a communique that called for resisting “all forms of protectionism.” As a result, these leaders failed to renew a long-standing pledge to promote free trade, according to the BBC.

If we're going to talk about NAFTA, we need to talk about your pants

Mar 20, 2017
Kai Ryssdal, Daisy Palacios and Bridget Bodnar

This story is the first in a series that explores NAFTA’s role in our economy from the perspective of workers, business owners and trade negotiators. What exactly is NAFTA? And what happens if it changes?  Join us to discuss how one of the most hotly contested issues in our society shapes the way we live.

What will Trump’s border wall look like?

Mar 20, 2017
Marielle Segarra and Marketplace staff

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is now accepting proposals from contractors who want to help the federal government build a wall along the border with Mexico. It’s the first step in a process that would fulfill a promise President Donald Trump made while he was campaigning for the presidency.



“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” he said at one point on the trail.



03/20/17: Nevada's focus on solar

Mar 20, 2017

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is now accepting proposals from contractors who want to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. We'll take a look at the criteria the federal government are asking for. Next, we'll talk about Nevada's push for solar energy over coal and fossil fuel, and then look at one grassroots group's efforts to help provide homeless women with feminine hygiene products. 

Mexico's NAFTA economist on why he doesn't take Trump's critiques personally

Mar 20, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

This story is the first in a series that explores NAFTA’s role in our economy from the perspective of workers, business owners and trade negotiators. What exactly is NAFTA? And what happens if it changes?  Join us to discuss how one of the most hotly contested issues in our society shapes the way we live.

Despite the Trump administration’s push for coal and other fossil energy, Nevada just went dramatically in the other way. On the day after it pulled the plug on a coal-fired power plant, it cut the ribbon on a new solar energy farm.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Chuck Collins

While people regularly give old clothes and outgrown shoes to those in need, homeless shelters and the women who live there often need essentials like bras and feminine hygiene products.

One grassroots group is trying to change that.

Forget coat drives — the Center of Hope shelter in Dallas is getting a pickup truck full of tampons, sanitary napkins and bras.

It was 30 years ago this week that the Food and Drug Administration approved the first  treatment for HIV/AIDS, the drug AZT. At a time when the number of AIDS-related deaths was skyrocketing, AZT was rushed into the approval process. But some of the early advocates of the drug's fast-tracking ended up lamenting that process.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Goldman Sachs offers new online lending platform

Mar 20, 2017
Mark Garrison

As one of the world’s most elite banks, Goldman Sachs is known for serving billionaire clients, giant companies hungry for deals and hot startups eager to go public. It is not the type of place folks think of when they need a little money to spruce up their kitchen or take care of unexpected medical bills. Yet that is exactly what the bank is doing with its new offering called Marcus, an online platform that makes small loans.

What it means to be a diplomat in a digital age

Mar 20, 2017
Stephanie Hughes and Bruce Johnson

When we think of diplomacy, we may think of talking — people in a room, face to face.

But that world of diplomacy is changing and the connected world is playing a much greater role, according to Anne-Marie Slaughter, who worked for the State Department during the Obama administration.

The risky business of building Trump’s wall

Mar 17, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

It’s been almost two months since President Donald Trump took office as the 45th President of the United States and so far, no construction has begun on the border wall that was at the core of Trump’s campaign. Yet local governments are already taking steps to sever their connection to companies that might end up working on the wall that Trump says will protect the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

New York's taxi economy implodes

Mar 17, 2017
Marielle Segarra

As ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have become more popular, ridership in New York City's yellow taxis has dropped by nearly 30 percent in the past three years. And that means financial hardship for the people who own taxi medallions — the metal plaques that permit someone to drive a cab — along with huge losses for the financial institutions that fund them. 

On 8th Avenue in Manhattan, Qudratullah Saberry is sitting in the driver's seat of his cab across the street from a hotel.

The U.S. spends a lot less on foreign aid than you think

Mar 17, 2017
Sabri Ben-Achour

The idea that the United States spends too much on the rest of the world is a consistent theme from President Donald Trump.

Right there in the introduction to his budget proposal, he writes, "It is time to prioritize the security and well-being of Americans, and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share."