National/International

Holy guacamole! That avocado could last four weeks.

Jun 20, 2018

Giving a whole new meaning to shelf life, avocados wearing a life-extending plant-based coating debut this week on U.S. grocery shelves. It’s one of the first products to potentially help cut down the billions of dollars in food waste each year in the United States.

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The facilities that are housing children separated from their parents

Jun 20, 2018

Who's getting paid to carry out the Trump administration's policy of separating children?

In March, the Trump administration ordered prosecutors to charge people illegally crossing the border and separate children traveling with their parents. Marketplace's Andy Uhler looked at the money that flows into the facilities housing these children, starting with a firm called Southwest Key. Below is an edited transcript. 

David Brancaccio: Tell me more about this company. How did this nonprofit grow to be such a key player in this industry?

(U.S. Edition) We're looking into who's getting paid to carry out the Trump administration's policy of separating children at the U.S. border. One of the principal firms: Southwest Key. Afterwards, we'll discuss what to expect from today's Senate testimony with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who's likely to get an earful on tariffs, and then we'll talk about a new "life-extending" coating for avocados.

President Trump and administration officials are walking a fine line on family separation at the border.

They argue they don't like the policy, but that their hands are tied — and instead are pointing fingers at Congress to "fix" it.

There may be good reason for that — the policy (and it is a Trump administration policy, despite the Homeland Security secretary's claims to the contrary) is unpopular.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... Higher tariffs on goods for the U.S. and China might be theoretical at this point, but the escalating threats are already having a real effect on financial markets. So how are emerging-market currencies – already under pressure from local political turmoil – feeling the heat? Then, there's a vote by the International Monetary Fund today on a record-breaking aid package for Argentina. But what is the country doing to help give international investors more confidence in the economy?

You have more choices for wireless than you might think

Jun 20, 2018

This week, T-Mobile and Sprint officially asked the Federal Communications Commission for approval to merge. If the merger goes through, there will only be three big wireless providers to choose from. And with net neutrality out the window, people are worried that cell phone service will keep getting more expensive.

This week, T-Mobile and Sprint officially asked the Federal Communications Commission for approval to merge. If the merger goes through, there will only be three big wireless providers to choose from. And with net neutrality out the window, people are worried that cell phone service will keep getting more expensive. But there is another collection of wireless providers like FreedomPop, Mint, Boost Mobile, Tello and Metro PCS that offer an alternative, at least on price. These companies are what's called mobile virtual network operators.

Could mounting trade tensions harm U.S. services to China?

Jun 19, 2018

President Donald Trump is threatening to impose tariffs on a further $200 billion worth of Chinese products, up from the $50 billion already in the works. That's a big escalation. If he follows through, nearly half of all imported goods from China could be subject to a tariff. But there's another side of trade we haven't been talking about as much lately: The roughly $56 billion worth of services the United States sells annually to China. 

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69: Why does "zero tolerance" look like this?

Jun 19, 2018

By now, you've probably seen them. Heart-wrenching images of parents and children separated and the southwest border, sent to jail or youth detention centers. The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" for illegal border crossings is just one of several seismic changes to immigration enforcement in recent weeks. Immigrants seeking asylum from gangs or domestic violence will no longer be admitted, reducing legal immigration as well. So how'd we get here? And what does Congress need to do to fix a policy that's drawn bipartisan outrage?

This guy's invention got U.S. Patent No. 10 million

Jun 19, 2018

Today marks a milestone of in the American innovation economy. Back in 1836, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued patent No.1 under the current numbering system. It took 155 years to get up to patent No. 5 million and then just another 27 years to issue 5 million more. Patent number No.

A look at China's unlikely lingerie capital

Jun 19, 2018

On a dusty road in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu, a slim, middle-aged man stood in front of an open truck and played an announcement through a speaker.

“Apples for sale! 1.20 yuan per jin,” the message repeated on a loop.

That's less than 20 cents a pound, which is cheap even for China. Guanyun County, some 300 miles north of Shanghai, used to consistently rank among the poorest areas in this province.

How a small plant became a big business

Jun 19, 2018

When things get popular on Instagram, there’s probably a profit to be made. That’s just what happened with the popular succulent house plant. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal sat down with Alyssa Bereznak of the The Ringer, who wrote "How Succulents Took Over Instagram," to talk about how the plants are a booming business. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

It's summer and that means vacation time. Kids are out of school and all the photos on Instagram seem to feature blue water and white sand. 

So what's the right way to bring it up to your boss? Perhaps your boss isn't that cool about you taking time off. Can you finagle a few more days for travel time, or use your sick days for vacation? And what are the do's and don'ts of vacation time — can you fully ignore your emails? Should you post about it on Facebook?

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

President Trump told House Republicans that he will support them "1,000 percent" in their efforts to pass immigration legislation later this week. Republicans left the wide-ranging talk in the Capitol in good spirits but still unsure if they have the votes to pass a bill.

Migrant children who suffer trauma as a result of being taken from their parents at the US-Mexico border may never fully recover, according to a pediatric doctor who recently visited a shelter where such children are being held. 

The Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy — in particular, its practice of separating children from their migrant parents or guardians as they are caught trying to enter the US illegally — has come under fire in recent days.

U.S.-China trade tensions lead to volatile markets

Jun 19, 2018

(Markets Edition) The back and forth between the U.S. and China over trade continues. Trump says he might slap tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, which has prompted China to issue its own threats. We'll look at how trade tensions are affecting the markets and whether traders are starting to panic.

This morning, a Senate committee checks in to see how the cuts to the so-called 340b program, which allows hospitals to buy drugs at a discount, are impacting hospitals and patients. Critics say there’s little evidence that hospitals used the savings to help patients.

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I visited a detention center called Casa Padre in Brownsville, Texas that used to be a Walmart. It’s run by a nonprofit, Southwest Key, and it’s currently housing about 1,500 children who were detained at the Texas/Mexico border. Some of those children were separated from their parents when border protection officials captured them.

A study of public housing facilities in New York City found that those managed by private developers had higher tenant satisfaction compared to others managed by the public housing authority. But it also found that tenant turnover is higher in the privately managed buildings.

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Why trade uncertainty may not be a big factor in Mexico's general election

Jun 19, 2018

Mexico will hold its general election next month. On the line are hundreds of positions in the country's Congress as well as the presidency.

While the Trump administration's tariffs are "not really an electoral deal as such," economic change is on the minds of people, according to former Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jorge Castañeda. 

China calls Trump's new tariff threats "blackmail"

Jun 19, 2018

(U.S. Edition) If China decides to fight back against the Trump administration's $50 billion tariffs, the president is threatening to up that to another $200 billion in goods. We'll look at the countermeasures China might put in place, and what this conflict means for U.S. businesses that operate there.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … There are more tariff threats against China from the White House, so are we in a trade war yet? And what needs to happen to de-escalate the growing tensions between the two nations? Then, shares of the Hong Kong–listed Chinese telecom ZTE plunged more than 20 percent to a two-year low. It wasn’t President Trump, but the U.S. Congress that sparked fresh concerns. Afterwards, growing alongside the rise of online sales is the rise of fake reviews.

Will the Theranos scandal put a damper on medical tech investing?

Jun 19, 2018

The blood-testing startup Theranos is now firmly in disgrace. Founder Elizabeth Holmes was indicted Friday on federal wire fraud charges and has resigned as the company’s CEO. But whatever happens with Holmes and Theranos, the episode has changed the conversation around biotech investing. Michael Greeley is general partner of Flare Capital Partners in Boston, which specializes in funding health care technology companies. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about what Theranos' downfall means to the industry overall.

The blood-testing startup Theranos is now firmly in disgrace. Founder Elizabeth Holmes was indicted Friday on federal wire fraud charges and has resigned as the company’s CEO. But whatever happens with Holmes and Theranos, the episode has changed the conversation around biotech investing. Michael Greeley is general partner of Flare Capital Partners in Boston, which specializes in funding health care technology companies. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about what the Theranos downfall means to the industry overall. (06/19/2018)

Courting foreign investors in the age of Trump

Jun 18, 2018

Thousands of foreign investors are about to descend on a conference center in suburban Maryland for the fifth annual SelectUSA Investment Summit. Beginning Wednesday, they will spend three days being wooed by states and cities looking to get their investment dollars. Foreign investment in the United States hit $3.7 trillion in 2016, the last year for which there is government data.

Comcast, Disney in Fox chase

Jun 18, 2018

A federal court’s historic decision to let AT&T and Time Warner merge has unleashed other deal talks among giant companies. Just a day after the decision, Comcast renewed its bid for 21st Century Fox assets — a $65 billion offer. Compare that to Disney’s bid of $52.4 billion. Fox now has two eager suitors – both legacy media companies vying for another legacy media company’s assets – all against the backdrop of Netflix and the age of streaming.

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The United States has imposed tariffs on products from China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union, and retaliatory duties are on the way. What will be the overall economic effect of these trade disputes? One way to gauge that is by looking to the futures market.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

What's a trade war and are we in one?

Jun 18, 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?

The Carters' new album is all about showcasing art and love

Jun 18, 2018

After dropping a new album, "Everything Is Love," in the middle of their "On the Run II" tour this weekend, Beyoncé and her husband, Jay-Z, also released a new music video for their song "Apes**t." What makes it so unique? They shot the music video in the Louvre in Paris, surrounded by classical art. 

Video game addiction is now considered a medical condition

Jun 18, 2018

The World Health Organization has released a new list of medical conditions that for the first time includes gaming disorder. 

The BBC's Anu Anand, host of the Global Edition of our Morning Report program, joined us to discuss how it's defined and what its label as a medical condition could mean for insurance coverage. The following answers have been edited for clarity. 

So what is gaming disorder?

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