National/International

Puerto Rico's solar industry wins big after hurricane

Nov 30, 2017

There aren't many places you can go in Puerto Rico right now without being followed by a certain sound: the hum of diesel generators.

The mobile power units have been keeping the lights on since Hurricane Maria tore through the island almost three months ago. Residents and the government are spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars a week on fuel. And that, plus the slow restoration of the electrical grid, has people thinking about alternatives.

11/30/2017: OPEC looks to extend cuts to oil output

Nov 30, 2017

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... In Vienna,  OPEC oil producers and several other countries are deciding whether or not to keep production low past March. Afterwards, a British campaign group is taking Google to court, accusing the tech giant of unlawfully collecting information from millions of iPhone users. Then, 10 months after a general election brought regime change to The Gambia, all eyes are on tourism to boost the West African country's stunted economy.

An increasing number of big companies are starting their own investment branches. One of them was formed just last year — JetBlue Technology Ventures. It’s led by Bonny Simi, who was an Olympic luger and TV sportscaster, as well as a commercial pilot, before she became an investor. JetBlue invests in travel-related startups, such as electric airplanes — technology that JetBlue might be able to use. Simi spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about the company’s approach to investing. 

Lynne looks back at 20 years of The Splendid Table

Nov 30, 2017

After 22 years at the helm of The Splendid Table, Lynne Rossetto Kasper is retiring from the show at the end of 2017. In this video, Lynne looks back at the show's humble beginnings, how the food world has changed during those decades, and some of her favorite guests along the way.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

A glitch in American Airlines' pilot scheduling system means that thousands of flights during the holiday season currently do not have pilots assigned to fly them.

The shortage was caused by an error in the system pilots use to bid for time off, the Allied Pilots Association told NPR. The union represents the airline's 15,000 pilots.

It looks like the Senate is going to vote on its ever-in-flux tax plan this week. Even though this bill could add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit, there are consequences beyond just adding to the national debt. The Senate has something called pay-as-you-go rules, which basically say it has to offset revenue losses or trigger mandatory cuts.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Are you under 35? You are the future of the Democratic Party.

That’s according to Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2005 to 2009, a six-term governor of Vermont and a former presidential candidate.

Tax think tanks are having a moment

Nov 29, 2017

This is not your average Thursday night in Washington. Hundreds of  people in tuxes and sequins have poured into the National Building Museum and paid $750 a head to drink champagne and rub elbows with the who's who of the tax world.

This is the tax prom, one of the main events in what has become a packed season for Washington's tax elite. Congressional staffers are here, plus CEOs, lobbyists and plenty of policy wonks from think tanks like the Cato Institute and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Chipotle looks for a new CEO

Nov 29, 2017

Fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle, set up in 1993, has struggled after a number of food safety scandals. An E. coli scandal at one of its stores a couple of years ago also hit its shares. As company founder and CEO Steve Ells moves into the role of executive chairman, Chipotle is looking to shift its strategy. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

When Sharon Price John took over as CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop in 2013, the franchise was struggling. Four holiday retail seasons later, the stores are still with us, despite the problems plaguing shopping malls where many Build-A-Bear stores are located. So how does a build-your-own-stuffed-animal franchise stay above water in an increasingly-digital age?

According to Price John, no matter how digital we may get, kids are always going to need a bear to keep away the monsters at night.

Rep. Jackie Speier: When it comes to sexual harassment, "we need to clean up our collective act"

Nov 29, 2017

There has been an unprecedented public reckoning with unchecked sexual harassment and assault in the workplace in the past few months that shows no signs of slowing down. Just today came news of allegations against two more high profile individuals: NBC’s Matt Lauer and MPR’s Garrison Keillor.

Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET

Garrison Keillor, the creator and former host of A Prairie Home Companion, has been accused of inappropriate behavior with someone who worked with him, according to Minnesota Public Radio, which has announced it is cutting ties with Keillor and his production company.

11/29/2017: We might be due for a big market drop

Nov 29, 2017

(Markets Edition) It's been a long stretch for stocks, bonds, gold and bitcoin. But is this just the (really nice) calm before the storm? Susan Schmidt, senior portfolio manager at Westwood Holdings, joined us to discuss the European Central Bank's latest warning, which is that we may be in store for a global market correction. Afterwards, we'll discuss the Supreme Court's upcoming hearing on whether the Constitution should allow law enforcement to search our cellphone records without a warrant.

Comcast and a dozen other operators already have arrangements to offer streamed content from providers like Netflix. Charter Communications is working on a similar deal with Netflix and both companies are reportedly in talks with Hulu. As cord-cutting gathers steam, it’s a case of "if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The challenges of restoring power to Puerto Rico

Nov 29, 2017

On a humid, buggy Friday evening in Puerto Rico's Old San Juan, it's quiet. A handful of tourists peek through the windows of closed stores while locals, like Joseph Saltero, are clustered in a bar. 

"They have air conditioning and you want to watch TV. I mean, once I go home later, there's nothing but heat and mosquitoes," he said. 

A few doors away, Reyes Hiraldo waits tables at an almost empty restaurant. "This is my first day back. We were closed because we didn't have power.  I have two kids. It's been very hard," he explained. 

It’s been a decade since the Great Recession, and while a lot of things in the economy have recovered, state funding for public schools is still lagging behind pre-Recession levels, after accounting for inflation. That’s according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank that focuses on ways that federal and state policies can reduce poverty and inequality.

National Public Radio

NBC News says longtime "Today'' show host Matt Lauer has been fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior.'' 

(U.S. Edition) Senate Republicans may just be able to pass their bill to overhaul America's tax system. Republican Sen. Susan Collins, considered a swing vote, has indicated she'd be on board if she can get two bills that would potentially "mitigate the impact" of the individual mandate's repeal. We'll take a look at what's in these measures and whether they'd actually be effective. Afterwards, we'll discuss a new report that finds public investment in K-12 has declined since 2008, and then hear from Marketplace Weekend host Lizzie O'Leary about her visit to a still-devastated Puerto Rico.

11/29/2017: Britain closer to Brexit divorce bill

Nov 29, 2017

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … The British government has offered to significantly increase the sum it is prepared to pay the European Union when it leaves the bloc. The prime minister denied the settlement is as high as 55 billion euros but it could still be the breakthrough the U.K. needs to keep talks moving forward.  Afterwards, Bitcoin has broken through the $10,000 mark for the first time, but should investors be wary? Then, a new report says that global prosperity is the highest since 2007, but warning spots include Latin America, and even the U.S. and Britain.

Your phone tracks your location. The phone company knows ... who else should?

Nov 29, 2017

Your cellphone is with you almost everywhere you go. And the whole time, it's tracking your location and sending that information to cell towers and phone carriers.

Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case about whether law enforcement needs a warrant to access your cellphone location information. The case could set a major legal precedent around digital privacy. 

You take your cell phone everywhere you go. And the whole time, it’s keeping a digital record of your location. Today, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case about whether law enforcement needs a warrant to access that information. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has been trying to pass his GPS Act, which would establish rules around the use of location information. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Wyden about what the bill would do.

NPR Chief News Editor David Sweeney has left the company following allegations of sexual harassment filed against him by at least three female journalists.

"David Sweeney is no longer on staff," Chris Turpin, acting senior vice president of news, said in an email to staff.

"This is a difficult time for our newsroom and I'm committed to supporting all of you as we move forward. I know you appreciate that there are some questions I cannot answer in keeping with our practice to not comment on personnel issues, but I will do my best to address those I can," Turpin added.

Grist & Toll flour mill wants to change your bread

Nov 28, 2017

Hidden in a slightly industrial-looking strip mall in the middle of Pasadena, California, is a flour mill. It's called Grist & Toll, and Nan Kohler is the owner and miller. At the mill, Kohler explained how just a few hundred years ago, flour mills used to be the city centers, but now mills like her's in an urban center are unheard of.

After showing us around the facility, Kohler explained why our culture traded in whole wheat flour for the white, highly processed stuff we see on the grocery shelves today.

The latest draft of the Senate tax bill sailed through a procedural vote in the budget committee today. One of the big questions leading up to the vote was how to appease deficit hawks like Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who object to the trillion or so dollars these tax cuts would add to the national debt. Well, Corker voted yes on the bill, and the concession that reportedly got him there? A so-called tax trigger. The question is … how does it work?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

So, what is the problem with Apu?

Nov 28, 2017

Whether you are a bot or a pop cultural enthusiast, Hari Kondabolu's new documentary "The Problem with Apu" has probably caught your attention by now.

"The Problem with Apu" takes a critical look at the representation of South Asian people in American television and film. It centers itself around the Indian immigrant caricature, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, in "The Simpsons."

In Nebraska, historic shelterbelts are making way for more crops

Nov 28, 2017

The Great Plains are loosing trees. Specifically, shelterbelt trees, which were planted during the 1930s at the behest of President Franklin Roosevelt to help farms suffering from dust storms. Now these trees are being cleared by farmers who want to use the land to plant more income-generating cash crops.

11/28/2017: Break glass in case of low growth

Nov 28, 2017

That’s one way to sum up the “tax trigger,” which allowed the GOP tax bill to clear the Senate budget committee today. The last-minute addition appeased deficit hawks seeking a safety net in case the economic growth triggered by the bill doesn’t quite cover what the cuts will add to the national debt. And we go to Florida, where 170,000 Puerto Ricans have already landed in the 10 weeks since Hurricane Irma hit the island.

Updated at 3 a.m. ET on Wednesday

North Korean state media say the country has launched a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile called the Hwasong-15. The statement says the missile is North Korea's most powerful ever and can reach all of the United States.

Earlier the Pentagon's initial assessment said the missile was an ICBM, the third tested by North Korea.

Buffalo Wild Wings announced on Tuesday it was being acquired by Roark Capital, the company that controls Arby's and a bunch of other food brands like Cinnabon and Jimmy John's. The cash deal comes in at $2.44 billion ($157 per share) and is just the latest in the consolidation of fast food and fast-casual restaurants. (In April, JAB Holding bought Panera Bread for a record $7.5 billion).

Could one of the casualties of Brexit be the Cornish language? Much older than English, it is an offshoot of the Celtic tongue that was spoken across Britain when the Romans arrived in the first century B.C., and was driven to the periphery of the country after the Anglo-Saxon invasions began in the fifth century. Cornish is now spoken regularly by only a few hundred people in Britain’s most southerly county of Cornwall. But it has been making a comeback in recent years, some say, thanks to the European Union. Could that renaissance be in jeopardy?   

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