National/International

(Markets Edition) Warren Buffett is teaming up with Amazon and JPMorgan to create a company aimed at tackling the issue of health care costs. We'll look at what they want to offer to their employees, and how insurance and pharmacy stocks are faring amid the news. Afterwards, we'll discuss why bond yields have been rising for the past several months, and then talk about the new method some workplaces are using to concentrate (hint: it actually involves noise).

Amazon, Warren Buffett and JPMorgan Chase are forming a new company to address the health care costs of their employees, sending shares of health care companies down sharply across the entire sector despite the vague nature of the announcement.

On Tuesday Amazon's Jeff Bezos said that he, along with Buffet and JPMorgan, would attempt to make health care better for hundreds of thousands of their employees, and perhaps, eventually, the country.

There were few details and those involved said the project is in the early planning stage.

Yellen leads her last Fed meeting

Jan 30, 2018

Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen ends a cautious four-year run.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

President Donald Trump is expected to talk about his infrastructure plan in tonight’s State of the Union speech. The president has lots of big ideas. But it’s not clear how they would be paid for.  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

White noise is the new soundtrack of work

Jan 30, 2018

Jonah Lopin, CEO of Crayon, a software developing startup, works in a trendy open office space in downtown Boston. Even though he’s CEO, he doesn’t have an office where he can shut the door. There’s a lot of noise from his co-workers. When he needs to concentrate, he puts on noise canceling headphones and plays the recording of a fan.

“Somehow when the fan is going, it clicks off that part of the brain that’s anticipating interruptions and I’m able to focus,” Lopin said. 

(U.S. Edition) President Trump is slated to give his first State of the Union speech tonight, where he's expected to bring up his goal of revamping the country's infrastructure. But how's he going to pay for it? We'll look at where the funds could come from. Afterwards, we'll discuss the wide gulf between the black unemployment rate — even though it's at its lowest level since the government began tracking it in 1972 — and the white unemployment rate, along with the job barriers that exist for African-Americans. 

More than 100 million people are expected to tune in this coming Sunday when the Patriots face off against the Eagles. While the two teams compete for the championship title in the Super Bowl LII, millions of chicken wings and beers will be consumed, making getting up for work the next day more difficult than on an average Monday.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Worries over the U.K.’s economic health were stoked Monday night after a leaked Brexit report … but data Tuesday morning showed the Eurozone economy saw its fastest growth rate in a decade last year. We break down trends in two important regions. Then, Hollywood might portray artificial intelligence as taking over the world, but it just might be the solution to freeing up teachers to focus on delivering quality educations. 

Five reasons for a self-driving car slowdown

Jan 30, 2018

Carmakers and tech companies are predicting that self-driving cars will hit the road as soon as 2020 and presumably transform our entire society in just a few short years after that. But as we collect stories about the tech, the talent and the unintended consequences of autonomous vehicles, I’m putting my money on a slightly longer timeline. In fact, in some cases, like cybersecurity and the safety of the tech in play, we consumers might want to insist on a slightly longer timeline. Here are five reasons why.

Updated at 7:16 p.m. ET

President Trump is planning a bipartisan pitch to Congress with his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, but he will have his work cut out for him with a public that is more divided than ever.

"Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family," Trump will say, according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

Shaheim Wright's house is falling apart. It's infested with bedbugs. The washing machine is broken. He needs a new sink. Oh, and there's the crack in the bathtub.

"It's leaking out, and right near my door is a wet spot from water coming down," Wright said. "And it's like, well I can't pay for any of this."

01/29/2018: The State of the Economy

Jan 29, 2018

There comes a time in the life of every presidential administration when, economically speaking, they own it. We're not talking here about taking credit for the economy, Trump's been doing that since the early days, but when they've earned it. With President Trump's first State of the Union tomorrow night, and the economy virtually certain to be very high up in that speech, it seemed like a good time for a reality check. That's where we're starting today, plus a big merger in beverages and more from our series "Divided Decade."

What limiting legal immigration would do to our economy

Jan 29, 2018

The high-profile political battles over immigration have focused extensively on a border wall and the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  program, designed to protect unauthorized immigrants who entered the country as children from deportation.

But flying under much of the public radar is the contentious debate over legal immigration. And there's a lot at stake. 

(Markets Edition) The CEO of Wynn Resorts — billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn — has stepped down as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee because of sexual harassment allegations against him. On today's show, we'll look at how the board of his company might respond. Afterwards, we'll talk to economist Julia Coronado from MacroPolicy Perspectives, about the state of the bond market and the future of interest rates.

Diaper and baby product makers are facing declining sales, but more babies are due as the birthrate slowly starts going up after a decade.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

 

For years, William Godwin toggled back and forth between Chicago and Gary, Indiana. In 2016, the 32-year-old black business owner decided to move full time to the quaint and artsy neighborhood of Miller Beach, a lakefront area in Gary.

“The benefits of living here are the affordability. The slower lifestyle, the ease of getting around,” Godwin said.

01/29/2018: How to protect yourself from tax scams

Jan 29, 2018

(U.S. Edition) That's right — that's the smell of tax season in the air. The IRS officially begins accepting returns today. But that also means that the scammers will be out in full force, an issue exacerbated by Equifax's data breach. We'll look at the ways you can get scammed, and what you can do to protect yourself. Afterwards, we'll discuss how Strava — an app that tracks athletic activity — has released a map of the world that gives away the location of military bases where U.S. soldiers are using the app.

For those early birds out there, you can start turning in your tax returns today. Tax season is officially here, which also means its tax fraud season — a time when tens of millions of people become more susceptible to having their personal information stolen and scammed out of money.

The risk may be even bigger this year since just months ago we saw one of the largest data breaches ever of personal information: the Equifax hack.

Cities and states have long given underrepresented groups like blacks, Latinos and women a leg up in bidding on public contracts. Now there’s an effort to include LGBT-owned businesses in that group.

Take Marc Coleman. He runs the Philadelphia digital design firm The Tactile Group. Coleman is also black and gay, and his identity, he said, has made him lose business.     

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … A controversial plan down under: Why Australia has outlined a new effort to ramp up arms production. Then, nearly half of Mozambique’s population is under the age of 15, and finding education and training opportunities is crucial. We’ll take you to the nation’s capital where a classical music project for young people is striking just the right tone. 

This week, Montana and New York made moves to counter the federal repeal of net neutrality that the Federal Communications Commission enacted last month. And so far 21 states and the District of Columbia have sued to overturn the FCC decision. What will these legal battles look like?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2017 rose 2.6 percent on an annualized basis, compared to 3.2 percent in the third quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The rate of economic growth for the 2017 calendar year was 2.3 percent, compared to 1.5 percent in 2016.

On Wednesday, an appeals court ruled Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2011, guilty of corruption and money laundering charges, increasing his previous prison sentence on those charges from 9 1/2 to just over 12 years. On Thursday, Lula’s Workers Party confirmed he will be their candidate for this October’s presidential election.

After disasters, Montecito clears debris and considers the future

Jan 26, 2018

Nearly three weeks ago, rain triggered massive mudslides in the hillside community of Montecito, a wealthy enclave 90 miles north of Los Angeles, in Santa Barbara County. That disaster came on the heels of the largest wildfire in California's history. The mudslide killed at least 21 people. Hundreds of homes were damaged and tons of mud and debris spread everywhere, including on a major Southern California freeway.

Can Baltimore's new funding approach solve the "education debt"?

Jan 26, 2018

This week in Baltimore, the school board approved a new plan to fund city schools based on poverty rates. Previously, funds were distributed based on test scores, with schools getting extra money for advanced students as well as for low-performing students who might need more services.

All of us try to fit in at some point in our lives.

It's something musician Cedric Watson has thought a lot about, at least since the 6th grade, he says. He was in San Felipe, Texas at the time. "Growing up, I'm not really into hip-hop culture so much. So, I was kind of like a different person. Kind of seen as weird, or things like that." 

In an attempt to fit in, at least musically, Cedric Watson moved from Texas to Lafayette, Louisiana.

That was several years ago and since then Watson's become an incredible Cajun, Creole and zydeco violinist. 

Most call it a mudslide, but Jon Frye wants people to understand that heavy rains sent more than mud rushing through Montecito three weeks ago. He prefers the technical term: debris flow.

“It’s almost like a wet concrete-type mixture that can end up floating rock the size of a school bus," said Frye, an engineer with Santa Barbara County Flood Control. “It’ll take out anything it its way. And that’s what happened up here.”

How accurate were Trump's economics at Davos?

Jan 26, 2018

President Trump took an opportunity at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — an annual gathering of the world’s business and political leaders — to tout America’s economic growth and make a sales pitch for investment opportunities here in the U.S.

He said the U.S. has created millions of new jobs since he was elected, the GOP tax bill will lower the tax rate for corporations and increase household incomes, and that the country is going to negotiate “mutually beneficial” trade agreements.

(Markets Edition) Trump delivered a 15-minute speech at the World Economic Forum, where he touted the performance of the U.S. economy. Figures for global economic growth have also been looking good, but BBC reporter Joe Miller joins us to explain why things may not be as positive as they seem. Afterwards, we'll hear from Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, about the weakening dollar, and then look at the state of the manufacturing industry. 

U.S. economy grew at solid 2.6 percent rate in fourth quarter

Jan 26, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a solid rate of 2.6 percent in the final three months of last year, helped by the fastest consumer spending since the spring of 2016 and a big rebound in home construction.

The fourth quarter advance in the gross domestic product, the country’s total output of goods and services, followed gains of just above 3 percent in the second and third quarters, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The latest slowdown reflected a worsening trade deficit and less growth in inventory restocking by companies.

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