National/International

Help! I’ve fallen and I need a smart watch!

Sep 13, 2018

Among the updates during Wednesday’s Apple keynote were some changes to the Apple Watch. Series 4 of the smartwatch will come with price tag starting at $399, and will include a bigger screen, thinner body, and new health tracking capabilities including a better heart rate monitor. But one feature that hasn’t received as much attention is the watch’s new “fall detection capabilities.”

Here's the problem with low, low unemployment

Sep 13, 2018

Unemployment in the United States currently stands at the low, low 3.9 percent. What's not to like? A new paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston argues that, historically, a low unemployment rate can signal trouble for the economy. It seems there is some danger in too much employment.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

How a chef helped serve 3.6 million meals in Puerto Rico

Sep 13, 2018

Thursday morning, President Donald Trump rejected the government’s assessment of the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year. He tweeted: “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico” and accused Democrats of inflating the number. Those statements are not grounded in fact. What is fact is that Puerto Rico was devastated, and thousands did die because of a lack of electricity, shelter, food and water.

"We function very well in chaos"

Sep 13, 2018

President Donald Trump rejected the government’s assessment of the death toll from Hurricane Maria this morning. "3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” he tweeted, accusing Democrats of inflating the number. Those statements are not grounded in fact. What is a fact is that the island was devastated, and thousands did die because of a lack of electricity, shelter, food and water. With that in mind, we talked with chef José Andrés today about his experience feeding thousands of Puerto Ricans in the storm's wake.

Scientists say 25 years left to fight climate change

Sep 13, 2018

You can think of global warming kind of like popping a bag of popcorn in the microwave.

Anthropogenic, or human-caused, warming has been stoked by increasing amounts of heat-trapping pollution since the start of the industrial age more than 200 years ago. But that first hundred years or so was kind of like the first minute for that popcorn — no real sign of much happening.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

President Trump denied the death toll of nearly 3,000 from hurricanes Maria and Irma, which swept across Puerto Rico a year ago, in a series of tweets Thursday morning.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico," he tweeted. "When I left the island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths."

Trump then blamed Democrats for the figures, "to make me look as bad as possible."

(Markets Edition) Household incomes grew last year for the third year in a row, according to data from the U.S. Census. But a closer look reveals that men are seeing a larger earnings boost while the numbers for women barely moved. Speaking of growth, Consumer Price Index numbers indicate that prices rose year over year just under 3 percent.

(U.S. Edition) With Hurricane Florence at a Category 2 and still threatening, we look at what actually declaring a state of emergency entails when it comes to unlocking funds. Then, Apple's new iPhones come equipped with faster processors and superior water resistance. However, Apple appears to be overhauling more than the phones. Also, we head back to the tariff saga between the U.S. and China. Have the tariffs actually brought the Trump administration closer to its goals in that country?

How states unlock money to meet hurricane expenses

Sep 13, 2018

Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm, but it could still cause extreme flooding inland. Several states along the Eastern Seaboard and the District of Columbia have declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence making landfall later this week.

States need authorization before they can spend more money on an emergency than is officially budgeted.

"Government can only do the things that it's explicitly been given the legal ability to do," said Joseph Trainor, a director at the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware. 

We are still at least 15 years away from the first human mission to Mars — that’s at the earliest. But that hasn't stopped Hollywood from skipping ahead to the future. Hulu, the online streaming service, is out with a new series tomorrow called "The First." It's set in the 2030s and, as the name implies, it imagines the first human mission to the Red Planet. Now, in addition to getting the astrophysics right, the show producers had to get the future right. And, for that they called a futurist. Amy Webb is founder of the Future Today Institute. She usually helps businesses with strategy.

A sliver of light for China, U.S. trade relations?

Sep 13, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … China on Thursday said an escalation in trade conflict with the United States is not in the interest of either side. So, is a deal between the dueling trade partners likely to come before an announcement of more tariffs on Chinese imports to America? Then, economists expect Turkey’s central bank to raise rates to 20 percent on Thursday, but the country’s president just hours before called for a rate cut. We’ll explore what’s at stake. Afterwards, all this week we've been looking at the impact of the financial crisis a decade later.

We are still at least 15 years away from the first human mission to Mars — that’s at the earliest. But that hasn't stopped Hollywood from skipping ahead to the future. Hulu, the online streaming service, is out with a new series Friday called "The First." It's set in the 2030s, and as the name implies, it imagines what that first mission might be like. In addition to getting the astrophysics right, the show producers had to get the future right. And for that they called a futurist. Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, usually helps businesses with strategy.

It’s been a decade since the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers sent shockwaves through the global financial system. While many aspects of the global economy are on more solid footing 10 years later, aftershocks are still reverberating in various sectors.

The Food and Drug Administration announced today it's cracking down on flavored e-cigarettes. The FDA said it's ordered five big e-cigarette makers to draw up plans to stop underage use of their products within 60 days, or have their products pulled off the shelves. Such a move would be a huge blow to an industry that brings in $2.5 billion a year.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Young, white, affluent — and learning about race

Sep 12, 2018

When we talk about race and racism in this economy, the experiences we most often hear about are the experiences of the people who've been marginalized. Less common is studying the people with the power, money and privilege. Margaret Hagerman teaches sociology at Mississippi State University and spent two years observing and hanging out with affluent white kids and their parents. Those parents all own homes, have advanced degrees and live in predominantly white neighborhoods in a Midwestern suburb.

Are Republicans softening on carbon taxes?

Sep 12, 2018

The Global Climate Action Summit kicked off today in San Francisco, bringing together around 4,000 political and business leaders, scientists and activists from around the globe with the goal of highlighting successful approaches to tackling carbon emissions. And a tax on those emissions is one of the approaches on the agenda.

The software that changed the economy

Sep 12, 2018

You probably haven't heard of Michael Osinski. He's an oyster farmer in upstate New York. But before he did that, in the '80s, he wrote the software that helped banks securitize mortgages — software that would contribute to Lehman's collapse and to the financial crisis at large. We'll bring you his story today, but first a look at e-cigarettes. The FDA is giving  manufacturers like Juul 60 days to come up with a game plan addressing teen vaping, threatening to pull products if they don’t comply. Then: the sociology of white privilege.

President Donald Trump announced he wants to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement a little over a year ago. Since then, a coalition of leaders from states, cities, businesses and universities called America's Pledge has been trying to keep the United States on track to meet the Paris accord's emission targets by its 2025 deadline.

Fracking made the U.S. a major oil producer, but not energy independent

Sep 12, 2018

The oil shortages of the 1970s triggered laws that banned the export of American crude oil. Those lingering fears of scarcity kept those laws around for decades. Then came the shale revolution in mid-200os, otherwise known as the fracking boom, which helped the United States become one of the world's top oil and gas producers.

Tariff jitters grow at Washington state port

Sep 12, 2018

For many who work at the Port of Vancouver in Washington along the Columbia River, the impacts of President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war are already here.

“Usually this yard is filled with steel, and I’m not seeing that,” said Cager Clabaugh, the president of the local longshoremen’s union.

Less steel on the docks is a big problem. The Port of Vancouver handles the second-largest volume of imported steel on the West Coast. Steel imports make up about a third of its revenue, and officials are predicting a decline of at least 5 percent this year.

Washington state feels the burn of trade conflict

Sep 12, 2018

(Markets Edition) Do tariffs “hurt the heartland?” That’s the message of a new campaign from the Americans for Free Trade coalition, which consists of some of the nation’s biggest farming, manufacturing, tech and retail companies. Also, a key number that measures inflation — the Producer Price Index — posted its first drop in more than a year.

Is fracking the key to U.S. energy independence?

Sep 12, 2018

(U.S. Edition) The Congressional Budget Office has new numbers about the federal deficit, and they say it's only getting bigger. Billions bigger. Also, Apple is expected to announce a trio of new iPhones along with updates to some other products, but this time with the specter of the trade conflict with China hanging over it. Then, we look at oil and how the U.S. is on pace to be the third largest oil producer in the world, thanks to the process of fracking. But an author told us that the U.S.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … The European Parliament on Wednesday votes on a controversial copyright law that would impact some of the world’s biggest tech companies, like Google’s YouTube. Then, Britain’s central bank governor, Mark Carney, on Wednesday told the BBC that while regulators have done a lot to fix the global financial system, risks still remain for both the global economy and the U.K. He said China is at the “top of the list.” Afterwards, this week, we’re taking a look at how the global economy has changed in the decade since the financial crisis.

Apple's secret weapon? The semiconductor

Sep 12, 2018

Most people are looking at the new iPhones and thinking about the camera performance, the size of the screen, the notch situation. But we nerds here at Marketplace Tech will be thinking about the semiconductor. Many people will probably ignore the part in Apple's new gadgets announcement Wednesday about the A12 processor and what a big difference it's going to make for speed, performance and battery life. But these guts are actually what set Apple apart — and ahead — of other smartphone makers, because Apple designs its own semiconductors for all its mobile devices.

Updated at 9 p.m. ET

After weeks of relative silence, Pope Francis has agreed to meet a delegation of U.S. bishops and cardinals to discuss the Vatican response to the clergy abuse crisis.

Two of the country’s biggest steelmakers, U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal, have contracts with their 30,000 or so union members that just expired on Sept. 1. The United Steelworkers Union is in the heat of negotiations with both companies on a new contract and steel’s still coming off the line.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

In Charleston, S.C., a major interstate is reversing direction for about 100 miles, sending every lane inland — even earlier than originally scheduled.

In the Outer Banks, N.C., where tourists and residents rely on a few bridges and ferries for access to the mainland, authorities are warning residents to get out immediately. The state's governor has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a state-level, mandatory evacuation order, instead of relying on local governments.

Hurricane Florence is expected to hit several states along the Eastern Seaboard, including North and South Carolina, and Virginia, on Thursday. More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate. Federal agencies are scrambling to coordinate the relief supplies that are probably needed in the days ahead. This will be the Federal Emergency Management Agency's first hurricane to handle since the storms of last year — Irma, Harvey, and Maria. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

How socialism became the talk of the midterms

Sep 11, 2018

Socialism is getting more attention in American political races, with high-profile candidates embracing so-called socialist policies and groups like the Democratic Socialists of America swelling their membership ranks and openly backing congressional candidates like New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ten years ago this week, investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed. Unlike similar financial institutions, it collected no government bailout. It was not too big to fail.

"Too big to fail" is closely associated with the financial crisis of a decade ago. It was used as a justification for those government bailouts.

The idea behind "too big to fail," of course, is that some institutions are just so massive and interconnected that their failure would mean disaster for the economy.

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