The end of an era in Japan

Apr 30, 2019

From the BBC World Service... Economic growth in Europe strengthened at the start of 2019, with both the eurozone and wider European Union expanding at a faster pace than expected. Also, a cross-party group of British politicians are backing a "Green New Deal" for the U.K. They say dramatic change is needed, but is the plan realistic? Finally, Japan's Emperor Akihito has abdicated, marking the end of an imperial era for Japan. We take a look at what it means, and what Japan's workaholics make of their unprecedented "golden," two-week vacation.

Last week, Qualcomm and Apple settled their big legal battle over royalty payments and signed a multiyear agreement for Apple to use Qualcomm's 5G wireless chips or modems in its phones. Before that, Apple was going to use 5G modems from Intel. But Intel was having trouble delivering, and earlier this month, Intel got out of the mobile 5G business altogether. As a result, Apple is a little delayed in putting out a 5G phone and now might be feeling a little too reliant on Qualcomm.

Intel couldn’t deliver on making 5G modems for Apple, so Apple might make its own modem chips to get to a 5G iPhone. Host Molly Wood talked with Anshel Sag, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, who says all this drama is going down in... San Diego.

Today's show is sponsored by Acquia and Clickshare.

High water on the Mississippi River means less barge cargo

Apr 29, 2019

Congressional leaders, the majority Democratic, are going to the White House this week for a meeting with President Donald Trump. The topic of discussion: the current state of America's roads, bridges and highways. This infrastructure has been greatly affected by excessive rain and snow, mostly in the western part of America's Midwest, including dams and locks on the nation's waterways. One of our Marketplace regulars, whose business has been affected by flooding, is Austin Golding, the president of Golding Barge Line.

Here's what's driving increasing college enrollment

Apr 29, 2019

New data from the Labor Department show more high school graduates enrolled in college last year than in 2017. Nearly 69 percent of 2018 high school graduates went to college, compared to 67 percent the year before. College enrollment has steadily risen over the last decade or so.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Drivers know that gas prices can be kind of all over the map. It varies quite a bit by state. And sometimes you find notable differences between stations in the same confined area, even though most factors affecting cost such as local taxes, the cost of crude, transportation fees,  are applicable to all stations in that area. Why is that?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

On a busy manufacturing floor  inside a cramped 85-year-old converted dairy creamery in the city of Tower in northeastern Minnesota, a handful of workers are welding together a wood-burning furnace certified by the Environmental Protection Agency as the cleanest on the market.

How do organizations get tax-exempt status?

Apr 29, 2019

New York's attorney general is investigating the National Rifle Association to determine whether it has violated its tax-exempt status. Federal law clearly regulates the steps an organization can take to become tax-exempt (that is, exempt from paying certain taxes, including income tax). Once an organization gets this designation, it isn't for life. Although revocations are not common, an organization can risk its tax-exempt status if it is involved in illicit activities or pays its executives too much, for example.

A day after the synagogue he founded was attacked, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein recounted the events of the shooting that left one woman dead and three others injured.

The shooting occurred on Saturday at the Chabad of Poway synagogue prior to a scheduled Passover celebration.

The alleged shooter, 19-year-old John T. Earnest, was booked on one count of murder in the first degree and three counts of attempted murder in the first degree, according the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Amazon and Google get into the (daily) mix

Apr 29, 2019

Consumers were spending a lot last month, according to new government data. An African swine flu epidemic is affecting China's food supply. Plus, Spotify faces stiff competition as Amazon and Google enter the streaming music business.

Today's show is sponsored by the Alliance for Lifetime IncomeForexKronos and the United States Postal Service.

Bayer beware

Apr 29, 2019

Shareholders of German agriculture and pharmaceutical conglomerate Bayer send a resounding rebuke against management stemming from the company's acquisition of Monsanto, whose Roundup weed killer has allegedly been linked to cancer. As fuel prices rise, we look at how gas stations are differentiating themselves to stay competitive. Plus, the average FICO credit score is up compared to that before the Great Recession, but are these figures being inflated, and why should creditors care about the number, anyway? And President Trump's "new NAFTA" faces resistance from his own party.

From the BBC World Service... Spain's socialist party has won the most seats in the general election. We explain what it means for the Eurozone's fourth largest economy. Then, should the U.K. scrap the penny coin? Six out of ten copper coins in the U.K. are used just once. We hear arguments on both sides as the government prepares to announce its decision. And, the fight for votes in India’s election has entered its fourth round. We explain why meeting the rising aspirations of rural voters will be one of the biggest challenges.

When we talk about the internet of things and a house full of smart speakers and smart fridges and smart TVs, we focus a lot on privacy concerns. But these devices also have risks around commerce. Because they're for shopping. That's part of the appeal, like in this Alexa ad.  

When we talk about the internet of things and a house full of smart speakers and fridges and TVs, we focus a lot on privacy concerns. But these devices are also for shopping, and that means commerce concerns. Think of smart devices in your home kind of like an army of door-to-door salesmen offering encyclopedias or vacuum cleaners. In the 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission created new rules to deal with door-to-door sales. And some experts have said that's a good model for how to regulate a future filled with smart shopping and potentially dumb decisions.

Weddings are helping save historic Texas dance halls

Apr 26, 2019

In rural Texas, people are trying to preserve historic “dance halls” built around the turn of the 20th century.

For decades, German and Czech farming communities have used these barn-like buildings for dances, parties, or just to hash out some community business. But with changing traditions and musical tastes, many of the halls have crumbled and been lost to time. Weddings might help save the ones that are left, but it’s still an uphill economic battle.

Muslims in Sri Lanka say they feel targeted after bombings

Apr 26, 2019

Sri Lankan police are trying to track down 140 people believed to be linked to ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed 253, as shooting erupted in the east during a raid.

Muslims in Sri Lanka were urged to pray at home after the State Intelligence Services warned of possible car bomb attacks amid fears of retaliatory violence.

Cue the Vitamin C, it's graduation season. As many students are preparing for life after college, they’re also figuring out how to pay back their student loans. Plus, the latest GDP numbers and Amazon's plan to offer free one-day shipping for Prime subscribers.

The business of being Taylor Swift

Apr 26, 2019

"The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now...'cause she's dead," sang Taylor Swift in her 2017 hit "Look What You Made Me Do."

Fans, though, had no reason to fear. The new Taylor has just released a much-promoted, much-awaited single. “ME!” premiered on YouTube late last night.

The United States is approaching a remarkable and worrisome milestone. Total outstanding student loan debt rose to nearly $1.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Meanwhile, failure to pay the money back is rising: 11.4 percent of student debt is now 90 or more days delinquent or in default. The delinquency rate has doubled since 2003.

Did you have a favorite grocery store that’s now long gone? Maybe it was Handy Andy, if you live in Texas. Or, Hinky Dinky, if you’re from Nebraska or Iowa. For many Chicagoans, it was Moo & Oink.

Marketplace reporter Renata Sago is exploring this topic and needs your help.

Share a memory about your favorite bygone grocery store. What did you love—and now miss—about it?

What made it unique or exciting compared to other grocery stores?

Send your comments below, and Sago or one of our producers might be in touch.


President Trump and Vice President Pence are scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Indianapolis on Friday. In recent years, the NRA has increased spending on communications and advertising, making it a key part of its overall spending strategy. The organization has been funding streaming content and ads that reflect right-wing political positions. Marketplace's Ben Bradford takes a look.

The rise and fall of Facebook’s memory economy

Apr 26, 2019

Molly Wood, host of Marketplace Tech, is an ongoing contributor to Wired's Ideas section. Her latest column is below.

Rebranding a Southern city with food to the fore

Apr 26, 2019

At a restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently, some of the city's best chefs showed off for locals at an event sponsored by the local tourism authority. Waiting for her first course, Lisa Eversole said the dinner highlighted a big change in the city.

"Oh my God, food has gotten so much better," she said.

 "We used to go to Charleston all the time for good food," her husband Jim added. "There was nothing downtown, nothing. Now, it’s everywhere."

A tale of two payment apps

Apr 26, 2019

Going out for dinner with friends can get pretty complicated for Martin Juvå. He lives in Brooklyn right now, but he’s Swedish and doesn’t have an American bank account. That means no Venmo.

“It’s become pretty irritating to me,” Juvå said. “Venmo would probably solve a lot of problems if I had it here.”

Are you Team Venmo or Team Zelle?

Apr 26, 2019

Hispanic home ownership has been rising. The president of France wants his citizens to work more. Plus, are you are on Team Paypal or Team Zelle?

Today's show is sponsored by WellFrame, the University of Florida Warrington College of Business and Brother Printers.

From the BBC World Service… There’s been growing worry about China’s rising influence as it expands it international trade project. At the Belt and Road conference in Beijing today, China’s president tried to quell those concerns. Then, over the weekend, Spanish voters will head to the polls in the fourth general elections in the last three years. The next leader will have to content with a range of issues including an uneven economic recovery, Catalonia separatism and foreign-policy changes.

Despite the privacy scandals, the federal investigations and the accusations of destroying democracy, this week Facebook reported its advertising revenue and global users are growing. Marketplace’s Jack Stewart talked with Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of Wired. He's an author on the magazine's latest cover story, behind the scenes at the troubled company. He says Facebook's business is solid for several reasons.

How gamers got their style

Apr 25, 2019

Until now, most video games involved anonymity and enthusiasts never had to think about to what to wear.

Then came Twitch, the live-streaming platform owned by Amazon, and the fashion industry followed. With millions of fans watching live video games, Twitch has turned gamers into celebrities, thrusting the culture into depths of fashion marketing.

What would Hollywood be without superhero movies?

Apr 25, 2019

The latest Avengers movie, "Endgame," is already breaking box office records — and it hasn't even opened nationally. It's the latest entry in the genre of films that's come to dominate the box office over the past decade. Superhero films account for about a quarter of box office revenue, and last year, six of the 10 top grossing films in North America featured superheroes, according to ComScore.

USMCA hurdles not all to do with U.S. politics

Apr 25, 2019

Mexico needs to pass promised labor reforms to boost the independence of its unions. Its lower house has already passed a bill that its Senate is expected to take up shortly. But passing these reforms likely won’t not be enough to convince Democrats and U.S. labor unions to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade. They say they want to see how the new law takes effect. So the timeline for the USMCA deal in the U.S. could be slow.