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The blackout in Puerto Rico is hurting hospitals

Jan 8, 2018

Puerto Rico still hasn't recovered from Hurricane Maria. Along with the enormous human impact, the island's infrastructure is in disrepair. The Associated Press reports that over 40 percent of the island's power customers continue to live without electricity. Now the effects are being felt in the wider American economy. A big chunk of the IV bags hospitals use to administer fluids and drugs to patients are manufactured in Puerto Rico. That's lead to a shortage on the mainland just in time for flu season.

01/08/2018: The farm economy in the Trump era

Jan 8, 2018

President Donald Trump was in Nashville, Tennessee, today, giving the keynote address at the annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation. We're starting today's show with everything you need to know about the ag economy in 2018, and what farmers are looking for from the president. Then: It's been 110 days since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. More than 40 percent of the island is still without power, and that's starting to have ripple effects throughout the wider American economy. Plus, Los Angeles' new strategy for dealing with overdue library books.

The 'Truce Village' between North and South Korea

Jan 8, 2018

Next week, top officials from both South Korea and North Korea will be going to a village in the demilitarized zone called Panmunjom to discuss the Winter Olympics.

Panmunjom is historic.

It's where the armistice was signed in 1953 that brought fighting in the Korean War to an end.

Now, it’s become a tourist destination — although a dangerous one — known to some as ''the most tense place on the planet.''

It’s one of the only places where soldiers from the North and South stand face-to-face.

At school, sixth-grader Jonatan Morales gets in trouble for possibly the best reason.

“I get in trouble for reading,” he said with a chuckle. “During class, I’m supposed to pay attention to the teacher, but I just have my head down, reading.”

Which books consume his time? “Good books, not bad books,” he said. Jonatan checks out those good books – lots of comics – from the East Los Angeles Library and sometimes holds on to them for a little too long.

This is what corporate boards actually do

Jan 8, 2018

If one of your New Year's resolutions was to learn more about how the economy works, you might consider asking: "What exactly do corporate boards do anyhow?" It's a subject that Jena McGregor, who covers leadership issues for the Washington Post, is well versed in. What follows is an edited transcription of her conversation with Kai Ryssdal.

The full interview is available on the Corner Office podcast

If you've ever considered leaving your job — maybe for a better opportunity, maybe just out of frustration — you're not alone. For Ask a Manager's Alison Green, it's a topic that comes up all the time ... how to leave your current job without burning any bridges.  We're looking for stories and questions about quitting. Have you left your position? Wanted to? Wondered what the best way would be? If you're the boss, what's it like when someone quits?

The Kenya-born Harvard scholar Calestous Juma saw innovations and opportunities bubbling up in African economies where others saw only poverty and despair. 

This time of year Moscow's onion domes are supposed to be covered in snow, but so far this winter has been a bust. 

Through Christmas and New Year's there were no flakes at all. That hasn't been great news for Russian landscape photographer Ivan Boiko. "It is indeed very untypical for this time of year and for this geography. It's quite a rare thing, I would say."

It hasn't even been that cold. Temperatures have averaged a relatively balmy 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Boiko's frustrated because he loves shooting winter scenes that show the texture of the snow and cold. 

We're nearing the one-year mark of the Trump administration. With policies that are starkly different from the previous eight years under President Barack Obama, how are young people feeling about the future of the country?

What the loss of a mill means to a town

Jan 8, 2018

The papermaking past of Camas, Washington, is entrenched in the town’s DNA. Nowhere is that more apparent than when you walk into the high school auditorium, where the varsity basketball team is playing its season opener. This is the home of the Papermakers. The name alludes to the 134-year old paper mill that at its peak was the second largest in the world, employing nearly 3,000 people. The company Georgia-Pacific recently announced it will begin to shut down most of its production, a sign that the landmark on the Columbia River may soon disappear.

(Markets Edition) Following the recent release of the December jobs report, we'll talk to economist Diane Swonk about what's in store this year. Unemployment might drop even further and wages could (finally) start accelerating. Afterwards, we'll look at how two big Apple investors have called on the company to address the issue of "smartphone addiction." Finally, we'll discuss how big data might be able to improve cyclist safety.

How Britain's cinemas are becoming dementia friendly

Jan 8, 2018

Picture the scene: the front row of a cozy cinema a few weeks before Christmas, the credits for "White Christmas" rolling and festive snacks being served in the aisles.

Raizy Reider was standing in the middle of what used to be her garage, surrounded by racks and racks of clothes when her son popped his head in to announce her first client. The clock had just struck 2:30 pm. It was time for the pop-up holiday shopping event, which Reider organized, to begin.

“There is someone! I see legs!” Reider said as the garage door rattled open. “It’s going to be super crowded. I am so excited.”

Congress faces another deadline to pass government funding on Jan. 19. That’s when the latest of three stop-gap funding measures expires. For years, Congress has relied on what are called continuing resolutions to prevent government shutdowns when the parties can’t agree on full appropriations bills, and fiscal year 2018 is no different.

Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold its confirmation hearing for Alex Azar to run the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Azar is widely expected to win Senate approval, despite some misgivings over the rise of drug prices while he served as a top executive at drugmaker Eli Lilly. However, it appears Azar will break from previous HHS Secretary Tom Price in one key way.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(U.S. Edition) Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) last month to keep the government funded, but it'll come at a cost. On today's show, we'll look at how CRs can be a headache for some agencies. Afterwards, we'll discuss how Alex Azar — the next head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services —  differs from his predecessor, Tom Price. Plus: we talk to University of Chicago professor Cathy Cohen about the attitudes that millennials have toward the direction our country is heading in. (Hint: They're not exactly pleased.)

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … French President Emmanuel Macron kicks off a tour of China, with the goal of getting the nation to open up more on trade. Afterwards, an Iranian oil tanker burned in the East China Sea after colliding with a Chinese freight ship over the weekend. We’ll discuss whether that could give the U.S. new reasons to push for a fresh round of sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation. Then, we’ll tell you why there’s unrest in Sudan as hundreds protest the rising price of bread.  

Nela Richardson of Redfin and Sheelah Kolhatkar of The New Yorker join us to talk about this week’s economic and business news. According to the last jobs report of 2017, the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent, signaling that there has been steady economic growth and job creation. Amid the booming stock market however, wages have stagnated, growing only about 2 percent.

The first thing Neha Mahajan did when she received her authorization to work in the United States was apply for a social security number. Then, she opened up her own bank account.

“I will no longer be my husband’s wife, only,” she declared to PRI’s The World in an interview at the time. Her voice was clear and crisp, groomed from years of working as a broadcast journalist in her native New Delhi.

Lots of natural resources — diamonds, oil, iron ore — are buried in countries with histories of corruption. That includes places where bureaucrats have, say, demanded bribes in exchange for oil contracts. The mining and drilling sector is the most corrupt in the world, according to a study by the intergovernmental Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

A billionaire who is known throughout the financial world has been held in detention — for two months — by Saudi Arabian authorities. But like the billionaire, the story has disappeared. 

Washington accuses Pakistan of playing a dangerous double game of accepting billions in US aid while supporting militants who attack US forces in Afghanistan, including the Taliban. 

The dramatic freeze in deliveries of military equipment and security funding comes after President Donald Trump lambasted Pakistan for its alleged support for militant safe havens, including in a furious New Year tweet. 

When you think of mariachi, you’ll likely picture a band of men in embroidered suits and sombreros, playing guitar, violin and trumpet for diners in a Mexican restaurant.

For Omar Naré, that was exactly the problem. Mariachi was veering off into the realm of a stereotype, or worse yet, a relic. Mariachi had stalled, and it needed new life.

Each week on The World, we feature a unique selection of musicians, and we compile some of them for you here. 


Mosquitos - The Band!

Mosquitos are back with their first album in 10 years. Singer Juju Stullbach is originally from Brazil, but she and fellow band member Chris Root both call New York City and Oaxaca, Mexico home. The third member of the group, Jon Marshall, found a place in the mountains of North Carolina. Bits of the album were recorded and mixed in all three locations. 

In the Telemundo telenovela "Reina de Corazones," Pablo Azar plays a revenge-seeking son who poses as a valet driver to get even for his mother’s death. 

“The murderer is always the nice guy, the innocent one,” he said in one of the scenes, as he brandishes a gun in an immaculate South Florida living room. But Azar, with a self-described “good guy face” who usually is cast as a heart-throb or good-guy-turned-bad, is now playing a role he’s never been cast for on TV — union organizer.

Why you'll be seeing so much black on the red carpet

Jan 5, 2018

There's going to a lot of black on display at the Golden Globes this weekend. Many celebrities are expected to wear black to the red carpet in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and abuse. Many will also be passing on the money they would get for wearing designer jewelry and clothing to support the Time's Up initiative. The initiative was started by more than 300 prominent female actors, writers and entertainment executives, and includes a legal defense fund for victims of sexual misconduct.

Pity the tax bills of America’s multinationals

Jan 5, 2018

During the next few weeks we'll be hearing from some of the world's largest companies about big, one-time write-downs against their financial results. Many are expected to warn that their profits will be hurt by the huge bills they have to pay to the IRS. It's part of the new tax law. But those write-downs are but small setbacks on the way to big windfalls.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Can dynamic pricing work for yoga studios?

Jan 5, 2018

If you're booking a flight or a hotel, even buying tickets to a sporting event, odds are you're dealing with dynamic pricing. Businesses use dynamic pricing to fill seats (or beds), offering discounts at key times during a booking process to incentivize a purchase.

Singing in Choctaw, Samantha Crain aims to create new traditions

Jan 5, 2018
Jeremy Charles/Fire Thief Productions

“So much of its original identity is gone because of the Christianization that has happened. If you look around my house, every book that says Choctaw on it, anything about songs … it’s just Christian hymns being sung in the Choctaw language. There were definitely songs my great-grandpa was singing before they started singing whatever Christian hymns were being [sung].”

01/05/2018: The industry of wellness

Jan 5, 2018

This week we dive into the industry that wants to make the better version of you. From workout routines to diets to therapy apps to food fads, the market has been flooded with wellness products. But have they actually changed the way we feel or the money we spend on health needs? And who has access? Those are the questions on our minds this week. We look at how the term wellness has evolved, why it's so hard to find mental health services that take insurance and apps that want to make you fit. Plus, food crazes, food deserts and the economics behind eating healthy.