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Why the US military is building a drone base in Niger

Mar 6, 2018

On Oct. 4, 2017, nine soldiers were killed in a convoy leaving the village of Tongo Tongo in Niger.

Four of those soldiers were American.

The tragedy shocked Americans and Nigeriens alike — most people weren’t even aware that there were US soldiers on the ground.

For online retailers, packaging is all about economics

Mar 6, 2018

ANAMA Package and Container Testing is located in a small warehouse just outside New York City that is full of strange metal machines that evaluate retail shipping design.

The first stop for packages is the drop test. Next is a two and a half hour delivery test on a platform that gyrates to simulate driving. Then it’s back to the drop test. The high level of testing comes with good reason.

(U.S. Edition) As President Trump insists on tariffs for imported steel and aluminum, we turn our attention to the construction industry, which consumes 40 percent of the nation's steel. Experts say the tariffs would make domestic steel prices rise, and with construction companies' already tight margins, projects would likely stall and workers would lose jobs. Next, we check in on how companies are putting to use savings generated by the new tax plan. And in Chicago, parking ticket debt amounts to more than $1.5 billion, many times the amount of New York's and Los Angeles' combined.

Why federal regulations don't apply to online political campaign ads

Mar 6, 2018

Among the list of banned advertising on Facebook you’ll find the usual suspects: guns, drugs, porn etc. Also on that list? Bad grammar, and recently added, cryptocurrencies. When it comes to political campaign ads however, the rules are few and far between. Unlike television, radio and print ads, online campaign ads don’t face federal regulations.

Among the list of banned advertising on Facebook you’ll find the usual suspects: guns, drugs, porn etc. Also, on that list? Bad grammar, and notably, cryptocurrencies. When it comes to political campaign ads however, the rules are few and far between. Unlike television, radio and print ads, online campaign ads don’t face federal regulations. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Phil Weiser, a professor of law and telecommunications at the University of Colorado, about the state of online political advertising.

The National Rifle Association comes across as a big national-level political lobbying group, but a lot of what the NRA actually gets done, policy-wise, happens at the state level. And the NRA has been particularly successful in one state, Florida.

In February 1968, the Beatles embarked on their famous discovery of India to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Now 50 years later India is rediscovering the Beatles — or at least the tourism potential of the world’s most famous rock band seeking salvation in the country.

03/05/2018: Making sense of Trump's new tariffs

Mar 5, 2018

Now what? We're starting today's show trying to figure that out, with several stories on the new steel and aluminium tariffs Trump announced last week, if they'll actually protect American jobs, how other countries might respond and how trade policy is supposed to work (hint: not like this). Then: With another Oscars ceremony in the books, let's take stock of what Hollywood is actually making. It doesn't look much like last night's winning movies. Plus, what you need to know about the big chip merger that has people worried.

In the debate over immigration, President Donald Trump has advocated for a system that favors skills over family reunification. He’s called for an end to so-called chain migration, claiming that under the current system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.

But truth is, there’s very little that’s quick or easy about family migration.

As politicians slowly determine new policy — from gun control to net neutrality to immigration reform — there's one group that can pick a stance more quickly: businesses.

How seriously should the world take this tariff talk?

Mar 5, 2018

Following comments last week about tariffs on aluminum and steel from the Trump administration, European Union officials responded by saying they would implement tariffs on iconic American products like bourbon, blue jeans and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

“Most of the bodies were floating face down. Some wore life jackets. But there were a lot of life jackets without any bodies inside. At first I saw just one body, then another and another and another. It was terrible. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

03/05/2018: Is a global trade war brewing?

Mar 5, 2018

(Markets Edition) President Trump continued talking about new tariffs over the weekend, warning via Twitter that he could "simply apply" a tax on European cars. European officials responded, saying they could do the same with American products like bourbon, blue jeans and Harley Davidson motorcycles. We talk to Eurasia Group's Ian Bremmer on the effects this would have on the markets, and what countries — or companies — may be exempt. Plus, an unlikely buzzword from last night's Oscars: inclusion rider.

Cheng doesn’t take his eyes off the floor as he enters Annalisa Bressan’s house. His cheeks are pink from crying and despite Bressan’s insistence, the boy doesn’t say a word about what happened. His sister, Cheng Jun, does the explaining. Turns out, the kids’ father didn’t like Cheng’s grade in Italian class and took away his cellphone.

“But you had a beautiful grade! I will talk to your father and explain. Don’t worry,” Bressan says, laughing.

Suddenly at peace, the boy sits down at Bressan’s kitchen table, ready to do some homework.

The boost in take-home pay from the Republican-passed tax-cut bill is starting to show up in many workers’ paychecks. But how aware are taxpayers of the change? Many employers began reducing tax withholding in February. But a new survey from finds that many workers haven’t noticed the change, which may lead them to spend the extra income unwittingly, rather than use it to pay down debt or save for a rainy day.  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(U.S. Edition) Early results from yesterday's election in Italy show gains for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which took about a third of the vote. But no party or coalition won a majority, which could eventually pose a threat to European economic and political stability. In China, officials are focusing on more modest growth targets in an effort to stop obsessing over numbers and instead address imbalances and inefficiencies in the economy like poverty, debt risk and pollution. This is happening alongside an increase in defense spending.

Soon after he climbed onto the freight train known by migrants in Mexico as “The Beast” last November, Francisco Vásquez said he got a bad a feeling.

(Global edition) From the BBC World Service … the European Union is considering retaliatory measures in response to President Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. We’ll bring you the latest from the bloc’s trade commissioner. Then, the outcome of a weekend election in Italy looks to be inconclusive with no party having enough votes to form a government. So what’s next for a country with a high unemployment rate and an economy suffering from large debt levels and slow growth?

Why Broadcom buying Qualcomm is making people nervous

Mar 5, 2018

Update: the U.S. government has asked Qualcomm to delay its shareholder meeting, which was scheduled for Tuesday, March 6.  A vote on the Broadcom takeover was planned to take place, but the government wants more time to review the deal.

There is high drama in the semiconductor world. That’s not a typo. Singapore-based chipmaker Broadcom has made a hostile takeover bid for it’s competitor Qualcomm. Qualcomm refused the offer, and Broadcom is trying to stack the Qualcomm board to force a yes vote. The deal, should it go through, would be the biggest ever in the tech industry at over $140 billion. All that is just the tip of the silicon iceberg. There are growing national security and privacy concerns coming from the U.S. and the European Union over the deal. Not to mention how it will affect competition.

One of Egypt's most beloved pop stars, Sherine Abdel Wahab, was sentenced this week to six months in prison after joking with concertgoers. She's just one of several entertainers targeted in a crackdown by Egyptian authorities in the lead-up to this month's presidential elections.

Egyptian American author Mona Eltahawy says Sherine, as the singer is known, is one of the most famous pop stars in the Middle East.

"She's on one of those talent shows where she's one of the judges. She's one of the biggest names in the region," Eltahawy says. "So, this is really shocking."  

For "Black Panther," what happens when culture meets commodity?

Mar 2, 2018

Marvel's "Black Panther" film has rocketed past $800 million in worldwide sales in just two weeks, and the superhero smash hit is expected to soon pass $1 billion in sales.

Trump’s trade wars tweet theory

Mar 2, 2018

President Donald Trump tweeted that “trade wars are good, and easy to win,” adding that “when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade any more-we win big. It’s easy!” So, if you play that out a bit, looking at one of the countries we currently trade with, would we “win big” if we were to just stop trading with it?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

4 ways a tight labor market affects hiring

Mar 2, 2018

After years of job seekers scrambling to boost skills and update resumes to get a job, the tables are turning. Falling unemployment means employers now have to step up their game to recruit and retain workers.

Tony Lee, vice president and head of talent acquisition at the Society for Human Resource Management, spoke with Marketplace about the change. Here are four key takeaways about how a tight labor market affects hiring. 

The Pew Research Center has decided the term millennial is only going to apply to people who were born between 1981 and 1996 ... but who made Pew the decider? And what’s the economic value of a demographic label anyway?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Since the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School two weeks ago, the students have been calling for gun-control measures and support for the victims. They've helped raise millions of dollars on GoFundMe, much of it going toward organizing a march in Washington, D.C., later this month. How is all that money being managed?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

A helpful guide to trade terminology

Mar 2, 2018

The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it will impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminium in a move intended to protect domestic manufacturing. Below is a glossary of some common terms that have come up in the discussions and debates that followed the announcement. If you have suggestions for any additional terms you'd like to see defined, let us know in the comments. 

Tariffs: A tariff is a tax on a class of imported goods.

Clara is a college student in Toronto, and in a few days, she's flying home to Paris to visit her family and friends. She also stopping at a fromagerie to buy some cheese to bring back to Canada, specifically Comté, a cousin of Gruyere made under strict rules in the French Alps. 

Two brothers who spent 14 years apart sit at a kitchen table in a mobile home outside of Minneapolis. The elder one, David, looks around at the freshly painted blue walls with pride. He’s adding new window frames, flooring and appliances bit by bit to make a home for his family.

David left El Salvador on Sept. 1, 2005. He was 20 and the journey to Minnesota, where his father was living, took 22 days.

“You remember the whole trip, counting each day to get here,” he says. “We didn’t come on the plane.”

In the latest chapter of a closely watched immigration case, the Supreme Court this week shot down a lower court’s ruling that some detained immigrants have a right to bond hearings.

The case centers on the Jennings v. Rodriguez class-action lawsuit. Its lead plaintiff, Alejandro Rodriguez, a legal permanent resident, was convicted as a teenager of joyriding and minor drug possession. He was detained for three years with no bond hearing. Eventually, he won his release.