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Accountants didn’t have much of a holiday

Jan 1, 2018

Now that the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul has been signed into law, the real fun begins for accountants. They're scrambling to understand the legislation, which runs more than 1,000 pages and includes fundamental changes to the corporate tax rate, the standard deduction and tax brackets for individual filers. CPAs and tax lawyers around the nation have spent their holidays parsing the bill to figure out how it could help, or hurt, their clients.

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The color of the year has a political past

Jan 1, 2018

Pantone has picked their color of the year for 2018; it's a vibrant shade called Ultra Violet. Aside from being a pretty bright purple that might become a design trend in 2018, this color has deeper meanings that could speak to our current political moment. Kassia St.

Will 2018 be the year of less tech, not more?

Jan 1, 2018

Between net neutrality and the influence of social media on elections around the world, 2017 was year of tough news in the tech industry. So how are last year's events shaping 2018? Marketplace host Amy Scott sat down with Molly Wood, the host of Marketplace Tech, to reflect on the long, strange journey that was 2017, and make some predictions about what's ahead in 2018. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

01/01/2018: Goldman Sachs' $5 billion tax hit

Jan 1, 2018

(Markets Edition) Goldman Sachs recently announced it would take a $5 billion tax hit from the GOP overhaul, a loss that mostly comes from its move to bring home money it had stashed overseas. But analysts expected this, and under the new tax law, the money is subject to a lower tax rate than before. Karen Petrou, co-founder of Federal Financial Analytics, joined us to discuss how companies might use the money they bring back to the U.S., and what indicators we should look for to figure out if these tax cuts are actually stimulating the economy.

It’s a new year and a new series of tax rules just came into effect. One of those rules is of particular interest to university athletic departments. Gone are the days when alumni and college sports fans could write off donations made to secure college sports season tickets.

Not so fast: Climate change will slow air travel

Jan 1, 2018

Extreme weather means more challenges for airlines getting planes in the air.

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What do CEOs do all day long to deserve their pay?

Jan 1, 2018

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands? What do you wonder?

01/01/2018: An isolated America

Jan 1, 2018

(U.S. Edition) New year, new laws. In California, an additional 2 million workers will have access to expanded family leave beginning today. We'll look at how this new measure could benefit employees *and* businesses. Afterwards, we'll dive into the GOP's tax overhaul again: the bill gets rid of a deduction that you could take on donations made to secure college sports season tickets. Plus, we talk with Reva Goujon — vice president of global analysis for Stratfor Worldview — about key trends that are likely to influence world politics and markets.

How my grandparents celebrated the New Year in Russia

Dec 29, 2017

Last year, for the first time in my life, I purchased a Christmas tree.

I was 21, back home from college on break, happy to be done with another semester. Whenever I’m home, I visit my maternal grandparents, Nataliya and Mikhail Malkes, and they enjoy treating me with tea, sweets and pleasant conversations.

The tax bill's reshaping of the American economy

Dec 29, 2017

Linette Lopez of Business Insider and Sudeep Reddy of Politico join us to break down this week’s economic and business news. We're already seeing the effects of the tax bill the first week after it was passed. We take a look at companies like Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup that are taking earnings hits, and people lining up to pay their property tax early. We discuss if the bill will encourage companies to repatriate money from abroad. How fast will all the effects ripple through the economy? 

Yes, it's freezing. But climate change is still real.

Dec 29, 2017

It’s cold this week. Really cold.

Firefighters saw water freezing in their hoses as they fought a blaze south of Montreal Thursday night, and farmers in the upper Midwest are worried about the fate of their winter wheat crop.   

The bone-chilling temperatures that have settled over the central and eastern US and much of Canada this week will likely last into 2018.   

The National Weather Service forecasts wind chills around – 40 degrees Fahrenheit  for much of the upper Midwest on New Year’s Eve.

When Bill Gandy was growing up in Northview Heights in the 1970s and 80s, no one had to show identification to get in. But now there are armed guards and 200 security cameras dotted around this sprawling, isolated public housing project run by the Pittsburgh City Housing Authority. Everyone who enters has to show ID, every time.

"It just feels like a prison system to have a checkpoint in front of a neighborhood," Gandy says. "That's already a bad start, to tell you the truth. It's like going into a military camp."

12/29/2017: Athleisure vs. the cotton industry

Dec 29, 2017

Spandex, yoga pants, and Lycra aren't just for Pilates classes anymore. They're infiltrating the American wardrobe, and it's plaguing the already beleaguered cotton industry. Plus, there are $2 billion worth of bitcoin transactions every day. Some governments, like South Korea, want to regulate speculation on the volatile cryptocurrency. And this holiday weekend, you may find yourself watching a football bowl game. It's a tradition that dates back to the first Rose Bowl game in 1923, but why has the schedule ballooned to 40 bowl games a year?

2017 jobs picture was rosy, but are we at full employment?

Dec 29, 2017

2017 was a good year for jobs. Over the past year, (November 2016 to November 2017, the latest figure available), unemployment’s fallen by half a percent to just 4.1 percent. And according to orthodox economics, that means we’re hovering around full employment. Basically, the model says: If unemployment falls lower, employers will be so desperate for workers they’ll have to aggressively raise wages and then raise prices to pay for those higher wages. Which in turn would lead to a rapid rise in inflation. But so far, even with low unemployment, wage increases have been moderate.

Once confined to gyms and studios, yoga pants are now widely accepted attire in many social settings, from the office to the classroom. And this rise in yoga pants as everyday clothing is contributing to a decline in the price of cotton.

“We’re seeing athleisure wear infiltrate the American wardrobe. And I think that that infiltration has only just begun,” University of Nevada, Las Vegas fashion historian Deirdre Clemente said.

Massive cultural changes are sweeping through American workplaces since news broke about the predatory behavior of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. It's not an exaggeration to say we are in the middle of a reckoning, but how to puzzle through it and what comes next are harder questions to answer. So Marketplace Weekend brought together a panel of experts: Lili Loofbourow, culture critic for The Week, Susan L. Marquis, dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, and David Lewis, CEO of OperationsInc and a human resources consultant.

(Markets Edition) The GOP tax overhaul will decrease the corporate tax rate, which proponents of the bill have argued is much lower in other countries. But China recently announced foreign firms will not have to pay taxes on their earnings. We'll examine whether this move will make U.S. companies want to stay in China. Afterwards, we'll discuss the tax bill's effects on Puerto Rico — now income from patents and other intellectual property on the island will be considered foreign income.

Nolvin García had never before received regular amounts of money from his relatives in the United States. That was not a problem for him. The 22-year-old and his family got along just fine, living in a small town in Guatemala’s western highlands. His undocumented relatives might send gifts for a birthday. But never large amounts of money, sent at regular intervals.

Arizona needs Mexico. Unlike the United States as a whole, Arizona actually has a trade surplus with its southern neighbor.

At CAID Industries’ factory in Tucson, welders build massive tanks and steel silos used by mining and oil and gas companies. Setting up shop here, just 70 miles from the border, wasn’t by chance.   

“Mexico is naturally a resource-rich country and we support a lot of mining companies. And so, by being in Arizona, we have a close proximity to those customers,” says Rob Assenmacher, president of CAID Industries.

A fading Missouri monastery finds new life — in Vietnam

Dec 29, 2017

Assumption Abbey’s halls were once full of monks in simple robes.

Now its cemetery is full of simple crosses.

“We just lost two from deaths within three and a half weeks,” said the Rev. Cyprian Harrison, 85, in the library of Assumption Abbey, a Roman Catholic monastery tucked away in the rolling hills of southern Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. “It’s kind of a spiritual harvest time for our community.”

The new U.S. tax law will put an end to Puerto Rico’s longtime status as a tax shelter for U.S. multinational companies. Companies will now have to pay 12.5 percent on what they make on the island. One-third of Puerto Rico’s tax base now comes from medical manufacturers. If they flee, it would mean more damage for the island’s fragile economy.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Stocks in the for-profit prison sector skyrocketed after the election of President Donald Trump. The Obama administration and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had both pledged to phase out their use by federal authorities — an approach Trump rejected. But the industry hasn’t seen the sustained boost many investors expected. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

More than 40 killed in a suicide blast in Kabul

Dec 29, 2017

More than 40 people were killed and dozens wounded in a suicide blast targeting Shiites in Kabul Thursday, officials said, with chaotic scenes at the city's hospitals as anguished families sought loved ones.

The Sunni Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for the gruesome assault on the pro-Iranian Tabayan cultural center, the third deadly attack it has claimed in the Afghan capital this month. 

For decades, jobs in textile and apparel manufacturing have been on the decline across the U.S. Texas is no exception, but one Dallas nonprofit is training people to work with textiles … people who are visually impaired.

(U.S. Edition) South Korea says it's seized a Hong Kong-registered ship suspected of supplying oil to North Korea. On today's show, we'll recap the details of the incident. Afterwards, we'll look at the state of the for-profit prison sector after President Trump rejected the Obama administration's pledge to phase out their use by federal authorities. Plus: We end our week-long series on how different five American cities and territories have been coping with natural disasters that occurred this year.

What recovery looks like for a small, historic Puerto Rico town

Dec 29, 2017

2017 was full of natural disasters. They didn’t seem to let up — fires in California, floods in Texas, hurricane after hurricane in the Caribbean and on the Gulf Coast. The media moved on quickly, but recovery efforts are long from over. We talked to local officials in five American cities about their hopes and objectives in the coming year. Check out our entire series.

12/29/17: Will Cape Town run out of water?

Dec 29, 2017

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... A consortium led by Japan’s Softbank has finalized an agreement to buy 17 percent of the ride-hailing company Uber. What does it mean for the beleaguered firm’s future? Afterwards, the South African city of Cape Town is currently suffering from its worst drought in 100 years. The mayor of the city has warned that if residents, tourists and businesses don't keep their water consumption down, the taps could run dry by the end of April. What are Cape Townians doing to try and save water — and how much does it cost?

This week we’re bringing you our favorite episodes of the year.

As we get closer to sending humans to Mars, there’s been more talk about the technology and money it will take to colonize the planet. But science fiction writers have been pondering this for some time. Andy Weir is author of “The Martian,” which showed us how to survive on Mars. His new book, called “Artemis,” is about a colony on the moon. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with Weir about the real research that went into his science fiction.

12/28/2017: A cashless China

Dec 28, 2017

Trillions of dollars in payments each year occur via mobile apps like Alipay in China, where the cashless society of the future is here. You can even pay for your fried chicken with facial recognition technology. We’re eschewing conventional finance rules in the U.S., too, or at least Chelsea Fagan is. She talks to Adrienne Hill about her new book, “The Financial Diet,” which offers personal finance advice a little differently than we’re used to.

If you've ever flown out of the Toronto Pearson International Airport to the US, chances are you've passed through its US preclearance station.

These are US Customs and Border Protection facilities staffed with American agents that will clear passengers before they board a plane headed to the US. And there are several of them worldwide.