News and features from American Public Media and Public Radio International.

Ways to Connect

Officials from the United States are on their way to China to iron out the trade tensions between the two countries. The meeting will take place Thursday and Friday in Beijing.

What’s at stake?

A lot. The US-China Business Council estimates that trade with and investment in China support some 2.6 million jobs in America.

05/02/2018: 2 percent inflation euphoria

May 2, 2018

Today, the Federal Open Market Committee chose not to raise interest rates, but it did have other news: Inflation has reached the Fed benchmark of 2 percent. How tolerant of inflation is the Fed going to be? That depends on whether the economy is experiencing good or bad inflation. We look at the difference between the two. Meanwhile, a U.S. delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are on the ground in Beijing, resting up before their tariff meetings tomorrow.

Hopwood DePree is a Hollywood actor, screenwriter and producer who’s just embarked on a new career: historic house restoration ... on the other side of the Atlantic. Sitting in Los Angeles and googling his family tree, DePree discovered that for centuries, the Hopwoods had owned an ancestral home near the town of Rochdale in the north of England and that Hopwood Hall, as it is known, is now derelict and in danger of collapse. 

DePree decided to go to England and save the 600-year-old pile

Investors are anxious about Tesla fairy tale

May 2, 2018

Cache, yes, and, lots of questions for electric carmaker Tesla.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

05/02/2018: The economics of empathy

May 2, 2018

(Markets Edition) The Fed isn't expected to raise interest rates when it meets today, but what they do say about inflation may indicate how aggressively they'll hike rates later in the year. We'll talk to Diane Swonk, chief economist at the firm Grant Thornton, about the types of inflation on her radar screen. Afterwards, we'll look at how some health care businesses are trying to improve the relationship between medical professionals and patients through more empathetic care. 

During the past decade, some health care businesses have begun to experiment with new ways to keep people healthier and out of the hospital by improving the relationships between medical professionals and patients.

This push for more empathetic care springs from a change in how health care providers get paid. Keeping people healthy can be more lucrative than treating sick people.

After President Donald Trump threatened tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, the Chinese government threatened to target soybeans, an important American cash crop. As farmers got ready to plant their fields, they didn’t have much choice but to stick to planting soybeans and hope for the best. But there are other actions they could take, like selling their harvest ahead of time on the futures market, or making plans to sell to another foreign market. The tariffs could also affect other rural businesses like machinery dealerships and fertilizer distributors.

05/02/2018: Dude, where's my Tesla?

May 2, 2018

(U.S. Edition) U.S. officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, are heading to China to work through trade problems. We'll look at how much trade occurs between the two countries and what the Trump administration is asking for. Afterwards, we'll visit Nebraska to find out how soybean farmers are coping with China's looming threat to impose tariffs on the product. Plus: We'll talk about the worries surrounding Tesla as the company burns through cash. Some Model 3 customers are *still* waiting for their cars.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Eurozone growth slowed in the first quarter from the final three months of last year. So, does it take European Central Bank rate hikes off the table for this year? Then, if you thought getting Congress to agree on a budget annually is hard, try getting 28 nations to agree on a plan once every seven years. We’ll investigate the complexities of European Union budget negotiations and why Brexit is making this round especially tricky. Afterwards, what’s in a name? For Macedonia, a lot.

Ketchup and mayonnaise: a tale of two condiments

May 1, 2018

Some of us might have heard of fry sauce, secret sauce, fancy sauce and even ShackSauce (for you Shake Shack fans).

But what about Mayochup?

Heinz, the company that has provided us with staples such as ketchup and mustard over the years, announced last month it would be releasing Mayochup — yes that’s a portmanteau of the words mayonnaise and ketchup — to much surprise and also much backlash.

How does seeking asylum work at the US border?

May 1, 2018

Under US and international law, people have the right to seek asylum in another country. So the 150 or so Central Americans who traveled north through Mexico in a migrant caravan are perfectly within their rights in waiting to do so at the southern US border.   

For the past few days, they’ve been camping on the ground in Tijuana, Mexico, just outside the San Ysidro port of entry.

President Donald Trump has expressed support for skills-based immigration policies, where countries make it easier for skilled workers to gain entry.

Canada is one such country. But the points-based immigration system there has had an unintended side effect: With the prioritization of high-skilled workers, the country has worsened its low-skill labor shortage, which is entering its third year.

This British company is turning food waste into beer

May 1, 2018

It’s a Wednesday night in central London and the trendy Temple Brew House pub is packed with people out for after-work beers and burgers.

A crowd in one corner is sipping intently from half-pint tasting glasses, savoring a beer they helped brew about a month earlier using an unusual ingredient: leftover bread.

“We got a lesson in brewing as well as a lesson in using the bread for it,” says Michael Mulcahy, who helped tear up about 200 loaves of bread into chunks to make the amber ale he’s sipping. “Today, we get to taste what came out of it.”

It could be one of the biggest auctions of all time. Today, Christie's began selling a vast collection of art and valuables belonging to the Peggy and David Rockefeller estate. The auction takes place online from now until May 8, then next week the live auctions kick off and last for a few days.

61: Is capitalism obsolete?

May 1, 2018

Make Me Smart often asks if capitalism is working for enough people. But writer and capital-t Thinker Umair Haque is taking it a step further, asking if capitalism might be altogether obsolete. He notes it's ill equipped to address huge, pressing issues like climate change and financial inequality. And if the economy is technically growing — if we're wealthier on paper — but people's lives aren't actually better, then where are we? We'll go deep on this stuff with him.

(Markets Edition) The U.S. wants Europe and other countries to limit what they send over here, calling them "voluntary restraints." On today's show, we'll look at some of the criticisms that economists have lobbed against this quota-based system. Afterwards, we'll discuss the Federal Reserve's plans to raise interest rates this year. While annual inflation hit the Fed's target of 2 percent in March, they're not expected to accelerate any hikes. Then, we'll discuss what to look for in Apple's quarterly earnings report.

After going on strike, one Oklahoma teacher is ready to run for office

May 1, 2018

What erupted in West Virginia this winter has become what some call a movement: public school teachers striking for higher pay and more funding for education.

(U.S. Edition) The Trump administration is now giving the European Union, Canada and Mexico until June 1 to work out a deal with the U.S. to avoid trade penalties on foreign steel and aluminum. We'll look at the factors holding up a deal, along some of the arrangements America has already struck with other regions. Plus: following Oklahoma's recent teacher walkout, we'll talk to one of the marchers: Craig Hoxie, a high school physics teacher, who explains what he sees as the problems in the state's education system. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … President Trump has extended the deadline for negotiation with some countries on steel and aluminium tariffs. But has the president’s forceful strategy worked to his advantage and given him the results he wants in the realm of trade from key allies? Then, a look at why protesters against a Canadian pipeline will be outside today’s Barclay’s annual shareholder meeting in London. Afterwards, Rupert Murdoch has built a media empire over his decades in the business, but what’s behind his method, and how has it changed with increased competition?

T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed to merge. Now they’ll have to convince the government to let the deal move forward, which may not be easy. The companies have tried to work out a deal twice in the past and failed, partly over disagreements in terms, but also due to fears that the Obama administration would reject the merger. Their pitch to regulators this time? It’s all about 5G and the promise of fast mobile connectivity. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s president and chief operating officer, about the details behind the deal.


At the US-Mexico border, migrants face an uncertain wait

Apr 30, 2018

After weeks of travel across Mexico by bus, freight train and foot, more than 150 migrants from Central America — part of a caravan that has gained international attention — confronted an uncertain wait at the US-Mexico border.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials informed them that they did not have the capacity to process their requests to seek asylum in the United States. 

What does the U.S. want from trade negotiations with China?

Apr 30, 2018

Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and a high-level delegation from the Trump administration are heading to Beijing this week for trade negotiations on what the American business community says are unfair trade practices. Marketplace’s former China bureau chief Scott Tong talked with host Kai Ryssdal about what both sides hope to accomplish. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Phone firms say merger would boost 5G in U.S.

Apr 30, 2018

The telecom world could be getting a bit smaller. T-Mobile announced yesterday it would be acquiring Sprint in a $26 million all-stock deal. The two companies said the merger will mean that American companies will be able to implement fifth-generation wireless technology, or 5G, faster than anyone else — specifically the Chinese. But will U.S. regulators buy that argument?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

04/30/2018: The race to 5G

Apr 30, 2018

The big corporate story du jour is T-Mobile and Sprint, but we're going to focus on something specific the two wireless companies said when they announced a proposed merger: that the combined company would be able to move faster on fifth-generation wireless technology than anyone else — specifically the Chinese. Will that help win over government regulators? We'll talk about. Then, ahead of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's trip to Beijing, we'll talk about China's bid for tech domination by 2025.

If you get a robocall in Mandarin, just hang up

Apr 30, 2018

If you live in New York, Los Angeles or Boston, chances are good you've received a robocall in Mandarin.

"I get them also, in the NYPD building," says Donald McCaffrey, an officer with the New York Police Department’s Grand Larceny Division in Queens. "I have an NYPD department cell phone and I get them on the cell phone also. It is out of control."

McCaffrey, who is investigating the calls in New York, says they first came to his attention in December when a 65-year-old Chinese woman alerted the NYPD that she had been scammed out of $1.3 million.

If you've felt like your allergies are extra bad this year, it's not your imagination. More people have allergies than did in the past, and global warming is linked to higher concentrations of pollen and longer allergy seasons. So, it's rough out there.

Marketplace Weekend wants to know about your experiences with allergies. Do you drop lots of money on antihistimines? Get shots from your doctor? Grin and bear it?

Ana Raquel Minian grew up in Mexico City where, at home, “politics was discussed at the dinner table pretty much every day,” she says.

But to learn more about her own country, she decided to study its ties to the US. She started digging, studying history in the United States, earning her doctorate at Yale University. Now, after a decade of research, she's published her new book, “Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration.”

It’s hard to imagine a better time for her work to come out.

(Markets Edition) With T-Mobile and Sprint planning to merge, we'll discuss the types of deals that you will (or won't) be offered from them, along with why the development of 5G wireless served as a catalyst for the planned deal. Afterwards, we'll look at what the dollar value of volunteer time is to nonprofits, and then talk about Home Depot's $50 million investment in apprenticeships to help with the construction labor shortage. 

I cannot recall a year of my life when talk of invading North Korea has not been part of the news cycle.

Even before President George W. Bush’s Axis of Evil speech, in which he declared Iran, Iraq and North Korea enemies, the specter of the unresolved war in Korea had always haunted my life.

The group Independent Sector tracks the value of volunteer work. This year, it averages $24.69 per hour, up more than 2 percent from last year. Independent Sector says 63 million Americans volunteer about 8 billion hours of their time per year. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.