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

Ways to Connect

Inside what looks like a nondescript office building on the sprawling campus of Texas Biomedical Research Institute is a hub for  some of the most cutting-edge disease research in the U.S.

Robert Davey is zipping up a suit his scientists wear when studying deadly pathogens. Davey is the director of the biosafety level 4 lab at Texas Biomedical. He said he never realized a zipper could be water and air tight before starting in this field.

A glimmer of hope appeared this week for civilians trapped in a besieged Syrian district known as eastern Ghouta. Late on Tuesday, the Syrian government agreed to allow the evacuation of some sick and wounded people from the rebel-held area. They included several children with curable forms of cancer who could not get the treatment they need in Ghouta.

Helping millennials have a balanced "Financial Diet"

Dec 28, 2017

Learning to be smart with money isn't easy. And when you're a 20-something who hasn't been financially independent for very long, it can seem pretty intimidating. That transition into adulthood is where Chelsea Fagan is finding her financial advice niche.

(Markets Edition) With homeowners in high-tax states and counties rushing to pre-pay their 2018 property taxes, we'll take a look at which areas are actually encouraging this behavior. Afterwards, we'll talk to Diane Swonk , CEO of DS Economics in Chicago, about consumer confidence levels and how retailers have been doing this holiday season, and then we'll cap off today's show by discussing news that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is proposing to roll back some of the safety rules it created.

After more than four years in immigration detention in the middle of the South Pacific, the Iranian cartoonist known as "Eaten Fish" has a new view: the fjords of Norway.

If 2016 was the year that Russian trolls hacked the US election, 2017 has been the year of the evidence taps opening wide, showing how Russia did it.

Special report: How one sentence helped set off the opioid crisis

Dec 28, 2017

When OxyContin went to market in 1996, sales reps from Purdue Pharma hit one point particularly hard: Compared to other prescription opioids, this new painkiller was believed to be less likely to be addictive or abused.

But recently unsealed documents in this investigative episode shed light on how the maker of OxyContin seems to have relied more on focus groups than on scientific studies to create an aggressive and misleading marketing campaign that helped fuel the national opioid crisis.

Amazon has another holiday for you

Dec 28, 2017

Amazon hopes for more spending and subscribers on “Digital Day.”

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

After the BP oil spill in 2010, a new federal oversight agency was created: the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, it’s proposing to roll back some of the safety rules it created. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

You must have an assessment if you want to pay your 2018 taxes early, says IRS

Dec 28, 2017

Thousands of homeowners are rushing to prepay their 2018 property taxes before the end of the year, hoping to take advantage of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction before it shrinks when the new tax reform bill goes into effect.

(U.S. Edition) People have been rushing to pre-pay property taxes in some states before the GOP's new tax bill goes into effect. But the IRS is saying not so fast. We'll chat with Roberton Williams from the Tax Policy Center about what you actually need in order to prepay your taxes. Afterwards, we'll talk with Kenneth Mapp, governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, about how the territory has been doing in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. He tells us which services are now available, and the work left to repair the power grid, schools and hospitals.

Mostafa Kishavarzi looks over the 10,000 watches crammed into his tiny store wedged between dozens of similar retailers in the jewelry section of the Tehran Bazaar.

Every watch in his store — and most of those sold by his competitors — come from one place, and it’s not Iran. It’s China.

Kishavarzi sells everything from knock-off Rolexes to nothing-fancy, off-brand watches. He flies to Shenzhen, China, several times a year to buy the timepieces and makes a tidy profit selling them back in Tehran. 

Rebuilding plays a major role in economic recovery of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Dec 28, 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 the rest of our series here.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... South Korea makes up just 2 percent of the global economy – but South Koreans account for 20 percent of all bitcoin transactions. The country’s obsession with the crypto-currency has led government authorities to threaten that they might shut down bitcoin exchanges – leading to yet another price swing in an already volatile year. Then, nearly a decade on from the financial crisis, countries around the world are rebounding.

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

From data breaches to global cyberwarfare, it’s clear cybersecurity isn’t really working. And not even a newly minted MacArthur fellow can tell us why. What he can tell us: advice like creating long, complicated passwords might not make a big difference in the end. Marketplace Tech’s Molly Wood talks with Stefan Savage about what we can do to make cybersecurity better.


12/27/2017: Good time to be a tax lawyer

Dec 27, 2017

But not the easiest time to be a taxpayer. Should you prepay for 2018 to avoid an impending deduction cap? Is it time to incorporate? How can you get the maximum benefit? We ask experts to help navigate these questions. And during his campaign, President Donald Trump made reviving the coal industry a signature goal. We go to coal country and talk to miners taking this promise to heart. Plus, man versus machine: Every medical office has one, but should fax machines be outlawed? And why is the McDonald’s McFlurry machine such a disappointment?

The race is on to prepay some 2018 taxes

Dec 27, 2017

Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of tax professionals across the country fluttering through the pages of the tax bill trying to figure out how to extract the maximum gain for their clients. That’s the question on the minds homeowners across the country, especially those in states with the highest property taxes. They’re looking to prepay 2018 bills ahead of a $10,000 cap on the deduction for state and local taxes, which include those on property. Taxpayers are also scrambling to find loopholes buried in the new tax code.

The town of Chahuites, Oaxaca, is a sleepy little village surrounded by mango farms. A line of train tracks cuts through the southern edge of town.

Chahuites is in an isolated part of southern Oaxaca, about 170 miles north of the Guatemalan border. Migrants from Central America used to just pass through town riding on top of La Bestia, the train migrants traditionally traveled on across Mexico. But now immigration agents patrol the train, forcing migrants to walk northward along the railroad tracks. 

This small French city wants to be a good home for refugees

Dec 27, 2017

Saint-Nazaire is famous for its shipyards. Last year, workers completed the largest cruise ship ever built, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas.

But the small city on the coast of Brittany in western France is also known for something else — the welcome it gives to refugees.

Around much of France anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise. But Saint-Nazaire, a mostly working-class city that is a stronghold of the left, is bucking that trend.

Catcalls. Obscene gestures. Inappropriate touching. And in some cases, physical and sexual assault.

According to a 2011 Gallup poll that surveyed 143 countries, almost 40 percent of women reportedly feel unsafe walking home alone at night. 

Subprime loans give money to borrowers with less-than-stellar credit ratings. In return, lenders collect higher interest. But the shine is off lending to riskier borrowers these days. There's word this week that Uber is selling off its subprime car-leasing division. That's according to the Wall Street Journal, although Uber would not comment. The company originally offered such leases in an effort to get more drivers, and it looks like the move may not be paying off. But it isn't just Uber that's having trouble with sub-prime lending. Defaults are rising in the auto industry.

At a gymnasium in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Trenton Phillips is looking for a job as a coal miner. Phillips already works at a company that fixes beltlines at coal mines. He’s at a county job fair today where there are booths for jobs in industries like health care and trucking — but Phillips is only stopping at a booth for a coal mine contractor. He wants a job as a mine foreman or supervisor.

“I'm currently looking for something where I can advance maybe one day, be somewhere higher up, not have to break my back and use my head a little more,” Phillips said.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Homeowners are lining up in droves at local tax collection offices, hoping for one last chance to take advantage of a major tax deduction before it is wiped out in the new year.

In Hempstead, town Tax Receiver Donald Clavin said “thousands” of people packed his office Tuesday trying to pay their 2018 property and school taxes a year in advance.

A-side B-side: Björk, Lullabies and in-between feelings

Dec 27, 2017

A-side B-side is a reoccurring segment on The World as part of a partnership with Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The series compares the sounds and ideas of two songs, albums or artists. On the A-side: a folk or traditional selection; on the B-side: a contemporary selection.

This week’s A-side B-side is a little bit more complicated. 

If there isn't a word for the moments before you forget your nightmare or the pain of a heartbreak, there’s a sound.

MC Afrikan Boy's 'Wot It Do?' is a call to action

Dec 27, 2017

MC Afrikan Boy, Olushola Ajose, returns with his latest track, "Wot it Do?" It’s a danceable, club-ready track that aims to bring people to the dance floor.

The Southeast London Afrogrime musician bursts with energy, pairing neatly woven references to childhood nursery rhymes with a range of influences within grime, early afrobeat and Nigerian juju.

KOKOKO! makes experimental afropop with found objects

Dec 27, 2017

A-side B-side is a recurring segment on The World that compares the sounds and ideas of two songs, albums or artists. On the A-side: a folk or traditional selection; on the B-side: a contemporary selection.

There’s a repetitive ringing, smacking, clunking and zinging when you use a typewriter. It turns a a writer’s thought process into a percussive rhythm. That familiar, vintage sound has been repurposed now — by the Congolese musical collective, KOKOKO!

Algodón Egipcio’s “La Estrella Irregular” is an electronic-pop lullaby that explores a medley of dreamy, bright and chopping tropical sounds. But for some, the song also gives a poetic and experienced perspective on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

How this nonprofit helps women caught in a cycle of institutional abuse

Dec 27, 2017

Susan Burton served six prison sentences in 17 years. Then she founded a nonprofit that helps formerly incarcerated women stop the cycle that has them returning to prison again and again. Since 1998, A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project has provided transitional housing and support services for over 900 women. Burton talked to Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about her memoir, "Becoming Ms.

(Markets Edition) Commodities are pushing up global markets today, and prices for metals like aluminum, copper and zinc are up. On today's show, we'll chat with Joe Deaux — a metals and mining report for Bloomberg — about the reason for this surge in metal prices. Afterwards, we'll look at the struggles that cannabis advertisers still face even in markets where marijuana is legal.

Likely next up for President Trump’s new year agenda is tackling America’s infrastructure. But can lawmakers pull it together to fund improvements to our public works? And what exactly will be funded? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.