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The great catfish war rages on

Apr 26, 2018

Townsend Kyser is a third-generation catfish farmer in the city of Greensboro — population 2,365 — the catfish capital of Alabama.

“I don’t know how it got the designation, but we’re proud to have a catfish industry in Greensboro, as well as in this area of Alabama,” says Kyser. “It’s one of the biggest economic drivers in our area and it creates a lot of jobs in what would be considered a pretty poor area in the state.”

What happens if online retailers have to charge sales tax?

Apr 26, 2018

Sometime in June, the Supreme Court is expected to decide whether online retailers have to collect state sales taxes. Back in 1992, the court ruled that companies don't have to collect sales tax if they don't have a physical presence in a state. But recently, South Dakota passed a law demanding sales tax on online sales. Internet retailers Wayfair and Overstock sued in response — those companies might not benefit because their prices are lower without the tax.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … A big restructuring at Deutsche Bank means job cuts are on the way. Where is Germany’s biggest lender shifting focus under a newly minted CEO?  Then, a French billionaire is under formal investigation for alleged meddling in two African countries. Afterward, melting Arctic ice is making Greenland’s vast mineral resources more accessible. We’ll explain why elections this week may help the country’s economy shift toward a bigger focus on mining. 

A majority of US Supreme Court justices on Wednesday seemed to agree with the government’s contention that President Donald Trump had the authority to ban travelers from several Muslim-majority countries in the name of national security.

Heading west on I-20 from the Midland, Texas, airport, the highway is littered with 18-wheelers and pickup trucks. The horizon is full of oil derricks and pump jacks, just like in the movies. About half an hour down, right on the service road, is what looks like a high-end recreational vehicle park with mobile housing units lined up one after the other. It’s called Iron Horse Ranch Lodge, and it’s what local people refer to as a “man camp.”

CFPB’s Mulvaney: We don’t have to run a Yelp for banks

Apr 25, 2018

The acting director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney, said Tuesday that he wants to cut off public access to a web-based database of complaints about financial companies. The American Bankers Association thinks that’s a fine idea. Consumer advocacy groups, not so much. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Merkel to stress tariffs threat to American jobs

Apr 25, 2018

Call it a one-two punch from the European Union. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the White House on Friday, just days after French President Emmanuel Macron. The two European leaders are pushing the same agenda in their meetings with Trump. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Who's asking for exemptions from Trump's tariffs?

Apr 25, 2018

We've been doing some digging into some of the 2,200 exemption requests the Department of Commerce has received from American companies who want to get out from under the steel and aluminum tariffs — 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively — that went into effect March 23.

China manufacturers feel helpless with U.S. tariffs

Apr 25, 2018

Brad Schulz from Scottsdale, Arizona, is scouting for items to sell on Amazon this Christmas. The hunt has taken him thousands of miles to Guangzhou city in southern China to one of the world’s biggest trade shows — the Canton Fair.

The event attracts some 25,000 companies, mainly Chinese, that set up booths to show off their latest products — from power tools and chemicals to car parts.

The current fair covers an area of some 12 million square feet — the equivalent of 68 Walmart Supercenters put together.

President Obama created DACA. Why won't courts let President Trump end it?

Apr 25, 2018

In 2012, the Barack Obama administration created the DACA program with a memo. Janet Napolitano, then-secretary of homeland security, directed the agency not to deport some of the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children — and enrolled the in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, instead.

The neighborhood of "Little LA" doesn't jump out to you at first. It’s located next to a large plaza in Mexico City, in the center of which is a historic arch commemorating the Mexican revolution. In the evening, people often gather in the plaza for outdoor exercise classes while teenagers compete in rap battles.

The PGA Tour commissioner wants to see your selfies

Apr 25, 2018

Golf is hundreds of years old, and even today, it’s known more for its traditions than memes. And that makes for a tricky proposition for Jay Monahan, the newish PGA Tour commissioner. “Five years ago, when you came to a PGA tournament, we didn’t let you bring your cellphone on site," he said. Monahan talks with us about bringing social media onto the green, competing against other sports like football and what it’s like when your biggest stars are essentially freelancers.  

04/25/2018: The real reason the markets are nervous

Apr 25, 2018

(Markets Edition) The 10-year Treasury yield remains above 3 percent, which some are blaming for our market decline. We'll talk with Susan Schmidt, senior portfolio manager at Westwood Holdings Group, about why this narrative might be wrong. Afterwards, we'll look at the connection between high gas prices and SUV/pick-up truck sales, and then we'll visit Midland, Texas, to find out why the region — one of the richest in the nation — has schools that consistently rank among the poorest in Texas. 

Every day, nearly half a million workers stream into the white stone banks and office buildings in the City of London, a single square mile at the historic core of greater London.

It’s the financial capital of Europe, but it’s not all business.

Hidden behind courtyard walls and through narrow passageways are roughly 200 open spaces designed to provide the workers of the city some respite from its hustle and bustle.

The University of Alabama football team is visiting the White House, again, on Tuesday to receive its congratulations. Back in January, Alabama captured its fifth college football championship in nine years, an unprecedented run of success (unless you go back to Princeton and Yale’s dominance in the late 19th century).

U.S. automakers could be headed down a rocky road

Apr 25, 2018

For years, low gas prices fueled sales of SUVs and pickup trucks, and low interest rates made it easier for car buyers to trade up every time some shiny new technology came along. But with gas prices and interest rates rising, and tariffs on imported aluminum and steel driving up costs, automakers are facing an uncertain future.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state took a big step closer to confirmation on Monday night. In a surprise vote, a key Senate committee approved the nomination of CIA director Mike Pompeo for the job. Pompeo is expected to face a vote in the full Senate later this week. One lawmaker who voted "no" is Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Menendez spoke with The World’s Marco Werman and the following is a transcript of the full interview.

(U.S. Edition) As the U.S. increasingly looks to Europe as a model for how to regulate internet companies, we'll look at how Europe is cracking down on one popular communication tool. There's word Whatsapp, which allows you to text and make voice and video calls using encrypted Wi-Fi, will cut off kids under 16. Afterwards, we'll talk to Zanny Minton Beddoes — editor in chief of The Economist — about how she thinks liberalism should adapt to the needs of the 21st century.



Found Furnishings is a second-hand furniture store in what locals call “old Midland.”

Kristen Covington, the owner, grew up in the area and went to public schools in the Midland Independent School District. She and her husband have kids age 2 and 5, and education weighs on her mind a lot. 

When you’ve got a little extra money to work with — or a lot — what do you do with it? Maybe you stuff it under the mattress. Maybe you try to invest it and put it to work. Or maybe you spend it on yourself and some important people in your life. That last option is what many American companies seem to be doing with their cash hoards these days:returning it to investors via stock buybacks and dividends. What else could that money be doing?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

EU is unhappy with U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs

Apr 24, 2018

When the United States imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports last month, the European Union and a handful of other key allies got a temporarily exemption that expires next week. China was not granted an exemption and took its case to the World Trade Organization. This week, the EU has decided to join that complaint, as have Russia, India and others.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Advertisers are not leaving Facebook any time soon

Apr 24, 2018

Ads and consumer data are Facebook's financial lifeblood. Yet, after all of the recent controversies  and #deletefacebook campaigns, are advertisers concerned that users will abandon the platform for greener — and more reputable — pastures?

60: "The great lie at the heart of the criminal justice system"

Apr 24, 2018

When Robin Steinberg and David Feige were public defenders in New York, they saw thousands of clients — often poor people of color — stuck in jail because they couldn't make bail for minor offenses. They started the Bronx Freedom Fund to pay that bail and help people stay in their jobs and with their families while awaiting their day in court. Now they're going national with The Bail Project. We talked with the husband-and-wife team about the economics of criminal justice reform. First though, this week's news fixations: the bond market and (yes, more!) privacy on Facebook.

People who live in crowded urban areas often complain about car traffic and wring their hands over how much it costs in lost productivity. But congestion itself is also a sign of thriving economic activity. Perhaps no city complains as bitterly about traffic as the so-called car capital, Los Angeles. However, there was a time not so long ago when residents used to boast you could get anywhere in the city in 20 minutes.

“I heard it and I trusted it at least in the first decade of driving that I did,” said Michael Alexander, who grew up in LA.

Midland, Texas, is booming as oil prices rise

Apr 24, 2018

A hundred-foot oil rig pushes up amid acres of irrigated cotton fields and long dirt roads on this oil patch between Midland and Odessa, the two main towns in the Permian Basin in West Texas. Both have about 150,000 people. Tommy Taylor, director of oil and gas development at Fasken Oil and Ranch, seems to know most of them. 

Taylor has worked at Fasken for 33 years. He jokes that the oil business isn’t just on his resume, it’s in his blood. 

Brace yourself America, Charlie Hebdo has arrived

Apr 24, 2018

Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau, a cartoonist and editor of Charlie Hebdo, arrives for his interview accompanied by bodyguards who hover outside the neutral office location where we talk.

They've been the cartoonist's permanent companions since January 2015, when the Kouachi brothers forced themselves into the offices of the French satirical newspaper and murdered his friends and colleagues in the name of Islam. Riss was injured in the attack. 

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

Apr 24, 2018

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.

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.

I’m thinking about getting a hurricane tattooed on my left shoulder.  

Unintentionally, all my tattoos are a reminder of something: Something that I want to forget, something that I tend to forget, something that I can’t forget. My tattoo would be white, grey and turquoise. The eye of the hurricane in the center of my shoulder, three-dimensional, so if you look right into it you would feel as if my skin could suck you in. 

04/24/2018: How'd interest rates get this high?

Apr 24, 2018

(Markets Edition) A key benchmark for interest rates in America — the government's 10-year Treasury note — just crossed above 3 percent since the first time since 2013. We'll talk with economist Julia Coronado about some of the causes for this increase. Afterwards, we'll look at the disparities between the rich and poor in oil-rich Midland, Texas — an area where the median household income  is $70,000. Plus: A look at the quarterly earnings report of Google's parent company, Alphabet.