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How a small plant became a big business

Jun 19, 2018

When things get popular on Instagram, there’s probably a profit to be made. That’s just what happened with the popular succulent house plant. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal sat down with Alyssa Bereznak of the The Ringer, who wrote "How Succulents Took Over Instagram," to talk about how the plants are a booming business. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Two South Dakota cattle ranchers, two opinions on NAFTA

Jun 19, 2018

This is a story about two ranchers in western South Dakota — Kenny Fox and Eric Jennings.

The two men have both been busy vaccinating and branding their calves, and preparing to get hay ready for winter. Fox is in his 60s; Jennings is in his 50s. Their lives, jobs and outlooks have a lot of overlap. Where the two men differ sharply, however, is on trade.  

“We have people who have lost jobs because of NAFTA,” says Fox.

On the flip side, Jennings says, “We’re very happy with NAFTA. It has opened up our borders tremendously.”

It's summer and that means vacation time. Kids are out of school and all the photos on Instagram seem to feature blue water and white sand. 

So what's the right way to bring it up to your boss? Perhaps your boss isn't that cool about you taking time off. Can you finagle a few more days for travel time, or use your sick days for vacation? And what are the do's and don'ts of vacation time — can you fully ignore your emails? Should you post about it on Facebook?

U.S.-China trade tensions lead to volatile markets

Jun 19, 2018

(Markets Edition) The back and forth between the U.S. and China over trade continues. Trump says he might slap tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, which has prompted China to issue its own threats. We'll look at how trade tensions are affecting the markets and whether traders are starting to panic.

This morning, a Senate committee checks in to see how the cuts to the so-called 340b program, which allows hospitals to buy drugs at a discount, are impacting hospitals and patients. Critics say there’s little evidence that hospitals used the savings to help patients.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Tell us your thoughts on nuclear security

Jun 19, 2018

This year has been a worrying and, at times, promising one when it comes to nuclear security.

I visited a detention center called Casa Padre in Brownsville, Texas that used to be a Walmart. It’s run by a nonprofit, Southwest Key, and it’s currently housing about 1,500 children who were detained at the Texas/Mexico border. Some of those children were separated from their parents when border protection officials captured them.

A study of public housing facilities in New York City found that those managed by private developers had higher tenant satisfaction compared to others managed by the public housing authority. But it also found that tenant turnover is higher in the privately managed buildings.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Why trade uncertainty may not be a big factor in Mexico's general election

Jun 19, 2018

Mexico will hold its general election next month. On the line are hundreds of positions in the country's Congress as well as the presidency.

While the Trump administration's tariffs are "not really an electoral deal as such," economic change is on the minds of people, according to former Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jorge Castañeda. 

China calls Trump's new tariff threats "blackmail"

Jun 19, 2018

(U.S. Edition) If China decides to fight back against the Trump administration's $50 billion tariffs, the president is threatening to up that to another $200 billion in goods. We'll look at the countermeasures China might put in place, and what this conflict means for U.S. businesses that operate there.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … There are more tariff threats against China from the White House, so are we in a trade war yet? And what needs to happen to de-escalate the growing tensions between the two nations? Then, shares of the Hong Kong–listed Chinese telecom ZTE plunged more than 20 percent to a two-year low. It wasn’t President Trump, but the U.S. Congress that sparked fresh concerns. Afterwards, growing alongside the rise of online sales is the rise of fake reviews.

Will the Theranos scandal put a damper on medical tech investing?

Jun 19, 2018

The blood-testing startup Theranos is now firmly in disgrace. Founder Elizabeth Holmes was indicted Friday on federal wire fraud charges and has resigned as the company’s CEO. But whatever happens with Holmes and Theranos, the episode has changed the conversation around biotech investing. Michael Greeley is general partner of Flare Capital Partners in Boston, which specializes in funding health care technology companies. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about what Theranos' downfall means to the industry overall.

The blood-testing startup Theranos is now firmly in disgrace. Founder Elizabeth Holmes was indicted Friday on federal wire fraud charges and has resigned as the company’s CEO. But whatever happens with Holmes and Theranos, the episode has changed the conversation around biotech investing. Michael Greeley is general partner of Flare Capital Partners in Boston, which specializes in funding health care technology companies. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about what the Theranos downfall means to the industry overall. (06/19/2018)

Courting foreign investors in the age of Trump

Jun 18, 2018

Thousands of foreign investors are about to descend on a conference center in suburban Maryland for the fifth annual SelectUSA Investment Summit. Beginning Wednesday, they will spend three days being wooed by states and cities looking to get their investment dollars. Foreign investment in the United States hit $3.7 trillion in 2016, the last year for which there is government data.

Comcast, Disney in Fox chase

Jun 18, 2018

A federal court’s historic decision to let AT&T and Time Warner merge has unleashed other deal talks among giant companies. Just a day after the decision, Comcast renewed its bid for 21st Century Fox assets — a $65 billion offer. Compare that to Disney’s bid of $52.4 billion. Fox now has two eager suitors – both legacy media companies vying for another legacy media company’s assets – all against the backdrop of Netflix and the age of streaming.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The United States has imposed tariffs on products from China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union, and retaliatory duties are on the way. What will be the overall economic effect of these trade disputes? One way to gauge that is by looking to the futures market.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

What's a trade war and are we in one?

Jun 18, 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?

Video game addiction is now considered a medical condition

Jun 18, 2018

The World Health Organization has released a new list of medical conditions that for the first time includes gaming disorder. 

The BBC's Anu Anand, host of the Global Edition of our Morning Report program, joined us to discuss how it's defined and what its label as a medical condition could mean for insurance coverage. The following answers have been edited for clarity. 

So what is gaming disorder?

A report out today from CreditCards.com finds that millennials are the worst tippers across all age groups, and that’s costing low-wage service workers a vital part of their income.

Take Jose Mendoza, whose wage is $5 an hour as a server at Pio Pio Latin Cuisine in Orlando. He said he makes about $20 an hour, though, on a good day, because of tips. 

But, he explains, "the younger people, they don’t tip so good."

Video game addiction is real

Jun 18, 2018

(Markets Edition) The World Health Organization has released a new list of official medical conditions, which includes "gaming disorder," where people obsessively play video and computer games. We'll take a look at what exactly the disorder entails and why insurance companies might be able to cover it now. Afterwards, we'll discuss the nationwide increase in suicides, and how funding to address the issue is lagging behind.

President Donald Trump has nominated a permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created after the financial crisis. The nominee, Kathy Kraninger, is a federal budget official. We take a look at why the White House chose her and how the bureau has changed since its inception.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Maybe the U.S. and global economies keep ticking along until the end of time and the markets remain forever chill. But that's not what history tells us. It's also not the view of the biggest hedge fund in the world: Bridgewater Associates.

In recent weeks, it's been circulating a warning. Bridgewater co-chief investment officer Greg Jensen and two of his colleagues say that, "We are bearish on almost all financial assets while markets are still pricing in Goldilocks conditions" and that "2019 is setting up to be a dangerous period for the economy." 

(U.S. Edition) President Trump has nominated a permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Kathy Kraninger, a federal budget official. We'll take a look at her experience and why the White House says it chose her. Next, we'll discuss how the French government isn't very happy with General Electric's job creation progress in France. Before GE was allowed to buy the energy generation part of the French conglomerate Alsthom, it had a mandate to create a thousand jobs in the country. Then finally, we'll talk to Washington Post columnist Allan Sloan about how U.S.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and it’s the on the rise, but we have no idea why.

“We have the science of suicide that we’ve paid for, which is to say ... not much,” said Dr. April Foreman at the American Association of Suicidology. “The reason we don’t have good answers is that we fund suicide-related research at a fraction of the other kinds of research for other causes of death.”

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service...Ongoing disagreement in Germany over asylum seekers is threatening Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership and could put her political future in jeopardy. How can the country’s government balance its own immigration challenges with broader policies across the European Union?  Then, the agriculture industry is challenged in northern Chile as people there struggle with a persistently dry climate amid years of drought. But innovative farmers have learned to harness the power of fog to help relieve their struggle.

Can you make money off of emoji?

Jun 18, 2018

More than 150 new emoji have been approved by the emoji standards body called Unicode. A redheaded person, a llama, toilet paper and bagels are just some of the new symbols. It's a big deal if you happen to be a redheaded llama farmer, but also because the release of new emoji is a carefully coordinated situation that requires approval from an emoji standards body called Unicode. And a design process that's specific to every operating system and, at least so far, no money changing hands. Jeremy Burge is Chief Emoji Officer for Emojipedia — which is kind of like Merriam-Webster for emoji.

A Dutch brothel where women work for themselves

Jun 15, 2018

From purple and red walls to safes in every room, just about everything at the My Red Light brothel has been designed with input from the women who work there.

It’s also almost completely run by former or current sex workers, something rare in Amsterdam’s world-famous prostitution district. But the most important thing about My Red Light is that its 14 rooms can only be rented by people who have been thoroughly vetted to ensure they are not being trafficked, pimped or exploited.

The sequel to the animated superhero film "The Incredibles" opens in movie theaters across the country today. The original film came out in 2004, grossing $633 million worldwide. So with those kind of numbers, why did it take 14 years to make a sequel?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Negotiation in global politics have dominated the headlines recently, between North Korea and U.S. relations, international trade dealings and the G-7 summit.

How to be a composer

Jun 15, 2018

Everyone has a dream job growing up: doctor, vet, ice cream taste tester. But how do you actually get the gig? Marketplace Weekend is looking into how, with the occasional series, How to Be a ...

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