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Tesla gets a reality check

Jun 14, 2018

Earlier this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the electric car company would lay off about 3,000 people and work much harder to become profitable. On Wednesday, perhaps in a show of confidence to investors, Musk bought about $25 million worth of Tesla stock. The past few months have been tough for the company. There have been crashes involving Tesla's semi-autonomous mode, battles with investors and attacks on the media over negative coverage. But at the end of the day, Tesla has one thing it needs to accomplish: Make the Model 3 a success.

Amazon head tax reversed

Jun 13, 2018

Last month the Seattle city council voted unanimously for a head tax – a set fee that bigger companies would have to pay for each of their employees. The tax was meant to raise funds to address homelessness and help create more affordable housing in a city where both have become problems. Then yesterday that same city council changed its mind.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

What the AT&T ruling means for mergers and acquisitions

Jun 13, 2018

Yesterday … a judge cleared AT&T's $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Today… Comcast bid $65 billion in cash for 21st Century Fox assets, which Disney is already trying to buy. Coincidence? I think not. The AT&T decision was closely watched for the implications it could have on other deals. So, more to come?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Tomoko Shinkai is on the front lines of Japan’s demographic decline. She works for the small city of Hamada, and it’s her job to get people to move there. It’s hard to imagine a better cheerleader for the place. When you ask her what people should know about her hometown, Shinkai says there are too many wonderful things to name. “Come and see it for yourself!” she laughed.

Exploring the link between housing and health

Jun 13, 2018

Sidney Bond had been homeless for five years, living between shelters and friends’ couches, when he got a call with good news. He’d gotten off a wait list to move into his own subsidized apartment.

“I’m glad he didn’t see me, because I was running down the street,” he recalled. “I almost tripped on my face because I was so happy.”

Today we all learned a little Fedspeak

Jun 13, 2018

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates today, and Chair Jay Powell took some time to explain the economics of the decision. We thought that was our job. Anyway, we'll bring you the highlights, plus the latest in corporate mega-mergers as Comcast makes a bid for Fox. Then: A lot of us still feel the effects of the financial crisis, but there are places where you can actually still see them. Houses that got stuck in foreclosure limbo, abandoned by their owners and are still sitting empty years later.

Ireland is not as Catholic as it used to be. It’s a trend that goes back many years, but recent events have been chipping away at the church’s hold on Irish society. 

In 2015, Irish voters chose to legalize same-sex marriage. Last month, they rebuked the church again by voting overwhelmingly to legalize abortion. 

One part of life where the Catholic Church remains very powerful to this day, though, is in education. Around 90 percent of the schools in Ireland, for example, are overseen by the Catholic Church. And that includes many public schools. 

For many South Koreans, the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un has brought their divided peninsula one step closer to peace. 

Even though the declaration signed by both leaders at the conclusion of their historic meeting in Singapore was high on lofty goals and short on details about how central issues like complete denuclearization would actually be achieved, the most important outcome is that Trump and Kim are no longer threatening mutual annihilation.

Behind every Dunkin' Donut stands this CEO

Jun 13, 2018

Nigel Travis has run Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins as CEO of Dunkin' Brands since 2009. And he's as surprised as the rest of us at the resurgence of doughnuts. In this interview, Travis talks about how his background in human resources makes him a better CEO, why it's so difficult to find employees these days, and the No. 1 thing people like to buy with their doughnut (the answer will probably surprise you). 

(Markets Edition) The Fed is set to hike interest rates today, but are they going to going to continue raising them throughout the year? We'll talk to regular Susan Schmidt, senior vice president at Westwood Holdings Group, about the language the Fed will try to communicate in its meeting minutes. Afterwards, in light of the AT&T-Time Warner ruling, we'll hear from one expert in antitrust law about the difference between vertical and horizontal mergers, and what the judge's decision means for the future of mega mergers.

Fed raises interest rates, with more hikes to come

Jun 13, 2018

The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaled that it may step up its pace of rate increases because of solid economic growth and rising inflation.

The Fed now foresees four rate hikes this year, up from the three it had previously forecast.

The central bank on Wednesday raised its key short-term rate by a modest quarter-point to a still-low range of 1.75 percent to 2 percent. The move reflects the economy’s resilience, the job market’s strength and inflation that’s finally nearing the Fed’s target level.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to take up its version of the Farm Bill today. A House version failed after an agreement couldn’t be reached over work requirements for people who get food assistance. What’s the fate for the Senate version — and for the whole law in general?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The Fed is expected to raise interest rates today at the conclusion of a two-day meeting. The expected move comes as inflation inches up.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(Global Edition) A port handling 70 percent of essential goods has been critical to people in Yemen who are dealing with what the U.N. calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. But today, that port and the city surrounding it have come under attack in the latest turn of a three-year civil war. Then, a rough year for currencies like the lira and the Argentine peso might just be settling in: The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates again today. We’ll explain how tighter monetary policy is contributing to volatility in Turkey, Argentina, and other emerging markets.

(U.S. Edition) "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," Bob Dylan once sang, and apparently U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon agrees, because he cited this lyric in his 172-page ruling on the AT&T-Time Warner merger. Now that the two companies officially have the green light to go through with the deal, we'll dive into some of the remarks Judge Leon made, and whether the government can still try to fight against the decision.

The marriage of AT&T and Time Warner is good to go, apparently.

Jun 13, 2018

In a huge win for AT&T, a federal judge ruled that the company can buy Time Warner for an estimated $85 billion. The Department of Justice had sued to block the merger on antitrust grounds. It said that since AT&T also owns DirecTV, it could charge DirecTV competitors more to get, say, HBO or CNN, two of Time Warner's properties, and that consumers would end up paying more as a result. And this won’t be the last big media merger headline this year.

In a huge win for AT&T, a federal judge ruled that the company can buy Time Warner for an estimated $85 billion. The Department of Justice had sued to block the merger on antitrust grounds. It said that since AT&T also owns DirecTV, it could charge DirecTV competitors more to get, say, HBO or CNN, and that consumers would end up paying more as a result. And this won’t be the last big media merger headline this year. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Recode reporter Peter Kafka about what this means for the media landscape going forward. (06/13/2018)

Federal judge approves AT&T-Time Warner merger

Jun 12, 2018

A federal judge approved the $85 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner on Tuesday, a move that could usher in a wave of media consolidation while shaping how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon green-lit the merger without adding major conditions to the deal. The Trump Justice Department had sued to block the $85 billion merger, arguing that it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies.

Michael Brun delivers a message from Haiti — one summer block party at a time

Jun 12, 2018

Michael Brun held his microphone out toward the crowd at Miami’s Little Haiti Cultural Complex as they erupted in cheers and some waved Haitian flags. The venue was packed, the cocktail bar did a roaring trade and the smells of fried pork griot and spiced pickled cabbage, or pikliz, and fried plantains were in the air.

68: Ajit Pai's internet is "free and open," but no longer neutral

Jun 12, 2018

Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai was on something of a victory lap Monday when he talked with Kai on Marketplace about the repeal of net neutrality. The rule change became official this week. Molly has interviewed Pai two times during the long process of rolling back Obama-era regulations that made internet service providers treat all traffic the same. Molly and Kai dive into a few of Pai's talking points and his vision for America's future online. Plus, we hear your thoughts spurred by last week's episode on blockchain.

Four things to know about the North Korea economy

Jun 12, 2018

North Korea has long been an enigma to the outside world. There's been no greater example than in the past few months — the country's leader went from trading insults and mortal threats with President Donald Trump to finishing off a friendly summit with him.

One window into what Kim Jong Un is thinking is through his economy. We have tidbits and snapshots we can glean about North Korean economic life that come from people who've lived there, from survey data and the few economic numbers that trickle out of that place.

President Donald Trump vowed back in 2016 that his presidency would block the mega-merger between AT&T and Time Warner. Today, a federal judge decided otherwise. We'll talk about how we got here and what happens next. Plus, in light of the historic summit in Singapore and the Fed meeting today and tomorrow, we'll put the American and North Korean economies in context. 

For the first time, a sitting American president met with the leader of North Korea to talk about denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The meeting took place in the diplomatically neutral city-state island of Singapore on Tuesday.

As part of his pitch, President Donald Trump showed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a video to sell him on what the future of his country could be if it gave up its nuclear weapons.

How the energy boom shaped a small town in rural America

Jun 12, 2018

When a fracking company came to a small community in rural Pennsylvania, many people signed the lease that allowed the company to access the natural gas resources on their land. Among them was Stacey Haney, who at that time owned a small farm. Haney saw the lease as a way to support American energy, and like many other people, a way to get some extra money to support life. But money is not the only thing fracking brought to the town, and people like Haney ended up paying a price. 

At 3 a.m. in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, a crew of four young Palestinian men sang, chanted and drummed in a chorus. The traditional Ramadan musical procession is called musahar. And they're musaharatis, or volunteers tasked with waking Muslim worshippers for their pre-dawn meal and prayer before the day’s fast.

Why North Korea's priority isn't its underdeveloped economy

Jun 12, 2018

President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un agreed to take steps to build a "peace regime" on the Korean peninsula after Tuesday's bilateral summit in Singapore. 

In a signed statement from the two leaders, Kim reaffirmed his country's commitment to ceasing its nuclear development program, but no specific steps or benchmarks for the denuclearization process were listed in the signed statement from the two leaders. 

(Markets Edition) Despite a headline-heavy week, with President Trump meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the markets haven't been moving all that much. We'll discuss why the historic summit hasn't really affected them, and then we'll chat with Leon Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project, about Kim Jong-Un's goals during the talks. It turns out that North Korea's relationship with the U.S. may not be about aid or investment.

Philadelphia City Council is expected to vote this week on what some members see as a potential solution to the city’s affordable housing problem — a 1 percent tax that could fund rental construction and help qualifying home buyers make down payments on houses. But the proposal is controversial.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The Federal Open Market Committee begins its two-day meeting today to talk interest rates. The Fed is expected to raise its target rate by a quarter of a point for the second time this year. And with unemployment reaching a new low last month and inflation creeping up, analysts expect officials to keep raising rates throughout the year. If short-term yields keep rising, that could lead to what’s called an inverted yield curve, when short-term term rates are higher than long-term borrowing costs.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

North Korea: The Movie

Jun 12, 2018

(U.S. Edition) President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met at a historic summit this Tuesday, signing a statement calling for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. One tactic Trump used in his talks: a fake movie trailer presenting two different paths for North Korea. We'll look at the purpose of the video, and what Trump had to say about economic sanctions on the country.