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

Ways to Connect

(U.S. Edition) The Justice Department has told a federal court that it would no longer defend key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. We'll explore what this could mean for Obamacare recipients. Afterwards, we'll discuss why the U.S. decided to strike a deal with Chinese electronics giant ZTE, allowing it to do business in the country again, and then we'll look at whether the Pope can influence big oil companies to address climate change. (06/08/2018) 

When Hurricane Maria flooded Andres Reyes’ home in Cidra, Puerto Rico, he stayed on the property for as long as he could. The island’s central mountainous region, where Reyes had lived for 37 years, had been badly hit. Reyes slept inside his home for one month as the water receded and, when he contracted a bacterial infection, he moved outside for two months.

“I would take my pillow, my blanket — my cousin gave me a little foam mattress,” he  said. “I would roll it out, put it there and I would sleep in the car.”

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Just a week after imposing new tariffs, President Donald Trump is expected to get a frosty reception from his fellow G7 leaders in Quebec today when they gather for an annual meeting. So, what will the president’s allies want from him – and what are the implications if they don’t get it? Then, Argentina has double-digit inflation and a ballooning deficit. Now, it’s secured the biggest loan in the International Monetary Fund's history – but at what cost?

What products are making all the retaliatory tariff lists?

Jun 7, 2018

We looked through the lists of tariffs Mexico, Canada and the European Union are imposing on the United States in response to the 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs. And we found some commonalities: orange juice, whiskey, motor boats and kitchenware among them. So why these products? We talked with Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute and a former acting deputy U.S. trade representative, and Renee Bower, economic professor at the University of San Diego, to find out.

With all the talk of steel and aluminum you might have forgotten that tariffs were already placed on foreign-made solar panels. Reuters is reporting that the tariffs have resulted in $2.5 billion in projects being frozen or cancelled, which far outweighs benefits to American solar manufacturers. But it’s still not clear what the lasting impact will be.

Short-termism not long for Wall Street?

Jun 7, 2018

Only about a quarter of public companies continue to include earnings predictions in their quarterly reports. Guidance is not required by law, and experts say it has become the tail that wags the dog. Once companies forecast earnings for the coming quarter, they manage their businesses to meet — or beat — those forecasts, which makes it hard to plan and invest based on long-term goals.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Sassafrass. It's what musician Tami Neilson defines as "a sassy person who speaks her mind." It's also the title of her new album, "Sassafrass!"

Learning to think long term

Jun 7, 2018

You hear a lot on our show about corporate profits, quarterly earnings reports and how companies beat or missed expectations. Warren Buffet and Jaime Dimon spoke out about this kind of quarterly forecasting this week, on the grounds that it fosters too much short-term thinking. We'll talk about it. Then: steel and aluminum tariffs are the headline trade news, but what about solar panels? Solar tech is subject to 30 percent tariffs right now, and the resulting hit to the American solar energy industry might outweigh any benefits.

Blockbuster Broadway, it's more than just "Hamilton"

Jun 7, 2018

The annual showcase of all things Broadway — the Tony Awards — takes place on Sunday. But even before the trophies get handed out, the New York theater industry has a lot to celebrate. It just had its most successful year on record, with record attendance and grosses of nearly $1.7 billion.

On a busy street, outside the headquarters for Pittsburgh’s bike share program, staffers are unloading a shipment of nearly new 200 bikes. The city’s Healthy Ride program is growing from 50 stations three years ago to 175 this year. David White, who runs the program, said growth was always the plan because many bike share programs like his are nonprofits and start out with a small amount of seed money from grants and corporate sponsorship.

Fred works the early shift at Bethany Health Care Center, a Catholic nursing home in Framingham, Massachusetts. He’s up at 4 a.m. every day, washing clothes and bedding for the hundred-plus residents. 

The boy who cried trade war

Jun 7, 2018

(Markets Edition) President Trump is set to meet with allies from now through the weekend, and they're all upset over U.S. tariffs. We'll hear from Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, about why markets don't seem that afraid of a trade war (at the moment). Next, we'll recap a technical snafu that happened at the London Stock Exchange today, and then we'll discuss how one company is memorializing sports moments through trendy T-shirts. (06/07/2018) 

UPS workers vote to authorize strike

Jun 7, 2018

UPS Inc. workers, who belong to the Teamster’s Union, voted by more than 90 percent earlier this week to authorize a strike if there’s no agreement on issues around pay and expanding delivery days. The current five-year contract expires on July 31. Negotiations are ongoing.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Sports fashion turns to on-trend t-shirts

Jun 7, 2018

Sports fashion is often all about the jerseys, but these days fans can also find t-shirts that capture trending moments in sports. That's because companies like BreakingT see a new opportunity to cater to a market for individualized messaging, by turning moments in sports into trendy t-shirts.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The U.S. strikes a deal with Chinese electronics giant ZTE

Jun 7, 2018

The Chinese smartphone and telecom company ZTE will officially be allowed to do business in the U.S. again.

From Japan to France, U.S. allies are up in arms

Jun 7, 2018

(U.S. Edition) With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set to meet with President Trump today, we'll discuss what their trade relationship looks like at the moment. The U.S. has levied tariffs on Japanese steel and aluminum, but now there's a movement to do the same for automobiles. Afterwards, we'll explore what to expect from a larger trade gathering this weekend between the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and Japan — also known as the G-7 summit. Plus: How Trump's policies on immigration threaten the long-term care industry. (06/07/2018)

(Global Edition) A “technical issue” on the London Stock Exchange delayed the start of trade by an hour this morning. No word on what caused the outage, but we’ll explore how common these problems are becoming and what it means for safety of financial markets. Then, it’s a crucial day in Turkey: The country’s central bank will decide whether to raise rates to help offset red-hot inflation and a rapidly-depreciating currency. But presidential elections at the end of this month are putting policymakers in a tricky situation.

Melinda Gates: "Nobody actually collects good data about women's lives"

Jun 7, 2018

Melinda Gates is known as the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But the longtime philanthropist is also the founder of a for-profit organization called Pivotal Ventures. Through her for-profit enterprise, Gates is trying to get more women and minorities in tech by funding venture capitalists who invest in more diverse entrepreneurs. Such funders are known as limited partners, or LPs, but the name is misleading because limited partners hold the purse strings and can set a venture capitalist’s agenda if they want to.

Melinda Gates is most well known as the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But the longtime philanthropist is also the founder of a for-profit organization called Pivotal Ventures. Through her for-profit enterprise, Gates is trying to increase the number of women and minorities in tech by funding venture capitalists who invest in more diverse entrepreneurs. Such funders are known as limited partners (LPs), but the name is misleading because LPs hold the purse strings and can set a VC’s agenda if they want to.

We got new numbers from the Commerce Department today about one of the president’s favorite topics — the trade deficit. Month to month, the trade deficit got smaller, that is, the difference between what we sold to the world versus what we bought, shrunk a bit. That gap was just over $46 billion in April, down from just over $47 billion in March. But year over year, the trade deficit is actually bigger. It’s up 11.5 percent from this time last year.

Retaliatory Mexico tariff could leave apples rotting on trees

Jun 6, 2018

On May 31, President Donald Trump announced that the 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs that had been temporarily exempt for the EU, Canada and Mexico would go into effect in June. Mexico answered with some counter-tariffs, including one on U.S. apples. If you're an apple grower in Washington state, like Patrick Smith, whose family runs Loftus Ranches in the Yakima Valley, this is really bad news. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked with Smith about what he's expecting.

Around the country, urban areas are focusing on expanding public transit, including metro Atlanta, a region known for its sprawl. Traffic there ranks fourth worst in the U.S., according to the transportation analytics company INRIX.

But as Atlanta area leaders look to change attitudes toward buses and trains, they’ve decided they also have to change something else: the name.

“Sometimes a refresh and a rebrand is good,” said state Sen. Brandon Beach, who represents the suburbs north of Atlanta.

When Maria was six in August 2017, she was separated from her mother, Magdalena, by border patrol agents near El Paso, Texas.

“I didn't understand them,” Maria says. She and her mother speak Akateko, an indigenous Mayan language. “I kept saying, ‘Ummm ummm ummm.’ And then when they took my mom, I got scared and didn’t understand anything.”

Residents of Yemeni port city prepare for an invasion

Jun 6, 2018

News over the weekend that the Trump administration was considering expanding the US role in the Yemen war may have been premature. 

A National Security Council spokesperson on Monday denied reports that the White House was weighing whether to directly assist a possible Saudi-led coalition invasion of Yemen's Red Sea port of Hodeidah. 

If only. President Donald Trump likes to talk about the trade deficit, the difference between what the United States sells to other countries and what it buys from them. It shrank between March and April, according to the latest report, something the White House would say is good news. But it's still higher than it's been in years, and when you take a closer look at the numbers, you can see how the current trade disagreements are changing the global economy. Then: What the bond market has to do with Republican tax cuts. Plus, the barbecue problem: Wild hogs. (06/06/2018)

Charlie Rivkin took over as the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America in late 2017. He is perhaps uniquely qualified for the role running the trade and lobbying organization for the Hollywood film industry; he worked in entertainment, including a stint as the CEO of The Jim Henson Co. before serving as an ambassador to France, followed by time as an Assistant Secretary at the State Department under President Obama.

(Markets Edition) With news that Social Security and Medicare will have to dip into their reserves, we'll talk to an academic who says we're in even worse shape than news reports are stating. Afterwards, we'll look at a new survey that shows CEOs aren't feeling as optimistic about the economy as they did earlier this year, and then we'll explore why the potential of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods aren't playing out more in the markets. (06/06/2018)

America's Social Security and Medicare systems may need expensive repairs. 

A new report on Social Security and Medicare finds that the system is now paying out more than it brought in, forcing the system to dip into its $3 trillion pool of reserves for the first time since 1982. 

CEOs aren’t feeling as optimistic about the economy as they did earlier this year. A quarterly survey from the Business Roundtable shows CEOs have lowered their expectations for hiring, spending and sales over the next six months. They’re nervous about the direction of Trump’s trade policies. 

Click on the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has unveiled a plan that could raise rents for millions of people who get federal housing assistance. The U.S. Congress has begun deliberating the proposal, and that has people who get assistance from HUD waiting anxiously to find out whether changes are coming and what that might mean for them.