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How food banks are reaching high-risk seniors

3 hours ago

The AARP estimates more than 10 million people 50 and older are at risk of going hungry every day in the United States. In Florida, where many baby boomers retire, this food insecurity is compounded by a lack of public transportation. Some food banks are holding food drops to bring food and other health-related events to the neighborhoods where they live in an attempt to reach more high-risk seniors.

This story was produced by the Marketplace hub at WMFE in Orlando.

Questlove on "chasing ghosts"

6 hours ago

If you watch late night TV — "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," in particular — you probably know the show’s house band, The Roots. And perhaps you'd recognize its drummer and frontman, Questlove, aka Ahmir Khalib Thompson.

Thompson is also a DJ, a producer, an author, a foodie, and a podcaster on Pandora with "Questlove Supreme." He came into the studio Thursday to talk with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Why do gas prices end in 9/10 of a cent?

6 hours ago

This series originally ran during February 2014. We're republishing it today in light of our Make Me Smart podcast's new Explainathon episode, which included the first question here. The rest are good too, and the original article appears below.

For those of you who have stockpiles of Forever Stamps, some good news: the post office is planning to hike their prices.

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed increasing the price of its first-class mail Forever Stamp from 50 cents to 55 cents, which would take effect on Jan. 27 of next year. (However, the price for any additional ounces will drop from 21 cents to 15 cents.) Like the name suggests, this piece of postage doesn't expire.

If you’re among those who feel press coverage of Russia has an unhealthy fascination with all things Vladimir Putin, then enter artist Victoria Lomasko’s “Other Russias” to the rescue. 

That plural is no accident. Lomasko is out to capture Russian stories that most in the West never see.

“It was important to me over the last years to make a portrait of the unofficial face of the country,” Lomasko tells The World. “That part that we almost never hear from in the media.”  

The low-fee wars have no end in sight

7 hours ago

Roughly one in three people in the United States have less than $5,000 in retirement savings. It doesn’t help that wages haven’t been getting much better. But for those lucky enough to have some money stashed away, the cost of investing has been getting lower and lower.

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.”

One of the thousands of parents who have been separated from their kids at the southern border, Magdalena didn’t hear about the recent executive order reversing the family separation policy, because she’s already been deported to Guatemala.

Magdalena is in hiding. She lives with her eldest brother and follows him wherever he goes, like a shadow.

“I am always home. I never go anywhere, and if my brother goes somewhere, I will go with him,” Magdalena says on the phone through an interpreter. “I never stay in the home alone.”

Like many Oakland residents, Candice Elder, 34, is alarmed at the rapidly increasing number of people pitching tents on sidewalks and under freeways in the city.

Unlike most residents, Elder has worked at dozens of homeless encampments as part of a team providing “rapid response services on call 24-7,” including food, crisis management and medical assistance.

At the end of every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases an updated percentage estimating how many Americans are unemployed. But the question always comes up, what exactly does employed mean?

Say you’re a part-time barista, part-time Uber driver, when-you-really-need-the-money-time IKEA-furniture-assembler, what kind of employed are you? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one asking the question: The Bureau of Labor Statistics is confused too.

Could a vacancy tax help Oakland with homelessness?

11 hours ago

(Markets Edition) We take a look at inflation numbers in light of the Consumer Price Index’s rise by a tenth of a percent last month. Then we talk about pollution from a seemingly unlikely source: meat. Large meat processors have released more pollution than acceptable in streams and rivers according to a new study.

Global stocks retreat as U.S. worries spread

16 hours ago

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Stock markets around the world are in retreat as a selloff ricochets from the U.S. Is it the latest buy-the-dip opportunity or are there more serious risks at play? Then, a conference on the illegal trade in wildlife opens Thursday in London – it's worth $22 billion a year, making it the fourth-biggest transnational organized crime. Afterwards, prepare for takeoff: The world’s longest non-stop flight, from Singapore to New York, clocks in at 19 hours and launches Thursday.

The whole multitrillion dollar promise of 5G and its millions of jobs and new businesses is just a pipe dream without infrastructure. Unlike 4G, which can be delivered through a relatively small number of tall towers, 5G wireless service relies on lots and lots of small receivers placed fairly close together. And installing all those little 5G cells is turning into a big fight. (10/11/18)

The whole multitrillion dollar promise of 5G — millions of jobs and new businesses — is just a pipe dream without infrastructure. Unlike 4G, which can be delivered through a relatively small number of tall towers, 5G wireless service relies on lots and lots of small receivers placed fairly close together. And installing all those little 5G cells is turning into a big fight.

At Tuesday’s American Music Awards, Taylor Swift repeated a plea she’d made earlier to her 112 million followers on Instagram: Register and vote. Swift is the latest celebrity to join what’s been a concerted effort this year to boost voter registration among young people.

U.S. tightens foreign investment rules

Oct 10, 2018

Some sensitive industries — everything from technology to defense firms — will face tougher federal scrutiny under new regulations formalized Wednesday. The Committee of Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS, announced its pilot program will take effect in 30 days. The announcement has some innovation, defense and tech companies scrambling to comply so they don't face penalties.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Sears teeters on the edge of bankruptcy

Oct 10, 2018

Shares of Sears fell today on reports from the Wall Street Journal that the company has hired advisors to prepare a bankruptcy filing. The department store chain has been struggling for decades, announcing one turnaround effort after another.

Why rock is still king on the concert circuit

Oct 10, 2018

With a nod to the fact that nominations for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame came out this week, there's an economic reality about the music business that needs to be recognized: Last year, hip-hop and rhythm and blues replaced rock as this country’s most popular music genre. That’s according to Nielsen’s analysis of digital and physical album sales as well as streaming. There's a twist here, though, because what Nielsen did not consider was how much money people spend on concerts.

Here are some reasons why China's currency is sinking

Oct 10, 2018

One U.S. dollar today is worth about 9.92 Chinese yuan. That's down nearly 10 percent from where it was last spring. That drop has the attention of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said Wednesday he wants to make sure China is not doing "competitive devaluations." That's when a country seeks an advantage by making its currency, and therefore its goods, cheaper relative to other countries. But the cheap yuan might have more to do with what's going on in the United States than it does with China.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

President Donald Trump, who created a business out of licensing his name, recently tried his hand at branding something else: the North American Free Trade Agreement.

(Markets Edition) With the Chinese yuan falling, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attempted to warn China of taking part in “competitive devaluation” of the currency. Then, we check on the markets with Jeffery Cleveland, chief economist with Payden & Rygel in Los Angeles. Finally, we look into networking. Before, connections could be made over a round of golf.

The high economic toll of mental illness

Oct 10, 2018

Mental disorders are estimated to cost the global community nearly $2.5 trillion each year — and those costs are increasing.

Unlike costly physical illnesses like cancer, where expenses are largely hospital-based, mental health costs are often indirect, such as not being able to work.

LinkedIn's co-founder breaks down "blitzscaling"

Oct 10, 2018

(U.S. Edition) We check in on the decline of the yuan, the national currency of China. Shaun Rein, the managing director of the China Market Research Group, told us more. A global summit on mental health concludes Wednesday in a bid to secure money and treatment comparable to other health issues. Worldwide, mental disorders cost governments almost $2.5M per year.

The LinkedIn co-founder on "Blitzscaling" a company while mitigating risk

Oct 10, 2018

“Don’t focus on early revenue, measuring your long-term value or your customers” might not be the advice a new entrepreneur would expect. But Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, says if your business idea is a worthy one, “don’t sweat it.” Just focus on getting big quickly.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … A day after it downgraded its forecast for global growth next year, the International Monetary Fund is out with a new warning Wednesday about what it calls "dangerous undercurrents" threatening the world economy. Then, more than half a million people have been urged to evacuate their homes in the southeastern part of the U.S. as Hurricane Michael prepares to make landfall. That’s just weeks after storms ravaged Indonesia and the Carolinas.

IMF forecasts slower global growth

Oct 9, 2018

The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday it's shaving off some of its earlier optimism about world economic growth over the next couple years. It has downgraded its growth forecast for this year from 3.9 percent to 3.7 percent, and for next year, the IMF has ticked the world's growth down from 2.7 percent to 2.5 percent. The forecast took some of the wind out of U.S. and Chinese economic expansion, too, saying both countries would grow more slowly than previously thought. So what could be dragging us down in a year's time?

R.I.P., Google Plus

Oct 9, 2018

We hardly used ye. Google is phasing out its social platform Google Plus after a massive data breach. We look at how this could affect Google’s business model. Also on today's show, the International Monetary Fund predicted in its global economic forecast that trade disputes and turbulent emerging markets will slow global economic growth. And, are electric scooters all that bad, or are they a sign of where our transportation system is headed? A report on the electric scooter craze from Los Angeles.

Credit card interest rates are rising

Oct 9, 2018

A report out today from Creditcards.com shows that credit card interest rates are on the rise. The average rate is just over 17 percent, up from about 16.15 percent this time last year and 15.22 percent in 2016.

The reason? The Federal Reserve has been hiking interest rates since 2015. That means banks have been paying more to borrow money, and they’re passing that cost on to their customers, including credit card borrowers, said Lucia Dunn, professor emeritus at Ohio State University.

85: Expl4inathon

Oct 9, 2018

It's time for another Explainathon, the biannual tradition when we put Kai and Molly to the test: In 30 minutes, they'll try to answer as many of your questions as possible. It's going to be tough, because this might just be our widest-ranging 'thon yet: Gamers! Trade wars! Gas prices! Bots on the trading floor! Plus, Kai and Molly will try to stump each other.

Coin-operated gumball machines aren't as common as they used to be. With sales slowly dwindling over the years and high domestic sugar prices, America's sole remaining gumball maker has been branching out to stay afloat.  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

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