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Identity and economic choice

May 8, 2019

Nearly everyone can agree that one of the worst parts about flying is going through TSA security screening. The system is designed to be thorough, meant to identify who you are and what you’re carrying. For those who identify as transgender or genderqueer, this is where things get complicated.

Uber and Lyft drivers in cities across the country are striking Wednesday. They say their take-home pay is decreasing, and they have little job security. The protest comes as the companies go public. Lyft’s IPO was in March; Uber’s is expected on Friday. Part of the excitement around these companies, and one of the reasons for their high valuations, is their future plans. They’re working on autonomous cars, which could mean there’ll be a drastically reduced need for drivers.

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The little word critical to the American economy

May 8, 2019

We're talking about "jobs." The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 50 years, but there may be something other than this economy's tight labor market that explains why claims for unemployment benefits are so low. Then: Ride-share drivers are striking ahead of Uber's initial public offering in search of better pay and job security. But it looks like autonomous vehicles are the industry's future. Plus: We talk to a Los Angeles Times reporter about staffing season for TV writers after Hollywood writers fired their agents.

China’s economy is not growing as fast as it used to. That's partly due to government efforts to clean up air pollution, which officials say they have had dramatic success with.

The country’s Ecology and Environment Minister Li Ganjie said at the annual political meeting in early March that in 338 major Chinese cities, the average density of PM 2.5 — a fine particulate that can seep deep into the lungs and cause health problems — had dropped 9.3 percent in 2018.

The African National Congress has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994.

"And in a lot of areas there’s been good progress,” said Zintle Koza, a visiting fellow from South Africa at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. “But there’s also a recognition that things could have been better.”

It's official: tariffs on Chinese imports are go if trade talks fail this week. Investors are just trying to keep up. Developers descend (or maybe just stay in) Mountain View for Google's I/O conference. Plus, we take a look at how buskers and street performers are adapting to an increasingly cashless economy.

Today's show is sponsored by CortBitSight Technologies and Capital One.

New phone. Whose debt?

May 8, 2019

Your debt collector could be texting you soon. South Africans head to the polls to elect a new president. Plus, Beijing skies are a lot clearer after five years of curbing air pollution.

Today's show is sponsored by CortBitSight Technologies and Capital One.

Britain sets coal-free power record

May 8, 2019

From the BBC World Service... Iran's President Rouhani has announced the country will increase its stockpiles of uranium and heavy water, directly contravening the nuclear deal. He also said Russia, China, the U.K., France and Germany had 60 days to meet their commitments to protect Iran's banking and oil sectors. Plus, the U.K. has gone six days without using coal, the longest streak since the industrial revolution. Will the country fulfill its aim of coal-free power by 2025? Plus, a huge relief operation is taking place in the Indian state of Odisha after it was hit by cyclone Fani.

We all know selfies have become an art form on social media: the perfect “I woke up like this” pose, the filters that make lashes longer, skin smoother, cheeks more plump and delectable, and noses more pleasingly pointed.

Export-Import Bank might shake years of reduced powers

May 7, 2019

The Senate will vote on confirming three new board members who would enable the Export-Import Bank to perform its full mission.

The political crisis in Venezuela may soon come to a head. Turmoil between the President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó peaked last week when Guaidó called for protests against the president. Protesters hit the streets and faced violent interactions with the police before the events simmered down. For months, food and medicine prices have soared in Venezuela as it experiences some of the worst hyperinflation ever.

Can a pop-up teach women about financial literacy?

May 7, 2019

If you’re frustrated about your car payments or student loans, a new pop-up in downtown Los Angeles gives you the chance to vent your rage.

Stacks House — a pop-up that promotes women’s financial literacy — features an area called the “Debt Boxing Gym” where attendees can don a pair of boxing gloves and hit a series of obstacles that represent different types of debt or their “deadbeat friends” (“71% have loaned friends money and have yet to be paid back,” says the print on one bag.)  

Walmart wants your pets to be customers

May 7, 2019

Walmart probably already has your business — 95% of American consumers bought something from one of its stores or its website as of a couple of years ago, according to NPD Group. Now it wants your pets’ business, too: The retailer plans to have veterinary clinics up and running in about 100 stores within a year, and it’s launching an online pet pharmacy. We’re spending twice as much on our pets as we did 12 years ago, according to the American Pet Products Association, and Walmart’s aiming for a bigger slice of a market that was worth $72 billion last year.

With more than 20 democratic presidential hopefuls clamoring for attention in the 2020 campaign, candidates have latched onto several new political moments to raise money and attempt to boost their profile.

Online fundraising, the changing nature of campaign finance and new debate rules are forcing presidential campaigns to develop new strategies for raising money and grassroots support.

The bookbinder who specializes in repairing bibles

May 7, 2019

Rosemary Abrami moved to the Valley of the Sun in Arizona with her husband when he became the rabbi at the local synagogue. She was retired, Jewish and her new community didn’t have a university, which had always been her main source of work as a book binder.

But what the area lacked in higher education, it made up for it with old bibles. Her business, Abrami Bookbindery, was back.