National Partners

Stories from our program partners, including NPR, APM, and PRI.

Every year, the survivors gathered on the last night of Passover to tell the story of their own miraculous escape from bondage to freedom.

Their story doesn’t take place in the desert of Egypt but in the killing pits of Lithuania.

Shortly after the Nazis invaded Lithuania in June 1941, they started bringing groups of Jews from the nearby city of Vilnius, known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania, to the Ponar forest. The Nazis lined them up, shot them at close range, and tossed the bodies into pits.

While Flint waits, Nestle pumps Michigan water on the cheap

Apr 19, 2017
Denis Balibouse/Reuters 

We've heard a lot about the environmental troubles in Michigan, and now there's a new chapter to this water saga: Nestle extracts billions of dollars worth of groundwater from western Michigan, but it pays the state just $200 a year in paperwork fees to do so.

Now, Nestle wants to more than triple its pumping in the region, from 150 gallons per minute to 400 gallons a minute. Locals and activists say Nestle’s pumping could cause damage to surrounding wetlands — and they point out logging and ranching companies have to pay a fee when they use resources on government land.

Greg Locke/Reuters

Residents of coastal villages in Newfoundland, Canada, always have pretty amazing views out their windows. The blue North Atlantic ocean fills most of the frame.

But recently, some massive new stunners floated into view.

Icebergs.

“The iceberg was there and everybody was taking photographs,” says Adrian Kavanagh, the mayor of Ferryland. The town sits at the southern tip of Newfoundland and Labrador, on the Avalon Peninsula, and is home to just over 450 residents. But Vikings and migratory fishermen have been visiting these waters for centuries.

Maria Murriel/PRI

It’s Friday afternoon, and about 30 snow-flecked workers are crammed into the human resources office of Sid Wainer & Son, a gourmet food wholesaler in New Bedford, Mass., demanding to speak to the owners.

They have all been fired — unfairly, they feel. They’re employees of a temp agency Sid Wainer just ended its contract with. Most of them are undocumented. And yet, here they are in the management’s offices, making demands.

The noise of cities can harm our health but it can also make us more creative

Apr 19, 2017
<a href="http://www.lifeofpix.com/photo/traffic-jam/">Nabeel Syed</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/">Public Domain</a>

In March, the Department of Transportation created a visual showing the levels of airplane and traffic noise that blankets much of the US. According to the map, 97 percent of Americans could be exposed to transportation noise measuring around 35 to 50 decibels — about the loudness of a humming refrigerator.

(How loud is it where you live?)

Gerard Fesch didn’t learn that his father was a notorious murderer until he turned 40. Gerard grew up in foster care, with his records sealed. All he knew about his history was his mother’s first name: Thérèse.

“Every time I tried to look into my past, I would come up with possible theories as to why I’d been abandoned. I suspected I might uncover something unpleasant,” Fesch says, “but I never imagined this.”

Amy Bracken

For migrants, whether moving through Europe or Latin America, certain spots become known along the way for welcoming people.

Why 23andMe wants your genetic data

Apr 19, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Robert Garrova

The Food and Drug Administration recently gave its approval to genetics testing company 23andMe to use genetic data in a new way. The company will analyze your DNA and then send you back a report on your ancestry. But whether or not you have a little bit of Neanderthal in your family tree is by far not the only thing your DNA can tell you. With new clearances from the FDA, 23andMe can now look at your genetic makeup and tell you your risk for some pretty widespread diseases — Parkinson's and Alzheimer's among them.

Is generosity enough to prop up this post-recession town?

Apr 19, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

Treasury yields have dropped to the lowest they’ve been since November. What’s driving rates down? And what does that mean for U.S. consumers, U.S. businesses and the chair of the Federal Reserve? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Emirates, the biggest airline in the Middle East, is cutting back on flights to the United States in five of its 12 destinations. The air carrier said demand has dropped steeply since President Trump's restrictions on entry from Muslim-majority countries. And the ban of any electronic device bigger than a cell phone from certain Middle East flights led to even fewer ticket sales. Even though the president’s travel bans are now blocked in U.S.

Facebook wants to see everything you see

Apr 19, 2017
Marketplace

Facebook's annual conference for software developers, F8, wraps up today. Usually there's much ooh-ing and aaaah-ing over whatever it is that Mark Zuckerberg introduces.  

Not so this year.

"The big takeaway, put simply, is that Facebook has copied Snapchat as far as it can, and now it's going to try and outpace them," said Molly Wood, senior tech correspondent. Wood said that Facebook is moving away from virtual reality on its Oculus Rift platform and toward augmented reality on your phone, something its competitor Snapchat is already doing. 

Seems like every time you turn around, another department store chain is closing locations and laying off people – Macy’s, Sears, J.C. Penney — and these are just the biggies. Since January, nearly 61,000 jobs have been eliminated in the retail sector. What kinds of jobs are being lost? And where are these workers going? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Jana Kasperkevic

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?

23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki on the collective power of health data

Apr 19, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Robert Garrova

You probably already know of 23andMe as the company that will analyze your DNA and then send you back a report on your ancestry. But whether or not you have a little bit of Neanderthal in your family tree is by far not the only thing your DNA can tell you. With new clearances from the Food and Drug Administration, 23andMe can now look at your genetic makeup and tell you your risk for some pretty widespread diseases, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's among them. Kai Ryssdal spoke with 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki about the changing business of genetics. 

Marketplace

F8, Facebook's annual conference for software developers, wraps up today. There’s usually a lot of ooh-ing and aah-ing over whatever it is that Mark Zuckerberg introduces. Not so this year. We talked with tech corespondent Molly Wood about reaction and the company's augmented reality ambitions. Then, we travel to Janesville, Wisconsin, hometown of Speaker Paul Ryan and the site of an all-to-familiar American story. Plus, a conversation with 23andMe's CEO about genetics and data.

04/19/2017: You pay taxes, why shouldn't robots?

Apr 19, 2017

The ability of U.S. companies to pay back all its debt is at its lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund. Susan Schmidt of Westwood Holdings Group joins us to chat about the factors that really matter to the health of the U.S. economy. Next, we'll look at why several cities and states in the U.S. are starting to ban employers from asking prospective hires about salary history. Finally, we'll wrap up by chatting to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers about why he's against taxing robots who perform our jobs. 

Bruce Johnson

The primordial web of the internet was a messy, beautiful place, free and open, and its users were full of hope. And then the money-hungry creators of platforms like Facebook and YouTube screwed it up. That's according to Jonathan Taplin, who is a tour manager for the band Bob Dylan and a film producer for Martin Scorsese.

D Gorenstein

For many years, American Express was the credit card with cachet. Now, many millennials are looking elsewhere and are shaking up the credit card industry as a result. These younger consumers are also using cards differently than their parents, and companies are trying to catch up.

Credit card companies have gotten to know their millennial customers. One, they love a good deal, said Bill Hardekopf of LowCards.com, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card that initially promised 100,000 points just for signing up.

The New York City Council recently approved legislation aimed at addressing pay inequity. The city's private employers will no longer be allowed to ask job candidates about their current or past wages. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law, adding New York to a growing list of cities and states outlawing employer inquiries on past pay.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

David Brancaccio

Five years ago, Marketplace explored how machines, robots and software algorithms were increasingly entering the workforce in our series "Robots Ate My Job." Now, we're looking at what humans can do about it with a new journey to find robot-proof jobs.

Erika Beras

Earlier this month, members of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute met for the first time in Pittsburgh.

The group, including Boeing, Wal-Mart and other big companies, plans on re-imagining American manufacturing using robotics. The effort is being bankrolled by the Department of Defense to the the tune of $80 million. The DOD's Greg Hudas said the idea behind the Institute is to create a future where robots and people work side by side, among other things.

04/19/17: How the internet got ruined

Apr 19, 2017
Marketplace

The money-hungry creators of platforms like YouTube and Facebook completely destroyed the freedom that the internet once represented — according to Jonathan Taplin. Taplin, author of the new book "Move Fast and Break Things" joined us to talk about the "winners-take-all" mentality of early tech pioneers like Peter Thiel and Larry Page. Afterwards, as part of our new series on the rise of tech hubs across the U.S., we'll chat with entrepreneur Dug Nichols about the qualities that make Minneapolis a good place for a company.

Marketplace

Now that we're at the center of quarterly earnings season, we'll take a look at how Yahoo, IBM and Volkswagen are faring. Next, we'll discuss New York City's plan to prohibit employers from asking job candidates about their current or past pay levels, and then look at the increased focus on automation in Pittsburgh. 

Scientists say the Great Barrier Reef is officially dying

Apr 18, 2017
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/tchami/">Tchami</a>/<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/tchami/15364861867/">CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)</a>

In recent years, things have been overwhelmingly bad for the Great Barrier Reef.

Secret crypt in London: Beware of exploding bishops

Apr 18, 2017

A forgotten crypt has been uncovered in an ancient church in London. Inside are the remains of some of England’s most influential churchmen. They will remain undisturbed for now — apparently being sealed in a lead coffin can have explosive consequences.

"Dearest Marlene: I always love you and admire you and I have all sorts of mixed up feelings about you […]  please know that I love you always and forget you sometimes as I forget my heart beats. But it beats always.”

The letter was addressed to Marlene Dietrich and written by Ernest Hemingway, one of many he sent to her over their 30 years of friendship.

It’s signed “Love, Mister Papa” and was written on Aug. 12, 1952 — a couple of months after Hemingway finished writing "The Old Man and the Sea." It goes up for auction next month.

Joshua Roberts, Reuters&nbsp;

Of all the questions swirling around the rise of self-driving cars, from how safe they’ll be to how we regulate them, one essential question is often overlooked.

What will self-driving cars mean for the environment?

Backers of the technology argue that autonomous vehicles will drive more efficiently than humans do — no more slamming on breaks or gunning it at yellow lights — so they’ll save gas and reduce pollution.

But early research reveals a wide range of emissions possibilities for driverless cars.  

Stephanie Keith/Reuters

So far, the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration and people living in the US without proper authorization has mostly targeted individuals, not employers or groups of laborers.

Raids longread

Chaos in New Bedford

Ten years ago, New Bedford, Mass. was the site of a large worksite raid during President George W. Bush's second term. The operation was part of a string of raids across the country.

They caused terror in the immigrant community, but it doesn't seem they did much else.

The new season of HBO’s political comedy “Veep” just got underway this past weekend, which means we’re in for a fresh dose of spicy insults (“Put that world’s tallest pile of garbage on the phone right now!”) and punchy one-liners from Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and her staff (or ex-staff), as they navigate life in Washington and beyond. 

But behind the scenes, the writers of TV comedies like “Veep” banter with each other using lingo that may be less familiar. Can you use “zhuzhing” in a sentence?

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