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

Bitcoin’s wildly fluctuating price may not be the result of free market forces. The Department of Justice has reportedly opened an investigation into whether traders are manipulating the price of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Peter Tchir, a market strategist at the investment bank Academy Securities about digital currency price manipulation his article on the topic for Forbes.

Are traders messing with the price of bitcoin? And why should you care?

May 31, 2018

Bitcoin’s wildly fluctuating price may not be the result of free market forces. The Department of Justice has reportedly opened an investigation into whether traders are manipulating the price of bitcoin and other digital currencies. And that's caused some market watchers to say that’s been clear all along. Peter Tchir, a market strategist at the investment bank Academy Securities, is one of those people.

How to make restaurant kitchens a better place for women

May 30, 2018

The James Beard Awards, sometimes referred to as the Oscars for chefs, restaurants, and cookbook writers, took place earlier this month in Chicago. It was a notable year for the awards because the winners included more women and people of color than ever before, something the restaurant industry celebrated months after a series of high-profile chefs were alleged to have abused staff, especially female staff, in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Maybe you've never heard of the international food conglomerate JAB. But you probably consume some of its products, like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Panera Bread and Peet’s Coffee. JAB is a Luxembourg-based holding company run by a secretive German billionaire family. And it's making quite an impression on the food and beverage business lately. Back in January, the company agreed to pay $26 billion for Dr. Pepper and Snapple. It just added to its lineup by grabbing the British sandwich chain Pret A Manger for $2 billion. 

A whopping $66 billion deal in the agribusiness space just won the approval of antitrust regulators in Washington, D.C. That clears the way for German behemoth Bayer to acquire St. Louis-based Monsanto. Monsanto has for years ridden the success of the herbicide Roundup and seeds that are tolerant of the chemical. But now Monsanto— and Bayer — are betting on a next-generation product.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

A note to listeners and readers: A person in this story uses an offensive word for Japanese people.

Seventy-five years ago, Japan and the United States were locked in one of the bloodiest battles fought on American soil: the Battle of Attu.

Army veteran Allan Serroll served on Attu Island, which sits at the westernmost end of the Aleutian Islands — closer to Japan than Seattle.

Serroll is now 102. But he’s still haunted by the experience of staring down young men like himself.

Julia’s young daughters run around looking for a plug to recharge the battery for her ankle bracelet. The first one doesn’t work, or the second. What if mom’s monitor goes off? Arany’s face tenses up as she darts toward another wall socket at the far end of the immigration clinic.

“I feel detained. It’s so humiliating,” says Julia, 31, in her native Spanish. Like others who are facing deportation, she preferred we not use her last name.

Caught in the crosshairs of global trade policy

May 30, 2018

Over 12.5 million people in the United States work in the manufacturing sector. That's nearly 12 percent of U.S. GDP. So what we make and how make it matters. We're starting off with the second part in our series about manufacturing in America. Today, we're at a foundry that's seen business improve under President Donald Trump, but its owners are wary of steel tariffs. Then: What do Snapple, Dr. Pepper, Peet's Coffee, Keurig and Panera Bread have in common? They're all owned by one company that's on a buying spree.

The James Beard Foundation CEO has a plan to get more women running restaurants

May 30, 2018

Foodies will know the James Beard Foundation as a nonprofit that supports the culinary arts through scholarships, chef programs, and the James Beard Awards, sometimes referred to as the Oscars for chefs, restaurants, and cookbook authors. This year's awards were a first for Clare Reichenbach, the organization's new CEO. They were also notable for including more women and people of color than ever before. It was considered a bright spot after months of #MeToo allegations against some high profile chefs.

One family-run business caught in the crosshairs of global trade policy

May 30, 2018

Over 12.5 million people in the United States work in the manufacturing sector. That's nearly 12 percent of U.S. GDP. So what we make and how make it matters. Manufacturing has changed a lot over the past several decades, so Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal went to Columbus, Georgia, to get an understanding of what manufacturing in America looks like today.

What the Fortune 500 says about America's interests

May 30, 2018

(Markets Edition) With the official jobs report for May coming out this Friday, we'll look at how we might do with an early hint from the payroll processing company ADP. They've just released numbers for private-sector employment, showing that the economy added 178,000 jobs. Afterwards, we'll look at what the latest Fortune 500 list — which ranks America's biggest companies —says about what we value and how that's changed over the years. Plus: We explore how farmers are spending millions to stop feral pigs from causing damage. (05/30/2018)

Amazon shareholders to vote on Rooney Rule

May 30, 2018

Amazon shareholders will vote today on adopting the Rooney Rule. Amazon’s board initially opposed the proposal, which requires interviewing minority candidates, including women, but has since reversed. The Rooney Rule originated in 2003 when the NFL began requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate for top jobs. Other industries have adopted the rule and variations.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The Volcker rule, explained

May 30, 2018

Today, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to take a step toward revising the Volcker rule. That’s the regulation, hated by the big banks, that limits risky trading practices. The Fed is one of five federal agencies that needs to weigh in on any changes.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(U.S. Edition) Remember when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods would be set aside? Well, now the White House is pressing ahead and adding new pressure on China. We'll bring you up to date on what the Trump administration is doing now. Afterwards, we'll look at the Fed's decision to weaken the Volcker Rule, a piece of legislation that limits some trading practices, and then talk about some of the rules companies have adopted to increase workplace diversity. (05/30/2018)

Is trust in Italy evaporating?

May 30, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … The future of Italy’s political leadership remains in limbo and investors are worried about what it means for the country’s continued participation in the eurozone’s common currency. The nation’s borrowing costs have soared in recent days amid the turmoil. So, is trust in Italy evaporating? Then, the global economy is expected to grow by nearly 4 percent this year and next, with unemployment in the developed world falling to the lowest level in four decades. We talk to the OECD, which released the forecasts, about what’s driving that growth.

Diverse startups could get traction from chip giant Intel

May 30, 2018

Intel Capital is the venture capital arm of the chip giant Intel. It's invested over $12 billion since it was started in 1991. Lately, it's focused on big data, artificial intelligence, robotics and diversity. In 2015, it announced the $125 million Intel Capital Diversity Fund, which is to be invested in female and minority startup founders. Two and a half years later, after they'd invested all that money, the Diversity Fund became the Diversity Initiative with a broader definition of diversity.

Intel Capital is the venture capital arm of the chip giant Intel. It's invested over $12 billion since it was started in 1991. Lately, it's focused on big data, artificial intelligence, robotics and diversity. In 2015, it announced the $125 million Intel Capital Diversity Fund, which is to be invested in female and minority startup founders. Two and a half years later, after they'd invested all that money, the Diversity Fund became the Diversity Initiative with a broader definition of diversity.

Fed Board of Governors to consider changes to Volcker rule

May 29, 2018

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday is expected to take up a proposal to relax the Volcker rule. That’s the measure passed in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Big banks say the Volcker rule, which is designed to protect depositor money from risky investments, is too expensive and constraining.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Honk if you can’t keep track of the Trump administration’s China policy. In the last few days, members of Congress have slammed the president for being soft on Beijing and pledging to bail out the Chinese electronics firm ZTE. Well this morning, the White House went back to Bad Cop and announced it’s pushing ahead on tariffs and punishing China for playing unfair with intellectual property. That is, taking, and sometimes stealing, American technology. Which to many is at the heart of the US-China relationship long term – innovation, ideas, and playing fair.

Italy gridlock shakes up global markets

May 29, 2018

Stocks in the U.S. and Europe sank following political turmoil in Italy, which stoked fears of instability in the euro bloc.

Investors dumped Italian government bonds Tuesday, driving borrowing costs sharply higher for that country, and shifted money into U.S. bonds. A steep drop in U.S. bond yields, which drives interest rates lower on loans, weighed heavily on banks. JPMorgan Chase fell 4.3 percent.

Technology companies also fell. Safe-play stocks like utilities rose.

Delivering food is now a dangerous job in Venezuela

May 29, 2018

After 10 hours on the road from the central Venezuelan plains, Gregorio Pinanco reaches the capital, Caracas. It’s 6 a.m., but Pinanco says it’s already been a terrible day. The road was blocked and people tried to loot his truck. He rubs the fatigue from his eyes and starts unloading his precious cargo — 6,000 pounds of white Guayanés cheese.

... unless you're driving. Then honk maybe? At any rate, you're not alone. The White House is back to being the Bad Cop, pushing ahead on tariffs and punishing China for playing unfair with intellectual property. We'll bring you the latest on that and the changes coming to the Volker Rule, starting with what it is. Plus: One of the three last denim factories in the United States is shutting down. We'll visit and look at what it means about manufacturing in this country.

66: "Roseanne" and ethics in business

May 29, 2018

When we called up business ethicist Greg Fairchild from the University of Virginia this morning, we expected to have a wide-ranging conversation to get at Kai's question of a few weeks back: Are there market-based solutions to ensure better ethics? We didn't expect we'd have such a timely case study in Disney-owned ABC and "Roseanne." The network canceled its show hours after a racist tweet from star Roseanne Barr. We got the Darden School of Business professor's reaction as the news played out in the way it always seems to these days: fast, furious and on Twitter.

In Columbus, Georgia, textile mills adapt to survive

May 29, 2018

Manufacturing in this country has changed. We make things differently than we used to, and it’s a smaller slice of the economy overall than it was just a few decades ago. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal took a trip down to Columbus, Georgia, to get some insight into the question: What does manufacturing in the economy look like now?

To understand Columbus, Georgia, you have to understand its history as a textile town.

Instruction manuals tell us more than how to use a product

May 29, 2018

You might think of instruction manuals as too dry and too technical, a necessary evil that's in the way of what you really want to interact with: the purchase itself. 

But instruction manuals don't just tell us how to use a product. They can illuminate how well it was designed, create a bond with the customer, and reveal how much technology has evolved. 

European politics are causing tremors in financial markets

May 29, 2018

Turbulent financial markets in Europe are setting a risk-averse mood among market players around the world this morning. The Dow dropped more than 400 points, while key indices in London, Spain and Italy fell. The euro is a deal for Americans, with the European single currency falling below $1.16 for the first time since late 2017.

Who invests in the stock market?

May 29, 2018

(Markets Edition) European politics are causing turbulence in the world's financial markets. We'll look how fresh elections in Italy and Spain are playing a role in all of this. Afterwards, we'll discuss how Costco is holding up in the age of Amazon compared to retailers like Walmart and Target, and then we'll look at the demographics of who invests in the stock market and what keeps some groups from investing. (05/29/2018)

Federal Reserve data show that just 14 percent of U.S. families own stock directly, and only 52 percent have a retirement account. It's a highly skewed group: White households are far more likely to hold stock than black or Hispanic households, while the vast majority of stock holdings belong to the wealthiest 5 percent.

Later this week, we’ll get quarterly earnings from Costco, the nationwide warehouse-discounter. The chain offers a limited number of items — premium and private-label — priced to sell. So how is the company faring as it faces an ever-more competitive retail landscape for brick-and-mortar and online sales?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

05/29/2018: The history of instruction manuals

May 29, 2018

(U.S. Edition) You may see a "closed" sign on your local Starbucks this afternoon. The reason? Nationwide, the coffee giant is giving its employees racial bias training. We'll recap why Starbucks is offering this training and look at what topics the sessions will address. Afterwards, we'll discuss the Trump administration's push to make "short-term" health insurance plans to become permanent — and why they might not be a good fit for many people. Plus: We talk to the BBC's Helene Schumacher about the world of instruction manuals and why they tell us more than how to operate a product.

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