NPR News & Stories From WUNC

The head of BlackRock just gave CEOs a talking to

18 hours ago

If you run a large public company and haven't considered whether your business provides positive contributions to society, then BlackRock CEO Larry Fink would like to have a word with you.

CFPB will take another look at the payday lending rules

18 hours ago

Last year, the Obama administration enacted new rules regarding payday lending. They haven't yet come into effect. Now, the Consumer Financial Protection Board says it will reconsider the tighter regulation that would have required payday lenders to make sure the people they lend to can actually repay their loans. The rule was bitterly opposed by some in the lending industry who say it would cut off credit to potential borrowers. Many consumer advocates, however, said the rule would have prevented people from being taken advantage of. 

Uber had a secret defense against law enforcement

19 hours ago

Despite being one of the highest-valued private companies, the last few years have been rough for Uber's public relations. Between revelations of sexual harassment in the workplace and the behavior of former CEO Travis Kalanick, the company hasn't had many opportunities away from the spotlight. As if those problems weren't bad enough, the company has also grappled with regulators in the many cities it operates in, particularly in Canada and Europe.

You can add a certain device maker from Cupertino, California, to the list of companies crediting the new tax law for new strategic business decisions. Apple announced today it would bring profits back from overseas and add a bunch of new jobs in the next five years. We'll kick off the show today by talking about what it all means. Then: President Donald Trump likes to take credit for gains in the stock market over the past year, but it's worth noting that economies and markets in Europe, China and Japan are booming, too. We'll look at the full picture.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Some TV genres are perennials. They've been around since the early days of television, and probably are never going away — weekly drama series featuring doctors or cops, for example.

Other TV genres are like locusts. They get buried, lying dormant, until they suddenly resurface. On prime time TV, the game show was dead for decades until Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? brought it back. And quite recently, Netflix's Godless, like HBO's Deadwood years before it, did its best to try and revive the TV Western.

Shanghai’s population is now nearly three times bigger than New York City’s.

That has implications for things like traffic. Pedestrians need to constantly be on alert. Even if a traffic light is green, electric bikes and bicycles will still be moving forward from all directions.

It is just as stressful to ride the public transit.

“Whether you take the bus or metro, people are squished together,” said Chen Guoqiang, who has been working in Shanghai for six years. He added that the air is polluted and homes are expensive to rent.

Legal sales of recreational marijuana have begun in California. But there’s no standard for how much marijuana you can have in your system and still get behind the wheel. So is it possible to test if someone is too high to drive?

Eli Wirtschafter (@RadioEli) from KALW reports an emerging industry is trying to answer that question.

What's behind the global rally?

21 hours ago

President Donald Trump has claimed credit for falling U.S. unemployment and rising growth figures. But how credible is that claim since there have been similar improvements in other key economies around the world? Since the president’s inauguration a year ago, economic growth has quickened and stock markets have boomed in China, Japan and Europe, partly thanks to rock-bottom interest rates.   

Andrew Kenningham, global economist with a London-based consulting firm Capital Economics, is skeptical about the president’s claims.

Would you eat venison if there was a chance it could slowly eat away at your brain?

If there's a slight possibility, it doesn't bother Patrick States. On the menu this evening for his wife and two daughters at their Northglenn, Colo., home are pan-seared venison steaks with mashed potatoes and a whiskey cream sauce.

"We each have our specialty, actually," says States as the steak sizzles. "The girls made elk tamales this morning, but we use [venison or elk] in spaghetti, chili, soup, whatever."

Acres of mud and debris continue to make travel in and out of the Santa Barbara, California area a big challenge. So commuters are relying on some old fashioned transportation alternates.

Days after an Iranian tanker sank off the coast of China, succumbing to a deadly collision and several explosions, satellites are taking note of what the tanker left behind: several large oil slicks, stretching for miles in the East China Sea.

It may be Fashion Week in Berlin, but the hottest shoes people are lining up for in the German capital are hardly haute couture.

The design has the same red, blue and black pattern you'll find on the seats in Berlin buses, streetcars and subways.

At $220, the shoes aren't exactly cheap. Unless, of course, you count the transit ticket sewn into the tongue that gives the wearer a free ride in most of Berlin until Dec. 31. An annual ticket from Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, or BVG, the city's mass transit authority, goes for at least four times that amount.

Updated at 4:43 p.m. ET

Former Sen. Bob Dole received the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday, in recognition of his service to the nation as a "soldier, legislator and statesman."

He was presented the medal by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. at a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, as other bipartisan congressional leaders, along with President Trump looked on. Dole was an early backer of Trump, and the only former GOP presidential nominee to endorse the president.

By now, you've likely heard about President Trump's reported remark last week that the U.S. should bring in more people from Norway instead of from "shithole countries" like El Salvador, Haiti and African nations.

The reaction was swift and loud. Citizens (and allies) of those countries filled social media pages with photos of idyllic beaches, city skylines and shiny structures in so-called "shithole countries."

They also shared impressive lists of personal achievements that ended with: "I'm from a #shithole country."

When South Korea hosts the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month, a combined North Korea-South Korea women's hockey team — the countries' first-ever joint team — will attract a lot of attention. So will the sight of athletes from the two Koreas, divided for some 70 years, marching together in the opening ceremony on Feb. 9.

The Thistle & Shamrock: New Year, New Music

23 hours ago

Lift your winter spirits and warm your heart with the New Year's brand new releases, with artists including Anna & Elizabeth, Open the Door for Three, and Matthew Byrne.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR's Leila Fadel covers issues of race and diversity and is based in Las Vegas, where thousands of women are expected this weekend for the anniversary of the Women's March on Sunday.

She wants to hear from you, as she's curious to learn what you think has changed over the past year, and what you're marching for this year.

Beach Boy Brian Wilson has always urged folks to love their alma maters, but now he has an extra reason to let his own colors fly.

The original lineup of The Beach Boys — including brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson along with their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine — are among the notable alumni of Hawthorne High School in Los Angeles County, Calif. On Jan. 15, Brian Wilson visited his alma mater, Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, Calif. (He hashtagged his visit #betruetoyourschool, natch.)

Tim Mayopoulos joined Fannie Mae in 2009, shortly after the mortgage-backing company went into government conservatorship. He had left behind a career on Wall Street, where he worked for some of the biggest banks. Mayopoulos became CEO in 2012, but he says in the those early days at Fannie Mae during the financial crisis, "I wasn't sure things were actually going to be OK." He talks to host Kai Ryssdal about the crisis and the lingering effects it's had on Fannie Mae; why he's not convinced Fannie Mae needs to exist; and about the affordable housing crisis.

(Markets Edition) Amid the stock market's very positive run, we'll talk to Susan Schmidt — senior portfolio manager at Westwood Holdings — about the possibility of a correction. Next, we'll look at how China has the capability to influence aluminum prices, and then we'll discuss how the Trump administration plans to revisit a payday lending rule put in place under the Obama administration.

The State Department is withholding $65 million it planned to send to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, calling for reforms and for other nations to step up their support — especially those that criticize the Trump administration's positions regarding Palestinians and Israel.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

01/17/2018: What's ahead for Republicans in 2018

Jan 17, 2018

(U.S. Edition) The planners of the upcoming Davos conference have a new report on global threats. We'll look at what they're warning against, which includes everything from stock market crashes to little bits of computer intelligence that could infect us. Afterwards, we'll chat with Michael Boskin — senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Council of Economic Advisers  — about what's on the economic agenda for Republicans in the upcoming year. 

The details of how North Korea will participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea are still being worked out, but the two countries say their athletes will march together at the opening ceremony, under a unification flag.

The two countries will also form a unified women's hockey team to compete at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, NPR's Elise Hu reports from Seoul. In addition, North Korea will send a cheering squad of 230 people to support athletes who make the trip.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

The case before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday had a surprise plot twist. Jurors were told that the accused was guilty of a triple murder — but the lawyer making that statement was not the prosecutor; he was the defense attorney.

The question before the justices was whether that violated the client's constitutional right to counsel. Justices liberal and conservative signaled that they have a problem with a lawyer who disregards his client's express wishes by conceding the defendant's guilt.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

About 1.7 million troops are eligible to switch from a traditional pension plan to a blended plan that works more like a 401(k). But some lack the financial skills to evaluate their options.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

Michigan residents got a surprise Tuesday night when a meteor punched through the clouds with an explosive flash. It was powerful enough to register on seismic instruments.

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