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10/31/2017: A riskier world to live in?

Oct 31, 2017

(U.S. Edition) As Robert Mueller's Russia investigation unfolds, we'll chat with Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer about what this means for global political risk. Afterwards, we'll discuss how Republicans plan to pay for their proposed tax plan, which may include cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Then to cap off today's show, we'll look at how FEMA deals with post-disaster contracts amid Puerto Rico's decision to cancel a $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy. 

Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long will brief Senators today on his agency’s response to the 2017 hurricane season. One of FEMA’s major roles is reimbursing cities and states as they pay to get things working again — things like electricity. As Puerto Rico has cancelled its controversial $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy to rebuild the island’s grid, Marketplace’s Jed Kim looks at what FEMA requires for post-disaster contracts.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

With all the focus on the Republican tax plan due out this week, we take a look at some of the ways they may pay for it: cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. The Republicans’ budget blueprint calls for funding reductions to both programs. What might that mean for low-income people and seniors who depend on these health care programs? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Spider silk, the newest fabric for military uniforms

Oct 31, 2017

If you’re a fan of superheroes, you know the story.

Boy meets spider. Spider bites boy. Boy designs uber-cool spider suit. Now, scientists are moving from the realm of comics to reality to develop real-life uses for spider silk.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... Eurozone growth figures were released today, showing a mixed bag. But what about Europe's problem child Greece? The author of "Greekonomics" explains why things are looking up. Afterwards, President Trump heads to Asia on Friday. Ahead of his visit to the region, Taiwan announced today it would increase its military budget. We look at why the country is spending more on military might to woo President Trump. Then, New Zealand announced it would ban foreigners from buying property.

Can technology make the census more accurate?

Oct 31, 2017

Every 10 years, the government tries to count up everyone living in the U.S. The next census is in 2020. The goal is to get an idea of the American population through data about things like race, how many people live in a household and their ages. The federal government uses these numbers to allocate $600 billion in funding, local politicians use them to determine what a community needs, and businesses use them to decide what to invest in and where to operate.

The next census is coming up in 2020, when the government will set out to count every single person living in the U.S. It’s a system that helps determine how federal money gets spent and who and where businesses are investing. But some populations are harder to count than others, even as the Census Bureau moves more of their data collection online. The Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York created an interactive map highlighting those populations.

10/30/2017: Prosecutors love a paper trail…

Oct 30, 2017

...and paying taxes on things (or not paying taxes on things) always leaves one. That’s probably why special counsel Robert Mueller is starting with indictments of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, on charges including funneling money through overseas shell companies. And lucky for us, tax evasion and money laundering are the kind of things we talk about every day.

Joe Skipper/Reuters 

One of the most chilling symbols of the Cold War has to be the black-and-yellow aluminum sign, indicating a nuclear fallout shelter.

The man responsible for the sign, Robert Blakeley, died on Oct. 25, at the age of 95.

The signs — long out of use — can still be found across the country at schools and other buildings designated as public shelters by the government, in the event of a Soviet nuclear strike.

Back in 1961, Blakeley was asked by the US Army Corps of Engineers to come up with a design for the new fallout shelter program.

Daniel Hernandez

It's sign up season for the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment starts on Wednesday. Government numbers out today show that almost half of the population live in places where they can only choose from three or fewer insurers. Not much competition, so you’d expect premiums to be high. But in other places, there’s seven, eight or even 10 insurers in the market, and premiums have still gone up considerably. Why exactly? Seems this year insurers aren’t necessarily looking at each other to set premium prices.  

The decision about the new Federal Reserve chair is coming soon

Oct 30, 2017

President Donald Trump is expected to announce a new Federal Reserve chair this Thursday. Jerome "Jay" Powell, a member of the Federal Reserve's board, is seen by many as the leading candidate for the job. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to Victoria Guida from Politico about the incumbent chair, Janet Yellen, her record and her possible successor. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

World Meteorological Organization

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2016. The concentration of the heat-trapping gas is higher than it’s been in at least 800,000 years, including all of human history.

That's the word from the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

The WMO says last year's CO2 spike was 50 percent greater than the average increase over the past decade, which Petteri Taalas, the organization’s secretary-general, says is very bad news.

Here are some of the stories RT says it promoted on Twitter

Oct 30, 2017
Regis Duvignau/Reuters 

Days after being banned from advertising on Twitter, Kremlin-backed media outlet RT has shared details about the content of its advertisements in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election.

Robert Mueller’s special counsel was tasked with “a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” including any links or coordination between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.  And yet, the indictments announced today against former campaign chair Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates don’t seem to have much to do with that at all. In fact, they’re mostly financial crimes.