NPR News

Miners’ Pensions A Major Part Of Spending Debate

4 minutes ago

Retired union coal miners are joining teamsters, iron workers and other union retirees in an effort to shore up their ailing pension plans, and they hope the ticking clock on a government spending bill will help.

Some Democrats want to see protections for retirement benefits included in the omnibus spending bill, which Congress must pass in order to prevent a government shutdown. That could set up a year-end showdown over the spending bill, with major implications for retirees in the Ohio Valley region.

The liver is a fascinating thing.

If you want to read a thought-provoking story about the liver, you might like to learn about the challenges of building a fairer system for allocating access to liver transplants.

Or the history of efforts to grow "liverettes" in petri dishes.

The popular crowdfunding service Patreon has backed off plans to change its payment structure, after widespread, vocal and passionate opposition from creators and their fans.

Last week, the site announced it would attach a surcharge to every individual donation pledge — a change that would negatively impact anyone trying to send small quantities of money to multiple artists they support. Many users immediately pulled their support from the platform.

On Wednesday, the site reversed course, apologized to members who have already lost money, and issued a mea culpa.

Episode 812: High Rise, Low Returns

30 minutes ago

Trump SoHo is a high rise in lower Manhattan, part hotel, part condos; it's 46 stories tall, all slick grey glass. Conflicts, from zoning battles to accusations of fraud, have followed the project since it was announced during a 2006 episode of The Apprentice.

According to reports by Bloomberg News, Trump SoHo has attracted the interest of Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible ties between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian officials.

What To Watch For And What's At Stake In The Alabama Senate Race

39 minutes ago

Election Day is finally here in Alabama's U.S. Senate race.

Voters are deciding between Democrat Doug Jones, a former prosecutor, and Roy Moore, the former state Supreme Court chief justice. Moore, popular with evangelicals in the state, has been embroiled in controversy. Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct and assault; many of them were teenagers at the time they say the misconduct took place. Moore denies any wrongdoing.

Trump Gives Final Tax Pitch As GOP Lawmakers Reach A Deal On A Bill

47 minutes ago

Updated at 4:39 p.m. ET

In making his "closing argument" for tax legislation expected to get a vote in Congress next week, President Trump announced that the changes would take effect early next year.

"If Congress sends me a bill before Christmas, the IRS — this is just out, this is breaking news — has just confirmed that Americans will see lower taxes and bigger paychecks beginning in February, just two short months from now," Trump said in a speech at the White House Wednesday

The popular crowdfunding service Patreon has backed off plans to change its payment structure, after widespread, vocal and passionate opposition from creators and their fans.

Last week, the site announced it would attach a surcharge to every individual donation pledge — a change that would negatively impact anyone trying to send small quantities of money to multiple artists they support. Many users immediately pulled their support from the platform.

On Wednesday, the site reversed course, apologized to members who have already lost money, and issued a mea culpa.

A class-action lawsuit against the City of New York has spurred the first suit of its kind that promises cash compensation to those who say they were illegally put in solitary confinement while at Rikers Island jail complex between 2012 and 2015. As the Associated Press reports, the city will pay more than $4 million to 470 plaintiffs in the case.

Wildfires in December are the new norm for California.

In the West, they are burning hotter and more intensely than ever due to climate change, and the situation is made worse by the explosion of development in fire prone areas and past firefighting decisions. Here are three reasons the fires are massive and likely won't abate anytime soon.

1. It's nearly impossible to put out a modern mega-fire

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Friday is the last day to enroll in a health insurance plan through the federal government's insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov.

And in a little office park in Northern Virginia, Brima Bob Deen is dealing with the rush.

Friday is the last day to enroll in a health insurance plan through the federal government's insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov.

And in a little office park in Northern Virginia, Brima Bob Deen is dealing with the rush.

He is the president of a church-sponsored job training center called Salvation Academy. But this time of year, he acts mostly as an enrollment counselor for Affordable Care Act health plans.

And this week, his calendar is full.

The Philippine Congress has extended martial law on the southern island of Mindanao for another year at the request of President Rodrigo Duterte, who says it is needed to continue the fight against armed groups in the region.

The move was overwhelmingly approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives, where Duterte and his allies hold big majorities. Duterte first imposed martial law in the Muslim-dominated south in May, and Wednesday's vote extends it through 2018.

The Philippine Congress has extended martial law on the southern island of Mindanao for another year at the request of President Rodrigo Duterte, who says it is needed to continue the fight against armed groups in the region.

The move was overwhelmingly approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives, where Duterte and his allies hold big majorities. Duterte first imposed martial law in the Muslim-dominated south in May, and Wednesday's vote extends it through 2018.

In Washington and around the country, Democrats and Republicans are trying to make sense of Doug Jones' stunning upset in the Alabama Senate race.

Jones' victory in a state that hadn't sent a Democrat to Washington in almost 30 years was even more shocking than when Republican Scott Brown won the late Ted Kennedy's seat in a Massachusetts special election in 2010.

Here are 5 takeaways from Tuesday's political earthquake:

1. The blue wave looks real

Today's Planet Money indicator is 4.55 percent. The Federal Reserve said just this afternoon that the American economy is at full employment when the unemployment rate is 4.55 percent.

The Fed updates this estimate every few months. And for years, it's been getting the number wrong.

Today on the show, what is full employment, why is it so hard to pin down, and most importantly, are we there yet?

Full Employment: Are We There Yet?

3 hours ago

Today's Planet Money indicator is 4.55 percent. The Federal Reserve said just this afternoon that the American economy is at full employment when the unemployment rate is 4.55 percent.

The Fed updates this estimate every few months. And for years, it's been getting the number wrong.

Today on the show, what is full employment, why is it so hard to pin down, and most importantly, are we there yet?

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