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John Ydstie

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Two giant health insurance company mergers will be dissected in court. The Obama administration and a number of states filed lawsuits to block the mergers. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

So you think that beer you brewed in your kitchen is ready for prime time, and you're thinking, "Maybe I should take the plunge and set up a little craft brewery."

You're not the only one with dreams infused with hops and malting barley. During the past couple of years, new breweries were being launched at the rate of three a day in the U.S.

New District Brewing is one of them. It just popped up in a cinder-block building in an Arlington, Va., light-industrial park.

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The owners of nearly 500,000 Volkswagen diesel vehicles are weighing their options today. The company says it will compensate owners who bought VW vehicles advertised as clean diesel but were really anything but clean.

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The U.S. government, today, announced a broad-reaching $14.7 billion settlement in the Vokswagen emissions cheating scandal. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy outlined the heart of the agreement during a news conference this morning.

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Most election prediction models that try to forecast who's going to win the presidency take into account some measure of how the economy is doing. That's because generally if it's going strong in the six months or so before the election, history suggests the party currently in the White House will win. If the economy stinks, the party not in the White House takes over.

But, what if the economy is just so-so like it is now?

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One of Donald Trump's signature issues is his criticism of American trade agreements.

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The outlook for global economic growth got downgraded yet again, this time by economists with the International Monetary Fund's economists. In January, they thought the global economy would grow 3.4 percent this year, but they ratcheted that down to 3.2 percent in the latest version of their World Economic Outlook.

U.S. growth for 2016 got trimmed by the same amount in the report released Tuesday, down to 2.4 percent.

So what's going on? Here are five key factors from the WEO.

The revelations in the Panama Papers have generated anger and disgust. Politicians and leaders in countries from Russia to Iceland to the oil-rich Gulf States are implicated.

The irony is that while the shady world of shell corporations and offshore accounts is still massive — costing governments hundreds of billions of dollars a year — the global community has made significant strides toward reining it in.

Many people who work a regular job dream of walking out of their cubicle and starting their own business. And every year, about 800,000 Americans do just that.

Dave Selden is one of them. His business grew out of his passion for beer — glass after glass of it. That's immediately clear when you take a look at a video on his website.

He describes how he was trying to drink "a different beer every single day for 999 days." He says he succeeded for about 660 consecutive days, which he admits sounds crazy to say out loud.

In the past, falling oil prices have given a boost to the world economy, but recent forecasts for global growth have been ratcheted down, even as oil prices sink lower and lower. Does that mean the link between lower oil prices and growth has weakened?

Jason Bordoff, head of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, says there are still good reasons to believe cheap oil should heat up the world economy.

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A reality check today from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. She acknowledged that the U.S. economy is facing a higher level of risk than just a few months ago. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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As the old saying goes, the stock market has predicted nine of the last five recessions. In other words, sharply falling stock markets are crying wolf about half the time.

Dyke Messinger, who runs a small manufacturing company in Salisbury, N.C., thinks stock investors have been overreacting during this sell-off.

"It is bizarre to me when we see what we believe is good core strength in the U.S. market," he says.

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Prices for U.S. crude fell more than 5 percent today, to less than $34 a barrel. And if that sounds really low to you, you're right. Oil prices haven't been that low in years. NPR's John Ydstie has more.

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