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The Black Car Fund

Jan 29, 2018

If you have a full-time job, and you get hurt at work, you are covered by workers' compensation insurance. You can get medical care, and get paid some of your salary while you recover from your injury.

But if you're a contractor — you're freelancer, working in the gig economy, and you get hurt on the job — you are out of luck.

A lot of the social safety net in this country works this way: it's built around full-time employees. But more and more people are working not as full-time employees, but as contractors.

Panera Bread has announced it is preemptively recalling all of the 2 ounce and 8 ounce cream cheese products sold at its 2,000 U.S. locations. The fast-casual chain said it had made its decision "out of an abundance of caution" after samples of one of its cream cheese varieties tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

The company notes that "no illnesses have been reported."

A new NPR/Marist poll finds that 1 in 5 jobs in America is held by a worker under contract. Within a decade, contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce. In a weeklong series, NPR explores many aspects of this change.

Copyright 2018 CPR News. To see more, visit CPR News.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Lewis D'Vorkin, the embattled editor in chief of The Los Angeles Times, is being replaced by veteran Chicago journalist Jim Kirk in a dramatic shakeup at the newspaper that follows weeks of tumult in the newsroom.

The newspaper's parent, Chicago-based Tronc, confirmed the move late Sunday. Kirk, 52, who joined Tronc in August, is a former editor and publisher of The Chicago Sun-Times who briefly served as interim editor at the Times ahead of D'Vorkin's appointment less than five months ago.

Words You'll Hear: NAFTA Negotiations

Jan 28, 2018

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Ingvar Kamprad, the man who created IKEA, leaves behind a professional legacy that's all about simplicity: sleek, affordable, Scandinavian-designed furniture with wordless assembly instructions.

His personal legacy, however, is more complicated: from a reputation for strict frugality to flirtations with fascism.

But we'll get to that.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Gentrification is no longer something that just happens in low-income neighborhoods. As the phenomenon displaces communities of color, from Inglewood to Washington, D.C., "gentrification" has been co-opted to include food and culture as well. So, what does the loaded term really mean?

The U.S economy is humming, and President Trump will undoubtedly take credit when he delivers his first State of the Union address on Tuesday.

"The stock market is shattering one record after another," Trump told his Cabinet earlier this month. "Unemployment is at a 17-year low."

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, Perry Rosen walks over to a 1967 Rock-Ola Imperial jukebox, punches in a letter and a number and smiles as the song "Spooky" by Dennis Yost and the Classics IV starts spinning.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A Japanese cryptocurrency exchange announced the theft Friday of $400 million in digital currency. Some estimates put the loss at the Coincheck exchange at over $520 million.

The stolen assets were stored in the cryptocurrency NEM, one of hundreds of digital currencies created in recent years. Bitcoin, the most well-known cryptocurrency, dropped precipitously on news of the hack but has since regained much of its value.

Glenn Kelman has been running the real-estate company Redfin since 2007. He saw it through the housing crash and the recovery. Last year, Redfin went public. It's now worth more than $1.7 billion.

Glenn was in town recently, and we asked him to come in and play overrated/underrated with us.

We bring up a bunch of trends and ideas — really, anything we want — and ask: is this overrated or underrated?

Among other things, we asked Glenn about home ownership, the cult of the CEO and the importance of the dungeon master.

The U.S. economy didn't grow as quickly as many economists had hoped, according to numbers released Friday by the Commerce Department.

During the final three months of 2017, a closely followed measure of the whole economy, called the gross domestic product, a rose at a 2.6 percent annualized rate. That's reasonably good, but less than the 3.2-percent pace in the third quarter. Most economists had been predicting about 3 percent growth.

Updated at 12:42 p.m. ET

President Trump, playing salesman-in-chief Friday morning at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, declared, "America is open for business and we are competitive once again."

He also proclaimed, "America first does not mean America alone."

Earlier this month, the BBC's China editor, Carrie Gracie, a 30-year veteran of the network, abruptly resigned her job in the Beijing bureau, accusing the network of promulgating a gender pay gap.

The BBC response? There is "no systemic discrimination against women" at the network.

I hadn't been living in London long when I attended my first Fourth of July party. The hosts, members of the U.S. Embassy staff, made their guests envious by revealing that they could request any American products they wanted through the embassy. Minds boggled with the possibilities. Dried chiles? Aged bourbon? Fancypants cereal?

Nope. These were globe-trotting sophisticates living in the tony Maida Vale neighborhood, and topping their wish lists were ... Bud Light and Cheetos.

Walmart has a laser-like focus when it comes to finding ways to compete with rival Amazon.com, and the world's largest bricks-and-mortar retailer has announced its latest attempt.

Walmart Stores, Inc. is joining with Japan's largest e-commerce retailer Rakuten to launch an online grocery delivery service in Japan.

Walmart will also work with Rakuten's digital book business, Kobo, to sell e-books and audiobooks in the U.S.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

You know what has happened to the phone over time. You know, years ago - old days - 10 years ago, 15 years ago, it was just a phone.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Supplies Of Valuable Ginseng Root Dwindling

Jan 25, 2018

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The root ginseng is used to treat all kinds of ailments in traditional Chinese medicine. And some of the most valuable ginseng grows wild in Appalachia. Supplies are dwindling. So as Julia DeWitt from our Planet Money podcast reports, a backup plan is taking shape.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

There's a new study out about the origins of the mafia. It finds that the essential ingredient in the birth of the mafia as we know it isn't the threats or the murders or the other stuff that's great for Hollywood. The detail that matters is lemons.

Music: "Head of The Family".

A tobacco product that its maker claims to be safer than cigarettes won qualified support from a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel Thursday.

The advisers voted 8-1 to support cigarette giant Philip Morris' claim that its "iQOS" system "significantly reduces your body's exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals." The device heats tobacco but doesn't ignite it.

If you're tempted to join the cryptocurrency bandwagon, regulators say you should take a pause before you click "buy."

Following bitcoin's meteoric price rise in 2017 — from just under $1,000 in January to nearly $20,000 in December — there's been a rush to cash in on cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that makes them possible.

Numerous investment vehicles have been created to meet this surge in consumer demand.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Grumpy Cat finally has something to smile about.

The perpetually scowling kitty, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, has been awarded a cool $710,000 in a copyright infringement case. Or at least her human, Tabatha Bundesen, has.

The wheels of a tall, metal cart squeak as Chris Beatty, 26, pulls it through a maze of aisles inside a cosmetics warehouse in Burlington, N.J.

A hand-held scanner helps Beatty find specific items, such as face cream or lipstick — to be sorted, packed and shipped to online customers. In his industry, this is called picking.

Asked if a robot could do his job, Beatty responds with a long pause. "That's a tough one," he says eventually, "but I don't think a robot could do this."

Spotify, the popular music streaming service, will officially take the company public this spring and is planning a very unconventional IPO — short for "initial public offering" — that has investors talking.

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