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The Justice Department is suing to block two proposed mergers between major health insurance companies, saying the deals violate antitrust laws and would lead to higher health care costs for Americans.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch explained the decision at a press conference:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Airbnb, the popular site that lets people rent rooms and houses, is hoping to fight racism and discrimination on its platform — and it's recruited former Attorney General Eric Holder to help.

The company has spent more than a month reviewing its policies, after widespread reports of a pattern of bias against people of color looking to rent rooms.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed civil complaints seeking to recover a billion dollars' worth of art, real estate and other assets bought with money allegedly stolen from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

This week, actress and comedian Leslie Jones quit Twitter after receiving a barrage of targeted racist, sexist and otherwise abusive messages following the release of the all-female remake of Ghostbusters.

Over the past few years, so-called ugly fruit and vegetables have been gaining a host of admirers.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A "Donald Trump for President" T-shirt will cost you $20, outside of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

A "Hillary for Prison" button — a top-seller among the throngs of conservative convention-goes — will cost you $10.

Trump Flakes are a bit pricey at $40, but a cartoon-Trump on the off-brand cereal box assures you, "They're Great Again."

The Murdoch family is moving to oust the chairman of Fox News Channel after multiple women have accused him of sexual harassment, NPR's David Folkenflik reports.

Roger Ailes is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of the news channel. Multiple sources at Fox News tell David that the Murdochs, who are controlling owners of parent company 21st Century Fox, are moving to push Ailes out of his prominent, powerful role.

21st Century Fox released this statement: "Roger is at work. The review is ongoing. The only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The thing about the tech industry and employee diversity reports is they can feel like Groundhog Day:

  • Google, 2014: "Put simply, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity."
  • Google, 2016: "We saw encouraging signs of progress in 2015, but we're still far from where we need to be."

Citing "a culture of deeply-rooted corporate arrogance," New York, Massachusetts and Maryland have filed civil lawsuits against Volkswagen, accusing the automaker of violating those states' environmental laws when it sold cars under the "clean diesel" label that were actually rigged to trick emissions tests.

The Smoggy Seas: Cargo Ships Bring Pollution, Health Risks

Jul 19, 2016

"Made in China" labels have multiplied over the past decades — and so have the trade ships docking in East Asian ports.

More shipping containers go through Shanghai than any other port in the world — and most of the world's 10 busiest ports are in China. Asian ports loaded or unloaded almost 50 percent of shipped goods in 2013, according to a U.N. report.

Eyeing fast-growing urban and suburban markets where demand for health care services is outstripping supply, some health care systems are opening tiny, full-service hospitals with comprehensive emergency services but often fewer than a dozen inpatient beds.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Feds Investigate Fiat Chrysler Over Car Sales

Jul 18, 2016

U.S. federal authorities are investigating Fiat Chrysler over allegations that it encouraged dealers to falsely report the number of cars sold, the automaker confirmed Monday.

In a statement, the company said it was cooperating with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and that the numbers in its financial statements were based on shipments to dealers, not on sales to customers.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Rise And Fall Of Theranos In A Biotech Cartoon

Jul 18, 2016

Sources

  • Everything You Need to Know About the Theranos Story So Far (Wired)
  • This Woman Invented a Way to Run 30 Lab Tests on Only One Drop of Blood (Wired)
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Stress has long been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and a number of mental health problems.

The air conditioner at Jim and Julie Powell's house has been fending off the 100-degree summertime heat for two decades — ever since they came to the Sun City retirement community just west of Phoenix.

"It's been a workhorse," Julie says. "It's probably 20 years old, but it does the job."

Inside, Jim leafs through their summer bills from the power company Arizona Public Service, or APS. He counts: "$183, $262, $250."

Steep, but predictable. Ever since he's heard about a new fee, though, he's begun to worry.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A Chemist Accidentally Creates A New Blue. Then What?

Jul 16, 2016

Mas Subramanian wasn't expecting blue.

In 2009, as part of his lab at Oregon State University, Subramanian — a professor of materials science — was working with students to manufacture new materials that could be used in electronics. They would mix and grind chemicals, then heat them to over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.

One grad student, Andrew E. Smith, took a particular mix out of the furnace to find it had turned a surprising, bright blue color.

"You know what Louis Pasteur said?" Subramanian asks. "Luck favors the alert mind."

It's only been out a week, but Pokémon Go is making more money than a Meowth using Pay Day.

Presidential nominees choose vice presidential running mates for what they add to the ticket, whether it be experience or the capacity to draw votes. Here's what Mike Pence might subtract from this fall's Republican ticket with Donald Trump: an unknowable amount of campaign cash from the financial services industry.

Herbalife has agreed to pay $200 million to reimburse consumers who lost money on its nutrition supplements and will also make major changes in its sales and distribution practices, the Federal Trade Commission announced today.

The FTC filed a complaint accusing the company of deceiving consumers about how much money they could make selling its products, noting that most Herbalife distributors make no money at all.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

When Julian Castro assumed the post of Housing and Urban Development secretary in 2014, the U.S. government already had a few programs aimed at expanding Americans' access to the Internet. It's the sort of thing that is paramount to success in the modern economy, long advocated by President Obama and other government officials.

Most of us — and by "us," I mean urban and suburban consumers like me — don't usually get to meet the people who pick our apples, oranges or strawberries.

So about a year ago, I decided to launch a series of stories about the people who harvest some of America's iconic seasonal foods. Many of these workers move from place to place, following the seasons.

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