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The Affordable Care Act's tax penalty for people who opt out of health insurance is one of the most loathed parts of the law, so it is no surprise that Republicans are keen to abolish it. But the penalty, also called the individual mandate, plays a vital function: nudging healthy people into the insurance markets, where their premiums help pay for the cost of care for the sick. Republican lawmakers think they have a better alternative.

One of the themes that developed on Day 1 of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's hearings is that Democrats plan to make an issue of what they say is the Supreme Court's pro-business leanings. In their opening statements on Monday, Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee argued that Gorsuch is likely to continue the trend.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island alleged that when the court's majority is made of Republican appointees, the narrow 5-4 decisions "line up to help corporations against humans."

I recently visited China on a business trip. While there, I decided I wanted to get a pedicure. My search turned into quite the adventure — one that involved cutting edge translation technology, and a key word lost in translation.

For three years, recreational pot has been legal in Colorado, but using it in public is still against the law. That will change this summer when pot clubs are slated to open.

A blinking "open" sign hangs on the outside of an old building in a dark industrial zone just outside the Denver city limits. When the front door opens, smoke billows out.

Inside is one of the state's few pot clubs, called iBake. Recently, members celebrated the anniversary of its opening.

Glassy-eyed patrons bounce off each other in the small space.

David Rockefeller, who died Monday morning at the age of 101, leaves a legacy that eludes a simple description. At once the grandchild and heir of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller and a globe-trotting billionaire banker in his own right, Rockefeller also earned a reputation as a prodigious patron of the arts.

Rockefeller died of congestive heart failure at his home in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., family spokesman Fraser P. Seitel confirmed to NPR.

Brazil has long been awash with corruption scandals, but the latest to erupt is about an issue that is particularly close to the nation's heart and stomach — and its wallet.

Few people are more prolific meat-eaters than the Brazilians, and few are more passionate about the merits of the barbecue, or churrasco.

They grill with gusto at almost any opportunity — on the beach, the sidewalk, at soccer games and even at protest rallies, where the whiff of sizzling sausage competes with the eye-watering stink of tear gas.

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For years, Republicans in Congress have promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, claiming that its requirement for nearly everyone to buy insurance or pay a fine is burdensome and costly, and it doesn't give people enough flexibility to get the coverage they need.

The big three U.S. airlines — American, Delta and United — are all taking on the discount carriers by offering no-frills, discounted fares, called "basic economy." Some critics call it "misery class" because you'll board last, sit in a middle seat near the back of the plane, and on United and American, you can't bring a carry-on bag.

Now there is evidence that this lower class of fare is not any lower priced, but instead is a way to raise standard economy fares.

After less than a year as president of Uber, Jeff Jones is leaving the embattled ride-hailing company, Uber confirms.

"We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best," an Uber spokesperson says in a statement.

Jones, previously Target's chief marketing officer, was brought on by CEO Travis Kalanick last fall to boost Uber's reputation.

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One thing we didn't expect to see here at South by Southwest were the virtual reality helmets. They were everywhere.

At this weekend's gathering of the Group of 20, the world's 20 largest economies, the group took a step back from its typically overt pro-free trade agenda, in the wake of pushback from the United States.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen represented the U.S. in two days of meetings with their counterparts from the world's 20 largest economies in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Remember Google Glass?

They're the headsets that look like regular glasses but have a small computer on the side to speak to and access the Internet. If that's not ringing a bell, it could be because Google Glass fizzled out and was discontinued in the consumer market.

But now, it's getting a second life in the manufacturing industry.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is asking for design proposals and prototypes of President Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Hiding inside each price tag is a messy tangle of information. How much did this cost to make? How much will someone pay to have it? What else can they buy with that money? What did it cost last year?

We bring you three stories untangling a price tag, three stories of setting a value on something when it isn't so easy to slap on a price tag.

  • We try to figure out what $1 trillion means, because that's what Donald Trump says he wants to spend on infrastructure. We'll tell you what $1 trillion can buy, and two caveats about Trump's plan.

A Norwegian fund that manages government employees' pensions has decided to remove its investments from the companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, a move that was reportedly inspired by pressure from Norway's indigenous Sami peoples.

David Higginbotham contracted hepatitis C more than 35 years ago. He'd like to rid his body of the virus, but Colorado's Medicaid program says he's not sick enough to justify the cost.

And he's not alone.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

At a wide-ranging and occasionally tense news conference after their first in-person meeting Friday, President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed trade and border policy — and had one notable exchange when Trump was asked about his unproven claims that former President Obama tapped the phones at Trump Tower last year.

First, it was the iron. Then, it was the thimble. Now, Monopoly has kicked two more longtime tokens out of the game.

Step away, boot. Roll yourself away, wheelbarrow.

We hear a lot about U.S. companies laying off workers and shipping jobs overseas.

So, amid the global pressures to downsize, how do you hang onto your workforce?

We went looking for answers in Chelsea, Mich., home to a family owned manufacturer that's managed to thrive over four generations, since the company's founding in 1907.

The Chelsea Milling Co. is better known as the manufacturer of Jiffy baking mixes. You know the ones. They come in those signature little blue and white boxes: mixes for muffins, cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, brownies and more.

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Environmentalists love "cover crops." These are plants that tolerate cool weather and grow on farm fields after the crops are harvested. They hold the soil in place and are probably the most effective way to keep nutrients in fields, rather than polluting nearby streams.

President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, collected more than $50,000 from Russian companies, including a Kremlin-backed television network, according to documents released in a congressional inquiry.

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President Trump's proposed budget calls for big cuts in a wide array of domestic programs — among them, agencies that fund the arts, humanities and public media.

Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be cut to zero under the proposal, and the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely, the first time any president has proposed such a measure.

Rising drug prices are one of the biggest challenges in health care in the United States. More people are using prescription drugs on a regular basis, and the costs of specialty drugs are rising faster than inflation.

President Donald Trump has promised over and over again to drive down drug prices.

Surely, Oakhurst Dairy would have done well to heed the immortal words of the '80s hair band Cinderella: "Don't know what you got (till it's gone)."

The milk and cream company based in Portland, Maine, likely never appreciated the serial comma — also known as an Oxford comma — so much as it did Monday, when the lack of that little curved stroke cost the company an appeals court ruling that centered on overtime rules for drivers.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

A post on McDonald's corporate Twitter account caused a stir Thursday morning, denigrating President Trump and calling for Barack Obama's return. The tweet was up for about 20 minutes only — but in that time, it was liked and retweeted more than 1,000 times.

"You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back," said the tweet, which was briefly pinned to the top of the McDonald's page. It concluded, "also you have tiny hands."

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