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How many countries are in the European Union?

If you're like most Americans, you can only guess. Maybe it's a dozen. Maybe twice that. Who cares, really?

Economists do. They care a lot.

Most say the EU's current collection of 28 members adds stability to the global economy. If membership were to decline by just one — thanks to the proposed exit of the United Kingdom — then workers and companies all around the world would suffer, they argue.

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

"Big data" is a very 21st-century kind of buzzword, which ambiguously invokes the idea of using large sets of data to draw computer-assisted conclusions about trends, patterns and correlations, often about people and their behavior.

But if you wanted to trace the origin of using big data for health research, you'd have to go back — way back, to 17th-century England.

There is a scandal rocking the financial industry — or we should say, a small but important part of that industry: online lending.

Media magnate Sumner Redstone quietly celebrated his 93rd birthday late last month. He subsequently marked the occasion by seeking to toss his protege off the board of the trust that will run Redstone's holdings after his death, including Viacom, one of the world's largest media conglomerates.

Tom Perkins, one of Silicon Valley's first venture capitalists, died this week.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that the financier died at 84 at home in Tiburon, Calif., of natural causes. The firm he helped co-found, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, confirmed the news to NPR.

A group of 21 states is filing a lawsuit against the state of Delaware over the alleged mishandling of millions of dollars in unclaimed checks.

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

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

The Mars candy company brought M&M's to Sweden in 2009. But the country already had a famous chocolate candy marked with an M — and now a court says M&M's should melt from the market, owing to a trademark infringement.

The case pitted Mars against Mondelez International, which uses its Marabou label to sell M-marked chocolates that it calls Sweden's "all-time favorite."

Why should anybody care that billionaire George Soros is trading again and making big bets that will pay off if economies around the world fall on harder times?

When the 85-year-old hedge fund founder did something like this a decade ago, the U.S. housing market was about to implode, Lehman Brothers would soon collapse and the U.S. and global economy was headed into what economists call "the toilet."

One thing Soros appears to be most concerned about this time around is weakness in China.

Presidents and leading presidential candidates often arrange their financial affairs to prevent the appearance of financial conflicts of interest. But there's never been a major party nominee quite like Donald Trump. If he's elected president, he would bring to the White House a unique potential for conflicts of interest. The typical tool in such situations is a blind trust, but given Trump's unique circumstances, a blind trust might not be up to the task of preventing him from profiting from decisions he would make as president.

The battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for the White House is likely to center on the Rust Belt — the industrial Midwest where trade is a big issue for many voters and where the presumptive Republican nominee is predicting he will be able to cut into the Democratic Party's traditional dominance among members of labor unions.

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

The idea: a drone taxi that can transport a single passenger for up to 23 minutes.

Where do you draw the line between inspiration and straight-up imitation when it comes to food?

A few years ago, we brought you the story of Caitlin Freeman, a pastry chef baking innovative, art-inspired cakes at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Using modern art as her muse, Freeman translated what she saw in the museum into edible form at the SFMOMA's upstairs café.

British voters on June 23 will cast what some have called the most important ballot of their lives — whether the U.K. should remain in the European Union or pull out, in what's become popularly known as a "Brexit."

There's been a blizzard of claims from both supporters and opponents of exiting the union, and while most polls show a neck-and-neck race at the moment, the number of undecided voters is high.

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

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

There's no evidence that Aubrey McClendon, the oil industry veteran who died one day after being charged with antitrust conspiracy, meant to kill himself when his car hit a wall at high speed in March, police say.

"Our investigators found no information which would compel us to believe this was anything other than a vehicular accident," Oklahoma City Police Department spokesman Capt. Paco Balderrama tells NPR. He also said that the final report will not be released to the public.

Washington, D.C., will be the next major city to implement a $15 minimum wage rate following a unanimous vote Tuesday by its city council.

In a victory for local and national labor unions, Washington joins the ranks of cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle in raising wages for primarily lower-income workers in restaurants, retail and other service industries.

The District's current hourly minimum wage is $10.50, and it was scheduled to go up to $11.50 next month under a law enacted in 2014.

Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation corn and soybean farmer. He and his dad run a small farm about 30 miles from Topeka, Kan.

Updated 8:55 p.m. ET with White House comment

The influential head of the House Financial Services Committee wants to do away with most of the Wall Street regulations passed by Congress in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, would allow banks that keep more capital on their books than they currently do to be exempt from most of the new rules. The change would include the Democrats' signature legislation, the Dodd-Frank Act.

Imagine getting paid an estimated $6 million for your involvement in this three-word jingle: "I'm Lovin' It." Yep, Justin Timberlake inked a lucrative deal with McDonald's. (Guess you could say he wants you to "buy buy buy.")

Or how about earning an estimated $50 million to promote Pepsi products?That's the endorsement deal that megastar Beyonce signed up for back in 2012.

Say you are one of the roughly 15,000 American steel workers who have been laid off — or received notice of coming layoffs — in the past year.

You and your boss would cheer any reduction in China's massive steelmaking capacity. Chinese steel has been flooding global markets and hurting profits for U.S. companies.

Google's philosophy about building a successful workforce is based on a simple assumption: people are fundamentally good. So, Google tries to give each of their 62,000 employees as much autonomy and ownership of the work they do as possible. That means taking power away from managers, making each employee a shareholder, and giving everyone direct access to Google's top executives. How's it working out?

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

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

The conversations in Beijing at high-level talks between the U.S. and China are quite serious. Leaders are covering a lot of ground — everything from climate change to currency, even outer space. But the language used in these discussions? Rather colorful.

This week marks a year since the government first revealed that hackers had stolen personnel files of some 4 million current and former federal employees.

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