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10/31/2017: A riskier world to live in?

Oct 31, 2017

(U.S. Edition) As Robert Mueller's Russia investigation unfolds, we'll chat with Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer about what this means for global political risk. Afterwards, we'll discuss how Republicans plan to pay for their proposed tax plan, which may include cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Then to cap off today's show, we'll look at how FEMA deals with post-disaster contracts amid Puerto Rico's decision to cancel a $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy. 

Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long will brief Senators today on his agency’s response to the 2017 hurricane season. One of FEMA’s major roles is reimbursing cities and states as they pay to get things working again — things like electricity. As Puerto Rico has cancelled its controversial $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy to rebuild the island’s grid, Marketplace’s Jed Kim looks at what FEMA requires for post-disaster contracts.

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With all the focus on the Republican tax plan due out this week, we take a look at some of the ways they may pay for it: cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. The Republicans’ budget blueprint calls for funding reductions to both programs. What might that mean for low-income people and seniors who depend on these health care programs? 

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Spider silk, the newest fabric for military uniforms

Oct 31, 2017

If you’re a fan of superheroes, you know the story.

Boy meets spider. Spider bites boy. Boy designs uber-cool spider suit. Now, scientists are moving from the realm of comics to reality to develop real-life uses for spider silk.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... Eurozone growth figures were released today, showing a mixed bag. But what about Europe's problem child Greece? The author of "Greekonomics" explains why things are looking up. Afterwards, President Trump heads to Asia on Friday. Ahead of his visit to the region, Taiwan announced today it would increase its military budget. We look at why the country is spending more on military might to woo President Trump. Then, New Zealand announced it would ban foreigners from buying property.

Can technology make the census more accurate?

Oct 31, 2017

Every 10 years, the government tries to count up everyone living in the U.S. The next census is in 2020. The goal is to get an idea of the American population through data about things like race, how many people live in a household and their ages. The federal government uses these numbers to allocate $600 billion in funding, local politicians use them to determine what a community needs, and businesses use them to decide what to invest in and where to operate.

The next census is coming up in 2020, when the government will set out to count every single person living in the U.S. It’s a system that helps determine how federal money gets spent and who and where businesses are investing. But some populations are harder to count than others, even as the Census Bureau moves more of their data collection online. The Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York created an interactive map highlighting those populations.

10/30/2017: Prosecutors love a paper trail…

Oct 30, 2017

...and paying taxes on things (or not paying taxes on things) always leaves one. That’s probably why special counsel Robert Mueller is starting with indictments of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, on charges including funneling money through overseas shell companies. And lucky for us, tax evasion and money laundering are the kind of things we talk about every day.

Joe Skipper/Reuters 

One of the most chilling symbols of the Cold War has to be the black-and-yellow aluminum sign, indicating a nuclear fallout shelter.

The man responsible for the sign, Robert Blakeley, died on Oct. 25, at the age of 95.

The signs — long out of use — can still be found across the country at schools and other buildings designated as public shelters by the government, in the event of a Soviet nuclear strike.

Back in 1961, Blakeley was asked by the US Army Corps of Engineers to come up with a design for the new fallout shelter program.

Daniel Hernandez

The historic Ex-Convent of San Guillermo Abad in the town of Totolapan, Mexico, was founded by Augustan monks in 1534.

It was the same time Spanish forces overwhelmed the Aztec empire and established convents and monasteries to spread Christianity. In doing so, missionaries practically eradicated Mesoamerican religious thought.

The building lasted some 483 years, but on Sept. 19 the Baroque stone church was destroyed in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that shook most of southern Mexico and killed 369 people.