Latest News from NPR

A vote by the U.S. Senate last night allowing banks to keep using mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts with consumers — rather than allowing class action lawsuits —essentially preserves the status quo. You might think that more fine print in more and more contracts would mean a lot more arbitration and a bonanza for the arbitration industry. But is that so?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The private dollars that help fund our national parks

Oct 25, 2017

The National Park Service released a proposal today that would raise the entrance fee at its 17 most popular parks during peak visiting months. The rates would go from $25 or $30 to $70. They'll use the extra funds to help pay for a $12 billion backlog of maintenance and repairs at national parks across the country, which the agency's $3 billion budget won't cover all on its own. 

Last year, more than half a million people who visited the US overstayed their visas, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Overall, it's a small percentage, just a bit over 1 percent of the millions of visitors who arrive annually. Yet, it is a group of people, often entering legal limbo the day their permission expires, who are increasingly nervous about deportation as the Trump administration's broad immigration crackdown continues.

Congress is not the only place National Parks get their money

Oct 25, 2017

The National Parks Service has its own fundraising arm, tasked with raising private money to keep the parks open and maintained. The National Park Foundation was established by Congress in 1967 in part through the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson and Laurance Rockefeller. CEO Will Shafroth has held the job since 2015. The National Park Foundation gave $126 million to the parks last year, boosting their annual budget of about $3 billion. 

 As teenagers in high school, Luis Tinoco and Dulce Garcia rolled in different circles. Tinoco was the loud guy in the hallways, always cracking jokes.

“And I was the opposite,” Garcia said. “Really quiet, really shy, really serious.”

“That’s why I never talked to her, because she was always with that mean face,” Tinoco said jokingly.

Garcia said she wasn’t mean, just focused. She was a steadfast 16-year-old with a 20-year plan.

New laws ban employers from using salary history in hiring

Oct 25, 2017

Multiple cities and states have passed laws recently banning employers from asking a job candidate for their salary history during the employment screening and interviewing process. The goal, advocates said, is to redress the persistent gender pay gap in America.

Every federal employee knows the rule: You don't keep any valuable item given to you by a foreign government official. When my former boss, Mike Mullen, retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his French counterpart brought a thoughtful gift: an 18th century engraving of the British surrender at Yorktown that he and his wife found on a weekend in Normandy.

It, and dozens of other presents Mullen received that day, are property of the United States. Unless Congress expressly approved, or he bought it back at market value, Mullen could not keep any of them.

The Senate passed a 2018 budget last week, paving the way for a tax overhaul. The House of Representatives is expected to approve it this week, and then the real show begins.

The House is expected to release its tax plan next week. Somewhere on Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee are hammering out a tax plan. And if they aren't sleep deprived now, they're going to be.

Jason Lee/Reuters

He’s known as Uncle Xi. But Xi Jinping has a long list of official titles and Chinese president isn’t even the most consequential of them. President Xi is the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. He is the chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi has been formally recognized by the party as a “core leader,” and sometimes he’s referred to as the “Paramount Leader” of the People’s Republic.  

(Markets Edition) Congress has quashed a federal rule to stop banks from making consumers go into arbitration when they want to resolve a financial dispute. On today's show, we'll look at the future of the watchdog agency — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — that was behind this regulation. Afterwards, Susan Schmidt from Westwood Holdings Group joins us to chat about the 10-year Treasury yield's rise. And finally, we'll look at why female entrepreneurs get less funding than men, with an eye on the language differences venture capitalists use when speaking to them.