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When the health insurance premiums got to the point that they were higher than her mortgage, Renee Powell started to become cynical.

"There was something in me that just kind of switched," said the mother of two from Bartlesville, Okla. "I was OK with paying $750, but when it became about $100 more than my housing costs, it upset me."

Powell is an epidemiologist and used to work for the state in Oklahoma City. She had affordable insurance through that job.

Updated at 2:36 p.m. ET with an editor's note at the end of the story.

Sometimes you call an Uber, and what you thought would be an $8 ride is going to be two, three, even four times more — the result of greater demand brought on by a blizzard, or a baseball game. Whatever the reason, surge pricing is not fun.

It turns out Uber is working to fix it — or, should we say, end it. The move likely will be great for riders, but not for drivers.

Hunting For Surge

On the banks of a canal in industrial east London sits Britain's oldest salmon smokehouse: H. Forman & Son.

Inside, 80 employees help fillet and salt salmon by hand, then hang the fish in giant smokers. It's the same method used by the company's founder, Harry Forman, 111 years ago.

"He was an Eastern European Jewish immigrant that fled the pogroms — he came from Ukraine — and settled in London's East End in the late 19th century," says his great-grandson Lance Forman.

Goodbye to Berlin rentals?

May 3, 2016
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Annie Baxter

Berlin is one of the hottest tourist spots in Europe. But anyone trying to find short-term rentals in the German capital will now find it harder to do so.

There's a rental housing crunch in Berlin, and city authorities have banned property owners from offering vacation rentals, with few exceptions, in a bid to free up properties for permanent residents.

Eliza Garrison, an art history professor from Middlebury College, said she's learning about the new restrictions firsthand.

Kitchens — it's where the jobs are

May 3, 2016
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Bill Zeeble

With about 20 students in chef whites, it’s time to begin afternoon class at El Centro Community College in Dallas, Texas.

“You guys ever eat cold soup?” asked Chef James Knifong, instructor and apprenticeship coordinator. Some of his students — ranging in age from their early 20s to retirement — said “Yes.” Others, “No.”

“Like I mentioned yesterday,” Knifong said, “the big deal on cold soups — you’re going to need to adjust your seasoning, because when it’s cold, the flavors aren’t popping out like they will when it’s hot.”

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D Gorenstein

Pretty much any hospital executive will tell you it’s a thin-margin business.

But a new report out in the journal Health Affairs finds that there are hospitals out there making fat margins, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Seven of the top 10 most profitable hospitals in 2013 were nonprofits, including one in Wisconsin with more than $300 million, according to the study.

Johns Hopkins economist Gerard Anderson said these hospitals tend to spend their money in several ways. 

Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016
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Marketplace

On today's show, we'll talk about Craig Wright's claim that he created Bitcoin. Plus, we interview the head of the Met Costume Institute, Andrew Bolton, about the new Manus x Machina exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. 

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Marketplace

On today's show, we'll talk about a new report that reveals some of the most profitable hospitals are nonprofits; poor growth in sub-Saharan Africa; and the popularity of microfinancing in Colombia.

Microfinance is big business in Colombia

May 3, 2016
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Lorne Matalon

In developing countries like Colombia, microloans — loans of $25 to $1,500 or more — are big business. The idea is to give loans to people who can’t get credit and who can't get access to traditional financial services offered by banks.

One such person is Elizabet Abella. She's in a steamy cinder block kitchen in Barranquilla, a gritty port city on Colombia's Caribbean coast. She's preparing the food she sells to owners of street-side stalls.

"I’m preparing beans in a pressure cooker," she said in Spanish as sweat coated her hands and steam enveloped her.

This week on Hidden Brain: Traffic. You hate it, we hate it, the rest of the world hates it, and it only seems to be getting worse. But is there a way to make roads safer and faster? Of course! (We just normally do the opposite).

On Monday authorities in Honduras arrested four people in connection with the murder of influential environmental activist Berta Cáceres two months ago.

As part of an operation called "Jaguar," law enforcement arrested the four men, identified as Douglas Bustillo, Mariano Chavez, Sergio Ramon Orellana and Edilson Duarte Meza, based on "scientific evidence that support the allegations presented," according to a statement from Honduras' Public Ministry.

NBC's reality show The Biggest Loser turns dieting into a grueling training regime fit for gladiators. The victor this past season was Roberto Hernandez. He dropped a whopping 160 pounds to reach a body weight of 188 pounds.

In what's being hailed as a "miracle" and the "best story in sports," Leicester City, a small club from central England that started the season at 5,000-1 odds of winning the prestigious English Premier League title, has clinched the trophy.

The global refugee crisis, political strife and economic dislocation all contributed to a worldwide deterioration of religious freedom in 2015 and an increase in "societal intolerance," according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

"At best, in most of the countries we cover, religious freedom conditions have failed to improve," says Princeton professor Robert George, the USCIRF chairman. "At worst, they've spiraled downward."

One of the economic legacies President Obama hopes to leave behind is an expansion of U.S. exports.

To do that, he wants to complete one trade deal with European countries, and another with Pacific Rim nations.

But well into his final year in office, Obama is facing stiff headwinds on trade.

The European deal, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, made news on Monday...but probably not the way the White House would have preferred.

A somber procession began on Sunday in the courtyard of the former Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., where Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968. Everyone in Memphis knows about that piece of history, but until recently, folks were unaware of a massacre that happened in the same part of town 100 years earlier.

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BTC Keychain 

Ever few months, it seems another news organization claims to have figured out the real identity of the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto.

Nakamoto is the name of the anonymous creator of the crypto-currency Bitcoin. Bitcoin was conceived in 2008 when a white paper was published under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto. The paper laid the foundation for what would become Bitcoin a crypto-currency.

Puerto Ricans feel the pinch as the island defaults on $422 million of its huge debt

May 2, 2016

Puerto Rico's financial crisis deepened Sunday as Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced the US commonwealth would default on $422 million in debt.

The governor said that San Juan can't pay creditors when it needs to fund public sector salaries, health and education budgets, which, if neglected, could unleash a "humanitarian crisis."

Puerto Rico has been locked in recession for a decade, and already defaulted on some debt payments at the beginning of the year.

The food glitterati will gather in Chicago Monday night for the black-tie James Beard Chef and Restaurant Awards, known as the "Oscars of the food world." Most of the categories sound like industry fare: Outstanding Restaurant Design. Best Chef: Great Lakes. Best New Restaurant. Rising Star Chef of the Year. There's not much of interest for anyone outside the foodies and food world orbit. Except, that is, for a sneakily subversive category: America's Classics.

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Grace Hwang Lynch

“I need to know if you’re doing something stupid.”

A mother shakes a fistful of bloody tissues while confronting her teenage daughter about fears that the girl is cutting herself. In this case, the “mother” is Stanford University psychiatrist Dr. Rona Hu and this scenario is playing out on a stage at Mills High School in Millbrae, California.

When it comes to the future of China's economy, Wang Dengwen is yesterday's man. He came from the countryside and found work a few years ago at Shanghai's Baosteel, smoothing the edges off steel plates.

After his first year, the steel market began to slide and the company cut Wang's monthly salary from $780 to about $620. A couple of months ago, Wang, 34, took a second job, earning $2.25 an hour delivering food for KFC.

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

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

You may have seen the crazy amounts of money spent at high end art auctions: $81 million for a Mark Rothko, $179 million for a Picasso. Now, a new memoir called The Auctioneer dishes about the tycoons, rock stars and royalty who play in this high-priced game. Simon de Pury is an art world insider who has been called the "Mick Jagger" of auctions — he once even tried to compete with the two power houses, Christie's and Sotheby's.

For decades, few films made in Cuba have found their way to U.S. theaters. But with diplomatic relations restored between the two countries, this past weekend brought not one, but two. Papa: Hemingway in Cuba, the first Hollywood film to shoot on the island nation in decades, turns out to be a dispiriting, ineptly directed affair, about which the less said, the better.

But a father-son drama called Viva is lively enough to be an art-house hit, illuminating a Havana subculture that may be almost as unfamiliar to Cubans as to Americans.

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

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

Matt Coy likes to tell people how he went 47 years without voting. Not once. Not even for high school class president.

But there he was last Friday at an early-voting center at a county parks building in Columbus, Ind., excitedly preparing to cast his ballot for Republican Donald Trump.

"I've lost three factory jobs in the last 10 years, to go to China or go to Mexico or go to somewhere out of the country. We're losing our jobs to everybody else. We need 'em back. I think he can do it," Coy said.

Intel was once known for its success in branding personal computers with microprocessors, a technology that fueled the digital revolution. But the Silicon Valley veteran announced last month it would lay off 11 percent of its workforce — up to 12,000 positions — and that it's shifting away from personal computing.

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

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