Business news

Chinese health and Internet authorities have launched an investigation into Baidu, the country's largest search engine, following the death of a college student who accused Baidu of misleading him to a fraudulent cancer treatment.

Experts believe the scandal will damage the credibility of Baidu's search results, and its long-term economic prospects.

On Monday, news of the government investigation caused Baidu's stock to tumble by nearly 8% on the NASDAQ.

It's about 6:30 in the morning at a Starbucks near Santa Monica beach, and David Rodriguez Ordunez is checking Facebook while charging his phone.

He's one of 44,000 people living on the streets in and around Los Angeles — and he's one of three homeless people at the coffee shop this morning.

"Since there's Internet here, that's mainly one of the purposes. I've usually got to find locations to actually have access," Ordunez explains.

Why Starbucks instead of the library? "Well, the library opens like at 10 o'clock or something," he says.

When I was kid, "What's for dinner?" was not a question you asked at the last minute. My mom, Dorothy Glinton, was an expert at planning what she would put on the table.

"I always knew what I was going to cook. I didn't come in running," Ma recalls.

But these days, even she eats out a few times a week. "But I don't go to a restaurant in the evening," she told me. "I do most of my eating in a grocery story right now, picking up a hot soup, going to a salad bar."

Google is partnering with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to expand its self-driving car project, the companies said Tuesday in a joint press release.

Though Google has been an industry leader in the quest for self-driving cars, this is the first time it will work directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving technology into a passenger vehicle.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Google might make minivans cool

11 hours ago
Kai Ryssdal

I might finally get some cool dad points. Despite much ridicule, I've made no secret of the fact that my usual mode of transportation is a minivan.

Practical, if not the hippest thing you've ever seen. Four kids will do that to you.

But now, this.

Google announced today it's gonna build self-driving minivans, 100 of them.

It'll partner with Chrysler to do it. Happy to be a test subject, just sayin'.

America gets its first group of climate refugees

14 hours ago
Kai Ryssdal

America has its political refugees and its economic refugees. And now, for the first time, it has climate refugees.

The first slice of taxpayer money is being spent to move a community that lives right on the edge of where climate change hits reality.

The community in question is Isle de Jean Charles in south Louisiana, and Coral Davenport wrote about it with her colleague Campbell Robertson for the New York Times.

Marketplace for Tuesday, May 3, 2016

16 hours ago

The PR guy in charge of handling the non-public seats to "Hamilton"; an interview with actress Diane Guerrero about her new book "In the Country We Love: My Family Divided" explaining the impact her parent's deportation had on her childhood; and Aeropostale is the next mall chain geared toward teens to face bankruptcy.

test test test

16 hours ago

Indiana's manufacturing troubles are good for Trump

16 hours ago
Tony Wagner

Donald Trump couldn't make a better campaign ad.

A grainy cellphone video of management at Carrier, a heating and air conditioning company, telling a crowd of Indiana workers they will be laid off over the next few years as 2,100 manufacturing jobs are relocated to Mexico.

"Please quiet down," the executive says, as workers boo and heckle him.

Kai Ryssdal

One afternoon, in the spring of 2001 when she was 14 years old, Diane Guerrero came home from school to find that neither of her parents were there. Guerrero, a U.S. citizen and daughter of Colombian immigrants, is best known for her roles on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” and the CW’s “Jane the Virgin.”

This year’s Tony nominations are out, and "Hamilton" cleaned up with a record 16 nominations. If getting tickets used to be a long shot, it’s probably now next to impossible. But there are alternative means: You have to know a guy and know how to sweet talk him.

D Gorenstein

Here’s a key theory behind cutting health care costs: If consumers knew how much they'd have to pay for various medical services, they could be savvier shoppers, which would ratchet up competition among doctors and hospitals,  to cut prices.

So, employers and insurers created online tools to help folks distinguish costly providers from less expensive alternatives.

Are mall-based clothing retailers doomed?

18 hours ago
Andy Uhler

The rise of fast fashion continues to hit mall-based retailers, especially as shopping malls seem less relevant.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa at a 15-year low

20 hours ago
Kim Adams

The International Monetary Fund is out with a new warning to countries in sub-Saharan Africa.  After years of commodity-fueled growth, the IMF said growth in the region has slowed to its lowest in 15 years. The agency said countries need a policy reset if they want to ride out the slump.

Leicester City: 'Every bookmaker is crying out in pain'

20 hours ago
Marketplace staff

From our partners at BBC Business:

The betting industry is licking its financial wounds.

"In the history of betting, certainly since it was legalized in 1961, a [single event] winner with odds of 5,000-1 has never happened," said Simon Clare from the betting firm Coral. "Every bookmaker is crying out in pain."

"That's a barometer of what Leicester have done and just how amazing this win is," he added.

Jessica Bridges from rival firm Ladbrokes agrees.

What are people driving when oil prices are low?

20 hours ago

On today's show, we'll talk about low interest rates; car and truck sales for April; Berlin's vacation-rental ban; and growth in the restaurant industry. 

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
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
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.”

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. 

Microfinance is big business in Colombia

May 3, 2016
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.

Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016

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. 


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.

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).