Kenny Malone

Akira Johnson lives in Columbia, S.C., with her three kids. She tries to make the place joyful for them with flowers and pillows that say things like "happy" and "sunshine."

She has decorated one wall with the logo of her small business: an eye with amazing eyelashes.

"I'm a licensed cosmetologist," Johnson says. "I specialize in eyelash extensions. It takes about two hours."

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A race is underway to help people facing eviction. Congress has approved an historic $47 billion in emergency rental assistance. But the vast majority of that money hasn't reached the millions of people who desperately need it.

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In 1981, President Ronald Reagan faced a test.

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RONALD REAGAN: This morning at 7 a.m., the union representing those who man America's air traffic control facilities called a strike.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a massive shift to remote work. Now, that's a problem in some small cities, many of which have bad Internet. Kenny Malone and Wilson Sayre from Planet Money have the story of a small town that tried to fix the problem.

One Friday in March, Todd Olson was suddenly pulled into a life-or-death project.

General Motors Co. asked Olson, CEO of Twin City Die Castings in Minneapolis: Could he help make tiny pistons? The giant carmaker was committed to helping the country by producing ventilators, which were suddenly in short supply as the coronavirus spread like wildfire. And GM needed lots of pistons for the kind of ventilator it would produce. Most importantly, the pistons had to come together fast.

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So the rise of e-commerce has allowed Americans to order things directly from sellers around the world. Kenny Malone from our Planet Money team met a New Jersey business owner who became obsessed with the mystery of how those items can ship so cheaply.

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Lots of industries acknowledge they have a diversity problem. Maybe it's with age or gender or race. Our Planet Money podcast wondered, how exactly does an industry begin to change itself? And reporter Kenny Malone says the answer is on your feet.

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As the digital currency bitcoin has skyrocketed in value, many of the early adopters have become millionaires - only if, that is, they can find their bitcoins. Kenny Malone from our Planet Money team went on a virtual treasure hunt.

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In Stockholm this morning, the Nobel Prize in economics was announced.

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