Zoe Chace

Sugar costs more in the U.S. than in the rest of the world. If you're in the candy business and make millions of lollipops a day, that's a big deal.

On today's show, we visit a lollipop factory in Ohio, whose fifth-generation owners want U.S. sugar to be cheaper, and a sugar-beet field in Minnesota, where fourth-generation farmers want it to be expensive. The two are fighting over one of the largest and oldest and most notorious price control systems in the country.

Note: This episode originally ran in 2014.

As World War II was ending, world leaders realized they had a problem. Countries no longer knew how to trade with each other. Their economies were devastated. So representatives from 44 nations gathered in the small town of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to come up with the solution.

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The response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was massive: Billions of dollars in donations poured in.

"It had everything," says Joel Charny, who works with InterAction, a group that coordinates disaster relief. "It had this element of being an act of God in one of the poorest countries on the planet that's very close to the United States. ... And the global public just mobilized tremendously."

People haven't responded to the Ebola outbreak in the same way; it just hasn't led to that kind of philanthropic response.

When the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba goes public, it's going to the biggest public offering ever. When investors buy their shares, however, they won't be buying an ownership stake in Ali Baba's profitable websites. Instead, they will be buying shares in a holding company based in the Cayman Islands. It's illegal for Chinese Internet companies to accept investment from outside the country, but Alibaba has found an ingenious way to still get the $20 billion they want from outside investors.

Last year, Shawn Hector bought some baby chicks. He put them outside in a little chicken coop, but it did not go well. The chicks were eaten by hawks, foxes and raccoons.

Shawn decided the world needed a better chicken coop. He and a buddy, Steve Deutsch, should build it themselves. They figured there might be a market for a high-tech chicken coop, and dreamed of starting a little business.

For people who want a good-paying, stable nursing job, one class stands in the way: Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology. And it's a tough one.

At the first day of anatomy class at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Jonathan Harned sits in the front row, taking notes. He has safety goggles pushed up on his head — he just came from work. He's got a military crew cut.

Harned was the first one at class today; he was an hour and a half early. He's been waiting 20 years to get to this moment, he says.

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MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: Germany's economy is having a pretty good year so far. Manufacturing is high, unemployment is low. The economy is expanding, and yet the strangest report has recently come out of Europe. It says all of that success is actually a problem for the rest of the Eurozone. Zoe Chase of our Planet Money team wondered why Germany's success isn't considered a good thing.

ZOE CHASE, BYLINE: Germany's got a thing about making stuff the world wants.

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Any time a song is popular, you'll find people debating it. And at some point during that debate, someone is going to Google the lyrics.

There are roughly 5 million searches for lyrics per day on Google, according to LyricFind. Those searches often lead to websites that post lyrics to lots of songs — and, in many cases, sites that post ads alongside those lyrics.

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Already for many Americans, there are few options when it comes to high-speed broadband. And the reason, says Zoe Chace with our Planet Money team, goes back to a moment when the U.S. decided to go one way and the rest of the world went another.

We are going to trace one simple Internet request. It's one that lots of people have made lately.

Rachel Margolis, a Time Warner cable subscriber in Brooklyn, wants to watch an episode of House of Cards on Netflix.

When Rachel clicks on House of Cards on her TV screen, her request travels out of her apartment on a cable, to a box on the corner, then under the East River to a giant building on the West Side of Manhattan. Think of the Empire State Building, turned on its side.

One way to understand the situation between Ukraine and Russia right now: Look at the gas bill of an ordinary Ukrainian.

Valentina Olachenka, for example, pays $19 a month for gas to heat her house and run her stove. The average American who uses natural gas, by contrast, spends more than $100 a month.

Gas is cheap for Ukrainians because the government is paying most of the bill — 87 cents of every dollar, according to the IMF.

There were so many winter storms in New Jersey this year that the state nearly ran out of the salt used to melt snow and ice on the roads.

State officials thought they had found a solution when they discovered an extra 40,000 tons of rock salt for sale up in Searsport, Maine.

The state bought the salt but ran into problems getting it to New Jersey — despite the fact that there was an enormous, empty cargo ship, sitting at the Searsport port, headed down to Newark.

Back in 2012, reporter Kevin Roose went undercover at a very exclusive party.

It was a dinner for a secret society, held once a year, at the St. Regis hotel in New York City. The secret society is called Kappa Beta Phi, and it's made up of current and former Wall Street executives — people like Michael Bloomberg, former heads of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs. And every year the group holds a dinner to induct new people into the group — they're called neophytes.

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Emergency medical technicians, EMTs, are trained to save your life and aim to get you to a hospital as quickly as possible when needed. One thing they are usually not asked to do is to find ways to save money.

NPR's Zoe Chace explores one experiment in New York City that is trying to cut emergency care costs and cut return trips to the E.R.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: I'm in an ambulance, and we're on the way to the emergency room.

PETER DERMODY: How long have you been feeling like this, Michael?

MICHAEL: Like, two days.

When people talk about the Volcker Rule, they often mention JPMorgan Chase, the giant bank where a trader recently made a bad bet that lost $6 billion. The Volcker Rule is supposed to put an end to that sort of thing, by prohibiting banks from trading with their own money.

But some banks that are very, very different from JPMorgan Chase are struggling with an obscure provision in the rule. Specifically, footnote 1,861, which bars banks from investing in something called trust-preferred securities — a rather obscure investment favored by lots of small, community banks invest

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

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Now NPR's Zoe Chace, from our Planet Money Team, reminds us about one industry that played a big role in NAFTA's passage: men's underwear.

Bangladesh is the cheapest place in the world to make a T-shirt. But this month, the minimum wage there will rise from $39 a month to $68 a month. That's got some factory owners nervous about whether Western retailers there will pull out. Our Planet Money team examines the future of the garment industry in Bangladesh.

Part of the Planet Money T-shirt Project

This is the story of how the garment industry is transforming life in Bangladesh, and the story of two sisters who made the Planet Money T-shirt.

Shumi and Minu work six days a week operating sewing machines at Deluxe Fashions Ltd. in Chittagong, Bangladesh. They each make about $80 a month.

More details were added to this post after it was published. The new information was courtesy of Vidiya Khan, director of the Desh Group, and daughter of Noorul Quader.

Bangladesh was created out of chaos in the early 1970s, at a moment when millions in the country were dying from a combination of war and famine. The future looked exceedingly bleak.

Monday, after a week of protests, Bangladesh's garment manufacturers agreed to increase the minimum wage for workers in the industry. But they haven't agreed on how much it will be.

The garment workers are asking for $104.72 a month, which would more than double the current minimum. To get to that number, they created a monthly budget that, they figure, is the bare minimum.

"Blurred Lines," this year's song of the summer*, sounds a lot like Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up," one of the songs of the summer of 1977.

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Now, the story of a man many call an outlaw. His crime: growing raisins and then deciding to sell them all. His case made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Planet Money's Zoe Chace has the story.

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