Economy

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Caught In The Extended Stay Motel Trap

Jul 11, 2018

This summer, millions of vacationers are expected to visit Branson, Mo., to see acts like singer Tony Orlando or the Oak Ridge Boys. It's boom time for the tourist destination, but for many of the workers who keep the good times rolling, a severe shortage of affordable housing forces them into rundown extended stay motels.

The main strip of Branson, in southern Missouri, is lined with miles and miles of all the miniature golf, bumper cars, fudge shops, custard stands and music theaters that a vacationing family could wish for.

Trade War With China Heats Up

Jul 11, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The NATO summit in Brussels hadn't even officially started yet, and President Trump started lashing out at NATO allies.

NOEL KING, HOST:

President Trump is now applauding Pfizer for agreeing to reverse or postpone drug price hikes, a day after he pressured the pharmaceutical giant in a scathing tweet.

He posted a tweet Tuesday evening saying he has spoken with both Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ian Read about the price increases. Trump praised Pfizer for "rolling back price hikes, so American patients don't pay more," saying he "hopes other companies do the same."

Updated at 2:50 a.m. ET on Wednesday

The Trump administration has published a preliminary list of additional Chinese products that could be targeted with tariffs in the escalating trade war between the world's two biggest economies. The list covers some $200 billion in Chinese exports that could be hit by a 10 percent tariff. It's an extensive list of over 6,000 goods that include seafood, propane and toilet paper, among many other things.

Fast-food workers may be stuck in jobs for various reasons. In many cases, their employers prevent them from leaving to work for other restaurants within the same chain.

Now, 10 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia are taking on the issue with an investigation into eight national fast-food chains. At issue are "noncompete" clauses that limit where employees can work after they leave.

U.S. officials made threats to Ecuador in an attempt to water down a resolution in support of breastfeeding, according to a report in The New York Times.

Southwest Airlines Says It Will Stop Serving Peanuts

Jul 10, 2018

Peanuts or pretzels? Passengers on Southwest Airlines will no longer have to decide after the carrier announced that it plans to stop serving peanuts to protect people who are allergic to them.

"Peanuts forever will be part of Southwest's history and DNA," the company said in an emailed statement. "However, to ensure the best on-board experience for everyone, especially for customers with peanut-related allergies, we've made the difficult decision to discontinue serving peanuts on all flights beginning August 1st."

President Trump has railed against Canada for taking advantage of the U.S. when it comes to trade. A particular point of criticism is the dairy industry. Canada slaps steep tariffs on imports of milk, cheese and butter from the U.S., something Trump has called a "disgrace."

As soon as the sun comes up, Nhia Lee starts working in the garden. Lee tends a half-acre plot overflowing with fresh herbs near her home in Chepachet, R.I. She spends mornings weeding, watering and harvesting fresh lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon verbena and several varieties of mint before heading to a local warehouse to work the 3:30 to 11:30 p.m. shift.

Lee, who came to the United States in 1989 as a refugee from Laos, insists that she doesn't mind the long hours, explaining, "Immigrant people like me want opportunities to reach our goals of having a better life here."

"Six feet of rugged manhood to stir the heart of every woman."

That's how one of his early movie trailers described Tab Hunter, the blue-eyed, blond-haired actor and recording artist possessed of a facial symmetry and bone structure so conventionally handsome they seemed preternatural. He died Sunday.

Have you ever noticed something most virtual assistants have in common? They all started out female.

One of the most famous, Amazon's Alexa, got her name because of CEO Jeff Bezos' preference. "The idea was creating the Star Trek computer. The Star Trek computer was a woman," says Alex Spinelli, who ran the team that created the software for Alexa.

Spinelli is now the chief technology officer of LivePerson. His boss, CEO Robert LoCascio, is bothered by that story about Alexa.

Several months into the Trump administration's aggressive rollout of tariffs on imported products, the results are piling up across the American business landscape. And not all of them are negative.

In Hillsboro, Ore., a solar plant got a second chance at life after tariffs on imported solar panels went into effect in January.

Actor Lakeith Stanfield is having a moment. He was in Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning horror satire, Get Out. He's in the FX show show Atlanta, where he plays Darius, the stoner sidekick to a rap star who often says pretty outrageous things — like speculating what life would be like if you could use a rat as a cell phone (people in New York City would be doing pretty well, for example). And this summer, Stanfield is in the new movie, Sorry to Bother You, which he calls "an absurdist dark comedy with magical realism that's set in the world of telemarketing.

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