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In the days before the insurrection attempt on the Capitol, alternative social media site Gab was lighting up about it.

Some of the discussion on the social media, which is popular among Trump diehards, veered into a level of specificity that caused alarm among outside observers.

"There were directions provided on Gab for which streets to take to avoid the police," said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League. "And which tools to use to help pry open the doors."

The new president of the federally funded Radio Free Asia network most recently ran a consulting company from Boise, Idaho that has represented foreign governments and interests. Among them is Taiwan.

That connection has startled veterans of the international broadcaster.

"Are you serious?" said Libby Liu, who led Radio Free Asia for 14 years. "I don't think it's appropriate for a registered lobbyist for a foreign government to be leading a free-press organization, even democracies we support and admire."

Parler calls itself a "conservative microblogging alternative" to Twitter and "the world's premier free speech platform."

But it's been offline for five days, and possibly forever, after Amazon kicked Parler off of its Web hosting service.

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As the nation grapples with a slower-than-promised coronavirus vaccine rollout, one federal deal to increase factory capacity includes an unusual condition: the manufacturer would be allowed to earmark doses to vaccinate employees and their families, giving them an opportunity to skip the line that public health policymakers have been crafting for months.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

Some 6,000 workers at Amazon's warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., will begin voting next month on a groundbreaking possibility: the first union in the company's U.S. history.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

Restaurants and bars are reeling from persistent spikes of coronavirus cases and related restrictions in their communities, driving retail spending in December down for the third month in a row.

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Updated at 8 pm ET

President-elect Joe Biden has long pledged he would deliver an aggressive plan to address the raging coronavirus pandemic and the painful recession it spawned.

On Thursday, he did just that, proposing an ambitious $1.9 trillion relief plan that includes $1,400 stimulus checks, additional benefits for the unemployed, as well hundreds of billions of dollars for struggling businesses and local governments.

Copyright 2021 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

As COVID-19 deaths and illnesses mount, essential workers — who are denied the chance to work from home — are struggling to stay safe. And it's far from clear whether the federal government is doing enough to protect them, according to a former top federal workplace safety official.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration official, Deborah Berkowitz, said the Trump administration has neglected COVID-19 safety at meatpacking plants and many other workplaces.

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Well, people in California are reeling from surge after surge of COVID-19, with many businesses, including restaurants, still under strict lockdown.

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Playboy.

Glamour.

O.

Teen Vogue.

All these magazines have something in common.

They're no longer in print.

While these — and many other — publications have shifted to digital only in recent years, there's a print magazine bucking the trends and still going strong: Thrasher magazine. Created by skateboarders for skateboarders, Thrasher celebrates its 40th anniversary this month.

"The right decision" is how Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey characterized banning President Trump from the social media platform. But he lamented that the move was divisive and sets a precedent that Dorsey said is dangerous to a "free and open global internet."

In his 13-tweet thread, Dorsey said the "offline harm" posed by Trump's tweets drove the company to kick the president off of Twitter.

After several disruptive incidents and confrontations on flights to and from Washington, D.C., last week, federal authorities are now cracking down on unruly airline passengers.

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration signed an order Wednesday to enforce a "zero-tolerance" policy against passengers who engage in threatening or disruptive behavior on commercial airline flights.

Before Amazon took down Parler, the messaging app favored by far-right activists, Amazon says it flagged dozens of instance of violent and hateful posts that Parler "systematically failed" to remove.

The two companies are facing off in court after Amazon's decision to stop hosting Parler took the website offline on Monday. Parler remained unavailable on Wednesday morning. Its app was also blocked by Google and Apple.

Updated at 11:28 a.m. ET

Airbnb says it is canceling reservations made in the Washington, D.C., metro area during inauguration week, citing various officials' requests that people not travel to the area during this time.

The service will also block new bookings in the area during that period. Airbnb says it will refund guests whose reservations were canceled and reimburse hosts for the money they would have earned from the canceled reservations.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that in light of President Trump's role in last week's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, New York City is cutting its business ties with the president's company.

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Beating back the pandemic may come down to simple math: getting enough people vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says the country will likely need a vaccination level of between 70% and 90% to reach herd immunity.

Updated 12:48 p.m.

Among some prominent Republicans, inside social media companies and in other major institutions throughout society, a reckoning has erupted following the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

Not at the Fox News Channel, however. On the contrary, the network that has helped shape conservative politics in the U.S. for more than two decades has yet to acknowledge how the heated rhetoric radiating from its shows and stars may have helped inspire the pro-Trump rampage.

YouTube, citing "the ongoing potential for violence," has suspended President Trump's account for at least a week.

The social media platform is the latest to take action against Trump following a riot at the U.S. Capitol last week organized by the president's supporters. The attack forced lawmakers into hiding and resulted in the deaths of five people, including an officer of the Capitol Police.

Automakers around the world, from Japan to Texas, are grappling with a global shortage of computer chips.

Copyright 2021 Interlochen Public Radio. To see more, visit Interlochen Public Radio.

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Voice of America White House reporter Patsy Widakuswara was reassigned Monday evening just hours after pressing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on whether he regretted saying there would be a second Trump administration after President-elect Joe Biden's victory was apparent.

Updated at 12:27 p.m. ET

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, one of the most prolific donors in conservative politics, died Monday night at the age of 87 due to complications from treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to a statement from Las Vegas Sands, the company he founded.

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We know there are some Americans who are hesitant to get vaccinated. So there's this idea out there to give them money to encourage them, and it's supported by a number of economists and politicians - essentially, a government cash-for-shots program. But there are those who do say it could backfire. NPR's Uri Berliner has more.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money's newsletter. You can sign up here.

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