Business & Education

Business & education news

Jack Ma is one of the world's most successful business people. And, until recently, he was also quite talkative.

The founder of China's giant company Alibaba often turned up in interviews or at conferences. In 2017, he spoke at the World Economic Forum.

"Every day is uncertain. The only certain day was yesterday," he said.

The man who said every day is uncertain now faces an uncertain fate. And the man who so often spoke in public has not appeared in months. He recently missed scheduled TV appearances.

Boeing will pay more than $2.5 billion to settle a criminal charge related to the two 737 Max plane crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.

The Justice Department has announced that it has reached a deferred prosecution agreement with Boeing to resolve a charge of criminal conspiracy to defraud the FAA.

Simon & Schuster says it has decided not to publish a forthcoming book by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, citing the lawmaker's role in fomenting this week's "disturbing [and] deadly insurrection" at the U.S. Capitol.

Hawley quickly fired back at the publisher, calling the move "Orwellian" and an "assault on the First Amendment."

Updated Friday at 7:40 p.m. ET

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, the first woman to lead the country's smallest state, has been named President-elect Joe Biden's intended nominee for commerce secretary.

Boeing will pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it repeatedly concealed and lied about the 737 Max's engineering problems that led to two catastrophic crashes claiming hundreds of lives.

The company admitted to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of the deferred prosecution agreement announced on Thursday and will face no further charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Facebook said Thursday it is banning President Trump until the end of his presidency and possibly longer. It is the most forceful action a social network has taken against Trump, who has spent months using social media to amplify disinformation and cast doubt on his loss in the presidential election.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that removing or labeling Trump's posts is not enough in the current environment in which Trump has used Facebook to encourage mob violence on the U.S. Capitol.

Nearly two weeks before most states started vaccinating anyone in nursing homes, pharmacist Gretchen Garofoli went to a long-term care facility in Morgantown, W.Va., on Dec. 15 and administered one of the first COVID-19 vaccinations in the state.

"Psychologically, yes, it was a beacon of hope," she says.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Twitter on Wednesday put President Trump on notice: If he does not stop breaking the platform's rules, he will be permanently banned.

The stern warning followed another step never before taken by Twitter: It locked Trump out of his account for 12 hours after the removal of three tweets that the company said were a "severe violation" of Twitter's rules.

Updated at 7:54 pm ET

One of the Trump administration's biggest environmental rollbacks suffered a stunning setback Wednesday, as a decades-long push to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ended with a lease sale that attracted just three bidders — one of which was the state of Alaska itself.

Alaska's state-owned economic development corporation was the only bidder on nine of the parcels offered for lease in the northernmost swath of the refuge, known as the coastal plain. Two small companies also each picked up a single parcel.

Germany has taken a step toward requiring what has not happened voluntarily: putting women on the management boards of the country's largest companies.

On Wednesday, Germany's cabinet approved a draft law that would require stock exchange-listed companies with executive boards of more than three members to have at least one woman and one man on those boards.

The New York Stock Exchange says it will proceed with delisting three Chinese telecom companies — a move that was originally prompted by an executive order from President Trump. It's the exchange's third statement about its plan in the past week.

The push to delist the companies stems from an executive order Trump signed in November. China has threatened to retaliate for the move. The three companies are large, led by China Mobile Ltd.'s market capitalization of around $115 billion.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

If you're looking to buy a new handbag, some cognac or a lipstick, you could be looking at higher prices. That's because the Trump administration is putting new tariffs on goods from Europe.

NPR's Scott Horsley explains why.

President Trump has signed an executive order banning business with several leading Chinese technology companies, claiming apps run by the companies have the ability to spy on Americans, including federal employees.

Trump's order seeks to prohibit transactions with eight companies including Alipay, owned by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma; the payment platform on the popular app WeChat; and a Chinese messaging service called QQ owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent.

Other software apps included in the order are CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, VMate and WPS Office.

The New York Stock Exchange is reversing its plan to delist three Chinese telecom companies — a move that was prompted by an executive order from President Trump. The Trump administration has alleged that some Chinese companies funnel money to China's military. China had threatened to retaliate for the move.

Hospitals are facing the new year with new requirements to post price information they have long sought to obscure: the actual prices they negotiate with insurers and the discounts they offer their cash-paying customers.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

More than 200 engineers and other workers have formed a union at Google, a breakthrough in labor organizing in Silicon Valley where workers have clashed with executives over workplace culture, diversity and ethics.

Across half a dozen Google offices in the U.S. and Canada, 226 workers signed cards to form the Alphabet Workers Union, the group said on Monday. They are supported by the Communications Workers of America, which represents workers in telecommunications and media.

When Ashwani Sheoran showed up for early morning shifts at pharmacies in rural Michigan wearing his white Walmart smock, he often found customers waiting, desperate for bottles of pain pills.

"I see my patients, 15 to 20, already lined up to get prescriptions filled for morphine sulfate, oxycodone and other straight narcotics," he said.

This was in 2012 when the prescription opioid epidemic was exploding, killing tens of thousands of Americans every year.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As stores are about to open on Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan, a man sits on a stool at the front of a line of people waiting for COVID-19 tests. The time "5:38 a.m." is scrawled on the pavement in front of him in eye-catching yellow.

"I let my chalk do the talking," says Robert Samuel, explaining that he wants people to see how early he showed up for his client, and that he could do the same for them.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This winter, millions of small businesses are barely surviving. Congress has approved another round of loans to help those businesses. But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, it won't be enough for those closest to the edge.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

The campaign to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 is getting off to a slower start than officials had hoped - much slower.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We have a brand-new year, which begins with the very same economy that we had yesterday. But what are the trend lines for 2021? NPR chief economic correspondent Scott Horsley joins us. Scott, Happy New Year.

The group behind the suspected Russian attack into U.S. government agencies and private companies was able to hack into Microsoft's internal systems and access some of the company's source code, the tech giant said in a blog post on Thursday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

No one predicted what a tumultuous, stomach-churning year 2020 would be for the stock markets. And few foresaw how well it would end up.

Here are the highlights:

Stocks in meltdown

Between Feb. 12 and March 23, the Dow lost a stunning 37% of its value.

Pages