Business & Education

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Kolina Koltai first heard about the coronavirus back in January, but not from newspapers or TV. Instead, she read about it in anti-vaccination groups on Facebook.

"They were posting stories from China like, 'Hey, here's this mysterious illness,' or 'Here's this something that seems to be spreading,'" she said.

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Congress has ordered banks to allow most homeowners hurt financially in the pandemic to skip mortgage payments. Some renters are covered by eviction protections.

If you're asking for this kind of help, NPR wants to hear from you.

We want to know how all of this is playing out. Are banks and other lenders following the rules and working to help you? If you're a renter, is your landlord being flexible whether that's required under the law or not? We want to hear your experiences.

Google's chief executive Sundar Pichai on Wednesday apologized in the aftermath of the dismissal of a prominent Black scientist whose ouster set off widespread condemnation from thousands of Google employees and outside researchers.

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Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

The Federal Trade Commission and 48 attorneys general across the nation filed much-anticipated lawsuits against Facebook on Wednesday, accusing the social media giant of gobbling up competitive threats in a way that has entrenched its popular apps so deeply into the lives of billions of people that rivals can no longer put up a fight.

Boeing's 737 Max jet is flying commercial routes once again, as Brazil's Gol Airlines brought the jetliner back into service Wednesday. The worldwide fleet of 737 Max planes has been grounded since March 2019, after two deadly crashes raised concerns over the aircraft's safety and airworthiness.

One of the world's most influential corporate consulting firms, McKinsey & Company, says it regrets efforts to boost sales of OxyContin and other highly addictive opioids.

The rare apology follows revelations in documents made public last month for the first time that showed McKinsey working closely with Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family who sat on Purdue's board.

It was supposed to be a "cruise to nowhere," a chance for travelers to enjoy ornate buffets and onboard skydiving simulations, taking in the sea air as they follow COVID-19 safety precautions. Then, Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas was forced to return to port early after a passenger tested positive for the coronavirus.

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This week in California, water became a commodity. That means it can be traded now just like oil or gold. It's a testament to how important water is in a state that's suffering from droughts and wildfires. Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

Updated at 12:08 a.m. ET on Wednesday

The Trump appointee who runs the government's overseas broadcasters reassigned the head of the Voice of America on Tuesday as part of a broad effort to install supporters of the president before the Biden administration comes to power.

U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack is intending to name as VOA director Robert Reilly, an outspoken conservative ally who briefly served in the job under President George W. Bush nearly two decades ago.

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The Food and Drug Administration released a detailed analysis Tuesday morning of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech ahead of a Thursday meeting of a group of independent experts that will advise the agency on whether to grant the vaccine an emergency use authorization.

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

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The wild days of bringing an emotional support cat or pig or miniature horse on a plane are coming to an end. The federal government has a new rule - only dogs that meet specific training criteria will be allowed. Here's NPR's David Schaper.

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Walking through Midtown Manhattan in December is usually like navigating a chaotic maze. This year, you can actually move — easily!

For many small businesses in New York City, that drop in customer traffic is troubling. Businesses count on a big bump in revenue during the city's busy holiday season. Now, they are facing a 66% drop in tourism, restrictions on shopping and dining, and a surge in COVID-19 cases.

YouTube is filled with videos promising to teach you how to make big bucks trading stocks on your home computer. Matthew's videos tell you how to lose money.

A real estate agent and amateur investor, Matthew, who prefers his last name not be used because of how it might affect his career, made thousands of dollars trading stocks over the years, only to lose most of it day trading.

Now, in his YouTube videos, he cautions others about the perils of day trading at a time when stay-at-home measures have led millions to buy — and sell — stocks for the first time.

A federal judge on Monday fully blocked the Trump administration's attempt to ban TikTok in the U.S., the latest defeat in the White House's legal crusade against the video-sharing app.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington found that Trump overstepped his authority in using his emergency economic powers to try to effectively put the wildly popular app out of business. He was the second judge to rule against the president's ban.

Ride-hailing giant Uber is selling its autonomous vehicle research unit, Advanced Technologies Group, to the self-driving startup Aurora.

It's a significant symbolic shift for a company that just a few years ago promoted the development of self-driving technology as key to its long-term profitability.

Uber hasn't given up on the promise of autonomous vehicles. But after investing billions of dollars, it is now going to outsource that expensive effort.

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is ending production of its famous catalog, saying the thick compendium of affordable sofas, knickknacks and housewares will leave "a phenomenal 70-year legacy."

The catalog has given people around the world a chance to reimagine their surroundings, featuring everything from new shelves and chairs to an entirely revamped kitchen.

"For both customers and co-workers, the IKEA Catalog is a publication that brings a lot of emotions, memories and joy," said Konrad Grüss, managing director of Inter IKEA Systems B.V. — the worldwide Ikea franchiser.

China's economy is roaring back as Americans gobble up everything from its cellphones to its health masks, raising the stakes for trade relations with the United States as President-elect Joe Biden gets set to take over.

Data on Monday showed China notched a record $75.4 billion trade surplus in November after exports from China to the rest of the world jumped 21.1% compared to a year ago.

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In the best of times, service industry workers are typically paid below the minimum wage and rely on tips to make up the difference. Now, those still working in an industry battered by the coronavirus pandemic are on the front lines, enforcing COVID-19 safety measures at the expense of both tip earnings and avoiding harassment.

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