Economy & Business

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It's once again time for the annual ritual of fear and loathing, also known as the performance review — at least for the companies that still do them.

Many have abandoned the old way of evaluating their employees in recent years. Last year, even General Electric — whose former CEO Jack Welch championed the system often known as "rank and yank" — did away with its annual review.

What's taking the old system's place? A hodgepodge of experiments, essentially.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Cubans are bracing for a tough end of the year, after what has already been a rough summer. The island's economy is in trouble. Venezuela, Cuba's main patron and supplier of cheap oil, has slashed its generous subsidies, while Cuba's other top cash commodities are facing worldwide price plunges.

Since the U.S. and Cuba improved relations and President Obama made his historic trip to the island in March, expectations had been running high among Cubans that better economic times were coming.

The U.S. trails Switzerland and Singapore in economic competitiveness in a new global index that finds America's infrastructure, health system and primary education are all lagging. The World Economic Forum's index also notes three U.S. strengths: Its large market, financial sophistication and labor efficiency.

There are less than 500 North Atlantic right whales left in the world. And now, one less: This weekend, one of the 45-ton creatures was found dead off the coast of Maine, completely entangled in fishing line — head, flippers and all.

This was not an isolated incident.

Let's face it: this election cycle has been a bit disheartening for many voters. The candidates are the two most unpopular major party presidential candidates on record and a massive number of people won't commit to either one.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Commercial trade of pangolins, the aardvark-like mammal that is the world's most-trafficked animal, has been officially banned by the international body responsible for regulating the international trade of endangered species.

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Kai Ryssdal

The sixth biggest economy in the world came after Wells Fargo today.

Who failed at overseeing Wells Fargo?

Sep 28, 2016
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Sabri Ben-Achour

“Two million phony accounts. Break them up!” demanded California Democrat Brad Sherman in reference to Wells Fargo’s deceptive banking practices. He was putting the demand to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at a House Financial Services Committee hearing today.

Her response: “We will hold the largest [financial] organizations to exceptionally high standards of risk management, internal controls and consumer protection.”

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Andy Uhler

The merger of the world’s largest and world’s second largest brewers was agreed upon by shareholders today.

AB InBev won approval to acquire SAB Miller for more than $100 billion. The deal means that about one in every four beers sold around the world will be a product of this mega-brewer.

Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers association, said the new company is going to look to emerging markets.  

“This wasn’t about the U.S. market as much as it was about developing markets where SAB Miller was strong and where AB InBev was weak,” he said.

For all the changes wrought by the sexual harassment scandal that brought down former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, the Murdoch family that controls the network has held one goal paramount: to maintain continuity.

More than a quarter of the Food and Drug Administration employees who approved cancer and hematology drugs from 2001 through 2010 left the agency and now work or consult for pharmaceutical companies, according to research published by a prominent medical journal Tuesday.

Dr. Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist and assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University, sought to understand the so-called "revolving door" between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry, which he said is often discussed but hadn't been quantified.

Marketplace for Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sep 28, 2016
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Scott Tong

Today on the show, we look at efforts to reduce airplane emissions and solve airplane crashes. Plus: Part two of our look at manufacturing in Rochester, New York and a massive beer merger.

How to solve a plane crash

Sep 28, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

The Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that crashed in July 2014 was shot down by a Russian-made missile, according a Dutch-led team of international investigators.

Christine Negroni was not one of those investigators, but she has been a part of others. She also wrote the new book, "The Crash Detectives: Investigating the World's Most Mysterious Air Disasters."

On starting an investigation:

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