Economy & Business

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Joe Diaz

Kimberly Spires donates breast milk to mothers and babies who need it. It’s not always an easy thing to do when she’s on the job as a captain in the Texas National Guard. 

"I mean, I've had to pump in Humvees," said Spires. "That was the big one." 

Dressed in her fatigues, Spires said she donates her surplus milk for free because she has assisted in too many disasters and seen other moms lose their entire milk supply. But keeping her milk coming isn't always easy.

Walmart releases its quarterly results tomorrow, and they should be interesting. The world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer has been scrambling to take on another retail titan -- Amazon. Walmart recently lowered the minimum purchase amount for free two-day shipping to $35. And if you're willing to pick up your online order at the local Walmart store, there's no shipping charge at all. Will free two-day shipping be enough to take on Amazon?

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Sam Harnett

You have probably come across the phrase "wage hike" a lot lately, especially since 19 states increased the minimum wage in January.

It's used by journalists everywhere, and that's no surprise to Katherine Connor Martin, head of U.S. dictionaries at Oxford University Press, publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary. “‘Hike’ is a typical journalist word because it makes its copy punchier, it helps avoid redundancy, and it fits better in a headline,” she said.

02/20/17: An economics linguistic lesson

Feb 20, 2017
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Sam Harnett

When you read a story about minimum wage or hear a story about it on air, chances are we use the word "hike." It's short, it's punchy, but it also has some negative connotations attached to it. We take a look at the linguistics behind the word shaping our conversations about minimum wage. Also on today's show: New Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt takes control of the agency this week. What will his EPA look like?

President Donald Trump picked his new National Security Adviser today. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will replace Michael Flynn, who resigned after withholding information about a call with Russia's ambassador. Tomorrow, Scott Pruitt -- another high-profile appointee -- will take his job as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Pruitt has a complicated past with his new agency. He sued the EPA 14 times when he the was Attorney General of Oklahoma. The Trump administration has said it wants to move quickly to dismantle some of the Obama administration's regulation.

Sitting inside a glass-encased cockpit, two men fiddle with joysticks controlling giant claws outside. They look like they're playing at a vending machine at a mall, where you try to grasp a stuffed animal. But these are engineers. The claws they're manipulating are as big as houses, and they're sifting through hundreds of tons of garbage thrown away by the world's largest consumer class.

Canada increases immigration to build its workforce

Feb 20, 2017

Two years ago, Canada passed a troubling milestone. The number of people age 65 and over surpassed those age 14 and under.  To bolster its workforce, the country is increasingly relying on immigrants and has brought in more than 800,000 over the past five years. But with a twist. More than half of those immigrants came in through a system that awards points for things like age, education and language fluency.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

About 13 years ago, The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vt., released a new IPA called Heady Topper. The brewer, John Kimmich, had decided to neither filter nor pasteurize the beer — both common methods of extending a commercial beer's shelf life. The result was an IPA thicker with the microscopic compounds and particulates that add flavor and aroma. Customers noticed and praised the beer as being especially tasty.

How an old shipyard became a home for hardware startups

Feb 20, 2017
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Stephanie Hughes and Bruce Johnson

New York City is known for lots of things, but having plenty of space isn’t one of them. And space is what you need when you’re creating hardware--the actual stuff that makes our technology work.

New Lab is a new facility located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a massive building that was once used to build ships. Now, New Lab is receiving a tax credit to house companies that are building new hardware. But if those companies are successful, will they able to remain in New York City?

Presidents Day is a time to reflect on the giants. Lincoln. Jefferson. Washington.

And of course, mattress sales.

"You go hunting when the ducks are flying," says Kevin Damewood, the executive vice president of sales and marketing at Kingsdown, a mattress manufacturer.

He says three-day weekends are when people have time to shop for a new mattress. It's also when many people decide to move, and consequently when many people are in the market for a new mattress.

The Republican Congress is using a little-known law to reverse regulations put into place by President Barack Obama in the waning days of his presidency, including rules on gun control, environmental issues, and federal contracting. The Congressional Review Act, which got bipartisan support when it was passed in 1996, requires a veto-proof majority in the House and Senate, and gives Congress a limited amount of time to act.

Unilever has shot down Kraft Heinz's $143 billion proposal to merge the two companies. We'll explore why it may have to do with an election in the Netherlands. Afterwards, we'll look at the reason mattresses are being heavily promoted today; Canada's reliance on immigrants to bolster its workforce; and an architectural design aimed at making your home ideal for Airbnb-like pursuits.

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FRANK MARTIN

Home sharing through websites like Airbnb has become increasingly popular and can give hosts some cash on the side. In Houston, Lydia Afeman has come up with an architectural design for her townhome that takes the concept further: It aims to make her house easier to divide, so that sharing can become a steady source of income.

It’s a two-story building that looks pretty plain from the outside — it’s a white rectangle without many windows. But it’s what’s inside that makes this home special.

E-commerce giant Amazon is one of seven retailers entering a pilot program allowing some food stamp users to order groceries online. The first states to participate with Amazon starting this summer are New York, New Jersey and Maryland, though other states are working with different participating companies. Last year, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provided food assistance to about 44 million low-income Americans. What’s the business incentive for Amazon to do this?

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

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Greg Presto

The comic book character Ikoyo is a warrior from the Jangwa nation. And he carries a big stick. He swings hard and crack — whacks his enemies in the ear.

“The spear he has some magical runes on it that make them extend. It’s some form of enchanted wood,” said Morietz Muthui. He’s the artist behind Ikoyo’s battle scene. It’s part of a comic book called "The Continent" printed on glossy paper and sold here in Kenya for 200 shillings, about $2.

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