US Economic Growth a Bit Faster Than First Thought, But Still Slow

The U.S. economy grew a little faster than first thought in January, February and March. The Commerce Department said Thursday the world’s largest economy expanded at a 1.4 percent annual rate in the first quarter. This is two-tenths of a percent faster than first thought, a rate that many economists called disappointing. Economists routinely revise these figures as more complete data becomes available. Analysts said consumer spending, which drives two-thirds…

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Myanmar Mobile Project Helps Lift Young Workers Out of Poverty

It’s six o’clock in the evening, Saw Ku Do reviews his English lessons shortly after finishing an 11-hour shift serving food and sweeping the floor at the tea shop where he works. “Dog, cat, pig,” he said while looking at his notebook. Saw Ku Do, age 15, only has a second grade education. He dropped out of school to go to work to help support his family. He says his…

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US Farmers Plow Through Uncertain Trade Environment

Many Americans in rural parts of the United States voted to elect Donald Trump as president in 2016, despite his stance against trade agreements. In the wake of the President Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, or TPP, and now curbing trade with Cuba, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on how farmers in the Midwest state of Illinois are reacting, and adjusting, to the uncertain road ahead….

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Uber, Others Change Vietnam’s Motorbike Culture

Nguyen Kim Lan used to make a decent living shuttling customers around town on his Honda motorbike. But his clientele has dwindled as young and tech-savvy Vietnamese increasingly use ride-hailing apps like Uber and Grab to summon cheaper, safer motorbike taxis.   The expansion of the ride-hailing services across Southeast Asia is shaking up traditional motorcycle taxi services that are a key source of informal work for people like Lan….

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Cuba Expects Tourism Growth Despite Trump’s Crackdown on US Travel

Cuba earned more than $3 billion from tourism in 2016 and expects to better that this year despite President Donald Trump’s tightening of restrictions on U.S. travel to the Caribbean island, a government official said on Wednesday. “In 2016, revenue reached more than $3 billion in all activity linked to tourism in the country,” Jose Alonso, the Tourism Ministry’s business director, told state-run media. “We think that, given the growth…

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Taiwan Activist Urges Crackdown Against Floating Sweatshops

Three videos from a mobile phone that described the beatings of an Indonesian crewman aboard a Taiwan-flagged vessel led Allison Lee to find her role as an advocate for those afflicted: migrant fishermen.   Lee, the co-founder of the Yilan Migrant Fishermen Union, was recognized by the United States for safeguarding the rights of foreign fishermen working in Taiwan.     In accepting her award in Washington on Tuesday, she…

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Fed Approves Dividend, Buyback Plans of All 34 Biggest Banks

The Federal Reserve has given the green light to all 34 of the biggest banks in the U.S. to raise their dividends and buy back shares, judging their financial foundations sturdy enough to withstand a major economic downturn. It was the first time in seven years of annual “stress tests” that every bank assessed by the Fed won approval for its capital plans. All have at least $50 billion in…

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America’s Cup Foiling Technology Set to Fly Beyond Racing Boats

From water taxis that “fly” on hydrofoils to aircraft wings and cutting-edge car steering wheels, the America’s Cup has produced technology with potential far beyond its “foiling” catamarans. With their focus on carbon fiber and aerodynamics, the teams that fought for the America’s Cup attracted partners including planemaker Airbus and automotive groups BMW and Land Rover who were keen to learn from them. One area where this is likely to…

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Red-hot Iceland Keeps Some Investors Out in the Cold

Iceland spent nearly a decade trying to keep foreign money in the country after a financial collapse, now it is trying to keep some of it out. The economy is booming again and hedge funds and other foreign investors want exposure to a surging tourism sector, banks, property, infrastructure and the soaring krona currency. Most capital controls from the 2008 banking crisis were lifted in March, allowing money to flow…

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A Decade Ago, Apple’s iPhone Transformed the World

In the two years leading up to June 29, 2007, when Apple’s iPhone went on sale, company co-founder Steve Jobs and a select team were hard at work secretly designing what would become a global game changer.  The initiative even had a code name, “Project Purple.” By all accounts, the project was pained.  Inside a secure room, a collection of super smart techies, ate, slept, worked way beyond the typical eight…

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