US Agency Names 4 Firms to Build Border Wall Prototypes

U.S. Customs and Border Protection selected four construction companies Thursday to erect prototypes of the Mexican border wall that President Donald Trump has said he intends to build to deter illegal immigration and smuggling. The four firms, from four different U.S. states, are to build solid-concrete prototypes of the border wall within 30 days, once they are given a notice to proceed. Those four sample walls will then be tested…

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Tesla Starts Production of Solar Cells in Buffalo, New York

Tesla Inc. is starting production of the cells for its solar roof tiles at its factory in Buffalo, New York.   The company has already begun installing its solar roofs, which look like regular roofs but are made of glass tiles. But until now, it has been making them on a small scale near its vehicle factory in Fremont, California.   Tesla’s Chief Technical Officer, JB Straubel, says the company…

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NAFTA Nations Plan Talks Progress Under Barrage of Trump Threats

Trade negotiators plan to take small steps forward in a second round of talks to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) this weekend, trying to ignore daily threats from U.S. President Donald Trump to tear it up if he does not get his way. Trump has used Twitter, press conferences and speeches to attack NAFTA in recent days, a ploy Mexican and Canadian officials regard as a negotiating…

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French Labor Reform Gives Firms Flexibility

The French government said on Thursday it would cap unfair dismissal payouts and give companies more flexibility to adapt pay and working hours to market conditions in a labor reform France’s biggest union said was disappointing. The reform, President Emmanuel Macron’s first major policy step since his election in May, is also the first big test of his plans to reform the euro zone’s second-biggest economy. For decades governments of…

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Trump’s Immigrant Crackdown Could Slow Houston Rebuilding

In the coming weeks, as Houston turns its attention to rebuilding areas devastated by Tropical Storm Harvey, people like Jay De Leon are likely to play an outsized role — if they stay around. De Leon, 47, owns a small construction business in Houston, and he and his 10 employees do exactly the kind of demolition and refurbishing the city will need. But like a large number of construction workers…

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Michigan, North Dakota Among States Likely to be Hurt by NAFTA Changes

Michigan is likely to be the state most hurt by changes to the NAFTA trade agreement, according to a Fitch Ratings report released Wednesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump renewed threats to scrap the deal. Trump has threatened three times in the past week to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement, revisiting his view that the United States would probably have to start the process of exiting the accord…

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US-funded Ethiopian Abattoir Hopes to Help Herders During Drought

An abattoir located among herding communities in Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region, known more for droughts and famine than business opportunities, is an unusual stop for a U.S. aid administrator. But USAID chief Mark Green stopped at the Jijiga Export Slaughter House (JESH) during a visit to the town of Jijiga on Wednesday to see the effects of a crippling drought that has pushed some areas to the south to the…

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Change in US Policy Makes It Harder to Rebuild for Future Floods

Two weeks before Harvey’s floodwaters engulfed much of Houston, President Donald Trump quietly rolled back an order by his predecessor that would have made it easier for storm-ravaged communities to use federal emergency aid to rebuild bridges, roads and other structures so they can better withstand future disasters. Now, with much of the nation’s fourth-largest city under water, Trump’s move has new resonance. Critics note the president’s order could force…

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IMF Says Transport, Food Costs Are Up in Qatar After Rift

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that transportation and food costs in Qatar had “edged up” because of a diplomatic rift that led four Arab countries to cut ties with the small Gulf state. An IMF team visited the capital, Doha, this week, saying in a statement that Qatar’s government was able to soften the immediate impact of trade disruptions, but that some costs had gone up as a result…

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Waiting, Watching: Business Owners Worry About Harvey Damage

With the animals sent to safety before Harvey hit, the owners of CityVet in Houston kept watch on their empty practice by security camera, hoping not to see floodwaters rush in. But they lost the video stream Monday morning, apparently when power to the building near Houston’s Galleria failed. So, it was impossible to assess if any damage was occurring, said Paul Kline, a veterinarian based in and watching from…

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