China Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Pace in 5 Years

An official survey released Saturday said that China’s factory activity expanded in September at the fastest pace in five years, as the country’s vital manufacturing sector stepped up production to meet strong demand. The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 52.4 in September, up from 51.7 in the previous month and the highest level since April 2012. The report by the Federation of Logistics & Purchasing said production, new…

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Untangling US Tax System

Nearly all U.S. taxpayers say American tax law, which runs tens of thousands of pages, is an incredibly complicated, annoying mess. And there is no agreement on how to fix the problem. Republicans recently outlined a new effort they say will be clearer, fairer and helpful to the economy. Critics say the Republican plan would cut taxes for the rich and increase the U.S. debt. VOA’s Jim Randle looks at…

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Unintended Social Consequences Catching up to Facebook

Years of limited oversight and unchecked growth have turned Facebook into a force with incredible power over the lives of its 2 billion users. But the social network has also given rise to unintended social consequences, and they’re starting to catch up with it: House and Senate panels investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections have invited Facebook, along with Google and Twitter, to testify this fall. Facebook just agreed…

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IMF Chief tells Central Bankers to not Dismiss Bitcoin

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has a message for the world’s central bankers: Don’t be Luddites. Addressing a conference in London on Friday, Lagarde said virtual currencies, which are created and exchanged without the involvement of banks or government, could in time be embraced by countries with unstable currencies or weak domestic institutions. “In many ways, virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy…

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Researchers Seek Cheaper, Energy-efficient Ways of Producing Clean Water

Having enough clean drinking water has been a challenge in many parts of the world, whether it’s a place where water is scarce or abundant. The World Health Organization finds 3 in 10 people globally still lack safe drinking water at home. The U.S. Department of Energy has just announced it is providing up to $15 million in funding for projects to develop solar desalination technology to create freshwater at…

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Search for Cheaper, Energy-efficient Ways of Creating Clean Water

Having enough clean drinking water has been a challenge in many parts of the world, whether it is a place where water is scarce or abundant. The U.S. Department of Energy has just announced it is providing $15 million in funding for projects to develop solar desalination technology at a lower cost. But even before this announcement, researchers had been working on better ways of desalinating water. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee…

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Telescope Moves Forward on Land Sacred to Native Hawaiians

A long-running effort to build one of the world’s largest telescopes on a mountain sacred to Native Hawaiians is moving forward after a key approval Thursday, reopening divisions over a project that promises revolutionary views into the heavens but has drawn impassioned protests over the impact to a spiritual place. Hawaii’s land board granted a construction permit for the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope atop the state’s tallest mountain, called…

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Tree-trimming Company Hit With Record Fine for Hiring Undocumented Workers

The government has fined U.S. tree-trimming company a record $95 million for knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants. U.S. prosecutors said the fine against Philadelphia-based Asplundh Tree Expert Co. was the largest criminal penalty ever imposed in an immigration case. Prosecutors said company managers deliberately looked the other way while supervisors knowingly hired thousands of undocumented workers between 2010 and 2014. The prosecutors said this gave Asplundh a large workforce ready to…

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Even With Billions Online, Digital Gender Divide Persists

Around the world, women are using technology to overcome barriers in education and employment. Getting online, however, remains a challenge for many women in developing countries.   In the United States, the issue isn’t access to technology, but the lack of women pursuing technical careers. Beginning Oct. 4 in Orlando, Florida, female leaders will discuss the digital gender divide at Voice of America’s town hall at the Grace Hopper Celebration…

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