Post-Harvey Houston: Years Until Recovery, Plenty of Costs Unknown

When the heaviest rain of tropical storm Harvey had passed, Kathryn Clark’s west Houston neighborhood had escaped the worst. Then the dams were opened — a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent upstream flooding and potential dam failures by releasing water into Buffalo Bayou, just a few hundred feet from the end of Clark’s street. When she and her husband returned to survey the damage later…

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Some Republicans Nervous NAFTA Talks Could Fail

Pro-trade Republicans in the U.S. Congress are growing worried that U.S. President Donald Trump may try to quit the NAFTA free trade deal entirely rather than negotiate a compromise that preserves its core benefits. As a fifth round of talks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement kicked off in Mexico on Friday, several Republicans interviewed by Reuters expressed concerns that tough U.S. demands, including a five-year sunset clause…

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Unions Take NAFTA Wage Fight to Mexican Senate

The head of Canada’s biggest private-sector union headed to Mexico’s Senate on Friday, promising to fight at the NAFTA trade pact talks for improved Mexican wages and free collective bargaining as a way of benefiting workers across North America. The issue of tougher labor standards has emerged as a key sticking point in the talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, and has brought disparate groups of workers…

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US Revises NAFTA Goals to Reflect Demands in Talks

The Trump administration on Friday revised its negotiating objectives for revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement, largely to reflect the demands it has made in NAFTA talks on agriculture, intellectual property and investment. The revised objectives are now in line with U.S. proposals to eliminate Canada’s import tariffs on dairy, poultry and egg products and to allow more protections for seasonal U.S. produce that is sensitive to imports from…

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How Much Is a Life Worth, Ask Activists Fighting Slavery?

From $7 for a Rohingya refugee to $750 for a North Korean “slave wife,” human rights activists have voiced concerns that it is becoming increasingly easy to enslave another human being as the cost plummets. The average modern-day slave is sold for $90-100 compared to the equivalent of $40,000 some 200 years ago, said Kevin Bales, Professor of Contemporary Slavery at Britain’s University of Nottingham. “There has been a collapse…

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Experts: Puerto Rico May Struggle for More Than a Decade

Puerto Rico could face more than a decade of further economic stagnation and a steep drop in population as a result of Hurricane Maria, experts say. The stark estimates were presented this wee to members of a federal control board overseeing finances of a U.S. territory that is already in the 11th year of a recession. “The situation is dire to say the least, with destroyed infrastructure, lack of power…

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Despite Health Risks, Undocumented Immigrants Clean Up Houston

It’s been more than two months since Hurricane Harvey destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes across Houston and east Texas, and cleanup is expected to last 20 months, overtaking Hurricane Katrina as the most expensive rebuilding effort in U.S. history. Undocumented workers are part of the daunting task of reconstructing America’s fourth-largest city. VOA’s Ramon Taylor reports they are doing so despite multiple risks. …

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Big Businesses From Apple to Walmart Say Train Suppliers to Stamp Out Slavery

Businesses striving to stamp out slavery from their supply chains should not dismiss struggling suppliers but train them to improve the lives of workers, and technology can play a part, leading companies including Apple and Walmart said on Wednesday. In recent years modern-day slavery has increasingly come under the global spotlight, putting ever greater regulatory and consumer pressure on firms to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labor,…

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Trump Pushing House Republicans to Adopt Tax Overhaul

U.S. President Donald Trump pushed Thursday for adoption of a wide-ranging overhaul of the country’s complex tax laws as he met with the majority Republican caucus in the House of Representatives shortly before a scheduled vote on the issue. Republican leaders in the House have voiced optimism that they have enough votes to approve the changes that would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent, one of the higher…

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House Republicans Await Audience With Trump on Tax Overhaul

Republicans are muscling their massive tax bill through the House, with President Donald Trump urging them on to a critically needed legislative victory and GOP House leaders exuding confidence they have the votes. But the tax overhaul hit a roadblock Wednesday as Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin became the first Republican senator to say he opposes his party’s politically must-do tax legislation. That signaled potential problems for GOP leaders. Passage…

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