Solar Boom or Bust? Companies Seek Tariffs on Solar Imports

Cheap solar panels imported from China and other countries have led to a boom in the U.S. solar industry, where rooftop and other installations have surged 10-fold since 2011. But two U.S. solar manufacturers say the flood of imports has led one to bankruptcy and forced the other to lay off three-quarters of its workforce. The International Trade Commission is set to decide Friday whether the imports, primarily from Asia,…

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Mercedes-Benz to Invest $1 Billion in US Electric Car Plant 

German carmaker Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to invest $1 billion to start making electric vehicles at its manufacturing plant in the southern U.S. state of Alabama. The luxury automaker said it will manufacture electric SUVs under Mercedes’ EQ subbrand at the plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in just more than three years. The expansion is expected to create 600 jobs. Daimler-Benz, which has more than 30 plants worldwide, said the Tuscaloosa…

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Next Round of NAFTA Talks Take on Thornier Issues

The United States will present new proposals and begin to weigh into thornier issues of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the third round of negotiations starting in Ottawa Saturday, U.S. chief negotiator John Melle said Thursday. The stepped-up negotiations come with four more rounds of talks left after Ottawa and a self-imposed year-end deadline to finish the talks before Mexico launches campaigning for its July presidential election. “With…

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Rohingya Crisis Dents Myanmar Hopes of Western Investment Boom

When officials from Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon toured six European countries in June, they were hoping to drum up investment in transport, energy and education. Instead, they were bombarded with questions about the country’s treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority, who have long complained of persecution by the Buddhist majority in the oil-rich, ethnically divided, western state of Rakhine. “In each of every country, that issue was always brought up,”…

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China’s Small Factories Fear ‘Rail Armageddon’ with Orders to Ditch Trucks

Thousands of small factories in China, making everything from steel to chemicals, are scrambling for access to the country’s clogged rail network as Beijing curbs the use of diesel trucks in an effort to tackle air pollution. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) last month gave tens of thousands of companies in 28 cities until Nov. 1 to halve their use of diesel trucks over the winter months, when pollution…

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Trafficking, Debt Bondage Rampant in Thai Fishing Industry, Study Finds

More than a third of migrant fishermen in Thailand clearly were victims of trafficking over the past five years, and even more workers in the industry were possibly trafficked as well, according to a report published Thursday. Routinely underpaid and physically abused, three-quarters of migrants working on Thai fishing vessels have been in debt bondage, working to pay off an obligation, said the study by the anti-trafficking group International Justice…

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The ATM at 50: How It’s Changed Consumer Behavior

An automated teller machine. The cash machine. In Britain, a cashpoint. ATMs, known for spitting out $20 bills (and imposing fees if you pick the wrong one), turn 50 years old this year. They’re ubiquitous – and possibly still a necessity, despite the big changes in how people pay for things. It was a radical move when Barclays installed cash machines in a London suburb in 1967. The utilitarian machine…

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French Protesters Stage Fresh Protests to Macron’s Labor Law

French labor unions staged fresh protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s contested labor law reforms Thursday — a day before he adopts them by executive order.   The nationwide action backed by the powerful, hard-left CGT trade union, saw protesters take to the streets in the second round of public opposition to the long-touted reforms that will give more power to employers to hire and fire workers. Macron says that’s needed to…

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Claims for US Jobless Aid Fall as Hurricane Impact Recedes

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.   The Labor Department said Thursday that the less-volatile four-week average rose by 6,000 to 268,750. Overall, nearly 2 million Americans are collecting jobless aid, down almost 6 percent from a year ago.   In early September, jobless claims shot up by the most in five…

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Fed Agency Urging Corporate Cybersecurity Upgrades Hacked

The federal agency responsible for ensuring that markets function as they should and for protecting investors was hacked last year and the intruders may have used the nonpublic information they obtained to profit illegally.   The disclosure arrived two months after a government watchdog said deficiencies in the computer systems of the Securities and Exchange Commission put the system, and the information it contains, at risk.   In July, the…

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