BC-US-Business Features Digest,1st Ld-Writethru, US
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GROWING UP DIGITAL-TECH AND CAMP — With summer in full swing, thousands of kids at sleepaway camps around the U.S. are doing without their cell phones, laptops and iPads. So how’s it going? Camp directors, parents and kids themselves say it’s not as bad as some would think. About 90 percent of the nearly 8,400 sleepaway camps counted by the American Camp Association are now device free. By Leanne Italie, SENT: Friday, 864 words, photo.
TECH COMPANIES-FREE SPEECH — Social media bans of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have thrust Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others into a role they never wanted — as gatekeepers of public discourse who are going to anger lots of people no matter what they do. But they should have seen this coming as they built huge businesses by sweeping away existing gatekeepers while promising to protect their users from harassment and abuse. By Barbara Ortutay, SENT: Friday, 939 words, photos.
TAX OVERHAUL-SMALL BUSINESS-WINNERS & LOSERS — Architects and engineers are still in. Accountants, doctors and lawyers remain out — mostly. New rules floated by the Trump administration lay out what kinds of businesses can take a 20 percent deduction against income taxes under the new tax law. With the proposed rules issued Wednesday, the Treasury Department and the IRS had worked for six months to bring clarity to Congress’ blueprint. But the requirements for “pass-through” businesses to score generous tax breaks are stunningly complex. By Marcy Gordon, SENT: Thursday, 717 words, photo.
US-CHINA TARIFFS-STATES — A Chinese company’s announcement two years ago that it would spend more than $1 billion and hire hundreds of workers for a paper mill on the outskirts of this central Arkansas town was seen as a much-needed shot in the arm for the region’s rural economy. But optimism has been giving way to concern in recent weeks amid President Donald Trump’s escalating trade dispute with China. The threat of a full-blown trade war has delayed the project further and prompted the state’s Republican governor to send his top economic development official to China to make sure it stays on track. It illustrates how U.S. states are trying to ease the sting of Trump’s threatened trade war by appealing directly to officials in China and other key trading countries. By Andrew DeMillo. SENT: Wednesday, 1,050 words, photos.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL-WHAT’S NEW — The microwave ate my homework? Reusable notebooks where writing disappears with heat are among the ways basic school supplies are raising their game against gadgets like iPads. Also hot in the paper aisle this year? Decorative tape, creative journals and scented pencils in smells like bacon and pickle. By Anne D’Innocenzio. SENT: Wednesday, 600 words, photos; video.
ON THE MONEY-NEW PAYMENT PLANS — Layaway plans with a twist are becoming more popular with people looking to buy clothes or a vacation. Startups like Affirm, After Pay and Uplift are working with stores like Urban Outfitters or travel companies like Expedia. They’re pitching the payment plans an alternative to traditional credit cards, especially for younger shoppers. By Anne D’Innocenzio. SENT: Wednesday, 660 words, photos.
SMALLBIZ-SMALLTALK-PRIVACY LAW — Many small businesses may need to comply with a California law requiring businesses to disclose what they do with customers’ personal information and giving consumers more control over how the data is used. The law, which takes effect in 2020, allows consumers to see the data a company has collected and who it has sold it to. Consumers can ask that their data be deleted. Companies may need to update their software to comply with the law, a cost that could run into the thousands of dollars. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: Wednesday, 930 words, photos.
MAKING ROBOTS SOCIAL — Personal home robots that can socialize with people are finally getting ready to roll out of the laboratory and into our living rooms and kitchens. But are humans ready to be their friends? By Matt O’Brien. SENT: Wednesday, 1,100 words, photos, video.
HOOKING KIDS ON TECH — Children’s advocates want the American Psychological Association to condemn the tech industry’s practice of using persuasive psychological techniques to keep kids glued to their screens. By Lindsey Tanner and Matt O’Brien. SENT: Wednesday, 940 words, photo.
US-CHINA-INVESTMENT — Already threatened by escalating U.S. tariffs on its goods, China is about to find it much harder to either invest in the United States or buy American technology. President Donald Trump is expected this week to sign legislation to tighten scrutiny of foreign investment and sensitive technology exports. The law doesn’t single out China, but there’s little doubt the intended target is Beijing, which the administration wants to punish for its tactics in trying to supplant America’s technological dominance. By Paul Wiseman. SENT: Tuesday, 920 words, photos.
CHINA TARIFFS-TECHNOLOGY — The price of headphones, speakers, high-tech lighting, and smart watches could all go up if the Trump administration’s trade war with China continues. It remains unclear exactly how much prices might go up, since some of the duties on Chinese products are still pending. Some large technology companies might also absorb the extra costs in order to keep prices low. By Michael Liedtke and Lorin Eleni Gill. SENT: Tuesday, 1,100 words, photos.
SMALL BUSINESSES-STRUGGLING TO HIRE — Even with the U.S. economy booming and the job market strong, hiring has slowed among one category of employers: small businesses. Yet it isn’t because these companies are hurting; most remain optimistic and report healthy sales. Rather, small companies are being hamstrung by the economy’s very strength: A shrunken pool of job seekers has forced them to compete with larger employers, which typically can offer higher pay and more generous benefits. By Christopher Rugaber. SENT: Tuesday, 1,060 words, photos.
FAA-CONGRESS — As summer vacationers start to pack up and head home, Congress is considering a sweeping tally of proposals that could affect travelers, from dictating seat size and legroom to rolling back rules that require airlines to advertise the full price of a ticket. By David Koenig. SENT: Tuesday, 1,000 words, photos.
ELECTRONIC DRIVERS-FAILING THE TEST — Cars and trucks with electronic driver assist systems make not see stopped vehicles and could even steer you into a crash if you’re not paying attention, an insurance industry group warns. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in a paper titled “Reality Check,” issues the warning after testing five of the systems from Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo on a track and real roads. The upshot is they aren’t perfect, but they can help in some circumstances. By Tom Krisher. SENT: Tuesday, 590 words, photos.
TOOTHBRUSING-CAVITIES — Dental health experts worry that more people are using toothpaste that skips the most important ingredient — fluoride — and leaves them at a greater risk of cavities. By Jeff Donn. SENT: Tuesday, 1,080 words, photos, video.
FALL HOMES-PARENTING-DIGITAL ASSISTANT — Hey parents: What if there was a machine that could respond to your kids’ every command, never tiring, even if they ask it to tell jokes for two hours or answer all their homework questions? It’s a blessing and a curse for moms and dads that machines kind of like that do exist in the form of Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. By Melissa Rayworth. SENT: Tuesday, 1,070 words, photos.
FALL HOMES-NERDWALLET-MOVING EXPENSES — Moving to a new place can be taxing — emotionally and financially. Preparing a budget can help. Aside from the cost of hiring movers, consider less-obvious expenses like packing materials, furniture covers and storage. By Lauren Schwahn. NerdWallet. SENT: Tuesday, 850 words, photos.
FALL HOMES-INDOOR GREENHOUSES — You don’t need a green thumb to grow vegetables indoors. There are indoor greenhouses that aim to take the work out of growing plants, from watering to getting the right dosage of light. By Tracee M. Herbaugh. SENT: Tuesday, 600 words, photos.
FALL HOMES-KITCHEN DISPOSABLES — Disposables have become a mainstay of many American kitchens — plastic baggies, cling wrap, paper towels, aluminum foil, plastic straws and more. Reducing or eliminating them can save money AND cut down on trash that ends up in landfills. By Katherine Roth. SENT: Tuesday, 800 words, photos.
TRUMP-DEMOCRATIC JOB GROWTH — The United States is on pace to add about 2.6 million jobs this year under President Donald Trump’s watch. Yet the bulk of the hiring has occurred in bastions of Democratic voters rather than in the Republican counties that put Trump in the White House. By Josh Boak. SENT: Monday, 1,700 words, photos.
FLEXIBLE PAY — A growing number of companies are rolling out products and services that allow employees to receive a portion of their pay when they need it. This can help workers, especially those making hourly wages or working irregular schedules, to avoid unpleasant and potentially costly options such as borrowing from loved ones, running up credit card debt, selling possessions or taking out a high-interest loan when bills come due or emergencies arise before their next paycheck. By Sarah Skidmore Sell and Alexandra Olson. SENT: Monday, 1,000 words, photos.
NERDWALLET-LIZ WESTON-SELL TIMESHARE — If having a timeshare is no longer appealing and you want to get rid of it, it might seem like there’s no easy way out. But you have a few options, including give-backs, selling, renting — or walking away. Whatever your exit plan, watch out for shady characters who offer to sell your timeshare for an upfront fee. By NerdWallet columnist Liz Weston. SENT: Monday, 760 words, photo.