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Hit by a string of scandals over food safety controls, McDonald's business in Japan has posted its worst annual results since going public 15 years ago. The company reported a net loss of 34.704 billion yen — around $303 million.

Last year, sales at McDonald's Japan stores were down around 15 percent from 2014, the company says. The Japanese unit has now reported a net loss for two years in a row, the result of a sequence of scandals.

Farm Contractors Balk At Obamacare Requirements

Feb 9, 2016

Obamacare is putting the agricultural industry in a tizzy.

Many contractors who provide farm labor and must now offer workers health insurance are complaining loudly about the cost in their already low-margin business.

Some are also concerned that the forms they must file with the federal government under the Affordable Care Act will bring immigration problems to the fore. About half of the farm labor workforce in the U.S. is undocumented.

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The Gulf of Mexico is now open for commercial fish farming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last month that, for the first time in the U.S., companies can apply to set up fish farms in federal waters.

The idea is to compete with hard-to-regulate foreign imports. But opening the Gulf to aquaculture won't be cheap, and it could pose environmental problems.

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Out for dinner with a group of friends, Christina Dierkes, a science writer with Ohio Sea Grant in Columbus, was feeling adventurous. It took some steely courage to order the Caribbean Roll at Mr. Sushi's. Not so much for the tuna and avocado on the inside — that's a combination that's appealing to many of us. But the tuna sushi in this spectacularly Americanized roll is topped with a deep-fried banana, honey, mayonnaise and a generous dash of coconut crumbs. Yum?

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may have taken an extended paternity leave after the birth of his daughter, but generally, American men do not take more than a few days. Ninety-six percent of American men are back to work within two weeks of a baby's birth.

Iran and Boeing go way back. Boeing was the largest supplier of civilian aircraft to Iran before the country's 1979 Islamic revolution. And despite the fraught relations between the U.S. and Iran since then, Iran has kept flying those planes for decades.

As part of the recent Iranian nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions, Boeing is once again permitted to sell planes to the Islamic Republic. And Iran desperately wants to start replacing its fleet of aging, worn-out commercial aircraft.

In 2009, one of the founders of the online eyeglass maker Warby Parker approached management consultant Adam Grant about becoming an early investor. Grant says he declined because the company's founders weren't working at their startup full time; he also says it was the worst financial decision he's ever made.

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There was a time when it felt like Keurig coffee pods were going to take over the world — or at least encircle it.

But now sales are on the decline, down some $60 million from last year.

The company has faced criticism because the individual coffee pods are not kind to the environment. But Venessa Wong with BuzzFeed says that's not the only factor that's contributed to the decline in sales.

Emily Martin created a state-by-state map of the gender wage gap in the United States. She calculated: Washington, D.C., has the smallest wage gap where women average nearly 90 cents to a man's dollar; Louisiana has the largest gap — women there earn just 65 percent of what men do.

Nationally, women earn an average 79 cents for every dollar men do. The gender wage gap is even wider for black and Hispanic women.

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With all the recent controversy around the cost of prescription drugs, we got to wondering how exactly do companies decide how much they should charge for a drug? So we asked NPR health policy correspondent Alison Kodjak to look into it.

The jobs numbers are in: 150,000 jobs were added to the economy in January. That's fewer than expected, though the unemployment rate fell to an eight-year low.

President Obama took the opportunity this morning to take a shot at some of his more vocal opponents.

"The United States of America, right now, has strongest, most durable economy in the world," he said. "I know that's still inconvenient for GOP stump speeches, as their 'Doom And Despair' tour plays in New Hampshire — I guess you cannot please everybody."

The cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi can help people with specific genetic mutations breathe better, but treatment with the pill comes with a hefty sticker price — $259,000 a year.

Orkambi, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last July, is expected to take almost $36 million from California's general fund this fiscal year and next. That cost estimate doesn't include any discounts the state may receive from drug manufacturers.

The U.S. economy added just 151,000 jobs in January while unemployment dropped slightly, to 4.9 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists had expected to see about 190,000 new jobs.

The unemployment rate, which has held steady at 5 percent the past few months, dropped slightly to 4.9 percent. It's the first time unemployment has fallen below 5 percent since the recession.

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On Thursday, Shell released its full year report that showed an 80 percent drop in earnings from 2014 to 2015. The company's earnings fell steeply from $19 billion in 2014 to $3.84 billion in 2015.

Members of Congress at a Thursday hearing wrestled with questions about why the prices of some old drugs are rising so fast.

Much of the session held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was dominated by Martin Shkreli, the bad-boy former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who earned notoriety by raising the price 5,000 percent for the drug Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis.

For the first few minutes of his appearance on Capitol Hill Thursday morning, pharma bad boy Martin Shkreli was the soul of decorum.

He sat placidly, hands clasped, a polite smile fixed upon his face, as members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee fired questions at him.

And to every question he gave the same answer:

Morocco has officially turned on a massive solar power plant in the Sahara Desert, kicking off the first phase of a planned project to provide renewable energy to more than a million Moroccans.

The Noor I power plant is located near the town of Ouarzazate, on the edge of the Sahara. It's capable of generating up to 160 megawatts of power and covers thousands of acres of desert, making the first stage alone one of the world's biggest solar thermal power plants.

The British car show Top Gear will have a fresh central cast when its 23rd season airs in May – but many TV fans will see a familiar face on the show, which announced Thursday that it has hired Matt LeBlanc, the former Friends star, as a new co-host.

So, you know that presidential election you've been hearing so much about?

Well, you're not alone.

A new survey conducted last month found there's a lot of interest in the presidential campaign; nine in 10 American adults had learned something about the election in the past week.

If you're a fan of trivia, you might want to remember the name Dree Hemingway. She's the first Playboy Playmate to be featured in the magazine's new life without full-frontal nudity.

Hemingway — Miss March 2016 — is the great-granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway. According to her bio sheet on Playboy's website, she's 28, drinks only tequila and is a fan of the band alt-J. Her mother, Mariel Hemingway, was on the cover of Playboy in 1982.

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