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In Chicago, war refugees have a hand in the city's most famous handmade cheesecake.

As Donald Trump prepares to become president, he's promising to explain how he'll deal with the many conflicts of interest posed by his businesses and charitable foundation, even as he insists they pose "no big deal."

But short of selling his properties and putting the proceeds in a blind trust, it's not clear that Trump can completely resolve the controversies over his many businesses.

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Texas could soon follow in the footsteps of Indiana and North Carolina and pass its own "bathroom bill" in the upcoming legislative session. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has made passage of such a bill, which could require transgender Texans to use the restroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, a priority.

Congress is back in session on Tuesday, and leaders of both houses say their first order of business will be to repeal Obamacare.

If they do that, it will be a slap in the face to President Obama just three weeks before he leaves the White House. The Affordable Care is the outgoing president's signature achievement, marked by an elaborate signing ceremony in March 2010 at the White House, with lofty speeches from the vice president and Obama himself.

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If you've been glued to your smart phone checking work email throughout the holiday season, you might want to consider relocating. French workers will have the "right to disconnect" outside of work hours, thanks to a new law going into effect Jan. 1.

Companies with more than 50 employees will be obligated to set up hours — normally during the evening and weekend — when staff are not to send or respond to emails.

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Eighteen years ago, on New Year's Eve, David Fisher visited an old farm in western Massachusetts, near the small town of Conway. No one was farming there at the time, and that's what had drawn Fisher to the place. He was scouting for farmland.

"I remember walking out [to the fallow fields] at some point," Fisher recalls. "And in the moonlight – it was all snowy – it was like a blank canvas."

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The Colorado River is like a giant bank account for seven different states. Now it's running short.

For decades, the river has fed growing cities from Denver to Los Angeles. A lot of the produce in supermarkets across the country was grown with Colorado River water. But with climate change, and severe drought, the river is reaching a crisis point, and communities at each end of it are reacting very differently.

In November, the typically straitlaced Office of Government Ethics surprised observers with a series of tweets mimicking Donald Trump's bombastic style, exclamation points and all: "Brilliant! Divestiture is good for you, good for America!"

You might not know Robert Hulseman by name but there is a good chance you've held his invention. The red Solo Cup is the go-to drinking vessel for picnics, parties and keggers.

Voters in the English city of Sunderland did something extraordinary last June. They voted by 61.3 percent to leave the European Union, even though it put tens of thousands of local jobs at risk.

Why would so many people vote against the economic interests of their hometown?

The answer lies in factors that also figured in the American presidential race: opposition to immigration and a perceived threat to white identity.

Car designers are a type. They stand out from the engineers, accountants and lawyers that populate the car business. By all accounts, Ed Welburn, General Motors' first global head of design, is quiet, focused and congenial. This year, he retired after 44 years at GM.

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The Great Recession ended 7 1/2 years ago, and job gains have been steady since, but greater demand for workers is only starting to increase pay.

The increases are still relatively modest, and the data are still mixed. In October, for example, the Labor Department reported average hourly earnings increased at a 2.8 percent rate — the highest since mid-2009, but wage growth slowed in November. A separate report this month showed the cost of labor — another measure of wage growth — increased especially during the spring of this year.

President-elect Donald Trump and @realDonaldTrump are contradicting each other.

Wednesday afternoon, Trump emerged from his Mar-a-Lago resort to tell reporters that he and President Obama had spoken on the phone and had "a very nice conversation."

"I appreciate that he called me," Trump said.

The comment came hours after Trump blasted Obama on Twitter.

But asked by reporters Wednesday afternoon how that transition was going, Trump said, "I think very, very smoothly. Very good. You don't think so?" (A "not" was not forthcoming in real life.)

At first glance, food policy seems to be an afterthought in the Trump administration. The campaign saw few debates about food or farming. And the president-elect hasn't yet nominated someone to head the Department of Agriculture or the Food and Drug Administration.

Amazon's personal assistant device called Echo was one of the most popular gifts this Christmas. But this week, the device grabbed headlines for another reason: Police in Arkansas are trying to use its data in a murder investigation.

Here's the biggest understatement of the year: 2016 was the most disruptive moment the mainstream American news media have faced in a very long time.

That's not because so many media outlets misread the presidential election, although that is part of it. And it's not just because so-called "fake news" has become a genuine issue, prompting Facebook and other social media outlets to address fraudulent items formatted to look like legitimate news reports — a long-needed change.

It started with a cup of coffee, or more precisely, a hot beverage. Seven years later came fries, the now infamous eggplant and friends. Sandwich lovers waited for their time to come, while begrudgingly sending another drumstick, wishing it were barbecue.

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People in Columbia, S.C., had their pick of four health insurers last year when they shopped for policies during the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment.

This time they have just one: Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, which had the most Obamacare enrollees in Richland County in 2016 due to its low prices.

It's a change that's been repeated around the country after big health insurers such as Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare pulled out of dozens of Obamacare marketplaces that they judged unprofitable.

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