It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
Russia is spending $51 billion on the Sochi Winter Olympics, the most expensive Olympic Games ever by a wide margin. The preparations have not gone smoothly. Construction has been delayed repeatedly and marred by accusations of political corruption. The outlandish price tag for the games has turned into an embarrassment for Russian officials.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle is calling Boeing a significant community partner after the city lost its bid to build the company's new 777X jetliner.
Huntsville was among more than 50 sites in 22 states whose leaders tried to convince Boeing to open its $10 billion assembly plant in their communities. Al.com reports the manufacturing operation will support an estimated 8,500 jobs.
That manufacturing plant will be located in Everett, Wash.
There were "cheers and jeers" from rank-and-file union members late Friday when it was announced that a key new contract with aircraft maker Boeing had been approved by a bare majority vote, our colleagues at Seattle's KPLU report.
When the North American Free Trade Agreement was being negotiated, supporters promised it would increase the income of Mexicans. And the middle class did grow in Mexico over the past two decades. But it's clear that Mexico's ultrarich are among its big winners.
Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 12:58 pm
Ford and GM are calling 2013 the best year for U.S. auto sales in at least five years. On Friday, they reported double-digit annual gains, while Chrysler reported an increase of 9 percent for its strongest year since 2007.
The new sales figures reflect a continuing turnaround from the struggles that led to a federal bailout in recent years. Here are highlights from each company's report:
Retail sales were up 14 percent in 2013, as Ford sold 2,493,918 vehicles.
Minimum wage workers in 13 states will see a bump in their paychecks this year. Host Michel Martin talks about the possible ripple effects of raising minimum wages. She's joined by Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Roben Farzad and NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax.
NPR's business news begins with securing cyberspace.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: All right, we're talking about a $1 billion deal here. The cybersecurity company FireEye has bought Mandiant. Mandiant gained some fame last year. They exposed a secretive branch of the Chinese military that was hacking into the computer networks of over 100 multinational companies.
Recreational marijuana has been on sale in Colorado for a couple days now. And pot shops there have been surprised by the long lines of customers. Many people have been coming in from out of state hoping to be among the first to buy recreational pot legally.
But as Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus reports, tourists are finding there are few legal places to smoke it.
And a vote takes place today that could have a major impact on the economy in and around Seattle. The giant airplane maker Boeing is threatening to move thousands of jobs away from the Seattle region unless 30,000 unionized Boeing workers vote to accept cuts to retirement and health benefits.
Ashley Gross of member station KPLU has the story.
Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 9:09 am
Cost overruns are threatening to shut down a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal aimed at allowing the world's largest ships to pass through the short cut between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
A European consortium funding the project says it won't continue the work until Panama coughs up the extra cash — which amounts to $1.6 billion over and above an original $3.2 billion bid to build a third set of locks.
When members of Congress return to work next week, at the top of the "to-do" list is whether to renew emergency unemployment benefits. An extension of the benefits expired at the end of 2013, which means 1.3 million out-of-work Americans are no longer getting unemployment checks.
Advocates of early childhood education are expecting another expansion of the state's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds, and they are waiting to see how much the governor will propose when the Legislature convenes Jan. 14.
Gov. Robert Bentley says he will recommend an increase, but he's not saying how much yet.
The Alabama School Readiness Alliance, the Alabama Partnership for Children and others are seeking an increase of $12.8 million for the upcoming school year.