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Millions of U.S. workers will get a raise on New Year's Day, as more than a dozen states increase their minimum wage. That will include thousands of people across Washington.

Are Uber, Lyft and other internet-connected car services the missing link for transit agencies? In the Puget Sound region, we're about to find out.
Flickr photo/Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/kAYh8Z

Uber and Lyft drivers will decide this spring on whether to form a union. This week, the city of Seattle finalized which drivers will get to voice their opinion.

Uber officials aren't happy.

The AP reported Friday that Simon & Schuster planned to move forward with publication of a book by Milo Yiannopoulos, in spite of harsh criticism. The forthcoming book, called Dangerous, is said to be about free speech.

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.

When Almothana Alhamoud, a 31-year-old Syrian data analyst, arrived in Chicago two years ago after fleeing the Syrian war, he jumped at his first job offer, a nightshift cashier at a convenience store.

"When I came over here I just want to find anything to survive," he says over dinner with his family in Chicago. His parents and two sisters fled Damascus six months after he did. The family has applied for asylum in the U.S.

The rainiest fall on record in parts of eastern Oregon and Washington was good for keeping late-season wildfires at bay, but torrential rains wreaked havoc on some timber harvesters in the Northwest.

The Washington Post expects to hire more than 60 journalists in the coming months — a sign of remarkable growth for a newspaper in the digital age.

In San Francisco, companies will pay six-figure salaries to entry-level tech workers from all over the world. So this might come as a surprise: A public university there is laying off some of its own IT staff and sending their jobs to a contractor with headquarters in India.

Until recently, Hank Nguyen's daughter wanted to follow in his footsteps and work in tech. Last spring, she was accepted into the University of California system.

"She was inclined to take computer science and engineering," Nguyen says.

Unlucky crewmembers stranded on two big container ships of the bankrupt Hanjin line won't be home for Christmas, but that didn't mean the Christmas spirit bypassed them this week. The ships are being held indefinitely in the vicinity of Victoria at the behest of creditors.

This story was reported by Latino USA in collaboration with All Tech Considered. The audio version of this story aired earlier on Latino USA; it is embedded below.

Micaela Honorato is looking from the sidelines as boys from her after-school program take turns racing their hand-made hovercraft on a dirt field in a city park.

The monks at Assumption Abbey in Ava, Mo., were making concrete blocks when Father Cyprian Harrison joined the order in 1965. As demand for the blocks waned, the order explored other options to support the men who call the cloistered monastery home.

"After a lot of inner reflection, we decided [to get out of the concrete block business and start making] fruitcake. We only had to change the recipe a little," quips Harrison.

Backers of a liquefied natural gas project in southwest Oregon say they will try again to get federal approval now that the fossil fuel-friendly Trump administration is about to take power.

Last week, regulators effectively denied the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and pipeline application. But the incomingadministration has supporters hoping for a different outcome this time around.

The Canadian-owned Jordan Cove LNG project would transport natural gas to Coos Bay from sources in the Mountain West. It would then liquefy the gas and load it on ships bound for Asia.

Alaska Airlines management and workers received a lively, upbeat welcome on their rival’s home turf Wednesday when they flew to San Francisco to celebrate a merger closing. Alaska Air paid $2.6 billion to buy upstart Virgin America.

Now comes the hard work of integration.

Updated at 7:00 p.m. ET

Yahoo says hackers stole names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers from more than 1 billion accounts.

In a statement posted to its website on Wednesday, the company said it had "taken steps to secure user accounts and is working closely with law enforcement."

The statement continued:

The General Services Administration is pushing back against House Democrats' contention that President-elect Donald Trump would be breaching his lease on his latest hotel in the Old Post Office Building once he takes the oath of office on Jan. 20.

"GSA does not have a position that the lease provision requires the President-elect to divest of his financial interests. We can make no definitive statement at this time about what would constitute a breach of the agreement, and to do so now would be premature," the government agency said in a statement.

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