business

Washington voters could decide in November on a combined minimum wage and sick leave measure . A union-backed campaign calling itself “Raise Up Washington” filed an initiative Monday to raise the state’s base wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020.

Todd Bishop and KUOW's Bill Radke geek out over nausea-free virtual reality in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke speaks with Todd Bishop about how a virtual reality cottage industry has grown up in Seattle.  

The North American International Auto Show is a place where car industry gathers to celebrate — and in recent years to apologize. At this year's show in Detroit, it was Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller's turn to face the media.

seattle ambulance emergency
Flickr Photo/Can Pac Swire (CC BY NC 2.0)/http://bit.ly/22W76WF

Washington state regulators will decide Tuesday whether a $2.9 million fine is enough to punish CenturyLink for a statewide 911 outage.

Alicia Cappola of Everett thinks the fine should be much higher. More than 5,000 emergency calls failed during the six-hour outage in April 2014 -- including 37 that Cappola tried to make after an intruder broke in while her 5-year-old twins were asleep in another room.

The obvious candidates for word of the year are the labels of the year's big stories — new words like "microaggression" or resurgent ones like "refugees." But sometimes a big theme is captured in more subtle ways. So for my word of the year, I offer you the revival of "gig" as the name for a new economic order. It's the last chapter in the life of a little word that has tracked the rise and fall of the great American job.

Activist Michael Lapointe at the BNSF Railway blockade in September 2014.
Rising Tide Seattle

Five environmental activists who chained themselves to train tracks in Everett to protest oil and coal trains begin trial in Snohomish County District Court on Monday.

The activists face criminal charges alleging they trespassed on BNSF Railway property and blocked an oil train for eight hours on Sept. 2, 2014.

It's the showdown at the Supreme Court Corral on Monday for public employee unions and their opponents.

Union opponents are seeking to reverse a 1977 Supreme Court decision that allows public employee unions to collect so-called "fair share fees."

Twenty-three states authorize collecting these fees from those who don't join the union but benefit from a contract that covers them.

What if your friend bragged that she'd just bought a brand of jeans because she'd checked out the company's practices and made sure they were ethical — no child labor, no polluting the environment by the manufacturer.

Maybe you'd thank her for the info, even be inspired to change your own buying habits.

But a study suggests a lot more of us would have an opposite reaction: "Boy," we'd think, "that friend is 'preachy' and 'less fashionable.' "

When I was a child growing up in India, once every year my father took my two siblings, my mother and me to the village where he grew up. He thought it was important for us kids to see rural living and to learn how basic life could be. He often said, "City folks are lucky to have cooking gas cylinders. You'll see how food is cooked in the village."

The fast expansion and spectacular meltdown of the Haggen grocery chain has left thousands of people in the Northwest with fewer places to buy their groceries. Safeway even got a monopoly as the only large supermarket in a whole county of eastern Oregon.

A new era in Saudi Arabia was demonstrated at gas stations across the country on Monday night: Long lines of cars stretched from the pumps as drivers filled up to beat price hikes announced by the government earlier in the day.

It was an unusual scene for the world's largest oil producer, but it underscored the economic impact of dramatically lower crude prices on a government budget that relies on it.

The swift deadline to chop government subsidies on gas, water and electricity surprised Saudis, and some stations ran out of gas and shut down in the storm of demand.

I
Sonia Narang

Across India, only 43 percent of women have bank accounts, and most women do not save money at formal financial institutions, according to a recent World Bank study. But that’s slowly starting to change as banks themselves realize what an untapped market they have around them. I saw that dynamic in action in a small farming village, Sorkhi, located off a dirt road 100 miles northwest of India’s capital city, Delhi.

Microsoft sign on the company's Redmond, Washington campus.
Flickr Photo/Wonderlane (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1NM853Z

David Hyde speaks with Geekwire co-founder Todd Bishop about the top three tech stories in Seattle in 2015, including a revival at Microsoft, Amazon deliveries, and the murky story of the $70,000 wage at Gravity Payments.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Paid family leave is something that's not widely available to most American workers, though, this year, that started to change. NPR's Yuki Noguchi has more.

Earlier this month, the Las Vegas Review-Journal was purchased under mysterious circumstances. When the buyer's name wasn't revealed, the paper's reporters did some digging and revealed that the Adelson family was behind the deal.

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