Archive For December 31, 2016

AI’s future a mix of opportunities, risks

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If you’ve used Google Translate for a while, you’ve noticed that it’s gotten better, much better. This the result of a revolutionary leap in artificial intelligence (AI) developed by the company’s Google Brain skunk works. It was the subject of a very long article in The New York Times Magazine last Sunday, but this is…

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Alleged scheme to fix generic-drug prices started as dinners and ‘Girls Nights Out’

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The high prices Americans pay for generic drugs may have been cooked up by pharmaceutical salespeople on golf courses, at a New Jersey steakhouse or over drinks at “Girls Nights Out” in Minnesota. Details emerging from an investigation show that drug-company employees gathered regularly at such places and conspired to keep prices and profits high,…

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US consumer confidence climbed to 15-year high in December

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WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers are the sunniest they’ve been in more than 15 years. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index climbed to 113.7 in December, up from 109.4 in November and the highest since it reached 114 in August 2001. It’s another sign consumers are confident in the aftermath of…

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Growing number of Americans are retiring outside the US

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Newly widowed, Kay McCowen quit her job, sold her house, applied for Social Security and retired to Mexico. It was a move she and her husband, Mel, had discussed before he passed away in 2012. “I wanted to find a place where I could afford to live off my Social Security,” she said. “The weather…

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US pending home sales fell in November

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in November. The decrease likely reflects the drag caused by rising mortgage rates and the shallow inventory of properties on the market. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 2.5 percent to 107.3, the lowest reading…

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Seattle’s most consequential economic stories of 2016

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What seems important in the moment may not carry consequences that last. I’m after the latter in this year-end roundup. If I don’t touch on one you believe will shape the city, metropolitan area and state in the years ahead, please list it in the comments. Nationally and internationally, the most consequential story is the…

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Lou Pepper, RIP: triumph, tragedy and example

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Lou Pepper, who died Friday at age 92, represented the very best in the Seattle way of doing business. It was simple: Bosses saw the health of the community and that of their companies as inextricably connected. His model of stewardship was once common here, and it lives on as a model, in works by…

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Bankrupt shipper Hanjin selling terminal operations at Port of Seattle

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Months after a major shipper to the Port of Seattle declared bankruptcy, the company is selling its local terminal operations to one of the world’s largest cargo firms. South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, one of three major companies that calls on Seattle’s Terminal 46 near the stadiums, filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of August,…

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Trump touts 5,000 Sprint jobs returning to U.S. shores

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PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump on Wednesday touted plans by a Japanese mogul to bring 8,000 jobs to the United States. They could be the first of the 50,000 jobs tech billionaire Masayoshi Son promised to create after meeting with the president-elect earlier in December. In the grand scheme of the economy, the jobs…

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China to ease curbs on foreign investment after complaints

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BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese government said Friday it will ease restrictions on foreign investment in sectors ranging from banking and internet services to rail equipment and motorcycles, in response to mounting complaints from foreign business groups and governments. An official with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the economic planning agency, said service sectors…

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