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The Treasury Department has fined ExxonMobil $2 million for violating economic sanctions against Russia while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was running the company. On today's show, the BBC's Jonathan Frewin joined us to break down the controversy. Afterwards, we'll discuss Sears' new business relationship with Amazon, and then look at a possible cut in federal funding to an early earthquake-warning system.

Driverless cars can't figure out kangaroos

Jul 21, 2017
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Bruce Johnson and Kristin Schwab

There's been a lot of talk about how driverless cars will navigate city streets, where pedestrians affect traffic flow. But what about the "pedestrians" of suburban and rural areas? Animal-related car accidents are a real concern for driverless car makers. And so far, engineers have been able to adapt cars to deal with creatures like deer, moose and elk.

Less than two months ago, U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was way behind in the polls when he took the stage at a music festival in Liverpool.

With his shirt untucked, Corbyn, 68, introduced the indy rock band the Libertines and delivered an impassioned defense of public funding for the arts before a crowd of some 20,000, most of them youngsters.

He urged them to demand "a government that cares about sport, culture and the arts — and gives you the space to play and rehearse your music!"

Asma Jama was out to dinner with her family at an Applebee's in Coon Rapids, Minn., in October 2015, when a woman seated nearby starting getting angry. Why? Jama, who is Somali-American and Muslim, was speaking Swahili and wearing a hijab.

The woman, Jodie Bruchard-Risch, demanded that Jama speak English — and then smashed Jama in the face with a glass beer mug.

"I could see it from the doctor's face that it was really bad," says Jama, who is 39. "I had lacerations across my chest, all over my hands, and 17 total stitches."

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David Brancaccio

Amazon has just announced a new social network for shoppers who are looking to scan around for new items, but may not have something specific in mind.

The service, Amazon Spark, is a feed for Prime users that looks a lot like Instagram, where users can share stories, pictures and ideas that include stuff to buy. 

Marketplace's Molly Wood joined us to talk about the overall effectiveness of social media and whether Amazon can get you to make a spontaneous purchase.

For companies, bad reputations come at a cost

Jul 21, 2017
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Jana Kasperkevic

It seems that the adage, “there’s no such a thing as bad publicity,” is not exactly true — at least when you are a hiring manager or recruiter for a company with a bad reputation. A new survey from CareerBuilder found that 71 percent of U.S. workers would not apply to work at a company with negative press.

When it comes to U.S. sanctions against Moscow, the Cold War has never really ended.

President Gerald Ford signed off on trade restrictions against the Soviet Union and other communist countries in a 1974 measure known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, for its congressional sponsors.

The message to Moscow: If you deny basic human rights — in this case, the right of certain people, especially Jews, to emigrate from the Soviet Union — you can't conduct normal business with the United States.

Harry Obst, who worked as a German interpreter for seven U.S. presidents through Bill Clinton, says he can only remember one who ever dispensed with an interpreter during discussions with a foreign leader: Richard Nixon.

It was a bad idea for lots of reasons, the author of White House Interpreter: The Art of Interpretation tells NPR.

Sears has inked a deal with Amazon that it hopes will boost its flagging sales. Amazon will begin selling appliances by Kenmore — one of Sears’ flagship brands. But there could also be a downside for the struggling department store chain.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

 

General Electric is expected to report its second quarter earnings before the markets open today [[Friday]]. [[Update with earnings news.]] It’ll be longtime CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s last chance to seal his legacy at the company before stepping down at the end of the month. GE’s stock has earned the distinction of being the worst performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average during Immelt’s tenure. The challenge of boosting profits and GE’s many divisions will fall to incoming chief John Flannery.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

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