As the volume of online orders surged, some retailers and package delivery companies were unable to fulfill promises to deliver gifts by Christmas. UPS acknowledged it was overwhelmed by all the late traffic. In response to complaints, Amazon says it is offering gift cards and refunds for shipping charges.
The good news is that air travel to and from Venezuela is dirt cheap due to the difference between the official cost of tickets and the black-market currency rate. The bad news is that many flights are booked up months in advance.
A last-minute crush of online orders and some bad weather kept the companies from getting some packages delivered before Christmas, they say. Both have called in extra workers and are renting extra trucks to make deliveries on Thursday.
Earlier this month, China imposed a ban on shellfish imports from most of the U.S. West Coast after finding two bad clams. The move is hitting Washington state particularly hard. State agencies estimate businesses there are losing as much as $600,000 a week.
Small businesses make up the vast majority of companies in the West Bank. Before opening a cafe, Palestinian Tariq el-Ayyan worked on documentary films. Two months in, the cafe seems to be succeeding, with two paid employees and steady traffic.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, turns 20 next week. Hailed as a boon for regional trade, it had some undesirable effects. It hastened a trend away from small farmers, and speeded illegal immigration to the U.S.
Southwest Airlines finished last in on-time arrivals in October — the last month for which statistics are available. According to the Department of Transportation, Southwest's on-time arrival rate was 78.8 percent. It was the second month in a row the airline came in at the back of the pack.
The underground passageway goes from the city of Shenzhen to Hong Kong. It's outfitted with concrete walls, interior lighting and rail tracks, presumably intended to transport goods. Chinese authorities believe a gang intended to use the tunnel to smuggle cell phones and other electronics to Hong Kong — which has lower tariffs than the mainland.
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