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With More Online Shopping, Expect More Holiday Shipping Delays

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.
NPR

Venezualan Flights Are Dirt Cheap ... If You Can Get A Ticket

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.
NPR

Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

Economists caution against reading too much into the latest economic data. During the holidays, offices that collect the information aren't always open and that can delay some of their work.
NPR

Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays

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.
NPR

The Secret Protectionism Buried Inside NAFTA

In order to get the North American Free Trade Agreement signed 20 years ago, a specific trade-off was made. The trade-off would not protect U.S. jobs from moving overseas.
NPR

Pacific Northwest Suffers After China Bans Shellfish Imports

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.
NPR

Frustrated Documentary Maker Opens Cafe In West Bank

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.
NPR

Wave Of Illegal Immigrants Gains Speed After NAFTA

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.
NPR

Southwest Airlines Lags In On-Time Arrivals

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.
NPR

Chinese Military Uncovers Secret Tunnel

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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