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The Department of Agriculture will pay $4.7 billion to farmers growing soybeans, cotton and other products hit by tariffs in the Trump administration's hard-line trade war with China, announcing the first batch of payments from a $12 billion government aid package.

Starting next Tuesday, the agency will take applications from farmers who produce corn, cotton, dairy, hogs, sorghum, soybeans and wheat — products that were targeted in China's retaliatory tariffs, after the U.S. imposed a 25 percent levy on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports.

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On a televised phone call with Mexico's leader, President Trump said he's planning changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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Leave it to California to combine high-end cuisine with the kind of ingredients that might actually get you high. It's an increasingly lucrative niche for chefs in San Francisco and Los Angeles — cities already well known for trendy food culture.

Chefs and entrepreneurs making cannabis-infused foie gras and "stoner souffles" have been featured on not one but two series devoted to gourmet ganja: the Netflix competition program, Cooking On High, and the Viceland show Bong Appetit.

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Kushner Cos. has been hit with $210,000 in fines by New York City regulators for filing false real estate paperwork over several years.

President Trump's son-in-law — and current adviser — Jared Kushner was still at the helm of the real estate company as CEO when, the New York City Department of Buildings says, the company routinely falsified construction applications at 17 sites.

The Venezuelan economy has collapsed. Years of economic mismanagement and a deepening political crisis have led to a recession that has almost no parallel in recent memory.

But explaining just how bad things have gotten is also really hard because the normal economic indicators that we use to measure a country's economy have started to sound so so unfathomable — 25,000% inflation, for example — that it feels impossible to get our heads around them.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

The United States and Mexico have reached an "understanding" on several critical trade issues following bilateral talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. They will now likely re-engage with Canada to reach a final deal on NAFTA, a primary goal of the Trump administration.

Speaking at the White House on Monday, President Trump said he wanted to change the NAFTA name to the U.S. Mexico Free Trade Agreement. He also reframed the negotiations as two bilateral trade deals.

Editor's note: Shortly after this story by Kaiser Health News and NPR was published and broadcast on Monday, St. David's said it was now willing to accept $782.29 to resolve the $108,951 balance because Drew Calver qualifies for its "financial assistance discount." In a statement, the hospital said this offer was contingent on Calver submitting his application for a discount based on his household finances. Calver disputed that he owes any additional money to St. David's and said this situation should have been resolved long before now.

The Trump's administration's proposal to relax regulations on carbon emissions is welcome news in coal producing states like Wyoming, even as people in the industry acknowledge its impact would be limited.

John McCain devoted much of his career in the Senate to controlling the influence of money in public life — in part to try to recover from his own role in a big congressional influence scandal.

McCain, who died Saturday of brain cancer, made money and influence big themes of his first presidential race.

Tesla To Stay Public

Aug 25, 2018

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Less than a month after CEO Elon Musk created a stir in the stock markets by suggesting he might take the company private, electric car maker Tesla says it will remain as a publicly traded company after all.

"Given the feedback I've received, it's apparent that most of Tesla's existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company," Musk said in a statement Friday. The electric car manufacturer has been publicly traded since 2010.

Sun Tzu's book on battlefield strategy, "The Art of War", has been required reading for the thoughtful military officer for more than 2,500 years. Today, though, among, the books biggest fans are American business people, many of whom regard it as an essential guide to business strategy. It's no accident that Donald J Trump himself echoed the book's title in his own work, The Art of the Deal.

Days after President Trump's longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in a case relating to his coordination of hush money payments to two women who allege affairs with Trump, news emerged that a man who helped organize those payments has been granted immunity by prosecutors investigating campaign finance violations.

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Every August, thousands of people get together for the world's longest yard sale. It runs 690 miles from Alabama to Michigan. Nick Fountain and Karen Duffin from our Planet Money podcast drove the whole entire thing looking for economic stories.

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Beyond GDP

Aug 23, 2018

Gross domestic product, or GDP, has been a wonderful indicator — the indicator, really, for knowing how the economy is doing at any given moment.

But it was invented during an earlier time, back when the economy was simpler and the goods it produced were less varied. As Diane Coyle argues in her book, the economy has evolved and GDP may no longer be enough for understanding its many dimensions.

Diane tells Cardiff why we should appreciate what GDP has done for us, but she also suggests some alternative measures of the economy.

One of the largest supermarket companies in the U.S. has announced it is phasing out single-use plastic bags in an effort to reduce plastic waste.

The Kroger Co. says it plans to stop distributing single-use bags completely by 2025 across its chains.

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Last month, after the U.S. leveled tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports and after China retaliated in kind, Beijing described the escalating trans-Pacific antagonism as "the largest trade war in economic history."

Now, both nations have upped the ante once again.

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So the rise of e-commerce has allowed Americans to order things directly from sellers around the world. Kenny Malone from our Planet Money team met a New Jersey business owner who became obsessed with the mystery of how those items can ship so cheaply.

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