Government shutdown continues; Senate to vote on stopgap

Lawmakers failed to reach a compromise Sunday to end a partial shutdown of the government, and leaders of both parties became more vocal in criticism of each other. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the Senate will vote today on a stopgap measure to reopen the government through Feb. 8, but it is unclear whether he has enough Democratic votes for passage.

Changes made to gainful employment rule

New changes by the US Education Department to the gainful employment rule for career-training programs allow schools to withhold some information, including data on median earnings and whether a program is under federal review. Under the rule, failing programs could lose access to federal student aid programs.

IRS work on tax law could suffer under shutdown

An extended government shutdown could delay IRS implementation of the tax law. A contingency plan from the Treasury Department does not say such activity is exempt from the shutdown and shows 43.5% of IRS employees have permission to continue working.

Farmstead helps shoppers boost anti-hunger efforts

Micro-grocery startup Farmstead is rolling out a program that lets home shoppers and vendors make donations to local anti-hunger efforts. Buy One Give One provides fruits and vegetables to schools and after-school programs in the San Francisco Bay area, with other local charities invited to apply for donations.

Study: Interactive simulation raises exercise intentions in diabetes patients

Individuals with type 2 diabetes reported increased intentions to walk after using an interactive personalized simulation demonstrating the effect physical activity has on blood glucose, according to a study of 1,335 patients published in JMIR Diabetes. Researchers discussed how the results could be applied to mobile health intervention design.

Twitter emails over 600K Americans about Russian-influenced tweets

Twitter is emailing 677,775 of its US users to inform them that they unwittingly interacted with Russian-influenced accounts or tweets during the 2016 presidential election campaign. The company says it has suspended all accounts it has discovered linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency.

Whole Foods stores see food shortage

Analysts believe the food shortage at Whole Foods locations is due to a surge in shopper traffic after the company's acquisition by Amazon, but employees blame order-to-shelf, an inventory management system that uses a minimalistic approach. The system works to reduce unnecessary inventory with a goal of freeing up employee time and reducing waste, but its strict procedures are causing stocking issues.

Google agrees to patent license with Tencent

In an effort to expand in China, Google has agreed to license patents with Chinese firm Tencent. Google has struggled to expand in China's restrictive market, and working with Tencent, which boasts nearly 1 billion users on WeChat, could offer a way in.

Department of Agriculture to continue inspection amid government shutdown

The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service will continue its inspections of the country's 6,200 meat and poultry slaughter and processing plants in spite of the government shutdown. Meat, egg, poultry and catfish production in the US would come to a halt and products could not be exported or sold without the required USDA inspection.

DOJ, AT&T-Time Warner case to proceed as planned despite shutdown

US District Judge Richard Leon says the government shutdown won't delay the antitrust case against AT&T and Time Warner due to the urgency of the case. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission says it will stay open through Friday; the commission submitted a shutdown plan in December.

Analysis: Housing industry likely to improve in 2018

Reports indicate that consumers are under less financial stress today, and that the country has moved beyond the housing crisis. The report predicts that the industry will be helped by younger buyers with good credit coming into the market.

Coca-Cola joins WWF, others to achieve 100% by 2030 recycling goal

Coca-Cola has teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund, Ocean Conservancy, Trash Free Seas Alliance and other plastics recycling initiatives to recycle the equivalent of 100% of its plastic packaging by 2030. The World Wildlife Fund's Cascading Materials Vision, whose members include the American Chemistry Council, promotes reusing materials instead of sourcing virgin stock.

American Airlines expands route network

American Airlines announced 52 new nonstop flights in 2018, including hourly weekday shuttle flights between Chicago O'Hare International Airport and New York's LaGuardia Airport. "Many of the new routes are focused on connecting smaller cities to one of American's major hubs to create new city pairings for customers," said American Airlines executive Vasu Raja.

With Aloft, Element, Marriott strikes while iron's hot

Marriott International has made Aloft and Element special projects for growth among the 11 Starwood Hotels & Resorts brands it acquired with the chains' 2016 merger. The select-service and extended-stay sectors represented by the brands remain attractive to investors and are under-exploited, Marriott officials say.