Congress heads back to work with packed agenda

Congress returns today to face a packed agenda after its recess. Among the items on the to-do list are the funding of the Southwest border wall, an increase in military spending and the potential repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

Wash. 8th-graders create Holocaust museum

Eighth-graders at a Washington state middle school recently created a museum to share what they have learned about the Holocaust as part of their studies on empathy. The students researched genocide, Adolf Hitler, Anne Frank and concentration camps, and created museum displays and posters to document the Holocaust.

French election said to spark US Treasury surge
2/27/2017 Bloomberg

Uncertainty surrounding the French presidential election has been cited for a surge in intraday trading of US Treasurys last week, with an increase of about 3 basis points in the 10-year yield happening in three minutes. Statements on the economy from President Donald Trump and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen are expected to catch traders' attention this week.

Ahold Delhaize focuses more on value at new bfresh store

Ahold Delhaize has tailored the selection at its third and newest small-format bfresh store to include more value-focused private-label items and fewer specialty items with higher price tags after reviewing sales data from the banner's first two stores. The store, which opened Friday, includes a larger selection of meal kits, a hub-and-spoke layout in prepared foods and a product assortment that gives 55% of selling space to fresh foods and 45% to center store products, features that will be rolled out at the chain's first two stores.

Study looks at rising average life expectancy worldwide
2/22/2017 Reuters

Average life expectancy across the world is expected to increase by 2030, with South Koreans having the highest life expectancy and the US being among developed countries with the lowest, according to a study in The Lancet. UK researchers and the World Health Organization found that men and women in the US are expected to live 79.5 and 83.3 years, respectively.

Revlon turns to Amazon, Lady Gaga in campaign
2/27/2017 Bloomberg

Revlon will print the slogan #LoveIn3Words on 10 million Amazon boxes during February and March as part of the cosmetics brand's "Love Project" campaign. The company has also teamed up with Lady Gaga on an Instagram video featuring her song "Million Reasons" and a short video that debuted during the Academy Awards.

J.C. Penney pushes further into appliances
2/27/2017 CNBC

J.C. Penney will add appliance showrooms at 100 more stores, incorporate more brands and launch a test of home installation services including heating and air conditioning. The retailer is increasingly competing with Sears on the appliance and home services front.

Sony and Line may team up for AI
2/27/2017 Bloomberg

Sony and Line, a popular Japan-based messaging app, may partner to use artificial intelligence to improve the digital personal assistant experience. The announcement was made at a conference in Spain, and during that time, Sony also showed off earphones that use Xperia Agent, a virtual butler.

CRISPR could produce disease-resistant pigs

Scientists from biotech firm Genus and the University of Edinburgh are developing pigs with potential resistance to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. "Genome editing offers opportunities to boost food security by reducing waste and losses from infectious diseases, as well as improving animal welfare by reducing the burden of disease," says senior researcher Alan Archibald.

Pai to block privacy rules that affect broadband providers

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is planning to block privacy rules that are stricter on broadband providers than on non-providers such as Google and Facebook. "All actors in the online space should be subject to the same rules, and the federal government shouldn't favor one set of companies over another," an FCC spokesman said of the intended move.

Construction industry braces for immigration crackdown

The Trump administration is moving forward with a policy to increase immigration enforcement, and about 13% of the construction industry's workers were undocumented in 2014, the Pew Research Center estimated. "If you have fewer and fewer undocumented [workers], at the end of the day it's going to have an impact on projects," said Bill Wilhelm, president of R.D. Olson Construction in Irvine, Calif.

Report: Wind costs will continue to fall as new technology emerges
2/27/2017 Forbes

The cost of wind will continue to decline as new technology emerges moving toward 2030 and in the years that follow, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The report said land-based wind costs could fall 35% by 2050 and that offshore wind costs could decline between 38% and 41% over the same period.

Mobile devices improve United travel experience

United Airlines is working with IBM to use mobile technology to improve the passenger experience. United is distributing 50,000 tablets and other mobile devices to front-line staff, enabling them to access key information for passengers from check-in to baggage claim.

Gen Z has hospitality designers searching for new look and feel
2/27/2017 Hotel Business Design

Designers at firms spanning from New York's Wilson Associates to Puccini Group in San Francisco are creating hospitality spaces and experiences meant to appeal to Generation Z. "Most of their day is Facebook or Instagram -- they want to share their memories so it's having them be comfortable in an environment where they are ahead of the trends that haven't been shared yet," said Justin Colombik of Puccini Group.