Employers go mad for March Madness

Employers are embracing enthusiasm related to March Madness with activities such as food and livestreaming of games in the office. Staffing firm LaSalle Network holds a yearly party for clients and workers that includes a hot dog cart, beer and games streamed on multiple televisions.

US courts need indigenous language interpreters

US immigration courts have seen an increase in cases involving speakers of indigenous languages, such as those from Mexico and Central America, and securing interpreters has been a challenge, even in Chicago and New York. Certified interpreters who speak the languages are in high demand, and if one is found, court hearings have to be planned weeks or months in advance, creating additional challenges.

Fed: Slowing economy rules out rate increases

The Federal Reserve says it will leave interest rates unchanged until it sees whether the economy stabilizes as the stimulative effect of 2017 tax cuts fades. Chairman Jerome Powell says the central bank expects a modest economic slowdown, "with overall conditions remaining favorable."

Midwest farmers struggle to cope with floods

Farmers in Midwest states hit by unprecedented flooding this week are wondering how they will recover from flooded fields, ruined crops and lost harvests. Additional flooding is possible in the coming weeks as rainfall and snow melt continue to overfill rivers and streams.

Report: Health sector needs values framework to improve data security

Stakeholders in the health care sector are encouraged to implement a values framework to enhance the security of health data not covered by the HIPAA privacy rule, according to a report released by Manatt Health and the eHealth Initiative and Foundation. "Before developing strict privacy policies, policymakers and industry leaders may want to first focus on developing a values framework to guide the future use of personal health information," authors of the report wrote.

3-second sonic logo debuted by Pandora

Pandora has debuted a sonic logo as part of its "Sound On" campaign, which features music artists like John Legend and Jonas Brothers, and the logo will become part of the streaming service's experience, even personalized based on individual listening behavior. Pandora's Steve Keller describes the six-month creation process for the new three-second sound identity from Grammy-winning composer Matt Winegar.

Levi Strauss sets share price at $17

Levi Strauss priced its shares at $17 as it prepared to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange today, resuming life as a publicly-traded company after going private in a 1985 leveraged buyout. The denim brand is valued at $6.6 billion, and the NYSE is allowing blue jeans on the trading floor for the first time in honor of Levi's IPO.

Apple launches much-improved AirPods

Apple has finally rolled out its latest iteration of AirPods, which sport an array of improvements. The Siri voice assistant is now available, talk time is longer and users can charge the earphones wirelessly.

FDA temporarily OKs sale of losartan with higher levels of impurity

Certain manufacturers will be allowed by the FDA to distribute blood pressure drug losartan that contains N-Nitroso-N-methyl-4-aminobutyric acid levels above acceptable limits until it can be eliminated. The agency anticipates firms to be able to manufacture losartan without the impurity and replenish the US supply in about six months.

Jury awards Qualcomm $31.6M in Apple spat

A jury in a US federal court in San Diego ruled that Apple violated three Qualcomm patents in the iPhone 7, 8 and X and awarded Qualcomm $31.6 million in damages. The fight isn't over though since the companies are due back in a San Diego court April 15 in what is expected to be a much more intense face-off over patent licenses and royalties.

$1.2B O'Hare expansion kicks off

Officials at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Mayor Rahm Emanuel were on hand for a ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of the airport's two-year, $1.2 billion expansion. Crews will add 350,000 square feet of space to Terminal 5 and increase gate capacity by 25%.

Pompeo to oil industry: Let's advance US ideals, interests

Speaking at CERAWeek in Houston, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the oil and natural gas industry to assist the US in using its energy riches to reduce the geopolitical influence of China, Russia and Iran, as well as promote American values such as free trade and democracy. "The more we can spread the US model of free enterprise, of the rule of law ... the more successful the US will be," Pompeo said.

Alaska Airlines uses technology to enhance the travel experience

Alaska Airlines has a history of using technology to enhance the passenger experience, from being the first to implement kiosks and mobile check-in to offering inflight Wi-Fi and virtual reality experiences. "We know that our travelers care very much about technology, so we're looking at ways to be creative," said Annabel Chang, vice president for the Bay Area at Alaska Airlines.

Enjoying an activity-filled jaunt in St. Barts

The beautiful Caribbean island of St. Barts offers a variety of activities for a short stay. Travelers can shop for accessories at the Black Swan boutique, splurge on an upscale seafood dish at Orega and learn about the island's Swedish background at the Wall House museum.