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This week in California, water became a commodity. That means it can be traded now just like oil or gold. It's a testament to how important water is in a state that's suffering from droughts and wildfires. Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

Updated at 12:08 a.m. ET on Wednesday

The Trump appointee who runs the government's overseas broadcasters reassigned the head of the Voice of America on Tuesday as part of a broad effort to install supporters of the president before the Biden administration comes to power.

U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack is intending to name as VOA director Robert Reilly, an outspoken conservative ally who briefly served in the job under President George W. Bush nearly two decades ago.

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The Food and Drug Administration released a detailed analysis Tuesday morning of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech ahead of a Thursday meeting of a group of independent experts that will advise the agency on whether to grant the vaccine an emergency use authorization.

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Editor's note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money's newsletter. You can sign up here.

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Walking through Midtown Manhattan in December is usually like navigating a chaotic maze. This year, you can actually move — easily!

For many small businesses in New York City, that drop in customer traffic is troubling. Businesses count on a big bump in revenue during the city's busy holiday season. Now, they are facing a 66% drop in tourism, restrictions on shopping and dining, and a surge in COVID-19 cases.

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The wild days of bringing an emotional support cat or pig or miniature horse on a plane are coming to an end. The federal government has a new rule - only dogs that meet specific training criteria will be allowed. Here's NPR's David Schaper.

YouTube is filled with videos promising to teach you how to make big bucks trading stocks on your home computer. Matthew's videos tell you how to lose money.

A real estate agent and amateur investor, Matthew, who prefers his last name not be used because of how it might affect his career, made thousands of dollars trading stocks over the years, only to lose most of it day trading.

Now, in his YouTube videos, he cautions others about the perils of day trading at a time when stay-at-home measures have led millions to buy — and sell — stocks for the first time.

A federal judge on Monday fully blocked the Trump administration's attempt to ban TikTok in the U.S., the latest defeat in the White House's legal crusade against the video-sharing app.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington found that Trump overstepped his authority in using his emergency economic powers to try to effectively put the wildly popular app out of business. He was the second judge to rule against the president's ban.

Ride-hailing giant Uber is selling its autonomous vehicle research unit, Advanced Technologies Group, to the self-driving startup Aurora.

It's a significant symbolic shift for a company that just a few years ago promoted the development of self-driving technology as key to its long-term profitability.

Uber hasn't given up on the promise of autonomous vehicles. But after investing billions of dollars, it is now going to outsource that expensive effort.

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is ending production of its famous catalog, saying the thick compendium of affordable sofas, knickknacks and housewares will leave "a phenomenal 70-year legacy."

The catalog has given people around the world a chance to reimagine their surroundings, featuring everything from new shelves and chairs to an entirely revamped kitchen.

"For both customers and co-workers, the IKEA Catalog is a publication that brings a lot of emotions, memories and joy," said Konrad Grüss, managing director of Inter IKEA Systems B.V. — the worldwide Ikea franchiser.

China's economy is roaring back as Americans gobble up everything from its cellphones to its health masks, raising the stakes for trade relations with the United States as President-elect Joe Biden gets set to take over.

Data on Monday showed China notched a record $75.4 billion trade surplus in November after exports from China to the rest of the world jumped 21.1% compared to a year ago.

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In the best of times, service industry workers are typically paid below the minimum wage and rely on tips to make up the difference. Now, those still working in an industry battered by the coronavirus pandemic are on the front lines, enforcing COVID-19 safety measures at the expense of both tip earnings and avoiding harassment.

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Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET

U.S. employers sharply scaled back their hiring last month as the coronavirus pandemic put new pressure on restaurants, retailers and other businesses.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added just 245,000 jobs in November, down from a revised 610,000 in October.

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OK. You may be surprised to hear there's currently a startup boom in the United States. Despite the pandemic - or maybe because of it - new businesses are starting at record rates. Here's Greg Rosalsky of NPR's Planet Money.

Updated 11:36 p.m. ET

Hundreds of Google employees have published an open letter following the firing of an accomplished scientist known for her research into the ethics of artificial intelligence and her work showing racial bias in facial recognition technology.

That scientist, Timnit Gebru, helped lead Google's Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team until Tuesday.

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Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced most of the state will come under a stricter set of limitations as intensive care units reach near-capacity levels with the latest surge in coronavirus cases.

Regional stay-at-home orders will likely go into effect "in the next day or two" in places with less than 15% ICU availability, Newsom explained in a daily briefing with reporters.

Get ready for one of the most unpredictable monthly jobs reports in a while.

The pandemic has come roaring back, filling hospitals with coronavirus patients, while restaurants and retail shops empty out.

That is expected to put a squeeze on job gains: Forecasters expect a report Friday from the Labor Department will show that U.S. employers added fewer workers in November than the 638,000 created a month earlier.

How much less is uncertain as the pandemic makes it hard to forecast economic indicators.

The OPEC cartel and allies such as Russia will start ramping up oil production in January, but at a much more gradual rate than previously planned, in recognition of the ongoing economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The closely watched OPEC meeting came after oil prices showed significant growth, buoyed by vaccine breakthroughs that have sparked rising optimism about a global economic recovery.

But global oil demand remains depressed, which led to widespread expectations that OPEC would decide not to raise production yet.

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