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According to Slate.com, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a sprawling health system that dominates much of western Pennsylvania’s health care market, announced that it would spend $2 billion to build a trio of new hospitals within its home city.

Questions:
1. What was the purpose of each of the three hospitals?
2. What was the overall 5-year goal?
3. What do the Pittsburgh locals think about the move and why?
4. What type of economic trends and changes are happening in Pittsburgh in general?

Weissmann, J. (2018). Hyper Tension. Slate.com. May 11 (Retrievable online from https://slate.com/business/2018/05/pittsburghs-upmc-wants-to-be-the-amazon-of-health-care.html)

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Alleged postal thief mastermind Dushaun Henderson-Spruce orchestrated the theft of thousands of pieces of mail from a global corporation, including corporate American Express cards, business checks and invoices, and rerouted them halfway across the country.

Questions:
1. How did he do it?
2. How long did the scheme last?
3. What internal control could have prevented this mishap?
4. What penalty is Henderson-spruce facing?
5. Do you think the charges will hold up against him? Discuss.

Source:
Hannon, E. (2018). A Chicago Man Filled Out a Single Postal Change of Address Form and Redirected UPS Corporate Mail to His Apartment. Slate.com, May 10 (Retrievable online at https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/05/chicago-man-filled-out-a-single-postal-change-of-address-form-and-redirected-ups-corporate-mail-to-his-apartment.html)

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According to Reuters, Tyson Foods (TSN.N), the largest U.S. meat processor, has invested in an Israeli biotech company developing a way to grow affordable meat in a laboratory that takes live animals out of the equation.

Questions:
1. What does the technology focus on in order to provide the same texture as meat?
2. How much have costs decreased in the last few years by kilogram cost and by percentage?
3. What are the benefits of growing meat?

Source:
Staff. (2018). Tyson Foods backs Israeli startup to grow meat in the lab. Reuters.com, May 2 (Retrievable online at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tyson-foods-israel/tyson-foods-backs-israeli-startup-to-grow-meat-in-the-lab-idUSKBN1I31DP)

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According to Ed Kilgore, California, has by virtue of a decision by its Supreme Court adopted perhaps the toughest standard in the country for employer treatment of its basic human capital as contractors. In particular, it affects the “gig economy” model, notably California-based enterprises like Uber and Lyft, which treat their drivers as independent contractors.

Questions:
1. According to the article, who bears the burden of proof as to the classification of contractors?
2. What can companies objecting to the law do as recourse?
3. How will this shift costs for some companies?

Source:
Kilgore, E. (2018) California Court Ruling Could Be Major Blow to ‘Gig Economy’ Firms. New York Magazine, May 1 (Retrievable online at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/05/ca-court-ruling-could-be-major-blow-to-gig-economy.html

Posted by & filed under Accounting Information Systems, Accounting Principles, Advanced Accounting, All Articles, Auditing, Cost Accounting, Financial Accounting, IFRS, Income Taxes, International Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Uncategorized, Video Updates.

According to Axios, there was a 17% drop in international students in the U.S. last year, mostly due to the 28% decline in Indian students and a 24% decline in Chinese students receiving visas.

Questions:
1. Is the trend in international students attributable to President Trump’s immigration policy changes and rhetoric? Explain.
2. What are the factors that lead to an overall decrease in F-1 visas?
3. What is the competition that the U.S. sees for these foreign students?
4. What will these declines mean for the U.S. economy?

Source:
Kight, S. (2018). The disappearing Chinese student visa. Axios.com, May 6 (Retrievable online at https://www.axios.com/foreign-student-visas-dropping-china-india-trump-81e70609-9fa7-43eb-8f40-ccfef9fe3fa5.html)

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According to the Washington Post, Amazon is justifying Prime’s 20 percent price hike, to $119 a year, by saying it is more a valuable service than when the fee last rose four years ago.

Questions:
1. How many Amazon customers are Prime members?
2. What did the article (April 27) offer as alternatives or ways to get around Prime fees? Will any work for you? Discuss.
3. What happened to Amazon 1st quarter profits for 2018? (April 26 article)
4. How much did shares spike in after-hour trading on April 26 and what was the stock price?
5. What has been an important cornerstone of Amazon’s retail business and why?

Source:
Bhattari, A. (2018) How to get around Amazon Prime’s new $119 fee. The Washington Post, April 27 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/04/27/how-to-get-around-amazon-primes-new-119-fee/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.151637954535)

Bhattari, A. (2018). Amazon doubles its profit — and hikes Prime membership fee 20%. The Washington Post, April 26 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/amazon-doubles-its-profit—and-hikes-prime-membership-by-20/2018/04/26/31f5a14c-489a-11e8-827e-190efaf1f1ee_story.html?utm_term=.ac0cd81aeaa8)

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According to Bloomberg, the market value of Kraft Heinz is down $50 billion. Its major players, Warren Buffett and 3G Capital (who orchestrated the 2015 merger) for the packaged food giant, need to turbocharge sales or strike a big deal to satisfy Wall Street.

Questions:
1. Where is the company trying to find sales growth?
2. When was Kraft Heinz pushed to its highest price and what was it?
3. What has happened to the company since that time?
4. What are some of the reasons why Kraft Heinz has not recovered?

Source:
Giammona, C. 2018. Warren Buffett Better Sell a Lot of Ketchup Fast.Bloomberg, April 26 (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-26/warren-buffett-needs-to-sell-a-lot-of-ketchup-fast)

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The first credit card offering frequent-flier miles made its debut over 30 years ago. Delta Airlines generated $3 billion from its relationship with American Express in 2017 and expects to hit $4 billion by 2021.

Questions:
1. What did the frequent flier airline cards offer in the 1980s? How does that compare to now?
2. Who ought to have these cards, according to the article?
3. Why should these cards inspire healthy cynicism?
4. Is it possible to gain generic advise that will help you pick a card? Why or why not?

Source:
Lieber, R. (2018). Why Airline Credit Cards Have an Enduring Appeal. The New York Times, April 27 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/your-money/airline-frequent-flier-credit-card.html)

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According to Bloomberg.com, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai is about to have a very big week.

Questions:
1. An award of 353,939 restricted shares he received before a promotion in 2014 will vest. What does this mean?
2. How big it the payout to this executive?
3. How did the award swell in value?
4. What was the most interesting thing that you learned in this article?

Source:
Melin, A. (2018). Google CEO Pichai Set to Cash In $380 Million Award This Week, April 23 (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-23/google-ceo-pichai-poised-to-cash-in-380-million-award-this-week)

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According to the New York Times, in recent years, the ranks of state and local employees have languished even as the populations they serve have grown. They now account for the smallest share of the American civilian work force since 1967.

Questions:
1. Explain some of the reasons why this is happening.
2. What is wrong with jobs created mostly in service industries?
3. By how much have local and state payrolls grown in the last 12 months?

Source:
Cohen, P. and R. Gebloff. 2018. Public Servants Are Losing Their Foothold in the Middle Class. The New York Times, April 22 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/22/business/economy/public-employees.html)