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The European Union's executive branch has found that Ireland granted unfair and illegal tax breaks to the tech giant Apple, and ruled that Apple now owes more than $14.5 billion in back taxes.

The commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, says that under EU rules, "Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies."

The battle of the Joes isn't over yet.

On one hand, you have Trader Joe's — the U.S. grocery chain with a bit of a cult following for its quirky, exclusive products.

On the other hand, you have Pirate Joe's — the Canadian "gray market" grocery shop that sells Trader Joe's goods picked up in America and trucked across the border to Vancouver. There, at a significant markup, they're sold to Trader Joe's enthusiasts who don't fancy the thought of a border-crossing grocery run.

Treatment for life-threatening allergic reactions is about to get a little cheaper.

Mylan, the maker of the EpiPen, said Monday that it will launch a generic version of the device for half the price of the brand-name product.

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP PHOTO

The median price for a single-family house in Washington state hit an all-time record of $317,500 in the second quarter of 2016.

That beats the prior record of $316,700 set in 2007, just before the housing market crashed, according to an analysis by the University of Washington's Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.

Tesla Motors moved a step closer in its bid to buy SolarCity after federal regulators said the $2.6 billion deal doesn't present antitrust concerns.

Tesla announced plans to purchase the solar panel installer earlier this month, and Reuters says the Federal Trade Commission quickly signed off "because the merging companies have few or no overlaps."

NPR's Jeff Brady has more on the deal:

"Tesla is pursing the acquisition because on top of building cars, the company says it wants to produce the renewable energy that could power them.

Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle's University Village last year.
Elaine Johnson / AP Photo

Part of the convenience of shopping online is having your spoils delivered to your door, but online retailers are opening more and more physical stores.

Consider the bookstore Amazon opened in Seattle's University Village last year. Now the retail giant is beginning to build drive-up grocery stores where customers can pick up online orders.

"hallway in the cherry tree inn in billings" by Bradley Gordon is licensed by CC by 2.0

On Monday,  the Seattle City Council endorsed an initiative slated for the November ballot that was designed to protect hotel workers in the city.  That initiative is opposed by hotel owners who worry the measure goes too far.

Initiative 124 is broad, covering employee health care, workplace safety, and how hotels should protect workers from sexual harassment.

Henry Ford would be proud of T-Mobile, says telecom analyst Roger Entner.

One of the most famous quotes by the legendary Ford Motor founder was on the availability of the Model T in only one color: "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black."

Union labels on Perma products
Perma

Recreational marijuana buyers in the south Puget Sound can now find products with a union label.

Perma, a Tacoma-based cannabis grower and processor, is the first recreational pot processor in the county to unionize. The workers have joined the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 367. 

The process began in May when Perma founder Webb Bowie saw the union speak at a business event.

"I went to them and challenged them," Bowie said. "They didn't come knocking at my door."

Working Washington

Businesses made their stand against Seattle's proposed "secure scheduling" law Tuesday evening.

Representatives from Home Depot, AutoZone, Target, Petco, Subway franchises, and other chains packed half the city council chamber at a public hearing to criticize proposed rules on how their companies schedule workers in the city.

Retail giant Wal-Mart uses its market dominance to inflict "ruthless," "brutal" and "relentless" pressure on prices charged by suppliers, business writers frequently report.

What if huge health insurance companies could push down prices charged by hospitals and doctors in the same way?

The idea is getting new attention as already painful health costs accelerate and major medical insurers seek to merge into three enormous firms.

Delta canceled about 530 flights on Tuesday in addition to about 1,000 canceled a day earlier after a power outage in Atlanta brought down the company's computers, grinding the airline's operation virtually to a halt.

Seth Kaplan, who follows the airline industry, asks the question on everyone's mind: "If every small business on the corner can manage to keep its website running through a cloud-based server and all those sorts of things, why can't Delta Air Lines with all its resources manage to do that?"

Puget Sound Energy

Plans for a terminal that would make and store liquefied natural gas at the Port of Tacoma are moving closer to reality.  But there’s still a question of how the costs should be divvied up. 

Puget Sound Energy, the private utility hoping to build the plant, is in talks with state regulators over how to structure the corporate entity that would run the facility — essentially a chilled steel tank wrapped in three feet of concrete. 

Milk prices are in the tank. You may not have noticed this, since prices in the supermarket have fallen only slightly. But on the farm, it's dramatic. Dairy farmers are getting about 20 percent less for their milk than they did last year; 40 percent less than when milk prices hit an all-time peak two years ago.

"We're losing money," says Dave Drennan, executive director of the Missouri Dairyman's Association. In Europe and Australia, dairy farmers have taken to the streets to protest their plight.

"Welcome at SEA" by bfishadow is licensed by CC BY 2.0

Immigrants in Washington make outsized contributions to the state’s economy, according to a new report from a national coalition that promotes immigration reform.

On Wednesday morning, local business leaders and immigrant advocates presented "The Contributions of New Americans in Washington," which detailed the economic impact of the state's immigrants. 

Hop growers are raising a glass to craft brewers. The demand for small-batch brews has helped growers boost their revenues, expand their operations, and, in some cases, save their farms.

"Without the advent of craft brewing, a few large, corporate growers would be supplying all of the hops and local, family-owned farms like ours would have gone bankrupt," says Diane Gooding, vice president of operations at Gooding Farms, a hop grower in Wilder, Idaho. "It's saved the industry."

Marissa Mayer will go down in history as the last CEO of Yahoo. The great Internet pioneer is having its core business auctioned off to Verizon. When Mayer came on board four years ago, Yahoo was in a critical, make-or-break moment. It needed a decisive leader.

But in interviews with Mayer and people who worked with her, a different truth emerges: The CEO treated Yahoo more like a think tank than a sinking ship.

Stockholders in Virgin America have approved the acquisition of their airline by Alaska Airlines. The chairman of Virgin America announced the voting results at a brief shareholders meeting Tuesday.

With recent reports that drugmakers have sharply raised the prices of some prescription drugs, a reader has written in to ask why a common generic drug is also suddenly costing him more. Another reader has questions about health plans with high deductibles. Here are those readers' questions, and what I've learned about the answers.

Yahoo has found a buyer for its core Internet business: the nation's largest telecom provider, Verizon Communications. The two companies are set to announce a $4.8-billion deal on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

Alaska Airlines' proposed takeover of rival Virgin America remains on course pending federal approval expected late this year. That's according to Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden. Tilden told Wall Street analysts Thursday that he's still undecided about whether to keep the Virgin America brand alive after the acquisition goes through.

Over the past few years, so-called ugly fruit and vegetables have been gaining a host of admirers.

Citing "a culture of deeply-rooted corporate arrogance," New York, Massachusetts and Maryland have filed civil lawsuits against Volkswagen, accusing the automaker of violating those states' environmental laws when it sold cars under the "clean diesel" label that were actually rigged to trick emissions tests.

It's only been out a week, but Pokémon Go is making more money than a Meowth using Pay Day.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

As gamers roam the streets trying to catch Pokémon with their smart phones, we’re examining a counter-trend. These days, board games are also increasingly popular, and Seattle is a major epicenter for designers.

Many local board game designers have day jobs in the video game industry. Mike Elliott is one of the few who works full-time as a freelance board game designer. He’s created about 50 games, including the popular trading card game "Dice Masters" that he invented with his colleague Eric Lang.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The "Pokémon Go" craze has lots of people glued to their screens these days. But a low-tech form of entertainment – board games – has also been growing in popularity. Sales of what the industry calls hobby games grew about 20 percent last year, and the Seattle region is a major hub for board game design.

Wenatchee Valley College

Washington state is one of largest wine producers in the U.S., second only to California.  As demand for Washington’s silky reds and crisp whites goes up, so does the need for labor. Growing grapes can be a complicated job. You have to learn the right way to prune vines and manage irrigation. 

In recent years, more Latina women are applying for jobs in vineyards. In response, Wenatchee Valley College recently expanded their successful grape-growing program to include classes exclusively for Spanish-speaking women.

The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

This week, the big focus in aerospace is the Farnborough International Airshow, southwest of London. That’s where Airbus and Boeing normally announce new orders and showcase their aircraft. 

Analysts say that this year, there will likely be a lot of talk about whether Boeing plans to build a new jet.

When the Labor Department released its monthly jobs report Friday, it showed a hiring surge in June, with 287,000 new jobs popping up.

And the report suggested something else: we're spending more to have fun.

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