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The NFL has struck a deal with Twitter to live-stream, for free, the 2016 season of Thursday Night Football online through the social media site.

For the NFL, this is a push to reach the growing cohort of people who might not have a cable subscription. For Twitter, it might prove to be a major win in its ongoing challenge to attract and keep new users.

Alaska Airlines management is expressing confidence about integrating its rival Virgin America, whose pending acquisition was announced Monday. Any airline merger poses challenges and this one is no exception.

Alaska Air outbid rival JetBlue Airways to acquire Virgin America in what Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden described as "a hard fought competition." Alaska Air won the bidding war with a $2.6 billion all-cash offer that was announced Monday.

The parent company of Alaska Airlines has struck a deal to buy Virgin America, creating a West Coast-focused airline. If approved by regulators and Virgin America's shareholders, the combined airline will be the fifth-largest U.S. carrier, according to Alaska Air Group.

"By bringing them together, we're creating the premier airline for people who live anywhere on the West Coast," Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement.

401(k) 2012 / Flickr

The University of Washington has hard data showing that an unexpectedly beautiful day outside can influence how we make decisions at work. Specifically, it can lead people to become more careless.  

In Northwest farm country, tiny blueberry buds are already starting to plump up. But cold snaps could kill them. To save more of those fruit-bearing buds, blueberry farmers are currently waging an epic battle against frost.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The recreational marijuana industry is Washington state is predicted to hit a new high in the coming weeks.  

Reed Saxon / AP Photo

Boeing says its commercial airplanes division, which is concentrated in the Puget Sound region, will shrink by about 4,000 positions in the next few months as part of an effort to cut “billions of dollars” in costs this year.

Spokesman Doug Alder said the majority of those positions are open jobs that won’t be filled. The rest of the cuts will be achieved through attrition and voluntary layoffs. The company also said the cuts include hundreds of executives and managers.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge Tuesday approved the sale of the profitable core of the Haggen grocery chain to rival Albertsons. That brings to a close the dismantling of the Washington-based company.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

This is a big week for virtual reality, as Facebook starts shipping out the new $600 Oculus Rift to people who pre-ordered it. Later this week, Microsoft will start sending out an early version of its HoloLens augmented-reality device to developers to try out.

The battle over drug prices escalated Monday when health insurance giant Anthem Inc. sued Express Scripts, a manager of drug benefits, to get a bigger share of savings on prescription medicines.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

As Seattle grapples with a growing homeless population, some inventors have come up with a novel solution – sleeping pods. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Port of Tacoma commissioners say they have a lot of unanswered questions about a Chinese-backed company's proposed methanol plant on port property.

Almost two years ago, the commissioners signed a 30-year lease with the company, Northwest Innovation Works, with little public input. But lately there’s been so much public outcry that the company paused the environmental review process and is now seeking an extension to the feasibility phase of the lease. 

Port of Tacoma

Northwest Innovation Works, the Chinese-backed company seeking to build one of the world’s largest methanol plants in Tacoma, says it wants to address community concerns, but at a panel discussion sponsored by the City Club of Tacoma, many people expressed frustration that they haven’t been able to get answers. 

The Sony Corporation has announced it will pay Michael Jackson's estate $750 million for Jackson's 50 percent share of the Sony/ATV music publishing company.

The backstory here has more twists and shouts than a long and winding road (Couldn't resist, but note that the rights to both "Twist and Shout" and "The Long and Winding Road" belong to Sony/ATV). Sony's purchase marks the culmination of one of the most remarkable stories in the history of the music business.

Nevada's home solar business is in turmoil as the state's Public Utilities Commission starts to phase out incentives for homeowners who install rooftop solar panels. Some of the largest solar companies have stopped seeking new business in the state and laid off hundreds of workers.

He lives vicariously through himself. He has won the lifetime achievement award, twice. In museums, he is allowed to touch the art. He is ...

... out of a job.

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Big Trees Lodge.

Visitors to Yosemite National Park could be forgiven for not recognizing those hostelries' names.

They used to be called — and were famously known as — the Ahwahnee and Wawona hotels.

"It's just really surreal," said Monica Hubert, a former manager of the Wawona. "I mean, it's a National Historic Landmark."

The hotels and other Yosemite landmarks have been renamed because of a contract dispute.

Sports Authority has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, looking to restructure its debt and close a number of stores to try to regain its financial foothold.

The sporting goods retailer is carrying a heavy debt load.

In its restructuring, Sports Authority plans to access nearly $600 million in debtor-in-possession financing and close or sell approximately 140 stores and two distribution centers. The company operates more than 460 locations.

Clear Channel Outdoor — one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the U.S. — is starting a new program called Radar that will use billboards to map real-world habits and behaviors from nearby consumers.

The technology is sure to help advertisers better target their ads. But privacy advocates argue that it's, well, a little creepy.

Saying that it will finally do business in the country that helped inspire its approach to coffee, Starbucks has announced plans to open its first store in Italy early next year, venturing into the cradle of espresso.

Saying that it is making the move "with humility and respect," Starbucks announced that its first store in Italy will be in Milan.

From Rome, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports:

Ashley Gross / KPLU

In Tacoma, a Chinese-backed company has been seeking to build one of the world’s largest plants to convert natural gas to methanol, which would then be shipped to China to be used in making plastics.

After an intense public outcry, the company recently said it will pause the environmental review process, saying it has been “surprised by the tone and substance of the vocal opposition that has emerged in Tacoma.”

Ailing electronics maker Sharp has accepted a takeover bid from Foxconn, the company that assembles iPhones. After the deal was announced, Sharp's stock fell more than 14 percent. And Foxconn now says it will postpone finalizing the sale due to late-arriving information.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Home prices in the Seattle metro area jumped almost 10 percent in December compared with a year earlier. A forum hosted by the real estate brokerage and tech company Redfin Wednesday evening will examine how the city can remain livable for people of all incomes in coming years. 

When President Obama travels to Cuba next month — the first visit by a sitting U.S. president in nearly 90 years — it will mark a historic step on the path to normalizing relations with the island nation.

While Obama is in Havana, two U.S. businessmen are hoping the president might spend some time with them — or even take a seat on a prototype of the tractor they plan to assemble and sell in Cuba.

Americans craving kung pao chicken or a good lo mein for dinner have plenty of options: The U.S. is home to more than 40,000 Chinese restaurants.

One could think of this proliferation as a promise fulfilled — America as the great melting pot and land of opportunity for immigrants. Ironically, the legal forces that made this Chinese culinary profusion possible, beginning in the early 20th century, were born of altogether different sentiments: racism and xenophobia.

Apple shareholders will be voting on a proposal at the annual meeting Feb. 26. It's a proposal that the company opposes, which calls for the tech leader to increase diversity in its senior management.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Northwest Innovation Works, the Chinese-backed company that has been seeking to build one of the world's biggest natural gas-to-methanol plants at the Port of Tacoma, said in a statement that it's decided to "pause the environmental review."

"We have been surprised by the tone and substance of the vocal opposition that has emerged in Tacoma," the company said. "To force a facility on a community that does not welcome it would not be consistent with our goals."

Port of Tacoma

Projects in the works for the Pacific Northwest could turn the region into a major hub for exporting petrochemicals and products derived from fossil fuels, according to a new study from the environmental think tank Sightline Institute. 

In a few days, Apple will formulate its formal response to the federal judge's order seeking the company's help for the FBI to get inside a phone used by Syed Farook, one of the attackers in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings.

SPEEA

Boeing engineers and technical workers have voted to accept a new six-year contract, one that the company said "helps position us for continued success in a highly competitive landscape."

The contract covers about 20,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers, mostly in the Puget Sound region. The negotiations and vote were much more peaceful this time than they were three years ago. At that time, members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, or SPEEA, were so unhappy with the company’s proposals, they almost went on strike. 

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