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For many Missouri health advocates, an increase in the state's tobacco tax is long overdue. But onlookers might be surprised to hear that tobacco companies are spending a fortune this election year to get one or another increase in that tax passed, while health groups are urging a no vote.

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One family has owned and operated The New York Times since 1896. And this week, the fifth generation takes on a leadership role. A.G. Sulzberger, the new deputy publisher, remembers his father showing him the printing press when he was 5.

Near the entrance to Santa Monica pier stood a circle of Volkswagen Golfs, each with a driver. The purpose was to ferry attendees of a weeknight car unveiling to their own vehicles somewhere in the vast oceanfront parking lot. Perfectly framed by the pier's roller coaster in the background is the Volkswagen Atlas. If you want the company's answer to a year of scandal, this is it: what VW calls a mid-size SUV that has three rows that seat seven passengers.

General Motors appears to have won the October sales race among the big automakers. GM saw its sales fall by just 1.7 percent in October. It has good company in those sales declines, being joined by nearly all the other carmakers. Overall, automobile sales in the U.S. are expected to drop between 6 and 8 percent when all the reports are in.

In California, the city of Oakland was the first to regulate and tax medical marijuana dispensaries. Now, some city leaders see the industry's profits and are proposing to take a bigger piece of the action. The Oakland City Council is voting later this month on a pot profit-taking plan.

Harborside Health Center in Oakland is the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the nation.

Its executive director, Steve DeAngelo, says his dispensary brings in about $30 million in annual revenues.

More than 1 million people have "checked in" on Facebook to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation page, in a show of support for the tribe that has been rallying against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Some of the country's most prominent economists have signed a letter warning that Donald Trump is a "dangerous, destructive" choice for president and urging voters to choose someone else.

The letter, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was signed by 370 economists, including eight Nobel Prize winners.

For years, New Jersey drivers enjoyed relatively cheap gas — thanks to one of the lowest state gasoline taxes in the country. The state's gas tax hasn't gone up since 1988. But that all changed Tuesday, when it jumped by 23 cents a gallon.

Across the state on Monday, drivers raced to fill up their tanks before a tax hike took effect.

"I would like to know more about microloans, and if they are in fact helping women start businesses in the developing world."

That's the question our readers wanted us to look into.

A federal judge has tentatively signed off on a $151 million settlement between residents of Charleston, W.Va., and two companies implicated in a 2014 chemical spill that poisoned drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people.

There's an unusual fight underway in Michigan over a simple black-and-white sign that identifies a state highway. That highway runs through a popular vacation region. And one business claims it has the exclusive right to use the road sign as a product brand.

But the state disagrees, and the trademark dispute is now in federal court.

Come next Tuesday, millions of people will stand in line to vote; last presidential cycle, about 57.5 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. Still, that means nearly half did not. Many people stay away from the polls because they run out of time, or have a work conflict — in which case lacking paid time off to vote might be a factor.

Paid leave to vote is covered by a patchwork of laws around the country.

There are rating systems for hospitals, nursing homes and doctors. So why is it so hard to compare providers of child care?

Part of the reason is that there are no nationally agreed-upon standards for what determines the quality of child care. The standards that do exist are formulated in each state, and they vary widely.

For example, some states require that child care workers have a teaching certificate. Others require certain college courses. Some have strict ratios of how many caregivers are required per child.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell has her work cut out for her.

She has to convince millions of people who get their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges or who have no coverage at all that they should go online and shop for a good deal.

Silicon Valley is a politically liberal place — and that is reflected in where people are sending their money this election season. Ninety-five percent of contributions from tech employees to the presidential campaigns have gone to Hillary Clinton, according to Crowdpac, a group that tracks political donations.

But one well-known outlier has caused a lot of friction in the Valley.

In the small town of Sunderland, Mass., is a 300-year-old, family-run plot of land that fuses fine art and farming.

Mike Wissemann's 8-acre cornfield maze is a feat of ingenuity, with carefully planned and executed stalk-formed replicas of notables such as the Mona Lisa, Albert Einstein and Salvador Dalí.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The largest provider of health coverage on the Affordable Care Act's online marketplace in Maine has dropped coverage of elective abortion services.

Community Health Options, an insurance co-op, decided to eliminate the coverage as it tries to dig itself out of a $31 million financial hole that it accumulated in 2015. (It's one of six co-ops remaining of the 23 initially created by the Affordable Care Act.)

During political campaigns, many dollar figures get tossed about as candidates discuss the national debt, the deficit, and taxes.

But in some states, this could be the figure that will matter most: $7.25.

That's the amount minimum-wage workers get paid per hour under federal law. Polls show voters overwhelmingly support a higher wage, and 28 states and the District of Columbia already have passed laws forcing employers to pay more than the national minimum.

Episode 732: Bad Form, Wells Fargo

Oct 28, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, we did a show about the massive scandal at Wells Fargo bank. How good employees were pushed to do bad things. Like opening up bank accounts that customers never asked for.

American Airlines Flight 383, a Boeing 767, aborted its takeoff at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Friday and caught fire. The airline gave the cause as "an engine-related issue." The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane blew a tire. Passengers were evacuated onto the runway.

The city's Office of Emergency Management said 20 people were injured. Earlier the airline had said seven passengers and one flight attendant reported minor injuries and were taken to a hospital. The airline said it rescheduled the rest of the passengers on other flights.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

There aren't many things the two major presidential candidates agree on, but here's one: Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump say they would spend more to rebuild the country's aging infrastructure.

Maybe this election cycle really is getting to us.

On Friday, one report showed the economy is growing at a surprisingly quick pace, but another found consumers are feeling less upbeat.

The Commerce Department said the economy grew by 2.9 percent in this year's third quarter. That's a very solid expansion — the fastest pace in two years. It exceeded the 2.5 percent rate most economists had been forecasting.

Federal regulators said 12 U.S. hospitals, including well-known medical centers in Los Angeles, Boston and New York, failed to promptly report patient deaths or injuries linked to medical devices.

The Food and Drug Administration publicly disclosed the violations in inspection reports this week amid growing scrutiny of its ability to identify device-related dangers and protect patients from harm.

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