Tech

O'Plerou Grebet is a 22-year-old graphic design student in Ivory Coast. Everywhere he looks, he sees signs of Western influence — from the glass skyscrapers and malls lining the streets in his home city of Abidjan to the way his peers spoke and dressed.

"We are living like we're Western people," he says. "It's like we are not proud of our own culture."

That even applies to the symbols he texts to friends using the messaging apps on his phone (they especially love to use the "tears of joy" face emoji, he says).

Before we close the books on 2019, we want to look back at some of the business stories that made headlines this year. While some were in the news for weeks — like the trade war or the strike at General Motors, which idled tens of thousands of workers — other stories came and went quickly, but not before leaving a mark on the nation's economy.

Mississippi immigration raids

The Commerce Department has issued a list of 28 state security bureaus and tech companies in China that it says are being used to suppress the country's Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities – a move that blocks them from doing business with U.S. firms.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

Uber can zip you around town, bring sushi to your door and ship your company's goods across the country. Now, it will also connect gig workers with employers looking for temporary staff.

The company is launching its Uber Works app Thursday in Chicago in an effort to make it easier to find temporary shifts for work like bartending, warehouse work and commercial cleaning, it said in a blog post.

The crowded room was awaiting one word: "Fire."

Everyone was in uniform; there were scheduled briefings, last-minute discussions, final rehearsals. "They wanted to look me in the eye and say, 'Are you sure this is going to work?' " an operator named Neil said. "Every time, I had to say yes, no matter what I thought." He was nervous, but confident. U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency had never worked together on something this big before.

You have $1, and you're thinking about investing it in the stock market. All you know about the company you're going to invest in is that it's a tech company with more women on its workforce than the average tech firm.

How much of your dollar do you invest?

Updated at 6:43 p.m. ET

The Justice Department says it's launching a wide-ranging antitrust review of big tech companies. The DOJ didn't name specific firms in its announcement Tuesday but said its inquiry will consider concerns raised about "search, social media, and some retail services online."

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday

Facebook became embroiled in another controversy Tuesday, after the American Civil Liberties Union accused the company of giving employers a powerful tool to discriminate against women seeking work.

Andrea Perdomo / WLRN News

The United States Customs and Border Protection agency has released a mobile application for pleasure boaters to report re-entry into the United States.

The app, called ROAM for Reporting Offsite Arrival-Mobile, allows customs officers to process boaters’ information and initiate a video chat to ask questions.

Updated at 3:07 p.m. ET

T-Mobile and Sprint have reached a "definitive agreement" to merge in an all-stock deal, which would create a new company with a total value of $146 billion, based on current stock prices.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

Drones and unmanned vehicles draw interest from people in all sorts of fields. That much was clear at the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant Monday evening.

About 65 people, including police and fire officials, hobbyists, entrepreneurs and educators were present for the launch of The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Miami satellite chapter.

Prav Yalamanchi, a filmmaker who used a drone to film parts of a virtual reality zombie movie called Zombie Beach in Lake Worth, was one of the enthusiasts who showed up for the meeting.  

Allison Light / WLRN

Around 400 students from low-income families around Miami-Dade County spent six weeks of their summer learning to code – and getting paid for it.

The TechHire initiative was started by President Barack Obama in 2015. CareerSource South Florida, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the TechLaunch program at Florida Vocational Institute (FVI) partnered to bring TechHire to Miami. Out of around 900 applications, approximately 400 students were chosen by a combination of a lottery system and qualifications.

This story was reported by Latino USA in collaboration with All Tech Considered. The audio version of this story aired earlier on Latino USA; it is embedded below.

Micaela Honorato is looking from the sidelines as boys from her after-school program take turns racing their hand-made hovercraft on a dirt field in a city park.

President-elect Donald Trump met Wednesday afternoon with a who's-who of the tech industry. They came from Silicon Valley and elsewhere to Trump Tower in Manhattan, where they talked about jobs and innovation.

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