SHRM CEO outlines 3 priorities for HR

HR has come under intense scrutiny over the past year, with the spike in allegations of sexual harassment, said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, in remarks during the general session at this year's SHRM show and conference. Taylor detailed three priorities for HR organizations, including building inclusive workplace cultures.

Study: Teachers' expertise boosts outcomes

High-school students who are taught a subject such as math by teachers who either majored or minored in the same subject are more likely to graduate from college, according to a study of 6,000 students and their teachers across the country by a researcher at the University of Missouri. Researcher Se Woong Lee noted, "Highly-qualified teachers are more likely to expand students' desires to learn and succeed."

Merkel, Macron jointly back wide-ranging EU integration

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to put aside differences and work together to integrate Europe more thoroughly. Establishing a common eurozone budget is their biggest objective, but they will also work to coordinate refugee, security and economic policies.

Kroger among 100 top workplaces for IT industry

Kroger was named one of the top 100 places to work in information technology by ComputerWorld, ranking 58th among top organizations across the US. Kroger was noted for developing many of its software solutions in-house.

MD Anderson Cancer Center must pay $4.3M HIPAA fine, judge rules

A judge upheld an HHS order for the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to pay a penalty of $4.3 million for HIPAA violations stemming from three data breach incidents in 2012 and 2013 and the center's failure to encrypt its electronic devices. "We are pleased that the judge upheld our imposition of penalties because it underscores the risks entities take if they fail to implement effective safeguards, such as data encryption, when required to protect sensitive patient information," said Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

Dollar General adds mobile checkouts

A new app from Dollar General allows mobile users to scan their items and pay while avoiding checkout lines. The DG Go app, for now available for use in just 10 stores, emails users an immediate receipt and applies any saved coupons automatically.

A local, chemical-free flower market blooms in Minn.

Retailer Christine Hoffman's frustrating search for a reliable source of local, pesticide- and fertilizer-free flowers led her to launch Twin Cities Flower Exchange. The startup recently opened for its second season, selling locally grown, chemical-free flowers to wholesalers in St. Paul, Minn.

Symantec: Chinese hacking campaign targets US satellites

A hacking campaign launched from computers in China has targeted satellite operators, telecommunications companies and defense contractors, Symantec reports. The attacks could lead to disruptions in civilian and military services, the company warns.

Report shows fewer US adults are smoking

Study data released Tuesday showed the smoking rate in the US has reached an all-time low, with the number of adults smoking decreasing from about 16% in 2016 to about 14% in 2017. Experts credited anti-smoking campaigns, smoking bans and cigarette taxes in helping to reduce the smoking rate.

Experts: Comcast purchase of Fox assets could lead to $4B tax bill

Comcast's purchase of 21st Century Fox assets could result in a tax bill for Fox's Murdoch family totaling more than $4 billion, whereas an all-stock deal with Disney would be tax-free, tax experts say. Fox has scheduled a board meeting Wednesday to further discuss whether to move forward with Comcast's $65 billion bid.

Canadian airport begins $6.8B upgrade

Construction has started on a $6.8 billion expansion at the Vancouver International Airport in Canada, and plans call for one of the largest geothermal heating and cooling systems in the country. The work also includes new parking, terminal renovations and upgrades to the car rental facility.

Oil production from Alaskan refuge may be more than 12 years away

Oil production likely won't begin in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska until after 2030. The Energy Information Administration said companies will need time to acquire leases, look for oil and build infrastructure in the refuge, which may offer 5.7 billion to 16 billion barrels of oil in the coastal plain.

UPS to upgrade avionics on more than half its fleet

UPS is upgrading the avionics systems on 137 Boeing 757 and 767 freighters and 52 Airbus A300s, a process expected to take two and a half years. "This will allow us to be able to configure the aircraft to continue flying at least another 20, perhaps 30 years," says Christian Kast, UPS advanced flight manager.

Carnival debuts new agent-reward program

Carnival Cruise Line introduced Loyalty Rocks this week, an agent-reward program that includes new features such as perks and a mobile-compatible design. "The rewards program is focused at the agent level, recognizing the individual agents and all that they do for Carnival Cruise Line in a more impactful way," Carnival sales executive Adolfo Perez said.