Retailers Race Against Amazon to Automate Stores

Supported by Technology Retailers Race Against Amazon to Automate Stores SEATTLE — To see what it’s like inside stores where sensors and artificial intelligence have replaced cashiers, shoppers have to trek to Amazon Go, the internet retailer’s experimental convenience shop in downtown Seattle.
Soon, though, more technology-driven businesses like Amazon Go may be coming to them.
A global race to automate stores is underway among several of the world’s top retailers and small tech start-ups, which are motivated to shave labor costs and minimize shoppers’ frustrations, like waiting for cashiers. They are also trying to prevent Amazon from dominating the physical retail world as it does online shopping.
Companies are testing robots that help keep shelves stocked, as well as apps that let shoppers ring up items with a smartphone. High-tech systems like the one used by Amazon Go completely automate the checkout process. China, which has its own ambitious e-commerce companies, is emergi..

After Gaza Clash, Israel and Palestinians Fight With Videos and Words

After Gaza Clash, Israel and Palestinians Fight With Videos and Words Photo Israeli sharpshooters taking position on Friday as they were deployed at the border between Israel and Gaza, next to the Gaza town of Beit Hanun. Credit Atef Safadi/EPA, via Shutterstock JERUSALEM — Days after the deadly flare-up along Israel’s border with Gaza, during which Israeli troops killed 15 Palestinians, a new war — of videos and strong statements — has erupted over what happened, and why.
The violence has waned in what was the bloodiest day in Gaza since the war of 2014, but both sides have been pressing their cases to defend their actions.
Palestinians, supported by human rights groups, view the events as a legitimate protest that was met with disproportionate force by trigger-happy Israeli soldiers.
Israel says it acted judiciously to prevent a dangerous breach of its borders and sovereignty led by Hamas, the Islamic group that controls Gaza, and to protect nearby communities. The toll would have be..

Hollywood’s Ambassador, Schooled in Diplomacy and the Muppets

Supported by Media Hollywood’s Ambassador, Schooled in Diplomacy and the Muppets LOS ANGELES — Charles H. Rivkin began his Hollywood career in 1988, when Jim Henson hired him to plot a business future for Kermit the Frog.
Mr. Henson’s unexpected death two years later threw the Muppets into crisis. But Mr. Rivkin pushed the little puppet studio toward the booming cable and DVD businesses, ultimately engineering its sale for $680 million in 2000 — $1 billion in today’s dollars.
A hairpin turn into politics awaited. Mr. Rivkin — polished, almost preternaturally so — became a mega-fund-raiser for the soon-to-be-president, Barack Obama, who named him ambassador to France in 2009. After a celebrated run in Paris, where he was the youngest American envoy since the Eisenhower administration, Mr. Rivkin became an assistant secretary of state.
And now Mr. Rivkin, 55, finds himself trying to meld both of those lives — Hollywood insider and Washington influencer — as chairman of the musty Mot..

Onstage, South Korean K-Pop Stars. In the Balcony, Kim Jong-un, Clapping.

Onstage, South Korean K-Pop Stars. In the Balcony, Kim Jong-un, Clapping. Photo North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, on balcony, top right center, drew thunderous applause when he appeared for a performance by South Korean musicians in Pyongyang on Sunday. Credit Pool photo/EPA, via Shutterstock SEOUL, South Korea — He clapped and he smiled, even posing for a group photo with a K-pop band.
The appearance by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, on Sunday at a concert by South Korean musicians in Pyongyang was all the more unusual because his authoritarian government has been struggling to stave off what it sees as an infiltration of the South’s pop culture among his isolated people.
But Mr. Kim shook the hands of members of South Korea’s most popular girl band, Red Velvet, which he and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, watched from a balcony.
After watching Red Velvet perform, Mr. Kim reportedly pronounced the event a “gift for Pyongyang citizens.”
The two-hour show at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater w..

The Week Ahead: White House to List Chinese Products Facing Tariffs and the March Jobs Report

Supported by Business Day | The Week Ahead White House to List Chinese Products Facing Tariffs and the March Jobs Report Photo A television production line at a factory in Lianyungang, China. The Trump administration is expected this week to announce the list of Chinese products that will be hit with tariffs. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images TRADE
Trump to release list of next tariff targets.The Trump administration is expected this week to announce the list of Chinese products that will be hit with tariffs over what the administration has called the country’s theft of intellectual property. Mr. Trump has said the levies will affect at least $50 billion in imported goods and will most likely focus on cutting-edge tech products of the kind that United States fears losing out on to China. Americans are more likely to feel the impact of these tariffs than those applied to steel and aluminum in March, because they will probably hit consumer products found on store shelves, r..

A New Push Is on for Afghan Schools, but the Numbers Are Grim

A New Push Is on for Afghan Schools, but the Numbers Are Grim Photo Students taking a test in Kunduz Province. Almost half of Afghan schools are still in the open air or borrow space in homes. Credit Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times KABUL, Afghanistan — Before the start of another Afghan school year, about 200 tribal elders in the southeastern district of Laja Mangal gathered in a schoolyard for an important declaration: Any family that did not send its children to school would be fined $70, about half a civil servant’s monthly salary.
The district of about 50,000 people had built seven schools over the past 15 years, yet it had struggled to attract students from the mountainous area where the Taliban also have influence. The elders, feeling old tribal customs were holding back their children, thought the drastic measure was necessary.
“They see those people who go to school and become important people in the government and international organizations, so they have tasted the valu..