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Here and Now

Iraq War Declared Over, Bad Practices Behind “Fair Trade” Labels, Small Businesses and Job Creation, Amazon Angers Brick & Mortars: Today on Here and Now

1:06pm: In Baghdad today, the U.S. military officially declared an end to the war in Iraq, a war that cost more than 4,000 U.S. lives, and the lives countless Iraqis. But as the war ends, and all the troops come home by the end of the year, a story in today’s New York Times probes one of the darkest days of the war, the massacre by U.S. Marines of two dozen Iraqis in Haditha in 2005. Reporter Michael Schmidt discovered pages of interrogations of the Marines in a Baghdad junkyard.

1:12pm: When we buy products with a “fair trade” label, we assume the products come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated and treated ethically. But a Bloomberg News investigation found that in some cases, the fair trade label might be masking some of the worst labor practices. Bloomberg found children working in slave-like conditions in the West African country of Burkina Faso, growing and picking the cotton that is used in millions of pieces of clothing sold by Victoria’s Secret.

1:35pm: Can small businesses really grow enough to help the overall economy? Our Changing Gears team has been looking at magic bullets – the big ideas that can solve our economic crisis. Today, in the final installment of our series, we take a look at small businesses and the impact of the jobs they create.

1:40pm: Last Saturday, Amazon made a special offer to customers with mobile phones: Go to a brick and mortar shop, use Amazon’s price check app to scan the bar code for the price on something you want. If you then buy the item online from Amazon, the company will give you an extra 5% off three purchases. The offer angered Main Street businesses, who say it turned their businesses into show rooms for Amazon. Amazon defended the promotion saying it was just helping consumers save money. We’ll talk about it this hour.

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Local News

Bill Would Provide Tax Incentives For Small Businesses

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Kentucky has about 70,000 small businesses, and a bill giving them some tax incentives is moving in the 2009 General Assembly.

The measure, sponsored by South Shore Rep. Tanya Pullin, would allow small businesses to apply for a tax credit if they spend five thousand dollars on technology or capital improvements and hire one employee.

“When small businesses in my district would say to me, I see that mega-corporation X got a tax incentive to do so and so. I want to grow and add two or three people. What kind of tax incentive can I get? And I had to say to them, we don’t have anything in Kentucky for small businesses. And so, that was my interest in how it started,” Pullin said.

This is Pullin’s third attempt to win passage of the bill, which went nowhere in previous sessions. So far this year, the bill has House budget committee approval and is awaiting a House floor vote.