VIETNAM, WTO MAKE IT OFFICIAL: Vietnam, which has emerged as a manufacturing hot spot for apparel and footwear, joined the World Trade Organization on Thursday as the 150th member. U.S. Trade Rep. Susan Schwab said in a statement "This is an historic day....It marks the beginning of a new era in the political and economic relationship of our two countries." The Geneva-based WTO oversees most global trade in goods and services worth more than $12 trillion annually. Vietnam's apparel exports in 2005 increased 8 percent to $4.8 billion and textile imports rose 13 percent to $3.3 billion.
WAL-MART HEALTH CARE: Continuing to work on its reputation, Wal-Mart said Thursday that the percentage of associates covered by company health insurance rose 8 percent in fall 2006 to 47.4 percent of employees. A total of 636,391 U.S. associates, out of one million eligible workers, opted for the company's health care package in the most recent enrollment period. The $312 billion retailer has been accused of pushing its 1.3 million U.S. workers into state-funded medical care programs through expensive insurance and onerous eligibility requirements. In the last year, Wal-Mart reduced the waiting period for associates to gain eligibility, created low-premium/high deductible health care plans, opened in-store clinics and rolled out a $4 generic drug prescription program.
"I think that all anyone really wants in life is to have people understand us for who we actually are, despite everything," says Ruth Negga. The actress talks "Preachers" season 2 and more on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: Dan Doperalski)
"That's something that resonates with me too because I'm so locked into a number. If I go over that number it completely ruins my day so it's nice to get detached from the number on the scale." - Chelsea Handler on Kelly LeVeque's book "Body Love." #wwdeye (📷: John Salangsang)