All posts by lushen2015

Last-minute tips for filing your tax return

By Shen Lu

Tick, tock. There is less than one week to go before the deadline to file your 2016 federal income tax return. If you haven’t yet done it, don’t panic. Experts say there is still time to get organized and file on time.

This year, taxpayers get a few extra days, until April 18, to file their returns and pay any taxes owed. That’s because the traditional filing day, April 15, falls on Saturday, and Monday the 17th is Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C.

Experts have some last-minute tips for procrastinators and for those expecting a refund.

Photo at top: Experts advise taxpayers to gather all their documents together before filing taxes. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)

Will Japan’s ‘Womenomics’ work?

By Shen Lu and Rachel Newman

Tokyo — It’s not news that women across the world feel a lack of equality, but in Japan, the problem is particularly pressing.

Nearly 70 percent of Japanese women feel gender inequality — compared with the world average of 40 percent — three decades after the country enacted an equal employment law, according to a study published last week by Ipsos MORI, a British research firm.

Three in four women around the world believe there are unequal rights in their country, according to a newly published study. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Three in four women around the world believe there are unequal rights in their country, according to a newly published study. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)

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United Continental is ready to take off in 2017, but will it fly?

By Shen Lu

Wall Street had hoped that United Continental Holdings Inc. would stage a turnaround in 2017 after years of merger-related problems. But higher oil prices and rising labor costs are clouding the outlook.

Chicago’s hometown carrier has had poor operational and profit performance since its merger with Continental Airlines in 2010. United, once the world’s largest carrier, has since become what analysts call a “problem child” in the U.S. airline industry.

2017, however, is a pivotal year for the company’s new management team, led by CEO Oscar Munoz, to transform the company, analysts said.

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Customers go to Pete’s Barber Shop for the haircut, but stay for the atmosphere

By Shen Lu

Goofy, silly, friendly. This is how Chicago barber Pete Huels, 40, describes his shop.

Pete’s Barber Shop, located in Avondale, offers traditional, low-maintainance men’s haircuts and shaves but with a hipster twist. It has been a staple neighborhood hangout for men since 2011, when Huels opened the place.

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Durable goods orders rebound in January

By Shen Lu

U.S. durable goods orders rose 1.8 percent in January after two months of declines.

Orders increased by a seasonally-adjusted $4.0 billion to $230.4 billion last month, following a revised 0.8 percent decline in December, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Monday. Durable goods are items supposed to last longer than three years.

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Opportunities open up for women truckers, but their numbers remain small

By Shen Lu

If you ask Cania Eubanks, 32, what it’s like to be one of the few female truck drivers on the road, she doesn’t mince words: “It is a dirty man’s job.”

But Eubanks, who lives on Chicago’s South Side when she’s not driving, has adapted.

“I’ve found my own world in it. It’s great,” she says.

Attracted by the financial independence and personal freedom of being a trucker, women are smashing stereotypes and establishing fulfilling careers on the open road. But their numbers remain relatively small, despite the need for more drivers amid a national shortage and more acceptance from potential employers.

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Japanese novelty food you wish you could get in Chicago

By Shen Lu

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A hazy outlook for Chinese investment in Chicago

By Shen Lu

First it was Japan. Now China.

The investment capital that China, Chicago’s shiny new investment star, injects into the local economy has reached new highs almost every year since the Great Recession.

Chinese investment in Illinois — primarily concentrated in the greater Chicago area — hit a whopping $5.5 billion last year, more than 350 times the $15 million invested in 2009, according to the Rhodium Group, a New York-based research firm tracking Chinese investment in the United States.

Since 2000, Chinese interests have invested $9.4 billion in the state, making Illinois the largest recipient of China’s outbound investment after California and New York. The investment boom took off after Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed a Gateway Cities Agreement with eight Chinese cities in 2013, becoming an important U.S. gateway point for Chinese investment and tourism. Continue reading

Protesters rock O’Hare over immigration ban

By Shen Lu

America feels like a “huge prison” to Hadia Zarzour now.

Zarzour, 37, a Muslim Syrian who holds a green card and works as a mental health therapist in Chicago, can’t leave her host country at the moment, nor can she reunite with her family due to come next week, whom she hasn’t seen for years, thanks to the immigration ban that President Donald Trump signed on Friday.

A plea by a youngster among thousands of protesters at Chicago O'Hare International Airport Sunday against President Donald Trump's new immigration policies. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
A plea by a youngster among thousands of protesters at Chicago O’Hare International Airport Sunday against President Donald Trump’s new immigration policies. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)

Astonished, angry, dismal, Zarzour protested along with thousands at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Sunday against Trump’s new immigration policies.

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Shares jump as Boeing reports strong profit and rosy outlook

By Shen Lu

Boeing Co. on Wednesday reported a 59 percent surge in fourth-quarter earnings and a “robust” multi-year order backlog. The increase well topped analysts’ estimates, and shares leapt 4 percent.

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