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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Why Dallas could land Amazon; sexual harassment is pervasive in the legislature; Dallas County assistant DA fired over an Uber rant; and more.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Amazon set off a big, public scramble when it announced last month it was looking for sites for a second North American headquarters.

Jerome Weeks / KERA News

Over 16 years ago, Dallas almost won the headquarters of another Seattle-based giant contemplating a move: Boeing. Although it ultimately lost to Chicago, the story didn’t end there. 

That defeat is part of the reason Dallas is competing to win Amazon’s second headquarters today.

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When Amazon announced plans in September to build a second North American headquarters, it set off a mad scramble by cities to woo the world’s largest e-commerce company. Dallas-Fort Worth might be a strong contender for what looks to be a massive development. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA

Amazon’s Alexa voice platform is getting smarter. At the start of the year, she knew how to do only 7,000 things. Now, she has more than 15,000 so-called skills. These include everything from turning off your lights, to finding a restaurant nearby, to playing NPR.

Amazon is cutting the prices of bananas, butter, organic eggs, and other best-selling staples at Whole Foods' 470 stores, promising customers lower costs and targeting the grocer's "Whole Paycheck" nickname. The online giant also says its Amazon Prime members will get special prices and perks.

Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods is another step closer to reality, after the Federal Trade Commission decided the grocery deal would not hamper competition or provide an unfair advantage.

The Federal Trade Commission has cleared the way for Amazon to buy Whole Foods. The decision came just hours after shareholders of the Austin-based grocery chain approved the sale.

More Money, More Problems For Amazon

Jul 28, 2017

This week Amazon became the fourth company in the U.S. worth half a trillion dollars. The online retail giant is in the exclusive club with Apple, Microsoft and Google's parent company, Alphabet. Americans clearly love Amazon: one of every two dollars spent online goes to the e-retailing giant. But customers and lawmakers are also spending more time picking on Amazon these days. As the online shopping company branches out, it's rubbing some people the wrong way.

The last few months have not been easy ones for the small companies that supply Whole Foods with quinoa and kale. As big investors demanded a shake-up at the company, maybe even a takeover by a much bigger supermarket chain, Janey Hubschman felt that the fate of her own company, Epicurean Butter, was also at stake.

"The fact that their sales have not been great affects every single product that is in Whole Foods, and their reputation affects everything that is on the shelf," says the Colorado businesswoman, who has been selling to Whole Foods since 2005.

From Texas Standard:

There are deals, and then there are big deals. Amazon buying Austin-based grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion certainly falls into the latter category. But what makes this deal so big isn’t even the money – there have been bigger deals before – it’s the ripple effects on workers, wages, other companies and everyday people.

Updated at 9:20 a.m. ET on June 19

Amazon is buying Whole Foods, in a merger that values Whole Foods stock at $42 a share — a premium over the price of around $33 at the close of trading on Thursday. The Internet retailer says it's buying the brick-and-mortar fixture in a deal that is valued at $13.7 billion.

Whole Foods, which opened its first store in Austin, Texas, back in 1980, now has 465 stores in North America and the U.K.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Adult coloring books are sweeping the nation. Many say they help relieve stress and unlock their inner artist. The Friends of the Dallas Public Library caught onto the craze and put together a book of their own, hoping to raise a little money. 

Over a thousand coloring books later, sales are still going strong.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Forget to buy your vitamins? How about that last minute gift? Or need your favorite book for that weekend trip? Now, online shoppers in North Texas can get tens of thousands of items from Amazon delivered in an hour or less. The new service -- Prime Now -- is available in 24 zip codes in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area.

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Amazon shoppers seeking instant gratification are in luck. The Internet retailer has rolled out same-day shipping for many parts of North Texas.

For the eighth time, Parkland Hospital’s Trauma Center has passed a critical review by the American College of Surgeons. The recent survey reverified Parkland as a Level One trauma center, the highest classification.

Brendan C / (cc) flickr

Online retailer Amazon.com is doing an about-face in Texas, saying it will bring jobs back to the state and start paying sales tax barely a year after closing a distribution center in a dispute over the levies.

Amazon and Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said Friday they had an agreement for the company to bring at least 2,500 jobs and $200 million in capital investments. The company will begin collecting and paying sales tax on July 1.