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Amazon employees start every day by answering a simple question about work

Every morning, Amazon employees start their day by answering a question that pops up on their computer screens.

The questions are typically work-related, with topics ranging from thoughts about their managers to the length of meetings, or the number of times they’ve received positive feedback in the past week. In some cases, it asks less sensitive questions like how crowded bathrooms get, and even throws follow-up questions when needed.

The daily Q&A program, called Connections, rolled out across the company in April of last year after small pilots beginning in 2014. It’s one of the most ambitious HR programs Amazon has launched in the past year to better understand its sprawling workforce, which is now estimated to be the second largest in the U.S. at over 566,000.

CNBC talked to more than a dozen current and former employees to get a sense of how this and other HR programs are working. Some expressed skepticism about Connections, saying they weren’t convinced the answers were truly anonymous, while managers weren’t always sure how to use the data.

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Amazon passes Alphabet to become 2nd most valuable company

March 20 (UPI) — Amazon became the second most valuable company in the world Tuesday, surpassing Alphabet, the parent company of Google, in stock value.

Amazon’s stock market value increased 2.7 percent by the end of the day, bringing its total value to $768 billion at $1,586.51 per share. The stock jump was enough to pass Alphabet, which fell 0.4 percent for a total value of $762.5 billion.

The milestone comes days after Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos topped the Forbes annual billionaires list with a total wealth of $112 billion, becoming the first American to pass the $100 billion mark.

Last month, Amazon surpassed Microsoft in value.

Apple has a comfortable lead at the top spot with an $889 billion valuation.

But Amazon is rising fast, increasing in value by 85 percent over the past 12 months, including 35 percent so far in 2018, CNBC reported.

As neither company shows any signs of slowing down, Wall Street analysts predict at least one of them may soon reach a value of $1 trillion, which would be the first for any company.

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Google pledges $300M for news initiative

March 20 (UPI) — Google pledged $300 million Tuesday to start a new initiative to “elevate and strengthen quality journalism” throughout the next three years.

The campaign to be known as the Google News Initiative includes programs to combat the spread of false information and to drive subscriptions to news publications, Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler wrote in a blog post.

“The commitments we’re making through the Google News Initiative demonstrate that news and quality journalism is a top priority for Google,” Schindler wrote. “We know that success can only be achieved by working together, and we look forward to collaborating with the news industry to build a stronger future for journalism.”

As part of the initiative Schindler said Google is creating a Disinfo Lab alongside the Harvard Kennedy School’s First Draft to combat misinformation during elections and breaking news event when the company said “bad actors” often attempt to target Google platforms to spread inaccurate content.

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Joey Lawrence files for bankruptcy: ‘Melissa & Joey’ star has $60 in cash and $8000 in the bank

Joey Lawrence and his wife have filed for bankruptcy after plummeting into debt, according to The Blast, which has published details of the family’s dire financial situation.

After the cancellation of “Melissa and Joey,” Lawrence’s income plummeted: He made $534,000 in 2015 but only $58,000 the following year. He claims he currently has $60 in cash and $8,000 in the bank.

The actor reportedly earns between $4,000 and $6,000 a month — a stark contrast from the $500,000 salary he made while employed by ABC Family (now Freeform). The network canceled “Melissa & Joey,” which co-starred Melissa Joan Hart, in 2015 after five seasons.

With two young children at home, Lawrence notes in his bankruptcy paperwork that family expenses leave them $18,000 in debt each month. He and his wife, who is unemployed, have taken to selling their possessions on eBay and at thrift store Buffalo Exchange.

Among the debts are $88,000 in back taxes, $132,000 in credit card debt and almost $100,000 for automobiles. The family’s three cars have been repossessed.

This article was initially published on AOL.com: Joey Lawrence files for bankruptcy: ‘Melissa & Joey’ star has $60 in cash and $8000 in the bank