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By The Numbers

Don’t play practical jokes in China today

Janet Nguyen Apr 1, 2016

The weekend has arrived! Let’s celebrate your Friday with some need-to-know numbers.  

By acquiring Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Marriott is on its way to creating the world’s largest hotel chain. The merger follows a bidding war with China’s Anbang Insurance Group, which finally ended Thursday. Collectively, Marriott and Starwood have about 5,700 properties. For you frequent travelers among us wondering how this is going to affect your Starwood points, Marketplace contributor Mark Orlowski compiled a handy guide evaluating the pros and cons of this new hotel union.

If you catch the traveling bug, don’t jet off to China on April 1 if you’re fond of hoaxes, reports The Washington Post. April Fools’ Day has been banned there. Seriously. “’April Fools’ Day’ is not consistent with our cultural tradition, or socialist core values,” state news agency Xinhua announced on social media Friday. “Hope nobody believes in rumors, makes rumors or spreads rumors.”

Luckily, April Fools’ Day is alive and well in the U.S. One possible joke of the day? General Mills’ Hamburger Helper brand released a mix tap of Helper-themed hip-hop songs. These five tracks have been blowing up the Internet all day, writes Marketplace’s Tony Wagner, and show just how much food marketing tactics have changed.

More serious food matters: changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Policy changes to the program that take effect on Friday could mean that up to 1 million Americans will lose their benefits. SNAP is imposing a time limit that’ll affect ABAWDs, or Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents, where they’ll only be able to partake in the program for three months over three years. ABAWDs are “adults who aren’t disabled, between the ages of 18-49, who work less than 20 hours a week,” writes Marketplace’s Sally Herships. 

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