National News

Greece Signals It May Accept Terms Of Bailout – With Some Conditions

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 02:41

In a letter to creditors, the prime minister said Greece will accept most terms proposed June 28. It's unclear if the letter will have any impact. Greece has defaulted on a loan payment to the IMF.

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After Supreme Court Decision, What's Next For Gay Rights Groups?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 02:07

Thousands of volunteers were behind the movement to change the country's laws on gay marriage. Now what do the major gay rights groups do next?

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Career colleges face new "gainful employment" rule

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-07-01 02:00

Starting Wednesday, career and vocational programs are facing tougher regulations years in the making. The new so-called “gainful employment” rule is meant to crack down on programs that load students up with debt for courses that don’t lead to decent jobs. The rules especially target for-profit colleges, which often make close to 90 percent of their revenue from taxpayer dollars.

A career education program could become ineligible for federal student aid if typical graduates have to spend more than 20 percent of their discretionary income paying off their loans, or more than 8 percent of their total income.

“It’s designed to ensure that taxpayer dollars don’t fund career education programs that consistently leave students with debts they can’t repay,” says Pauline Abernathy with the Institute for College Access and Success.

In anticipation of the new rules, Abernathy says some colleges already have cut failing programs, reduced tuition, and improved job placement.

Some schools will also raise admissions standards, says Robert Kelchen, assistant professor of higher education professor at Seton Hall University. Earlier this week, the University of Phoenix, one of the largest for-profit colleges, announced it would introduce some academic requirements for its degree programs.

“If a student can barely get through the program, and doesn’t seem to be a good bet to get employment, that’s the kind of person that the college might want to discourage enrolling,” Kelchen says.  

Failing programs will have a chance to improve before the money gets cut off.

We're so over you, millennials

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-07-01 02:00

Move over, millennials. Marketers are zeroing in on the next generation — people still under 18 — whom they’re calling centennials.

Advertising giant WPP has just announced a new partnership with the Daily Mail newspaper and Snapchat. Why Snapchat? It has a reputation as THE app for teens. So that’s where advertising money is going. 

But these aren’t your father’s ads. They blend in with Snapchat videos from your friends.

“Consumers are consolidating their time into a handful of apps," says Julie Ask, a vice president, principal analyst at Forrester Research. "They tend to be apps that are social media, instant messaging,” 

Ask says these kinds of ads are the best way to reach busy, distracted teens.

Another reason advertisers like apps like Snapchat? It helps them get around government regulations against advertising to the very young. Especially since apps like Snapchat don’t verify ages. 

“So once you get past the lack of age verification, it is the wild west,” says Adam Hanft, CEO of Hanft Projects, a brand strategy firm.    

That’s extremely creepy for, say, a parent of centennials. But for advertisers? It’s gold.

Puerto Rico's exodus: vicious cycles and silver linings

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-07-01 02:00

As Puerto Rico slides deeper into financial distress, flirting with default on July payments on its $72 billion debt, Puerto Ricans are leaving the island. They have been for a decade, in the largest outmigration since the sixties. 

“There’s so much uncertainty about what’s going to happen in Puerto Rico, it’s kind of crazy,” says Carlos Aponte, a 29-year-old native of San Juan who moved to New York last year so that his wife could pursue her medical residency.

The job opportunities here are a world away from on the island.   

“My first job that I got here, I got paid twice as much as I was making in Puerto Rico, and you feel a lot safer,” says Aponte.

Aponte and his wife are not going back any time soon, and his ties to the U.S. have grown stronger as more of his family has moved as well. “Ten years ago they were all in Puerto Rico,” says Aponte. "Now most of them have moved here and those that haven’t are probably looking to move.”

Edwin Meléndez, director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York says, “There has been a dramatic, tremendous exodus of Puerto Ricans to the United States.”

The number one reason, according to the Pew Research Center, is work. Unemployment on the island is over 12 percent.

U.S. tax credits incentivizing companies to locate factories in Puerto Rico once made the island a hub for manufacturing. Those tax credits expired in 2006. Throw recession on top of that, and the island hasn’t recovered. Outmigration since 2000 has reduced Puerto Rico’s population by 200,000 — a trend expected to continue for decades. According to Pew, the population is expected to drop to around 3 million in 2050, down 20 percent from a peak of 3.8 million in 2000.    

Meléndez says this creates a vicious cycle: “There are fewer jobs, people leave, and as people leave there is less demand and there is less jobs and so forth.”

Isabel Rullán co-founded ConPRmetidos, a group that’s trying to promote investment and growth in Puerto Rico. She sees a silver lining in the exodus: “To have so many Puerto Ricans around the world gaining experiences, working in international companies, becoming part of international networks, we’re starting to look at Puerto Ricans leaving the island as assets that we have.”

Even if they don’t return to the island, Rullán envisions them helping out, linking businesses on and off the island, or offering expertise. 

For his part, Carlos Aponte would love to return, but he says the time is just not right.   

“There’s a debate about whether the people who are leaving are being cowards, forgetting about the island and not staying to commit to it,” he says. “It’s easy to say but so hard to.”

Please place cash in the overhead compartment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-07-01 01:59

That's about how many countries Apple Music and the Beats 1 radio station are available in. The streaming service launched Tuesday to solid reviews, but that doesn't mean it's the right one for you. Confused by all the different options out there to stream music? We're here to help with a chart that will help you decide.

12 percent

That's about how high the unemployment rate is in Puerto Rico. The country is also currently burdened by $72 billion in debt, which has led to a spike in outmigration. Many Puerto Ricans have found work and a new home in the U.S., which some experts say adds to a vicious cycle of jobs leaving the country, while others see it as Puerto Ricans creating a larger global stamp on the economy.


That's how much one passenger was carrying in cash at a security checkpoint at the Richmond, Virginia, airport. There's nothing illegal about carrying that kind of cash on domestic flights, the Washington Post reports, but it does arouse suspicion. Often the cash is seized.

18 years old

If you're older than the above age, move over, advertisers aren't interested. Or at least, they're less interested. People younger than 18 have been deemed "centennials" and are the latest group catching advertisers' attention. Which also means a lot of attention is being paid to the tween app of choice: Snapchat. Experts say one reason Snapchat appeals to advertisers is that the app doesn't do much to verify age, and that means a loophole in regulations around targeting ads to children below a certain age.

10 seconds

That's how long a user will have to watch a video ad in order for an advertiser to pay Facebook for the ad time. As the Wall Street Journal reports, it's part of a new option offered to advertisers following complaints about being charged for videos that auto-played with little to now user engagement.

USA's 'Mr. Robot' HBO's 'Ballers' Among Picks For Best Summer TV Series

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 01:45

As a flood of at least 120 new and returning series come to TV this summer, NPR's TV Critic picks four shows most worth binge watching by the pool.

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As Panama's Economy Booms, So Do Concerns Over Debt And The Environment

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 01:18

Panama's economy, while cooling in recent years, is still growing at astonishing rates compared to its neighbors. But environmental damage and huge government debt are part of the package.

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As Panama's Economy Booms So Do Concerns Over Debt And The Environment

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 01:18

Panama's economy, while cooling in recent years, is still growing at astonishing rates compared to its neighbors. But environmental damage and huge government debt are part of the package.

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A Father In California, Kids In El Salvador, And New Hope To Reunite

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 01:07

Unaccompanied minors surged across the U.S. southern border last year, fleeing violence in Central America. This year the Obama administration hopes to forestall a new wave with a quiet new program.

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Historic Vote May Determine Whether Greece Remains In The Eurozone

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 01:02

Greek voters on Sunday face a referendum on further austerity measures in exchange for bailouts. But the unstated question is whether Greece should give up the euro — the European currency.

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Buy A Meth House Unawares And Pay The Health Consequences

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 00:42

The residue from meth labs can cause health problems, but people aren't always told that the house they're buying is contaminated. An Indiana law requires disclosure but not mandatory testing.

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Benefits Of Sports To A Child's Mind And Heart All Part Of The Game

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 00:40

In NPR's most recent poll a majority of American adults say they played sports in their youth. Many say they encourage their kids to play, too, and see health benefits as well as life-long lessons.

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A Phys Ed Teacher Battles Tight Budgets And Childhood Obesity

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 00:39

Mindy Przeor founded an after-school program in Mesa, Ariz. to get elementary school kids up and running.

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Donald Trump Sues Univision For $500 Million

NPR News - Tue, 2015-06-30 16:36

In the suit, Trump claims Univision is attempting to suppress his freedom of speech by dropping coverage of the Miss Universe Pageant, which Trump co-owns.

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Border Patrol Urged To Crack Down On Corruption In Its Own Ranks

NPR News - Tue, 2015-06-30 15:49

The draft report by outside law enforcement experts says the agency needs more internal affairs investigators. It also calls for more transparency in investigations, especially shootings by agents.

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Jeb Bush's Wealth Skyrocketed After Leaving Governor's Office

NPR News - Tue, 2015-06-30 14:53

Thirty-three years of tax returns — the most ever for a presidential candidate — show Bush earned $29 million since leaving office. He also paid an average tax rate of 36 percent over three decades.

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Peru's Pitmasters Bury Their Meat In The Earth, Inca-Style

NPR News - Tue, 2015-06-30 14:39

Step up your summer grilling game by recreating the ancient Peruvian way of cooking meat underground in your own backyard. It's called pachamanca, and it yields incredibly moist and smoky morsels.

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U.S. And Cuba Will Formally Re-Establish Diplomatic Relations

NPR News - Tue, 2015-06-30 14:29

The Obama administration will announce on Wednesday when they will open embassies.

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Communities Get A Lift As Local Food Sales Surge To $11 Billion A Year

NPR News - Tue, 2015-06-30 13:42

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says local food is growing quickly from a niche market into something that's generating significant income for communities across the country.

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