National News

Home Health Agencies Get Medicare's Star Treatment

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 11:13

For the first time, the government is using a star system to rate agencies that care for seniors in their homes. Medicare was stingy with top ratings and also the poorest scores.

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We Didn't Build This City On Rock 'N' Roll. It Was Yogurt

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 10:49

We got milk when we domesticated goats and sheep around 9,000 BC. At first, that milk was easier to digest when fermented. So yogurt, along with other Neolithic foods, helped fuel civilization.

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Haters Gonna Hate, Teen Girl Activists Shake It Off And Try Again

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 10:27

These Girl Up leaders know that it's hard being a girl anywhere in the world — whether you're fighting to go to school or convincing boys that yes, girls can run for student council, too!

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WATCH: Merkel's Awkward Interaction With Tearful Palestinian Girl

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 10:14

Video of the encounter with the Palestinian girl whose family is close to deportation has gone viral. The German chancellor's manner during the interaction has been both criticized and lauded.

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Shooting Reported At Military Recruitment Center In Chattanooga

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 09:42

Television images showed the military center's windows riddled with bullet holes. Separately, the U.S. Navy tweeted that there had been a shooting at a building on Amnicola Highway.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Ends A Political Headache For Walker

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 09:30

The court found Gov. Scott Walker's campaign had not illegally collaborated with outside conservative groups three years ago, sparing him a political headache just as he launches his White House bid.

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Pioneering Journalist Marlene Sanders Remembered

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 09:20

Sanders, who died Tuesday of cancer, was one of the first female reporters on television. On ABC and CBS, she covered politics, the assassination of Robert Kennedy and the Vietnam War. She was 84.

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Screaming For Science: The Secrets Of Crying Babies And Car Alarms

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 08:04

Why do screams demand our attention like no other sound? The answer seems to involve an acoustic quality called roughness that triggers fear circuits in the brain.

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Testing Revolt In Washington State Brings Feds Into Uncharted Waters

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 08:03

As Congress debates the future of No Child Left Behind, one state falls short of federal testing requirements.

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Webcast: Sports And Health In America

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 07:45

What are the obstacles that keep adults off the field? How can sports help keep kids and adults in good health? What are the best ways to encourage more widespread and enduring participation?

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'Consumer Reports' Says Laundry Pods Are Too Risky To Recommend

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 07:15

More than 6,000 incidents involving children and liquid laundry packets have been reported to poison control centers so far this year. The health problems include respiratory distress and vomiting.

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Economic sanctions in Russia: Have they worked?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-16 06:56

The U.S. reached a deal with Iran on lifting international economic sanctions, and in return, Iran would limit its nuclear activity.

Russia has been experiencing economic sanctions for nearly a year. Have they worked, so far?

"Sanctions have a very important political row," says Olga Smirnova of the BBC. "And from that point of view, they have worked, they have shown that Europe is united. It’s a different question if we are talking about economics."

Smirnova stresses that falling oil prices and deflation of the ruble have strained Russia economically.  

"Russia is a developing economy, and it needs access, and it doesn’t have its own capital. It needs access to foreign capital, and that access has been denied," Smirnova says.

The Fall Of A Dairy Darling: How Cottage Cheese Got Eclipsed By Yogurt

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 06:51

Cottage cheese was the yogurt of the mid-20th century: a dairy product for the health-conscious. But it has fallen out of favor, while marketing of — and demand for — yogurt has soared.

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The View From Inside Syria

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 04:41

Saeed al-Batal is a pseudonym for a Syrian photographer who lives in a rebel area near the capital Damascus. In one of his periodic talks with NPR, he says he has just lost his home again.

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IN PHOTOS: Protests Turn Violent In Greece

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 04:10

Protesters took to the streets even before the Greek Parliament accepted a new bailout deal that includes tough — and controversial — austerity measures. Some demonstrations turned violent.

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'Go Set A Watchman' Is A Revelation On Race, Not A Disappointment

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 03:03

If Mockingbird gave us a South that could be read in terms of black and white, Watchman reveals the gray complexity that is the real Dixie.

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PODCAST: Lawyers wanted

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-16 03:00

There's news this morning that the European Central Bank has decided to raise the amount of emergency credit available to Greek banks. The move is aimed to help banks there re-open. More on that. Plus, Google announces second quarter earnings later today. We'll talk about how Wall Street has been worried about how much the company is bringing in - and how much it's spending. Next: Rural America has long had a shortage of lawyers. In North Dakota the problem has been exacerbated by the Bakken oil boom. There is a huge unmet demand for legal work, and some young entrepreneurial lawyers are moving in.

George H.W. Bush Falls, Breaks Bone In Neck, But Will Be Fine

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-16 02:28

A spokesman said the 41st president fell at his home in Maine. As a precaution he was admitted to a hospital.

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Oil industry cutbacks are a drag on U.S. economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-16 02:00

The oil industry's retrenchment  in the face of lower oil prices has had a palpable effect on the economy, according to a Goldman Sachs report.

The firm says low oil prices have caused energy and oilfield services companies to spend a lot less on drilling new wells and buying new equipment, costing gross domestic product as much as half a percentage point in the first six months of the year. 

Meanwhile, cheap oil hasn't boosted consumer spending. Economists say Americans have pocketed their savings at the gas pump instead of spending the windfall elsewhere.

“I think it's possible that in the short-term, the costs have outweighed the benefits,” said Steven Kopits, managing director at Princeton Energy Advisors.

Click the media player above to hear more.

Lawyers find success in the Bakken

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-16 02:00

It’s a great time to be an attorney in North Dakota — especially around the oil fields of rural North Dakota. The number of civil and criminal cases there have skyrocketed in recent years, partly due to squabbles over mineral rights and because of a booming population of young men with money, some of whom are getting in trouble. Now, young attorneys like Steve Fischer are seeing opportunities.

Attorney Steve Fischer 

Emily Guerin/Inside Energy

"I was a little jaded, a little discouraged at the time," he says. Fischer finished law school in Ohio in 2010 — one of the worst years to graduate in recent memory.

Fewer than 70 percent of law school grads who passed the bar in Ohio that year landed a job as an attorney. Fischer finally got a job loading crude oil onto rail cars, something he never thought he’d do.

He had landed in North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield, like so many other down-on- their-luck Americans. His co-workers soon found out about his background and began coming to him for legal advice. He quickly realized there was enormous demand for legal services.

"Why don’t I hang my own shingle?" he says.

The rural lawyer shortage is not uncommon. What is uncommon is the massive increase in crime and legal disputes in an area without the legal infrastructure to handle it. Attorney Richard LeMay, of Legal Services North Dakota, which serves the low-income and elderly, says there just aren’t enough attorneys to meet the need.

"Ordinarily we have a lot of people that call us because we’re free," he says. "Now they’re calling us because they can’t find representation any other place."

A significant barrier to fixing the shortage is the fact that there aren’t a ton of established law firms looking to hire new attorneys. Kathryn Rand, dean of the University of North Dakota School of Law, says the school "needs to do a better job for preparing our students for putting together a solo practice."

UND recently started a summer internship to introduce students to the idea of starting up their own shops. States like Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota have similar programs. For Fischer, getting to know a rural place first made a big difference.

"I can easily see myself living the rest of my life in North Dakota," he says. "I love it here."