National News

From Cotton Candy To Cat Pee: Decoding Tasting Notes In Honey

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 07:14

A California researcher wants to give honey the same nuanced flavor vocabulary as wine and coffee. The flavor wheel she and her testers created is certainly a conversation starter.

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Your Email Double: A Classic Digital Dilemma

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 07:11

The perils of mistaken email identity.

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The numbers for September 12, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-12 06:45

Oscar Pistorius could face 15 years behind bars following his conviction for culpable homicide in the death of his girlfriend last year. It's equivalent to a manslaughter conviction, The New York Times reported, ruling that Pistorius was negligent when he shot Reeva Steenkamp through a bathroom door. He was acquitted of a murder charge Thursday. Pistorius won't be sentenced until next month.

Here are some other stories we're reading — and numbers we're watching — Friday morning.


 The price of Brent crude oil in London on Thursday. Foreign Policy reports oil prices are at their lowest point in the past year and falling, despite numerous crises tearing through the Middle East.


 The number of people sharing "Game of Thrones" via BitTorrent during one sample week earlier this year, making "Thrones" the most pirated TV show of that week by far. This number is relevant again Friday amid reports from Quartz and others that HBO could offer its streaming service, HBO Go, to customers separate from cable packages. 

$9 million

How much Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is donating to U.S. efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Reuters reported. The donation will be made through Allen's foundation, which already committed $2.8 million last month. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also promised to give $50 million to U.N. efforts this week.


Because it's Friday: That's the age of Fortune contributor Sabrina Lane. Sabrina has written an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, pleading with him to not change "Minecraft" — her favorite game — after Microsoft buys its maker.

Northern Ireland Unionist Hard-Liner Ian Paisley Dies At 88

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 05:33

The Protestant cleric who bitterly opposed the IRA later forged an unlikely friendship with senior Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness.

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Food Is Cheap, At Least Compared With 4 Years Ago

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 05:07

Global food prices are at a four-year low because of good harvests in the U.S., Europe and China. But food still costs more than it did in the 1990s, even accounting for inflation.

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For Teachers, Many Paths Into The Classroom ... Some Say Too Many

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 05:03

One in five newly hired teachers has skipped university preparation for teaching. Indiana is the latest state to make entering the classroom easier.

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Pair Of F/A-18s Crash In Western Pacific Ocean, U.S. Navy Says

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 04:16

One pilot has been rescued and the search continues for the other after the two warplanes from the USS Carl Vinson went down.

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Are Yemen And Somalia Good Examples Of U.S. Anti-Terror Strategy?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 04:13

President Obama says the strategy the U.S. would pursue against the Islamic State would be similar to how it targets al-Qaida affiliates in Yemen and Somalia. But both countries are deeply unstable.

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Ukraine, Rebels Swap Prisoners As Part Of Cease-Fire Deal

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 03:42

The late-night prisoner exchange, involving dozens of captives on both sides, comes as the European Union has stepped up sanctions on Moscow for its involvement in the conflict.

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PODCAST: Walmart's new wardrobe

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-12 03:00

Almost two years after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, killing 72 people and causing $50 billion in damage, thousands of people may be asked to return some or all of the money they received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA. And Walmart is putting in a new dress code for its employees, but they're not calling it a uniform. And that can create hardships for employees expected to pay for their new clothing. Plus, as Marketplace celebrates its 25th birthday this year, we are looking at the weird, delightful and destructive ways that prices have changed during that quarter century. But before our series gets to those, let's get a snapshot on what inflation is, exactly. 

Pistorius Found Guilty Of Culpable Homicide

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 02:57

The double-amputee track star showed no emotion as the verdict was read in a South African courtroom. He faces a maximum of 15 years on the charge, which is roughly equivalent to manslaughter.

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The price of smoked salmon hasn't swum upstream

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-12 02:00

As Marketplace celebrates its 25th birthday this year, we'll be taking a look at what our dollar bought in 1989, and what it buys today.

Saul Zabar, president of the famed Upper West Side establishment Zabar's, can't remember what he was charging for smoked salmon 25 years ago. But a magazine from 1989 lists a Zabar's sale price: $15.95 a pound for Scotch salmon, pre-sliced. Sounds like a bargain, but as we'll be reminding ourselves during this series, you have to remember to adjust for inflation. $15.95 is more than $30 a pound in today's money.

Today, routinely, with no special sale, Saul charges under $24 a pound. In real terms, that's a 22 percent decline in 25 years.

Dr. Gunnar Knapp, a professor of economics at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, is an expert on the raw material that goes into smoked salmon. He points to the rise of farmed salmon as part of the explanation. 

Now, we shouldn't forget that farming salmon can have environmental costs. And as Knapp points out, there are two parts to the price equation — not just supply, but also demand.

Click the media player above to hear Dr. Gunnar Knapp in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.

Walmart draws criticism for its new dress code

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-12 02:00

Walmart is introducing a new dress code for its employees, but they’re not calling it a uniform. And that’s got some Walmart employees riled up.

The retailer says customers are having a hard time figuring out who works at the store, so it’s put in place a dress code. Employees have to wear black or khaki pants and a blue or white collared shirt.

Judith Conti of the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit that advocates for low-wage workers, says employees are upset about this because they have to pay for the clothes.

“Walmart employees are among the lowest paid in the entire country,” Conti says. “And Walmart is asking them to buy new clothes to wear at work.”

Walmart didn’t respond to an interview request, but it has said that most of the feedback about the dress code has been positive.

Reuel Schiller, a professor at UC Hastings Law School, said it’s significant that Walmart isn’t calling this a uniform.

“There’s a legal difference between a uniform and a dress code,” says Schiller. If the cost of the uniform will actually pull your wages below minimum wage for the week that you bought it, then under federal law that’s illegal.  

Schiller said Walmart skirts the issue — and passes on costs — by going with a dress code.

Silicon Tally: Get on the Google bus

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-12 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week, we're joined by Marketplace reporter Queena Kim in the heart of Silicon Valley.

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Let's inflate like it's 1989

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-12 01:30

As Marketplace celebrates its 25th birthday this year, we are looking at the weird, delightful and destructive ways that prices have changed during that quarter century.

For instance, I noticed that the real price of electricity is essentially the same as it was in 1989, adjusted for inflation. In fact, electricity costs the same as it did in 1960, when I was born, adjusting for inflation. Prescription drugs, however, are a different story. The examples we're looking at for the Marketplace Inflation Calculator all have a unique story about how prices have changed since our show got started 25 years ago.

But before our series gets to those, let's get a snapshot on what inflation is, exactly.

Greg Mankiw is chairman of the economics department at Harvard, and if his name sounds familiar it might be because it's on the front of your macroeconomics textbook from college. 

Click the media player above to hear Dr. Greg Mankiw in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.


Judge: Pistorius Guilty Of Culpable Homicide In Girlfriend's Death

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-12 00:44

A judge in South Africa has found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

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ISIS, ISIL Or Islamic State: What's In A Name?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 23:36

The disparities in naming are partly because of translation difficulties, and partly a sign of a propaganda war. The group calls itself the Islamic State; the Obama administration goes with ISIL.

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Expanding ISIS Fight Scrambles GOP Plan To Extend Budget And Get Out

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 23:34

House Republicans were hoping for a smooth two weeks before hitting the campaign trial, but a request to arm Syrian rebels has muddled that, as well as the one bill that must pass before they leave.

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20 Years Later, Parts Of Major Crime Bill Viewed As Terrible Mistake

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 23:32

In 1994, Congress passed the most significant crime-fighting legislation in a generation. Now, policymakers are dialing back Clinton's tough-on-crime policies.

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