National News

The numbers for September 22, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-22 05:49

In New York Monday morning, everyone is talking about climate change. Thousands of protesters marched to promote awareness and action; the Rockefellers, who made their fortune in oil, announced their $860 million charity will divest from fossil fuels and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a 10-year, $1 billion-dollar plan to cut the city's greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050. All of this is timed with the climate summit convening at the UN Tuesday.

So everyone's talking about the environment this morning — including us — but we're reading some other stuff, too. Let's take a look at those numbers:

10 million

Apple sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices since Friday, beating the first-weekend sales of the iPhone 5, CNET reported. Apple also upsold more people on pricier models with more storage than it has in past years, one analyst told Business Insider. Apple makes 70 percent of its profits from the iPhone, and that flash storage is high-margin. Overall, it's a good day for Apple and a bad day for the millions of women trying to fit those bigger iPhones in their pockets.

2008

That's when Home Depot reportedly got the first warnings they might have a cyber-security problem, about six years before 56 million cardholders' information would be stolen in a massive data breach. Former network security employees told the New York Times that Home Depot was lax about security, using outdated antivirus software and failing to regularly scan for vulnerabilities.

14.7 percent

The nationwide three-year default rate on student loans in 2013, this year's numbers are expected Monday. Schools exceeding a 30 percent default rate three years in a row or 40 percent in a single year can lose federal funding, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported, and this year the department of education has changed its criterion from a two-year default rate to the ostensibly more accurate three-year rate. The default rate is on the rise, and one department of education official told the Chronicle as many as two to three dozen schools could lose federal aid.

2/15/14

In case you missed it, that's the day the Baltimore Ravens front office reportedly first learned what was on a security camera tape from inside the casino elevator where former running back Ray Rice knocked out his then-fiance. According to an ESPN investigation published late Friday afternoon, Ravens higher-ups pushed for leniency from both prosecutors and the NFL as they tried to keep the tape — which became public two weeks ago — under wraps.

PODCAST: To encrypt or not to encrypt

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-22 03:00

First up, an expected bankruptcy filing today is telling us something about the way Americans drive these days, and the wisdom of investing in U.S. infrastructure. The Indiana Toll Road company, which owns the rights to a 157 mile mile stretch of highway in Indiana, has been struggling with about $6 billion of debt. It's just one of several private companies that made what turned out to be bad bets on toll roads. Plus, after the iPhone accounts of some celebrities got hacked recently, Apple's been talking about privacy. It's now released a freshened operating system that makes it tougher for the unauthorized to get into Apple phones and tablets. Not to be outdone, Google's says its doing something similar for Android. Why the move is making law enforcement authorities unhappy. And the long recession deprived many younger people of a way to launch themselves into career-type jobs and what some might call financial adulthood. Which means, they also aren't launching into some big purchases that have traditionally been part of the American Dream: first car, first home, first retirement account. The big challenge here is for the younger workers themselves, but it's also a hassle for marketers.

New OS from both Apple and Google will encrypt

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-22 02:00

If you have a password on your smartphone, the new Apple and Android operating systems will encrypt your data so nobody can read it—Not Apple, not Google and not law enforcement.

Adi Kamdar, a policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said this move shows companies are realizing their users care about privacy.

“It is significant because privacy is becoming more of a competitive tool,” he says.  

Kamdar says the encryption only applies to the data you keep on your phone. It doesn’t apply to data gathered by apps or that’s stored in the cloud.

Despite these work arounds, law enforcement officials are upset. Ron Hosko, a former assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, says in light of the Snowden revelations, he understands the need to protect privacy. But, he says, Google and Apple have gone too far.

“Two big tech providers are essentially creating sanctuary for people who are going to do harm,” says Hosko.

Hosko said lawmakers need to step-up and make laws that balance privacy and safety.

Many young people are not in a position to splurge

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-22 02:00

The recession deprived many young people of a launching pad into career jobs and financial adulthood. And that means they also aren’t launching into some of the major investments that have traditionally been part of the American Dream; such as purchasing a first car or a first home, or starting a first retirement account.

“Because the economy has hurt them so badly, they’ve had a delayed adulthood,” says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding in New York, which conducts market research on the workplace and consumer expectations of this age cohort. “They don’t reach a salary of $42,000 until the age of thirty at this point; there’s $1.2 trillion in student loan debt; fifty percent of them are unemployed, underemployed or have given up on their job search completely; 21 million are living with their parents.

“They’re in debt,” says Schawbel, who has just published a book on Millennials' job prospects, titled "Promote Yourself: The New Rules of Career Success." “They’re getting married later, getting cars later. In order to make ends meet now, they have to have as few expenses as possible.”

If these consumers delay big-ticket purchases for years to come, or never make them in numbers comparable to the Boomers and Gen Xers before them, it could have a profound effect on the economy in the future.

Still, brands still have to at least try to interest young consumers in purchases such as new cars, starter homes and condos, or major household appliances. Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University and author of the book "Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens, and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail" has some advice for marketers.

“What people have is a showcase of who they are,” Yarrow says. Millennials express their identity through their clothes, their appearance, the objects they have around them.

She says new homes are a tough sell—especially in the high-priced hip cities where young people like to live. But furniture shouldn’t be.

“Ikea is perfect for this generation,” she says, “because it has an extremely low price point, it’s really customizable, it’s what you put in it, what you paint on it, how you make it yours.”

Yarrow thinks cars that will be more attractive to young people if the marketing focus is on environmental values and green fuels. “Because it’s not just transportation,” says Yarrow, “it’s also a way of saying who you are to other people.”

Dan Schawbel says the experience of learning about a brand—whether from the brand itself, or from friends and through social media, is crucial for this generation.

“They want interactive experiences,” says Schawbel. "So before you show them the product, before you connect with them, put stuff online that shows this is what you’re getting, here’s the experience, here’s why it could be valuable.”

But he also offers this caveat: “Even if you have a great experience, make the product look really good, you can tweet from the dashboard, all of that—it comes down to how much can Millennials even afford.”

At the moment, that’s not very much.

March in New York calls for action on climate change

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-22 02:00

Has the time for action on climate change finally come? That’s what protesters around the globe are hoping. Over 310,000 people took to the streets in New York City on Sunday, according to the march’s organizers. They’re calling it the largest climate march ever.   There were life-long activists and people who had never joined a protest before. Their list of concerns was long and varied, but the targets were mostly clear: the politicians and companies who marchers want to press to take action on global warming ahead of a climate change summit at the United Nations on Tuesday.   “Corporations generally don’t care about the environment,” said Benjamin Breitkreuz, a retired clergyman. “Theirs is a profit motive.” He came from New Jersey, carrying a sign that read “corporations are killing our planet.”   Over 1,500 organizations partnered in the march, including labor unions that pledged to use their organizing power to push for environmental causes.   “We need to send a clear message to the governments and the corporations that the people of the world aren’t going to stand for this,” said New York train operator and union member Josh Fraidstern. “We’re not going to let them poison us; we’re not going to let them destroy our future.”   But many people simply came on their own or with their families, hoping their numbers would raise awareness.   “Really, America needs to lead,” said Lu Petrie, who came up from Virginia for the march with her husband and son. “It’s so embarrassing that America isn’t leading on this issue.”   She said she hoped the high turnout would help raise awareness. She’ll also be looking to the UN this week to see whether world leaders have recognized that climate change is an issue people are willing to fight for.

Ugandan LGBT Activist Recommended For Asylum In U.S.

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 13:00

John Abdallah Wambere applied for asylum in the U.S. after Uganda passed a harsh anti-gay law earlier this year. His application has now been recommended for approval, pending a background check.

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Mission To Study Mars' Climate Enters Red Planet's Orbit

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 13:00

Scientists hope NASA's MAVEN probe, which went into orbit Sunday night, will provide insight into why the Martian climate changed drastically billions of years ago.

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Thousands Of Refugees Flee Syria In Chaotic Scene At Turkey's Border

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 12:50

While a U.N. agency reported about 70,000 refugees this weekend, a Turkish official says 100,000 Syrians have entered Turkey in the past week. Fighters from ISIS are closing in on the border.

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Snowden Reveal Makes Israeli Spies' Protest An American Issue

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 12:44

Forty-three veterans of Unit 8200, Israel's secretive surveillance organization, say they were directed to spy indiscriminately on Palestinians. Were they using intelligence gathered by the NSA?

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Man Caught At White House Is An Army Veteran

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 11:12

Omar J. Gonzales, the 42-year-old man who the Secret Service says ran onto the White House grounds and entered a door Friday night, is an Army veteran who served in Iraq.

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For Oktoberfest-Goers In Munich, A Parade And A Party

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 09:46

Munich kicked off this year's Oktoberfest Saturday, beginning festivities in which the city expects to host 6 million visitors. For the first time, beer prices are above 10 euros per liter.

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One Year After Kenyan Mall Attack, Few Answers Have Emerged

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 07:25

The people behind a vicious attack were identified as Islamist militants from Somalia, but few other details about the incident have been made public.

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Which Catholics Offer Birth Control? Look To The Insurers

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 07:10

Catholic universities and hospitals argue they shouldn't have to offer contraceptive coverage, but many Catholic insurance companies have been making it available for years.

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Afghan Presidential Rivals End Dispute — And A Long Election Season

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 05:38

The top two presidential candidates in Afghanistan shake hands and sign a power-sharing deal, ending months of bitter disputes over who will succeed Hamid Karzai.

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Large Protests In Hundreds Of Cities Vent Ire Over Climate Change

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 04:46

The People's Climate March was timed to draw the notice of world leaders gathering for this week's U.N. Climate Summit in New York.

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Lodging Like A High-End Health Club

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 03:45

In Norwalk, Conn., a new hotel focusing on fitness targets business travelers who want to stick to healthy routines while on the road. It's a new niche for the hospitality industry.

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Afghan Presidential Candidates Sign Power-Sharing Agreement

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 03:45

When the Afghan presidential elections were held, each candidates proclaimed himself the winner. Correspondent Sean Carberry tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn a power-sharing deal has been hammered out.

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Syrian Refugees Flood Turkish Border

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 03:45

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are fleeing fighting between Kurdish forces and the Islamic State militants. NPR's Wade Goodwyn speaks to correspondent Deb Amos from the border about the crisis.

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Climate Marchers Try To Build Momentum For 2015

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-21 03:45

Tens of thousands of people demanding action on climate change are expected to march in New York City, ahead of the UN Climate Summit. Joel Rose speaks with NPR's Wade Goodwyn from the protests.

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