National News

Africa starts to lure garment makers from Asia

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-07-14 01:30

The continent of Africa has historically struggled to grow its manufacturing base. That appears to be starting to change in the textile and garment industries. As the Wall Street Journal notes, Africa is now being viewed by some companies as a low-cost competitor to countries like China, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

According to the International Labor Organization, garment industry wages in Ethiopia run about $21 a month. That’s compared to $67 in Bangladesh and much higher in China.

Steve Lamar is with the American Apparel and Footwear Association. He says countries like Ethiopia and Kenya have been successful to integrating industries up and down the textile supply chain.

“The ability to transform from fiber through yarn and into fabric and garment,” Lamar says, “that will become an additional magnet for more sourcing from Africa."

Another driver of the growth in the African textile industry are rising costs in Asia.

“You know, costs in China, which is the world’s largest apparel manufacturer by far, have been going up," says Kimberly Elliot, a senior fellow with the Center for Global Development. "Wages in particular have been going up for several years now.”

China and Vietnam still account for over 50 percent of all U.S. clothing imports, and Elliot doesn’t expect that to change any time soon. “This shift is still pretty small, the numbers are still pretty small relative to the global textile and apparel market.”

Labor aside, Elliot notes that other costs, such as electricity, water and transportation, can be quite high in Africa.

Earth Gets A Close-Up View Of Its Most Distant Neighbors

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 01:01

Early Tuesday morning, NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft will complete the first-ever flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports live from the New Horizons Control center.

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After Tense Negotiations For Bailout, Will Greek Parliament Fall In Line?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 01:01

The parliament starts debate Tuesday on the new bailout plan agreed to over the weekend with eurozone countries. Given the concessions Greece agreed to, it's likely to be a very stormy session.

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In 'Escaping ISIS,' An Underground Railroad Forms To Save Yazidi Women

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 01:01

A new Frontline documentary explores what life is like for the girls and women who have been enslaved by Islamic State militants, and also tells the story of those fighting to free them.

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New York Will Pay Eric Garner Family $5.9 Million To Avoid Lawsuit

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 01:01

The settlement with Garner's family won't require the city to admit liability for his death. The unarmed black man died after police placed him in a chokehold last year.

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Obama Shortens Prison Terms For 46 Drug Offenders, Vows More Commutations

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 01:01

All of those whose sentences were commuted would have gotten lighter prison terms under new sentencing guidelines. The White House says the they aren't hardened criminals and deserve a second chance.

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As Big 3 Automakers Begin Union Talks, Both Sides Say Profit Is Job 1

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 01:01

GM and the UAW kicked off contract talks Monday; Chrysler and Ford will do the same this month. Negotiations are never easy, but since industry bailouts in 2009, there's a stronger push to cooperate.

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Iran, World Powers Reach Deal On Nuclear Program

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 01:01

Officials in Vienna tell NPR's Peter Kenyon that preparations are being made today to announce a historic accord that will restrict Iran's nuclear program and lift some economic sanctions.

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From Fishing With Mom To Becoming A Top Fisheries Official

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 00:20

For NPR's series #RaceOnTech, we are meeting the diverse men and women who work in America's tech and science fields, like Dr. Mamie Parker, a fish and wildlife biologist who's a pioneer in her field.

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In Rural Areas, Parents Struggle To Find Day Care For Kids

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 00:17

The search for the perfect day care is getting increasingly more difficult, as small independent operations are closing. And in rural areas, it's even worse.

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Documenting Death Inside Syria's Secret Prisons

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 23:42

A Syrian forensic photographer, who goes by Ceasar, took thousands of photos of those who have died in Syria's prisons. His photos will be on display in the halls of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday.

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Prozac In The Yogurt Aisle: Can 'Good' Bacteria Chill Us Out?

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 23:42

In recent years, a body of research has shown that beneficial microbes play a critical role in how our bodies work. And it turns out there's a lot of communication between our gut and our brain.

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Officials: World Powers Reach Agreement With Iran Over Its Nuclear Program

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 23:39

The historic agreement likely will curb parts of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, but still has to be approved by various world capitals.

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NYC Settles With Family Of Eric Garner For $5.9 Million

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 17:02

The family's attorney confirms the settlement to NPR. Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by police last July in Staten Island, N.Y., during an arrest that was captured on video.

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Does Iceland Need New Cows To Keep Up With Demand For Skyr?

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 15:37

It's no longer a secret that Iceland makes a delicious yogurt-like dairy product called skyr. The trouble is, Iceland's dairy cows don't produce much milk. Farmers are wondering what to do.

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Vowing To 'Turn Things Around,' Scott Walker Launches Presidential Bid

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 15:07

Walker, the latest to enter a crowded GOP side, said he will prioritize reform, growth and safety. "True freedom and prosperity do not come from the mighty hand of the government," he said.

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Sold Into Sex Slavery: The Plight Of African Women Migrating To Europe

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 14:58

They travel for months, even years, from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe, hoping for a better life. But many thousands are forced into prostitution to pay for the journey.

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Pentagon Weighs Allowing Transgender People To Serve Openly In Military

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 14:50

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said a working group will study the implications of the move. The panel will start with the presumption that transgender people can serve without an adverse impact.

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Caviar + Mango: Chef Watson Wants You To Cook Outside The Comfort Zone

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 14:44

IBM and Bon Appétit have launched a web app that generates surprising and delicious recipes for whatever is in your kitchen. The hope is that Watson's insight will lead home cooks to push boundaries.

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Tired Of Greek Reruns? Understandable, But A New Season Is Beginning

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-13 13:33

Greece, buried under debt, is begging for its third bailout. Europeans are willing to help, but only if Greece can prove that this time will be different. Investors are betting this time, it will be.

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