National News

'We Will Emerge From This Ordeal,' Slain Journalist's Family Says

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 14:04

The remarks by Steven Sotloff's family come a day after the Islamic State group released a video that showed a militant beheading the freelance journalist.

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Perdue Says Its Hatching Chicks Are Off Antibiotics

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 13:40

Perdue Farms, one of the country's largest suppliers of chicken meat, says its hatcheries are working better now without antibiotics. Public health advocates call it "a big step" forward.

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Colorful snippets from the Fed's 'Beige Book'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-09-03 13:27

I actually enjoy reading about "The Beige Book," the Federal Reserve's regular look at regional slices of the American economy.

I know this makes me sound incredibly dull, but bear with me.

The latest installment came out today, and so we know (thanks to The Wall Street Journal):

-  Theme-park attendance in and around the Atlanta region was soft, because family vacations were delayed due to snow-day makeups at the end of the school year.

- Aerospace manufacturers near San Francisco are worried about titanium supplies, because of sanctions on Russia.

- A mildew outbreak in North Dakota may reduce sunflower yields. My personal favorite.

C'mon... fascinating, right?

Under Armour makes its fashion move

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-09-03 13:25

How do you add more than $590 million to the value of your company in just one day? Hire Gisele Bundchen

That’s what Under Armour has done. The athletic apparel company has been aggressively marketing itself — it even tried to steal away one of Nike’s most popular endorsers, NBA star Kevin Durant (he stayed with Nike).

Under Armour has traditionally appealed to male jocks, but it’s trying to broaden its customer base to include more women. For a company that started out in the mid-'90s catering to male football players, Under Armour has come a long way. Its sales rose 34 percent in the second quarter, and the company is on track to pull in $3 billion in revenue this year.

That’s still peanuts compared to Nike, but Under Armour is flexing its marketing muscle. A host of celebrity athletes have signed on to endorse its products, including ski racer Lindsey Vonn and ballerina Misty Copeland. “The fact that they’re willing to put money behind these celebrities signals to others that, yeah, we’re going to be playing against the big guys,” says Amna Kirmani, a business professor at the University of Maryland.

Kirmani says Under Armour has always had a good reputation among serious athletes, but now the company needs to broaden its appeal with “everyday individuals.”  That includes people who may never step foot near a gym. Matt Saler, director of sports marketing at IMRE,  says active sportswear is becoming more of a mainstream fashion trend.  “Under Armour’s really at the forefront of it with Nike and their competitors. They’ve really established their place in the category as one of the leaders.” 

Celebrity photo hack puts a cloud over Apple

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-09-03 13:24

This is the view from Apple headquarters this week:

[<a href="//" target="_blank">View the story "Response to Celebrity Nude Photo Hacks" on Storify</a>]

Twitter was full of celebrities tweeting about how they felt violated when nude photos from their iCloud accounts were posted online after they were apparently hacked

The story led to speculation about weaknesses in iCloud security, and all this less than a week before a major announcement from Apple, likely the unveiling of an iPhone 6.

“It’s a hit to Apple,” says Colin Gillis, a senior technology analyst at BGC Financial. He says Apple should be looking forward, and presenting consumers with new security tools like biometrics — requiring a fingerprint instead of just a password to access accounts.

“They will offer you solutions that you’ll have, you know, extended on new iPhones to help prevent these types of things," Gillis says.

So, just buy a new iPhone and everything will be fine, right? 

Not quite, because the celebrity nude photo dump is so much more personal than a credit card data breach.

“It’s like someone, you know, going through your personal trash," says Jeff Howe, head of the media innovation program at Northeastern University. "I think it absolutely engenders a sense of violation.”

That could make consumers more wary of sharing personal stuff online. Could something like that happen to our data in the cloud?

Cathy Boyle, a senior mobile analyst at eMarketer, said she's definitely noticed more wariness from consumers.

“But I think if you tell them that if you share a certain amount of your information with us in exchange for something valuable, then people seem to be more accepting of sharing their information,” she says.

So companies would have to offer us a discount or special treatment for our online data.  Otherwise, hey — stay off my cloud. 

You Can Buy Happiness, If It's An Experience

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 13:20

Experiences tend to make people happier than material possessions, research shows. And looking forward to an experience like a concert can feel much better than awaiting the latest smartphone release.

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CVS Quits Cigarettes, Adjusting To New Health Care Landscape

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:55

CVS has changed its corporate name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health. On the very same day, the company has also fulfilled a promise it made earlier this year: No more cigarettes on its store shelves.

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Residents Worry Urban Drilling Will Turn Downtowns Into Oil Towns

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

Drilling for oil and gas in rural and suburban areas isn't new. But energy extraction companies are now moving into more densely populated areas, raising a new set of concerns for city residents.

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Sen. Kaine: Strikes On Islamic State Must Be Approved By Congress

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

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., discusses the need for President Obama to seek Congressional approval before moving ahead with military actions against the Islamic State.

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Federal Judge Upholds Louisiana's Same-Sex-Marriage Ban

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:31

The decision is the first break in a string of more than two dozen federal court rulings that have struck down same-sex-marriage bans in other states over the past year.

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Federal Regulators Impose Tough New Rules For Banks

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:19

Federal banking regulators vote Wednesday on new rules that will require banks to increase their holdings of highly liquid assets. The new rules stem directly from problems experienced during the financial crisis, when banks found they couldn't quickly convert assets into cash.

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When NATO Comes To Wales, The Welsh Plan To Relish The Spotlight

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:19

Foreign leaders are descending on Wales for this week's NATO summit, and the influx is a big deal for the small country on the western edge of the UK. Roy Noble of BBC Radio Wales explains just what this means for the region.

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Ukrainian Strife Takes A Turn Toward Peace, In A Confusing Way

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:19

There's some confusion in Ukraine, as conflicting reports surface about Moscow and Kiev's conversations on ways to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, President Obama is in Estonia, ahead of this week's NATO meeting.

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From Estonia, Obama Talks Tough On Islamic State And Russia

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:19

President Obama visited Estonia, in an attempt to reassure Estonians of the support of the U.S. and NATO. Estonia and its neighbors Latvia and Lithuania are all NATO members, but they have grown increasing concerned about a potential security threat from Russia.

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North Carolina District Breaks Ties With Teach For America

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:19

The school board in Durham, N.C., voted 6-1 to end its relationship with Teach For America, after the current crop of teachers finish out their stints. Board members cited the lack of experience and the limited commitment of these young teachers in the district's "high-needs" schools. Education reporter Reema Khrais of WUNC explains the situation.

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Hong Kong's Drive For Open Elections Runs Low On Steam

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:19

Earlier this week, China insisted that the people of Hong Kong would not be allowed to nominate candidates for the territory's next leader. Occupy Central, a local democracy movement, is threatening to shut down the city's financial district in protest — but organizers acknowledge that only 3,000 people have signed pledges to participate.

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Health Officials Warn Ebola Is Spreading Faster Than Efforts To Contain It

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:19

A high-level delegation from the World Health Organization is in D.C. this week for talks with U.S. leaders about the Ebola outbreak. The United Nations group is seeking commitments from donor countries to meet a projected need of $600 million to control the epidemic. Meanwhile, the outbreak shows no signs of slowing in West Africa.

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U.S. Airstrikes Might Narrow Aims Of Somalia's Leading Jihadi Group

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:19

U.S. airstrikes in Somalia this week targeted leaders of the al-Shabaab Islamist militant group. The group has claimed responsibility for many bombings in Somalia, as well as the 2013 attack on neighboring Kenya's Westgate mall. What could the death of al-Shabaab's leader mean for the group?

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Months After Atrocities In Tikrit, Iraqi Parents Demand Answers

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-03 12:19

Iraq's parliament was overrun Wednesday by men whose sons disappeared and were likely killed when the Islamic State captured Tikrit in June. They brandished sticks as they burst through security, assaulted people and staged a sit-in at the meeting hall. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch is saying that nearly 800 men were killed in the attack on Tikrit.

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