National News

Trade agreements, then and now

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-04-21 13:00

Congress is turning its attention to trade this week.  Specifically, whether to “fast track” trade agreements, like the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Under fast track, Congress can’t change trade deals.  It just gets an up or down vote. But to leave politics aside for a moment, and focus on the economy, take yourself back to 1993. Michael Jordan scores his 20,000th career point.  Whitney Houston tops the charts. And, at the end of the year, President Clinton signs NAFTA into law. The U.S. is king of the global economy.

“The world has changed so much from 1993,” says Susan Ariel Aaronson, research professor of international affairs at George Washington University.  Aaronson says now, we live in more of a multi-polar world. “Brazil is the eighth-largest economy in the world," she says. "Russia’s economy, I believe, is shrinking.  But it’s still very important.”

And then there’s China.  It was just starting to stretch its economic legs in the early '90s. “They have increased, dramatically,  their exports all around  the world. So all eyes have been on China," says Kathryn Dominguez, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan.

Back on the homefront, "the U.S. share of the world economy has declined,” says Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and trade negotiator in the Carter administration.

Hufbauer says the U.S. share has fallen from 27 percent in the early '90s, to about 20 percent today. But Hufbauer says we still have a lot of bargaining power, because the U.S. is a huge consumer market.  And other countries really want to sell their stuff here. 

Five Years After BP Oil Spill, Experts Debate Damage To Ecosystem

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 12:55

An effort is underway to figure out how the BP oil spill harmed the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. The damage may not be as dire as feared, but researchers say it's too soon to know the long-term impacts.

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Knock it off! A step-by-step guide to make a bag

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-04-21 12:50

When you’re a small business owner, the last thing you want is for people to copy your products. That’s exactly what happened to Dave Munson, CEO of Saddleback Leather, but instead of tracking down the knockoffs and suing the creators he made a YouTube video.

His step-by-step tongue-in-cheek video teaches people exactly how to make his bags. It lists every part of the process from choosing the leather to cutting the patterns to sewing the bag together.

“I thought, 'Hey why don’t we show people our quality,' and then we just dogged on the people who were knocking us off," Munson says. "It put doubt into people’s minds about whether or not they wanted to buy a knockoff…and it worked."

Looming Budget Cuts Pit National Guard Against The Army

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 12:42

In Washington state, a friendly family rivalry is taking place at the Joint Base Lewis McChord as the National Guard and active Army lobby to protect their interests against deep budget cuts.

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Report Lays Out 10 Most Censored Countries

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 12:38

The Committee to Protect Journalists says Eritrea, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia are tops at silencing journalists.

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Smuggler To Desperate Migrants: 'Now I Am Sending You To Your Death'

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 12:37

More migrants are leaving from chaotic Libya in a bid to reach Europe. The overcrowded boats are at risk of sinking, and some do. A Syrian man tells of the treacherous journey with his young son.

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Screening Tests For Breast Cancer Genes Just Got Cheaper

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 11:54

A company has priced its test for mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancer at $249 — far less than the thousands of dollars another firm charges. But is there a downside for the worried well?

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Should The Government Get Out Of The Air Traffic Control Business?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 11:54

Efforts to replace air traffic control's aging radar-based system have been stuck in the Federal Aviation Administration's bureaucracy and lacked funding from Congress.

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NPR Presents Michel Martin: Chartered Waters

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 11:46

NPR's Michel Martin is headed to New Orleans, to examine how the New Orleans school system is reinventing itself, ten years after the flood.

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Saudis Say Operation In Yemen Enters New Phase

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 11:36

A military spokesman said the airstrikes were giving way to a period that would include diplomatic and political efforts, alongside military operations against the Shiite Houthi rebels.

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Supreme Court: Police May Not Detain Traffic Violators Longer Than Necessary

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 10:59

Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said a traffic stop becomes "unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete the mission of issuing a warning ticket."

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Young Adults With Autism More Likely To Be Unemployed, Isolated

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 10:31

More than half of young people with autism had neither a job nor educational plans in the first two years after high school, a study finds.

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DEA Chief Expected To Step Down Amid Scandal

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 10:25

Earlier this month, lawmakers said they had no confidence in Michele Leonhart after a watchdog agency found DEA agents cavorted with prostitutes paid for by drug cartels.

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Iowa Farm To Kill 5 Million Chickens In Effort To Contain Avian Flu

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 09:53

This is the worst outbreak since the H5N2 influenza was first detected in December. The disease has been found in seven other states over the past five months.

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In Pakistan Visit, China's President Announces $45B In Investment

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 09:42

Up to $37 billion of that money will go toward the South Asian nation's electricity grid. But as NPR's Philip Reeves reports the challenge now is to make the projects happen.

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What A Bleeping Day: Reds Manager Takes Media To Task

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 09:25

More than 80 profanities in under six minutes. That's the statistic baseball writers are talking about Tuesday, after Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price's tirade against the media.

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Tea, Tao and Tourists: China's Mount Hua Is Three-Part Harmony

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 08:54

One of China's five sacred mountains, Mount Hua is a lotus-shaped range of peaks and hub of Taoism. It has many harrowing paths to well-being — and to tea.

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How Modern Life Depletes Our Gut Microbes

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 08:23

For the first time, scientists have looked at the microbiome of an isolated Amazon tribe. The study finds that the Western lifestyle has wiped dozens of species out of American guts.

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On The High School Diploma: A 'Bilingual' Stamp Of Approval?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 08:03

Indiana may soon allow high school students to graduate with a 'seal of biliteracy.' Eight other states already do.

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Ex-Auschwitz Guard Says He Was 'Morally Complicit' In Atrocities

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-21 07:47

But in his opening statement to a court in Germany, Oskar Groening, 93, said the judges must decide on his "criminal liability." He has been charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder.

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