National News

So Just What Is An 'Executive Action,' Anyway?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 09:43

President Obama is preparing to take executive action on immigration. But some people are calling it an executive order. Turns out, there's a big difference between the two terms.

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How Well Do Your Apps Protect Your Privacy?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 07:59

The website PrivacyGrade rates Android apps based on the personal information they collect from you. It's another reminder that your data are constantly on the move, whether you know it or not.

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Takata Quality Official Apologizes Over Air Bag Defect Linked To Deaths

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 07:46

Hiroshi Shimizu's remarks came in testimony to a Senate panel. U.S. regulators want the company to issue a nationwide recall. So far, the recall has been restricted to high-humidity areas.

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Soda Companies Step Up Their Marketing To Black And Latino Kids

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 07:36

Black youth saw more than twice as many ads for sugary drinks on TV compared with white children and teens in 2013. Advertising for the drinks on Spanish-language TV also increased by 44 percent.

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A Worry In Theory, Medical Data Privacy Draws A Yawn In Practice

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 07:25

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say their doctors use electronic records. The overwhelming majority of people aren't particularly concerned about the privacy of the information, an NPR poll finds.

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Mike Nichols, Award-Winning Director Of 'The Graduate,' 'Silkwood,' Dies

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 07:00

Mike Nichols was an ultimate Hollywood insider who won every major show business award directing for stage, film and TV. But his life in America began as an outsider immigrant from Germany.

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Duchess Of Alba, Spain's Richest Woman, Dies At 88

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 06:48

Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart had more titles than any other aristocrat in the world. She died today in Seville.

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An NPR Photographer Looks Ebola In The Eye

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 06:42

Baby Sesay was in a care center in a village in Sierra Leone, waiting to find out if she had Ebola. Our photographer took a picture. Two days later, she was gone.

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Swedish Appeals Court Upholds Detention Order For Julian Assange

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 06:15

Prosecutors want to question the Wikileaks founder, who has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in 2010.

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Sleep's Link To Learning And Memory Traced To Brain Chemistry

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 05:56

During sleep, the brain locks in existing memories and can even form new ones. Scientists say they are starting to understand how that happens. A midnight snack may interfere.

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Republicans Warn Obama Ahead Of Planned Immigration Action

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 05:45

The president's action, to be announced later today, will grant temporary relief to some immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Republicans could strip away funds that would go toward Obama's order.

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Renowned Theater And Film Director Mike Nichols Dies

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 05:12

Nichols, perhaps best known for his 1967 classic film, The Graduate, has won Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy awards. He died Wednesday at age 83.

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Buffalo, Parts Of Upper Midwest, Brace For More Snow

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 05:03

With more than 5 feet already on the ground in some areas of western New York state, another 3 feet is forecast. Worse yet, warming temperatures over the weekend could turn much of it to flood water.

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Quiz: What kids these days are reading

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-20 05:01

School-aged girls read more words and less nonfiction compared to boys, according to a report by Renaissance Learning.

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Turkey Looks For Energy In An Abundant Resource: Pistachio Shells

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 04:33

Converting the shells into biogas could provide most of the heat for a planned city of 200,000, engineers say. There's precedent in Australia, where macadamia nut shells are generating power.

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Award-Winning Director Mike Nichols Dies At 83

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 03:26

Nichols died suddenly Wednesday, ABC News said in a statement. The director of The Graduate and Death of a Salesman was one of the few people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.

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Florida State Gunman Shot Dead By Campus Police

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-20 03:15

Tallahassee's police chief says the gunman, who opened fire at the campus library shortly after midnight, appears to have acted alone.

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PODCAST: Pirates off the coast of West Africa

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-20 03:00

At first glance, there was no inflation last month.  The news this morning is the consumer price index is flat. But, you already knew gasoline and heating oil prices are down and what that masks is rising prices in other areas. More on that. And a new Senate report warns that taxpayers and consumers could end up holding the bag when banks own big stashes of commodities like oil and metals. The senate report also highlights the possibility of risk to the overall financial system. Plus, when we say pirates and Africa, thoughts turn to the east coast of the continent including Somalia. But we were talking to our BBC colleagues and their correspondents are pointing out that there are more attacks on shipping off West Africa, especially the coast of Nigeria.

Falling oil won't mean huge savings on home heating

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:30

Temperatures plunged to the freezing point or below in all 50 states this week, and home heating costs are expected to be somewhat lower this year, thanks to cheaper oil prices. But don’t look for a windfall of savings just yet.

The unseasonably cold weather has raised the specter of last year’s polar vortex, when a surge in demand for heating oil and propane upset household budgets and kept consumers out of restaurants and stores.

“It’s a little unnerving when you have 15-degree weather in mid-November,” says Mark Griffin, President of the Michigan Petroleum Association. Despite the temperatures outside, Griffin says it’s still too early to call this a vortex 2.0.

“Our fingers are crossed that we’ve done everything we can to meet the needs of the marketplace, and there won’t be any supply disruptions going forward," he says.

The cheaper price of crude oil (currently about $75/barrel) is expected to put some downward pressure on energy costs, but Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics for forecaster IHS Global Insight, notes that oil isn’t necessarily the primary driver of heating costs.

“What we should expect is relatively the same type of costs, maybe a bit lower, and they have been lowering, but it all depends on demand,” says Christopher.

In terms of consumer psychology, Christopher says the cost of gasoline at the pump plays a much bigger role in juicing the economy.

Predicting Apple's next big move

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:00
870 miles

That's how many miles of railway China has agreed to build along the coast of Nigeria. Not for nothing, though. The two countries signed a deal worth $11.97 billion.

1.51 percent

That's Visa's credit card processing fee, charged to merchants with every purchase. It's a key number in the surprise rivalry brewing between Apple Pay and mobile payment system CurrentC. The latter is backed by a consortium of retailers including Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid Target and CVS, which all shut down Apple's system in their stores on launch day. Venture capitalist Jean-Louis Gassée breaks down both sides in his Quartz column, cutting through the PR to conclude CurrentC is all about saving merchants the card processing fee, while Apple Pay is more user-focused.

110,000

That's how many people subscribe to the Beats Music streaming, but that could change with Apple's recent acquisition. The Financial Times reported Apple will bundle Beats Music on all iOS devices early next year, possibly with the launch of Apple Watch. Insiders said the details are still being hammered out, but insiders told the New York Times a subscription would cost $5 to $10. The plans are likely to make Spotify sweat; as we learned during the U2 debacle, Apple has 800 million iTunes accounts.

50 states

All 50 U.S. states experienced freezing or below temperatures on Tuesday. Good news: cheaper oil prices mean home heating costs are expected to be lower. Bad news: don't expect a windfall of savings any time soon.

$11.9 billion

That's how much in outstanding student loans is currently held by Wells Fargo & Co. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the lender announced that this month, for the first time, it will lower interest rates for eligible borrowers. 

$4 billion

That's how much the Disney Princess line makes on merchandising in a year, which doesn't include the mind-boggling numbers "Frozen" has made on licensing. A recent New York Times column looks at last year's surprise mega-hit as a case study for children's movie licensing as a whole. Turns out spending on "Frozen"-branded toothpaste, food, dresses, toys, etc. bucks trends in most other industries. This might be because one party (parents) are almost always buying for someone else (children), making the business of Elsa dresses surprisingly similar to the pharmaceutical industry. 

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