National News

Do Fictional Geniuses Hold Back Real Women?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 13:08

A new study finds that the academic disciplines most associated with "geniuses" are also the fields in which women are under-represented.

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The economics of the sick day

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-15 13:06

President Obama is scheduled to deliver his sixth State of the Union address on Tuesday. He's been on something of a publicity tour, unveiling policies he plans to promote in that speech. Thursday's stop: Baltimore, where the president talked about paid sick leave, and the fact that some forty million workers in this country don't have it.

The president is calling on Congress, as well as states and cities, to make it possible for workers to earn up to seven paid sick days a year. So how much would that cost businesses? One study of a law in Connecticut found that nearly two-thirds of business owners said they saw little or no increase in costs. Eleven percent said their payroll costs increased by 3 percent or more.

"Three percent is terrible in this environment," says Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Advocates of paid leave say it reduces turnover and makes for happier, healthier workers. 

"You end up with a more loyal employee base," says Amanda Rotschild, co-owner of Charmington's, a cafe in Baltimore that offers paid sick leave to its workers. "Your employees really want to work for you."

 

 

Conservative Koch Brothers' Group Puts Congressional GOP On Notice

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 13:04

Americans for Prosperity set out its own agenda for congressional Republicans, including a call to build the Keystone XL pipeline and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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WHO Report Details Why Ebola Hit West Africa So Hard

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 13:02

On Thursday, the World Health Organization released a 14-chapter analysis of the Ebola epidemic.

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Paris Attacks Bring New Attention To Free Speech Laws In France

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:58

Melissa Block speaks with French lawyer Aurélien Hamelle about the limits on free speech in France.

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14 Takeaways From The 14-Part WHO Report On Ebola

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:56

Angry mobs that targeted health workers. A single funeral that infected 365 people. No isolation wards in Liberia. These are some of the striking points in WHO's new analysis.

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Largest Unit Of Gambling Giant Caesars Files For Bankruptcy

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:46

Caesars — the giant gambling company — put its largest unit into bankruptcy on Thursday. The company was acquired by private equity firms Apollo and TPG in 2008 just as the financial crisis was pushing the economy into recession. It never recovered and has more than $20 billion in debt.

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Rapping The News In West Africa

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:46

In Dakar, Senegal, two rappers going by the names Keyti and Xuman offer a summary of the week's news in hip-hop format. Journal Rappé is a short TV show distributed on YouTube with a huge following, especially in West Africa where a majority of the population is under 25.

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White House Starts Chipping Away At U.S. Embargo On Cuba

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:46

The Obama administration is following through on its pledge to ease travel and trade restrictions on Cuba. The Treasury and Commerce Departments say the new rules they have just issued go into effect on Friday. Critics of the administration, though, are questioning the legality of the moves.

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Hundreds Of U.S. Military Trainers Headed For Iraq

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:46

They are expected to head to Iraq in the coming weeks to build up an Iraqi Army that has all but fallen apart. The additional American soldiers and Marines will work out of an ever-expanding number of training sites around the country. U.S. officials expect ground operations sometime in the spring to take back territory seized by the so-called Islamic State.

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Remaking Vegas In A Tech Billionaire's Image: Will It Last?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:46

Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh pumped $350 million into downtrodden downtown Las Vegas to make it a home for startups and a place young people want to live again. Three years in, is it working?

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Yosemite Dawn Wall Climbers Reach The Top After 19 Days

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:43

Climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson finished their historic first free climb on El Capitan's Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park. Melissa Block talks with the duo about their 19-day effort.

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Senate Republicans Move To Block Further Transfers From Gitmo

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:41

As part of a renewed push by the Obama administration to empty the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the transfer of five more detainees to other countries was announced on Wednesday night. All five are citizens of Yemen, where the local branch of al-Qaida is claiming responsibility for last week's attacks in Paris. Senior Republican senators introduced legislation this week blocking such transfers. They say releasing the prisoners lets them return to the battlefield.

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Jailed Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Faces Second Round Of Public Flogging

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:41

Badawi is being publicly flogged 50 times each week over 20 weeks for insulting Islam. He is set to receive 50 lashes Friday in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.

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Obama Shifts Federal Sick-Leave Rules, Urges Congress To Follow

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 12:21

Federal workers can take an advance of up to six weeks of sick leave, under a new policy unveiled Thursday. The White House is urging Congress to make paid sick leave mandatory.

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Carrying The Torch For London's Last Gas Lamps

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 11:56

British Gas still has five employees who work as lamplighters, tending to the more than 1,000 centuries-old gas lamps that still line some of London's oldest neighborhoods.

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Inside an alternative universe of currencies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-15 10:54

Satirists Sam Weiner and Daniel Kibblesmith tell us all about the hippest new currencies. They are the authors of the book "How to Win At Everything."

Using the boring old U.S. dollar has never been more passe! Here's a look at the cool, new alternative currencies that will soon be lining your wallet.

Bitcoin
This hip, crypto-currency is a modern, all-digital legal tender, free from the manipulative tampering and full faith and credit of the U.S. government. It's the exciting new way to pay for online transactions like pizza, downloadable video games and ... several other things that aren't illegal drugs or child soldiers.

Gold bullion
These coins will always retain their value, and unlike paper money, they'll really sting when you whip them at a Starbucks employee who insists they only take "real" money.

Camel cash
Sure, fewer people than ever are smoking, but that constrained supply only makes Camel cash more valuable! Start searching your sketchy uncle's coat pockets for a potential fortune in this thriving cartoon currency.

Natural currency
As for animal lovers, you might want to invest in a natural currency like elephant ivory, tiger pelts or priceless gorilla skeletons.

HBO GO passwords
The oldest currency in the world.

Yes, no matter which one these alternative currencies you turn to, you can feel secure that they'll stay refreshingly unregulated, impossible to insure, and easily made worthless by the unknowable whims of a lawless marketplace. Happy spending!

How to win at alternative currencies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-15 10:54

Satirists Sam Weiner and Daniel Kibblesmith tell us all about the hippest new currencies. They are the authors of the book "How to Win At Everything."

Using the boring old U.S. dollar has never been more passe! Here's a look at the cool, new alternative currencies that will soon be lining your wallet.

Bitcoin
This hip, crypto-currency is a modern, all-digital legal tender, free from the manipulative tampering and full faith and credit of the U.S. government. It's the exciting new way to pay for online transactions like pizza, downloadable video games and ... several other things that aren't illegal drugs or child soldiers.

Gold bullion
These coins will always retain their value, and unlike paper money, they'll really sting when you whip them at a Starbucks employee who insists they only take "real" money.

Camel cash
Sure, fewer people than ever are smoking, but that constrained supply only makes Camel cash more valuable! Start searching your sketchy uncle's coat pockets for a potential fortune in this thriving cartoon currency.

Natural currency
As for animal lovers, you might want to invest in a natural currency like elephant ivory, tiger pelts or priceless gorilla skeletons.

HBO GO passwords
The oldest currency in the world.

Yes, no matter which one these alternative currencies you turn to, you can feel secure that they'll stay refreshingly unregulated, impossible to insure, and easily made worthless by the unknowable whims of a lawless marketplace. Happy spending!

Highflying Geese Save Energy By Swooping Like A Roller Coaster

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-15 10:51

They could shoot up to 24,000 feet and maintain that altitude in a long-distance migration across the Himalayas. But it's more efficient for bar-headed geese to soar and dive, scientists find.

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When falling bank profits can be a good thing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-15 10:34

Big banks are reporting disappointing earnings this week, in large part because of falling revenue from bond trading. That’s bad news for banks and their investors, but might not be so bad for the rest of us, some economists say. It could be a sign that regulations are reducing risk, as long as falling profits don’t encourage banks to seek higher returns elsewhere. 

 

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