National News

NASCAR's Kurt Busch Testifies That Ex-Girlfriend Is An Assassin

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 17:50

Race car driver Kurt Busch and others told a Dover, Del., court this week that his former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, is an assassin. Driscoll did not deny the claims.

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Rep. André Carson To Become First Muslim On House Committee On Intelligence

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 15:29

In a 2014 interview, Carson said it's impossible to combat the threat of global terror without help from Muslims.

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College Football Championship Sets A New Cable Ratings Record

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 15:13

The championship game between Oregon and Ohio State was a hit with viewers, turning in the highest ratings in the history of both ESPN and cable TV. The broadcast averaged 33.4 million viewers.

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The economics of Woody Allen and Amazon

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-13 14:50

The Tuesday announcement was a showstopper: Woody Allen will produce his first television series. His distribution partner: Amazon Studios.

It came on the heels of a big weekend for Amazon, which won its first two Golden Globe awards for the series "Transparent."

Here's how the 79-year-old Allen characterized the deal in a written statement: "I have no ideas, and I'm not sure where to begin."

Nevertheless, in its latest move to challenge the streaming dominance of Netflix, Amazon has ordered a full season of whatever show Allen comes up with.

This rivalry could be good for Hollywood.

"The dynamics have changed rapidly in the last several years," says Steve Ennen, president of entertainment research firm Centris. "And that means the consumer has a greater ability to find ... quality content of their choosing through digital distribution. And it's starting to show in the numbers."

Here are a couple of those numbers:

11

That's how many new or returning original series Netflix will release this year.

$100 million

That's how much Amazon spent on original content in just one quarter of 2014.

"That's part of the mission of these types of companies. Investment in good original content has a lot of value for them," Ennen says.

Andrew Wallenstein, co-editor-in-chief at Variety, says the investment has been paying off.

"It was just three or four years ago where the notion of getting the kind of quality entertainment you get from broadcast or cable on the Internet was really almost laughable," Wallenstein says.

Still, the vast majority of content being watched on streaming services remains shows from traditional TV, even as those traditional channels see their audiences abandon them for streaming services. Wallenstein says those dynamics could mean networks may reconsider their willingness to sell older content to Netflix.

"They're making money from Netflix, good money, by licensing their shows. But if it hurts their own network ratings, you may see a dramatic pull-back at some point," Wallenstein says.

That's further incentive for streaming sites to make their own content. Netflix already has two critically praised shows: "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black." But it made less of an impact with the $90 million "Marco Polo" that debuted at the end of 2014 with much fanfare but few positive reviews.

Meanwhile, Amazon has been getting critics' attention with "Transparent."

"Amazon is starting to come up with content that rivals Netflix," says Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, who keeps close watch on the streaming world.  Competition for high-quality shows could set off a bidding war in Hollywood, he says. With more stars in the mix, writers, directors and actors could be seeing bigger paydays.

"Amazon very much wants to cut into the Netflix market share. And Amazon has a much bigger checkbook," Pachter says.

That ultimately could mean that everyone in the entertainment game could be paying more for content, Pachter says.

Stay tuned. Or stay streaming, that is.

For Some Immigrants, Temporary Life In U.S. Can Mean A Long Stay

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 14:19

A little-known program allows some immigrants to stay in the U.S. when a disaster strikes their home country. Designed to be short-term, Temporary Protected Status can sometimes last for many years.

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German Leaders Attend Muslim Rally In Berlin

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 13:22

Chancellor Angela Merkel was among those who attended the event organized by two Muslim groups. The event was meant to counter growing support for a group that opposes Muslim immigration to Germany.

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A Closer Look At Obama's Plan To Protect Consumer Data

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 13:19

This week, President Obama is talking about cybersecurity. One proposal sounds pretty straightforward: Alert users if their data has been hacked within 30 days. But critics say it misses the mark.

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How Urbane: Dog Rides Seattle Bus To Get To The Park

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:45

A well-mannered dog has charmed her fellow bus riders by using Seattle's transit system to get to the dog park.

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Boko Haram May Control Up To 20 Percent Of Nigeria

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:32

Audie Cornish speaks with Alexis Okeowo, New Yorker correspondent, for a check-in on Boko Haram and the territory they now control in Nigeria.

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GMO Potatoes Have Arrived. But Will Anyone Buy Them?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:30

New GMO potatoes don't bruise as easily, and, when fried, they have less of a potentially harmful chemical. Yet some big chip and french fry makers won't touch them because of the stigma of GMOs.

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Woody Allen Is The Latest Hollywood Star Director To Try TV

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:29

Allen says he's not sure how he got into this or what he'll do. His half-hour series is set for Amazon's streaming video service.

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Woody Allen Is The Latest Hollywood Star Director To Try TV

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:29

Allen says he's not sure how he got into this or what he'll do. His half-hour series is set for Amazon's streaming video service.

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Grieving In The Classroom

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:27

A new resource for educators offers insights and guidance to support students dealing with the loss of a loved one.

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Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush Could Split Republican Loyalties

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:24

Melissa Block speaks with Patrick O'Connor, political reporter for the Wall Street Journal about Mitt Romney telling donors he wants to run again for president in 2016.

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For-Profit Charters Set To Run Pa. District's Schools

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:16

Pennsylvania's worst-performing district would have all of its schools run by a private charter school company.

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'Charlie Hebdo' Keeps The Presses Running, Will Print 3 Milllion Copies

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:16

The remaining staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo are still planning to publish this week's issue, printing up three million copies.

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Obama's Policing Task Force Begins With Public Hearing

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:16

In response to last year's Ferguson protests, President Obama created a blue-ribbon "Task Force on 21st Century Policing," to study the problems and recommend solutions. We hear some of the public's concerns from the task force's first public hearing in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

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For A Successful Future, Ford Looks To Court Teens, Car-Sharers

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:16

Melissa Block talks to Sheryl Connelly, manager of global trends and "futuring" for the Ford Motor Company, from the Detroit Auto Show about the outlook for the auto industry and what consumers can expect in the coming years.

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Five Years After 'Citizens United,' SuperPACs Continue To Grow

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:16

Just in time for the 5th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his allies have created a pre-presidential campaign organization that would've been impossible before Citizens United. A new political committee will pay for Bush's pre-announcement politicking and he can help a new superPAC raise unlimited money to promote him and his issues.

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NTSB: D.C. Metro Incident Highlights Need To Improve Transit Safety

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:16

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a subway train incident in Washington, D.C., on Monday afternoon that left one person dead and sent dozens of passengers to local hospitals. On Tuesday, the NTSB also announced its so-called "Most Wanted List" of safety fixes for this year.

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