National News

Al-Qaida Group Claims Responsibility In 'Charlie Hebdo' Attack

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:46

Audie Cornish speaks with Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies, about al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

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In Wake Of Lapses, Top Secret Service Officials Are Told To Leave

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:43

The Washington Post is reporting the departures would gut much of the agency's upper management following security lapses that led to harsh criticism of the presidential protection service.

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From The Mouths Of Apes, Babble Hints At Origins of Human Speech

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:33

You say banana; this orangutan says ... well, it's hard to tell what she's saying. But the rhythmic, speech-like sounds of the zoo-dwelling ape have started scientists talking.

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Threatened By Liability, Iowa City Bans Sledding

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:16

The city of Dubuque, Iowa, is the latest city to pass a ban on sledding. It affects all but two hills in town. City Council members say they've passed the ban to protect tax payers from lawsuits.

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Obama Spotlights High-Speed Internet Success In Iowa

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:16

President Obama visited Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Wednesday to spotlight that community's investment in an affordable, high-speed Internet system. The president wants to encourage similar systems elsewhere, but community-owned networks face challenges from commercial Internet providers.

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New 'Charlie Hebdo' Cover Met With Condemnation, Albeit Measured

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:16

Religious and government authorities in the Middle East seem to be trying to tamp down any outrage over the publication of another cartoon of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed in France's Charlie Hebdo magazine.

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Another Shooting Puts Albuquerque Police Back In The Spotlight

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:16

On Tuesday night, officers shot and killed a suspect who they say fired at them.

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House Votes To Block Obama's Immigration Actions

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:16

The House moved to turn back President Obama's immigration actions. The White House is pushing back. Now what?

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New EPA Guidelines Limit Methane Release From Drilling

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:16

The rules are mostly voluntary, which disappoints environmental groups, but they should ratchet down the amount of leaked methane from new or modified oil and gas operations, which contributes to climate change.

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Chicago Scrambles To Remain Top Contender For Obama Library

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:16

The Obama Library Foundation says it has major concerns about the proposals from two Chicago universities. The city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, says he's confident that Chicago will beat out New York and Hawaii.

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Supreme Court Considers Whether A Sock Is Drug Paraphernalia

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:16

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that deported a graduate student in Kansas because a sock was deemed to be drug paraphernalia.

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Amazon Gains Ground With Online-Only Shows

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:16

With the announcement this week that Woody Allen will write and direct a new television series for Amazon, the online retailer is now poised to be a major force in television.

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The Razzies: Lampooning Hollywood for 35 years

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 12:12

Sylvester Stallone has been nominated for 30 Golden Raspberry Awards and won four. He's not a fan. Neither is Michael Caine, who called the awards "the pustule on the butt of Hollywood” when he was nominated in 1980 for both "Dressed to Kill" and "The Island."

This celebrity aggravation wouldn’t be possible without John Wilson.

Wilson started the awards, which honor the worst of the worst in film each year, 35 years ago in his Los Angeles living room. The nominees and winners are now reported on throughout the world.

In his interview with Kai, Wilson shares the origin story of the awards and talks about the time Sandra Bullock showed up to accept her Razzie in person (Halle Berry did too). 

Here are two tidbits that didn’t make the radio broadcast. First, we asked Wilson if the Razzies have ever been used to promote a film:

It’s interesting. The ultimate Razzie movie is probably "Showgirls," the one that Paul Verhoeven did. I loved the quote, "It’s the only movie about Las Vegas that’s actually more tasteless than Las Vegas." [Wilson lives in Las Vegas] He showed up at the ceremony and accepted his award, but MGM, when they saw the reaction to it they tried to rerelease it and turn it into another "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and make it an interactive bad movie where you would come dressed as one of the dancing [strippers] and yell. It didn’t work, but yeah, I actually have in my storage a poster that says "Winner of an unprecedented seven Razzie Awards."

 We also asked Wilson if he views the Academy Awards differently after the Razzies have been the anti-Oscars for 35 years:

I’m way more cynical. I grew up with two parents who were Depression-era kids who loved movies and they passed that on to me. I actually as a child used to stay up and watch the Oscars in Chicago when I was very young, and I do love the Oscars. But they've gotten to the point where they’re so huge and so self-involved and so smug and so …  all of the things that an award that means something probably shouldn't be. And we’re still down here with our peashooter going: [Wilson blows a raspberry.]

This year’s Razzie Award nominations:

Worst Picture

  • "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas"
  • "Left Behind"
  • "The Legend of Hercules"
  • "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
  • "Transformers: Age of Extinction"

Worst Actor

  • Nicolas Cage, "Left Behind"
  • Kirk Cameron, "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas"
  • Kellan Lutz, "The Legend of Hercules"
  • Seth MacFarlane, "A Million Ways to Die in the West"
  • Adam Sandler, "Blended"

Worst Actress

  • Drew Barrymore, "Blended"
  • Cameron Diaz, "The Other Woman," "Sex Tape"
  • Melissa McCarthy, "Tammy"
  • Charlize Theron, "A Million Ways to Die in the West"
  • Gaia Weiss, "The Legend of Hercules"

Worst Supporting Actress

  • Cameron Diaz, "Annie"
  • Megan Fox, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
  • Nicola Peltz, "Transformers: Age of Extinction"
  • Brigitte Ridenour, "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas"
  • Susan Sarandon, "Tammy"

Razzie Redeemer Award

  • Ben Affleck
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Mike Myers
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Kristen Stewart

Worst Supporting Actor

  • Mel Gibson, "The Expendables 3"
  • Kelsey Grammer, "The Expendables 3," "Legends of Oz," "Think Like a Man Too," "Transformers: Age of Extinction"
  • Shaquille O'Neal, "Blended"
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, "The Expendables 3"
  • Kiefer Sutherland, "Pompeii"

Worst Director

  • Michael Bay, "Transformers: Age of Extinction"
  • Darren Doane, "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas"
  • Renny Harlin, "The Legend of Hercules"
  • Jonathan Liebesman, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
  • Seth MacFarlane, "A Million Ways To Die in the West"

Worst Screen Combo

  • Kirk Cameron and his ego, "Saving Christmas"
  • Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron, "A Million Ways to Die in the West"
  • Any two robots, actors (or robotic actors), "Transformers"
  • Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, "Sex Tape"
  • Kellan Lutz and either his abs, pecs or glutes, "Legend of Hercules"

Worst Screenplay

  • "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas"
  • "Left Behind"
  • "Sex Tape"
  • "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
  • "Transformers: Age of Extinction"

Worst Remake, Rip-off or Sequel

  • "Annie"
  • "Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?"
  • "The Legend of Hercules"
  • "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"

One County Provides Preview Of China's Looming Aging Crisis

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 11:58

Eastern China's Rudong County began implementing the one-child policy 10 years before the rest of the nation. Now, an estimated 60 percent of the county's residents will be 60 or older by 2030.

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Philadelphia Pizza Lovers Pay It Forward One Slice At A Time

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 11:53

A Philadelphia pizza shop has become an ad hoc feeding program for the homeless where customers can pay the $1 slices forward. To date, some 8,400 slices have been bought for the homeless.

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Free-Climbers Close In On Summit Of Yosemite's El Capitan

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 11:47

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson are using only their hands and feet to ascend the nearly 3,000-foot Dawn Wall. Ropes are used only to break a fall.

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As consumer prices fall, we may be buying more with less

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 11:11

Shoppers disappointed economists last month. Retail sales fell 0.9 percent, while experts expected an increase. But those Commerce Department numbers might not tell the whole story. Consumer prices have been falling, so we might be buying more things for less money. 

Shazam CEO: Introducing visual 'Shazaming'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 11:05

Before Apple came up with the App Store, Shazam was doing what it still to this day does best: helping people identify the music they are listening to. But, back in 2002, that didn't exactly work on flip phones the way it does on an iPhone or Android these days.

"Shazam was mobile before mobile was cool"

"We like to say 'Shazam was mobile before mobile was cool,'" says Rich Riley, Shazam CEO. "When it was originally launched, you would basically record a sound clip, text that to Shazam systems and it would return with the name of the song and you would pay like a dollar for that text."

Four years later came the iPhone.

"It took about 10 years to do the first one-billion Shazams and now we do a billion Shazams every 45 days or something like that," says Riley.

Top Shazam'd Songs of All Time: 15 million+

However, Shazam is not just about music anymore. Users can also Shazam television shows, movies and advertisements. The company also recently received $40 million from Mexico's Telecom mogul Carlos Slim for continued expansion.

"Most people now have this incredibly powerful device in their pocket. It’s only getting faster, it’s only getting more powerful and it’s the way they are going to want to connect to things around them," says Riley.

The company will soon announce "visual shazaming." Users will be able to Shazam things like print ads, quick response codes and packages.

"Say if it’s a DVD, for example, you can push Shazam and watch the full trailer," says Riley.

Shazam in five words or less

"Connect people to the world," says Riley.

Rich Riley's Bad Day at Work Playlist

"Blank Space" by Taylor Swift is the song currently stuck in Riley's head the most, he says, because his kids are obsessed with it.

Latest Charlie Hebdo will barely be distributed in US

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 11:00

The first issue of Charlie Hebdo published after last week's attacks hit newsstands in France today. The 3 million copies essentially sold out within hours.

Would-be readers in the U.S. will likely  have a tougher time finding a copy. They also might want to brush up on their French.

The magazine's distributor in the U.S. and Canada says just 300 untranslated copies will be sold here.

They'll arrive Friday morning on an Air France flight, CNN says.

Charlie Hebdo’s challenge to old media

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 10:20

It’s yet another sign of the growing distance between old and new media.

Many of the established stalwarts — including The New York Times, NBC News, CNN and NPR — declined to publish an image of the cover of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo,  the one featuring a  caricature of the prophet Mohammed holding a sign reading ‘Je Suis Charlie’ under the words ‘All is Forgiven.’ The cover, of course, is a response to the terrorist attack against the satirical magazine one week ago that killed 12 people, including its editor and five of its top cartoonists.

Most digital news outlets, meanwhile, rushed the image onto the Internet yesterday, after the magazine released it a day ahead of publication. The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and were among the sites prominently displaying it.

“We didn't even consider not publishing the new cover,” says Max Fisher, director of content at the news site Vox. “These cartoons have major news value as they are an important part of this story, so we feel it's part of our jobs to provide them to readers.”

Marketplace editors determined that the cover was of significant enough news value to warrant publication on

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The split isn’t absolute:  The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal used the cover, for instance. But many old-media editors argued that the decision not to publish came down to a matter of taste.

“Many Muslims consider publishing images of their prophet innately offensive and because we do not normally publish images or other material deliberately intended to offend religious sensibilities, we have refrained from publishing these images of Mohammed,” a spokeswoman for The New York Times told Marketplace.

That decision was controversial within the Times itself.

“The new cover image of Charlie Hebdo is an important part of a story that has gripped the world’s attention over the past week,” wrote Margaret Sullivan, the newspaper’s Public Editor in a piece published online Wednesday morning. “The cartoon itself, while it may disturb the sensibilities of a small percentage of Times readers, is neither shocking nor gratuitously offensive. And it has, undoubtedly, significant news value.”

What’s behind the split?

“There’s no question that there is evidence of a digital divide between legacy news brands and digital first news in publishing the cartoons,” says John Avlon, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast. “I think the primary reason is due to the more bureaucratic, culturally cautious nature of older news brands versus the more aggressive and, in this case, principled stand that the younger generation of news brands felt free to pursue.”

What do the experts think?  “Personally, I think that this new Charlie Hebdo cover easily passes the test for a newsworthy image,” says Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. “Come on:  How Charlie Hebdo grapples with the murders of its editors and artists is of a matter of unquestionable political importance and cultural significance. It is also the truest test of satire--finding an image that is potent, compassionate and relevant in the face of unspeakable horror. This cover is news, pure and simple.”

After an initial print run of three million copies, partly funded by Google, Charlie Hebdo has gone back to press. The magazine is being distributed in 25 countries and translated into 16 languages, including Arabic. Charlie Hebdo’s normal print run is some 60,000 copies.