National News

Coming soon: New York's first men's fashion week

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-05 13:42

We cover Fashion Week pretty much every year to report on the latest and greatest in women's fashion from the runways in New York City. Or ... at least the business slice of it.

Today the Council of Fashion Designers of America announced the first New York Fashion Week: Men's coming in mid-July.

As one of our producers put it this morning, it'll be "... a bunch of dudes not wearing socks, showing their ankles."

Men's fashion weeks already exist in cities like London, Vancouver and Los Angeles.

On an unrelated note: RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday. We told you so.


Video Of Jordanian Pilot's Death As Horrific As It Was Symbolic

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 13:42

Robert Siegel talks to Dr. Dawn Perlmutter, director of the Symbol Intelligence Group, which specializes in analysis of symbols and rituals. She says fire is a common method of ritual murder in Iraq.

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Sony's Amy Pascal Steps Down In Aftermath Of Cyber Attack

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 13:36

Audie Cornish talks to Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Fritz about Amy Pascal. The Sony co-chairman will stay at the company to launch a new production venture.

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What's Inside The 28 Most Controversial Pages In Washington?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 13:33

Robert Siegel talks with former Sen. Bob Kerrey about the call for the release of withheld pages from the Congressional Joint Inquiry into intelligence activities leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks.

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RadioShack, The Electronics Chain, Files For Bankruptcy

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 13:31

The chain, known as the place you could find spare parts, hung on for years, but now plans to sell up to 2,400 stores nationwide.

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U.S. Could Stand To Lose A Lot By Getting Involved In Ukraine

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 13:29

Audie Cornish talks to Rajan Menon, professor of political science at the Powell School of the City College of New York, about his Los Angeles Times piece, "Want to Arm Kiev? Better have a Plan B."

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Sweden's Immigrant Influx Unleashes A Backlash

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 13:25

Long welcoming of refugees and asylum-seekers, Sweden is now seeing a backlash. An anti-immigration party is gaining strength, mosques have been fire-bombed, and anti-Semitism appears on the rise.

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Anthem Hack Renews Calls For Laws To Better Prevent Breaches

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:52

Hackers gained access to records of 80 million Anthem customers and employees, the health insurance giant says. But how can the seemingly endless mega-hacks be prevented?

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Observers Flock To Erupting Reunion Volcano

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:35

One of the world's most active volcanoes is erupting again. Piton de la Fournaise in the Indian Ocean on the French island of Reunion began spewing lava from one of its four craters on Wednesday.

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Jordan's Military Claims New Air Strikes Against ISIS

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:35

Outraged by the killing of their air force pilot, Jordanians are considering what their country can do to respond.

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Kerry Visits Kiev To Show Support For Beleaguered Ukrainian Government

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:35

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is under increasing pressure to provide weapons to the Ukrainians.

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Brian Williams Criticized For Exaggerated Iraq Story

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:35

NBC Chief Anchor Brian Williams is dealing with scathing criticism over his exaggerated accounts, over the years, of a helicopter landing under hostile fire in Iraq in 2003.

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RadioShack May Be On Verge Of Collapse

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:35

The end looks to be near for RadioShack. The nearly century old electronics retail chain is on the verge of bankruptcy. Audie Cornish talks to Jamie Lendino of PC Magazine.

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Why Is Nearsightedness Skyrocketing Among Chinese Youth?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:35

More than 80 percent of high school students in Shanghai are myopic. A new study finds a link between higher income and poor eyesight. But the root cause is still hotly debated.

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First Stars Fired Up 140 Million Years Later Than Previously Thought

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:18

New data collected from the European Space Agency's Planck telescope shows that the first starlight in the universe occurred about 560 million years after the Big Bang.

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Amy Pascal is out as Sony Pictures head

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:15

Sony Pictures Entertainment is rebuilding after it was crippled last last year by a massive cyber attack. Part of that means distancing itself from its co-chair Amy Pascal, who announced Wednesday that she will step down in March.

Pascal is getting a nice production deal at Sony and says she's always wanted to be a producer, but she also seems to be taking the fall for last year's costly and embarrassing attack.

The whole episode stretched from November to the holidays, shut down Sony's computers, exposed private emails and company data, scuttled the theatrical release of "The Interview" and eventually lead to economic sanctions against the alleged attackers in North Korea.

Here's a look back at the whole story:

Decades After His Murder, An Archbishop Is Put On Path To Sainthood

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:15

Pope Francis has declared slain Archbishop Oscar Romero a martyr. Previous popes declined to do so, possibly because of Romero's role in liberation theology.

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FDA Commissioner Hamburg Grappled With Global Challenges

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-05 12:04

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says she'll leave the job at the end of March after six years in the spotlight and controversies over Plan B emergency contraception.

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How do you get rid of 40 inches of snow?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-05 11:47

In a huge vacant lot in Boston’s Seaport District, standing amid 20-foot-high snow piles, Interim Boston Public Works Commissioner Michael Dennehy conducts a symphony of heavy machinery. 

Instead of directing percussion and string sections, he's orchestrating front-end loaders and a Super Cat bulldozer at the city's largest snow farm.

After a week of record snowfall, Boston is still digging out from more than 40 inches of snow. The question now: Where do you put it all?

"It's a big parcel but it’s actually gotten a little small on us,” Dennehy says. “It's where we're housing most of our snow that we're farming out so what we're doing now is we're trying to increase our capacity by melting some of this snow and giving us the opportunity to remove even more than the 7,500 loads we've taken off the Boston streets already."

And there are certainly plenty more loads of snow waiting on Boston streets. Dennehy says Public Works will focus on clearing main arteries and major intersections, hoping to uncover a few highly sought-after parking spots in the process.

At a press conference this week, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he wouldn't be surprised if the city "shattered" its snow-removal budget. "Our budget for snow is roughly $18 million,” says Mayor Walsh. “We're not over the top yet with the $18 million, we still have money underneath the cap. But we're heading towards that.”

The city estimates a $10 million dollar chunk of that budget was swallowed up by a single storm – last week's blizzard, which dumped more than 2 feet of snow on Boston.

Back at the snow farm, Dennehy looks on while heaps of snow vanish into the melter. As the runoff flows into a nearby catch basin, he strikes a realistic tone about the city’s progress.

"When you have to bring a snow melter into your snow farm to continue farming,” he says, “then there's always more work to be done."

Luckily for the city, and that soon-to-be-shattered snow-removal budget, the snow melters come free of charge, courtesy of the state's Massachusetts Port Authority.





Google to mine a new source of data – tweets

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-05 11:39

If you're not a Twitter user, you might start seeing more Tweets online anyway. The social media company has struck a deal with Google, giving the search engine access to Twitter’s so-called firehose of data, according to Bloomberg. That will make it easier for tweets to show up in Google's search results.

If this sounds familiar, the deal is a flashback to one that fell apart several years ago.

“Twitter is looking for ways to drive user growth,” says Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research.  That growth has been sluggish, he says, and investors are getting impatient. Late Thursday, Twitter reported that it added just 4 million active monthly users in the fourth quarter of last year, for a total of 288 million.

Twitter wants to extend the reach of its tweets, Wieser says, “and create the conditions for enhanced monetization in the future.”

Translation: the company wants to sell those new users to advertisers. In its earnings announcement, Twitter said it brought in $432 million from advertising in the fourth quarter, up 97 percent from the previous year.

As for Google, “they want data, first and foremost,” says Wieser, and Twitter’s active users generate a lot of data. Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing already have direct access to that content.

Tweets still show up in Google searches, even after the company's deal with Twitter fell apart in 2011, according to Danny Sullivan, founding editor of the online news site Search Engine Land. Without a new deal, Google just can’t keep up, he says.

“Without that access to the firehose directly, it is literally like Google’s trying to lean in on the side and take a drink, and you just can’t do it,” Wieser says.

So what do Google users get out of it? Twitter works especially well as a breaking-news feed. The traditional sources Google relies on, he says, may lag by several minutes.