National News

The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 00:38

Two recent studies add to the growing evidence that consuming dairy fat may actually fend off weight gain. Experts say it may be time to revisit the assumption that when it comes to dairy, fat free is always best.

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To Rent Or Buy? For The Federal Government, It's Complicated

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 00:37

The Bureau of Indian Affairs cost taxpayers $32 million by overpaying for space and renting too much of it. It's just one in a long line of federal leasing problems, according to reports. Health and Human Services has been leasing a building in Maryland for 60 years that it could have owned 10 times over by now.

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In Photos: Moroccan Motorcycle Mashup

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 00:36

Photographer Hassan Hajjaj's "Kesh Angels" share a similar name to Hell's Angels. But they're not a gang. They're Moroccan. And women. And really colorful.

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Samba School Murder Exposes The Dark Side Of Rio's Carnival

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 00:35

Carnival in Rio attracts tourists from all over the world. But there is a murky — and sometimes deadly — underbelly to the celebrations. The recent murder of a samba school official highlights the links between the glittering affair that is Carnival and the city's criminal world.

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Heaven or hell? Never miss a call again

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-02-12 00:33

We live in a modern world filled with awe-inspiring technological innovations... so why is it so difficult to collect texts and phone calls across multiple devices?

Gregg Fienberg, executive producer of HBO's True Blood, helped design a new app called CallPlease that tries to solve the problem of missing a message or text. 

Click on the audio player learn how CallPlease helped his assistant climb the corporate ladder, and what TV production has to do with app-making. 

*CORRECTION: Gregg Fienberg's last name was mispelled in the original version of this article. The text has been corrected.

For Elephants And Rhinos, Poaching Trends Point In Wrong Direction

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 00:33

A decade ago, fewer than 100 rhinos were killed annually in South Africa. Last year, it was more than 1,000. Wildlife conservation groups from around the globe are gathering in London this week, hoping to find ways to slow the trade in rhino horns, elephant tusks and other illegal wildlife products.

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College philanthropy hits new high

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-02-12 00:27

Charitable giving to U.S. colleges and universities hit a record high in 2013. A report out on Wednesday from the nonprofit Council for Aid to Education says donors gave $33.8 billion to higher education, the highest level since the survey began in 1957.

College giving has risen nine percent since 2012, with much of the growth driven by gifts to endowments, says Ann Kaplan, director of the annual survey.

“This type of gift is strongly affected by the stock market, as such gifts tend to be made either in the form of stock or from a platform of wealth that itself rises and falls with the value of stocks,” says Kaplan. “And all the major stock indexes increased by more than 15 percent over the course of the fiscal year we studied.”

While most schools reported at least some increase in giving, the biggest winners were the big names: Stanford, Harvard, the University of Southern California, Columbia. All raised several hundred million dollars last year.

Support for higher education by the very rich “has come roaring back,” according to a recent report from consulting firm Marts & Lundy. “Mega-gifts” of $50 million or more made a mega comeback in 2013, says chairman John Cash. And 2014 is off to a strong start, he says.

Gifts mostly go to top-tier private research institutions, Cash says. Mid-tier and public universities, he says, “have to struggle to achieve the kind of generosity from private philanthropists that the great established private research institutions receive on a regular basis.”

Cash says large donors want to change the world, and big research universities with medical schools and innovative science programs, can promise to do that.

2 Skiers Dead When Avalanche Hits 'Alps Of Oregon'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 23:19

An avalanche in the Wallowa Mountains of eastern Oregon killed two backcountry skiers and seriously injured two others Tuesday, officials said. Four other skiers were not injured.

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State Dinner For French President Packed With A-Listers

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 23:09

Michelle and Barack Obama found just the right spot to seat a gent going stag to Tuesday's state dinner: They plopped French President Francois Hollande down right between them in a giant party tent. There's been much drama about his solo trip to the U.S. after a very public breakup from his first lady.

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Wire Fox Terrier Wins Best In Show At Westminster

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 20:36

It was the 14th time a wire fox terrier won best in show, more than any other breed since the Westminster show began in 1877.

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NBC's Tom Brokaw Announces He Has Cancer, Says He's 'Optimistic'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 18:15

Tom Brokaw, the NBC News correspondent who for years was one of America's favorite news anchors, has been diagnosed with Tmultiple myeloma, a cancer that affects blood cells in bone marrow, the network says.

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European Union Moves To Approve U.S. Genetically Modified Corn

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 16:38

Despite efforts by two-thirds of its 28 member states to block the move, the European Union took a large step toward approving a new genetically modified corn Tuesday. Opponents say the corn, a DuPont Pioneer product called TC1507, has harmful qualities.

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Goldfish have longer attention spans than Americans, and the publishing industry knows it

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-02-11 16:07

On Friday, Netflix will unveil its second season of House of Cards, and fans are chomping at the bit.

Can you say binge watching, anyone?

But it turns out it's not just TV we want to binge on.

Books, too.

The New York Times published an article that described something called "series publishing." It's not an entirely new concept, but it's a big pivot away from the one-title-per-year model most of the industry has been abiding by for decades.  

Publishers are now rolling out shorter books faster and faster, and Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn says it's largely because we're getting less attentive and more anxious:

"The average American attention span in 2013 was about 8 seconds. The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds. And then get this kicker - the average attention of a goldfish is 9 seconds."


FBI Offers Cash Reward To Catch People Who Point Lasers At Planes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 16:02

This campaign will last for 60 days at FBI field offices, and comes with a reward of up to $10,000 if your help leads to an arrest. The number of these incidents has gone up more than ten times since 2006.

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Thank You, Shirley Temple, For The Original 'Mocktail'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 15:54

Generations of children have been charmed by Shirley Temple onscreen, and in a glass. The drink that bears her name, it seems, has a shelf life as long as her movies.

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Debt vote helps create a sense of certainty

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-02-11 15:34

A plan to lift the country’s borrowing authority – and let the U.S. continue paying its bills – moves to the Senate after passing the House of Representatives by a 221-201 margin on late Tuesday. 

It’s a "clean" agreement, meaning there are no strings attached. The plan would allow the U.S. to borrow until March 15, 2015.

While it doesn't have any loopholes to trip up expected passage in the Senate and a final signature into law by the White House, some economists say it will bring one thing with it: a heightened sense of certainty about the economy. 

"I think this is some positive news and provides much-needed clarity for the business community and consumers," says Michael Brown, an economist with Wells Fargo. "For financial markets, a year is a long time," says Kevin Logan, the chief U.S. economist at HSBC Securities. "And removing the threat of the debt ceiling showdown or a Treasury default is a positive."

The threat of the government defaulting on its fiscal obligations makes markets jittery, Brown adds, and this deal is a welcome option to avoid worry turning into doubt.

"It removes the potential disruption that could occur to financial markets, notes Brown, "even if the probability is small, the consequences are devastating, catastrophic.

Kraft takes artificial preservatives out of its singles

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-02-11 15:27

From the Marketplace Desk of Pasteurized Processed Cheese Food.

Kraft says it's going to take artificial preservatives out of its American Singles slices.

OK, so it's not clear what will be left, but here are the mechanics: Sorbic Acid is going to be replaced by something called "natamycin," which, we're told, is a naturally occurring mold inhibitor.

Good to know.

There was always something special about a grilled cheese made from Kraft Singles...right?


Budget Pruning Leaves Canadian Potted Plants Out To Dry

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 15:22

There's no such thing as a free lunch, even for plants. With budgets tight and dedicated funds for plant maintenance drying up, the Canadian House of Commons is sending its greenery to auction.

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Straw Buyers Exchange Vermont Guns For East Coast Drugs

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 14:56

Last month, Vermont's governor said addiction has reached epidemic levels in his state. Officials say that high demand, combined with the state's loose gun laws, create a lucrative market for out-of-state dealers.

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Graco Recalls Nearly 3.8 Million Child Car Seats

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-11 14:54

Some buckles on the seats may become hard to release, posing a danger in the case of an accident. Regulators want the company to recall an additional 1.8 million infant seats.

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