National News

Car companies are happy to lose money on electric cars

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-07-28 02:00

Nissan reports its second quarter earnings on Monday. The company has been one of the pioneers in the electric car business with its Leaf. The Leaf is one of the most critically acclaimed electric cars out there, but the business model is still up in the air.

"The cost of those batteries is still too high," says David E. Cole, founder of AutoHarvest. Estimates put the batteries between $10,000 - $16,000. They also need to be replaced every 10 years or so. Nissan is offering Leaf owners replacement batteries for $5,500, which means the company is probably losing money on those batteries.

"Everybody’s working on these batteries," says Cole. "A variety of different technologies are being explored, but the cost has just not come down the way we would like to see it."

In fact, Nissan is probably losing money on every Leaf it sells. Still, it could pay off.  

"People criticized Toyota for years for losing money on every Prius it sold," says John O’Dell, senior editor for fuel efficiency and alternative vehicles at Edmunds.com. "And now Toyota makes a ton of money on every Prius it sells, and it also dominates the hybrid market because it was willing to invest with losses into a long term strategy."

O’Dell estimates electric cars won’t catch on in a mainstream way for another five years.

 

Housing and Urban Development gets a new head

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-07-28 02:00

On Monday, the nation gets a new secretary for the department of Housing and Urban Development.

Julian Castro is the former mayor of San Antonio, and HUD has served as an economic backstop during the financial meltdown.

“HUD is very important for people who are in some sort of credit recovery,” says Mark Goldman, who teaches real estate at San Diego State University.

And some expect big things from Castro because he served as a mayor; a political office known for hands-on, take-charge kinds of leaders.

“So they are proactive people once they get into federal office,” says Sheila Crowley is president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

But she says even the best leadership can’t bypass Congress.

“When you’ve got programs that are being starved, it’s just very hard to make progress,” says Crowley.

Israelis Broadly Support Military's Operation In Gaza

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 01:54

Recent polls show more than 8 in 10 Jewish Israelis support the military operation, even as the death tolls climb. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ratings are soaring.

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Israel Resumes Airstrikes On Gaza After Lull In Fighting

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 01:20

The strikes followed an almost 12-hour pause in fighting and came as international efforts intensified to end the conflict with Hamas at the start of a major Muslim holiday.

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People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:57

Do you feel like you wander aimlessly through life, or is there a reason you're here? Psychologists say people with a sense of purpose may stress out less. Or they may lead healthier lives.

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More Than Half Of Spaniards In Their 20s Are Unemployed

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:57

Even though Spain's economy is out of recession, youth unemployment has hit 57.7 percent. Economists say it could be years before jobs return. By then, many will have missed a decade or more of work.

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Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:57

Central American coffee farmers are facing off against a deadly fungus that has wiped out thousands of acres of crops. Coffee companies like Starbucks are pooling money to support them in the fight.

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Fighting In Ukraine Continues; Russia Dismisses Threat Of Sanctions

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:57

Fierce fighting continued overnight in eastern Ukraine along the Russian border, and Russia's foreign minister rejected U.S. claims that his country has been supporting pro-Russia fighters there.

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The Week In Politics: Progress On Upgrading VA Health System

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:57

Congress has a number of big pieces of legislation to deal with before leaving on its annual summer recess. The Highway Trust Fund, border security and the VA are all on the to-do list.

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Locked In U.S. Hedge Fund Battle, Argentina Faces Default

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:57

Argentina says it cannot pay certain debts and will fall into default by July 31 if it can't come to an agreement with creditors. This would be Argentina's second default in 13 years.

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Shifts In Habitat May Threaten Ruddy Shorebird's Survival

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:42

To withstand their 9,300-mile migration, red knots feast on eggs from horseshoe crabs each spring in Delaware Bay. Scientists worry many crabs are starting to lay eggs before the birds can get there.

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Why We Think Ignorance Is Bliss, Even When It Hurts Our Health

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:40

People sometimes avoid information because they're afraid of bad news. But this "information aversion" can lead people to avoid medical tests that could save their lives.

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New York Debates Whether Housing Counts As Health Care

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:36

Offering a homeless person an apartment with access to a doctor and social services may be cheaper than paying for emergency room visits and jail or shelter stays. But should Medicaid help with rent?

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With Deadline Looming, Lawmakers Reach Deal On VA Health Care

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-28 00:07

The compromise plan to be unveiled Monday is expected to authorize billions in emergency spending to lease 27 new clinics and hire more doctors and nurses.

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What Makes This Fight In Gaza Different From The Others?

NPR News - Sun, 2014-07-27 13:02

Anne Barnard from The New York Times talks with NPR's Eric Westervelt about the differences between the current explosion of violence in Gaza and previous ones.

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On The Eve Of Ramadan's End, Fighting Resumes In Gaza

NPR News - Sun, 2014-07-27 13:02

Israel and Hamas carried out a rhetorical battle Sunday over the fate of dueling offers to extend a ceasefire. In the end, the fighting resumed after Saturday's 12-hour truce. Israel vowed to continue its military campaign, targeting tunnels along the border. Wary Gazans prepared as best they could for the feast that marks the end of Ramadan.

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Violence Spikes Anew In Iraq, As Islamic State Looks To Expand

NPR News - Sun, 2014-07-27 13:02

Bloodshed is escalating in Baghdad as the militant group known as the Islamic State seeks to expand its territory in Iraq. NPR's Eric Westervelt talks to reporter Alice Fordham in Erbil about life under the rule of the radical Islamic group.

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With Judges Overriding Death Penalty Cases, Alabama Is An Outlier

NPR News - Sun, 2014-07-27 11:08

A jury gave Courtney Lockhart life in prison in 2010, but a judge sentenced him to death instead. Lockhart has appealed to the state Supreme Court, hoping it will reconsider judicial override rules.

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With Judges Overriding Death Penalty Cases, Alabama Is An Outlier

NPR News - Sun, 2014-07-27 11:08

A jury gave Courtney Lockhart life in prison in 2010, but a judge sentenced him to death instead. Lockhart has appealed to the state Supreme Court, hoping it will reconsider judicial override rules.

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