National News

Israeli Soldiers Killed In Renewed Fighting With Hezbollah

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 13:15

Two Israeli soldiers and an UN peacekeeper were killed in border fighting between Israel and Hezbollah on Wednesday — prompted by a Hezbollah revenge attack.

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Yes, Your Toilet Paper Squares And Rolls Are Shrinking

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 13:06

Robert Siegel talks to Steven Chercover, a research analyst who studies the paper and forest industries, about the trend of shrinking toilet paper rolls.

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Jordan Tests Coalition Against ISIS With Offer To Negotiate

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 13:02

Robert Siegel talks to Rula Al Hroob, member of the Jordanian Parliament, about how people in Jordan feel about a prisoner exchange for a pilot captured by ISIS in Syria.

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Ad Fumble: GoDaddy Pulls Super Bowl Puppy Commercial Amid Outrage

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 13:01

In the ad, the lost puppy returns home only to find that his owners have sold him using a website made with GoDaddy. Its an apparent parody of the latest Budweiser Super Bowl commercial.

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Remaking The U.S. Government's Online Image, One Website At A Time

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 12:52

A team called 18F aims to bring a Silicon Valley approach to government IT — one aimed at the users of websites rather than the agencies behind them.

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Jordan Considers Handing Over Prisoner For Hostage Pilot

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 12:34

The Jordanian government says it might trade a notorious attempted suicide bomber for a pilot being held by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS.

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At 100, Dartmouth Grad Still Writing His Class Notes

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 12:29

Edward Gerson is a 100-year-old alumnus of Dartmouth's class of 1935. He's turned his class notes into a column.

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Judge Throws Out Convictions Of Civil Rights Pioneers, 'Friendship 9'

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 12:28

It's been 54 years since students from Friendship College were arrested for a sit-in at McCrory's Five and Dime in Rock Hill, South Carolina. On Wednesday, a Rock Hill judge exonerated them.

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Deal May Be In Sight For Pacific Coast Longshoremen

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 12:25

After nearly eight months of negotiations, it's still not clear whether a labor deal could end a worsening congestion crisis on the west coast.

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End Of Life Care Can Be Different For Veterans

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 12:25

Many veterans who served in World War II and the Korean War are now finding themselves needing end-of-life care. These vets are served by hospice care facilities across the country. But caring for vets isn't always the same as caring for others: as veterans approach the end of life, old traumas can resurface or appear for the first time.

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Supreme Court Tells Oklahoma To Put Off Executions, Citing Drug Dispute

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 12:10

The execution of three inmates has been put on hold, as the Supreme Court intervenes in a case that involves the controversy over the drugs used to put people to death.

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Where Is All That Excess Oil Going?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 11:48

Oil prices are low because there's too much on the market. That extra oil has to be stored somewhere. A lot of it is sitting on ships at sea, with traders hoping the price will go up soon.

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Live, From Iceland: It's A Hamburger

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 11:34

They call it "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland." Purchased more than five years ago, it has been displayed in the Na­tional Museum of Iceland. Now it has its own webcam.

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When oil prices fall, Big Oil has an advantage

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-28 11:11

It's not that big oil companies love low oil prices, but a part of them doesn't mind. Companies like Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron — which report earnings over the next few days — aren't just producers selling crude oil. They're also refiners, buying crude and selling gasoline. When crude prices drop, that's good for the refinery side of the business. 

The big producers have another big advantage: long-term planning. "They're always looking at least 10 to 20 years down the road, so they're not a quarter-to-quarter type company," says James Sweeney, a Stanford University professor who studies energy policy.

On the other hand, thousands of smaller producers borrowed money to finance their drilling. Low oil prices are likely putting some of them "in bankruptcy mode," says David Bellman of All Energy Consulting.

A Saint With A Mixed History: Junipero Serra's Canonization Raises Eyebrows

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 10:49

Pope Francis announced he will elevate the influential missionary to sainthood when he visits Washington, D.C. But Native American groups say Father Serra was far from saintly.

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India Grows, Russia Shrinks: Mapping Countries By Population

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 10:33

A cartogram posted on Reddit shows what the world looks like if you scale countries by their population. Watch out China! India is catching up with you.

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How to shop for a hospital

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-28 10:12

More than 70 percent of hospitals will pay fines this year for such infractions as having too many hospital-acquired infections, too many patient re-admissions – or high mortality rates.

While many companies are jumping into the hospital ratings business, consumers are still looking for a reliable way to shop for hospitals. Here are several sources consumers can consider.

To check out hospital safety:

Hospital compare

Health Grades


To make price comparisons (more sources should be available through your health plan):

Fair Health

Health Care Blue Book

China Continues To Push The (Fake) Envelope

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-28 09:34

A fake bank in Nanjing bilked customers out of nearly $33 million. With trappings of a real bank, like security guards and LED screens, the bank fooled depositors attracted by higher interest rates.

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'We Are the World' turns 30

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-28 09:19

Jan. 28, 2015, marks the 30th anniversary of the recording of "We Are the World," a fundraising single that raised tens of millions for African relief and helped usher in an era of all-star recordings and concerts that benefit charity.

The musicians performed as USA for Africa, recording a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. Famous names in the studio session included Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Tina Turner, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. The project was promoted by producer Quincy Jones, singer Harry Belafonte and fundraiser Ken Kragen.

"We Are the World" was inspired by "Do They Know It's Christmas?" – a 1984 recording to benefit charity by another supergroup, Band Aid. That project was driven by Bob Geldof, the Irish singer-songwriter and activist. The "We are the World" single, released March 7, 1985, and related Live Aid concerts that followed in July of the same year helped spur other releases and concerts over the next several decades that benefited charity.

Many consider the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh, headlined by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar at Madison Square Garden in New York City, to be the first modern benefit concert.

"We Are the World" was a hit – both as a single and as a fundraising device. It is reportedly one of fewer than 30 singles that have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. The song, and associated merchandise, eventually raised more than $60 million for African aid, initially aimed at victims of a devastating famine on the continent in the mid-1980s.

Other music-based charity fundraisers that followed this early effort include Farm Aid (1985), "America: A Tribute to Heroes" (2001), Live 8 (2005), Live Earth (2007), "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" (2010) and the Concert for Sandy Relief (2012).

How long can Apple depend on iPhone sales?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-28 09:07

Apple had a very good quarter — make that a great quarter. The company announced it made $18 billion in profit for the first quarter of its fiscal year, ending in December. Much of that profit was thanks to the popularity of the iPhone, especially in China, where iPhone sales doubled year over year.

But does that strength belie a potential weakness?

“The iPhone 6 was a great success, but how long can it last and what’s going to be the follow up?” asks Michael Obuchowski, an Apple shareholder and the portfolio manager of Concert Wealth Management. Even though earnings this quarter were strong, Obuchowski says it worries him that 70 percent of revenues were driven by a single product line: iPhones.

Companies that generate most of their sales from one product can be risky, says J.P. Eggers, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. But he thinks Apple’s narrow focus is a source of strength for the company, as it can improve innovation and result in better, higher quality products.

Ramon Llamas, research manager for  IDC’s wearable and mobile phones programs, cautions betting against Apple, noting the company's long history of success in product development.