National News

The Threats And Violence At A Kosher Market In Paris

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 08:08

Renee Montagne speaks with Andrew Higgins of The New York Times. Higgins was on the scene at a kosher grocery store, where an hostage situation unfolded for hours.

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Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Flogged For Insulting Islam

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 08:05

The punishment meted out comes despite calls from the U.S. and others to cancel the punishment. Badawi's sentence partly calls for him to receive 50 lashes a week for 20 weeks.

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The next generation of Social Security

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-09 07:40

Inheritance is not just personal. It's factors into the broader economy: what we leave behind for future generations, what one generation saves for itself, and for the next.

As Americans, we spend most of our careers paying into social security, with the promise that we'll get a little money from the country in our old age. But as Baby Boomers age and retire the Social Security reserves are strained.

Baby Boomers expanded the workforce on their own -- add into the mix a major influx of women into the workplace, and the dwindling reserves in the disability program and the retirement programs make sense. These are problems that have been predicted for years, and since Social Security was introduced, Congress has adjusted and reallocated budgets to keep the programs solvent and keep benefits stable. 

Without any changes, Social Security's disability reserve fund will run out next year. The retirement trust fund will exhaust in 2034. The facts sound a bit scary, but Stephen Goss, chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, says there isn't much reason to worry. Even if Congress did nothing to reallocate funds, the money coming into the Social Security program through payroll taxes would keep benefits going at 77 cents to the dollar for retirement, and 81 cents to the dollar for disability. 

Still, half of millennials don't think there will be any money left for them in social security when they retire, according to a Pew poll.

Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, agrees with Goss that Social Security will bounce back. So why the concern? Is Social Security a strained part of a larger retirement system desperately in need of overhaul? 

Stephen Goss and Alicia Munnell speak with Lizzie O'Leary to talk about how and when Congress needs to act to keep Social Security solvent, and how current generations should approach retirement in order to maintain benefits for the future. 

The French Perspective On 2 Desperate Days Following 'Hebdo' Shooting

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 07:22

Renee Montagne speaks with Sylvie Rottman, senior producer at France 24, for the latest on the mood of the French people, who have been rocked by the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices.

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What U.S. Officials Know Now About The Standoffs In France

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 07:18

For the latest on Friday's tense situation in Paris, NPR's counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston offers information she has learned from U.S. officials who are following the standoffs.

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Negotiator On The Scene In Standoff Outside Paris

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 07:12

Steve Inskeep talks with Chris O'Brien of the Los Angeles Times to focus on just one of the standoffs now unfolding in France — the one at the building of a printing company northeast of Paris.

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Poll: Most Americans Would Share Health Data For Research

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 06:38

The topics for study didn't matter much to people who said they were willing to share. Every category — ranging from safety issues to health costs — scored at least 90 percent in the NPR poll.

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Still Just A Bill: Why Being Senate Bill 1 Doesn't Guarantee Success

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 06:28

The prestige of being S-1, like the Keystone XL legislation, conveys a sense of priority and urgency. But the history of past bills designated as such is rather mixed.

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Mideast Conflict Could Bog Down International Criminal Court

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 06:17

Palestinians have joined the court, hoping for war crimes investigations against Israel. This presents a challenge for the ICC, which some say has been floundering elsewhere.

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Nebraska Supreme Court Clears Way For Keystone XL Pipeline

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 05:47

The split decision allows the controversial project to proceed. The U.S. House of Representatives could vote as early as today on a bill to approve the pipeline.

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Sri Lanka's Long-Time President Ousted In Election Defeat

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 05:42

Mahinda Rajapaksa, who presided over the end of the island-nation's long and brutal civil war, lost to a former ally and Cabinet minister, Maithripala Sirisena.

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Between 2 Two Police Standoffs, Tensions Flare In Paris

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 05:31

Vivienne Walt, a Time magazine reporter based in Paris, offers the latest on the events involving the suspects in Wednesday's shooting at the offices of satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

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The Shifting Conditions Confronting The French Hostage Negotiator

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 05:26

Steve Inskeep speaks with Robert McFadden, a senior vice president of the Soufan Group and a 30-year veteran of U.S. law enforcement, for details on the security situation in and around Paris.

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Quiz: How to turn kids into bookworms

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-09 04:41

Kids who read for pleasure are more likely to have parents who do the same, according to a poll by Scholastic.

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Unemployment Dips To 5.6 Percent As Economy Adds 252K Jobs

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 04:37

December's job growth caps a 2014 that saw the most jobs added to the economy since 1999.

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PODCAST: Cellphones in schools

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-09 03:00

252,000 new jobs were added in December, according to the Labor Department. More on that. Plus, New York City is poised to lift a ban on cell phones at schools. We look at the impact - the ban created a mini industry around phone storage – at some schools, kids had to leave their phones in vans parked outside. What happens to those businesses now? And reporter Nova Safo has a wrap up of this year's consumer electronics show.

The Latest On Paris Attack: Police Appear To Close In On Two Suspects

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-09 02:40

Police were focused on an industrial zone northwest of Paris, where the suspects may be holed up. The men are believed to be involved in the shooting death of 12 people at a satirical magazine.

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The latest in virtual reality from CES 2015

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-09 02:00

Virtual reality is big at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and Oculus VR is leading the way. So we gave their latest headset a spin and found it almost disarmingly immersive.

Click the media player above to hear more.

A year in jobs reports

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-09 02:00

With the last jobs report of 2014 now available to us, we can take a full long look back at the year.

For starters, 2014 ended with much stronger job growth than it began with. 
U.S. Jobs Added Per Month, 2014 |Create infographics
Year over year, 2014 grew the most jobs since 1999.
Annual U.S. Job Growth |Create infographics
In a stark move, the unemployment rate jumped down two tenths of a percent in December of 2014 to 5.6%, the lowest it’s been since 2007.  It’s down a full 1.1 percentage points compared to last year.
U.S. Unemployment Rate |Create infographics
In November’s jobs numbers, we saw hourly wages jump 0.4%. That was a big bump for one month, and in December those gains were erased. 2014 as a whole was pretty sad for wage growth ... and so was 2013 ... and so was 2012. As you can see in the chart below, wages have only barely crept up since 2010.

That’s the case for nominal wages, which are wages that don’t take inflation into account.  When you take inflation into account, real wages haven’t moved for decades.

Holding a cellphone for $1 a day

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-09 02:00

A ban on cell phones in New York City Schools that's been around for almost a decade is expected to end in March. The city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, made that announcement this week, arguing the prohibition makes it hard for schoolkids to contact their parents.

On top of that, he says it is unfair that the rule is enforced more strictly at lower-income schools where there are metal detectors.

But lifting the ban will do more than let phones back into the classroom — It will also kill a number of small businesses.

Click the media player above to hear more.