National News

How British Farmers Are Making Rapeseed (Canola) Posh And Flavorful

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 09:58

In the U.K., rapeseed is getting a royal treatment. It's called cold-pressing, and it's a method of processing the oilseed to bring out the best of its mustardy flavor.

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#TBT: Hoping For Presidency, Former Senator Throws Rock In Water

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 08:41

The 2008 presidential race was the first in the post-YouTube era. Candidates tried all kinds of things to break through, including former Sen. Mike Gravel simply throwing a rock in water.

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Baltimore Police Hand Freddie Gray Investigation Report To Prosecutors

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 08:36

A Baltimore Police Department task force found the van transporting Gray made one more stop than originally thought.

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield on living above the sky

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-30 08:00

The sky's not the limit for Commander Chris Hadfield, a retired Canadian astronaut. For him, it's just the start of everything else.

Hadfield spent more than 150 days living in space, the bulk of it during a three-month stint at the International Space Station where six astronauts from countries all over the world live and work.

Hadfield's time in space coincided with a change in social media and communications. During his first space voyages in 1995 and 2001, there was no way for Hadfield to relay information about his experiences while in space. But, by the time he got to the ISS in 2013, improvements in technology and huge leaps in social media interaction made it possible for him to keep in touch: on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Hadfield says when it comes to living in space, there has been significant change. People from 15 different countries left Earth in November of 2000.

"For the last 14 years, we have permanently been living off the planet, and when I say we, I mean humanity," he says. "Once you start permanently settling somewhere, then it really just becomes a new part of human culture."

That culture is still in early development, but it is growing as more stories start coming back from space. The ISS, for instance, is now home to a guitar and an espresso machine. Astronauts are becoming more accustomed to sending videos home, and telling people on Earth about their out-of-this-world lives. Soon space culture will include an album of folk music Hadfield recorded in space.

He compares space exploration to early settlers of undiscovered continents.

"When the first settlers came across the Bering Strait 20,000 years ago from Asia, their culture changed the place and defined the people themselves, and we're just getting into that stage of leaving Earth in space," he says.

So where to next from the ISS?

"It will go eventually from the space station to the moon, over the next few generations, and from the moon eventually to Mars, just as we've spread over the whole surface of the Earth," Hadfield says.

Kill The Messenger: NASA Orbiter Set To Crash Into Mercury Thursday

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:41

Messenger was launched from Earth back in 2004. After 4,104 orbits of Mercury and billions of miles of space travel, the orbiter will end its mission with a quiet bang Thursday.

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France Investigates Claims Its Soldiers Abused Children In Africa

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:38

President Francois Hollande warns of consequences if the allegations about the abuse in the Central African Republic are true. The U.N. worker who publicly revealed the abuse has been suspended.

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A Forgotten Tradition: May-Basket Day

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:38

For at least a century or so, April flowers led to showers of May-baskets on the front-door knobs of American homes.

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The Great Success And Enduring Dilemma Of Cervical Cancer Screening

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:28

The Pap smear has dramatically decreased rates of cervical cancer, but testing too often has a downside, too. Many women say they aren't yet ready to follow new guidelines and skip the annual tests.

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More Than 90 Writers Join Protest Of Free Speech Award For 'Charlie Hebdo'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:17

Dozens of writers have now signed an open letter that condemns the attacks on the French satirical magazine, but questions whether it deserves a free speech prize for its willingness to offend.

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Health Plans Often Fail To Provide Free Coverage For Women's Health

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:05

Insurers dispute that notion that the problems are widespread. Consumers and advocates have complained to insurers, and some policies have been changed.

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Is Bashar Assad Just Losing Some Ground ... Or His Grip On Power?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 06:26

After four years of the ebbs and flows in Syria's civil war, rebel fighters are pushing back Assad's forces. He's having trouble replacing soldiers. And his allies may be providing less support.

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Safe Surgery Is A Dream In The Developing World

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 06:21

One third of global deaths occur because people don't have access to safe surgery, a study finds. Dirty operating rooms and unskilled attendants make going under the knife extremely risky.

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'Charlie Hebdo' Cartoonist Says He Will No Longer Draw Prophet Muhammad

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 05:55

"He no longer interests me," Luz said in an interview. Militants attacked the magazine Jan. 7, killing editorial staff and others, in apparent retaliation for its depiction of their prophet.

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Bullfighting For Buddhists: A Less Bloody Alternative In South Korea

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 04:26

There are no matadors, no swords and little gore, just two bulls butting heads at the country's annual bullfighting festival. In the end, neither creatures dies, they just "express their emotions."

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10 Men Sent To Prison Over Shooting Of Malala In 2012

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 04:05

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has sent 10 men to prison for 25-year terms for their roles in the near-fatal attack on activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012.

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Rescue Brings A Bit Of Good News To Nepal's Capital After Earthquake

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 03:36

For five days, a teenager in Kathmandu was covered in the rubble of a seven-story building that was hit by Saturday's powerful tremor. On Thursday, rescue crews pulled him to safety.

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PODCAST: Bernanke joins PIMCO

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-30 03:00

The number of people signing up for unemployment benefits hit a 15 year low in the last week. More on that. Plus, more on the efforts to get aid to Nepal with AmeriCares CEO Michael Nyenhuis. And former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is joining PIMCO as an advisor. We look at what this means.

Skip A Grade? Start Kindergarten Early? It's Not So Easy

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 02:03

New research calls for a fresh look at policies on jumping gifted students ahead.

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The NFL draft comes to Chicago

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-30 02:00

On Thursday, Chi-Town becomes Draft Town — the NFL Draft, that is.

It’s the first time since 1964 the draft has been anywhere other than New York, and Chicago officials are ecstatic to host the three-day “fan festival." The city won its bid to host this year’s NFL draft, and it's going big.

There’ll be football clinics for kids, a replica of an NFL locker room, and Buckingham Fountain will reflect team colors during the draft. Over the top?

“I don’t believe that the term 'over the top' is something that could apply to the NFL, because everything they do is over-the-top,” says Todd Jewell, who teaches finance at Texas State. He adds that the payoff for Chicago is lots of buzz.

But having won the bid, the city will spend $3 to $4 million on this extravaganza. Robert Baade, who teaches economics at Lake Forest College calls it the "winner’s curse.”

He says even though the city promised not to spend public money on this, it will hit taxpayers one way or another. The real winner, he says, is the NFL, especially if cities start bidding for the draft every year.

Ben Bernanke joins Pimco

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-30 02:00

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has scored his second advisory gig in the past month. He recently announced he’d advise hedge Citadel LLC. Now he’ll also offer his economic expertise to money management giant Pacific Investment Management Company, or Pimco.

It manages about $1.6 trillion in assets for public and private retirement plans, among other customers.  

Bernanke will advise Pimco following a period of turmoil at the firm. Investors pulled money from Pimco funds after co-founder Bill Gross left last year.

Bernanke is the second high-profile economist the firm has recently hired to burnish its macroeconomic forecasting credentials. And Bernanke’s familiarity with Fed personalities and decision-making could be an added benefit.

"All markets, all security prices, are impacted by what the Fed does, what the Fed may do, and what it’s thinking,” says Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, a Pimco competitor.

Paulsen says Bernanke could give Pimco especially pertinent insights into the conditions under which officials would raise interest rates.

“It would be very important information flow for asset managers that are going to lay down bets on what the direction of interest rates is,” Paulsen says.

But Bernanke's advisory role at Pimco makes Russell Campbell uncomfortable. He's the chief executive of Your Second Opinion LLC, which consults with small asset management companies.

“It raises policy implications about who's influencing who and who has direct access,” he says. “He can probably pick up the phone and call the president. There's only so many people that can do that.”

The Securities Exchange Commission, not the Fed, oversees Citadel and Pimco. Bernanke could not be reached for comment about his pay at either appointment.