National News

European Scientists Conclude That Distant Comet Smells Terrible

NPR News - 22 hours 52 min ago

A European spacecraft has picked up a foul odor emanating from a comet called 67P/C-G. Imagine sharing a stable with a drunk person and a dozen rotten eggs.

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With Ferguson Protests, 20-Somethings Become First-Time Activists

NPR News - 22 hours 52 min ago

Near Ferguson, Mo., young people are taking the lead in protesting police brutality. Many say they had never considered activism before, but saw Michael Brown's shooting death as a call to action.

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A Tale Of Immigration Unleashed In 'Green Dragons' Film

NPR News - 22 hours 52 min ago

The film Revenge of the Green Dragons is based on the true story of a Chinese-American gang in New York City that helped traffic unauthorized immigrants from China in the 1980s and '90s.

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Frank Mankiewicz, Aide Who Announced Robert Kennedy's Death, Dies

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 22:23

The journalist, political aide and author was Kennedy's press secretary when he died in 1968. Mankiewicz also ran Sen. George McGovern's presidential campaign. He died Thursday night at the age of 90.

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Recently Returned From Africa, Doctor Tests Positive For Ebola At NYC Hospital

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 17:48

A doctor, identified as Craig Spencer, who had worked in Ebola-stricken countries with Doctors Without Borders, had been monitoring his health and arrived at the hospital today with a fever.

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Criticized Over Missing Mexican Students, Governor Of Guerrero Will Step Down

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 17:41

Angel Aguirre had been under growing pressure to step down as the investigation of the student's disappearance dragged on.

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EU Leaders Agree To Cut Emissions By At Least 40 Percent

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 15:44

The president of the European Council said the agreement marked the "world's most ambitious" energy policy. Environmentalists worry it still falls short of what's needed to curb global warming.

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Calling 911 On Your Cell? It's Harder To Find You Than You Think

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 14:24

If you call 911 from inside a tall building, emergency responders may have difficulty finding you. Cellphone GPS technology currently doesn't work well indoors — but the FCC hopes to change that.

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Second White House Fence Jumper Had Been Arrested Before

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 14:19

Dominic Adesanya, 23, has been charged with two misdemeanors. Adesanya was stopped on the White House lawn by two Secret Service dogs.

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Park Service Construction Damaged Native American Burial Sites

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 14:13

National Park Service officials approved $3 million in illegal construction projects over a decade that damaged one of the nation's most sacred American Indian burial sites in northeast Iowa.

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How 'Foodies' Were Duped Into Thinking McDonald's Was High-End Food

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 13:53

A viral video shows people lauding fare billed as an "organic" fast-food option that was actually McDonald's. It wasn't just pranksters playing tricks on these poor folks, but maybe their brains, too.

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ACLU Challenges Miami Law On Behalf Of Homeless Sex Offenders

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 13:29

Miami-Dade County has strict limits on where sex offenders can live — so strict, many wind up living in outdoor encampments. Now the ACLU is challenging the law, which it says is harsh and arbitrary.

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What's My Risk Of Catching Ebola?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 12:57

Folks in the U.S. are in a panic about catching Ebola. Let's just say, you're more likely to be eaten by a shark. The situation in Liberia, however, is starkly different.

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Cigarette-Maker Reynolds American To Ban Smoking At Work

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 12:22

Until now, Reynolds employees have been able to light up at their desks. But come January, workers will have to either go outside or use specially equipped smoking rooms.

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FDA Cracks Down On Fake Ebola Cures Sold Online

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 12:22

The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to companies marketing products claimed to be cures for Ebola. One firm says it will drop such claims — but it's still selling the product.

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Please Do Not Leave A Message: Why Millennials Hate Voice Mail

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 12:22

"When it comes to voice mail, they're just over it," says Jane Buckingham, a trend expert. But it's still important at work, so younger generations will have to learn what to do after the beep.

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Report Says UNC Grade-Boosting Scandal Involved Fake Classes

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-23 11:49

An independent investigation found that the school's African and Afro-American Studies Department used the "paper classes" to inflate grades for more than 3,000 students, nearly half of them athletes.

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A game of (porcelain) thrones

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-10-23 11:27

Data journalism may have just jumped the shark.

Real estate brokerage firm Redfin recently calculated the number of residential toilets per capita in the country's biggest metropolitan areas.

Boulder, Colorado is the winner, so to speak: 102 commodes per 100 people. That’s 305,200 total toilets, using more than 5.3 million gallons of water per day. Miami, Florida comes up last at 62 per 100, and the national average floats at 83.

Redfin says too few toilets in a home is often a deal breaker for many prospective buyers. After all, nobody likes standing outside the bathroom waiting for Dad to finish reading the newspaper.

Amazon earnings: the experiment (and losses) continue

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-10-23 11:21

Amazon isn't quite what you'd call a blue chip, yet. In its quarterly earnings release after markets closed, Thursday, the giant online retailer reported an uptick in sales. But losses were up, too, nearly half a billion dollars in the third quarter alone. 

"You know that Wu Tang song, Cash Rules Everything Around Me?" asks Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson. "This has to be Jeff Bezos's mantra over the past several years... but he hasn't been making enough." 

 

From Fire phones, tablets and TVs to losses in streaming video, Amazon seems to be overwhelmed with its multiple business under one roof. 

"Selling retail, but also you should remember Amazon's cloud services," Johnson says, are some of the bright spots. Think: the company's $600 million cloud contract with the CIA. 

Amazon has long been subject to criticism that it is too many things in one, and will eventually have to pare down. But that moment doesn't seem to be coming any time soon. 

Bezos, Johnson said, seems to be looking toward a broad ecosystem, where Amazon is a part of nearly every aspect of our lives: from retail to gadgets, to entertainment, groceries and more. 

The numbers for October 23, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-10-23 11:15

More than 3,000 University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill students, about half of them athletes - took classes that didn't require attendance and only had one assignment, which was graded generously by a staff member. That's according to an eight-month investigation from Kenneth L. Wainstein and commissioned by the university. The report, released Wednesday, alleges 18 years of academic fraud encouraged by the athletic officials to keep students eligible to play.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has the full story, along with a breakdown of key findings and the main players.

Many, many companies including Amazon, Microsoft, GM, Comcast and United are reporting earnings today. In the meantime, here are the stories we're reading - and numbers we're watching - Thursday.

50.7

The euro-zone's factory Purchasing Mangagers' Index, up from 50.3 least month and beating out Bloomberg's projected 49.9 contraction. Good news for the still struggling European economy.

1994

That's when the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act was passed, requiring telephone companies to make phone lines tap-able for law enforcement. FBI Director James Comey is pushing to broaden CALEA to get around new smartphone encryption measures from Apple and Google, the Hill reported.

20

That's how many days a month modern global CEOs are on the road, according to the associate dean of Yale's business school. Following the death of French energy CEO Christophe de Margerie on a Moscow runway, Bloomberg explored the grueling, "essentially homeless" lifestyle of traveling executives.

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