National News

Game Of Thrones: Saudi King Shakes Up Line Of Succession

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 09:05

King Salman has named a new heir — and consolidated power in the hands of a younger generation.

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Nepal, Before The Earthquake Struck: A Photographer's Portfolio

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 08:28

Kevin Bubriski came as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1975, camera in hand, and has taken photos of daily life for 40 years: monks, haircuts, schoolgirls in a village that was at the quake's epicenter.

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How One West Baltimore Principal Is Helping Her Students Make Sense Of It All

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 07:27

Code Switch reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji is spending the day with a Baltimore principal who's charged with a huge task today. We'll be updating the post as the day unfolds.

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Warren Buffett on the Treasury Secretary and the fiscal cliff

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 07:24

All the talk these days is about the likelihood of the U.S. Congress avoiding a fiscal cliff. You know who’s not worried? Warren Buffett.

"Sure. Yeah, they will," Buffett said in an interview with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal this morning, refering to a likely deal by Congress to avoid steep budget cuts and an increase in taxes.

"They've danced around it for quite a while," he said. "I think the American people, with their opinion of Congress that they've expressed -- I think the message has gotten through that we've got to get serious about this."

Buffett -- the so-called Oracle of Omaha has a net worth of $46 billion as of September 2012, placing him in the No. 2 spot on the Forbes 400 list -- answered questions on everything from JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon as Treasury Secretary ("I just think he'd be the guy I'd pick for that job"), to the future of Democratic capitalism (not worried), to tax rules and class warfare.

On Jamie Dimon as Treasury Secretary:

Ryssdal: You went on "Charlie Rose" last night and you said Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, would make a fine Secretary of the Treasury when Timothy Geithner steps down. Why do you think so?

Buffett: I think he knows more about markets than probably anybody you could find in the world. And I think that if in the next four years we run into some kind of a chaos in markets some place -- and who knows when that can happen -- that he would think better about it, he would command the respect of foreign leaders that he might have to coordinate with. I just think he'd be the guy I'd pick for that job.

Ryssdal: Let's say the president picks him and he gets confirmed. Is that not a vote then for a little bit less regulation in the financial markets? He is no friend of regulation, as you know.

Buffett: Jamie would not be espousing that, in my view. In the end, the president would set the tone on that. I do think it would represent, on both sides, sort of a bygones be bygones, and business and administration will work together. They'll have things they disagree on -- there's no question about that -- but I think the less harsh the rhetoric and that sort of thing, the better. And I think Jamie would be a terrific Treasury Secretary.

On Ben Bernanke's Policies:

Ryssdal: We talked about Congress a little bit, we talked about the president a little bit. There's another economic center of power in Washington that I want to get your thoughts on: Ben Bernanke, his policy of quantitative easing, and how much more you think the Fed can do to help this economy -- if anything.

Buffett: Well I think they've used up their bullets pretty much. When you drive interest rates to zero and when you buy almost a trillion dollars worth of securities and how you start buying longer-term securities -- you've done your part. I mean, Ben has given up the office; now it's up to Congress.

Buffett was joined in his interview by Fortune senior editor-at-large, Carol Loomis, who compiled and edited articles about Buffett from the past 50 years into a new book called "Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book."

Ryssdal: Carol Loomis, and the question of Warren Buffett and when you knew that he was somebody we all ought to pay attention to.

Loomis: I realized that Warren was unlike anyone I had ever met. When he asked me what I did that morning at the office, I mentioned an obscure footnote that I'd seen in Coastal States Gas -- because I was working on the Fortune 500 -- he knew all about it. I thought, 'my god, this guy knows everything I'd like to know... And we bought the stock soon after that. That is kind of the key to when we knew.

Ryssdal: You put your money where your mouth was.

Loomis: Exactly.

On being a businessman/investor:

Ryssdal: I've been trying to figure out, Mr. Buffett, through the course of reading this book, whether you are an investor or a businessman.

Buffett: Both. Both. And being an investor, you're buying pieces of a business. So you better understand business. And being a businessman, you better understand alternatives for money, in terms of allocating capital -- and therefore you are partially an investor. So I've benefitted in both roles by the fact that I was in the other one.

On tax reform:

Ryssdal: Do you think this is the time that we have an opportunity to actually do something about taxes and reform, and debt and deficit in this country, with the fiscal cliff coming?

Buffett: I think we will. We've kicked it down the road for a long time, but D-Day is here and that doesn't mean we'll get the fiscal cliff problem solved by Dec. 31st. I hope we do, but it may go over into January. But we are going to have to address important policy questions. I think Congress knows it, I think the president knows it, and certainly the American public knows it.

On Warren Buffett as celebrity:

Ryssdal: When you have your annual shareholders' meeting out in Omaha, it is something of a festival. You take questions from the shareholders, you chat with them. What's the weirdest question you've ever gotten?

Buffett: When the stock wasn't doing so well, I had one young woman that stood up and said, 'My dad bought me this stock to put me through college.' And she says, 'Now I'm afraid I'm going to have to go to correspondents' school.' I like tough questions.

On Warren Buffett as "oracle":

Ryssdal: What's the most important thing that anybody has to know about Warren Buffett?

Loomis: I think the central thing about Warren -- and people ought to understand it -- is that he is totally rational about investing. Most people are gripped by emotion when they're considering the investment; the stock goes down and they panic and they sell. Warren just buys more. Because he's got a value theory built into his first purchase... Rationality is an essential part of how he has spent his life investing and building Berkshire Hathaway.

Ryssdal: You have this reputation as the Oracle of Omaha; people hang on your every word. Do you deserve it?

Buffett: No. [laughs] Carol says I'm rational, and I am. But that's not limited to me. I'm in a business where temperament is more important than IQ. I would not do well trying to play top-notch chess; I can't play top-notch bridge, I can play reasonable bridge. I mean, there's all kinds of things I can't do. But I can think rationally about business and investments. Most people let their temperament interfere with that. They excited when other people get excited; they get depressed when other people get depressed.

Ryssdal: It's funny -- you say rational, the word that comes to my mind is cold-blooded. And you don't seem like a cold-blooded kind of guy.

Buffett: No. I have normal human emotions, believe me. But being rational means that when I decide whether a stock is worth $100 a share or $200 a share, I look at the facts and I don't care what other people say. I don't care whether that morning on television people are saying stocks are going to the moon or stocks are going to tank or whatever. I don't pay any attention to what other people are saying about something; I just look at the facts. But I can be an emotional guy too -- just watch me at a Nebraska football game.

Warren Buffett on Jamie Dimon as Treasury Secretary, the fiscal cliff, and taxes

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 07:24

All the talk these days is about the likelihood of the U.S. Congress avoiding a fiscal cliff. You know who’s not worried? Warren Buffett.

"Sure. Yeah, they will," Buffett said in an interview with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal this morning, refering to a likely deal by Congress to avoid steep budget cuts and an increase in taxes.

"They've danced around it for quite a while," he said. "I think the American people, with their opinion of Congress that they've expressed -- I think the message has gotten through that we've got to get serious about this."

Buffett -- the so-called Oracle of Omaha has a net worth of $46 billion as of September 2012, placing him in the No. 2 spot on the Forbes 400 list -- answered questions on everything from JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon as Treasury Secretary ("I just think he'd be the guy I'd pick for that job"), to the future of Democratic capitalism (not worried), to tax rules and class warfare.

On Jamie Dimon as Treasury Secretary:

Ryssdal: You went on "Charlie Rose" last night and you said Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, would make a fine Secretary of the Treasury when Timothy Geithner steps down. Why do you think so?

Buffett: I think he knows more about markets than probably anybody you could find in the world. And I think that if in the next four years we run into some kind of a chaos in markets some place -- and who knows when that can happen -- that he would think better about it, he would command the respect of foreign leaders that he might have to coordinate with. I just think he'd be the guy I'd pick for that job.

Ryssdal: Let's say the president picks him and he gets confirmed. Is that not a vote then for a little bit less regulation in the financial markets? He is no friend of regulation, as you know.

Buffett: Jamie would not be espousing that, in my view. In the end, the president would set the tone on that. I do think it would represent, on both sides, sort of a bygones be bygones, and business and administration will work together. They'll have things they disagree on -- there's no question about that -- but I think the less harsh the rhetoric and that sort of thing, the better. And I think Jamie would be a terrific Treasury Secretary.

On Ben Bernanke's Policies:

Ryssdal: We talked about Congress a little bit, we talked about the president a little bit. There's another economic center of power in Washington that I want to get your thoughts on: Ben Bernanke, his policy of quantitative easing, and how much more you think the Fed can do to help this economy -- if anything.

Buffett: Well I think they've used up their bullets pretty much. When you drive interest rates to zero and when you buy almost a trillion dollars worth of securities and how you start buying longer-term securities -- you've done your part. I mean, Ben has given up the office; now it's up to Congress.

Buffett was joined in his interview by Fortune senior editor-at-large, Carol Loomis, who compiled and edited articles about Buffett from the past 50 years into a new book called "Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book."

Ryssdal: Carol Loomis, and the question of Warren Buffett and when you knew that he was somebody we all ought to pay attention to.

Loomis: I realized that Warren was unlike anyone I had ever met. When he asked me what I did that morning at the office, I mentioned an obscure footnote that I'd seen in Coastal States Gas -- because I was working on the Fortune 500 -- he knew all about it. I thought, 'my god, this guy knows everything I'd like to know... And we bought the stock soon after that. That is kind of the key to when we knew.

Ryssdal: You put your money where your mouth was.

Loomis: Exactly.

On being a businessman/investor:

Ryssdal: I've been trying to figure out, Mr. Buffett, through the course of reading this book, whether you are an investor or a businessman.

Buffett: Both. Both. And being an investor, you're buying pieces of a business. So you better understand business. And being a businessman, you better understand alternatives for money, in terms of allocating capital -- and therefore you are partially an investor. So I've benefitted in both roles by the fact that I was in the other one.

On tax reform:

Ryssdal: Do you think this is the time that we have an opportunity to actually do something about taxes and reform, and debt and deficit in this country, with the fiscal cliff coming?

Buffett: I think we will. We've kicked it down the road for a long time, but D-Day is here and that doesn't mean we'll get the fiscal cliff problem solved by Dec. 31st. I hope we do, but it may go over into January. But we are going to have to address important policy questions. I think Congress knows it, I think the president knows it, and certainly the American public knows it.

On Warren Buffett as celebrity:

Ryssdal: When you have your annual shareholders' meeting out in Omaha, it is something of a festival. You take questions from the shareholders, you chat with them. What's the weirdest question you've ever gotten?

Buffett: When the stock wasn't doing so well, I had one young woman that stood up and said, 'My dad bought me this stock to put me through college.' And she says, 'Now I'm afraid I'm going to have to go to correspondents' school.' I like tough questions.

On Warren Buffett as "oracle":

Ryssdal: What's the most important thing that anybody has to know about Warren Buffett?

Loomis: I think the central thing about Warren -- and people ought to understand it -- is that he is totally rational about investing. Most people are gripped by emotion when they're considering the investment; the stock goes down and they panic and they sell. Warren just buys more. Because he's got a value theory built into his first purchase... Rationality is an essential part of how he has spent his life investing and building Berkshire Hathaway.

Ryssdal: You have this reputation as the Oracle of Omaha; people hang on your every word. Do you deserve it?

Buffett: No. [laughs] Carol says I'm rational, and I am. But that's not limited to me. I'm in a business where temperament is more important than IQ. I would not do well trying to play top-notch chess; I can't play top-notch bridge, I can play reasonable bridge. I mean, there's all kinds of things I can't do. But I can think rationally about business and investments. Most people let their temperament interfere with that. They excited when other people get excited; they get depressed when other people get depressed.

Ryssdal: It's funny -- you say rational, the word that comes to my mind is cold-blooded. And you don't seem like a cold-blooded kind of guy.

Buffett: No. I have normal human emotions, believe me. But being rational means that when I decide whether a stock is worth $100 a share or $200 a share, I look at the facts and I don't care what other people say. I don't care whether that morning on television people are saying stocks are going to the moon or stocks are going to tank or whatever. I don't pay any attention to what other people are saying about something; I just look at the facts. But I can be an emotional guy too -- just watch me at a Nebraska football game.

Calvin Peete, Pro Golf's 'Mr. Accuracy,' Dies At Age 71

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 07:21

Peete, who won 12 PGA events during a long career as a professional golfer, has died at age 71. For many years, he was the most successful black golfer in the world.

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Lumber Liquidators Says Justice Department Seeks Criminal Charges Over Imports

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 07:12

The revelation, which came today in a regulatory filing, comes after a 60 Minutes report last month that said the company's products have unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

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Will Slower U.S. Economy Make Fed Wait To Raise Rates?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 07:08

The economy posted its weakest performance in a year, growing at a 0.2 percent pace in the first quarter. Analysts say that could affect the central bank's timetable for boosting rates.

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Watch: The Same-Sex-Marriage Arguments In 4 Minutes

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 06:50

Want to catch up on the same-sex-marriage arguments before the Supreme Court? NPR's Nina Totenberg and Tom Goldstein of SCOTUS Blog are here to help.

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Bud Light Pulls Label With Message That Sparked Backlash

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 06:47

Bud Light was touted as "the perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary." But that's precisely the word that occurred to many people who saw it.

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Russia Tries To Regain Control Of Space Capsule

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 06:25

The cargo ship was launched Tuesday and scheduled to dock at the International Space Station to deliver 2.5 tons of supplies. Ground control lost contact after the ship reached its first orbit.

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What Do Millennials Want?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 06:13

A new poll finds a majority of young Americans don't feel politically engaged and nearly half lack confidence in the justice system.

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Why The Urologist Is Usually A Man, But Maybe Not For Long

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 05:38

Just 8 percent of doctors practicing urology are female. But urologists treat kidneys and urinary tracts, not just prostates and penises. That male-focused image may be scaring patients away.

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In Nepal, A Flood Of People Leave Capital To Return Home

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 04:38

Reporting from the quake's epicenter, NPR's Julie McCarthy says, "When we arrived last night, you could feel the ground shaking constantly. It felt like Jello and it lasted through the evening."

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Several Florida School Districts Cut (Way) Back On Tests

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 04:03

Miami-Dade County abandons a plan to administer 300 different end-of-course exams. The new number: 10. Broward County will throw out 1,300.

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Baltimore Update: A Forceful Mom And A Fan-Free Baseball Game

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 03:32

In a first, the Orioles plan to play an MLB game without an audience, and a woman who yanked her son away from potential trouble is making headlines.

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PODCAST: Pay-for-performance disclosures

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 03:00

There's news that the U.S. economy only grew by .2 percent last quarter. We'll take a closer look at that disappointing figure. Plus, more on the SEC's expected new rules that would require companies to release reports comparing the pay of top earners vs. financial performance. More on that. And The Brookings today releases a comprehensive evaluation of colleges’ contributions to student economic success. We consider how these "value-added" rankings help students and parents make decisions about college? What's missing when you only look at economic outcomes? Plus, more on the news that the NFL will start paying Federal taxes.

Social media plays prominent role in Baltimore unrest

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 02:01
As in other instances of protests against police brutality and incidents of erupting violence, social media has played a key role in Baltimore.

City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young appealed for calm via the live-streaming app Periscope.

LIVE on #Periscope: Please stop the violence. You are not honoring Freddie Gray's memory. https://t.co/9xdAzTW8en

— Bernard C Jack Young (@prezjackyoung) April 27, 2015

On Instagram, Baltimore resident Dominic Nell, 38, who is a photographer, went from documenting people's portraits to documenting riots, and the resulting efforts to clean up and make sense of the chaos.

A mother speaks to #Baltimore police officers peacefully & respectively on #GroundZero #Zone17. #N_TV #PrayForBaltimore #FreddieGray #CNN #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter #BarackObama #nellawareEverywhere

A video posted by NELLAWARE_TV™ (@nellaware) on Apr 27, 2015 at 7:44pm PDT



"With social media, a rumor can spread and go viral, and people get misinformation. So if I'm at the ground level, actually, I'm showing you what I'm seeing," Nell says.

He says he is also driven by the desire to counteract dominant narratives on TV News.

"They just keep looping the footage, looping the footage," Nell says. "They're seeing something that might have happened several hours ago, and the situation has de-escalated. So I'll show how the situation has de-escalated, I'll be in the same area, and people will be peaceful."

The Baltimore Police also took to social media. On Twitter, they urged parents to collect their children - pointing out that many of those perpetrating violence were school-aged. 

"There are just trends, emotional trends, when we have events like this" says Pilar Mckay, a professor of public communication at American University, who has been following the social media conversation surrounding events in Baltimore.

"Anything from getting really upset with your public leaders to then going to the next phases," McKay says. Among those phases, answer this question, she says: "What does it all mean?"

Baltimore businesses big and small regroup after riots

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 02:01

Kim Peace was crushed when her neighborhood CVS pharmacy was destroyed by looters.

"I'm really upset because I have to have medication," Peace says, "And I can't even get my medication today because they burned CVS up."

Peace has asthma, but that didn't stop her from sweeping up an alley in West Baltimore with her seven-year-old granddaughter.

"I'm not going to let the dirt and dust get in my way of trying to keep the community clean."

She says she and her neighbors rely on that store for food, milk, and diapers. And it wasn't just large chain stores that were damaged. Nearby, Sheranda Palmer was still in shock after the beauty parlor she co-owns was ransacked.

"We worked hard for this," Palmer says. "We didn't get grants for this. This was our hard earned money."

Palmer has insurance and hopes to reopen by the weekend. But even then, she wonders how soon her customers will feel safe coming back.

Audio for this story is forthcoming.

 

 

Comparing colleges by economic value of their degrees

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 02:00

Question: What do Cal Tech, Concord’s Community College in New Hampshire, MIT, Carleton College in Minnesota, Lee College in Texas, and Pueblo Community College in Colorado, all have in common?

Answer: They are ranked in the top twenty schools in the country for “adding value” to a student’s college years.

According to a new analysis  by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, these and other top-ranked colleges and universities give students an economic boost in terms of long-term career success and earning power, compared to similar two- and four-year institutions.

Brookings researchers crunched the numbers on thousands of schools that provide associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, comparing graduates’ mid-career salaries and rates of  student-loan repayment, as well as schools' financial aid and career-services offerings.

“With tuition continuing to rise ever-higher," says Brookings lead author Jonathan Rothwell, "public policymakers and students are interested in answering the question: What is the college going to do for me? What contribution is the college going to make to my future career?”

A new college ranking looks at which schools contribute most to students' long-term economic success.

Brookings

One clear takeaway from the voluminous economic-impact data compiled by Brookings is that any academic study in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math—is likely to deliver a good return on educational investment. Salaries, benefits, and job opportunities are significantly better in these fields than in professions favored by liberal arts graduates, such as teaching, publishing, social services and government.

Rob Franek, publisher of The Princeton Review, welcomes the new data and rankings from Brookings. He says they offer a much-needed financial lens to help students and families decide where to go, how much to spend, and how much to borrow, for higher education.

The Princeton Review’s popular college guide and online resources highlight many of the nation’s most prestigious, brand-name universities. But Franek says those aren’t the only places worth spending one’s tuition dollars.

“You can’t say, just because of brand perception, that your tuition dollars are going to pay off. A community college might turn out to be the best value for a student paired with a bachelor’s degree in a couple of years," says Franek.

The federal government, meanwhile, is preparing its own higher-education value assessments to help consumers compare colleges’ relative costs and benefits. Some university administrators worry that the new rankings will result in their schools being stigmatized as a ‘worse buy’ for the typical student’s higher-education dollar, and that their access to federal financial-aid funding will be reduced.

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