National News

The Binge-Watch Before The Purge, Now That Aereo Is Likely Done

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 12:17

The Supreme Court gave big broadcasters a win in their battle against the streaming TV service Aereo. For the service's subscribers in 13 cities, now what?

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A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 12:17

This technique for manipulating genes borrows a strategy from the way bacteria fight viruses. It's still experimental, but the possibilities excite medical researchers hoping to tailor treatments.

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Pot Use On The Rise In U.S., Report Says

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 11:53

Unlike in the rest of the world, more Americans are using the drug, according to a new United Nations report. Marijuana's potency is also on the rise, the report found.

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On Being Gay, And Socialist, In Cuba Today

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 11:46

Isbel Diaz Torres sees his LGBT rights activism as an extension of Cuba's socialist revolution. Attitudes are changing, but he's still struggling to find a place in the island's political landscape.

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Did Neanderthals Eat Plants? The Proof May Be In The Poop

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 11:25

Bits of 50,000-year-old poop have provided scientists with clues into what our early Neanderthal ancestors ate. Rather than subsisting on meat alone, the poop suggests they also ate plants.

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Keeping the water clean at American Water

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 11:17

Running clean and reliable isn’t an easy job, but somebody has to do it.

For this installment of “Conversations From The Corner Office” we talk with Susan Story, the CEO of American Water, who says the company has been trying to avoid using some… shall we say icky tactics to keep our clean water from running out:

“People recoil at times at the thought of toilet to tap but not so much toilet to turf. So what we’re going after is the toilet to turf or the toilet to flushing again. If you can reuse that water for purposes that don’t have what you call the squishy or ick factor then we think we’ve made some significant progress.”

And when the country is in the midst of a drought, these tactics are crucial to keep the water flowing.

The issue of water running out is one thing, but keeping it clean is another. Earlier this year, there was a chemical spill in West Virginia’s Elk River that left about 300,000 people without drinking water, which has still left people buying bottled water in the region. Story says there are hundreds of chemicals and compounds that are required to be monitored which can be a difficult task. But incidents like the Elk River spill are ones they learn from to try and avoid problems like these in the future.

Story says the luxury of clean water is something people don’t appreciate or value appropriately. And whenever she is out a restaurant, she only gets water from the tap.

“And in our buildings we don’t allow bottled water. We drink our water out of the tap cause if it’s good enough for our customers, then it’s good enough for us.” 

Fire Chat is hot app in repressive countries.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 11:03

An app called FireChat was designed to maintain access to the Internet when there is no Internet signal.

But it’s been embraced by people living in repressive countries where email is censored.

“In the past week, we’ve seen 40,000 downloads in Iraq alone. And the numbers in Iran are very comparable,” says Christophe Daligault, who handles sales and marketing for FireChat.

Iranians and Iraqis like FireChat because it lets them communicate anonymously, and without being censored by the government.

FireChat relies on something called mesh networking.

“Mesh networking is basically creating a network among devises that can be easier linked together without relying on the larger Internet,” says Mark Rotenberg with the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

FireChat is limited to about 200 feet. But that range is expected to grow exponentially in the next year.

Road trip nostalgia

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 10:35

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Friday, June 27:

The University of Michigan releases its final June consumer sentiment survey.

Fashion designer Vera Wang turns 65. She's famous for those gorgeous wedding gowns.

On this date in 1985, Route 66 was decertified by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

And all across the country people eat popcorn in the dark. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" explodes onto the big screen.

Matt Lauer asks Mary Barra about being a mom and GM CEO

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 10:34

I'm reluctant to criticize other broadcast journalists for questions they ask in interviews, because I've been on the receiving end enough times.

Still, check out this clip of Matt Lauer interviewing Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, this Thursday morning.

Supreme Court Rules On Obama Appointments, Abortion Protests

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 10:18

The court ruled on cases involving some of President Obama's recess appointments and a Massachusetts law that created a buffer zone to keep protesters a certain distance away from abortion clinics.

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A Shocking Fish Tale Surprises Evolutionary Biologists

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 10:03

Unrelated lineages of electric fish all use the same small set of genes to create their voltage, a genetic search shows. Maybe the same genes could one day power pacemakers, bioengineers suggest.

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Excessive Drinking Causes 10 Percent Of Deaths In Working Adults

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:59

Drinking too much alcohol is a big factor in deaths of adults under age 65, CDC researchers say, from obvious risks like vehicle accidents to more subtle effects like higher rates of breast cancer.

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In A Remote Corner Of Pakistan, A Mass Exodus

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:50

Pakistan's military is waging an offensive against the Taliban, and the outcome is uncertain. But nearly a half-million civilians have already fled their homes in an area that has few resources.

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What Not To Serve Buzzards For Lunch, A Glorious Science Experiment

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:48

This bird likes livers, kidneys, entrails — anything it can pluck that's freshly dead. But what if you served it ... a painting?

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Business Owners Have 'A Special Challenge' To Help Working Families

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:47

Business leaders and policymakers gathered at the White House to discuss how working families can get ahead. One participant explains how he feels companies can stay competitive and help families.

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Sen. Tim Scott's Mission: Build Wealth Among 'The Most Vulnerable'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:47

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott has become a leading conservative voice focused on building wealth among people of color. Scott tells host Michel Martin about his ideas for growing the economy.

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Political Chat: Primary Results, Boehner's Obama Lawsuit

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:47

Several primary elections wrapped up this week. Host Michel Martin speaks with two seasoned political analysts to learn more about the primary results and the races to watch later this year.

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U.S. steelmakers battle against cheap imports, again

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:47

Inside U.S. Steel's plant in Lorain, Ohio, steel tubes are cast, trimmed, and threaded. The freshly-cast tubes are a dazzling, neon orange -- like a light saber from "Star Wars" -- you can feel their heat from more than 20 feet away.

"Here at Lorain Tubular, we've made significant investments over the last three to four years, to about $200 million,” says plant manager John Wilkinson.

Wilkinson says that's largely in response to the oil and gas boom from the Marcellus shale development. But another big reason was China had backed off from dumping its steel into the market. That happened in 2009, after several trade cases were filed. Wilkinson says after that, the company was feeling pretty good about things.

But since then, he says, “we have now seen the Korean imports start to take the place of the Chinese, and actually exceed the levels of where they were during that timeframe."

In other words, it's now South Korea that's doing the dumping.

And the oil companies are all too willing to buy this cheap steel. Wilkinson says because of that, production at U.S. Steel's Lorain plant is just a third of what it could be. There's just not enough demand for its steel tubes.

"This facility here would usually run around the clock, 24-7,” he says. “A lot of these countries that are dumping into our market, I can't even make the product for what they're selling." 

The Economic Policy Institute looked at this trend, and saw that steel imports shot up 26 percent in the first three months of 2014. Right now, there are nearly 34,000 steel jobs in Ohio. But if this dumping continues, there's concern that plants will close.  

"China, South Korea, India, and others, have been investing in surplus steel capacity,” says Rob Scott, an economist with the EPI. “We now have over half a billion tons of surplus steel production capacity, much of that is generating steel that's being dumped on the United States. And as a result, steel producers have begun to lay off workers."

U.S. Steel blames dumping for its decision to idle plants in Texas and Pennsylvania.

"Once you lose a steel mill and it shutters, it's pretty hard to bring it back,” says Ned Hill, an economist at Cleveland State University.

Hill says not only are foreign companies selling cheap steel here in the U.S., there are claims that they're also making knockoff steel for global buyers.

"Every piece of tube that comes out of a U.S. steel plant, has a stamp that indicates the quality, and there have been charges that those stamps have been forged internationally. And if you have a weak piece of pipe, that can cause problems,” says Hill.

Meanwhile, U.S. Steel has filed suit against South Korea for circumventing fair trade laws, with the U.S. Department of Commerce expected to hand down a ruling by mid-July.

Former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker Dies At 88

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:42

Baker, of Tennessee, also served as President Ronald Reagan's chief of staff from 1987-88 and later as ambassador to Japan.

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Ebola's Surge Requires 'Drastic Action' To Stop

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:29

Cases of Ebola continue to mount in West Africa in the largest outbreak of the disease ever recorded. Public health officials are concerned the viral disease could spread farther.

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