National News

Kerry Claims Progress In Gaza Cease-Fire Talks

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 12:08

Secretary of State John Kerry met separately Wednesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to try to ease tensions in the Gaza Strip.

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Glenn Beck Takes His Campaign Against Common Core To The Big Screen

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 12:08

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck hosted a live, interactive "night of action" against the Common Core State Standards. He has long fought against the learning benchmarks in reading and math now being used in 43 states. Events such as these, and the Common Core itself, could continue to play a role in the 2014 midterm campaigns.

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Faced With Undocumented Minors, Iowa Is Wrenched By Stark Divide

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 12:08

The governor of Iowa says that unaccompanied minors from Central America should not find shelter in his state. But the mayor of Des Moines and many religious leaders are at odds with the governor.

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‘Economic patriotism’: Rhetorical, not economic, policy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 11:58

Recently, President Obama has been traveling around the country, trying to shift focus back onto the economy. We talked to him about that a few weeks ago, at the White House.

You may have noticed a refrain in some of the president’s most recent speeches. Here is an example from a speech he delivered in Denver: “That’s what makes this country great – a sense of common purpose and patriotism, an economic patriotism.”

President Obama may have cribbed that term from a speech by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. He was talking about the Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney.

“Mitt has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport,” Strickland said. “It summers on the beaches of the Cayman Islands, and winters on the slopes of the Swiss Alps.”

Obama used the phrase in a TV ad soon after, and it became the title of the president’s economic plan. So, almost two years later, how does Strickland define “economic patriotism”?

“Companies, corporations, CEOs need to understand that this country has provided them, and continues to provide for them, the means to be successful,” he says.

“Economic patriotism” is more of a rhetorical device than an economic theory. There is no textbook definition. President Obama has used it to talk about infrastructure investment. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew used it in a letter to lawmakers about corporate taxation.

Economic historian Gavin Wright, who teaches at Stanford, suggests “economic patriotism” is a broad brush. It refers to appeals to make economic behavior or economic policy based on “American values.” And, he adds, that has happened throughout history.

“During the Cold War era, I don’t recall hearing the term ‘economic patriotism,’ but it was more or less taken as a given,” Wright says.

In the 1790s, Alexander Hamilton asked the government to support manufacturers. It was an appeal to a special interest group, Wright notes, “but he also thought that this would be essential for the credibility of the American economy, the American nation.”

The phrase “economic patriotism” has been used by Democrats and Republicans, including Pat Buchanan and Amb. John Bohn, who ran the Export-Import Bank during the Reagan era. Bohn defines “economic patriotism” as understanding our economic policy as it compares to the economic policies of other countries.

“We need to have a kind of partnership between the government and the private sector if we are going to maximize our economic growth,” he says.

Over these last few weeks, the phrase has attracted criticism. Wright summarizes one complaint: “There is a market out there, and the market operates and reaches its outcomes, then the government wants to intervene and change that.”

So, Wright says, the debate over the definition of the term “economic patriotism” is really a proxy for a much bigger debate over the role government should play in the economy.

 

A Doctor Leading The Fight Against Ebola Has Caught The Virus

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 11:56

Hailed as a "national hero," Dr. Sheik Umar Khan has treated more than 100 Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. Now the 39-year-old is fighting for his life in an isolation ward.

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GM Recalls Nearly 718,000 Vehicles For 'Varying Safety Issues'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 11:13

GM says no deaths and only two crashes have been linked to the recalls. While many of the vehicles have relatively minor issues, thousands of others have potential problems with their steering.

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Palestinian's Death Provokes Israeli Debate On Defining Terrorism

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 11:07

Israel says the recent killing of a Palestinian teenager was an act of terror and his family is eligible for state benefits. This doesn't sit well with one group that assists Jewish victims of terror.

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Small Business remains hopeful during slow season

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 10:37

As the economy continues to grow and unemployment drops to 6.1 percent in the U.S., we check in with a small business owner to see how things are on the ground level.

Olalah Njenga is the CEO of YellowWood Group based in Raleigh, North Carolina and says her business is doing okay, but it gets a little slow during the summer.

"We had a little bit of a bump from June to July and I think that’s pretty indicative of what’s happening to the general morale of small businesses right now," Njenga says. "I think that optimism is there. I’d like to say that we’ve hopeful but, you know, across the area of the business, hope doesn’t get employees paid."

In terms of hiring, Njenga says it’s been difficult to hire the right person to join the core team at YellwWood Group:

"And I’m not alone," she says. "There’s a lot of small businesses out there looking for that superstar person who is flexible and creative and only needs to be groomed against the values and the culture of the company, but they come in the door with a really nice set of skills."

Njenga says she stays optimistic and is excited for what’s in store for the future of her business.

"We have things in the works right now that we are productizing one of our flagship services," she says. "So we’re excited that we maybe able to take something that has traditionally been of service and translate it into a product. And it is launching this quarter."

Does Your Dog Feel Jealous, Or Is That A Purely Human Flaw?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 10:32

Dog owners don't doubt that their pooch has feelings. But scientists aren't so sure. An experiment found that dogs act upset, dare we say jealous, when their owners ignore them for a stuffed animal.

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Plane Crash In Taiwan Kills Dozens, Leaving Some Survivors

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 10:15

A Taiwanese domestic flight that was attempting to land in bad weather related to a strong typhoon crashed near the runway Wednesday on an island off Taiwan's western coast.

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This Aspiring Astronaut Might Be The World's Most Amazing Teen

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 10:03

He lived in a village in Tanzania. He dreamed of being an astronaut. Now he's studying in a Florida flight academy — and hoping his secret potato salad recipe will bring support to pay the tuition.

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Nazi War Crimes Suspect Dies In U.S. One Day Before Extradition Order

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 09:33

A Philadelphia judge issued an order today granting a request for Johann "Hans" Breyer to be extradited to Germany. But Breyer's lawyer said the 89-year-old former Auschwitz guard died Tuesday.

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After Two Disasters, Can Malaysia Airlines Still Attract Passengers?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 09:12

Even before the double calamity of its two downed flights, Malaysia Airlines was trying to adapt to momentous shifts in Asia's aviation industry. Now, it faces either bankruptcy or privatization.

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FAA Extends Ban On Flights To Tel Aviv For Another 24 Hours

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 08:40

The Federal Aviation Administration banned flights to the region on Tuesday after a rocket landed about a mile from Ben Gurion International Airport.

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Abuse of human growth hormone on the rise in teens

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 08:36

Use of human growth hormone is on the rise among teens in the U.S., according to a new report from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Human growth hormone (HGH) occurs naturally in the body and stimulates growth. But in recent years, a synthetic version of HGH been abused by professional athletes to enhance their performance, much like steroids.

While abuse of other drugs is flat or falling, the number of teens who say they’ve used HGH has doubled since 2012, to 11 percent, according to the survey.

But it’s not just teen athletes looking for an edge.

"A lot of kids are very interested in body image,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “Young girls want to be lean and toned, young boys want to be muscular and impressive.”

That desire has been met with aggressive marketing efforts for over-the-counter supplements that claim to boost HGH levels in the body.

Because the study is based on teens who self-report using HGH, it’s unclear whether the respondents were using these supplements or injecting the pharmaceutical-grade drug.

Shaun Assael, a senior writer at ESPN and the author of "Steroid Nation," believes the high cost of the pharmaceutical version would limit its use.

“The idea that [HGH] is being passed around in gym locker rooms, I’m not going to say it never goes on, but I’m highly skeptical of that,” he said.

Either way, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids finds the data troubling and potentially dangerous for teens, since supplement manufacturers don’t need approval from the Food and Drug Administration before marketing a new product. Rather, it’s the company’s responsibility to make sure the supplements are safe and effective.

However, even if the supplements aren’t dangerous, they are a waste of money, says Chris Cooper, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Essex and the author of the book "Run, Swim, Throw, Cheat."

“In general, a lot of pills that claim to effect human growth hormone in the body do nothing of the sort,” Cooper says. “Probably they just have a bad effect on your bank balance rather than your health.”

But Cooper cautions that injecting the wrong dose of synthetic HGH or using it without the supervision of a doctor can have much more serious health implications on teens’ growing bodies, including increased risk of diabetes.

Legalizing Prostitution Would Protect Sex Workers From HIV

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 08:36

When the police clamp down on female sex workers, the women may end up taking more risks — and making themselves more vulnerable to HIV.

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Part-Time Work, Unpredictable Schedules: What's The Fix?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 08:24

Many part-time workers have to manage unpredictable hours and schedules, which can take a toll on employees. Host Michel Martin learns about how some government officials are addressing the concern.

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The Epic 2,200-Mile Tour De France Is Also A Test Of Epic Eating

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 08:12

Tour de France cyclists need to eat up to 9,000 calories a day to maintain their health and weight during the race. But many teams hire chefs to elevate the meals to gourmet status.

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An Animal Makes A $10,000 Deposit, But Not At The Bank

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 08:03

A Beverly Hills auction house has an unusual fossil for sale. It's not an ancient animal. It's something an ancient animal left behind — and it's very, very long.

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Ukraine Says 2 Military Jets Shot Down Over Rebel-Held Area

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 07:52

The two jets were downed less than a week after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people.

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