National News

Shucking Oysters By The Thousands, With A Steady Smile

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 12:59

For 40 years, Maryland's George Hastings has been shucking oysters at festivals and competitions around the U.S. And while the work can be grueling, he says he'll only quit when it stops being fun.

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York & Fig: Marc Maron on Highland Park

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-02 12:40

Comedian Mark Maron lives in Highland Park, California, the subject of our York & Fig gentrification project. He produces his popular podcast, "WTF with Marc Maron," out of his garage. He also shoots his autobiographical cable television show, "Maron," in Highland Park.

Read the rest of this interview at York & Fig.

FIFA Chief Rejects Responsibility For Welfare Of Workers In Qatar

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 12:24

Sepp Blatter, who heads soccer's governing body, said the companies that employed the migrant laborers building the infrastructure for Qatar's 2022 World Cup were responsible for their safety.

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A #SadTree Lot: Your Photos Of The Charlie Browniest Trees

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 12:23

To mark 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas airing on American televisions, our readers are sharing photos and memories of Christmas trees that reflect the spirit of that TV classic.

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Should We Rue Rob Portman's Decision Not To Run For President?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 12:22

Why oh why, the question goes, aren't there more candidates like...you know, that guy everybody likes...what's his name...Rob Portman?

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York & Fig: The House on York

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-02 12:18

Our Wealth and Poverty team has been working on a project about what happens when the economy that we live in changes. We opened a pop-up news bureau in a neighborhood 8 or 10 miles from downtown LA, called Highland Park, that's basically gentrifying. 

People have moved into the area, and their money has too, which means other people have moved out ... and not always because they wanted to. Housing costs have gone up, a lot.

But if you've lived in the neighborhood a while, it's an opportunity to sell high, because the newcomers can and will pay top dollar. Marketplace's Noel King looks at one house on York Boulevard and three generations of its owners.

Apple's Success Continues Under Tim Cook, But Steve Jobs Still Looms Large

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 12:14

The company's market capitalization hit a record last month under Cook's leadership, nearing $700 billion. But by one measure, the legacy of Jobs still dominates.

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Deals and pent-up demand fuel auto sales

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-02 12:00

Auto sales recorded their strongest November in a decade, selling a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of around 17 million vehicles.

Kelley Blue Book senior editor Karl Brauer says there's millions of cars worth of pent-up demand because of the great recession. Plus, this is the best lineup from the Big Three American automakers in a long time, he says.

“They’re not just strong in the large truck and SUV categories, where they have been strong for decades, but they also have very compelling cars — small cars, mid-sized SUVs,” he said.

Things were also helped by old fashioned bargains and promotions. Kirt Frye, who operates the Sunnyside Automotive Group near Cleveland, had a gift card deal going over Black Friday weekend.

“We had them from 9 a.m. through 11:00 a.m. on a website, and at 9:05 all five of the $500 gift cards were already spoken for,” Frye said. “We sold five cars in about 15 minutes.”

Compare that to an average day of three cars sold.

In addition, gas prices have been falling, and cars are more fuel efficient than they were years ago. But Frye said gas prices are “probably not that much of an economic factor.”

“But for someone who is looking at a $12,000 to $15,000 used car, and they can buy an $18,000 new car and that new car gets 30+ miles per gallon, now that math really matters,” he explained.

“The market is up for grabs amongst anybody,” said George Magliano, senior principal economist at IHS Automotive. “So you have to have the product and you have to fight for your marketshare,” he said.

So, consumers who have been waiting for the right time to buy are finding that time is now.

Emergency Rooms Often Skip The Epinephrine For Severe Allergies

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 11:48

Mom may be more up to speed on the right treatment for life-threatening allergic reactions than doctors, a study finds. Epinephrine should be the first and fastest choice for treatment.

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Bobby Keys, Who Played Saxophone For The Rolling Stones, Dies At 70

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 11:09

During the course of his long career, Keys played with everyone from John Lennon to Eric Clapton, but it was work with the Stones for which he was most famous.

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Fill 'Er Up: The Joys Of Good Gas Station Food

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 11:08

Forget dried-out doughnuts and creepy-looking hot dogs. In cities across the U.S., patrons can fill up on gourmet grub and top off their tanks in one stop.

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A first: National debt passes $18 trillion

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-02 11:00

Here's a big number: $18 trillion. 

That's the national debt of the United States of America. Yesterday, we surpassed the $18 trillion mark for the first time.

Partisan and or political inferences will not be entertained.

Russian ruble suffers huge one-day fall

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-02 11:00

If you pulled up a graph of the Russian ruble relative to the dollar, you’d see a line that heads pretty steadily south from summer on. Monday, the ruble suffered its biggest one-day fall against the dollar since the late '90s.

The drop is largely due to falling oil prices, since Russia is a large producer and exporter. Additionally, economic sanctions from the U.S. and EU due to Russia’s involvement with Ukraine are driving away investors. But another reason the ruble is losing value is because the Russian government isn’t trying to prop it up, says Alexander Kliment, with Eurasia Group, a research and consulting firm.  The country had been spending billions buying rubles with the hope of stabilizing its value but stopped a few weeks ago, in part because it didn't want to deplete its foreign reserves.

So what’s a country to do as its currency collapses?

Russia largely has to weather the storm, says Nicholas Spiro of Spiro Sovereign Strategy, which specializes in sovereign credit risk. Russia could try buying up the ruble on a massive scale and raising interest rates, but that’d be very expensive and very risky. It also could enact capital controls, like limiting the amount of money that people can take out of the country. But that’s unlikely he says, because it would send a terrible message to the markets.

Russia has another, equally unlikely option, says Will Pomeranz, deputy director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. The country could try to resolve the situation in Ukraine, in the hope that the U.S. and EU lift or reduce their sanctions. 

Indian Court Says Elephant Who Was Chained For 50 Years Is Free

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 10:31

Raju the elephant appeared to shed tears last July when he was freed from his shackles. He will now be allowed to remain with his rescuers. His previous owner had wanted him back.

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Israel's Netanyahu Fires Ministers, Calls For Early Election

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 10:31

The prime minister has more than two years left in his term. But with his coalition fracturing, Benjamin Netanyahu said it was "impossible" to lead a government under the current conditions.

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A Brief History Of Racial Protest In Sports

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 10:16

On Sunday, players from the St. Louis Rams ran onto the field with their arms raised in the "hands up, don't shoot" pose that's been used in protests of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

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Chicago Council Strongly Approves $13 Minimum Wage

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 10:02

Saying that inflation has outpaced wage growth, the ordinance will raise the city's minimum wage to $10 by next July, with new increments added each summer thereafter.

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For Giving Tuesday: A Guide To Gifts That Give Back

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 09:36

Boots from a Guatemalan village. A basket woven in Rwanda. Kenyan soda cans that became cool cuffs. Money spent on these and other items provides a better life for artisans in the developing world.

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Study: Campaign Cash Brings Tax Benefits On Capitol Hill

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 08:24

A new analysis finds that corporations that deploy lobbyists and make contributions experience lower and more consistent tax rates over the long term.

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Reports: Ashton Carter Emerges As Obama's Top Pick For Secretary Of Defense

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-02 08:09

Carter served as the number two defense official under Leon Panetta. While relatively unknown to the public, he's respected for his intelligence.

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