National News

With Improved Relations, Are The U.S. And Cuba Ready To Play Ball?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 10:50

Cuban baseball has been struggling. A lack of money means facilities are in disrepair. Defections mean some of the best players have left. But new relations with the U.S. may mean new opportunities.

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From A Congresswoman To A 'Queen,' Girl's Dress-Up Photo Series Rolls On

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 10:33

Photos of 5-year-old Lily Bushelle dressed up as heroines of African-American history have gone viral. Her family is finding new icons to help continue their series.

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Ted Cruz is Obamacare's latest customer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 09:54

Texas Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz, as you may know, has been a vocal and active opponent of the Affordable Care Act.

The Senator himself and his family had, until yesterday, gotten their health insurance through his wife, a managing director at Goldman Sachs.

Mrs. Cruz is now on unpaid leave during the campaign, which means, as the Senator told the Des Moines Register, that he and the family will be signing up for Obamacare.

James Corden Nods To Talk Show Tradition With CBS' 'Late Late Show'

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 09:53

British comic actor James Corden took over CBS' Late Late Show on Monday with a star-studded debut. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says he offered a touch of talk show tradition with a modern feel.

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House Panel Releases Video Of Secret Service Barricade Incident

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 09:40

A House panel released the tape and angrily questioned Secret Service Director Joe Clancy about why additional videos of the March 4 incident near the White House weren't preserved and made available.

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Facebook seeks new friends in media companies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 09:02

Facebook is reportedly in talks with a handful of major publishers — think The New York Times and Buzzfeed — about hosting their news stories directly on the social-media site.

Details are scarce on how this all would work — The New York Times Company wouldn’t even comment to its own reporters — but the basic idea seems to be that while users are looking at pictures of their friend's new baby, they could also seamlessly get the latest news about, say, the Iran nuclear talks without clicking to an outside site and waiting for that page to load.

News companies are already dependent on Facebook for the traffic it sends them, says Ken Doctor, a media analyst for Newsonomics. If publishers could cement their relationship with Facebook, plus get a share of advertising and access to data Facebook has on users, Doctor says that could be a deal worth making.

But there are still lots of risks and questions to be answered, says Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. Questions include how much data will be shared, what happens to news organizations’ paywalls, and how will publications maintain their brand identities.

In sum: should media companies give up control in exchange for a bigger audience?

Facebook has 1.4 billion monthly users and it needs to keep those users happy, says Aaron Kessler, a senior research analyst with Raymond James. The longer users spend on the site or app, the more ads Facebook can serve them. 

Why There's A Big Battle Brewing Over The Lean Meat In Your Diet

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 09:01

Should the government recommend lean meat as part of a healthy diet? That's emerged as a political flashpoint. The panel working on federal guidelines says the evidence on lean meat is muddled.

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Banks struggle to create "living wills"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 09:00

On Monday, regulators rejected the "living wills" drawn up by BNP Pariabas, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC.  These plans, required by the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation passed in 2010, are supposed to help end the era of "Too Big To Fail" by making systemically important financial institutions plan for their own demise.

But what is a "living will" for a bank? 

Oliver Ireland, partner in the financial services practice at Morrison and Foerster, says it's about having a plan that maps what happens after a bank's failure. "Is this going to solve all the problems? Probably not," says Ireland. "But, if you thought about it ahead of time, you're going to be in a lot better shape than if you haven't."

Mike Konczal, fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, says the shortcomings the Federal Reserve and FDIC have found in some banks' "living wills" are in part about inadequate analysis of interconnections. 

Rob Johnson, president of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, says inadequate "living wills" are themselves a product of incentives: Bankers would prefer to see their companies — and their stock options — bailed out.

"They have a stake in having a muddy or bad or not-credible living will," says Johnson. 

BNP Paribas, the Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC must submit new plans by Dec. 31.

Here Comes 'The X-Files,' Back For More Mulder, More Scully, And More

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 08:42

Fox has announced that its beloved sci-fi series The X-Files will be back for six new episodes from creator Chris Carter, with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

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U.S. Providing Reconnaissance Flights Over Booby-Trapped Tikrit

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 08:40

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq has been conducting surveillance flights over the city since March 21 to help uproot militants with the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

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Quiz: Who’s in charge here

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 08:12

Almost two-thirds of school administrators are women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Calif. Lawyer Proposes Ballot Initiative To Kill Gays And Lesbians

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 07:49

The "Sodomite Suppression Act" is unlikely to get a vote, but it's making waves in the Golden State, where all it takes is $200 and a few hundred thousand signatures to get on a ballot.

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Feds Claim Obamacare Launch Is Hindering Government Transparency

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 07:31

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a backlog of some 3,000 FOIA requests and says it may need 10 years or more to dig out from under some large cases.

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Quality-Testing Legal Marijuana: Strong But Not Always Clean

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 07:22

Early efforts to test legal marijuana are finding that it's got lots of buzzworthy THC. But it can also have fungus, chemical residue and bacteria. What that means for health and safety isn't clear.

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Even In Nursing, Men Earn More Than Women

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 07:01

Almost all registered nurses are women, but men in the profession are paid more, a study finds. The differences were especially startling in outpatient settings and for nurse anesthetists.

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TB Patients That The World Writes Off Are Getting Cured In Peru

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 06:41

When a person is diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, the treatment is so long and painful that some countries decide it's not worth bothering. Partners In Health disagrees.

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Old-timey Slang: 'Polking' Was A Vulgar Word

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 06:18

Slang words come and go — and some stay on forever.

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Germanwings Jet Crashes In The French Alps

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 06:05

The plane, an Airbus A320 run by a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa, went down with 150 people aboard. French President Francois Hollande voiced fears that there would be no survivors.

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Angelina Jolie Pitt Has Ovaries Removed, Citing Cancer Fears

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 04:32

Writing in The New York Times, the actress, who had a preventive double mastectomy two years ago, said she carried a gene that gave her an elevated risk of cancer.

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The "Angelina Jolie effect" on medical testing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 03:01

Two years ago, actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie wrote in the New York Times of her decision to have a double mastectomy. The surgery was preventative. Jolie carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, heightening her risk of breast cancer. In the months after the op-ed appeared, researchers discovered what they now call the "Angelina Jolie effect." 

"What we noticed is that very soon after Angelina Jolie went public with her risk-reducing surgery for her breasts, that there was a massive increase in referrals to clinics dealing with inherited breast cancer," said Gareth Evans, a professor of genomic medicine at Manchester University. His research focused on women in the UK, but he said similar trends were found  in the U.S., Australia and Malaysia. 

Today, in another op-ed, Jolie writes of her choice to have her Fallopian tubes and ovaries removed. Evans says he suspects clinics will see a similar bump in referrals. Many medical professionals have pointed out that Jolie's particular medical circumstances are uncommon, but say that awareness, as long as it is informed, is a positive thing.

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