National News

A bond that can't be broken

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 13:40

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Wednesday, May 28:

President Obama is scheduled to be in West Point to deliver the commencement address to the U.S. Military Academy's class of 2014.

Shoe company DSW releases quarterly earnings.

The Senate is on break this week.

The "Empress of Soul," Gladys Knight, turns 70.

And author Ian Fleming was born on May 28, 1908. You're probably familiar with one of his very charismatic characters: James Bond.

WATCH: Otters Play The Keyboard At National Zoo

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 13:33

As part of the zoo's animal enrichment program, otters and orangutans take up musical instruments.

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California Lawmakers Vote To Require Condom Use In Porn Films

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 13:28

Health officials praised the bill, which passed the California Assembly on Tuesday. The porn industry warned it could force them to move their multibillion-dollar business out of state.

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Pilgrim eyes Hillshire as tasty morsel

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 13:12

Chicken-producer Pilgrim's Pride has made a bid for sausage supremo, Hillshire Brands, and is offering $45 per share, or, what it says is a transaction valued at $6.4 billion

Would you like the chicken, or, the pork? That’s the question Pilgrim’s Pride wants to ask.

“When you call on a retail client, you want to give them as broad a choice of products as possible,” says John Stanton, a professor of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University. Stanton says for Pilgrim Pride’s, mainly a poultry producer, the plan to buy a company that sells pork, Hillshire farms,  makes sense.

“You want to say, 'You don’t need to talk to sausage people, you don’t need to talk to pork people,' because when you talk to me I can sell you all your poultry and all your pork products you want,” he says.

But Rob Campagnino, director of consumer research for Sector and Sovereign, notes that chicken and pork are both commodities, which means their prices are not very flexible. 

“So the price of chicken goes up and down, but that’s solely determined by the cost to produce it,” he says. 

So, Campagnino notes Pilgrim Pride’s bid isn’t just about gaining the ability to sell more kinds of protein. Instead it’s about moving beyond commodities, and getting into brands like Jimmy Dean sausages which is owned by Hillshire Farms.

"What you can do with something like Jimmy Dean is you can innovate," he says,  You can raise prices, and when you raise these prices they’re price increases that aren’t necessarily driven solely by changes in what it costs you to make it.”

Consolidating the two companies, would also offer some savings, but says Campagnino, that’s not the meat of the deal.

By Shea Huffman/Marketplace

Hybrid Trout Threaten Montana's Native Cutthroats

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 13:09

Climate change in the West is luring rainbow trout to higher elevations, where the fish are mating with native cutthroats, genetic evidence shows. Biologists and anglers worry cutthroats could vanish.

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Rampage Victim's Father: Inaction Of 'Gutless' Politicians Killed His Son

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 13:06

After his son was killed, Richard Martinez made national news with a stunning, emotional indictment of the NRA in front of cameras. Now, he's asking politicians to "do something."

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First Lady Fights To Keep Healthful School Lunch Law Intact

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:43

Michelle Obama's fight to help kids eat more healthfully and fight obesity is about to get real. She's launching a campaign Tuesday to fight congressional efforts to delay new school food rules.

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Egyptian Media Encourages Voters To Get To Polls — Or Else

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:17

Egypt has added a third day of voting in its presidential election. With Abdel Fattah al-Sisi relying on voter turnout to legitimize his election, the government-allied media is exhorting Egyptians to vote or be considered traitors.

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As Poland Buries Its Last Communist Leader, An Old Debate Is Dredged

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:17

Poland's last Communist leader, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, has died, leaving Poles a difficult question: What honor befits a man with such a complicated legacy? Konstanty Gebert, a Warsaw journalist, explains.

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From Kiev, An Olive Branch For Russia — And A Saber For Separatists

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:17

Ukraine's favorite oligarch is poised to become its president. Petro Poroshenko wants peace talks with Russia, but he supports military action against the armed insurgents he compares to Somali pirates. The billionaire confectioner is promising to pacify the restive east, end corruption and move Ukraine closer to Europe — all while maintaining ties with Moscow. Analysts say he will need help — and a dose of good luck.

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A Remembrance Of UCSB Victims: 'This Shouldn't Happen To Any Family'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:17

In the wake of a killing rampage that left six students dead, the University of California, Santa Barbara, community continues to grieve. NPR's Sam Sanders has a remembrance of the victims.

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A Divided High Court Strikes Down IQ Rules In Fla. Death Penalty

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:17

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a Florida rule requiring a defendant's IQ to be 70 or below before that defendant could avoid the death penalty for reasons of mental retardation.

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Obama Sets A Number For U.S. Troop Levels In Afghanistan

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:17

President Obama intends to keep a force of 9,800 American troops after the end of 2014. The troops will remain in the country to train Afghan forces and support counterterrorism operations.

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Curveball: Is Harvard just for the wealthy?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:13
<a href="http://marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/ivy-league">View Survey</a>

What To Do If Your iPhone Is Hacked And Remotely Locked

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:10

Some Australian users received alerts that their iPhones had been hacked and locked and were told to send money to regain access. Users in the U.S. may have been affected. Read tips on what to do.

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Peat Bog The Size Of England Discovered In Congo Republic

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:06

The previously undiscovered expanse of ancient, partially decayed vegetation, could cover as much as 80,000 square miles.

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Paleo For Dogs? Vets Say Trendy Diet Could Make Humans Sick

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:58

Some dog owners favor a raw food diet because they believe it's how their pets' ancestors ate in the wild. But vets worry that people could be exposed to pathogens if pets are eating raw meat.

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Smugglers Thrive On Syria's Chaos, Looting Cultural Treasures

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:15

The country's spectacular antiquities are being plundered by rebels, organized criminal groups and desperate civilians. Many items go across the border to Lebanon.

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The next big challenge in Afghanistan is payroll

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:14

President Obama said that the U.S. plans to leave about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after formal combat operations end in December. That’s down from the 100,000 U.S. troops that were in the country during the war’s peak.

It may seem like we’re packing up and pulling out. But Jenine Davidson, Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council for Foreign Relations, says what Afghanistan needs now is a different kind of aid.

“For us to be able to leave Afghanistan... we may be able to take the troops out but they will continue to need economic assistance.”

Davidson says that the Afghanistan security forces are largely capable.

“The issue going forward is their institutional capacity to maintain their forces. Mundane things like payroll and training.”

Even though active duty troop numbers are shrinking, Davidson says the Pentagon should stay prepared.

“You never know what the future holds. Nobody thought we would be at war in Afghanistan in the year 2000. Nobody thought we would be in Iraq... That’s why the military needs to be organized trained and ready. Though not necessarily deployed.”

Discovering the original Disneyland

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:48

When Walt Disney first proposed the idea of Disneyland, he planned to have a much more ambitious shopping catalog than the park does today.

BoingBoing co-editor Cory Doctorow recently unearthed the original 1953 prospectus for Disneyland, which was a pitch for more than just a theme park. It was slated to become, as Disney first called it, a hub for "merchantainment"--or, in other words, the precursor to the modern shopping mall.

"He wanted to make a place where you could get the kind of things that you had to be a very sophisticated person indeed to get in 1953 post-war America," Doctorow said. "It wasn't just that he wanted to sell you tropical fish and even tropical birds; he wanted to sell you miniature ponies."

The prospectus includes an illustrated map of the original plans for Disneyland--which looks remarkably similar to the park we know today. For this reason, Doctorow says, if Walt Disney himself were to walk through the park gates today, he'd be pleased with what he'd see.

"There's no way you can justify to investors putting on that little bit of gold plating, that little bit of 'plussing up,' as Walt used to say," Doctorow said, "and I think the only description you can make for things that people do because they're aesthetically pleasing even though there's no rational return on the investment is art. And I think the park is still the domain of people who think of themselves as artists, and of the park as a work of art."

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