National News

In Competition To Host Olympics, Less Clamor Than Crickets

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 12:08

The Polish city of Krakow is only the latest to withdraw its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics after a public referendum. So many localities have dropped out of the running that the games might just be hosted by the last contender standing. Robert Siegel talks with Olympic historian David Wallechinsky about what's behind the loss of interest.

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As World Cup Approaches, Brazilians Aren't Exactly Thrilled

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 12:08

New poll numbers from the Pew Research Center show widespread dissatisfaction in Brazil as the country prepares for the World Cup. The president gets negative marks, and few think the tournament will be positive for Brazil.

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In Syria, A Tense Election Day With Winner Little In Doubt

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 12:08

Syrians are voting in the country's presidential election, even as a civil war continues to rage around them. Sam Dagher of The Wall Street Journal is in Syria, and he discusses the disputed election.

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For American Express, low-income is the new black

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 11:44
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 05:03 Pixabay

A new documentary from the director of "An Inconvenient Truth" is called "Spent: Looking For Change."  It’s about people living on the margins of the American financial system. And it has an unlikely sponsor: American Express.

"Spent" profiles several families as they navigate check cashing services, payday lenders and, of course, the fees that come with low balances and overdrafts.

About one in three Americans has no relationship with a bank at all, or a tenuous one. All told, this segment of the population spends around $90 billion a year on fees. AmEx wants a piece of that pie. The company, which has traditionally focused on the wealthy, is redirecting that focus to low income consumers.

"We really want to move our brand from being an exclusive brand to being a welcoming and inclusive brand," says Dan Schulman, president of enterprise growth at American Express.

Amex teamed up with Walmart to offer an all-mobile banking service called Bluebird. They've also rolled out a line of pre-paid cards. The services don’t rely on steep fees that usually come with financial products targeted at low-income customers.

"We’re trying to reimagine the consumer financial services landscape in a way that’s very different from traditional bank branches," explains Schulman.

Thanks to the ubiquity of smart phones and internet access, there’s currently a race to the bottom in financial services.

"We’re talking about tens of millions of people," says Andrew Zolli, author of "Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back." "Not all of them with lots of money, but if you put them together, it’s real money."

Case in point: last year, venture capitalists put almost $1 billion into financial start-ups, mostly catering to low and middle income Americans.

"We're talking about new kinds of accounts that provide the same kinds of functions of a traditional financial services relationship without the same kind of high cost," says Zolli.

American Express is the first major financial institution to aggressively target lower income consumers in this way, but Zolli expects other big players will soon follow suit.

Marketplace Morning Report for Wednesday June 4, 2014by Stacey Vanek SmithPodcast Title For American Express, low-income is the new blackStory Type FeatureSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Curveball: Where teachers play hooky

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 11:37
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Curveball: Where teachers play hooky

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 11:37
<a href="http://marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/absentee-teachers">View Survey</a>

In Ireland, A Macabre Discovery At Old Home For Unwed Mothers

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 11:16

The bodies of almost 800 children were discovered in an unmarked septic tank. The facility was run by nuns from 1925-1961.

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June 4: The Day That Defines, And Still Haunts China

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 11:16

Suppressing its own people with tanks and guns 25 years ago was a pivotal act of modern China. Beijing hoped economic prosperity would make people forget. But the legacy of Tiananmen remains potent.

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Lace up and cover some ground

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 11:15

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Wednesday, June 4:

In Washington, the Commerce Department reports on international trade for April.

The Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing on "The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Borrowers and the Economy."

The Federal Reserve releases its latest Beige Book summary of commentary on current economic conditions.

And it's a day to run around town...or many miles. June 4 is National Running Day.

Lace up and cover some ground

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 11:15

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Wednesday, June 4:

In Washington, the Commerce Department reports on international trade for April.

The Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing on "The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Borrowers and the Economy."

The Federal Reserve releases its latest Beige Book summary of commentary on current economic conditions.

And it's a day to run around town...or many miles. June 4 is National Running Day.

Stumped Politician Phones Merkel On TV Quiz Show, Gets Voice Mail

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 11:01

Wolfgang Bosbach, a political ally of the German chancellor, called her twice when he was stuck on the celebrity version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

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Minimum Wage Hikes Popular, But May Not Spread Everywhere

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 10:58

Seattle minimum wage workers will see a gradual raise to $15 an hour — the highest in the nation. That won't end the argument about whether increases help or hurt employment.

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Majoring in computer science with a minor in breezy summer style

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 10:53

Conde Nast, publisher of  InStyle, The New Yorker, and Allure among others is planning to partner with universities to create certificate programs, and, down the line, master’s degree programs. We’ve envisioned some course offerings, just for fun, of course…

  • Summer Style Made Easy: Creating a shared cultural language for the modern woman

    Department: Gender studies; Instructor: Wintour 

    Explores the vast differences in pseudo-fashion culture among women of different socioeconomic and geographical backgrounds.  The class will consider the value of a shared language for these women and the strong connections created by a depth of understanding of the sundress and capri pant.  We will examine  the way that fashion allows for greater communication of self, community and social identity, while connecting with that which is uniquely feminine.  And we will consider the way that summer 2014’s signature graphic tees can facilitate such communication without traditional speech. Pre-requisite: “Must-Have Fall Looks” or “The Fall Fashion Extravaganza”
  • Finally! A Cure for Your Hangover: A scientific exploration of a health epidemic

    Department: Biology; Instructor: Dadich

    An introduction to the molecular, cellular and biological processes involved in inebriation and subsequent veisalgia (the scientific term for a hangover).  We will explore what scientists do and don’t understand about the hangover—marked by symptoms including headache, fatigue, nausea, and repeated absences from your 8:30 a.m. Philosophy of Modern Dance class. We will research common explanations for veisalgia, including dehydration, too little of the enzyme NAD+, and an over abundance of acetaldehyde in the body.  We will also consider correlations between cytokines and hangovers and we will look at why drinks with higher levels of congeners can contribute to more severe hangover symptoms. Required Reading:  “If You Build It, They Will Drink” ; "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"
  • A Geek’s Guide to Grilling: Roasting meat and human advancement

    Department: History, Archaelogy; Instructor: Reichl; ONLINE ONLY CLASS

    We will delve into the history of cooking food over open flame, looking at evidence that the practice may go back to Homo erectus. This class will explore how the introduction of cooking was one of the most important moments in human history, allowing primitive humans to eat more things, and waste less time chewing.  There will be extensive consideration given to the ways that consuming more calories and protein with less work has allowed humans to flourish as a species.  This class is required before you can register for ARCH 302: “10 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Grill.”
  • 28 Tips for your SEXIEST Body Ever!: The art and science of using numbers to tell stories

    Department: Folklore, Neuroscience; Instructor: Wells

    We will revel in the classic examples of numbers in storytelling, including "A Tale of Two Cities", "TheThree Musketeers", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest", "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", and "18 Real Breakthroughs in Beauty Products". We will consider the power of the numbers to stimulate the mind, looking at what neuroscience can tell us about tapping into the brain’s innate desire to understand the world around us. 
Please bring your favorite examples of numbers in storytelling to the first class.

Majoring in computer science with a minor in breezy summer style

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 10:53

Conde Nast, publisher of  InStyle, The New Yorker, and Allure among others is planning to partner with universities to create certificate programs, and, down the line, master’s degree programs. We’ve envisioned some course offerings, just for fun, of course…

  • Summer Style Made Easy: Creating a shared cultural language for the modern woman

    Department: Gender studies; Instructor: Wintour 

    Explores the vast differences in pseudo-fashion culture among women of different socioeconomic and geographical backgrounds.  The class will consider the value of a shared language for these women and the strong connections created by a depth of understanding of the sundress and capri pant.  We will examine  the way that fashion allows for greater communication of self, community and social identity, while connecting with that which is uniquely feminine.  And we will consider the way that summer 2014’s signature graphic tees can facilitate such communication without traditional speech. Pre-requisite: “Must-Have Fall Looks” or “The Fall Fashion Extravaganza”
  • Finally! A Cure for Your Hangover: A scientific exploration of a health epidemic

    Department: Biology; Instructor: Dadich

    An introduction to the molecular, cellular and biological processes involved in inebriation and subsequent veisalgia (the scientific term for a hangover).  We will explore what scientists do and don’t understand about the hangover—marked by symptoms including headache, fatigue, nausea, and repeated absences from your 8:30 a.m. Philosophy of Modern Dance class. We will research common explanations for veisalgia, including dehydration, too little of the enzyme NAD+, and an over abundance of acetaldehyde in the body.  We will also consider correlations between cytokines and hangovers and we will look at why drinks with higher levels of congeners can contribute to more severe hangover symptoms. Required Reading:  “If You Build It, They Will Drink” ; "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"
  • A Geek’s Guide to Grilling: Roasting meat and human advancement

    Department: History, Archaelogy; Instructor: Reichl; ONLINE ONLY CLASS

    We will delve into the history of cooking food over open flame, looking at evidence that the practice may go back to Homo erectus. This class will explore how the introduction of cooking was one of the most important moments in human history, allowing primitive humans to eat more things, and waste less time chewing.  There will be extensive consideration given to the ways that consuming more calories and protein with less work has allowed humans to flourish as a species.  This class is required before you can register for ARCH 302: “10 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Grill.”
  • 28 Tips for your SEXIEST Body Ever!: The art and science of using numbers to tell stories

    Department: Folklore, Neuroscience; Instructor: Wells

    We will revel in the classic examples of numbers in storytelling, including "A Tale of Two Cities", "TheThree Musketeers", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest", "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", and "18 Real Breakthroughs in Beauty Products". We will consider the power of the numbers to stimulate the mind, looking at what neuroscience can tell us about tapping into the brain’s innate desire to understand the world around us. 
Please bring your favorite examples of numbers in storytelling to the first class.

Egypt's Former Army Chief Wins Presidential Election In Landslide

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 09:38

The country's election commission confirms preliminary results announced last week showing that Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi secured nearly 97 percent of the vote.

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The Health Data Revolution Enters An Awkward Adolescence

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 09:23

Huge amounts of information about your health, your doctor and your hospital lurk in private and public databases. But putting that information to work to improve health care remains a challenge.

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Could A 6-Cent Tax Sour Us On Soda And Sugary Drinks?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-03 09:23

A new study argues that taxing sodas and sugary drinks by the calorie would spur consumers to cut back. A 6-cent tax per 12-ounce can would lead to 5,800 fewer calories consumed per year, it found.

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Complying with the EPA, state by state

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 08:58
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 05:54 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Cows graze in the shadow of the coal fired Chalk Point Generating Station, on May 29, 2014 in Benedict, Maryland.  

The EPA’s plan to curb carbon-dioxide emissions lets each state figure out how its going to reach its goal. 

There are already big differences among states in one area: the cost of electricity for their residents.

In March, folks in Wyoming were paying ten cents per kilowatt hour, but people in Massachusetts paid nearly double.

“The biggest factor here is that there’s just a lot of different generation mixes across the states," said Harrison Fell, a professor with the Colorado School of Mines.

Wyoming gets almost all of its energy from coal, while in Massachusetts it’s mostly natural gas, according to the Georgetown Climate Center.

 “The more coal intensive you are, the bigger impact the rules will be,” said Andrew Kleit is a professor of energy and environmental economics at Penn State.

Marketplace Morning Report for Wednesday June 4, 2014by Conrad WilsonPodcast Title Complying with the EPA, state by stateStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

The Secret Service wants sarcasm detection software

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 08:46
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - 16:45 www.dizkover.com

A teen from the Netherlands was arrested back in April for sending a threatening tweet to American Airlines while claiming to be part of the terrorist organization Al-Qaida.

This final note on the way out, which I'm sure will work...

The Secret Service wants sombeody to invent a piece of software that'll, "detect sarcasm and false positives," according to the work order. So, if you're a teenager on Twitter and you threaten to blow up a plane because you're bored, this would in theory prevent the FBI from knocking on your door.

You got less than a week if you're up to the challenge because next Monday is the deadline.

What could possibly go wrong.

Sarcasm.

Marketplace for Tuesday June 3, 2014by Kai RyssdalPodcast Title The Secret Service wants sarcasm detection softwareStory Type BlogSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

All of a sudden, everyone's buying new cars

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-03 08:45
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - 16:44 Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Anthony Gordon looks at a Ford Mustang on the showroom floor at a Ford AutoNation car dealership on September 4, 2013 in North Miami, Florida.

Car makers have reported their May sales figures, and the news is surprisingly good. Sales are at a seven year high.

Even high-end dealers are celebrating.

“Both BMW and Audi were up quite a bit this year verses last year,” says George Liang, president of DCH Auto Group.

Kelley Blue Book says car sales nationwide were up about 11 percent over May of last year, for all kinds of reasons. For one, dealers advertised big Memorial Day sales. With home-grown talent:

Car buyers were also lured into showrooms by easier credit.

“Lenders have opened up their books to those with less-than-perfect credit," says Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Alec Gutierrez.

There’s also a lot of pent up demand for cars. The average U.S. car is 11-years-old. Car-crazy consumers even flocked to GM showrooms, in spite of its recall troubles. 

GM sales were up 13 percent over May 2013, with most models selling well.

“Pickups and big sport utilities, but now it’s started to feed through to their car lines,” says George Magliano, a senior economist with IHS Automotive.

Even Mother Nature smiled on the auto industry. In some parts of the country, every weekend in May was sunny. Perfect car buying weather.

Marketplace for Tuesday June 3, 2014by Nancy Marshall-GenzerPodcast Title All of a sudden, everyone's buying new carsStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No
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