National News

On Capitol Hill, A Debate Over What's Driving Central American Exodus

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 09:17

Republicans blamed the Obama administration's messaging, while Democrats blamed messaging by smugglers and the violence sparked by drug cartels in Central America.

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'Tis the season for mangos

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 09:06

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Wednesday, June 25:

Are folks prepping for summer? The Commerce Department reports on durable goods orders for May. Stuff like lawn and garden equipment. Or a computer for you indoor types.

The Commerce Department also releases its final estimate for first-quarter gross domestic product.

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology discusses the future of human space exploration.

Ever wonder how to cut a mango? It's time to learn a new skill. The folks at the National Mango Board provide tips. They make it look easy. June is National Mango Month.

And the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival opens on the National Mall in Washington.

'Shameful' Verdict Exposes Egyptian Journalists' Fears

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:32

A judge sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to prison on charges of reporting false news. Two Egyptian journalists explain the challenges of reporting in a tense political environment.

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Corporate boards mostly a boys-only club

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:27

When Google released employees’ demographic data recently, it revealed just how white and male the tech company is. On the other hand, Google has something a lot of companies don’t: three women on its 10-person board.

Research has been mounting for a while that board diversity actually makes a difference to corporations’ bottom lines. Still, most firms aren’t in any rush to change the status quo. One recent study says parity in the boardroom will arrive in 2042.

Malli Gero hopes it will come a lot faster. For the last few years, she’s been keeping tabs on how many female board members companies have. Gero is co-founder of the nonprofit 2020 Women on Boards. She says some top companies have women in 20 percent or more of board seats. But most are far below that number. She says the most successful companies can afford to hire search firms to find good female candidates, but others turn to their existing network.

“Most of the male CEOs know men like themselves, and those are the people they rely on,” Gero says.

And that’s how the cycle of men on boards continues.

It’s a cycle large investment funds like Calpers are trying to break.

Anne Simpson is senior portfolio manager at Calpers, California’s employee pension fund. This spring, it worked with a few other large funds to bring a shareholder resolution against Urban Outfitters. Calpers pressed the fashion retailer to put more women and minorities in its boardroom. Urban Outfitters’ main market? Young women. 

“Until last year this was a company that had an all-male board, mostly over 60 years old,” says Simpson. “And for us, this really isn’t a board which has the range of diverse experience and talent to really secure the company for the long term.”

Last year, after a previous shareholder resolution, Urban Outfitters agreed to put a woman on its board. Simpson says initially fund managers were delighted. Then they discovered Urban Outfitters had chosen the wife of its CEO, herself a fashion executive. The company, she says, made no effort to look further afield.

Technology executive Heidi Roizen is trying to encourage companies to do just that. Whenever she hears a CEO say he can’t find any good women, she whips out her list of qualified candidates. 

“I joke about having binders of women,” says Roizen. “I have more binders of women than Mitt Romney.” 

Roizen is a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm DFJ. She has served on more than 30 boards during the last two decades. And it can be a little lonely. She’s on several boards at the moment, including Tivo’s, and she’s the only woman on most of them.

It’s not surprising she’s in such demand. A recent study found women and minorities are far likelier than white men to be on lots of boards at once. 

Anne Simpson of Calpers says that’s because companies are still nervous about working with lesser-known candidates. They stick with women they know are good. Calpers wants companies to limit the time board members can spend on the job so new people have a chance to step in. Otherwise, Simpson says, “We won’t achieve diversity in my lifetime.”

As for Calpers’ effort to get Urban Outfitters to put more women and minorities on the board -- it failed. Most shareholders voted no. Malli Gero says shareholders worry about rocking the boat. But she says there’s another reason things don’t change: apathy.

“Most stockholders don’t even vote their proxies,” she says. “In fact they don’t even open those envelopes to look at the board compositions or to see what resolutions are up and need voting on.”

Gero says if you care about who is making the decisions at companies you have a stake in – the first step is to open that envelope. Then vote.

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast on women and the workplace called The Broad Experience.

Corporate boards still disproportionately male

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:27

When Google released employees’ demographic data recently, it revealed just how white and male the tech company is. On the other hand, Google has something a lot of companies don’t: three women on its 10-person board.

Research has been mounting for a while that board diversity actually makes a difference to corporations’ bottom lines. Still, most firms aren’t in any rush to change the status quo. One recent study says parity in the boardroom will arrive in 2042.

Malli Gero hopes it will come a lot faster. For the last few years, she’s been keeping tabs on how many female board members companies have. Gero is co-founder of the nonprofit 2020 Women on Boards. She says some top companies have women in 20 percent or more of board seats. But most are far below that number. She says the most successful companies can afford to hire search firms to find good female candidates, but others turn to their existing network.

“Most of the male CEOs know men like themselves, and those are the people they rely on,” Gero says.

And that’s how the cycle of men on boards continues.

It’s a cycle large investment funds like Calpers are trying to break.

Anne Simpson is senior portfolio manager at Calpers, California’s employee pension fund. This spring, it worked with a few other large funds to bring a shareholder resolution against Urban Outfitters. Calpers pressed the fashion retailer to put more women and minorities in its boardroom. Urban Outfitters’ main market? Young women. 

“Until last year this was a company that had an all-male board, mostly over 60 years old,” says Simpson. “And for us, this really isn’t a board which has the range of diverse experience and talent to really secure the company for the long term.”

Last year, after a previous shareholder resolution, Urban Outfitters agreed to put a woman on its board. Simpson says initially fund managers were delighted. Then they discovered Urban Outfitters had chosen the wife of its CEO, herself a fashion executive. The company, she says, made no effort to look further afield.

Technology executive Heidi Roizen is trying to encourage companies to do just that. Whenever she hears a CEO say he can’t find any good women, she whips out her list of qualified candidates. 

“I joke about having binders of women,” says Roizen. “I have more binders of women than Mitt Romney.” 

Roizen is a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm DFJ. She has served on more than 30 boards during the last two decades. And it can be a little lonely. She’s on several boards at the moment, including Tivo’s, and she’s the only woman on most of them.

It’s not surprising she’s in such demand. A recent study found women and minorities are far likelier than white men to be on lots of boards at once. 

Anne Simpson of Calpers says that’s because companies are still nervous about working with lesser-known candidates. They stick with women they know are good. Calpers wants companies to limit the time board members can spend on the job so new people have a chance to step in. Otherwise, Simpson says, “We won’t achieve diversity in my lifetime.”

As for Calpers’ effort to get Urban Outfitters to put more women and minorities on the board -- it failed. Most shareholders voted no. Malli Gero says shareholders worry about rocking the boat. But she says there’s another reason things don’t change: apathy.

“Most stockholders don’t even vote their proxies,” she says. “In fact they don’t even open those envelopes to look at the board compositions or to see what resolutions are up and need voting on.”

Gero says if you care about who is making the decisions at companies you have a stake in – the first step is to open that envelope. Then vote.

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast on women and the workplace called The Broad Experience.

How to get a job on LinkedIn

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:23

Here's how LinkedIn says to use its site to get a job - tips straight from the source:

  1. Profile picture: A profile photo is key. In fact, adding a profile picture makes your profile 11 times more likely to be viewed.
  2. Endorsements: Add skills that your connections can endorse you for and recognize those you’ve worked with on their professional skills. There are over 3 billion endorsements given to date.
  3. Summary: Adding a summary of 40 words or more makes your profile more likely to turn up in a future employer’s search. A good tip is to ensure your summary includes keywords featured in desirable job descriptions for your field.
  4. Experience: It’s essential to list all past experience that may reflect your ability to execute and problem solve. In fact, your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed if you have more than 1 position listed. Illustrate your unique professional story and achievements by adding visuals like pictures, compelling videos and innovative presentations to your experience section. Other members can even like or comment on what you’ve posted.
  5. Volunteer Experience & Causes: Adding causes and volunteer experience is a great way to round out your professional identity. Almost half (42%) of all hiring managers say they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience.

 

New Approaches To Discipline Strive To Keep Kids Out Of Jail

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:04

Teen courts and restorative justice are focused on cutting off the "school-to-prison pipeline."

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World Cup Ratings Spike: How Popular Is Soccer In The U.S.?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:30

Sunday's U.S.-Portugal match drew an average of 24.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen, ratings that put the game above the decisive Game 5 of the recent NBA finals.

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Does LinkedIn work for job seekers?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:13

Looking for a job hunting can feel like dropping resumes into a black hole.  And what about your LinkedIn profile? Is anyone actually reading it? Or your updates? Turns out – yes. Someone, many someones, like Dwight Scott,  a recruiter with ExecuSearch in New York, are searching LinkedIn, potentially for you.

Scott says he doesn't spend a lot of time reviewing resumes of applicants. Instead he’s searching LinkedIn for potential hires. He says 65 percent of his placements this year are a direct result of reaching out to prospects on LinkedIn.

A version of LinkedIn just for recruiters offers powerful search options, Scott says. "Degrees, field of study, industry -- you can add custom filters if you like: status, what industry are they in, what groups have they joined? Are you interested in interviewing people that have joined Deadheads with Ties? Well, it’s right there -- that's a group."

"Everybody" Scott says, "uses LinkedIn."

 So what does this mean for people who belong to LinkedIn because they’re looking for a job? Or because they have a vague understanding that belonging to the site might somehow help them? I heard from a lot of workers who said they found jobs through the site – both by making new contacts and being contacted by recruiters. Claudine Halpern, who worked in management consulting for 35 years, says she’s used LinkedIn to get a lot of projects but is still reserved about the site.

“It’s a tool," she says. "It’s not A+. Nothing is A+ without the work you do around it.”

Halpern says anyone looking for a job needs to have a strategy, like updating their LinkedIn profile on a regular basis so it gets in front of lots of eyes – like Dwight Scott’s.

“You can’t put out a profile out and ignore it," she says. "You've got to keep it rolling. It’s like a snowball. You've got to keep it rolling and rolling and rolling and you've got to keep it growing, otherwise it doesn’t work for you."

LinkedIn says it’s used for a lot more than jobs – like marketing and education. And it says it’s impossible to track how many jobs are filled through its site. But Halpern says you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed if you’re a joiner, and an updater. Providing ever more information. Which is what LinkedIn promises its paying customers – recruiters.

Peter Cappelli, a professor of human resources at Wharton, says that employers and recruiters have to be careful to see through all that white noise on the site. They have a tendency to look at workers' current titles to see if they match jobs that need to be filled, which Cappelli says can mean ignoring creative hires and potential. At the same time, he says, LinkedIn makes it easy to game the system. And no one is going to post a bad recommendation on the site.

“Everybody gets good references," Cappelli says,  "and everything is glowing, so at some point it’s kind of useless.”

Like this reporter's mother, who endorsed her skills on LinkedIn

“I hope," said Cappelli, "she gave you a good reference.” 

In Mafia Arrests, Clues To Slaying Of An NYPD Officer A Century Ago

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:58

The murder of Lt. Giuseppe Petrosino, the only New York police officer to be killed in the line of duty outside the U.S., is unsolved. But Italian recordings unearthed a claim of responsibility.

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LeBron James Will Reportedly Become Free Agent, Ending Miami Contract

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:30

The move comes one week after the Miami Heat were trounced by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. The chance remains that James could return to Miami.

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Iraq's Most Influential Man Gets Pulled Back Into Politics

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:25

Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani usually stays out of the limelight, but emerged recently to address the crisis facing Iraq with the Sunni extremist surge threatening the country.

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Employer Health Costs Are Expected To Rise In 2015

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:21

Although medical costs will increase as the economy improves, the shift of expenses to workers by employers will help restrain the overall cost of care a little.

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Putin Asks Parliament To Revoke Power To Use Force In Ukraine

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:14

The Kremlin said the move is intended to "normalize the situation" in Ukraine. European foreign ministers had threatened Russia with sanctions if it didn't de-escalate the situation with its neighbor.

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1 Editor Cleared, 1 Found Guilty In U.K. Phone-Hacking Trial

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 05:45

Former News of the World editor Andrew Coulson was found guilty Tuesday, but fellow editor Rebekah Brooks was acquitted after a trial centering on illegal activity in the Murdoch newspaper empire.

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In Iraq, More Than 1,000 Were Killed In June

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 05:01

The United Nations said most of those killed in the conflict with Sunni insurgents were civilians. In addition, more than 300 were killed in southern Iraq after car-bomb attacks.

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Will Mississippi's Black Democrats Save A Republican?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 04:28

Democrats who didn't go to the polls for their own primary can vote in today's runoff for the GOP Senate nomination. That could boost incumbent Thad Cochran — or mobilize support for his challenger.

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U.K. Phone-Hacking Trial: Brooks Cleared, Coulson Found Guilty

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 04:25

Former media executive Rebekah Brooks has been cleared of all misconduct in a headline-grabbing trial revolving around tycoon Rupert Murdoch's British media empire.

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Kerry Visits Kurds To Urge A United Iraq

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 03:10

The Kurdish president tells Secretary of State John Kerry, "We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq." Kerry visited as a key refinery in Beiji fell to the militants after 10 days of fighting.

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PODCAST: Specialty drugs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 03:00

Home prices are up, but not by as much as predicted - more on the context behind the numbers. Plus, a new angle on climate change is aiming to portray the issues as an economic problem. Also, 2015 will be the first year that health care costs are expected to rise since the recession. The reason? Specialty drugs. 

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