National News

Why You Should Care Where The GOP Meets

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 07:30

Republicans have not won the state where they nominated their ticket since 1992, when the party renominated the first President Bush in Houston.

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Ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Gets 10 Years In Corruption Case

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 07:20

Nagin, who became the face of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, was convicted Feb. 12 of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.

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What's Causing The Latest Immigration Crisis? A Brief Explainer

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 06:54

The number of Central American children seeking entry into the U.S. has grown dramatically. The U.N. calls it a refugee crisis, but the GOP blames administration policies for encouraging migrants.

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5,000 Years Old: Ancient Yew Tree Identified In Wales

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 06:53

While it's not exceptionally tall, the tree has a wide canopy. And it dates back to the era of Egypt's great pyramids.

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Defending Tour De France Champ Froome Quits Race

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 06:14

After falling twice in treacherous conditions on today's stage of the bicycle race, Chris Froome is forced to abandon his quest to repeat last year's victory.

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Federal prosecutors end 81 conviction win streak

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-09 06:00

A federal jury in New York found Rengan Rajaratnam not guilty of conspiracy Tuesday. While the money involved in the insider trading case was small by Wall Street standards, and Rajaratnam was not well known, the case is significant because it marks the end of an impressive win streak for federal prosecutors.

In recent years, they’ve racked up 81 straight convictions, including that of Raj Rajaratnam, the older brother of Rengan Rajaratnam. Tuesday’s verdict may signal the beginning of a period where insider trading convictions are tougher to get.

For more on the topic, click the audio player above to hear reporter Mark Garrison in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.

This Kenyan Runner Can't See But He Has A Far-Reaching Vision

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 05:56

Henry Wanyoike lost his sight two years after graduating from high school. That didn't stop him from running — and bringing the joy of sports to other disabled Kenyans.

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Volunteer Recap: A Bumpy (And Itchy) Ride Through Tanzania

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 05:43

Nick Stadlberger, a medical student at Dartmouth, spent a month volunteering at Muhimbili Hospital in Dar es Salaam. The scariest moment, he says, was when he boarded a dala dala bus.

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Brazil Reels From Thrashing That Bounced It From World Cup

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 05:19

To say Brazil's 7-1 loss to Germany stunned the host country would risk giving the impression that its fans aren't feeling intense pain at this defeat.

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Big rigs get environmental overhaul

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-09 05:03

Head on down to the Port of Long Beach on any given day, stand alongside the hundreds of big rigs meandering from harbors to Southern California's freeways and take a deep breath. Every truck that rolls by coughs out a little whiff of diesel exhaust.

"We still suffer from the worst air quality in the nation," says Dr. Matt Miyasato, Deputy Executive Officer for Science and Technology Advancement at the South Coast Air Quality Management District, "and that means that our residents are not breathing healthful air about a third of the year." 

Miyasato identifies diesel engines as a major contributor to toxic air -- not just in Long Beach, but across the country. And in addition to delivering asthma and lung cancer, old-fashioned dirty big-rigs eat up $150 billion in fuel every year.

The good news is manufacturers like Cummins and Peterbilt are working on new trucks that are 50% more energy-efficient.

Dr. Mark Duvall at the Electric Power Research Institute says companies like Staples are experimenting with electric delivery trucks. Staples can expect to pay $30,000 more for an electric truck, but recoup that expense in maintenance after about three years.

"You can actually take the combustion engine and it’s not even in the equation," says Duvall. "You get rid of the transmission, the fuel tank, all the emission systems. And so you you save quite a bit of cost and weight and you make a much simpler vehicle."

Researchers have identified various new technologies that would yield significant energy savings if implemented.

"We would be cutting the projected fuel use by 1.4 million barrels of oil per day," says Dr. Dave Cooke, a Vehicles Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "And that corresponds to about 270 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses.”

The Department of Energy is pushing truck manufacturers to bring these tech innovations to market as soon as possible, through an initiative called SuperTruck.

"I think you will see these technologies migrate to the market quite quickly," says Patrick Davis, Director of the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office. "The cost of shipping is directly added to the cost of goods and services delivered. So as you lower the cost of shipping, you would expect the cost of those goods and services to go down."

Those savings aren’t due until 2017, when tighter emissions rules go into effect. But some truck manufacturers are already getting a jump on that deadline by rolling out small improvements one by one, three years ahead of schedule.

Big rigs get environmental overhaul

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-09 05:03

Head on down to the Port of Long Beach on any given day, stand alongside the hundreds of big rigs meandering from harbors to Southern California's freeways and take a deep breath. Every truck that rolls by coughs out a little whiff of diesel exhaust.

"We still suffer from the worst air quality in the nation," says Dr. Matt Miyasato, Deputy Executive Officer for Science and Technology Advancement at the South Coast Air Quality Management District, "and that means that our residents are not breathing healthful air about a third of the year." 

Miyasato identifies diesel engines as a major contributor to toxic air -- not just in Long Beach, but across the country. And in addition to delivering asthma and lung cancer, old-fashioned dirty big-rigs eat up $150 billion in fuel every year.

The good news is manufacturers like Cummins and Peterbilt are working on new trucks that are 50% more energy-efficient.

Dr. Mark Duvall at the Electric Power Research Institute says companies like Staples are experimenting with electric delivery trucks. Staples can expect to pay $30,000 more for an electric truck, but recoup that expense in maintenance after about three years.

"You can actually take the combustion engine and it’s not even in the equation," says Duvall. "You get rid of the transmission, the fuel tank, all the emission systems. And so you you save quite a bit of cost and weight and you make a much simpler vehicle."

Researchers have identified various new technologies that would yield significant energy savings if implemented.

"We would be cutting the projected fuel use by 1.4 million barrels of oil per day," says Dr. Dave Cooke, a Vehicles Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "And that corresponds to about 270 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses.”

The Department of Energy is pushing truck manufacturers to bring these tech innovations to market as soon as possible, through an initiative called SuperTruck.

"I think you will see these technologies migrate to the market quite quickly," says Patrick Davis, Director of the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office. "The cost of shipping is directly added to the cost of goods and services delivered. So as you lower the cost of shipping, you would expect the cost of those goods and services to go down."

Those savings aren’t due until 2017, when tighter emissions rules go into effect. But some truck manufacturers are already getting a jump on that deadline by rolling out small improvements one by one, three years ahead of schedule.

Immigrants Sending Money Back Home Face Fewer Options

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 04:03

The giant remittances economy has been expanding for years. Facing tighter regulations, big banks are nixing services that let people send money across borders.

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Israel Strikes Gaza, As Hamas Rockets Show Increased Range

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 03:18

In a notable step, rockets fired from Gaza were being aimed at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, Israel launched air attacks on more than 150 targets in Gaza.

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A Tough Little Droplet Fights To Stick Around

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-09 03:03

It's just a drop of water. It's about to fall. And when it does, a story begins. What happens next may feel oddly familiar. Maybe it's telling you — about you.

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PODCAST: Keep on truckin'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-09 03:00

How Brazil's huge loss in its World Cup match against Germany could change the flow of public money in the Brazilian economy. Plus, more on citigroup's settlement, as well as Uber's plan to attract new users with lower fares. Also, a look at efforts to create more energy efficient big rigs

'Seinfeld' by the numbers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-09 03:00

Babies born the year "Seinfeld" premiered are now old enough to rent cars (Better get the insurance if you plan on beating the hell out of the thing). The "Show About Nothing" premiered 25 years ago this week. Back then, "The Seinfeld Chronicles," as they were called, introduced a comedian, his friend George, and kooky neighbor Kessler (Elaine wouldn't be added until later.) Watching the slow paced pilot episode, it's hard to believe that from such modest beginnings came one of the most critically and commercially successful, game-changing shows in television history.

"Seinfeld" not only made multimillionaires of creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld many times over, it continues to be a major revenue generator for distributor Sony and production company Castle Rock, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. New York magazine recently took a look at the economics behind the show. Here's a breakdown of "Seinfeld" by the numbers:

$40,000

The amount of money Jerry Seinfeld was paid per episode during the 1991-92 season.

$1 million

How much Seinfeld made per episode by 1997-98, the show's ninth and final season.

76.3 million

The number of people who tuned in to watch the "Seinfeld" series finale. 

$110 million

The price of Jerry Seinfeld's artistic integrity. After nine seasons, Seinfeld decided to call it quits, rejecting NBC's offer of $5 million an episode - $110 million for the season - to continue the show for a tenth year. 

$3.1 billion

The amount of money "Seinfeld" has made since becoming syndicated in 1995. Those reruns on TBS and late at night after the news on your local CW affiliate add up.

$400 million

What Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld will each make off the most recent syndication cycle.

Bringing a smarter approach to American healthcare

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-09 02:00

In the debate over improving American healthcare, one issue that has come into focus is how hospital record-keeping is largely stuck in the past. It's something Dr. David Bates, Senior Vice President for Quality and Safety at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has thought a lot about. He recently published a study on the most effective ways hospitals should be using big data to reduce healthcare costs.

According to Bates, one of the major elements of a big data approach is having an algorithm.

“A triage algorithm is a tool that helps you predict how sick a someone is going to be,” he said.

One of the bigger issues that’s prevented the implementation of these strategies is hospital record-keeping procedures.

Two years ago, only 20 percent of hospitals in the US were using electronic records. Now, the number is 80 percent. However, electronic records don’t equal big data approaches; the data itself still needs to be analyzed.  

Aging prisoners bring healthcare cost headache

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-09 02:00



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Healthcare for prisoners has long taken a bite out of state budgets, but a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts says prisons have cut back on those costs. They’ve outsourced some health services, used tele-medicine, and simply incarcerated fewer people. But the aging of the inmate population threatens to drive those costs right back up.

According to Pew's Maria Schiff, during the same period -- 1999 to 2012 --  the number of prison inmates 55 and older jumped 204 percent, while the number of inmates younger than 55 increased only nine percent.

Schiff says stiff sentences delivered in the 1980’s and an uptick in older felons drive this trend of what’s often called the graying of America’s prisons. Prisons are forced to make accommodations.

“Ramps going into a dining room, elimination of bunk beds, officer training to address things like hearing and vision loss, dementia,” she says.

And taxpayers are picking up the tab.

In 2009, Michigan spent $11 thousand on prisoners in their mid-to late 50’s, four times what the state spent on inmates in their 20’s. University of California San Francisco Professor Brie Williams says efforts to parole older, sicker prisoners are unpopular.

“Many times people say you’ve done the crime, serve the time,” she says.

But given the cost of that time, Williams says many states are now reconsidering and trying to make it easier for these inmates to be released.

 













































































































































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Healthcare for prisoners has long taken a bite out of state budgets.  A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts says prisons have cut back on those costs.  They’ve outsourced some health services, used tele-medicine and simply incarcerated fewer people. But the aging of the inmate population threatens to drive those costs right back up.

DG: Here’s a stat to chew on; since 1999 the number of prison inmates 55 and older has jumped 204%.

Schiff: While during that same period, the number of inmates younger than 55 increased only nine percent.

DG: Pew’s Maria Schiff says stiff sentences delivered in the 80’s and an uptick in older felons drive this trend.

She says prisons are forced to make accommodations.

Schiff: ramps going into a dining room, elimination of bunk beds, officer training to address things like hearing and vision loss.

DG: And taxpayers are picking up the tab.

In 2009 Michigan…spent $11 thousand dollar for prisoners in their mid-to late 50’s…four times what the state spent on inmates in their 20s.

University of California San Francisco Professor Brie Williams says efforts to parole older, sicker prisoners are unpopular.

Williams: Many times people say you’ve done the crime, serve the time.

DG: But given the cost of that time, Williams says many states are now reconsidering…trying to make it easier for these inmates to be released.

I’m DG for Marketplace.

 

U.S. companies shell out more for business travel

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-09 02:00

When the Great Recession hit, business travel was one of the first things to go as companies looked for ways to cut back. But a new report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) shows employees are taking to the rails, roads, and skies again, as confidence in the economy continues to grow.

The group says American companies are booking more business trips than they were this time last year by 2.8 percent, and their employees are spending 7.6 percent more money on the road. The GBTA expects both numbers to keep going up as the economy rallies.

That pleases Harvard Business School Professor Tsedal Neeley, who studies global collaboration and co-authored a 2009 report on the potential negative consequences for business relationships when companies skimp on travel.

"I think we’re going to have healthier, more functional teams, more effective work," Neeley explains. "You can have similar effects without the face-to-face contact but it takes much longer."

So where does that leave video calls and other high tech tools for connecting remotely?  

"I think a lot of companies got their toes wet with teleconferencing thinking it would eliminate travel, and really what it’s turned out to be is an extra tool for businesses to compete," says Kevin Mitchell, Executive Director of the Business Travel Coalition, an advocacy group.

The report’s most encouraging finding, Mitchell believes, is that companies are spending 7.1 percent more on conventions and other group travel  – an investment that pays off longer term.

 

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