National News

Hollywood pins its hopes on "The Hobbit"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-17 02:00

The latest offering in the Lord of the Rings franchise, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” opens Wednesday.

Hollywood hopes it will be a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster December that has seen receipts decline 40 percent from the same month last year.

But are dipping ticket sales a sign of a flailing industry, or is it just hard to measure up to record numbers in 2013?

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How the falling ruble will affect emerging markets

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-17 02:00

As goes the Russian Ruble, so go economies around the globe? 

Russia’s currency crisis has got investors spooked, and that may not be good for emerging markets in Turkey, Brazil or India. 

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A buzzworthy shopping trip . . . for legal weed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-17 02:00

Retailers are always trying to offer new shopping experiences to the American consumer.

One novel retail experience (that skirts the edge of legality under federal law) is about to become available to millions of consumers around the country, in addition to those in Colorado and Washington State. It is the recreational-marijuana store.

The sale of cannabis to adults 21-and-over with valid ID is now legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska by voter initiative. Colorado and Washington rolled out state-licensed stores in 2014 (after voting to legalize in 2012). Oregon and Alaska will develop their new commercial marijuana markets in the coming year after legalizing recreational pot in November 2014. 

Marijuana-legalization advocates, meanwhile, predict that as many as 11 more states could pass similar initiatives by 2017: California, Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Hawaii. Medical marijuana is already legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and is available to people  as young as 18 years old, with a medical prescription. Marijuana is still classified as a controlled substance and its production, distribution, sale and possession remains illegal under federal law.

Marketplace reporter Mitchell Hartman recently visited Live Green Cannabis, a recreational marijuana store in suburban Denver. Manager Brian Zordan showed off the security—extensive video cameras and old-fashioned safes for storing cash and inventory. He also displayed  the three main types of consumable marijuana for sale: leaves and buds, edibles, and concentrates.

Marijuana leaf-and-bud is sold in resealable packages, at $40 to $50 for 1/8 ounce. That price is more than double what one black-market Colorado dealer offered; approximately 30 percent of the sale price at legal marijuana stores goes to state and local taxes. A few dozen varieties are available at the store; all must be produced in Colorado by law. Varieties available include Lamb’s Breath, Hippy Chick, White Fire/Cinderella 99, and Daywalker/Tang Tang. The THC content is displayed on the package. The store also sells a wide range of edibles, including hard-candies, drinks, cookies and chocolates—all made with varying potencies of marijuana.

Anyone with a valid (21-and-over) ID from any state may purchase and possess up to one ounce of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Store employees carefully check ID before admitting a patron to the store, but they do not make or keep any record of the individual’s name or other personal information. Nor do they keep a record of the type or amount of marijuana purchased.

Movie theaters can choose not to show 'The Interview'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-17 01:30
$30 million

Based on audience interest, projections for "The Interview," the comedy in which an assassination attempt is made on North Korea's Kim Jong-un, has the potential to make $30 million in profits in its first four days. However, following the most recent threats from The Guardians of Peace, who say they plan to attack showings of the movie, theaters are being allow to opt out of carrying the film. 

25 percent

 

Apple has shut down online sales of its products in Russia, citing the fluctuating value of the ruble. As Bloomberg reports, Apple had increased the price of the iPhone 6 by 25 percent last month to try to accommodate the plummeting value of the currency. 

 

11 states

 

The sale of cannabis to adults 21 and over with valid ID is now legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska by voter initiative. Marijuana-legalization advocates, meanwhile, predict that as many as 11 more states could pass similar initiatives by 2017: California, Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Hawaii. 

 

$188 million

 

Pennsylvania-based Walmart employees have won a class-action lawsuit against the company. Worker accused Walmart of cutting breaks for meals and rest. The company has been ordered to pay $188 million.

 

6 months

 

(Former) American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was officially fired yesterday, six months after being suspended from the position. Paula Schneider, who has leadership experience at BCBG Max Azria and Laundry by Shelli Segal, will take the helm of the company as of Jan. 5, the New York Times reported. When Marketplace spoke with Dov Charney in January, host Kai Ryssdal asked about his greatest weakness. His reply: "My biggest weakness is me. I mean, lock me up already! It's obvious! Put me in a cage, I'll be fine. I'm my own worst enemy."

Movie theaters react to threats over "The Interview"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-17 01:30
25 percent

Apple has shut down online sales of its products in Russia, citing the fluctuating value of the ruble. As Bloomberg reports, Apple had increased the price of the iPhone 6 by 25 percent last month to try and accommodate the plummeting value of the currency. 

$30 million

Based on audience interest, projections for "The Interview," the comedy in which an assassination attempt is made on North Korea's Kim Jong-un, showed a possible $30 million in profits in its first four days. However, with the most recent threats from "The Guardians of Peace" to attack showings of the movie, theaters have been given the option to opt out of carrying the film. 

11 states

The sale of cannabis to adults 21-and-over with valid ID is now legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska by voter initiative. Marijuana-legalization advocates, meanwhile, predict that as many as 11 more states could pass similar initiatives by 2017: California, Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Hawaii. 

$188 million

Pennsylvania-based Walmart employees have won a class-action lawsuit against the company. The workers claims involved having breaks for meals and rest cut short. Walmart has been ordered to pay $188 million.

6 months

(Former) American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was officially fired yesterday, 6 months after being suspended from the position. Paula Schneider, who has leadership experience at BCBG Max Azria and Laundry by Shelli Segal, takes the helm of the company starting January 5th, as reported by the New York Times. When Marketplace spoke with Dov Charney in January of this year, host Kai Ryssdal asked about his greatest weakness. His reply: "My biggest weakness is me. I mean, lock me up already! It's obvious! Put me in a cage, I'll be fine. I'm my own worst enemy."

Too Little, Too Late For Many New Yorkers Seeking Hospice

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-17 01:04

Evidence shows hospice care can extend life and save money, but only if patients and doctors dare ask for the help. One New Yorker said hospice gave her back a normal life — at peace, pain subdued.

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For Crop Duster Pilots, Wind Towers Present Danger

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 23:45

Short, unlit towers are used to prospect for new wind farms. But the structures pose a threat to crop duster pilots. Transportation officials are urging better markings and other safety improvements.

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An Alternative To Suspension And Expulsion: 'Circle Up!'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 23:42

Oakland's restorative justice program is at the forefront of efforts to rethink school discipline.

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Senate OKs Judicial Nominees, Tax Extensions Before Republican Takeover

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 21:45

Lawmakers in the Senate approved an extension of tax breaks and confirmed 12 more judicial nominees, but a terrorism insurance bill didn't survive the night.

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'Clifford The Big Red Dog' Creator Bridwell Dies At 86

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 16:28

More than 50 years after he came up with a story about a huge dog, author Norman Bridwell has died. In 2012, Bridwell told NPR he was shocked when his idea was accepted for publication.

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Cows Remain At Large After Breakout At Idaho Meat Plant

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 15:23

Cows were running free in Pocatello, Idaho, Tuesday, following in the hooves of a feisty heifer that escaped from a meat packing plant Friday.

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Bill Cosby Won't Be Charged Over 1974 Molestation Claim

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 14:23

Citing the statute of limitations, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office says it won't pursue child sexual abuse charges against the comedian, a subject of numerous allegations.

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Gibson CEO: We're so much more than guitars

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-16 14:07

Henry Juszkiewicz grew up playing guitar and played some gigs before becoming the CEO of one of the world’s most recognizable music companies, Gibson.

“My first band had an accordion, because we played a lot of weddings,”  Juszkiewicz says.

But Gibson is a lot more than just guitars these days, according to Juszkiewicz.

“We are in the music business, not just one segment,” he says.

Gibson is getting into the headphone business, Juszkiewicz says, and the company recently signed a 15-year lease for one of Los Angeles' most recognizable music hubs, the Tower Records building on the Sunset Strip.

“I’m gonna try to bring back the feeling that Tower had on people…. We also want live entertainment. We want it to be a thriving cultural place,” Juszkiewicz says. 

On Nebraska's Prairies, Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Is Personal

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 13:35

The pipeline's fate looms large in Washington. But for people living in Keystone XL's proposed path, the project will alter livelihoods and legacies — for better or worse, depending on whom you ask.

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The 12 Days Of Quirky Christmas Foods Around The Globe

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 13:17

We're kicking off a 12-part series exploring the rich diversity of Christmastime edibles around the world. We've zeroed in on meals that reveal as much about a country's history as its gastronomy.

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Japan's Beloved Christmas Cake Isn't About Christmas At All

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 13:17

The Japanese Christmas Cake takes its name from the Christian holiday, but it actually symbolizes building a life of prosperity from nothing. And it's ubiquitous (it's even in your smartphone).

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Amid Threats By Hackers, Actors Pause Promotion Of Sony Movie

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 13:05

Sony is withdrawing James Franco and Seth Rogen from upcoming media appearances to promote The Interview. The move follows threats against theaters by a group that allegedly hacked Sony's documents.

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In California, Fire Plus Drought Plus Rain Add Up To Mud

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 12:48

Heavy rains are hitting drought-stricken California. But instead of sinking into the earth, the water is rushing away in areas burned by wildfire, raising the danger of mudslides.

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India's New Comic Book Hero Fights Rape, Rides On The Back Of A Tiger

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 12:33

Her name is Priya and she is the star of a new graphic novel in India. She is gang-raped, her family and neighbors shun her — but then a Hindu goddess grants her special powers.

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Google News Is Taken Offline In Spain, After A Call For Payments

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-16 12:31

In Spain, Google and other news aggregators would face steep fines if they publish headlines and abstracts without paying.

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