National News

To Fight Extremism, Don't Alienate Troublemakers At The Mosque

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 07:55

In the fight against Islamic extremism, the president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council says that intervention within the community is more effective than external surveillance and secrecy.

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15 Years After Columbine, Are Schools Any Safer?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 07:51

The mass shooting at Columbine High School spurred schools to adopt "zero tolerance" policies. Do they work? NPR Education Correspondent Claudio Sanchez and former principal Bill Bond discuss.

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The resurgence of dot-com investment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 07:49

Venture capitalists are pouring money into internet startups again: they’ve invested $9.5 billion in various startups so far this year, according to the latest MoneyTree report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data from Thomson Reuters. 

The report claims we haven't seen this much venture capital floating around since 2001, as the dot com bubble was starting to deflate. Right now, web ventures are getting the most investment money, and biotech is a distant second. 

“The amount of capital that a startup requires now is much less,” says venture capitalist Peter Cohan, president of Peter S. Cohan & Associates. Cohan says startups are cheaper now because technology is so much more advanced than it was in the 90s.  And it costs a lot less.

Some startups that failed in the 90s are being tried again. Things like online currier services. They weren't feasbile in the 90s, because there weren’t any smart phones yet.

“It was very difficult to track curriers and pinpoint where they are so it was very difficult to deliver,” says  Jalak Jobanputra, founder of Future Perfect Ventures, another venture capital firm. 

Is all this startup money blowing up a bubble? Jobanputra says yes.  But it probably won’t pop. Instead, she expects it to deflate, slowly. 

Here's What Putin Didn't Tell Snowden About Russia's Spying

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 07:22

When the NSA leaker asked the Russian leader about his nation's electronic eavesdropping, Putin said there's no "mass system." The Center for Strategic & International Studies says there is.

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Wal-Mart To Offer Money-Transfer Service

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 07:07

The giant retailer will go head to head with Western Union and Moneygram in a market worth about $900 billion. But Wal-Mart says it will offer lower fees.

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PODCAST: Obamacare's youth movement

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 06:57

The White House is touting its calculation that 8 million have signed up for health insurance under federal health reform. But a key question is whether enough of them will be young people, a group that often blew off insurance before, and are needed to make the economics of the plan work. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer joins us to explain.

The U.S. is pressuring Japan to remove import tariffs on pork and beef as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a proposed new free trade agreement being discussed by twelve countries on the Pacific Rim. Next week when President Obama goes to Tokyo this issue will be high on the agenda. Japan is the world's top importer of pork — Japanese eat expensive tenderloins and cutlets deep fried into crispy katsu. But that agreement won't be easy. Japan has traditionally protected its agricultural commodities.

A case going before the Supreme Court next Tuesday pits traditional television broadcasters against Aereo, which lets customers record broadcast TV in their local markets and then watch programs via television, computer, tablet or smartphone. The technology that makes it possible is a farm of thousands of tiny antennas, each smaller than a nickel. The case – in which some say billions of dollars are potentially at stake – hinges on what constitutes a public broadcast versus a private one, under copyright law.

 

Pakistani Madrassa Names Its Library For Osama Bin Laden

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 06:30

The sign outside the tiny reading room at a school for girls refers to the late al-Qaida leader as a martyr. A school spokesman calls the terrorist leader a hero.

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Got a favorite tree? Throw it a party

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 05:48

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's an extended look at what's coming up the week of April 21, 2014:

30,000 people are expected to gather on the South Lawn at the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll.

Do something nice for your planet on Tuesday. It's Earth Day.

The National Association of Realtors reports on sales of existing homes for March.

More interested in a new home? We get those sales figures from the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

Ebertfest gets underway in Champaign, Illinois. The annual event "celebrates films that haven't received the recognition they deserved during their original runs."

If you're in Iceland you probably have time off to celebrate the first day of summer on Thursday. It's a public holiday.

In this country it's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. And the good folks at the Commerce Department are scheduled to report on durable goods orders for March. Hopefully they can kick that out before their kids show up to the office.

Friday is National Arbor Day, the tree planting holiday. More good things for the planet.

And it's a serious event with a lot of dough at stake. The National Pie Championships roll out in Orlando. Just in time for bathing suit season.

Deal In Doubt As Separatists Refuse To Budge In Ukraine

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 05:30

While diplomats have agreed on a plan to reduce tensions, the pro-Russia protesters who have seized government buildings say they aren't bound by that deal.

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Tragedy Atop The World: Everest Avalanche Kills At Least 12

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 04:35

The death toll surpasses what had been the single deadliest day on the world's tallest mountain. Officials say all of those killed were Sherpa guides.

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As Rescue Efforts Continue, Korean Ferry Sinks Below Surface

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 02:55

More than three days after the ferry capsized, nearly 270 of those who were on board remained missing. Most of them are high school students. Cranes will try to lift the ship, which is now submerged.

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A 'threat' to broadcast TV heads to D.C.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 02:52

A case going before the Supreme Court next Tuesday pits traditional television broadcasters against Aereo, which lets customers record broadcast TV in their local markets and then watch programs via television, computer, tablet or smartphone. The technology that makes it possible is a farm of thousands of tiny antennas, each smaller than a nickel.

"It is just racks and racks of storage equipment and transcoding equipment for rendering the signal, storing the signal, and providing recording functionality for the consumers," says Aereo's chief executive, Chet Kanojia, at one such data center, a 10,000-square-foot facility in Brooklyn.

The antennas pick up signals coming from the nearby Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower. Customers are assigned an antenna and a DVR, they choose what to record and when, for a few dollars a month.

"The important thing is it is a one-to-one relationship," Kanojia says. "So, one antenna, one file, one stream, all under a consumer's control at all times."

The case – in which some say billions of dollars are potentially at stake – hinges on what constitutes a public broadcast versus a private one, under copyright law.

Tom Nachbar, a professor at the University of Virginia Law School, frames the question this way: "By performing that service for thousands of people at the same time, although totally individually, are they doing what is essentially a transmission to the public?"

When it comes to copyright, there's a difference between a private performance – watching or recording something in your home, for example – and a public one – taking a copyrighted work and distributing it widely.

Aereo's opponents say the company is doing the latter: "They're grabbing signals out of the air without paying for them, and then trying to make a profit off of that," says attorney Neal Katyal, who is advising the broadcasters suing Aereo. "That's not the American way."

Every year, broadcasters invest billions of dollars in creating content, Katyal says, and they recoup those costs with ads. On top of that, Nachbar adds cable providers pay for the right to distribute local channels. Aereo, which serves 13 markets, doesn't, and that's why the case could be so monumental.

If the court rules in Aereo's favor, those cable providers could argue they shouldn't have to pay the broadcasters either.

"It really is a threat to the current structure of the way broadcast television works," *Nachbar notes.

*CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed the final quotation. The text has been corrected. 

Obama Wants To Sell Exports To Asia, But Critics Aren't Buying

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 02:40

As the president prepares to travel to Asia, the White House says a trade deal would boost U.S. exports. But opponents say the Trans-Pacific Partnership would hurt the environment and U.S. jobs.

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Why Mumps And Measles Can Spread Even When We're Vaccinated

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 02:33

A mumps outbreak in Ohio has ballooned to 234 cases, even though the community is well-protected against the virus. One scientist explains why this "vaccine failure" occurs.

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Will the future economy be driven by purpose or money?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 02:05

From Good Friday services to the Passover seder and beyond, it's a time of year that is full of reminders that there's more to life than material things. And some business thinkers are catching on. 

Aaron Hurst, author of The Purpose Economy, argues we've entered a new era of people demanding their work add up to something. He joins Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss. 

Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

 

New trade talks spark beef over tariffs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 01:38

Japan and the U.S. are having beef over the price of meat.

The U.S. is pressuring Japan to remove import tariffs on pork and beef as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a proposed new free trade agreement being discussed by twelve countries on the Pacific Rim. Next week when President Obama goes to Tokyo this issue will be high on the agenda.

Japan is the world's top importer of pork — Japanese eat expensive tenderloins and cutlets deep fried into crispy katsu.

"Over 25 percent of the U.S. pork is exported, and Japan is our most consistent trading partner," says Bob Ivey, general manager of Maxwell Foods, a major U.S. pork producer that sells to Japan. "So we are very excited about the new trade agreement."

But that agreement won't be easy. Japan has traditionally protected its agricultural commodities. Japanese Wagyu beef is renowned, and their pork industry is one of the world's largest. Still, the U.S. is pushing for much lower import tariffs on its meat.

"That's the U.S. demand. You could say roughly free trade in a little less than a generation," says Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, and international economics think tank. "This will be one of those down to the wire deals."

If they can't work this out, Hufbauer says Japan could drop out of the agreement altogether.

In which we DO NOT spoil GoT: Silicon Tally

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 01:00

It's time for Silicon Tally. How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week we're joined by corporate reporter for Quartz, John McDuling.

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Home Depot turns to the Internet for growth

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 00:16

Home Depot as an online retailer? The Wall Street Journal reports that the big box retailer wants to grow by getting you to purchase building and home improvement supplies online

Part of the shift is due to overbuilding. For example, when I lived in Los Angeles, there were three Home Depots within a few miles of my house. And for a while, it seemed like it was building a store on every corner.

"That’s probably accurate," says Seth Basham, an analyst at WedBush, adding that the excess of stores isn't just a problem for Home Depot. "Between them and Lowe's and Menard's, the number of households per store continued to decline throughout the decade of the 1990s and 2000s," Basham said. 

And so Home Depot is now turning to the Internet for growth. 

"The biggest unique challenge to Home Depot is figuring out what the customer actually wants to buy online," says Maggie Taylor, an analyst at Moody’s. "So I think, carpeting for example, you’re always going probably into the store and take a look at."

And heavy items like Jacuzzi tubs might not be worth buying online because of shipping costs. Getting purchases to people - on time and on budget - will be another challenge. But Taylor says with tech giants like Amazon nipping at Home Depot's business, the big box retailer has no choice but to forge ahead.

Born With HIV, Building A Future

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 23:34

In high school, Cristina Peña was afraid to tell her boyfriend, Chris Ondaatje, that she was HIV-positive. She needn't have worried. More than a decade later, they're still together.

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Sunni Discontent Fuels Growing Violence In Iraq's Anbar Province

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 23:33

Fed up with what they say is years of discrimination by the Shiite-led government, ordinary Sunnis have joined Islamist fighters. There are echoes of past conflicts, with a few important distinctions.

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