National News

The pros and cons of transatlantic free trade

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-23 04:55

U.S. and European Union officials wrap-up the latest round of talks today as they negotiate a free trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Boosters like Fran Burwell with the Atlantic Council see an economic upside for the U.S. economy.

“Every state gains in terms of its exports to the EU. There will be about 740,000 new jobs created in the United States over 10 years,” says Burwell.

Environmental activists like Michelle Chan with Friends of the Earth see a potential downside.

Chan says, “This transatlantic trade deal will really focus on deregulation. With the idea being that environmental and public health protections themselves can be construed as barriers to trade.”

Canada Loses Fight Against EU Ban On Seal Products

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-23 04:33

The WTO has rejected Canada's appeal of a ban keeping pelts and other products from the country's seal hunt from being imported into Europe. The ban was brought on moral grounds, the EU says.

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Mortar Attack Hits Election Rally In Syria, Killing 21

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-23 04:00

Activists say that after the attack, warplanes dropped leaflets with a message to rebels: "You have 10 hours to surrender: either leave your arms and return to the bosom of the nation, or go to hell."

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Thai Military Detains Ousted Prime Minister, Bans Negative Press

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-23 03:37

After meeting with leaders of the ousted government Friday, the army detained former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The junta has installed several rules aimed at keeping public order.

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Book News: NASA Has Free E-Book On Decoding Extraterrestrial Messages

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-23 03:37

Also: Amazon has removed the "Buy" buttons from a number of Hachette titles; Hassan Blasim's short story collection The Iraqi Christ has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

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Silicon Tally: Replacing Old Yeller with New Yeller

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-23 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 Marketplace's own Kai Ryssdal. var _polldaddy = [] || _polldaddy; _polldaddy.push( { type: "iframe", auto: "1", domain: "marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/", id: "silicon-tally-replacing-old-yeller-with-new-yeller", placeholder: "pd_1400795642" } ); (function(d,c,j){if(!document.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src=('https:'==document.location.protocol)?'https://polldaddy.com/survey.js':'http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js';s=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);}}(document,'script','pd-embed'));

Palestinians Appeal To Pope For Help In Land Disputes With Israel

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 23:06

Conflicts arise when Israeli settlement or security construction cuts into land, often owned by local churches, where Palestinians live or work. Local Christians hope Francis will push their cause.

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What Those Baby Photos On Social Media Can Teach Us About Moms

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 22:58

Today's babies are part of the first generation with their entire lives documented on social media. Researchers are finding lessons in the streams of their photos.

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Tennessee Gov. OKs Allowing Electric Chair For Executions

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 16:52

Bill Haslam signed into law a measure that allows the state to opt for the electric chair if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

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Sen. Isakson: Boggs Fight Won't Break White House Deal

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 15:10

Georgia GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson says if the judicial nomination of Michael Boggs gets derailed, it won't unravel the deal he worked out with the White House on federal bench nominees.

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McDonald's CEO Says Fast-Food Jobs Can Lead To 'Real Careers'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 14:45

Donald Thompson told an audience at the company's annual meeting that McDonald's has a legacy of providing opportunities to employees.

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U.S. Soccer Star Landon Donovan Fails To Make World Cup Cut

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 14:44

Donovan, 32, is the team's all-time leader in scoring and assists. Twenty-three players were named to the roster for the tournament, which starts next month in Brazil.

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Senate To NFL: Change The Redskins' Name

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 14:22

Fifty senators signed a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pushing for a name change for Washington's professional football team, a sign the issue isn't going away.

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Diabetes Raises Women's Risk Of Heart Disease More Than For Men

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 14:08

Diabetes increases a person's risk of cardiovascular disease, but for women that risk is 40 percent higher, a study finds. Just why that's happening is a mystery.

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How Yelp Can Help Disease Detectives Track Food Poisoning

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 13:58

Health officials say online restaurant reviews can turn up unreported foodborne illness outbreaks. In New York City, Yelp reviews led officials to three restaurants with food handling problems.

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Senate Confirms Author Of Drone Memo To Federal Bench

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 13:53

Last-minute lobbying by the Obama administration overcame opposition to the nomination of David Barron, author of a controversial legal memo regarding drone policy.

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Why population growth isn't always an economic boon

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-22 13:39

Texas is leading the way in U.S. population growth. The Census Bureau said Thursday that seven of the top 15 fastest-growing cites are in Texas. They’re clustered around big oil and gas boomtowns like Dallas and Houston, or tech hubs like Austin.

Sometimes population equals prosperity.

“They go hand in hand,” says Luis Bettencourt, who studies cities at the Santa Fe Institute. “You add a person, and you get more money per capita.”

Income growth in the booming suburbs of Austin is high because of the types of jobs there. But Bettencourt says there are caveats. This past decade wrecked all the economic models; the housing bubble was making people move.

“There was cheap housing available, and the actual construction of that housing created jobs,” says Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, which monitors cities' economic growth. But some economists say even without the housing bubble, the theory that growth begets growth is off. Consider Las Vegas. People are moving there for jobs.

“Naturally if there’s a lot of hiring you would expect people to migrate in," says Paul Gottlieb, an economist at Rutgers. "But the jobs have not necessarily been very high paying.”

Gottlieb says, sure you have new people and new jobs, but they don’t have fat wallets. They don’t bring growth and prosperity. Gottlieb says, in some big, northeastern cities, income is rising much faster than population.

Don't wash your jeans, freeze them.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-22 13:39

Two pearls of wisdom from big time corporate CEOs in the news:

Pearl number one comes from Chip Bergh. He runs Levi Strauss and Company, famous of course for its blue jeans. Mr. Bergh says that it's OK to not wash your denim garments.

He's trying to save the world. Levi's has been upfront about wanting to cut back on the water used in the making of its jeans. Bergh and Levi says you can freeze 'em, instead. Which will kill the bacteria... and the smell.

Pearl number two comes from Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. He's a tad upset about American rules forcing car makers to build a certain quota of battery powered electric vehicles. Speaking about the Fiat 500e, Marchionne says, "I hope you don't buy it, because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000."

So, okay. I won't.

Can Cop-Worn Cameras Restore Faith In New Orleans Police?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 13:38

Officers are wearing video cameras to record interactions with the public. The city's troubled police department is trying to prove a commitment to transparency, as it tries to end federal monitoring.

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Ragu: the way many of us learned to love 'Italian' food

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-22 13:33

Back in 1937, if you wanted to buy Ragu pasta sauce, you would have had to buy it out of the trunk of a car from its creators -- a married couple named Giovanni and Assunta Cantisano. Back then pasta and red sauce was not a staple of the American diet like it is today.

“It didn’t happen overnight, but sometimes these things can," says Wharton marketing professor Leonard Lodish. As Americans’ attitudes about Italian immigrants changed, Italian food became popular, and Americans’ perception of Italian food was built on tomato sauce. Ragu was a big part of that.

Today, Ragu is the number one pasta sauce brand in the U.S., but sales are down 18 percent since 2009 as more shoppers turn to private label sauces.  This could be one reason Ragu’s parent company, Unilever, is selling the iconic brand to the Japanese company Mizkan for $2.15 billion.

Mizkahn is the largest producer of vinegar in the world, along with other food products that, according to the company’s website, are revered throughout the world for bringing flavor to life TM.

Overall, the food industry is a slow-growth market.

“So if you are looking for high growth, food is a tough place, it’s going be a market share bet,” says Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst with the NPD Group.

If Mizkan wants to grow Ragu’s market share, says Balzer, it will have to take it away from a competing sauce.

Check out these other Ragu sauces from across the ages:

When you hear "Ragu," you might think of simple, old-fashioned red sauce. But like every other food product that's been around for a while, the brand has tried several other variations on its staple which did not stand the test of time. Here's a few memorable -- or unmemorable, as it were -- Ragu products:

1. Ragu Pizza Quick - For those who want something between the DIY of Boboli and the ready-made Bagel Bite

2. Ragu Chicken Tonight Simmer Sauce - Everyone of a certain age knows the accompanying dance to this ad

3. Ragu Beef Tonight Simmer Sauce - Because chicken wasn't enough

4. Ragu Fresh Italian Sauce - The selling point of this sauce was its inclusion of more tomatoes...in comparison to other Ragu sauces

5. Ragu Chunky Garden Style - It was like the chunky peanut butter of pasta sauces

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