National News

Bracing For A Battle, Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Bill

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 09:04

The Green Mountain State is poised to become the first to require GMO labeling. But a federal lawmaker recently introduced a bill that would outlaw state rules like Vermont's.

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Long-Lost Wreck Off San Francisco Recalls Anti-Chinese History

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 08:34

The City of Chester, which sank in 1888 after colliding with the liner Oceanic, has been found. At the time, false reports that the other ship's Chinese crew failed to assist stoked racial hatred.

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Israel Halts Peace Talks After Palestinian Unity Move

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 07:54

The Israeli Cabinet on Thursday endorsed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to suspend talks because the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas are moving to form a unity government.

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PODCAST: The secrets behind college wait lists

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-24 07:45

This morning brought a bit of a reversal fortune for tech companies that have been getting pummeled in recent weeks.

The Federal Communication Commission is expected to introduce new rules today that will allow broadband providers to charge companies for faster internet service.

College admissions rates across the country hit some all-time lows this year. Stanford University, for instance, took only around five percent of applicants. In response to the crazy numbers game of college admissions, schools are growing their wait lists and using them in some surprising ways.

Is the FCC neutering Net Neutrality?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-24 07:24

The Federal Communication Commission is expected to introduce new rules today that will allow broadband providers to charge companies for faster internet service.

Net neutrality proponents see this as a blow to the principle that broadband providers can’t give preferential treatment to websites or Internet companies. Broadband providers welcome the proposed rules saying it’ll allow them to deliver better services to consumers, said John Butler, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries. He says, think of your Internet connection as a big highway.  

“And to the extent that you get certain clients that are using too much of the highway if you will and really affecting the quality of service for others on the network, in their view that’s not fair game,” Butler said.

Providers say streaming video companies like Netflix, which use a lot of lanes on the road, should pay more. They say the proposed rules will simply allow them open faster Internet lanes and charge companies for them.

Todd O’Boyle with Common Cause, which advocates for Net Neutrality, says, the new rules allow for paid discrimination. He adds, it will also handicap smaller tech companies.

“By slowing down its rivals its harmful to innovation it’s harmful to end consumers,” O’Boyle said. He says that’s because consumers will end up paying for it in the end.

 

Tweet Suits: Social Media And The Law

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 07:13

In this age of social media, is every negative experience a possible class action?

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Lawyers Use High Court Petition To Highlight Prosecutorial Misconduct

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 07:05

A computer support technician convicted of possessing ricin to use as a weapon wants the Supreme Court to hear his appeal. He says prosecutors denied him due process by failing to disclose evidence.

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Obama: Japan's Administration Of Disputed Islands Shouldn't Change

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 06:50

A standoff over sovereignty of an island chain that Japan calls Senkaku and China calls Diaoyu has been a source of deep tension between the two countries in recent years.

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Snoopy, Garfield And Friends Go Bald For Kids With Cancer

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 06:31

Kids don't want to look different, especially if the reason they look different is because they've lost their hair to chemotherapy. If Hello Kitty's gone bald, too, maybe it won't feel so bad.

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Saddened Students Return To Ferry Disaster Victims' School

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 06:11

More bodies were recovered Thursday from the ship, which sank last week. So far, at least 171 deaths have been confirmed. Another 131 people, many of them students from one school, remain missing.

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British Men Win Equal-Pay Claim Against University

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 05:53

At issue was how much money the 18 men – carpenters, plumbers and caretakers – employed by the University of Wales, Trinity St. David, made compared with female workers on the same pay scale.

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More work study, less financial aid?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-24 05:09

What would happen if the government moved away from financial aid for college students and more towards work study? Marketplace economics contributor Chris Farrell joins Morning Report host David Brancaccio to make his case for growing work study. Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

Jobless Claims Bounce Up From Earlier Weeks' Low Levels

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 05:03

The 329,000 applications filed last week for unemployment insurance were more than economists expected. One theory: Easter's relatively late date may have skewed the numbers.

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The post-recall GM: What's it look like?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-24 04:56

[UPDATED: 8:13AM EDT] General Motors  said this morning that its profit fell 86 percent, its worst quarter since came out of bankruptcy in 2009.  A series of recalls hurt the auto giant, but excluding these one-time items, profits radically beat expectations.

GM is suffering not just from bad weather during the winter months -- but also from bad PR over its handling of faulty ignition switches going back ten years.

The problem has caused at least 13 deaths, and the belated recall -- in February 2014 -- could cost the company $1.3 billion. GM faces ongoing inquiries into its knowledge and handling of the defect, as well as lawsuits from consumers.

Since emerging from bankruptcy at the end of the recession in June 2009, GM has gone from a message of redemption to an acknowledgment of mistakes.

"We will not shirk from our responsibilities now and in the future," new CEO Mary Barra told a Congressional hearing earlier this month about the ignition-switch recall. "Today's GM will do the right thing."

That appears to include heads moving and rolling. Several top executives, in HR, communications and engineering, are out, says Paul Eisenstein of the Detroit Bureau, an auto-industry news service.

"Since the recall we have been seeing more and more changes in mid- to upper-management," says Eisenstein, and he adds that company executives have signaled to expect more of the same.

Meanwhile, GM plans to staff up two new engineering divisions -- one specifically to deal with safety and quality problems.

"The image of the company as a huge lumbering company where management holds back on innovation and change is an image that the company’s going to have to rid itself of very quickly," says Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University who studies the auto industry. And he says HR shuffles alone aren’t likely to accomplish that goal.

Stowaway Teen's Father Was Shocked To Hear Son Was In Hawaii

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 04:39

The 15-year-old boy hid in the wheel well of a jet that flew Sunday from San Jose, Calif., to Maui. Though temperatures plunged and oxygen was scant, he survived. The father says Allah "saved him."

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Climate change: how to talk about bad news

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-24 04:16

It’s been almost eight years since "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore’s call-to-action on climate change. Now the televison channel Showtime is taking up the challenge with its nine-part docu-series "Years of Living Dangerously." In between these two films, advocates have learned a lot about communicating climate change. No. 1, it’s harder than anybody thought.

After years of dire warnings, a little over half of Americans worry about climate change “only a little,” if at all, according to a Gallup poll. 

“At first the attitude was, the truth speaks for itself,” says Dan Kahan, a professor of law and psychology at Yale Law School and a member of the Cultural Cognition Project. “Show them the valid science and the people will understand. That’s clearly wrong.”

Ed Maibach, director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, says there are at least three things “we know that you shouldn’t do,” when communicating the science: don't use language people don’t understand, don't use too many numbers, and don't talk about “plants, penguins and polar bears” instead of people. Maibach says another error is talking about the threat of climate change without giving people solutions.

Elke Webber, a business and psychology professor Columbia University’s Earth Institute, takes that one step further. She believes that instead of “scare campaigns” and “visions of apocalyptic futures,” climate advocates need to present visions of what a world less dependent on fossil fuels would look like.

“Focus on the benefits,” Webber says. “Scare campaigns work extremely well when there’s a simple thing you can do to remove the danger. But if it takes protracted action, over time, nobody wants to feel bad for that length of time. People just tune out.”

The real challenge, however, may be to talk about climate change in ways that don’t push people’s cultural and political buttons. Dan Kahan’s research shows that the way people view climate change is closely tied to their values.

People “aggressively filter” information that doesn’t conform to their worldview.

“And remarkably the more proficient somebody is at making sense of empirical data," he says, "the more pronounced this tendency is going to.”

Robert Lalasz, director of science communications at the Nature Conservancy, is convinced that real progress will come at the local level, where people are already confronting drought and rising seas and looking to community leaders for solutions. 

“We need to show people that the people they respect and trust are paying attention to climate science and using it to make decisions about issues they’re dealing with right now and issues in the future,” Lalasz says. Those conversations, however, tend to be about adaptiing to the effects of climate change. The question is whether they can help move the needle on mitigating it, before it's too late.

The business of tourist traps

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-24 03:52

The iconic New York restaurant Tavern on the Green is reopening Thursday under new ownership after being shut down for years. It has a storied history, but suffered in recent years from a reputation as a tourist trap with dreadful food. The new owners vow to restore it to its old glory and have invested millions in revitalizing the space and the menu.

By Shea Huffman

In light of Tavern on the Green's return, we decided to look at some of the most well-known, or infamous "tourist trap" restaurants around the country. These restaurants may have originally gained noteriety for good food or intriguing historical origins, but have since become better known for their tourist draw.

Top of the World Restaurant - Stratosphere Hotel, Las Vegas

One could argue Las Vegas itself is one big tourist trap, but to pick one restaurant out of all of them, you have to go with the rotating restaurant atop the Stratosphere Hotel, the Top of the World. Like most touristy places to eat, this one banks mostly on the view it offers customers, but doesn't offer the high quality food to match its high price range (it costs $18 just for admission).

Zehnder's of Frankenmuth - Frankenmuth, Michigan

This all-you-can-eat chicken restaurant is somewhat of a landmark in Michigan, known for its massive 1,500 person seating area, making it one of the largest restaurants in the U.S. Zehnder's staff all wear traditional German-style uniforms to match the general style of the restaurant, though the food is decidedly American.

Fisherman's Warf - San Francisco

This is probably one of the most well known tourist traps in the world, and it would be unfair to single out just one of the restaurants that inhabit it for being unremarkable beyond the fact that they are in Fisherman's Warf.

The Billy Goat Taven - Chicago

"Cheezborger! Cheezborger!" The famous line from the Olympia Restaurant skit in Saturday Night Live was inspired by the Greek immigrant owners of the Billy Goat Taven in Chicago. To this day the restaurant is graced with long lines of patrons waiting to hear the staff recite the words, but the general consensus is that it's just typical diner food.

Times Square - New York

Another famous tourist trap whose restaurants we just couldn't single out. If we had to pick one though, it would probably be Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, the restaurant belonging to celebrity chef Guy Fieri, if only for its brilliantly scathing review in the New York Times.

P.O.V. Rooftop Bar at the W Hotel - Washington, D.C.

This lounge, sitting atop the W Hotel in Washington, D.C., offers patrons a great view of the White House and a number of the city's historic monuments, as well as a chance to rub elbows with a few classy politicos. But that might be all it has to offer, as reviewers contend the drinks are overpriced and the food isn't that good.

The Ivy - Los Angeles

Adorned with flowery cottage-style decor, this nouvelle American restaurant sits not far from the talent agency International Creative Management, which has prompted a number of visits from celebrities and pursuing paparazzi. The chance to spot their favorite movie stars drives many tourists to The Ivy, and they pay for it.

The Varsity - Atlanta

The main branch of this burger chain in Atlanta is the largest fast food drive-in in the world, and has become an iconic fixture in the city's culture. The unofficial catchphrase, "What'll ya have?" has become ingrained in Atlanta's folklore, and the restaurant has even been graced with visits from presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But pretty much everyone who goes there agrees, the food is just "meh."

Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal: The Road Show

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-24 03:47

To celebrate its 25th year of bringing economics to life, Marketplace® is hitting the road.

On stages across the U.S., "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Numbers" will provide an irreverent, insightful look at the numbers in our lives. Numbers in headlines, numbers without context. From the Dow to the NASDAQ to weekly unemployment, we're bombarded with newsworthy numbers every day, how do we make sense of what they all really mean?

Join Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal — plus reporters Adriene Hill, Stacey Vanek Smith, Lizzie O'Leary, Rob Schmitz and Paddy Hirsch — as they humanize the numbers. It's an evening of radio, with sound elements, interviews and engaging storytelling.

What Marketplace does best, but in person, on stage, at the Strathmore.

April 24, 2014
7:00pm

To purchase tickets visit: http://www.strathmore.org/eventstickets/calendar/view.asp?id=10819

Limited number of half-price tickets available from Goldstar.

Sharing is caring: a collaborative commons economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-24 03:39

Airbnb has had an up-and-down couple of days. On Friday, investors put an additional $500 million into the company, valuing it at roughly $10 billion. This week, they're in a New York courtroom, defending their model against a subpoena for their list of New York hosts. Hotel regulators argue that the company violates New York law that an apartment cannot be rented for less than 30 days.

Jeremy Rifkin, author of "The Zero Marginal Cost Society," thinks the way Airbnb operates is a sign of a shift in how business will be done in the future. The conflict comes down to the elimination of marginal costs. That's the term for how much it costs for a business to add an additional good or service. According to Rifkin, Airbnb's marginal costs are almost nothing, and that's problematic for brick-and-mortar businesses.

"Businesses have always wanted to reduce marginal costs. They simply never anticipated a tech revolution so extreme in its productivity that it could reduce marginal costs to near zero, making goods and services nearly free, abundant, and sometimes not prone to market exchange forces."

Rifkin also points out that this struggle between Airbnb and hotel regulators is different than, say, what the music industry went through when users tried to share content for free. In that case, the market had to adjust and learn to coexist with new technologies. Sharing economies, however, may have larger implications with how bussinesses operate. According to Rifkin:

"The capitalist market will stay. It will have a role to play. I don't think it'll be the primary arbiter of economic life in 30 years from now. I think the collaborative commons is here to stay."

No Breakthrough: 'Object Of Interest' Isn't From Missing Jet

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-24 03:33

A large piece of metal was found this week along the coast of western Australia. But authorities are convinced it is not debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared on March 8.

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