National News

ISIS: An Islamist Group Too Extreme Even For Al-Qaida

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 11:46

Al-Qaida said in February that it has no links with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. But since then, ISIS has only gained ground — and members. It's now making inroads across Iraq.

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How to pronounce 'GIF'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 10:48

President Barack Obama, as you might have heard, did a town hall thing on Tumblr this week. In the process he met Tumblr founder David Karp and they, it seems, did a fist-bump of which a gif was created. Except when the president mentioned it, he did so mistakenly. 

Here at Marketplace, we've already settled the burning question of how you pronounce these three little letters: G I F.

The guy who invented the graphics interchange format, which lets images on your computer screen move, kind of like animation, got a Webby lifetime achievement award in May of 2013.

Steve Wilhite is his name. He's had a stroke, so he can't speak. But you can check out the video of his acceptance presentation last night, in which he laid down the law.

It's 'jif,' people, like the peanut butter.  Speaking of which, even the peanut butter maker got in on the debate.

Man Exonerated By DNA Faces New Murder Charge

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 10:47

DNA evidence prompted the 2012 release of Andre Davis, who served 32 years on charges that he raped and killed a 3-year-old girl. Two years later, he's facing new murder charges.

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Soccer stickers: "I have a lot of Greece but I need Nigeria."

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 10:37

Of the millions of fans around the world now glued to the World Cup, my favorite is an endlessly mischievous 4-year-old in Brooklyn. My godson. He and his equally impish 7-year-old brother have been so excited for the World Cup that a game of full-speed kids vs. grownups soccer (pardon me: football) nearly had me wobbling for days after.

The boys are American soccer nuts with a Colombian dad, a mother with Brazilian relatives and a grandmother who grew up in Messi's hometown in Argentina. So they could be loyal to any of those teams.

But the real object of their devotion is a book of stickers that lists all the players, stadiums and even mascots.  They are on a mad dash to collect all the stickers and fill their books. Every morning, almost the first thing that comes out of their mouths is what stickers they need, and whether there's any possibility to get them that day.

"See? I have a lot of Greece," the 7-year-old explains to me. "But I need Nigeria. Don't have a lot of them."

Long pause with studied, plaintive gaze directed at his mother, "When can we get more?"

The Panini sticker book album has become the must-have item for kids (and a LOT of adults) who are following the World Cup. With spots for players, stadiums and mascots, it would take 640 stickers to complete your album… if you magically bought packs of stickers with every player you needed. But of course it never works that way (as my godson with multiple Lionel Messi stickers can attest).

In the U.S., a pack costs $0.99, but of course, you probably need somewhere close to 1,400 packs to get a complete set. Why?

Well, The Economist broke down the amazing "stickernomics" recently, explaining just how nuts people can get about securing the ones they need (a note to that correspondent: I know a child who will trade you a Messi).

There's a rapid sticker trade on the internet, and in stores that sell Panini stickers, too.

Upper 90, a store in Brooklyn devoted to soccer, is sticker central. You can bring in your "extras" – that is, the players you already have – and trade them for the extras they have on hand. My two favorite fans have done it twice, "with great success," reports their mother.

The stickers are such a hot item that the Guardian reported a heist of 300,000 stickers in Brazil.

Mind-boggling, when you think about all the other economic stories around the World Cup.

But I can assure you, that to two small boys I know, a complete set would be absolutely priceless.

LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images

A peddler shows Panini's collectible stickers for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 album, in Bogota, on April 28, 2014.

 

Donald Rumsfeld on Iraq

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 10:31

Following a series of attacks in which the radical Islamist group "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," seized major cities in Iraq and threatened the country's capital of Baghdad, President Obama aknowledged in an address Friday that the situation demanded U.S. assistance for the Iraqi government.

In light of the situation, we are reminded of our 2013 interview with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who oversaw military operations for the Bush Administration for much of the Iraq War.

Original interview posted May 16, 2013:

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld published his memoir, “Known and Unknown” in 2011. His latest book, “Rumsfeld’s Rules” suggests he still has lessons to share after a lifetime in politics and business.

The book is a collection of advice that he started collecting through a habit taught to him by his schoolteacher mother. He has about 300 or so in the book.

“If I didn’t know a word she’d say, 'Well write it down and look it up,'" he says. "Then I started writing down various other thoughts and rules and anecdotes.”

The anecdotes Rumsfeld recounts are pulled from his time in office with the Bush, Reagan and Nixon administrations.

Here are three of many Rumsfeld Rules you can find in the book, and the stories behind them:

It’s easier to get into something than it is to get out.

“I thought of that when I was President Reagan’s Middle East envoy and we had 241 Marines killed in Beirut, at the airport. And I concluded then that the United States has to be careful about putting ground forces in because we’re such a big target. And I also, over the years, came to the conclusion over the years that the United States really wasn't* organized, trained and equipped to do nation-building.”

Rumsfeld says this was on his mind as the United States entered Afghanistan and Iraq, but there was "mission creep."

“When you do something, then someone wants you to do something else and then something else and over time, the mission, historically, creeps into something else that was initiated at the outset.”

But in the end, “it’s not easy for countries to evolve and grow, but I think that both of those countries are a whale of a lot better off today than they were before.”

“I’ve been mistaken so many times, I don’t even blush for it anymore.” – Napoleon 

“You see things that don’t turn out the way you hoped.”

Monitor progress through metrics.

“I think that history over time will probably be a better judge than you or I, but I’ve been struck by the amount of criticism that the Bush administration has received and President Bush personally and the attempts to assign blame to him and I think it’s probably not going to sort out that way.”

He says President Bush’s decision to enter Iraq is “something that over time will be better understood.”

 

AUDIO EXTRA: Kai Ryssdal asks Donald Rumsfeld about a reputation for not tolerating dissent.

Ukrainian Forces Reportedly Regain Control Of Mariupol

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 10:02

Jubilant soldiers emerged from key government buildings after retaking them from pro-Russian forces, who seized control of the city last month.

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Marriage and money: Tips before you walk down the aisle

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 09:05

We often hear about how money issues in a marriage can be a major catalyst for divorce. Whether it's differences in spending habits, debt loads or credit scores, diverging beliefs and habits can be a huge red flag in a relationship.

A 2009 study by Jeffrey Dew, faculty fellow at the National Marriage Project and an assistant professor of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University, found that couples who argue about money once a week were 30 percent more likely to  divorce over time than couples who reported disagreeing about finances just a few times per month.

"The best time [to talk about money] is when you're getting along, when you're in the romantic stage, " says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash "[That's] the very time when you should broach it because you'll probably be more open to listening to each other."

Skirting the issues is a big no-no according to Syrtash.

"Put everything on the table because so much of effective relationships is about managing expectations. You need to go in with your eyes wide open," she says. She says, adding that addressing financial differences also means not skimping on the details. "That doesn't just mean learning about your partner's history and partner's finances.  It's about exposing your own vulnerabilities around this."

Once you have gone through the exercise of coming clean, you may find that you and your partner think differently about money. But, she says that compromise is key.

"That's what partnership is about. You come in with different perspectives and you find common ground," she says. "And where you don't find common ground, the hope is that you'll have ultimately the same core values."

As far as protecting oneself from financial ruin caused be a future spouse, there's always a prenuptial agreement. Syrtash says that while they're not for everyone, prenups are not reserved for the rich and famous.

"For many people, if you earn wildly different salaries [or] if you come from a broken home and marriage feels a little bit overwhelming, they feel more secure having this practical approach should, god forbid, things not work out," she says.

In the end, as with most things concerning love and money, it all comes down to communication and cooperation.

The World's Watching Soccer, But Basketball Is On The Barbershop's Brain

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:59

The most popular global sporting event, the World Cup, kicked off this week in Brazil. But the Barbershop guys are fired up about games closer to home: the NBA finals.

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Remembering Ruby Dee: 'Think Of Me And Feel Encouraged'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:59

In remembrance of the life of actress and activist Ruby Dee, Tell Me More presents an encore broadcast of Michel Martin's 2007 interview with the legendary actress and activist.

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Stories Of President George H.W. Bush, From 41 Closest Friends

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:58

President George H.W. Bush turned 90 this week. A new CNN documentary 41 On 41 speaks to 41 of his closest family and colleagues. Michel Martin learns more from Executive Producer Mary Kate Cary.

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Could Finland Teach The U.S. A Lesson On Guns?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:57

Host Michel Martin looks at gun culture in the America and abroad, and asks two experts what the U.S. can learn from how other countries handle firearms.

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Sweeping the World Cup office pool

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:52

No one won the $1 billion offered by Warren Buffett and mortgage company Quicken Loans during this year’s March Madness, but that’s not going to stop hopeful American workers from throwing a few bucks into their World Cup office pool.

The tournament is underway and the fate of your bracket is likely sealed, but what are the odds that you actually chose that elusive perfect pick?

It turns out that choosing brackets for the World Cup is a lot more complicated than most other matches.

Josh Levin, the executive editor of Slate and host of their sports podcast Hang Up And Listen, says building a perfect bracket for the World Cup is more challenging than the NCAA for one big reason.

“The bracket transmogrifies based on who wins in the group stage,” he says. “In the NCAA bracket, you know that if Duke wins in the first round, then they're going to play a certain team in the second round. In the World Cup, if Brazil wins first in its group then it’s on the left side of the bracket. If they finish second in the group they'll be on the right side of the bracket.”

Yes, he just used the word transmogrifies in a sentence. “So you kind of need to predict how teams are going to do in space and in time,” Levin says.

The hands down favorite to win the competition, with backing from FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, is the home team of Brazil. Silver’s Soccer Power Index developed for ESPN puts Brazil at a 45 percent chance of winning.

“There is an algorithm based on past performance, he looks at how teams have done in the World Cup on home soil,” says Levin.

“It considers the fact that Brazil has not lost a competitive game at home since 1975, which is something you'd probably want to factor in. And also Brazil just has a really, really strong team.”

So if you, Josh Levin, and the rest of your office pick the Brazilians to sweep the World Cup then your decisions in the earlier rounds are really going to matter.

“It could come down to the person who picked Columbia to get out of Group C as opposed to Ivory Coast or the prescient prognosticator who had Uruguay making it to the semifinals,” says Levin.

“So you've got to pay close attention to those early round picks.”

In One Map, The Dramatic Rise Of ISIS In Iraq And Syria

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:41

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, was created just last year, but it has seized many towns and cities in both countries. Here's an animated map showing its gains since the start of 2013.

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Don't have cable and want to watch the World Cup?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:34

While only about 3 percent of Americans claim men’s soccer as their favorite sport, the 2014 World Cup seems to have compelled some non-fans to pay attention.

For the next month, as 32 soccer teams face off in Brazil, people from around the globe will be glued to their TV screens. Most of them will be able to watch the games for free. But if you're part of an ever growing contingency of Americans known as "cord cutters," those who have boldly cancelled their cable subscriptions in favor of streaming content on the internet, you’re going to have to get a little more creative.

Four years ago, over 24 million Americans tuned in to watch the World Cup. (No small potatoes, but still a paltry figure when compared to the 111.5 million people who tuned in to watch this year's Super Bowl.) Since then, cord-cutting has increased by 44 percent, from 5.1 million to 7.6 million households.

If you live in one of those homes, the bad news is ABC is only broadcasting a handful of the matches for free on broadcast TV, and won't be putting any of them online. Most of the games will be shown on ESPN, meaning you'll need a cable subscription if you want to watch. (If you do have cable, you can use the WatchESPN digital video service to stream games.)

That is -- if you want to watch in English.

Spanish language broadcast network Univision may be your saving grace. Univision is streaming the first 56 matches at its website (Google's Chrome browser can translate the site if you can't read Spanish) and Univision will broadcast games after the quarterfinals on TV. Univision pulled in two times the number of viewers as ESPN during the 2010 Cup.

For the more savvy internet users among you, the thing all the cool kids are doing to watch this World Cup is to use a VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs essentially fool a streaming service that is restricted to a certain country into thinking you live there. Tunnelbear, VyprVPN, and Unotelly are all popular and easy to use VPNs.

And, of course, there’s always the old fashioned way: Knock off work early, head to your local bar, plop down on a stool, order a drink, look up at the TV and enjoy. This might not be the most healthy or economical way, but it could be the most fun. But as they say in the commercials, please drink responsibly.

Still not satisfied? Deadspin has put together an exhaustive list, game-by-game, or where you can watch each match online.

Can A Female Politician Be Insulted Without It Being Sexist?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:28

Debate is raging online about whether profane chants directed at President Dilma Rousseff during Brazil's World Cup match against Croatia were sexist.

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6 Questions About Contraception Coverage And The Supreme Court

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:19

The court is expected to render a decision that will determine the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's guarantee that no-cost prescription contraception be part of most health insurance plans.

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Obama Rules Out Troops In Iraq But Says U.S. Is Weighing Other Options

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:18

The president said any action in Iraq will be "targeted and precise" but must be accompanied by political action by Iraqis. The comments come as extremists seized control of parts of Iraq.

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Things your dad likes: Tools, electronics, crackers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:06

Father's Day is coming up, and while your dad probably said that all he wants is a pair of socks or a new tie for a gift, he's really got his eye on that awesome chainsaw or that shiny new smartphone, that is, if you go off of the findings from research organization YouGov, which has a survey of the best perceived brands by fathers. Power-tool maker Craftsman took the top spot, among other home improvement and technology brands.

According to YouGov's BrandIndex survey, household brand Clorox made the biggest leap in positive perception, taking the sixth place on the list, which is possibly indicative of the more active role fathers are taking in household responsibilites. Also moving up into the top 10 was cracker brand Ritz, reminding us of or dads' continued snacking needs as it joins on the list tech companies like Samsung, Sony and Amazon, and the media brands YouTube and the History Channel.

Moving out of the list compared to last year were Cheerios, Johnson & Johnson and M & Ms.

YouGov on their survey methods:

YouGov BrandIndex filtered their entire 1,100+ brand universe for respondents who identified themselves as men age 18 and over with children under 18 years old. The firm then ranked them using their flagship Index score, which measures brand health by averaging sub-scores on quality, satisfaction, impression, value, reputation and willingness to recommend. The scores reflect surveying over the past 30 days.

See the full list in the graphic below.

 

Critics Renew Calls For More Diverse Video Game Characters

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:03

Women make up a significant proportion of dedicated gamers, but they were hardly represented on stage and in games previewed at a big game industry trade event in Los Angeles.

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Pakistani Juice Drink Packs A Sweet And Spicy Punch

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 07:58

Sometimes NPR's foreign correspondents take a break from war and other serious business to enjoy daily life in their adopted cities. Here our Pakistan correspondent tries a 'miracle' drink.

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