National News

Why Scott Walker Is Looking Beyond His Fan Base

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 09:27

Governors in both parties routinely run for re-election while keeping coy about the White House. But there's no question what's on the Wisconsin governor's mind, long term.

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Pot Smoke And Mirrors: Vaporizer Pens Hide Marijuana Use

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 08:29

Odorless and discreet, vaporizer pens for pot are growing in popularity. But the devices are a nightmare for parents because they make it hard to know if kids are using marijuana.

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Strong Quake Rattles Mexico, But No Injuries Reported

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 08:13

The magnitude 7.2 temblor's epicenter was about 80 miles northwest of Acapulco, but it shook up residents in the capital, Mexico City.

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Should College Dropouts Be Honored By Their Alma Maters?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 07:58

From a Top Gun sequel starring drones to Howard University's pick of Puff Daddy as its commencement speaker, the Barbershop guys weigh in on the week's news.

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Gefilte Fish Shortage: Best Thing Since The Parting Of The Red Sea?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 07:58

A shortage of gefilte fish is causing panic in the middle of Passover. But New York Times reporter Matt Chaban says some observant Jews are OK with not having to eat the love-it-or-hate-it appetizer.

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New York's Muslims Push For Public Schools To Close For Eid Holidays

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 07:57

President of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York Linda Sarsour discusses why she wants the city's public schools to close on holidays like Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

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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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