National News

'No One Controls Fallujah,' Which U.S. Soldiers Fought To Free

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 11:07

Al-Qaida fighters are attacking police stations and local officials. Sunni militias, who have battled al-Qaida in the past, are exerting themselves in other parts of the city. Government forces have pulled back, allowing freedom of movement for fighters from all sides.

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Texas Man Becomes Unlikely CFO Of Ragged Kabul Orphanage

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 09:51

After decades of war in Afghanistan, the country has thousands of orphans. One home for these children ended up with an improbable benefactor — an Iranian-American who came to Kabul to do rule of law development work, and stumbled into a side project working with disabled orphans.

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Former First Lady Barbara Bush Released From Hospital

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 09:39

She was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Monday for treatment of pneumonia. Bush, 88, responded well and is now at home, a family spokesman says.

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How Cold Is It? It's So Cold That ...

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 08:48

There's no hot air left in Washington? We suspect that while reading about the record-breaking temperatures expected to sweep across much of the nation, you can come up with some funnier ways to answer our question.

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How One Man Won $324M And Didn't Realize It For 2 Weeks

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 08:01

Steve Tran of Northern California had a big winner sitting on top of a drawer and didn't know it. When he finally got around to checking the ticket, though, he realized his life had changed.

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Wait Is Over For Antarctic Explorers: They Can Head Home

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 06:45

One day after being told the ship they're now on might have to assist another stranded vessel, the explorers have been told their trip can continue. The stranded icebreaker says it is not in distress and can wait for conditions to improve.

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Top Stories: Boeing Contract OK'd; Record Low Temps Expected

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 06:09

Also: Singer Phil Everly dies; passengers rescued in the Antarctic resume their trip home; and a man who won $174 million didn't realize his good fortune for weeks.

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'Cheers And Jeers' As Boeing Machinists Narrowly OK Contract

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 05:35

With 51 percent of machinists voting yes, a new labor pact was approved. It means production of the new 777X widebody jet will be done in the Puget Sound region. But many in the rank-and-file think they gave up too much to keep the jobs in Washington State.

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Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 05:32

There you are in a train station, and if you stand in the right space, suddenly an angel — a lady with enormous wings, looking like the real deal — appears at your side. She's not real. She's a billboard display gone wild. Which is what a bunch of billboards have been doing lately. We visit three of the wildest.

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Phil Everly Dies; Transformed Rock 'N' Roll With Brother Don

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 05:00

The tight harmonies in the Everly Brothers' string of hits in the '50s and '60s were huge influences on others such as Simon & Garfunkel, The Hollies, and The Beach Boys. Among their biggest songs: "Bye Bye Love," "Wake Up Little Susie" and "All I Have To Do Is Dream." Everly was 74. Brother Don is 76.

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Comic Artist Yumi Sakugawa On Friend-Love, Identity And Art

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 05:00

How should you tell your friends that you're in friend-love with them? Sakugawa, the artist and author of I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You shares what inspires her work.

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22 States Curb Access To Abortion In 2013

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 04:15

The 205 restrictions enacted between 2011 and 2013 outpaced the 189 enacted during the entire previous decade. Also, the number of U.S. states deemed by a leading reproductive rights group to be "hostile" to abortion rights continues to rise — from 13 states at the turn of the millennium to 27 today.

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Boeing Machinists Approve Contract To Secure 777X Work

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 04:09

The stakes were high and the vote was close as Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane for the Puget Sound region.

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Lovebirds + String + Watering Can + Dog = Rube Goldberg Magic

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 02:53

The term "Rube Goldberg machine" has become shorthand for a convoluted contraption made up of a series of chain reactions. But Goldberg was also a real person, whose ideas for whimsical devices have captivated imaginations for decades.

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Transgender Issues Follow Path Blazed By Gay Rights

NPR News - Sat, 2014-01-04 01:46

Some gay and lesbian activists say 2013 was "the gayest year ever," but as 2014 opens, another issue is gaining traction — transgender rights.

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Want Perfect Pitch? You Might Be Able To Pop A Pill For That

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 21:50

The ability to identify musical notes by ear is usually thought to be something developed early in life. Now a Harvard study says a drug normally used as a mood stabilizer might allow adults with no musical experience to learn perfect pitch.

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For The Blind, Connected Devices Create A Novel Way To Read

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 17:02

Braille hasn't changed much in the nearly 200 years it's been around. But with tablets, smartphones and e-readers, how we read things has. Judy Dixon of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped talks with NPR about how technology has changed Braille — and whether it can endure.

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2014 Resolutions: Melissa and Joshua

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-03 14:52

Happy New Year! In 2014, Marketplace Money will follow a few listeners from around the country who’ve resolved to make over their personal finance lives. We’ll be checking up on their financial New Year’s resolutions periodically throughout the year and see if they're achieving their goals!

Name: Melissa, 39 and Joshua, 27

Family: Daughter, 14 months old

Location: Oakland, Calif.

Resolutions: “Break that paycheck-to-paycheck mentality. We’re starting to make money, we’re becoming more financially secure, but we’re still living like our paychecks are going to evaporate into dust if we don’t spend our money.”

“We don’t know what to do with our extra income. Do we pay off old debt?” Their combined student loan debt is at $70,000 at 6.3 percent interest, and they also have $7,000 credit card debt that is heading into collections. “Do we start our daughter’s  college savings account? We’re not quite sure what to do.”

“We could probably, if we really scrimped, could get $300-400 in savings.” They also have zero retirement savings.

Carmen Says: “We all want to give our kids a great education. The trouble is, when you give an education to a child at the expense of your needs, your kid is going to end up depending on you. And that is actually a situation that several million people are finding themselves in now where they’re taking care of aging parents … one of the biggest gifts you can give a child is to make sure that you are financially stable, so they can start their adult life without that added burden.” 

Carmen’s next suggestion, head to NFCC.org and find a non-profit credit counselor. “Find a non-profit credit counselor. What you don’t want to do is you don’t want to head over to things called debt repair or something like that.”

Carmen’s resolution prescription: “You’ve got about $300 to play with. I would put $100 a month in cash savings account, so that will keep your head above water, and you won’t have to borrow any more if the car breaks down. Two: start taking another 100 to 150 to start paying off that debt. If you have any money left over, go ahead and put some of that money in a pre-tax, your employer’s savings accounts, 401k’s. But that credit card debt, it may be a little while before you can save for retirement in a full way.”

2014 Resolutions: Melissa and Joshua Poland

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-03 14:52

Happy New Year! In 2014, Marketplace Money will follow a few listeners from around the country who’ve resolved to make over their personal finance lives. We’ll be checking up on their financial New Year’s resolutions periodically throughout the year and see if they're achieving their goals!

Name: Melissa, 39 and Joshua, 27

Family: Daughter, 14 months old

Location: Oakland, Calif.

Resolutions: “Break that paycheck-to-paycheck mentality. We’re starting to make money, we’re becoming more financially secure, but we’re still living like our paychecks are going to evaporate into dust if we don’t spend our money.”

“We don’t know what to do with our extra income. Do we pay off old debt?” Their combined student loan debt is at $70,000 at 6.3 percent interest, and they also have $7,000 credit card debt that is heading into collections. “Do we start our daughter’s  college savings account? We’re not quite sure what to do.”

“We could probably, if we really scrimped, could get $300-400 in savings.” They also have zero retirement savings.

Carmen Says: “We all want to give our kids a great education. The trouble is, when you give an education to a child at the expense of your needs, your kid is going to end up depending on you. And that is actually a situation that several million people are finding themselves in now where they’re taking care of aging parents … one of the biggest gifts you can give a child is to make sure that you are financially stable, so they can start their adult life without that added burden.” 

Carmen’s next suggestion, head to NFCC.org and find a non-profit credit counselor. “Find a non-profit credit counselor. What you don’t want to do is you don’t want to head over to things called debt repair or something like that.”

Carmen’s resolution prescription: “You’ve got about $300 to play with. I would put $100 a month in cash savings account, so that will keep your head above water, and you won’t have to borrow any more if the car breaks down. Two: start taking another 100 to 150 to start paying off that debt. If you have any money left over, go ahead and put some of that money in a pre-tax, your employer’s savings accounts, 401k’s. But that credit card debt, it may be a little while before you can save for retirement in a full way.”

Uncertainty ahead for India's economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-03 14:29

Manmohan Singh announced he will step down as India’s Prime Minister after elections in the spring. Singh has been in power for a decade and was the country’s Finance Minister for ten years before that. His policies helped India’s economy grow at a rapid rate -- though in the past few years, inflation and corruption scandals have tarnished Singh’s administration.

“How big a shift this is going to be will really depend on whether his successor is capable of grabbing the reins as it were and pushing ahead with the next phase of reforms which are politically very difficult things to deal with” says Andrew Walker, economics correspondent with the BBC.

Under Singh’s influence, India’s economy opened up more to foreign investment.    

India’s growth slowed in part because of the global recession. But the country’s crumbling infrastructure – including poorly maintained roads and an unstable power grid – has probably stifled investment.

 “I think history will see Manmohan Singh as being the one who started the transformation,” says Walker, “taking India away from this heavily government-dominated economy to a market oriented system that has grown strongly and is capable of doing so for a lot longer under the right kind of leadership.”

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