National News

Burundi's Army Chief Says Coup Attempt Failed

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-14 05:18

The announcement, on state-run radio, comes amid continued fighting a day after a lower-ranking general had declared a coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza.

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4 Questions For Republicans On Foreign Policy

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-14 04:31

Republicans are critical of President Obama's foreign policy with the rise of the Islamic State militant group and the Iran negotiations. But the GOP faces its own challenges related to world affairs.

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Fidgeting May Help Concentration For Students With ADHD

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-14 04:27

A new study shows a correlation between physical movement and mental work.

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A Trade Deal Read In Secret By Only Few (Or Maybe None)

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-14 04:16

To study the draft Trans-Pacific Partnership text, senators have to go to the basement of the Capitol and enter a secured, sound-proof room and surrender their cell phones.

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Jurors In Boston Bombing Trial Deliberate On Sentence For Second Day

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-14 04:15

The jury already convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Now they'll decide whether he will live or die.

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PODCAST: Mad Men ends

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-14 03:00

First up, more on the news that college enrollment in the U.S. is down 2 percent from last year. Plus, a growing number cities are taking banking regulation into their own hands—requiring the banks they work with to pass muster as "socially responsible." That means investing in low-income areas, helping distressed homeowners and avoiding predatory lending practices. And with Mad Men ending this Sunday, AMC is rolling out a marathon ... and an interesting ad strategy.

Positive Train Control: The Tech That Could've Prevented Amtrak Derailment

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-14 02:51

The Amtrak passenger train was going more than 100 miles an hour when it derailed north of Philadelphia. Positive train control could have automatically slowed the train down on that stretch of rail.

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A call for responsible banking in low-income neighborhoods

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-14 02:00

“Redlining” is when banks in lots of U.S. cities refuse to make loans or provide services in some neighborhoods—often low-income neighborhoods with high populations of immigrants and African Americans. The practice was officially ended in 1977, with a federal ban known as the Community Reinvestment Act that also encouraged banks to reinvest in poor areas.

But now some cities are saying those regulations are not doing enough: New York, Seattle and Dayton are among the cities that have passed their own ordinances to push banks to invest in low-income neighborhoods and avoid predatory lending.  

In the Westwood neighborhood on the west side of Dayton it's hard to find a bank. A PNC branch closed in the area in 2013, and now this is what’s called a banking desert. Donna Preston, who’s hanging out on a stoop nearby, confirms this. 

“I’m not mobile, I don’t have a vehicle, so it is kinda hard to get to banks,” Preston says. The isolation makes things tricky for her business. “I do hair for a living. I have a business called 'Donna’s Soft Touch Braids.'”

She takes the bus to her credit union—but she runs her business mostly in cash.

West Dayton is like a lot of neighborhoods around the country—it’s seen bank branches pull up and leave. Katy Crosby, who heads the city of Dayton’s Human Relations Council, says this is a big problem. 

“The small business development is just not occurring, economic development is just not occurring,” Crosby says. She’s been working with banks in the area to encourage banks to open up branches and do education with older residents about how to make use of online banking resources, but the process is slow.

Dayton’s new socially responsible banking ordinance is simple: It tells the banks that if they want Dayton to deposit city funds with them, they’ll have to show that they’re investing in low-income neighborhoods, and complying with requirements under the Community Reinvestment Act.

Rob Rowe is with the American Bankers Association and doesn't support the ordinance. “Banks are not utilities, they’re not charities, they’re businesses. They’re created and established as business organizations” he says.

Rowe is worried that a variety of ordinances from different cities creates unnecessary hoops for banks to jump through.

Dayton will need to get people like Rob Rowe on board, though. The ordinance, like those in other cities, is really just evaluation guidelines as opposed to actual regulations that could compel banks to behave a certain way.

Still, Jesse Van Tol is hopeful. He’s with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, an organization that wrote a template for these city ordinances.

“It is a law that over years and decades will make a difference,” he says. “And I think you see that in the historic impact of a lack of investment."

He gives Ferguson, Missouri as an example of that lack—it was redlined, and for decades whole black neighborhoods were blocked from banking services like home loans.

“The same is true with many neighborhoods in Baltimore,” he says.

Dayton city government passed its ordinance with a unanimous vote, and it goes into effect May 22.

It's a Mad Mad Men world for AMC

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-14 02:00

AMC is sending off its series "Mad Men" in style. On Wednesday night, the network started a marathon of all episodes of the show, running in order, leading up to the series finale Sunday night.

During the finale, AMC will also turn off programming at its sister networks, including IFC and BBC America, pointing audiences to the "Mad Men" finale.

The major promotional push for the show is also a strategic business move for AMC.

"It really does get across to people that this is quite a large programming entity with five networks. And it really brings some scale. And it can really attract attention," says analyst John Tinker of Maxim Group.

The big finale campaign can help AMC promote other, newer shows that it's added to its schedule more recently. At the same time, the end of a network's big show can often lead to a period of decline for the network. And, AMC has recently ended two of its three big shows: "Breaking Bad" and, now, "Mad Men."

Of course, it still has one of the priciest TV shows for advertisers, "The Walking Dead."

Thomas Eagan of Telsey Advisory Group says it is important for AMC to get traction for new shows, because original programming—even if the ratings aren't stellar—are coveted by advertisers.

"Buyers in the marketplace, the advertisers, they'll pay a higher CPM for an original show, even if it has a lower rating," says Eagan.

CPM stands for 'cost per mille' or the ad price per thousand viewers.

"Mad Men" has commanded a high price, says Eagan, because each week's episode has been water cooler fodder, and audiences have watched the show live, instead of online or on the DVR where they might skip commercials.

Why Jeeps are turning into luxury SUVs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-14 02:00

Gas prices have gone down, car sales are bouncing back, and a big part of that growth is the SUV market. One particular area of renewed consumer demand has been where space and cushiness intersect: the luxury SUV. Auto makers are paying attention.

Jeep just announced it'll make a luxury SUV to compete with Range Rover. And ultra-high-end brands like Bentley, Maserati, and even Rolls-Royce are jumping into the six-figure SUV sphere.

Just don't call the Rolls-Royce all-terrain vehicle an SUV. That sounds so pedestrian. Rolls has a better idea.

"They call it the high-bodied car," says Mike Austin, editor-in-chief of Autoblog. He says luxury car buyers want everything they had in their sedans—the seat massagers, the heated steering wheels—plus more room.

Robert Sorokanich, reporter for CarandDriver.com, says when Porsche came out with its first SUV, the Cayenne, car enthusiasts thought it was a bad move.

"Now we know that that car helped make Porsche more profitable than its ever been, and a lot of the other brands are noticing this," he says.

Luxury car shoppers want the same thing Jeep offered with the Wrangler: the promise of an off-road adventure. Sorokanich says in reality, "they're not going crashing through the Sahara. Shocking, right? But it's the promise that you could do that."

And the sheer delight when people gawk at your big, bad Aston Martin SUV.

When you're too cool for school

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-14 01:59
2 percent

That's how much college enrollment in the U.S. has fallen in the last year, according to a new study published Thursday. As the WSJ writes, improvements in the job market have likely affected enrollment at four-year for-profit colleges and two-year public colleges, where students tend to skew older.

$262 million

That's how much Congress cut Amtrak's budget Wednesday, a day after a deadly derailment in Philadelphia. Amtrak says it has a $52 billion maintenance backlog in its Northeastern corridor, from Washington to New York.

$1 billion

This week, Christie's auction house not only set the record for most expensive painting ever sold, but also became the first auction house to have a $1 billion art week. Yesterday's $658.5 million sale of art, combined with the $705.9 million taken in on Monday, made for record breaking sales figures. 

100

That's how many times some Wegmans stores turn over their produce, compared to up to 20 times per year at most grocery stores, the Washington Post reported. That's especially interesting considering Wegmans locations are enormous; their smallest, opening in Brooklyn in 2017, is 74,000 square feet. The New York-based grocer has quickly become one of the most-lauded chains in the country, somehow combining Whole Foods' quality, Trader Joe's prices and Wal-Mart's vast options.

1977

That's the year that "Redlining"—when banks refuse to make loans or provide services in often low-income neighborhoods—was put to an end by the Community Reinvestment Act. But some cities say it's not enough, and are now pushing for more investment in poorer neighborhoods and less predatory lending. Dayton, OH, for example, where a socially responsible banking ordinance forces banks to show they are putting money into low-income communities before the city will store funds within their institutions.

100 percent

That's how much more Tom Brady-branded merchandise has been sold since the NFL slapped the New England Patriots quarterback with a four-game suspension for his role in "deflategate," the Wall Street Journal reported.

David Letterman's Top 10 Late-Night Memories (Well, Not Really)

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-13 23:37

No one has been a late-night TV host longer than David Letterman, who retires Wednesday after 33 years. Here's what he told NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans on leaving the Ed Sullivan Theater one last time.

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A Database Of All Things Brainy

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-13 23:34

A mouse brain boasts more than 200 different kinds of cells, say scientists, who are busy cataloging everything known about each type. Next up: a data trove of details on human brain cells.

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N.Y. Police Shooting Case Divides City's Asian-Americans

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-13 23:34

NYPD officer Peter Liang has been indicted for the death of Akai Gurley. Some in the Asian-American community support holding Liang accountable; others say he is being scapegoated because of his race.

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Long-Term Depression May Boost Stroke Risk Long After Mood Improves

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-13 23:32

Even after the psychological pain is effectively treated, damage from long years of depression may linger. It seems to double the risk of stroke among adults over age 50, research suggests.

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Police Rethink Tactics Amid New Technologies And Social Pressure

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-13 23:29

One officer says relations with the public are "about as bad as I've seen," as a take-charge method of policing collides with a more skeptical citizenry that can record and disseminate video anywhere.

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Santa Monica Cracks Down On Airbnb, Bans 'Vacation Rentals' Under A Month

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-13 17:38

Santa Monica says renting out a house or apartment for less than 30 days without the permanent tenant present is illegal.

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How Do You Say 'Snafu' In Japanese?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-13 14:54

The White House press secretary said he would convey the "snafu" to trade deal countries but he didn't know how it translates "into a variety of Asian languages." NPR's Scott Horsley finds out.

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