National News

80 Municipal Courts In St. Louis County Change Fees After Criticism

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-10 04:30

The courts have agreed to set uniform fees and fines, changing a process that fueled anger and frustration with the legal system in Ferguson, Mo.

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'Game Of Thrones' And 'Veep' Anchor HBO's Killer Sunday Lineup

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-10 04:04

HBO's Game of Thrones, Veep and Silicon Valley all start new seasons Sunday. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says these three shows just might form the best Sunday night lineup on TV this spring.

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Huge Tornadoes Tear Through Illinois And The Midwest

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-10 03:05

The tornado was so massive and the damage so extensive that in some areas, plows had to push debris off the streets so emergency crews could reach survivors.

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PODCAST: GE's new direction

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-10 03:00

Airing on Friday, April 10, 2015: General Electric likes to be known for its power plants, it's cat scanners, it's fridges, but less so for its massive real estate holdings. There's news just now that GE is going to refocus on its roots in manufacturing. Plus, LinkedIn, the social networking tool, is purchasing Lynda.com, an online business skills training company. The price tag? $1.5 billion. We look at why LinkedIn would want to spend that kind of money. And in a lot of cities in Mexico, it's not that easy to get safe drinking water - and a lot of folks reach for a soda pop instead. The Mexican government is trying to change that. 

 

A Lifesaving Medicine That My Patient Didn't Get In Time

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-10 02:03

Drug overdoses — many from opioid painkillers — cause more deaths in the U.S. than car crashes, shootings or alcohol. But stigma keeps many addicts from an antidote that could quickly save them.

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In Mexico, things go better with...water

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-10 02:00

If you’re looking for lunch in the northern Mexico border town of Nuevo Laredo, you might walk into a spot called La Parilla. When I walked in there, I noticed almost every table has 4 or 5 empty soda bottles on it. This isn’t a big restaurant – less than 20 tables. My waiter tells me that he sells about 100 sodas every day.

“It’s because people just enjoy the flavor,” he says.

And his customers aren’t alone. The Mexican population drinks more soda than anywhere else in the world. The numbers work out to more than 160 liters of the sugary stuff a year. That’s about half a liter per person every day.

Jose Luis Quinones drives a cab in Monterrey. He says when he leaves for work in the morning he grabs something quick.
“And what’s the cheapest thing I can buy?” he asks. “A can of soda and some crackers. It’s cheaper to buy a can of soda than a bottle of water.”

Why is that the case? It could be that poor Mexicans don’t have the purchasing power to create a viable market for water. That’s certainly the case in a lot of the rural parts of the country where more than 10 percent of people don’t have access to potable water. But for some reason, they can always grab a soda. Tom Bollyky, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, says the reason behind that is a combination of things.

“It’s something that costs the same price as water," he says. "And it’s more accessible in schools in Mexico. And it’s sweet. That combination is literally deadly.”

It leads to obesity. Mexico now has the highest obesity rate in the world. And the Mexican government is trying to do something about it. Last year, the government passed a soda tax. It also started running ads urging children to drink water instead of soda. But Bollyky says the way they’re using the money – earmarking it for raising access to drinking water in elementary schools – is just as important.

It will still take a while to see how well the tax and ads work. But early numbers look pretty good. According to Bollyky, while still high, soda consumption in Mexico is down 7 percent.

In Panama, President Obama seeks economic growth

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-10 02:00

President Barack Obama is in Panama for the Summit of the Americas, a gathering of American heads of state. This year the leaders will be joined for the first time by Raul Castro, Cuba's leader. For years, Cuba was excluded from the summit, which created tension between Latin American leaders and the U.S. 

Disagreement over the U.S. embargo of Cuba wasn't the only gripe Latin American leaders had with U.S. policy in the region. "American presidents have a hard time paying attention to Latin America," says Moises Naim, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment.

But the Obama Administration seeks to slow the tide of illegal immigrants, so Naim says "the top priority for the United States ... is to have strong economies that produce jobs."

That's a shift from years of sending money to the region's militaries to pay for the War on Drugs. 

"The United States has moved beyond a single policy toward Latin America," said Bruce Bagley, a professor of political science at the University of Miami. But focusing on poverty alleviation in places like Honduras, which has high violence and a high level of emigration, isn't easy, because "one of the major constraints is the absence of capital and expertise," he said.

That absence of capital is one reason why cabinet member and U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet was in Panama to announce a new partnership between the SBA and ConnectAmericas, a social network for Latin American entrepreneurs. "That's how we help their youth change their future and change their lives," Contreras-Sweet says. 

LinkedIn wants to teach you stuff

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-10 02:00

LinkedIn, the professional networking site, is purchasing Lynda.com, the online video training company, in a deal worth $1.5 billion in cash and stock. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, LinkedIn said in a press release.

"The combination of LinkedIn and lynda.com is the kind of fit that benefits everyone," LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner wrote in a company blog post. "LinkedIn has the members, the jobs... and... can be accessed by roughly 350 million people to share professionally relevant knowledge. lynda.com's service has the premium library of skills-based courses."

The acquisition makes sense in terms of LinkedIn's goals "to build out kind of an entire ecosystem around training, job recruitment, job hiring, talent development," says Analyst Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets.

But it also has pitfalls for LinkedIn, says Colin Gillis of BGC Partners. "You're paying $1.5 billion for a business that is a subscription business and may come into pressure from free sites like YouTube."

Silicon Tally: Defending your digital life

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-10 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week, we're joined by Jason Scott, the curator of the Internet Arcade.

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Do wings give you wings?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-10 01:00
$ 1.5 billion

That's how much LinkedIn paid for Lynda.com, an online video training company. The huge price tag may be worth it for LinkedIn. As part of LinkedIn's broad strategic ambition, the acquisition build out an ecosystem around training, recruitment, hiring, and talent development. 

100 million

That's how many chicken wings sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings sold during this year's NCAA basketball tournament, Bloomberg reported. The Minneapolis-based company has been on an extraordinary rise, riding the fast-casual wave and adapting to volatile wing prices and crowds that come and go with sports seasons.

650

That's how many men and women under 25 working at the IRS. The total staff? 87,000. The IRS is trying to convince more millennials it's cool to work for the tax agency, according to Bloomberg. Four years from now, about 40 percent of its workforce will be eligible to retire. The recruiting page for student and recent grads reads, "You’ll be part of a tax collection process that funds our nation’s most vital programs—from securing the nation and protecting social services, to maintaining parklands and forests, building libraries, opening museums, enhancing schools and much, much more.” 

April 24

The hotly anticipated release of the Apple Watch. But Business Insider notes Apple is changing the way it approaches launch day, letting people try on the smart watch by appointment and encouraging them to order online. Part of this shift is practical — with so many watch combinations and price points, it could be tough to keep everything in stock — but it's also about image. Apple's new retail chief came over from Burberry, and the Watch is being sold in part as a luxury item. Long lines and tents outside of the store isn't exactly classy.

87 days

That's how long oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in 2010, spilling nearly 5 million gallons. Five years later, the Gulf's reputation for great seafood is starting to recover, but there isn't as much to sell as there used to be.

160 liters

That's how much soda the Mexican population consumes every year — or about half a liter per person per day. Mexico drinks more of this sugary stuff than anywhere else in the world. And in areas without easy access to fresh water, people more often turn to soda to quench their thirst. This trend has lead to obesity, but the Mexican government is trying to tackle it with a soda tax. 

1 Dead In Northern Illinois After Large Tornado, Authorities Say

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-09 22:07

Supercell thunderstorms produced a large tornado that touched down Thursday night in northern Illinois, killing one person in a tiny community as severe weather pummeled the Midwest.

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