National News

As Emoji Spread Beyond Texts, Many Remain [Confounded Face] [Interrobang]

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 18:56

There's a growing tendency to bring the tiny hieroglyphs off of phones, but not everyone is fluent. New takes on emoji integration suggest misunderstanding may be remedied with universal translation.

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Site Using Candidate Carly Fiorina's Name Attacks Her Record At HP

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 15:44

The site,, says the Republican presidential candidate laid off 30,000 people while she ran Hewlett-Packard. Fiorina does not deny the figure but says, overall, the firm created jobs.

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The Republican Presidential Field Just Got More Diverse. So What?

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 15:11

Two more candidates got in on the Republican side Monday, including Ben Carson, who is black, and Carly Fiorina. It's the most diverse GOP field anyone can remember. But will it make a difference?

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In A Poor Indian State, She Got First-Rate Care After Her Miscarriage

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 15:03

The release of a new report on the world's mothers is a reminder of the gap between rich and poor — in the developing world and in American cities as well.

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A ban on fracking bans (no, you didn't misread that)

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:59

Denton, Texas, a small town in the middle of oil and gas country, banned fracking back in November. Today, the Texas legislature essentially overturned that vote with a ban on fracking bans.

Marketplace’s Scott Tong reported on the fracking ban in Denton last year. He several states are considering similar bills to stop municipal fracking bans.

One of these, in Oklahoma, passed one chamber. The sponsor of that bill said he wants to "get ahead of what we're seeing in other states."

Hear the full conversation using the audio player above.

'Bourbon Empire' Reveals The Smoke And Mirrors Of American Whiskey

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:45

A new book suggests that tall tales on craft bourbon labels are the rule rather than the exception. They're just one example of a slew of "carefully cultivated myths" created by the bourbon industry.

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With Baltimore Unrest, More Debate Over 'Broken Windows' Policing

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:41

Amid the latest case of poor police-community relations, critics are targeting N.Y.'s policing theory, which aims to crack down on minor offenses. But it's also praised for reducing the crime rate.

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NATO Forces Launch Biggest Anti-Submarine Exercises In Norway

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:34

The two-week naval exercise, dubbed Dynamic Mongoose, brings dozens of vessels together, and comes amid concern about Russia's increasing aggression.

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Israeli Soldiers: Lax Rules In Gaza War Led To Indiscriminate Fire

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:10

Dozens of soldiers have offered testimonials saying indiscriminate fire was tolerated, even encouraged in last summer's war in Gaza. This contributed to the high numbers of civilian deaths, they say.

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Clinton Agrees To Answer House Panel's Questions On Benghazi, Emails

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:03

But her lawyer says the former secretary of state, and Democratic presidential candidate, will appear before the panel once — not twice, as requested by the head of the Benghazi committee.

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McDonald's first turnaround steps aren't about food

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:00

McDonald’s new CEO was pretty blunt on Monday.

“We are not on our game,” Steve Easterbrook told investors and customers while unveiling a turnaround plan for the company amid sagging sales. Easterbrook’s plan involves a major restructuring he hopes will make McDonald’s more nimble in responding to consumers' changing tastes. The company will also franchise more of its restaurants and buy back more shares.

Some investors wanted more details about menu and store changes, but there were no sweeping announcements on that. McDonald’s is experimenting with more customized orders and online ordering at a few locations, among other changes.

Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, says the company’s immense size makes any fundamental changes across the board challenging.

“Repositioning a brand is hard and it takes time to do those things," he says. "It means there’s not a quick fix here.”


The downside to being a 'CEO candidate'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:00

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, officially announced on Monday her candidacy for the presidential nomination. She told "Good Morning America" that she understands "how the economy actually works." But being a CEO isn't always an advantage for a political candidate. 

Look, for instance, to It's a simple site, reading: "Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I'm using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett Packard." And then: 30,000 frowny emoticons.

George Anders, author of "Perfect Enough: Carly Fiorina and the Reinvention of Hewlett Packard," says layoffs were in the tens of thousands under Fiorina — in large part thanks to a merger with Compaq she pushed through.

This question of how many jobs a CEO created or destroyed is a key one for business executives who become political candidates. Just look at Mitt Romney's campaign for the presidency, and his record at private equity firm Bain Capital.

"Whether Bain Capital created more jobs than it took away was one of the great debating issues," says Mike Useem, professor of management at the Wharton School. "And that obviously is going to be debated in the case of Carly Fiorina. Net-net, was she a job creator?"

One thing Nick Carnes, professor of public policy at Duke University, says we do know about CEOs is their general political tendency: across all levels of government, he says they tend to favor more conservative economic policy choices.

Why social media investing looks like a rollercoaster

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:00

The share price of social media companies – LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yelp, to name a few – have gone on some bumpy rides lately.  When LinkedIn told investors the year ahead wasn’t looking as rosy as previously thought, its stock dropped 20 percent in a morning. Twitter saw a similar plunge when it surprised the markets with weak earnings.

If social media stocks seem a bit volatile, “our belief is they should be,” says Rick Summer, an equity strategist at Morningstar.

That’s not because they’re social media companies; it’s that they’re growing fast and their business models are still uncertain.

“Many of these companies are forming new advertising products,” says Summer. “We don’t have a great deal of history in understanding how you and I as users will interact with those advertising products and how advertisers will value that degree of advertising.”

Therefore, the stock price of many social media companies isn’t based on how much they make today, but what investors believe they one day will, says Shyam Patil, a senior vice president with Wedbush Securities.

If suddenly a company’s not growing as fast as expected, investors will reevaluate.

“It’s kind of like compounding, right?” says Patil. “If you’re trying to figure out what $1,000 today is going to be worth in 30 years, a two percentage change in the growth rate is going to have a significant impact."

That’s not unique to social media companies, nor does it mean they’re falling out of favor.

“When you look at the value of these stocks, they’re significant before and significant after,” says Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research. “We can argue about whether the market overreacts – absolutely.”

Wieser says a volatile stock price doesn’t change the inherent value of these companies – just want Wall Street thinks that value is.

His reaction to Twitter’s recent drop? “Cheap now, time to buy.”

Breaking down 'The Avengers' by screen time

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-05-04 13:00

The good people over at the pop culture website Vulture counted up how much screen time each of the Avengers got in the new movie.

Captain America and Iron Man came in at one and two. Black Widow, that's Scarlett Johansson to those not familiar, was third.

The Hulk was 5th — that's the screen time of Bruce Banner and The Hulk combined, by the way.

And I'd just like to say, speaking for Norwegians everywhere, that Thor totally got the short straw: a lousy 14 minutes of screen time.

Dan Hill/Marketplace

Replica Of Lafayette's Ship Re-Creates Historic Voyage To America

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 12:44

The Marquis de Lafayette sailed from France to America in 1780 to help the new nation defeat the British. A $29 million replica of the Hermione tall ship is retracing that journey.

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The Avengers' best superpower might be merchandising

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-05-04 12:41

Sales of "Avengers" merchandise lept from $325 million in 2013 to over $1 billion in 2014. Marketing licensed products to adults is responsible for a big chunk of that.

There's everything from Gamma-ray-blasted Greek yogurt from Chobani to the Hulk's cologne that smells like sandalwood, dry musk, and warm cedar. And there are collaborations with brands like Under Armour and Forever 21.

Four Five released a collection incorporating subtle elements inspired by Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. Think of it as "geek couture." For women, there's the "Her Universe" collection with the Thor sailor dress, the Captain America halter dress, and the Black Widow belted jacket.

But why has the the "Avengers" brand been so successful in making the jump to mainstream culture?

"What a brand has to do is, they have to strike a chord in the brain of the buyers they're targeting," explains explains Ira Kalb, assistant professor of clinical marketing at the Marshall School of Business at USC. "Marvel characters already have that."

And the push is worldwide. "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is the most-marketed movie ever in India. If you're in a Subway in Mumbai, you can stop in for the Double Aloo Melt, one of the signature "Avengers" sandwiches currently available.

Along with kids and parents, there are now teens, 20-somethings, and working professionals from Beijing to Berlin buying "Avengers" products. With the Avengers franchise bringing together the characters of Marvel's other hit movies, the sun never sets on the empire.

The next two sequels are already scheduled for release in 2018 and 2019. Disney and Marvel are betting big on the continued global demand for all things Avengers, like pint glasses, ice cube trays, coffee mugs, water bottles, combat boots, canvas slip-ons, Gillette razors, Peavey guitar straps, waffle makers, iPhone covers and so much more.

Space Shot: Italian Astronaut 'Boldly' Brews Espresso On Space Station

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 12:36

Italian Sam Cristoforetti tweeted Sunday an image of her sipping espresso from a zero-gravity cup. No word yet on whether the coffee was any good.

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Nepali Village Struggles To Recover From Earthquake

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 12:31

Some have vented their anger by throwing rocks at visiting politicians. Others have become social workers in their villages. But many Nepalis are absorbed in the daily struggle to find food and water.

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When Hospitals Close, Frequent Fears About Care Aren't Realized

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 12:17

Mortality rates for Medicare patients don't rise in communities after their hospitals shut down, say Harvard researchers who analyzed 195 closures across the country.

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Sandwich Monday: We're Full

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-04 11:34

The Sandwich Monday team says "See you later." Then we say, "Are you gonna eat that?"

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