National News

Modi visit throws spotlight on Indian-Americans

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-29 02:00

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is currently visiting the U.S. He’ll meet with President Obama Monday, but he also appeared before a sold-out crowd of nearly 20,000 people at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday, which speaks in part to the strength and enthusiasm of the Indian-American community.

Officially, there are more than 3 million Indian-Americans in the U.S. and — as a group — they’ve been largely successful.

Their median household income is roughly $100,000 — about double that of the rest of the population — according to 2013 American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Part of this comes down to education,” says Milan Vaishnav, an associate in the South Asia Program with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I think nearly three-quarters of Indians who are coming to the United States already had a bachelor’s degree,” he says.

Many gain access to the U.S. on skills-based visas and enter fields like software, engineering, medicine, and finance.

Not all support Modi politically, but the visit is a chance to express national pride, says Vaishnav.

Over the last decade, Indian-Americans have become increasingly politically active, says John Echeverri-Gent, a professor at the University of Virginia.

“This is a group that in terms of its political lobby is really coming of age,” he says. In particular, Indian-Americans are increased in pushing for stronger ties between the U.S. and their home country, as well as immigration reform.

But Indian-Americans should not be seen as a monolith, says Suman Raghunathan, the executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together.

“Part of what the per capita numbers don’t fully portray is the incredible economic and socioeconomic diversity we see in the Indian-American population,” she explains, noting an increasing number of Indians in the U.S. who are undocumented or are here on temporary visas. 

How techies are re-envisioning restaurants

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-29 02:00

In San Francisco, you can see the future of restaurants...or at least as it’s envisioned by the techies. And no surprise, that dining experience starts with an app.

You didn’t bring your lunch and you don’t have time to go out? Go to your iPhone, look for your favorite restaurant app, and click on the photo of the lunch you want. While they can’t quite zap it to you yet, they’re working on it.

“Ah, here we go. An order, it just popped up on my app!” says Cayden Berkmoyer, a driver at Sprig, one of the many food tech start-ups popping up in San Francisco. We’re in his car, and in the back seat is a big bag full of assorted boxed lunches. Here’s how Sprig works: when you place an order, an algorithm sends it to the nearest driver.  

“The order is for Tanya,” Berkmoyer says, reading off his app—she ordered a kale granola salad. With that he starts his car and is on his way.

Sprig is like a San Francisco-style restaurant, only on wheels. Lunch is $9 and the food is mostly organic; the meat hormone-free. The start-up won’t say if it’s profitable or how many meals it serves a day. But it’s looking to expand into more cities, says Nate Keller, Sprig’s executive chef.

“Sprig is a company whose mission is to bring healthy food to the masses,” Keller says.

And Sprig thinks it can do this by using technology, which will cut out waste and allow it to compete with big restaurants on price while still offering healthier options.

Kent Bennett with Bessemer Venture Partners says in the past, tech investors stayed away from food.

“The challenges are immense,” he says. “Most of the companies we invest in move ones and zeros around, and food tech companies, you’re moving heirloom tomatoes around. You know, they start to rot the second they come off the vine.”

And rotting food, a big problem in the restaurant industry, is money down the drain. But Bennett says with the tech boom, investors are giving food another look.

“This is a trillion-dollar market, there’s no category of software that even begins to approach that number,” Bennett says. “And there’s a lot of pain in the food space, whether it’s health and wellness or affordability.”

And Bennett says venture capitalists are betting that start-ups can use mobile computing and big data to take away some of the pain, and take on traditional food companies. 

ATM fees continue to rise

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-29 02:00

Using the ATM can be convenient, and banking industry consultant Bert Ely says that when it comes to out-of-network fees, ease is where the problem begins.

“First of all, ATM machines are getting more sophisticated,” he says.

According to Ely, maintaining and upgrading ATMs to handle fancy new features, like video tellers, costs banks a lot of money. Meanwhile, low interest rates have kept profits down. 

“So, they look elsewhere for income,” he says.

They look, for instance, to out-of-network ATM fees. A new study from Bankrate.com and data from other research shows average out-of-network fees are up between 2.5 and 5 percent over last year. So while your bank might not be charging you, it's instead slapping customers from other banks with fees when they use its ATMs.

“The reality is it’s better for them to charge other banks' customers, than their own more," says Jim Miller, senior director of banking with market research company J.D. Power.

Miller says that unlike with overdraft fees, at least using another bank’s ATM is a choice — albeit, an expensive one.

So where are you likeliest to pay the most? Here are the five cities that have the highest ATM fees, on average:

1. Phoenix, AZ: $4.96

Alan Stark/Flickr

2. Denver, CO: $4.75

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

3. San Diego, CA: $4.70

Justin Brown/Flickr

4. Houston, TX: $4.67

Adam Baker/Flickr

5. Milwaukee, WI: $4.66

Joseph A/Flickr

 

Survey: ATM, Checking Account Overdraft Fees Surge

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 23:44

The survey released Monday by Bankrate.com finds the average fee for using an out-of-network ATM climbed 5 percent over the past year to a new high of $4.35 per transaction.

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In N.H. Race, A Rematch Of A Rematch

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 23:30

Voters in New Hampshire's 1st District have swung back and forth in recent congressional elections. This year, Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter meets former GOP Rep. Frank Guinta for the third time.

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In N.H. Race, A Rematch Of A Rematch

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 23:30

Voters in New Hampshire's 1st District have swung back and forth in recent congressional elections. This year, Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter meets former GOP Rep. Frank Guinta for the third time.

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Who's Buried In The 'Magnificent' Tomb From Ancient Greece?

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 23:28

The largest archaeological find of its kind in Greece has set off speculation and thrilled Greeks, reminding them they are rich in history.

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Rochester Focuses On A New Picture Of American Manufacturing

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 23:27

Rochester, N.Y., was once the imaging capital of the world, home to Kodak, Xerox and Bausch + Lomb. Now, with a drastically cut manufacturing sector, the city is trying to build something new.

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A Doctor Unlocks Mysteries of the Brain By Talking And Watching

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 23:26

If you have a problem with your heart or liver, the diagnosis will likely be made by a lab test or medical image. But neurologist Allan Ropper says those tests often fail when it comes to the brain.

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HBCUs Move To Address Campus Sexual Assaults, But Is It Enough?

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 23:26

One major study found sexual assaults are lower on campuses of historically black colleges and universities. But some question those numbers and whether HBCUs have the resolve to address the issue.

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Calif. Assault Law Requires College Students To Give Consent Before Sex

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 22:46

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when "yes means yes" and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports.

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Europe Wins The Ryder Cup Behind A Star And A Rookie

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 22:23

Europe added another layer to its Ryder Cup dominance on Sunday by leaving no doubt who had the best team. Behind two early comebacks, Europe clinched the cup with four matches still on the course.

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Derek Jeter Plays Final Game, Nationals Get Their First No-Hitter

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 22:12

Jordan Zimmermann is the first Washington National to pitch a no-hitter. And, Yankees captain Derek Jetter ended his 20-year career in Boston with an RBI-single during his final at-bat.

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Obama: U.S. Underestimated ISIS, Overestimated Iraqi Army

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 15:10

In an interview with 60 Minutes the president, citing the director of national intelligence, acknowledged that U.S. intelligence overestimated the ability of the Iraqi army to fight the group.

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To Counter Gun Violence, Researchers Seek Deeper Data

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 13:06

For the first time in nearly 20 years, federal money is flowing into gun violence research. There's also growing momentum behind creating a reliable national database for firearm injuries and deaths.

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Sober And Sold-Out: Dance Club In Sweden Cuts Booze For A Night

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 12:44

Breathalyzers were placed in the doorway of a nightclub in Stockholm this weekend, with an unusual purpose: to ensure no guests had been drinking any booze.

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People Be Triflin', From 'Bills, Bills, Bills' To The Bible

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 10:47

The word "trifling" (or, as it may be more commonly said, "triflin'"), used to blast folks as lazy, good-for-nothing cheaters, goes back quite a ways.

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Kenya's Kimetto Sets New Marathon World Record In Berlin

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 10:09

For the first time, the world record in the marathon is now under 2 hours and 3 minutes, after Dennis Kimetto of Kenya tore through the course at Sunday's Berlin Marathon.

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The Experts The Ebola Response May Need: Anthropologists

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 08:54

The scientists who study humans and their cultures could help health care professionals treat people who are reasonably, desperately afraid, they argue.

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Popular Indian Politician's Corruption Conviction Spurs Nervousness

NPR News - Sun, 2014-09-28 08:14

A ruling against J. Jayalalithaa in India's highest-profile corruption case has stunned a political class that is widely seen as permeated with graft. She's been sentenced to four years in prison.

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