National News

Universities To Speakers Who've Visited West Africa: En Garde!

NPR News - Sat, 2014-10-18 01:37

Fears of Ebola — not always justified — have caused organizers in Africa and the United States to cancel or reschedule events they worry may lead to spread of the disease.

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Tech Week: Egg Freezing, Gamergate And Online Giving

NPR News - Sat, 2014-10-18 01:36

Debates about the role of women in the technology workforce and in gaming are swirling over two notable stories this week.

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Hurricane Gonzalo Makes Landfall In Bermuda As A Category 3 Storm

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 16:31

With maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, the hurricane gave Bermuda a direct blow. There were reports that 80 percent of the island chain had lost power.

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Dallas Hospital Chief Shares Lessons Learned In Battle With Ebola

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 15:32

Dr. Daniel Varga, the chief of the Dallas hospital that treated index patient Thomas Duncan, says the entire hospital carries the weight of the mistakes that led to the infection of two of its nurses.

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Houston Narrows The Scope Of Controversial Subpoena Of Pastors' Sermons

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 14:36

The subpoenas — at the crossroads of church and state and born out of a lawsuit over an equal rights ordinance — drew ire from national organizations and Sen. Ted Cruz.

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Oscar Pistorius' Sentencing And The Classic True Crime Novel

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 14:33

Oscar Pistorius, superstar athlete, was back in court this week for his sentencing hearing, after a culpable homicide conviction. Journalist Mandy Wiener says his case reminds her of a favorite book.

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As Gas Prices Drop, Hybrid Sales Shift Into Low Gear

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 14:26

Gas prices are falling — and so are hybrid car sales. Analysts say better gas mileage for traditional vehicles, combined with low gas prices, is giving hybrids a run for their money.

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Quiz: Where student spending hasn’t bounced back

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-17 14:17

Per-student funding is still below pre-recession levels in 30 states, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Which state cut per-student funding by the greatest percentage between fiscal 2008 and 2015?

See the report here for information on all the states.

Email Just Can't Compete With Heartfelt 'Letters Of Note'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 13:43

The art of letter writing is also an act of preserving history. The correspondences gathered in the book Letters Of Note tell stories of delight, hope and loss — and the nature of human connection.

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How The Florida Governor's Debate Became #Fangate

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 13:37

Republican Gov. Rick Scott's campaign wanted organizers to cancel Wednesday night's debate if Democrat Charlie Crist was allowed to use a fan at his podium.

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My Money Story: Eustace Conway, off the grid

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-17 13:14

Eustace Conway is a Naturalist who lives in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina. He's been living in the forest there for nearly 40 years.

When Conway was 17 years old, he left the suburbs to live outdoors. He has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, and has crossed the United States on horseback from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

When it comes to money, Conway says he has little use for it. He is the subject of the book, The Last American Man, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

U.S. To Temporarily Halt Funding For Controversial Virus Research

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 12:44

The federal government will suspend funding while it reviews the potential risks and benefits of certain experiments with three viruses: SARS, MERS and influenza.

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Washington, D.C., Pitches New Bridge Park As A 'Model For Social Equity'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 12:19

The park, built on piers left over from an obsolete, demolished bridge, would connect two disparate parts of the city in hopes of sparking new life and knitting two communities.

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Why Won't The Fear Of Airborne Ebola Go Away?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 12:18

Infectious disease specialists say Ebola can't spread through the air, but many Americans remain deeply skeptical. The history of past outbreaks suggests airborne transmission isn't a threat.

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California Nurses' Union Pulls Ebola Into Contract Talks

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 12:04

Ebola training, staffing and protective gear are bargaining chips as nurses in California hammer out a new contract with Kaiser Permanente. Their requests mirror the concerns of nurses nationwide.

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Drop In Unemployment Raises Debate On Optimal Rate

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 12:04

Now that unemployment has slipped below 6 percent, there's renewed interest in what the Federal Reserve's target for joblessness should be. Some economists worry that inflation will resurface.

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Tech IRL: What meerkats have to do with the future of the internet

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-17 12:01

Thanks to white broadcast spaces, you can stream meerkats at the London Zoo:



Or, otters:



Or, even Galapagos tortoises:



White spaces basically consist of the channels not being used by traditional TV, and, like the partnership between Google and the London Zoo illustrates, can be used to transmit other types of information.

What's interesting about white space waves is that they travel extremely far; the wi-fi in your office starts to slow down when you're too far from an internet router, but white space waves can travel 6 miles without suffering. It could be used to deliver Internet broadband on the open ocean, or for networks of sensors that can protect cities from natural disasters.

But, the future of white space depends on what the FCC and other regulators decide to do, and whether some of these tests, like the meerkat cameras, prove we can use white spaces without interfering with channels that are already being used. 

Egality N'est Pas La Réalité: French Women Wage Online War On Sexism

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-17 11:39

When a company told one French feminist it was "sorry" she found its ad sexist, she decided to fight back. She's launched a website where users target sexist companies and people on social media.

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Weekly Wrap: Volatility, always

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-17 11:00

John Carney with the Wall Street Journal and Linette Lopez from Business Insider join Kai to discuss the week in review.

How to stop your people from freaking out about Ebola

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-17 11:00

The President has tapped White House veteran Ron Klain to be the nation’s Ebola Czar.

The appointment comes as fears of the virus spread with a poll this week showing nearly half Americans are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” they will contract Ebola.

So how do companies deal with this? How do they keep workers safe and operations running smoothly? The first thing some businesses did this week was call Arun Sharma.

“A lot of the questions we are getting is how do we control the fear and anxiety in the workplace,” he says.

Sharma works for Control Risks, an international firm that helps Fortune 500 companies around the globe manage risk. Especially for those clients with operations in Ebola hot spots, Sharma says the essential word is "communicate."

“If you have an operation that’s based in Africa and you want to give employees an opportunity to ask question, have a town hall meeting, bring a medical advisor in that can answer those medical related questions,” she says.

Certainly multinational corporations must start learning about Ebola and its risks, but at a time when flight attendants reportedly locked a passenger in a plane lavatory after she threw up; it's clear employers here in the U.S. have their work cut out for them too. That could mean executives dusting off a report already many have on their shelves.

Years ago, the CDC designed pandemic preparation guidelines. Dr. Robert Quigley, with the medical assistance company International SOS, says there’d be a lot less fear if companies routinely practiced using this tool they already have.

“And companies are definitely not doing that. And as a result they are all kind of caught now in a panic mode, and there’s some scrambling going on,” he says.

One way to cut down on the corporate chaos, Quigley says, is for companies to focus on their business and develop what he calls a continuity plan.

“They need to have trigger points that indicate when they need to pull people out of harm’s way, whether or not travel really needs to take place, and whether that’s going to negatively impact their bottom line,” he says.

Sorting that bit out should help sober up the room says Quigley. The doctor says remember the more afraid you and your staff are, the more likely operations will be interrupted.

The antidote: education and preparation.

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