National News

CDC Announces New Guidelines For Health Care Workers Treating Ebola Patients

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 15:40

The new guidelines call for a site supervisor, who makes sure healthcare workers put on and remove their personal protective equipment correctly.

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This Past September Ranks As Hottest On Record, NOAA Says

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 14:03

The agency says if 2014 continues to be this hot, it's on pace to be the hottest year on record.

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When Reassuring Isn't: The Rush To Test Cruise Passenger For Ebola

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 13:47

Galveston, Texas, officials meant well when they tested a passenger while she was still at sea. But some say airlifting a blood sample in a Coast Guard helicopter was needlessly alarming.

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Winners And Losers of The Fall TV Season Begin to Emerge

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 13:40

One month into the TV season, NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says diversity is winning and rom coms are losing as new shows battle for viewers.

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Toyota Becomes Latest Automaker To Issue Recalls Over Faulty Airbags

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 12:52

Since 2008, almost 16 million vehicles have been recalled over worries that airbags might explode if exposed to high humidity for long periods of time.

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Tell us what the economy feels like to you

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-20 12:45

It’s doing better by lots of measurements — but people don’t feel it. Which is part of what Obama is out stumping for through November.

The data says the economy’s doing better — much better. But does it feel better? How’s your economy doing? 

Tell us your story above, and we might include it in the show.

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered By Old Policies

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 12:44

When Tunisia's young people protested in 2011, they had one key demand: jobs. Now, despite new political leadership, that demand remains unmet — even in tech, the sector that offers the most promise.

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Parkinson's Drugs Can Be A Gateway To Sin

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 12:16

Researchers call for stronger safety warnings on drugs called dopamine agonists because they can trigger self-destructive, obsessional behavior in some people.

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Climate Change Has Coffee Growers In Haiti Seeking Higher Ground

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 11:53

Haiti's once-flourishing coffee trade has been badly battered. The latest threat: climate change. Locals who still rely on coffee for their livelihood must learn to grow it in changing climes.

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Sandwich Monday: The Primanti Bros. Pitts-burger

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 11:41

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a sandwich from the famous Primanti Bros. of Pittsburgh.

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Judge Says 1,000 Potential Jurors May Be Screened For Boston Bombing Trial

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 11:35

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial is scheduled to start in January. Out of those 1,000 jurors, 100 of them will be questioned by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

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When the economy gets a 20 percent discount

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-20 11:00

The impact of low oil prices is juicing American families’ pocketbooks in a way similar to a stimulus package, especially if crude stays low. Call it what you want: crude oil dividend, discount, energy quantitative easing.

Oil is 25 percent cheaper since the summer. And for drivers, the stimulus is instant.

“Every additional dollar or two you save at the pump you can use as disposable income right away,” says economist Ed Hirs of Hillhouse Resources and the University of Houston. “ Now you have more money for fast food. Or the six-pack of beer that you've been foregoing the past year or two.”

If oil prices stay low, and many bet it will, the savings will add up to a $200 billion domestic annual stimulus, estimates Citigroup. That’s about the size of the congressional stimulus in 2008. Citi figures the global economic boost is $1.1 trillion – again, annually.

Economist Stephen Brown at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas figures the typical American family saves $40 a month with today’s prices.

“Consumers in Washington D.C., New York and California, among a variety of areas in the United States will all see benefits,” Brown says.

But, he says, fortunes flip for energy producers. States like North Dakota, Wyoming and Oklahoma had benefited from high prices.

Similarly, global petro-states like Venezuela are also hurting from low prices.

“It limits the ability to be able to spend on the more expensive social programs you have within Venezuela,” says global oil analyst Jamie Webster of consultancy IHS-CERA. “It just puts additional pressure on the government there.”

When a economic driver gets a 20 percent discount

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-20 11:00

On the show Monday with Kai Ryssdal we're looking at the many potential consequences of the sustained drop in oil prices worldwide. Over the past few weeks we've examined this trend in oil prices and looked how it is effecting our domestic and global economies.

U.S. benchmark oil price dipped below $90 a barrel, earlier this month. As North America producing more than ever, some key suppliers are facing down a price war. Saudi Arabia, for example, was forced to sell at a discount rather than cut production.

But Saudi Arabia's price cuts could slow down the surging U.S. oil production. Domestic producers were in a bind, risking contributing to a downward spiral in pricing. Only "sweet spots" like North Dakota and Texas could still make money, while other operations won't be able to cover their costs. 

Oil demand growth fell to its lowest in five years last week. The International Energy Agency said demand was expected to grow by 700,000 barrels a day, 200,000 fewer than expected. Experts said that could be a sign of slow global economic recovery.

This week we'll look at the consequences in depth to try and answer the question: What happens when a major economic driver gets a 20 percent discount?

 

 

Volatility in context

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-20 11:00

So there has been all kinds of volatility on Wall Street lately — triple digit ups and downs.

Well, consider this:

27 years ago yesterday, October 19, 1987, was 'Black Monday.' The Dow was off 22 percent that day which came out to 508 points. The next day, known as 'Terrible Tuesday,' nearly caused the New York Stock Exchange to collapse. 

A similar drop today? 3607 points.

All this to say: context truly is everything.

Why IBM is paying $1.5 billion to lose a business

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-20 11:00

Monday was a dark day for IBM investors. The company's stock price fell by more than 7 percent after it released a disappointing quarterly earnings report.

But alongside that announcement came a more unconventional one: IBM is selling its chipmaking business to GlobalFoundries. But in this "sale," GlobalFoundries is collecting the check: $1.5 billion in cash over the next three years. 

"It’s the deal of a century," says Dan Hutcheson, who follows the industry for VSLI research.

The key is to look beyond the headline number. While IBM is paying GlobalFoundries in cash over the next three years, GlobalFoundries will supply chips for IBM servers for the following ten years--inputs that are key for IBM's legacy hardware.

"I know a billion and a half sounds like a lot, but it’s probably a deal for IBM, too," says Hutcheson.

"If you only look at the headline cash number, you are missing a lot of the story," says Rob Salomon, professor at the NYU Stern School of Business.

Acquisitions are complicated, and those complications can make payments to the acquirer economically sound. 

"As a matter of fact, there’s another example where this happened, which is Daimler-Chrysler’s spin-off of Chrysler. In effect, Daimler paid Cerberus to take Chrysler off its hands," Salomon says. 

In this case, there were tax benefits to be had, and the ire of the U.S. government to be avoided. Such deals are rare--Salomon doesn't believe there's been another this year--but aren't unheard of. 

"They’re almost always manufacturing-type businesses, right?" says Peter Cowen, adjunct professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management. "Ones that have heavy overhead, certain amount of infrastructure, certain amount of scale of things that need to unwind if they can’t find a buyer."

In other words, costly businesses — that would be even costlier to shut down.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Rob Salomon's name. The text has been corrected.

Eye Phone? Your Next Eye Exam Might Be Done With Your Phone

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 10:46

Doctors need to look at the eyes to diagnose disease, but the machines they use are big and expensive. An iPhone or tablet may do as well, scientists say, bringing eye care to the underserved.

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The Artificial Boundary That Divides Iraq

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 09:59

A checkpoint near Kirkuk marks the line between Kurdish-controlled territory and the world of Islamic State extremists. Some 5,000 civilians stream across daily, lives and families divided.

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Plane Of Good Samaritans: Why Fly To (And From) West Africa

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-20 09:03

On the plane to Monrovia, our NPR correspondent saw the best of human nature in the passengers on board. Almost all of them were headed to Liberia to lend a helping hand.

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The numbers for October 20, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-20 09:01

Apple Pay launches today, and many are predicting the company - at an advantage with millions of existing iPhone users - could bring mobile payments into the mainstream. Many banks are aggressively advertising the service, the Verge reported, as part of a race to become the default card on users' lock screens.

Apple will report earnings after markets close today. In the meantime, here's what we're reading - and the numbers we're watching - Monday.

43 people

At the 21-day mark since Thomas Duncan was admitted to a Texas hospital and diagnosed with Ebola, 43 of the quarantined contacts have been released, among them Duncan's fiance and her son. Officials pleaded for compassion as their reintegrations began, the Washington Post reported. Additionally, Senegal and Nigeria were both cleared of Ebola over the weekend.

20 seconds

The length of Snapchat's very first ad, a commercial for a movie based on a board game. Snapchat, which is valued at $10 billion, hasn't made money yet, but that could change with the introduction of ads. Universal didn't actually use Snapchat's camera to make a "native" video, AdAge reported, but it did edit the trailer for "Oujia" to look like the app's "stories."

1

That's how many albums have gone platinum this year. Only the soundtrack to Disney's "Frozen," which has moved 3.2 million copies, has the distinction. Every other record has floated under 1 million in sales. By this time last year, Forbes reported, five albums had passed the 1 million mark.

10 percent

The approximate percentage of American Indian and Alaska Natives who have earned a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to about 30 percent of all U.S. adults. Natives have the lowest educational attainment rates of all ethnic and racial groups in America. The American Indian College Fund, founded 25 years ago, was created to assist the country’s more than 30 tribal colleges and universities. These are federally-funded schools located on or near native lands.

1 billion

The tech industry likes to talk about "The Next Billion." It's shorthand for the next billion people that will become online consumers and that makes them the target of tech giants like Google, Facebook and Samsung. This new, targeted market lives in emerging economies like China, India, Brazil and Africa, and have very different needs than the American smartphone user.

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