National News

Baltimore Court Begins Hearings On Freddie Gray Case

NPR News - Wed, 2015-09-02 04:00

Six police officers are charged in the arrest and death of Gray, who died of injuries suffered while in custody. A judge is considering a motion to dismiss the case.

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PODCAST: Waiting at Wal-Mart

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-09-02 03:00

On today's show, we'll talk about job growth in August; Wal-Mart's attempts to reinvent; and selling bonds during wartime to support U.S. efforts.

For Second Day, Stranded Migrants Camp Out At Train Station In Budapest

NPR News - Wed, 2015-09-02 02:49

Hungarian authorities stopped the migrants, including refugees from Syria and Iraq, from boarding trains bound for Western Europe. The station has become the latest flashpoint in the migrant crisis.

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Selling bonds to fund the war and fight inflation

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-09-02 02:00

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end World War II — May 8 was the anniversary of victory in Europe and September 2 marks the formal surrender of Japan.  

Central to the war effort at home was the war bond. The U.S. sold more than $150 billion worth of them to help fund the war, fight inflation and give those who stayed home a way to contribute.   

Marketplace’s Sabri Ben-Achour spoke to Ken McGee, who sold those bonds as a child. 

Click the above audio player to hear more about the history of war bonds, and the below audio player to hear McGee's full story about his war bond-selling experience.    

I’m Ken McGee, B Kenneth McGee, 84-years-old. I live in the middle of the woods near a little crossroads which is called Centerville, North Carolina, in like the middle of nowhere.

In 1944, I was 13 years old. My dad was Irish Catholic, my mother was Jewish, and my dad had very strong feelings about the war. My mom had people in the caps some which got in some which didn’t. So of course we felt very strongly about the war. 

Dad was really too old to go back in but he volunteered to go back in. He was gone for probably 2 or 3 years he was at D-Day in Normandy plus a couple days, he was in all the major battles. I will never forget the day the Normandy invasion began. I think my mom and I listened to the radio all night. I remember listening wondering if dad was on that.

I felt like I had to do more than just collect tin foil like all the other children were doing. So I volunteered in the war bonds effort.

So I went door to door selling war bonds — And you could do that in those days; a little boy, going door to door.  They were 18 dollars and 75 cents each; maturity date they were 25 dollars. 

I was so thrilled to be doing it, and I can remember the day I sold 10 bonds in one day. I thought I was a hero. But I think a lot of people were buying those not as an investment but as a contribution to the war.  In those days, that was our lives. We were consumed by the war.  If you weren’t at war you felt like you had to do something to contribute, you know?

Selling bonds to fund the war

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-09-02 02:00

This year marks the 70th anniversary of World War II — May 8th marked the anniversary of victory in Europe, and September 2nd marks the formal surrender of Japan, ending World War II.  

Central to war effort here at home was the war bond. The U.S. sold more than $150 billion dollars worth of them to help fund the war, fight inflation, and give those who stayed home a way to support the war effort.   

Marketplace’s Sabri Ben-Achour spoke to a gentleman named Ken McGee, who sold those bonds as a child. 

Click the above audio player to hear more.  

I’m Ken McGee, B Kenneth McGee, 84-years-old. I live in the middle of the woods near a little crossroads which is called Centerville, North Carolina, in like the middle of nowhere.

In 1944, I was 13 years old. My dad was Irish Catholic, my mother was Jewish, and my dad had very strong feelings about the war. My mom had people in the caps some which got in some which didn’t. So of course we felt very strongly about the war. 

Dad was really too old to go back in but he volunteered to go back in. He was gone for probably 2 or 3 years he was at D-Day in Normandy plus a couple days, he was in all the major battles. I will never forget the day the Normandy invasion began. I think my mom and I listened to the radio all night. I remember listening wondering if dad was on that.

I felt like I had to do more than just collect tin foil like all the other children were doing. So I volunteered in the war bonds effort.

So I went door to door selling war bonds — And you could do that in those days; a little boy, going door to door.  They were 18 dollars and 75 cents each; maturity date they were 25 dollars. 

I was so thrilled to be doing it, and I can remember the day I sold 10 bonds in one day. I thought I was a hero. But I think a lot of people were buying those not as an investment but as a contribution to the war.  In those days, that was our lives. We were consumed by the war.  If you weren’t at war you felt like you had to do something to contribute, you know?

Wal-Mart's goal: Reinvention

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-09-02 02:00

Customers don’t like waiting, and the country's largest retailer knows it.

Notes Charles Fishman, author "The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works," “The number one complaint people have about Wal-Mart is it takes too long to give you my money.”

The problem, says Fishman, has a simple fix — more workers at the check out line. But increasing the hours for workers who’ve just been given raises can create another problem altogether.

“It’s more expensive to pay people more," he says. "At least at the start.”

Wal-Mart has a plan in place: to spend an additional $1 billion a year on wages. But "we are going to be controlling costs, that’s what we do at Wal-Mart," says Kory Lundberg, a company spokesman. And that includes trimming worker’s hours at what Lunderberg says is a small number of stores using staff significantly above the hours budgeted to them.

The country's largest retailer is trying to reinvent itself, says Enrico Moretti, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. “From a low margin, low profit, very cheap store, to one where customer experience is better.”

But that costs money.

Would dumping the Iran deal hurt the dollar?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-09-02 02:00

Secretary of State John Kerry will speak in Philadelphia on Wednesday about the Iran nuclear deal. It’s part of the Obama administration's push to round up votes in Congress. One of the administration's main arguments suggests the dollar is vulnerable as the world’s go-to currency if the U.S. goes it alone on rejecting the deal.

President Barack Obama says walking away would weaken U.S. credibility, not to mention create financial complications with markets around the globe if the U.S. unilaterally imposesd sanctions on Iran and its trading partners.

Chris Sheridan, senior editor for Financial Sense, says there’s been fear that the dollar will lose its reserve currency status for decades. But that assertion comes with some pretty big implications.

“To say the U.S., or the U.S. Dollar is going to lose its reserve currency status is really to say that the U.S. is going to no longer be the world’s largest economy," he says.

That would take a while, maybe decades. Backing out is sure to put the U.S. in an awkward position with its allies and international banks. But is it really as dire as Kerry suggests?

Jim Gelvin, history professor at UCLA, says the U.S. could certainly reprimand a country for trading with a nation that it has sanctioned. “But can we really sanction the British pound, the Deutschmark, the franc, and the Chinese? It’s impossible.”

Secretary Kerry has continued to point to Russia’s suggestion that continued sanctions could jeopardize the dollar’s dominant global position.

Using colleges' names? They're looking for you.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-09-02 02:00

It’s that time of year again — college students are back on campus. It’s also the busy season for college and university licensed merchandise, from hoodies to umbrellas. The collegiate merchandise market takes in $4.6 billion in annual sales. That’s up from $2.9 billion 10 years ago. And the revenue from those licenses is fiercely protected. 

Mary Cesar of Mary's Cakes and Pastries

Gigi Douban/Marketplace

Mary Cesar owns a small bakery  in Northport, near the University of Alabama campus. There’s lots of school spirit in the cookies and cakes she sells: houndstooth hats, for the hat legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant  wore; elephant heads; elephant bodies for the school’s mascot, Big Al

Cesar also sells cookies with a script “A” on them, some with the phrase “Roll Tidel” It wasn’t a problem until a few years ago, when the university sent her a cease and desist letter.  

“I was in shock,” Cesar says. “I mean I truly was like, 'holy crap,' excuse the expression.” 

Those cookies and cakes, the university said, had to be licensed. It was a week away from football season, and Cesar didn’t want a long, drawn out legal battle. So in a few days the matter was settled: she bought a license.

Cookies from Mary's Cakes and Pastries

Gigi Douban

Susan Alessandri, who teaches advertising at Suffolk University, says the stronger a school’s brand, the more people want to see it on everything.

Cory Moss, senior vice president and managing director at Collegiate Licensing Company, says brand protection is at the cornerstone of what CLC does. And to him, it’s clear cut. Take a t-shirt that says “Alabama”.“But also the bigger brands, say the University of Alabama, they have the resources to go after offenders,” Alessandri says, “and they’re going to.”

“Is it in crimson, is it sold around other Alabama product, would an average consumer look at that product and say that’s referencing the University of Alabama?” he asks.

CLC trolls the Internet for people selling unlicensed merchandise. Moss calls them counterfeiters. Selling unlicensed items, he says, robs universities of revenue that goes toward scholarships and athletic programs.

Lego in space

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-09-02 01:59
20 plastic figures

That's how many Lego statuettes were up into space with Denmark's first astronaut Wednesday. As Reuters writes, the company also reported strong earnings — it enjoyed an 18 percent rise in first-half sales. 

$12

That's how much you'll have to pay for Hulu's newly announced commercial-free subscription. The move puts the streaming service in line with competitors like Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go. The move is partly in response to social media outrage over commercials during popular series carried on the site, like "Seinfeld," the New York Times reports.

70th anniversary

World War II officially ended on Sept. 2, 1945. Central to the war effort at home was the war bond. The U.S. sold more than $150 billion worth of them to help fund the war, fight inflation and give those who stayed home a way to contribute. We spoke with Ken McGee, who remembers selling war bonds as a child.

$4.6 billion

That's how much the collegiate merchandise market takes in on an annual basis. That's way up from $2.9 billion it took in 10 years ago. It's why in addition to promoting school spirit, universities ... are pretty litigious.

 

How A Suit Against Uber Could Redefine The Sharing Economy

NPR News - Wed, 2015-09-02 01:20

A federal judge has allowed some drivers to proceed with a class-action suit against the ride-hailing service. The case could affect other companies in the sharing economy such as Airbnb and Lyft.

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Minority Rules: Capitol Hill Vote Tactics Displayed in Iran Deal

NPR News - Wed, 2015-09-02 01:03

When Congress votes on the deal this month, it will be considered under rules that favor the president, even if his opponents gain a majority.

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Why Is There An Extra Point In Football And, Do We Need It?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-09-02 00:56

This year, the extra-point line of scrimmage has been moved back to the 15-yard line. Will that make any demonstrable difference in lowering the conversion rate?

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As More Adults Pedal, Their Biking Injuries And Deaths Are Spiking Too

NPR News - Wed, 2015-09-02 00:43

Hospital admissions caused by bike injuries have more than doubled in the past 15 years across the country. One doctor thinks the "Lance Armstrong effect" could be a reason for the jump.

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Kentucky Marriage License Dispute 'Up To Courts,' Governor Says

NPR News - Tue, 2015-09-01 16:27

"I have no legal authority to relieve her of her statutory duty by executive order or to remove her from office," Gov. Steve Beshear says of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

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Trial Begins For Alabama Officer In Encounter That Paralyzed Indian Man

NPR News - Tue, 2015-09-01 15:44

The Madison Police Department officer is charged with violating the civil rights of Sureshbhai Patel, who was slammed into the ground face-first after not responding to English-language commands.

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U.S. Stock Markets Tumble By Nearly 3 Percent As China Worries Renew

NPR News - Tue, 2015-09-01 14:43

The Dow is now down nearly 10 percent in 2015, after falling 469 points Tuesday to close at 16,058.

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CNN Just Found A Way To Get Fiorina Onto The Debate Stage

NPR News - Tue, 2015-09-01 14:38

Fiorina has been fighting CNN's debate criteria for weeks. Now, she might get her way and make it into the network's main debate.

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Former Police Chief In S.C. Sentenced To House Arrest Over Unarmed Man's Death

NPR News - Tue, 2015-09-01 14:13

More than a month after his second trial on murder charges ended in a mistrial, former Eutawville, S.C., police chief Richard Combs agreed to plead guilty to misconduct in office Tuesday.

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Huge Fish Farm Planned Near San Diego Aims To Fix Seafood Imbalance

NPR News - Tue, 2015-09-01 13:50

The aquaculture project would be the same size as New York's Central Park and produce 11 million pounds of yellowtail and sea bass each year. But some people see it as an aquatic "factory farm."

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"Mob" Museum Unveils FIFA Corruption Exhibit

NPR News - Tue, 2015-09-01 13:44

A new exhibit about FIFA's recent corruption is on display at the Las Vegas museum of contemporary organized crime.

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