National News

Why Does Saudi Arabia Seem So Comfortable With Falling Oil Prices?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:15

Normally, the "central banker of oil" would slow production to push up prices. Not so now. Some say it's a geopolitical tactic aimed at Russia and Iran; others say it's just protecting market share.

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American Volunteers In Liberia Are Anti-Quarantine

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:03

They fear that the threat of isolating a returning health worker for 21 days will cause a drop in the number of volunteers at a time when more medical staff is needed to quash the outbreak.

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Thieves Tunnel Into Indian Bank Vault — From Across The Street

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

When a bank in northern India opened for business Monday, the staff was surprised to find the strongroom breached from underground. Local media say the crime resembles a movie plot.

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The numbers for October 28, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 09:04

Six years and $3 trillion later, quantitative easing is coming to an end. The Federal Reserve is expected to make an announcement following a tw0-day meeting in Washington this week. The Washington Post has an interesting history of the bond-buying "experiment," noting QE was originally intended as a one-time injection into the economy, but has been used to stimulate growth in many areas.

As we await official word from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on the policy, here are some other stories we're reading — and numbers we're watching — Tuesday:

3.5 million

That's how many customers have had their Internet speed slowed down more than 25 million times by AT&T since fall 2011, according to a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission Tuesday. Many of these customers are heavy data users with unlimited plans, which AT&T no longer offers, Reuters reported. The FTC called the throttling "deceptive," with some customers' speeds slowed up to 90 percent.

300 million

The number of people using Alibaba's payment system, Alipay. Alibaba founder Jack Ma, fresh off a massive IPO, is set to meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook this week to talk about potential partnerships, the Wall Street Journal reported. Apple just launched its own mobile payment system last week. 

25

The number of times per second new RFID chips installed in NFL players' shoulder pads transmit their location. The new sensors allow for near-real-time motion tracking and player data of unparalleled depth, the Verge reported. The league is experimenting with these "next-gen stats" in games this year, with an eye toward putting more sensors on all players and, eventually, the ball.

9

The number of movies Marvel Studios announced through 2019 at an event in Los Angeles Tuesday. It's a shot across the bow at DC Comics' similarly huge plan, announced earlier this month, for ten new films through 2020. 

A Family's Fall Harvest Blooms In 'A Kitchen In France'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 09:03

Since moving her large family from a Paris apartment to a historic farmhouse in the French countryside, author Mimi Thorisson has found a way to merge the best of the different worlds she has known.

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Happy Birthday To Google Doodle Honoree Dr. Jonas Salk!

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 08:51

On the 100th anniversary of the polio pioneer's birth, Google takes note with a doodle. As the world gears up to fight Ebola, it's a good time to remember one of the heroes of a 1950s epidemic.

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The Many, Many Secret Lives Of Teachers

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 07:53

What do teachers do outside the classroom? We've gotten hundreds of responses to that question. To list a few: They officiate at weddings, run nonprofits and Jazzercise.

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Insurers May Cover Costly Hepatitis C Drugs Only For The Very Ill

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 07:20

Many insurers are restricting access to new drugs that are easier to take and that promise higher cure rates because the price tags can run $95,000 or more.

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Pope Says God Not 'A Magician, With A Magic Wand'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 07:18

Speaking at an assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Francis also affirmed that evolution and the Big Bang are consistent with a creator.

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Australia Blocks New Visas From West Africa Over Ebola Outbreak

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 07:09

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says Australia's steps to keep Ebola from crossing its borders include "temporarily suspending our immigration program, including our humanitarian program."

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The 21-year-old who owns a factory in China

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 07:02

Alex Shlaferman was 11 years old when he made $10,000 by selling DVDs that taught viewers how to levitate. At the age of 16, he founded his company, Vante Toys. His venture has been so successful that he now owns his own manufacturing company in China.

Vante Toys is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.

"I create products for the mass market," says Shlaferman. "My specialty is products that are under like 20 bucks, that’s what I’m good at. I don’t understand luxury goods or high-end fashion; I understand products that sell for like ten, twenty bucks."

The 21-year-old that owns a factory in China

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 07:02

Alex Shlaferman was 11 years old when he made $10,000 by selling DVDs that taught viewers how to levitate. At the age of 16, he founded his company, Vante Toys. His venture has been so successful that he now owns his own manufacturing company in China.

Vante Toys is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.

"I create products for the mass market," says Shlaferman. "My specialty is products that are under like 20 bucks, that’s what I’m good at. I don’t understand luxury goods or high-end fashion; I understand products that sell for like ten, twenty bucks."

Friend Of Accused Boston Bomber Found Guilty Of Lying To Police

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 06:46

Prosecutors said Robel Phillipos lied to the FBI agents investigating the April 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

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A holiday rush at ports piles up cargo

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 06:18

There’s a traffic jam in Los Angeles, but this one’s not on the freeways. The port complex  of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s busiest, is so backed up right now that some importers are avoiding the port altogether. Problems there are delaying some shipments for two weeks or more. The bottleneck is giving southern California’s ports “a black eye,” says Jock O’Connell, international trade adviser at Beacon Economics.

There’s congestion at many ports right now, but the Los Angeles-Long Beach complex handles 40 percent of U.S. imports, so the ripple effects are long and wide.  If retailers are "planning on having it stocked for the Christmas holiday, it needs to be in the port now, it needs to be moving through,” says Frank Layo, a partner with Kurt Salmon Associates. “So any delays now are kind of critical. We’re running out of runway.”

Port officials say the delays at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are rooted in a shortage of trailer chassis, to load the containers onto. But that problem has been exacerbated by an unexpected surge in imports this year, along with the sudden rise of “mega-ships.” They can carry three times as many containers as older ships and they’re straining port capacity. Others say unresolved labor negotiations at the port are crimping efforts to ease the port’s traffic jam as well.

Some retailers are diverting shipments to other ports and a few are even flying merchandise into the U.S.  But Noel Hacegaba, chief commercial officer at the Port of Long Beach, says they’re working hard to ease congestion. “At the end of the day our reputation is at stake,” says Hacegaba. “Beneficial cargo owners have choices. And we are doing everything that we can to make sure that we continue to be the gateway of choice.”

China May Drop 9 Crimes From List Of Death Penalty Offenses

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 06:01

The move appears to be part of a trend to reduce the use of the death penalty in a country that still executes more people than any other.

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With Obamacare, More Millennials Are Going To The Doctor, Sort Of

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 05:55

Once young adults started getting coverage through their parents, they started getting checkups more often, a study finds. But they still may need help filling a prescription.

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Nurse Amber Vinson Discharged After Testing 'Ebola-Free'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 04:49

The 29-year-old nurse, one of two who became infected while treating Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, is being released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

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Planned Vote In Ukraine's Separatist East Gets Moscow's Blessing

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 04:01

Luhansk and Donetsk, which have been under a shaky truce since early September, would participate in the vote, which Russia's foreign minister has said is "important to legitimize authorities there."

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Hawaii Lava Flow Less Than 100 Yards From Homes In Pahoa Village

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 03:18

The flow, which began at Mount Kilauea in June, threatens to take out dozens of homes on the Big Island.

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PODCAST: The NBA banks major net gains

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 03:00

We might be on the cusp of a change in the business-evolution of online video. Hint: it involves YouTube, which is owned by Google, and paid subscription service. And the NBA season starts tonight with three games, and the promise of a lot of money. This month the basketball league announced a 9-year, $24 billion deal with TV networks; nearly tripling the cash it gets from broadcasting. But the trickle-down started before the deal was even signed. Plus, since the landmark "Citizens United" Supreme Court decision in 2010, money from outside groups has poured into elections. In Iowa, what's unusual this year is that in addition to a blizzard of TV ads, members of outside groups are also out knocking doors

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