National News

In Video: The Great Llama Drama Of 2015

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 12:12

The nation was riveted by a pair of llamas that broke free in Sun City, Ariz. The llamas ran through parking lots and boulevards, until the men with lassos were called.

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South Korea Decriminalizes Cheating, Shares Of Contraceptive Companies Rise

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 11:56

The country's Constitutional Court voted 7-2 to abolish a 1953 law that made adultery a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.

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Saudi Man Convicted Of Conspiracy In 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 10:55

Khalid al-Fawwaz was convicted on all four conspiracy charges tied to the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S. has said al-Fawwaz was Osama bin Laden's lieutenant in Britain.

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Banksy's Murals Turn Up In Gaza Strip

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 10:55

The artist, who uses public spaces for his often-provocative murals, posted images of art created in the Gaza Strip, along with a two-minute video of life in the Palestinian territory.

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Alaska Farmer Turns Icy Patch Of Tundra Into A Breadbasket

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 09:47

Warmer temperatures in Alaska are giving farmers flexibility to plant a wider range of crops over a longer growing season. One farmer says the secret to his bounty is soil enriched by flooding rivers.

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Senate Panel OKs Loretta Lynch Nomination As Attorney General

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 09:41

President Obama's nominee cleared a major hurdle to succeed Eric Holder. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 to send the nomination to the full chamber where it is expected to pass.

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This Kickstarter has the most supporters

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-26 09:26

The Kickstarter with the most supporters, at 219,382 people, is a card game called Exploding Kittens.

Here's the key paragraph from its Kickstarter page: "Exploding Kittens is a highly strategic kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game. "

No, I don't know what's the matter with people either, but the thing raised almost $9 million.

Facebook expands suicide prevention efforts

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-26 09:26

Over the next few months, Facebook users will have access to some new tools to help prevent suicide among their friends. Friends can already report suicidal content when they see it online. Now both the person who posts that content — and the friend who reports it — will be directed to mental health resources.

Andrew Souvall

“What this does is it allows people to connect in a large way and provide support through a free platform,” says Stephen Miller, operations manager at Forefront, a nonprofit suicide prevention group in Seattle that helped develop the new tools.

Five years ago Miller lost a friend to suicide, after that friend posted troubling comments on Facebook.

“I didn’t know what to do,” says Miller.

Some privacy advocates are worried about the potential unintended consequences of allowing people to flag their friends.  

“What happens to that record of that tag of someone who’s suicidal?” says Jamie Court with Consumer Watchdog. “Can they ever erase it from their Facebook history, which is the property of Facebook?”

The reporting process is “entirely confidential,” says Rob Boyle, a product manager at Facebook. Posters won't know who flagged their content, and what they choose to do remains private.

Andrew Souvall

“We take privacy and confidentiality very seriously,” he says, “especially around this product and these experiences.”

Why oil prices move up and down so much

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-26 09:26

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that oil inventories are at historic highs — we’re running out of places to put the stuff. So, why, did oil prices… rise? And then, why did they fall again the next day?

A lot of factors can move the price of oil day to day, and they may or may not have anything to do with where the market is heading long term. 

For instance, traders were not surprised when U.S. crude inventories hit a new high. And that is why prices went up, says Walter Zimmerman, chief technical analyst for United-ICAP.

"There’s an old proverb," Zimmerman says. "What everybody knows, is already in the price."

In other words, Wednesday's opening price of oil already included a discount for the over-supply that everybody expected to see. So, when the news became official, prices didn’t crash. 

And that says Zimmerman, spooked some traders, who thought, "Hey wait, bad news came, why aren’t prices crashing?" They worried they’d bet too low — and bid up prices a bit.

"This happens quite frequently," he says. "It’s a feature of the landscape of oil trading."

He thinks Thursday's dip was a correction — but there’s always another theory.

"And sometimes it’s counter-intuitive," says Phil Flynn, senior market analyst with Price Futures Group. "Today, oil is down because the U.S. economy’s good!"

Here's what Flynn means:

1. Good news about the U.S. economy makes for a stronger U.S. dollar.

2. Oil priced in dollars is more expensive for countries buying in, say, Euros.

3. Globally, that would mean weaker demand…  and lower prices.

There are facts that shape oil markets over time, but trying to figure out which ones are the most important is really, really hard.  

"At the end of the day, it’s supply and demand, but what goes into supply and demand just boggles the mind," says Flynn. "It’s the story of the global economy. How’s the global economy going to do?"

As someone once said: "It’s hard to make predictions. Especially about the future."

Astronomers Discover A Supermassive Black Hole Dating To Cosmic Dawn

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 09:20

It's enormous, and it grew relatively quickly — less than 900 million years after the Big Bang.

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Judge Throws Out Cover-Up Allegations Against Argentine President

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 08:52

The judge ruled prosecutors' claims against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner failed to meet standards for an investigation. She was accused of covering up Iran's alleged role in a bombing.

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Pew Study On Religion Finds Increased Harassment Of Jews

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 08:40

A quarter of all countries — home to 75 percent of the world's population — are coping with high levels of religious intolerance, and harassment of Jews has risen for the seventh straight year.

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Pew Study On Religion Finds Increased Harassment Of Jews

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 08:40

A quarter of all countries — home to 75 percent of the world's population — are coping with high levels of religious intolerance, and harassment of Jews has risen for the seventh straight year.

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Pew Study On Religion Finds Increased Harassment Of Jews

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 08:40

A quarter of all countries — home to 75 percent of the world's population — are coping with high levels of religious intolerance, and harassment of Jews has risen for the seventh straight year.

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What We're Watching At The Conservative Political Action Conference

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 08:38

This CPAC should be one of the biggest, craziest, most electric ever, given that it's the last before the presidential primary and caucus season kicks off. But will it be?

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James Bond Meets His Match — The Roman Cobblestone

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 08:06

Actor Daniel Craig reportedly hit his head when the Aston Martin he was driving during filming the 24th James Bond thriller encountered a loose sanpietrino, as the cobblestones in Rome are known.

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Higher Wages, Lower Prices Give Consumers A Break

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 08:01

Something very unusual is happening in the U.S. economy. Traditionally, workers lose buying power to rising prices. But lately, paychecks and prices have been heading in opposite directions.

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Doctors Join Forces With Lawyers To Reduce Firearms Deaths

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 07:51

More than 32,000 people die each year in the United States in gun-related suicides, violence and accidents. The physicians seek universal background checks and other measures to reduce the toll.

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Net Neutrality Up For A Key Vote Today By FCC Board

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 07:46

An essential question will be decided today about how the Internet works: Should service providers be a neutral gateway or should they handle different types of Internet traffic in different ways?

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ISIS Video Shows Extremists Smashing Priceless Artifacts

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 07:27

Bearded men wielding sledgehammers are seen shattering ancient statues and friezes in the Iraqi city of Mosul. One of the militants says God commanded them to remove the idols and statues.

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