National News

With Debt Collection, Your Bank Account Could Be At Risk

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-16 01:03

A 1968 federal law allows debt collectors not only to garnish wages but to take from a debtor's bank account. Consumer advocates say the outdated law is overly punitive and out of touch with reality.

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Community Keeps Calm Despite Questions About Wal-Mart Shooting

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-16 00:06

Peaceful protests have taken place since police shot and killed a black 21-year-old who was holding a toy gun while shopping in Ohio. But new questions are being raised about the handling of the case.

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Will Scotland Vote To Cut The Cord?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 23:53

For three centuries, Scotland has been part of the U.K. Until recently, it looked likely to stay that way. But some voters have changed their minds and recent polls show independence ahead by a nose.

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Will Scotland Vote To Cut The Cord?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 23:53

For three centuries, Scotland has been part of the U.K. Until recently, it looked likely to stay that way. But some voters have changed their minds and recent polls show independence ahead by a nose.

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With U.S. Oil Supply Climbing, Some Call For End To Export Ban

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 23:43

Much of the U.S. oil industry wants to lift a ban that followed the 1970s energy crisis. But those worried about the possibility of higher gas prices and climate change want to keep the ban in place.

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Hiccups Were The Clue That Led Researchers To Ebola

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 23:42

Journalist Jeffrey Stern traveled to Guinea to find out why it took so long for scientists to figure out that the Ebola virus had struck. He tells a revealing tale in this month's Vanity Fair.

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Minecraft's Business Model: A Video Game That Leaves You Alone

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 23:41

Microsoft is buying the company that created the video game Minecraft, which has a loyal following in part because of the freedom it allows players — including freedom from pressure to buy add-ons.

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GM Ignition-Switch Defect Now Linked To 19 Deaths

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 23:40

A special compensation fund for victims of the faulty ignition switch has issued its first report, which makes clear GM will pay claims for more than the 13 deaths it says were linked to the defect.

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Too Few University Jobs For America's Young Scientists

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 23:38

So, you want to be a science professor? Good luck. Highly educated, relatively low-paid postdoctoral fellows may drive U.S. biomedical research, but they're training for jobs that don't exist.

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Obama To Announce Buildup In U.S. Efforts To Fight Ebola

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 21:32

The U.S. military plans to establish a medical base in Liberia to help stop the Ebola epidemic. It will build 1,700 new treatment beds and train up to 500 health care workers every week.

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White House To Assign 3,000 Military Personnel To Combat Ebola

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 20:51

The Obama administration is increasing its response to West Africa's Ebola crisis. The personnel will supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems.

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Expanding Mission In Iraq, U.S. Strikes Fighters South Of Baghdad

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 15:44

The attacks were conducted in support of Iraqi Security Forces, marking the first time the U.S. has used air power outside of its original mission to protect U.S. assets.

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Tommy Boggs, Influential Lobbyist, Dies At 73

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 14:55

Boggs changed the lobbying profession by recognizing how power in Washington was becoming more diffuse.

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Who makes your favorite beer? Probably one of these 5 companies.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-15 14:09

Update: CNBC reporter David Faber is reporting that his sources at AB InBev say that rumors the company is seeking finance in preparation to acquire SABMiller are false.

The rumors had swirled this week that Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewer of Budweiser beer was seeking financing for a possible deal to purchase rival beer-maker SABMiller, reports the Wall Street Journal. If it were to happen, the deal would combine the two largest beer producers in the world.

From the Wall Street Journal: 

The talks about financing come on the heels of an approach by SABMiller to buy Dutch brewer Heineken NV, which Heineken said Sunday it had rejected. The U.K. brewer hasn't been discouraged by Heineken's initial rejection and would consider another bid, according to another person familiar with the discussions.

China creates a texting lane

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-15 13:41

I don't known whether it's this week's sign the apocalpypse is upon us, or simply an acknowledgement of reality, but officials in Chongqing, China have created an entirely separate section of sidewalk just for pedestrians using cellphones.

That is, people walking along with their noses down in their phones.

It should help with those awkward near-collisions, but the signs do have a disclaimer: "Walk in this lane at your own risk."

Chongqing City has set up China's 1st "exclusive sidewalk for mobile phone users ” to avoid possible crashes on Fri pic.twitter.com/jFiCbbE1yk

— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) September 13, 2014

 

Microsoft founders commit $59 million to fight Ebola

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-15 13:33

Last week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $50 million “to support the scale up of emergency efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak,” and Paul Allen has pledged $9 million. 

On Tuesday, President Obama will travel to Atlanta, where he will visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has been overseeing the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, but Gilbert Burnham, co-director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at Johns Hopkins University, gives a lot of credit to philanthropists like Gates and Allen.

"This is going to be the thing that turns the tide, the concern of individuals, rather than just the concern of government here,” he says.

The field of public health has changed, and, according to UNC medical anthropologist Peter Redfield, foundations and non-governmental organizations are more important than ever. “I think we now have a different set of expectations of what will happen in response to a kind of crisis or outbreak, and who will be the primary actors involved.”

Governments and the United Nations used to take the lead, but Dan Bausch, an expert on infectious diseases at Tulane University, says budgets took a hit after the financial crisis. “We probably would be on top of this more than we are if we hadn’t seen some dwindling of those funds in recent years.”

The Gates Foundation plays an outsize role in public health these days, but Rebecca Katz, a public health professor at George Washington University, says this pledge of support is kind of out of character. “They haven’t traditionally been engaged in disaster response,” she says. “But this outbreak is precedent-setting in all sorts of ways.”

Katz hopes some of that money will help with personnel. She says there are fewer than 250 doctors in all of Liberia.

“In Sierra Leone, you’re looking at a ratio of one physician for 30,000 people,” Katz says.

That is not nearly enough to combat an outbreak  that- as she and other experts say - is still out of control.

Dress like Olivia Pope with help from 'The Limited'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-15 13:33

In the ABC drama “Scandal,” Kerry Washington plays the fiercely stylish Olivia Pope, a crisis manager in the nation’s capital. Just in time for the show's fourth season premiere later this month, The Limited is unveiling a line of clothing inspired by the show.  

While kids shows are no strangers to merchandising, the “Scandal” collection is hardly the first TV licensing deal for grownups. Duck Dynasty-themed products brought in an estimated $400 million last year. And have you seen the Game of Thrones-branded beers?

Sometimes it happens in less obvious ways,” says Marty Brochstein with the Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association. “There is a furniture line connected to 'The Good Wife,' for example.”

Yes, you can sit on Alicia’s Guest Chair or Cary’s Office Sofa, from furniture retailer Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

For the networks, Brochstein says, the goal isn’t just selling products, but getting more butts on those sofas, watching their shows.

“It is reminding you that the show is on and that you love it and wow, isn’t that a great look?” he says.

Fans of the AMC hit “Mad Men” may have had that thought walking by Banana Republic at the mall a while back. A line of clothing inspired by that show sold well for a while, says analyst Wendy Liebmann with WSL Strategic Retail.

“Then it faded pretty quickly,” she says. “For fashion, you know, it’s all fast and furious.”

One the other hand, demand for the products can outlast the shows, says the licensing association’s Marty Brochstein. Thanks to Netflix, people just getting into AMC’s “Breaking Bad” may still want a licensed hazmat suit for Halloween, even though the show ended a year ago.

What Obama Should Say And Do About Ebola

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 13:32

The president is expected to announce a new U.S. effort to help stop the Ebola outbreak. What kind of help should the U.S. provide? We asked two specialists.

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Scotland's currency dilemma

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-15 13:20

“No, it just doesn’t make sense!”

Ken Symon – a leading light in the campaign against Scottish independence - sounds incredulous as he discusses the separatists’ currency plan. He’s baffled that they want to break away from the United Kingdom, but carry on using the British pound.

“Does that amount to independence?” Symon asks over a mug of tea in Glasgow at the "No" campaign's headquarters. “They would keep the Bank of England with the Governor of the Bank appointed by the UK government. It just doesn't make sense.”

“Yes, it does make perfect sense!" says Mike Danson at the "Yes" campaign headquarters a few blocks away. Danson –an economics professor and pro-independence activist – insists it would be sensible to retain the pound after independence. "It would benefit both Scotland and the rest of the UK,” he says. “ After all, we have a cross border trading relationship worth $180 billion a year. It wouldn’t make sense for either of us to have all the transaction costs of using a different currency.”

But there is a problem with the Yes campaign’s currency plan: The rest of the UK has given a resounding response to the proposal : "No!"

The leaders of the UK’s three main political parties and a majority of the people of England,Wales and Northern Ireland, according to opinion polls, have rejected the plan. And they have been supported by some eminent international economists.

“Look at what’s already happened in Europe,” argues Nobel Prize winner and Princeton professor, Paul Krugman . “We have an unprecedented experiment in sharing a currency without being part of the same country. And it’s a disaster. The euro area is doing worse this time around than it did in the 1930s.”

Scotland’s independence campaigners are unfazed by this analysis, or by the opposition of the UK’s main political parties.

"It’s not for them to say we can or cannot have the pound," says Mike Danson. "It’s a shared asset. It’s as much Scotland’s pound as it is England's or Wales'."

Even if Scotland has left the UK?

“Yes,” he insists. “It’s a shared asset that’s up for negotiation.”

Danson says Scotland’s got the whip hand. If the rest of the UK refuses to share the pound, then the newly independent country may walk away from its share of the UK’s $2 trillion national debt.

The currency question remains critical. Unless it is resolved a vote for independence on Thursday could bring turmoil to Scotland... and the rest of the UK.

With Turmoil Roiling Abroad, Why Aren't Oil Prices Bubbling Up?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 13:19

Conflict in oil-producing regions usually sends oil prices higher. But the cost of oil has actually dropped, despite turmoil in the Middle East. Economists say it's a matter of supply and demand.

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