National News

With Alibaba IPO, Yahoo Reaps A Big Reward From Risky Bet

NPR News - Sat, 2014-09-20 01:11

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang made a smart move when his company invested in a Chinese e-commerce firm called Alibaba in 2005. With this week's Alibaba IPO, Yahoo will gain nearly $8 billion.

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With Alibaba IPO, Yahoo Reaps A Big Reward From Risky Bet

NPR News - Sat, 2014-09-20 01:11

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang made a smart move when his company invested in a Chinese e-commerce firm called Alibaba in 2005. With this week's Alibaba IPO, Yahoo will gain nearly $8 billion.

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Turkish Hostages Held By Islamic Militants Are Released

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 23:02

Turkey's prime minister said that 49 hostages who were seized by Islamic militants in Iraq have been freed and safely returned to Turkey, ending Turkey's most serious hostage crisis.

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Our readers' worries and hopes about student data

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 20:45

We hosted a Twitter chat on Thursday, September 18, to discuss our Quantified Student reporting project, and to hear what our readers have to say about student data policy issues. Here are some selected tweets from the conversation:

[<a href="//storify.com/Marketplace/learningcurve-s-studentdata-chat" target="_blank">View the story "LearningCurve's #studentdata chat" on Storify</a>]

White House Briefly Evacuated After Man Jumps Fence, Makes It Inside

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 19:43

The 42-year-old got past the front doors Friday night before the Secret Service arrested him. President Obama and his family weren't home at the time.

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The economics of slow money

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 15:14

We came across a story from Vermont Public Radio about a new digital currency called Beetcoin.

It's an electronic currency like Bitcoin, designed for farmers with small and medium-sized operations, and that got us curious about how smaller-scale farms are funded and the economics behind running a farm.

To put that in context, we headed over to Rockefeller Center in New York City, where we met up with Christopher Wayne, the technical director of Greenmarket Farmer's Market's technical assistance program. Greenmarket's oversees New York City's Farmer's Market Programs. 

While a farmer's market might seem like an oasis of natural goodness in the heart of the city, as Christopher Wayne explains, there's a lot of work with "slow money" that goes on behind the scenes to bring these markets here.

"Slow money" brings us back to Beetcoin. What exactly is slow money?

As Vermont Public Radio's Angela Evancie explains, "Slow Money is looking to establish networks where the investors in small farms and small food businesses are local, they're right there in the community … and they are the ones connected to the investors."

Click play above to hear more about Slow Money and the economics of farming.

Texas Appears To Step Back From Proposal To Sell Alcohol At Some Gun Shows

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 15:08

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission received hundreds of negative comments about the proposal. Staff of the commissioners deciding on the new regulations have advised against it.

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Anticipating Attacks, GOP Campaigns Focus On Courting Women Voters

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 14:03

National Republican Party officials encouraged 2014 candidates to launch positive ads targeting women. One for a House candidate from Minnesota touts an annual charity walk he does in pink heels.

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Social Media Get The Right Stuff To India's Flood Victims

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 13:48

Waters rose as high as two and three stories in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. People were trapped. They needed supplies, and #jkfloodrelief came to the rescue.

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Why SAP gobbled up Concur

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 13:46

If you travel for work, there's a good chance you've used Concur to help itemize all those minibar receipts, your taxi cab rides and cups of coffee. Well, this week software giant SAP has scooped up Concur for more than $8 billion, in one of the largest software acquisitions ever.

What would SAP want with a company that helps people track their travel expenses?

SAP has been successful selling software to help the world's biggest companies run their operations. The challenge, says Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler, is that the software industry is changing, and SAP has an obvious hole.

"They've been missing this big transition which is the move to what they call cloud services," he says.

Schadler says, historically, SAP has installed software at the office, but the new — and cheaper — way to run software is through these cloud services, where businesses pay to have the software run for them. Schadler says buying Concur is a signal to SAP's clients that its taking a giant step into the cloud.

"With the cloud, it's very easy to add customers quickly, and it's a lot easier to improve the cloud software," he says.

For all the potential, analysts are mixed on SAP's purchase. Morningstar senior analyst Rick Summer says Concur does little to meet the needs of SAP's core customers.

"Simply by going out and buying Concur, SAP can't walk in and say 'hey, we can make your inventory management system ready for the cloud tomorrow," Summer says, but he does believe for $8 billion, SAP has bought itself some time.

"The companies that have great, strong relationships with their customers can be patient and over years, and even over a decade move their customers over to that public cloud," he says.

Summer says it's difficult and expensive for SAP's customers to rip out their software and plug into the cloud with a competitor, but to remain an industry leader, the software giant must clarify its cloud picture soon.

SAP gobbles up Concur

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 13:46

If you travel for work, there's a good chance you've used Concur to help itemize all those minibar receipts, your taxi cab rides and cups of coffee. Well, this week software giant SAP has scooped up Concur for more than $8 billion, in one of the largest software acquisitions ever.

What would SAP want with a company that helps people track their travel expenses?

SAP has been successful selling software to help the world's biggest companies run their operations. The challenge, says Forrester Research analyst Ted Shadler, is that the software industry is changing, and SAP has an obvious hole.

"They've been missing this big transition which is the move to what they call cloud services," he says.

Shadler says historically SAP has installed software at the office, but the new - and cheaper - way to run software is through these cloud services, where businesses pay to have the software run for them. Shadler says buying Concur is a signal to SAP's clients that its taking a giant step into the cloud.

"With the cloud, it's very easy to add customers quickly, and it's a lot easier to improve the cloud software," he says.

For all the potential, analysts are mixed on SAP's purchase. Morningstar senior analyst Rick Summer says Concur does little to meet the needs of SAP's core customers.

"Simply by going out and buying Concur, SAP can't walk in and say 'hey, we can make your inventory management system ready for the cloud tomorrow," Summer says, but he does believe for $8 billion, SAP has bought itself some time.

"The companies that have great, strong relationships with their customers can be patient and over years, and even over a decade move their customers over to that public cloud," he says.

Summer says it's difficult and expensive for SAP's customers to rip out their software and plug into the cloud with a competitor, but to remain an industry leader, the software giant must clarify its cloud picture soon.

What's the craziest thing you've ever worn to work?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 13:46

The Suitsy is a combination between a business suit... and a onesie. It’s an idea by San Francisco designer Jesse Herzog, and it is exactly what it sounds like – a onesie that looks just like a suit, complete with fake buttons and a belt. The idea is for one to look professional enough for a workplace dress code, but feel like you’re wearing pajamas. Because you are.  

Professional dress codes have changed a lot. 

“I mean, think, over the last 20 or 30 years men came to work in suit and tie, women came in jackets and skirts,” says Marcia Ruben, chair of the Department of Management at Golden Gate University Edward S. Ageno School of Business. “Over time it’s really evolved to be much more casual. I’ve been at companies where people come to work in sweat suits.”

Traditionally, dress codes were used to separate work from home, and to separate the role from the individual person playing it, says Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “One of the things you find is a trend of trying to blur this boundary more — part of it’s a generational shift, part of it’s a cultural shift.”

This shift hasn’t come to all industries equally. 

“Lawyers still wear suits and ties,” says Ruben, and the business suit is thriving in the finance industry. “But if you go into [tech] companies at least in Silicon Valley, men wear khaki pants, starched shirts, women wear pants suits, some people in sweat suits, even jeans – it’s all over the place.”

This has to do with what each industry is trying to convey to itself and to others, says Sanchez-Burks.

“There are certain industries where society would prefer there to be less change,” he says.

Banks who want you to trust them with their money are expected to communicate stability. “They set up their establishments in places that look like they were built by the Greeks and will last forever; creative accounting is a bad thing.” The traditional, expected dress code, signals a kind of stability and trust in the institution – you don’t see bankers, you see a grand institution you can trust with your money.

Likewise for doctors and their white coats – “I would be nervous if my doctor were dressed too casually,” says Ruben. In most circumstances, experimental medicine is not a selling point, whereas the authority of modern medicine is. The dress code is a way of channeling that broader identity, emphasizing the role and not the individual. 

The tech industry, however is different. It isn’t less concerned with appearance – even non-conformists are sending signals with how they dress – it’s rather about which signal. Creativity and change are the selling points. And the casual or unorthodox dress code reflects that.

“By breaking people’s expectations you’re literally signaling a sense that something new is to be learned you’re trying to accomplish something that’s not necessarily mainstream, you’re focusing on issues from a new perspective, you’re signaling a break from tradition,” says Sanchez-Burks.

In the creative industries, the individual and the role are much more closely tied. So to get the best role – production of creative ideas – you have to make the individual comfortable. “There’s a feeling that if the work atmosphere is more relaxed, than people will feel more comfortable,” says Ruben. “I think some of the larger high tech companies where people are hiring knowledge workers and looking at them to be creative and innovative, that that creates relaxation and comfort.”

Luckily for radio reporters, nobody can see what we’re wearing.

And we can't see you. Unless, of course, you tell us: What's the craziest thing you've ever gotten away with wearing to work?

A utili-kilt:

A trucker hat:

Pink fuzzy slippers:

Historic garb and more:

WATCH: First Guy In Perth To Get Hands On New iPhone Drops It On Live TV

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 13:29

Jack Cooksey, 18, was unpacking his brand-new iPhone 6 for a local TV reporter, when he accidentally dropped it. The rest of the customers still in line groaned.

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Sierra Leone: Where Colin Powell Felt His Roots

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 13:27

The West African nation is in the news today because of the tragic Ebola outbreak. It once played a part in another tragedy: the U.S. slave trade.

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Should The U.S. Pay Ransom For ISIS Hostages?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 13:08

Videotaped murders by Islamic State have sparked outrage around the world. But while some European countries have paid ransom to retrieve victims taken by ISIS, Britain and the U.S. have not.

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Inside An Ebola Kit: A Little Chlorine And A Lot Of Hope

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 12:15

The Ebola epidemic is growing exponentially. And clinics don't have space for patients. So the U.S. government is giving families kits for treating people at home. Will this help slow the epidemic?

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Examining Bill Cosby's Legacy As 'The Cosby Show' Turns 30

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 12:15

On the anniversary of the iconic series, NPR's Eric Deggans talks with the author of a new Bill Cosby biography about how the show and the comedian have shaped perceptions of black families.

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To Foil Russia's Food Ban, Imported Ingredients Go Incognito

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 11:40

Russia's ban on imported foods hasn't stopped its trendiest restaurants from sourcing top-quality ingredients like Italian cheese and Norwegian fish. How? Just slap on a "made in Belarus" label.

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Scotland says no to independence. Now what?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 11:30

The "no's" have it: the United Kingdom is still united as a kingdom.

Scotland's vote struck down their independence movement, 55 percent to 45 percent. The referendum posted the highest voter turnout–nearly 85 percent of the electorate–since the 1951 UK general election.

"There's a really strange atmosphere here in Glasgow, because the very vocal 'yes' campaign are now very quiet, very despondent," says the BBC's Lucy Burton. "The 'no' voters feel relief. They're not gloating, they just feel relieved."

Questions such as which currency an independent Scotland would use, or how much of the North Sea oil they would actually own, will now go unanswered, much to the 'no' campaign's relief.

Not everyone's votes, however, were economically driven, says Burton. 

"For the 'no' voters, it perhaps played an even bigger part," she said. She had gone down to interview some shipbuilders for BAA Systems, who were concerned about their jobs. Certain businesses, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, had threatened to move their headquarters to London if the 'yes' vote had won out.

On the other side, though, the 'yes' voters believed the economic concerns outlined in the days leading up to the referendum were scare tactics by design. They were also concerned that Prime Minister David Cameron's promised devolution of power to Scotland wasn't enough to meet their demands of having more Scottish power.

"In the end, it came down to a case of, 'who do you trust?' And for a lot of people, it came down to, 'what does your heart tell you?'"

 

NFL Commissioner: 'We Will Get Our House In Order'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 11:24

Roger Goodell has been embroiled in controversy over how the league has handled off-field violent behavior of some of its star players. He said he had not considered resigning.

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