National News

SunTrust Settles In Probe Into Mishandled Home Loan Modifications

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 13:41

The bank's mortgage-lending arm agreed to pay up to $320 million to resolve allegations that it bungled applications for the federal Home Affordable Modification Program.

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Weekly wrap: Cashing out

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-03 13:40

We discuss the week that was with Sudeep Reddy from the Wall Street Journal and Linette Lopez from Business Insider. The magical number this morning was 288,000, which Lopez claims made today “a pretty good day.”

But be wary, Reddy warns. Getting through the issues the economy currently faces is “a whole other story,” he says.

Obama: Immigration reform could lead to growth

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-03 13:23

In his interview with Kai, President Obama said that the economy could see $1.4 trillion in additional growth if the government passed immigration reform.

Believe it or not, there are two $1.4 trillion figures the White House has mentioned when it comes to immigration reform and they mean two completely different things: One comes from the Congressional Budget Office. And one comes from the Center for American Progress.

At the heart of both is the idea that citizenship brings higher wages. That's something multiple researchers have studied, including Madeleine Sumption with the Migration Policy Institute.

"We found that citizens earn between 50 percent and two thirds more than non-citizens," she says. "Most of that is explained by the fact that citizens are more educated and they speak better English and they've been in the country for longer."

But, she says, once you control for those factors, citizens still get a 5 percent wage boost or more.

More wages means more spending and more tax revenue. The Center for American Progress added up the ripple effect of that and got … $1.4 trillion in GDP growth over ten years.

"The $1.4 trillion in our report was more of a hypothetical thing," says Patrick Oakford, who co-wrote that report. "What if they got legal status and citizenship status right away."

That report also looked at different timelines for naturalization with different economic outcomes. Big picture: the timing of citizenship matters for economic growth.

But of course in the immigration debate, there is no overnight path to citizenship. The Congressional Budget Office scored the Senate's actual bill, with its decade-plus path, and came up with … about $1.4 trillion in growth over twenty years.

Manual Pastor directs the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California.

"The numbers, the $1.4 trillion, look very much the same," he says. "But the difference is one is scoring the actual legislation and the other is a thought exercise."

The CBO looked at comprehensive immigration reform which is about more than just the path to citizenship.

In A Battle For Web Traffic, Bad Bots Are Going After Grandma

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 13:13

"Bad" Web bots are going after everyone they can, but why? Because by hijacking Grandma's computer, they make it look as if she visits a site often, thus making the site more valuable to advertisers.

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Deportation Threat Doesn't Diminish Young Migrants' U.S. Hopes

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:56

The U.S. is returning unaccompanied minors to their home countries. But life in Guatemala, where many of them are from, is so hard, they say they'll keep trying until they succeed.

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Red State Democrats Tread Lightly On Hobby Lobby Ruling

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:48

Some Democratic Senate hopefuls have to be more measured than others in their responses to the recent Supreme Court decision.

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Jobs Numbers Buoy Dow Above 17,000 For The First Time

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:27

The Dow rallied on better-than-expected news from the jobs market. The S&P also closed higher, continuing its positive run.

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Colombia Gives Federal Workers Afternoon Off To Watch Soccer Match

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:13

Local governments are also starting to follow suit. Undefeated thus far, the Colombian national team has provoked euphoria.

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Iran Nuclear Negotiations Try To Hurdle Impasse As Deadline Nears

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

Iran and six world powers are saying they want to agree upon a nuclear deal this month. Troublingly, Iranian officials now appear to be laying the ground work for an excuse should the talks fail. They also don't appear to be preparing for significant reductions in its uranium enrichment capacity, which the U.S. says is critical to any agreement.

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Lawmakers' Step Back Toward Disclosure Driven By Optics

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

The House Ethics Committee is undoing a recent change to its annual financial disclosure form that deleted information about free trips members have taken. Members had explained the change as a way to streamline paperwork, particularly when more detailed information is available elsewhere. They decided the bad publicity wasn't worth the trouble.

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Export-Import Controversy Gives Rise To A Tale Of Two Washingtons

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

While a debate rages over the future of the Export-Import Bank in Washington, D.C., the bank's potential demise has drawn warnings from the other Washington — Washington state. Ashley Gross of KPLU reports that businesses, labor unions and politicians are raising alarm bells about potentially severe consequences.

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In June Jobs Numbers, Signs For Optimism

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

The job market improved in June, as employers added 288,000 workers to their payrolls and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent. In another welcome development, the ranks of the long-term unemployed declined.

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For Militants, Founding Of Caliphate Is Win In Rhetoric, Not Reality

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

On the first night of Ramadan, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria announced it would change its name to, simply, the Islamic State, declaring that the land it had captured in Syria and Iraq constituted a new caliphate. The group's leader is trying to use this new narrative to wrest control of the global jihad from al-Qaida.

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To Combat Ebola Outbreak, Health Officials Call For 'Drastic' Action

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

The World Health Organization is wrapping up an emergency meeting with officials in West Africa about the Ebola virus. Local health ministries are saying they don't have enough funds to help contain what is now the largest and deadliest Ebola outbreak on record.

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Immigration Debate Splits California City In Two

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

Immigration protests are expected to continue for some time in Murrieta, Calif. After protesters turned away buses of undocumented immigrants bound for a processing center, the town now finds itself at the center of the political debate on immigration.

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Hiring Looks Good Now, But Wage Growth Lags

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:03

The improving labor market in June did not translate into significant pay hikes. Wages were just 2 percent higher compared with a year ago. Consumer prices have been rising at a 2.1 percent rate.

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What education was like in 1776

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-03 10:56

On-the-job training ruled. Learning was all about apprenticeships back then, according to Paula Fass, a history professor at UC- Berkeley. Blacksmiths, brewers, printers and other tradesmen learned their crafts on the job.  Women learned most of  their skills--spinning, cooking, sewing, at home.  "In our school-centered obsession we forget that learning used to take place in a much more broad-based way,"says Fass.

Only white men were formally educated. While some white men never received much formal education, almost nobody else received any.  Girls were sometimes educated, but they didn’t go to college. Blacks were mostly forbidden to learn to read and write, and Native Americans were not part of the colonial education system.  They relied mainly on oral histories to pass down lessons and traditions.

Classroom, what classroom? Actual schools were found mainly in cities and large towns. For most other people, education meant a tutor teaching a small group of people in someone's home or a common building.  And the school year was more like a school season: usually about 13 weeks, says USC historian Carole Shammas.  That meant that there was almost no such thing as a professional teacher.  

Books were few and far between. There were no public libraries in the country in 1776.  The biggest book collections were at colleges.  Books were so expensive that getting a large enough collection to provide a serious education was one of the biggest barriers to founding a college.  When Harvard was founded in 1636, it had a collection of about 1,000 books, which was considered an enormous amount at the time, according to Paula Fass.

Writing joined the other R’s. Teaching students to read was a lot easier than teaching writing, and writing was not necessary in a lot of professions.  So many students learned just to read and do math.  By 1776, teaching writing was becoming much more common.

No papers, pens, or pencils.  Most students worked on slates--mini-chalkboards that allowed students to erase their work and keep at it until they got it right.  Paper was expensive, so it was not commonly used, which also meant pens were not often used.  Pencils had not yet been invented.

Surrounded By Digital Distractions, We Can't Even Stop To Think

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 10:31

A study on the wandering mind had a simple request: Just think. But many participants couldn't sit still for very long, and they even were willing to shock themselves to avoid doing nothing.

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Chinese Leader's Seoul Visit Seen As Snub To North Korea

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 10:23

Xi Jinping's first visit to the Korean Peninsula finds him in Seoul, not Pyongyang, in a possible sign of strained Sino-North Korean ties.

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