National News

A Concert With Jay-Z (And India's Leader) Aims To End Poverty

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 09:32

The Global Citizen Festival is live in New York (and on TV) on Saturday. The superstar-studded event is designed to encourage concertgoers to care about the issues as well as the celebrities.

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Will .Health Make It More Likely That You'll Get Scammed?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 08:55

New websites ending in "health," "doctor" and "clinic" will soon start appearing online. But anyone can buy those names. Some public health researchers worry that they'll purvey bogus medical advice.

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The numbers for September 26, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-26 08:20

The news has been dominated this week by U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS compounds in Syria, and today is no different. After a seven-hour debate, the U.K. parliament voted Friday to take military action against extremist groups in Iraq, the BBC reported. After being recalled by Prime Minister David Cameron, Parliament supported airstrikes beginning as early as Sunday, in a 524-43 vote.

Here's what we're reading — and some other numbers we're watching — Friday:

25 percent

The portion of auto loans made last year that are considered subprime — a number that has jumped in the last five years, and caught the attention of federal regulators. There's a side effect of this new subprime boom: More cars are being outfitted with a device allowing lenders to shut the engine down remotely if the owner misses a payment. These devices have become more and more common, the New York Times reported, and borrowers are raising serious safety concerns.

31,000

That's how many requests the much-hyped, invite-only social networking site Ello was getting every hour on Thursday, BetaBeat reported. Ello has billed itself as a sort of anti-Facebook, pledging to stay ad-free and never sell user data. The site's staff was blindsided by the high traffic and considered temporarily freezing account creation, but resolved to limit new users to about five to ten invites instead. 

50 percent

Half of all mercury found in public water treatment plants comes from discarded dental fillings, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday. To reduce waste, the EPA is pushing for dentist offices to use special devices that pull bits of mercury from water before it goes down the drain, the National Journal reported.

$6

Surprise album releases are the new endlessly hyped album releases. Thom Yorke just put out a new solo record, "Tomorrow's Modern Boxes," on BitTorrent for $6. That model is meant as an experiment, Pitchfork reported. Yorke's band Radiohead has done stuff like this before, self-releasing new music through a pay-what-you like model, surprise announcements and even an iOS app.

Why We Won't See The Likes Of Eric Holder Again

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 08:11

The drama and conflict of the attorney general's tenure in office unfolded against the interracial tensions that torment our culture.

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Lights, Camera, Drones: Hollywood's Lens Gets A Little Larger

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 07:52

The FAA is granting six movie and TV production companies permission to use drones for filming. The move could pave the way for the unmanned aircraft systems to be used in other commercial ventures.

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And The Million Dollar Hult Prize Goes To A Doc In A Box

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 07:18

The challenge: come up with a plan to improve healthcare in slums. There were 11,000 entries, featuring everything from bees to chewing gum as part of the proposal. And the winner is...

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Show-And-Tell: Show Us Your Angry Face

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 07:13

You know the look. Researchers say it's the same all over the world.

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Fire Grounds Hundreds Of Flights At Chicago Airports

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 07:05

The fire in the basement of the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora, Ill., caused numerous flight cancellations at O'Hare and Midway.

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Debate Grows Over Employer Health Plans Without Hospital Benefits

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 07:00

A federal calculator that companies use to certify whether their health insurance complies with the Affordable Care Act appears to bless plans without hospital coverage.

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Marriage Rates Are Falling, And For Some Faster Than Others

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 06:44

The share of Americans older than 25 who have never been married keeps getting larger. That cohort is growing much faster for black people, even as many say they want to marry one day.

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Hungary Shuts Off Re-Export Of Natural Gas To Ukraine

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 06:41

Hungary's national gas operator says the "indefinite" cutoff is over domestic supply concerns, but the move comes just days after the CEO of Russia's Gazprom monopoly visited Budapest.

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Belgium Likes Underground Beer. No, Literally

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 06:21

The historic city of Bruges is getting a 2-mile-long underground beer pipeline. Too bad it's from brewery to factory, not brewery to your door.

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China: 'Serious' Terrorist Attack Kills 50 In Xinjiang

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 05:35

First reports of the attack in the largely Muslim region last Sunday said two people had died, but state-run media now say the toll is much higher.

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Student Course Evaluations Get An 'F'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 05:03

Two recent papers argue that using student surveys to evaluate professors is fundamentally flawed.

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More Protests In Ferguson Follow Police Chief's Video Apology

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 04:31

Thomas Jackson, who apologized in a video released Thursday for the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, faced protesters calling for his resignation.

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U.K. Approves Joining Anti-ISIS Airstrikes In Iraq

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 03:38

The parliamentary vote comes after Prime Minister David Cameron urged MPs to authorize participation, saying the self-declared Islamic State poses a "clear and proven" danger to his country.

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Everything Dies, Right? But Does Everything Have To Die? Here's A Surprise

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 03:03

Meet two animals. Both are teeny. Both live in water. Both mature extra fast. But while one dies in about a week, the other — well, prepare to be amazed.

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Everything Dies, Right? But Does Everything Have To Die? Here's A Surprise

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-26 03:03

Meet two animals. Both are teeny. Both live in water. Both mature extra fast. But while one dies in about a week, the other — well, prepare to be amazed.

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U.S. government releases a second revision of GDP

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-26 03:00

The U.S. government released a second revision to its key measure of economic growth for the spring quarter early Friday. GDP grew at an annual rate of 4.6 percent. Nearly every category, barring consumer spending, was up. Americans, at least last spring, were still leery of splashing out on big purchases, other than health care. Gross national product and later gross domestic product are the accepted indicators of economic health, but a growing body of scholarly research suggests we can do better.

The skepticism around GDP and GNP as measures of well-being goes back decades, and is present in an iconic speech delivered by Senator Robert Kennedy at the University of Kansas in 1968.

“The Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play,” Kennedy said. “It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages.”

And while GDP is easily measurable — an important characteristic for an economic indicator — growth can be deceptive.

“If we have higher divorce rates in a country, then you have lots more money being spent on legal services,” said Julia Kirby, an editor of the Harvard Business Review. “That looks good in GDP, but at a societal level, you wouldn’t say that’s good."   

Kirby says better measures of well-being include whether a country’s population is healthy, educated, happy and getting enough sleep at night. 

PODCAST: The price of AC cools down

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-26 03:00

First up, there's news that Bill Gross — the man who built California-based PIMCO into one of the biggest money managers in the world — is moving to rival Janus, effective immediately. In what must be an overstatement, PIMCO's biggest shareholder called this a "Black Swan Event," something so unlikely it wasn't worth even thinking about. We look into what has been the talk of financial markets this morning. Plus, 100 years ago, the Federal Trade Commission was born when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Trade Commission Act into law. Since then, the agency has played an outsize role in the U.S. economy, and it's fair to say it's affected all of us. And as Marketplace celebrates its 25th birthday this year, we are looking at the surprising,  sometimes delightful and sometimes destructive ways that prices have changed during that quarter century. Today, we chill out with a look at the price of AC units, and what their changing costs say about how energy consumption has evolved.

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