National News

Gender Disparities In Tech Flare Up Again: A Reading Guide

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 07:55

A female developer at GitHub resigns, saying the company has a clubby, intimidating culture, and debate brews over whether geeks can lead unwelcoming environments. Get caught up with these reads.

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Oprah and Starbucks are teaming up to make tea.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 07:35

Starbucks and Oprah are teaming up to make tea.

This would appear to be the corporate version of those comic books where The Penguin teams up with The Joker, Two-Face and The Riddler, and it just doesn't seem fair to the people of Gotham (until Batman shows up, of course... but until that moment, NOT COOL). We've got evil hench-penguins, very flexible, knife wielding circus ladies, and very difficult trivia questions. Before you know it, the entire subway has shut down and no one can get to work.

For a caffeine addicted female like myself, not only am I certainly in the "target audience," I probably won't be able to *not* buy this tea. Together, Oprah and Starbucks will probably activate a long-dormant chip in my brain, and, (again) before you know it, I'll be building fortresses out of boxes of this tea. And talking enthusiastically about it to all of my friends. And "liking" it on Facebook unironically.

"Teavana Oprah Chai" was personally developed by Oprah. It is said to feature strong notes of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom with a hint of clove.

This already makes me want to start crying and talking about my feelings at what was supposed to be a book club meeting, until everyone had one too many of the signature Love In the Time of Cholera cocktails I made in an attempt to one-up last month's annoyingly perfect "Middlesex homemade sushi" event, and the conversation devolved into how difficult it is to find love when nobody has cholera, and how maybe it would be easier if everyone had cholera, because that might really put things into perspective and how long should you wait to reply to a kind of meh text some guy sent after a date without seeming like the kind of girl who only demands meh texts, but also not seeming unavailable or, worse, like you're playing games, which, of course, you are, but everyone plays games and so you, genuine game-hater that you are, really have no choice.

Does anyone else feel like tea?

Tragically, no Teavana for us until April 29th.

 

The Making of Teavana Oprah Chai

 

U.S. To Impose Sanctions On More Russian Officials

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 07:27

By choosing to intervene in Ukraine and annex Crimea, Russia has isolated itself and violated international law, President Obama says. The U.S. is seeking to penalize 20 additional people and a bank.

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Oprah and Starbucks are teaming up to make tea.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 07:25
Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 10:35 Oprah.com

Oprah and Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz announcing their partnership.

Starbucks and Oprah are teaming up to make tea.

This would appear to be the corporate version of those comic books where The Penguin teams up with The Joker, Two-Face and The Riddler, and it just doesn't seem fair to the people of Gotham (until Batman shows up, of course... but until that moment, NOT COOL). We've got evil hench-penguins, very flexible, knife wielding circus ladies, and very difficult trivia questions. Before you know it, the entire subway has shut down and no one can get to work.

For a caffeine addicted female like myself, not only am I certainly in the "target audience," I probably won't be able to *not* buy this tea. Together, Oprah and Starbucks will probably activate a long-dormant chip in my brain, and, (again) before you know it, I'll be building fortresses out of boxes of this tea. And talking enthusiastically about it to all of my friends. And "liking" it on Facebook unironically.

"Teavana Oprah Chai" was personally developed by Oprah. It is said to feature strong notes of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom with a hint of clove.

This already makes me want to start crying and talking about my feelings at what was supposed to be a book club meeting, until everyone had one too many of the signature Love In the Time of Cholera cocktails I made in an attempt to one-up last month's annoyingly perfect "Middlesex homemade sushi" event, and the conversation devolved into how difficult it is to find love when nobody has cholera, and how maybe it would be easier if everyone had cholera, because that might really put things into perspective and how long should you wait to reply to a kind of meh text some guy sent after a date without seeming like the kind of girl who only demands meh texts, but also not seeming unavailable or, worse, like you're playing games, which, of course, you are, but everyone plays games and so you, genuine game-hater that you are, really have no choice.

Does anyone else feel like tea?

Tragically, no Teavana for us until April 29th.

 

The Making of Teavana Oprah Chai

 

Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday, March 20, 2014by Stacey Vanek SmithStory Type: BlogSyndication: PMPApp Respond: No

PODCAST: Veteran unemployment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 06:55
Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 07:25 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A brochure by Disney Corporation is placed on a table during a jobs fair for veterans called 'Serving Those Who Have Served' on the campus of University of Southern California on March 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif.

The benchmark interest rate in America is higher now than it was before the new chair of the Federal Reserve's briefing yesterday. 2.77 percent is the 10 year yield versus 2.67 percent. We get our own briefing from Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

And, the Labor Department is expected to release its annual report on the job situation for veterans soon. The jobless rate for those who served after 9/11 has tended to be higher than the overall unemployment rate. Though typically highly skilled, disciplined and hard-working, veterans of recent conflicts often have more difficulty than civilians in finding work.

Meanwhile, more than two years after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake damaged the Washington Monument, the U.S. National Park Service is readying to reopen it to tourists this spring. Examining and repairing the monument’s more than 30,000 stone pieces cost $15 million, but that work is being paid for in a novel way. The government split the tab with billionaire David Rubenstein.

Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday, March 20, 2014by David BrancaccioPodcast Title: PODCAST: Veteran unemploymentSyndication: All in oneApp Respond: No

Reprimand, $20K Fine, No Jail Time For General's Sexual Misconduct

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 06:52

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair had been accused of sexually assaulting a subordinate. He struck a deal to plead guilty to lesser charges. He was not demoted.

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French-Fry Conspiracy: Genes Can Make Fried Foods More Fattening

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 06:33

Some people are more likely than others to gain weight from frequently indulging in fried foods, scientists say. You can blame Mom and Dad for passing on the obesity risk genes.

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Persian New Year's Table Celebrates Nature's Rebirth Deliciously

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 06:17

Around the world, millions of families of Iranian descent will gather around a ceremonial table to mark the start of spring. This ancient Persian festival has a lot to do with fresh, green foods.

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Cholesterol Guidelines Could Mean Statins For Half Of Adults Over 40

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 05:28

New advice to reduce heart attacks and strokes could more than double the number of Americans taking cholesterol-lowering statins to 56 million. The expansion could cost as much as $7 billion a year.

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PODCAST: Veteran unemployment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 04:25

The benchmark interest rate in America is higher now than it was before the new chair of the Federal Reserve's briefing yesterday. 2.77 percent is the 10 year yield versus 2.67 percent. We get our own briefing from Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

And, the Labor Department is expected to release its annual report on the job situation for veterans soon. The jobless rate for those who served after 9/11 has tended to be higher than the overall unemployment rate. Though typically highly skilled, disciplined and hard-working, veterans of recent conflicts often have more difficulty than civilians in finding work.

Meanwhile, more than two years after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake damaged the Washington Monument, the U.S. National Park Service is readying to reopen it to tourists this spring. Examining and repairing the monument’s more than 30,000 stone pieces cost $15 million, but that work is being paid for in a novel way. The government split the tab with billionaire David Rubenstein.

PODCAST: Veteran unemployment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 04:25

The benchmark interest rate in America is higher now than it was before the new chair of the Federal Reserve's briefing yesterday. 2.77 percent is the 10 year yield versus 2.67 percent. We get our own briefing from Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

And, the Labor Department is expected to release its annual report on the job situation for veterans soon. The jobless rate for those who served after 9/11 has tended to be higher than the overall unemployment rate. Though typically highly skilled, disciplined and hard-working, veterans of recent conflicts often have more difficulty than civilians in finding work.

Meanwhile, more than two years after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake damaged the Washington Monument, the U.S. National Park Service is readying to reopen it to tourists this spring. Examining and repairing the monument’s more than 30,000 stone pieces cost $15 million, but that work is being paid for in a novel way. The government split the tab with billionaire David Rubenstein.

Ukrainian Troops' Departure From Crimea Isn't A Simple Matter

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 03:30

While the new government in Kiev plans to withdraw its 25,000 troops from the region, the orders weren't immediately given. One issue: Can they take their weapons with them?

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Digging For Gold: Study Says Your Race Determines Your Earwax Scent

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 03:00

Volatile organic compounds in your earwax may hold important information about your body and your environment.

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Search For Missing Jet Focuses On Objects Seen Off Australia

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 02:30

Satellite images of what might be debris from the jet are the first "credible lead" in the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, an official says. Follow the news as it comes in.

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Short-selling: A step-by-step guide.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 01:00

People have been shorting stocks since the early 1700s. It’s basically a way of betting against a company. It’s extremely common, and part of the fabric of Wall Street. But how, exactly, does it work?

Step 1:  You've got to be pretty sure that a company’s stock is gonna go down. Let’s say it’s ACME stock, and you suspect that the bad publicity from Wiley Coyote’s interminable failure is going to soon take its toll.

Step 2:  Before you think the stock is going to go down, you (technically, your stock broker) will borrow some of that stock. 

Step 3:  Sell it. That’s right – sell the stock that’s not even yours. So, let’s say ACME stock is at $1,000 a share, you now have $1,000. 

Step 4:  Wait for the stock price to tank. During this time, you can count your $1000. Or smell it. Or perhaps you prefer to roll in it. But remember it’s not yours to keep.

Step 5:  Does the stock actually tank? Congratulations.  Proceed to Step 6. Does the stock....rise? You might want to sit down before you proceed to Step 7.

Step 6:   Now that the stock has sunk like you (wisely) knew it would – let’s say to $1 a share – you buy it back for $1. You keep the remaining $999 you had before. Go ahead.  Smell it again. This time with passion. 'Cause all that cheddar is yours, baby!

Step 7:  Well, the stock has risen. Let’s say to $1,500. Unfortunately, you have to return the stock that you borrowed. And the only way to get it is to buy it back. At the new, higher price. I know, I know. So you take the $1,000 you made when you sold it, and then shell out $500 more, you buy the stock, and return it to whoever you borrowed it from, and it sucks.  This is your life and these are the choices you’ve made.

Step 8:  But wait! Wait! Are you a billionaire with a large personality? Are you convinced that ACME stock is worthless and the continued failure of Wiley Coyote must eventually drive the stock price over a cliff? OMG are you the ROAD RUNNER?? If you answered yes to any of those, you have a final option. Do everything you can to take ACME down. Lobby our own government and foreign ones, take out ads, fund non profit groups. Make it your mission in life. Seriously! People actually do this!

Some interesting notes about shorting: If a lot of people are shorting a company, say ACME, well, that doesn’t look good for ACME. It’s like wearing a scarlet letter. People start asking questions. The stock price can go down, in a sort of self fulfilling death spiral.


Sabri Ben-Achour

 

On the other hand, there are some investors who really like a challenge.  They might actually swoop in to rescue a company whose stock is at risk of being shorted to death, because they sense an opportunity to fix it. If they do fix it, and things start looking up for the company, all the people who shorted it will sprint to the market to buy back the shares they owe various other people and entities. Then that creates a spiral up in price. What is that called? A life spiral? Technically, it’s called a “short squeeze.”

After combat, a battle for job-hunting veterans

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 01:00

The Labor Department is expected to release its annual report on the job situation for veterans soon. The jobless rate for those who served after 9/11 has tended to be higher than the overall unemployment rate.

Though typically highly skilled, disciplined and hard-working, veterans of recent conflicts often have more difficulty than civilians in finding work. Companies love to hang yellow ribbons and run ads about supporting America’s veterans. But veterans say they aren’t always as quick to hire them because civilian managers don’t understand how to evaluate military experience.

“The hardest part for me when I first got out of the military was figuring out what to write on a resume,” says Marine veteran Michael Wersan, who served in Iraq as an infantry assaultman. “Nobody cares that I did 700 patrols in seven months. That doesn’t compute for a civilian.”

But he translated his skills into a civilian resume and picked up new ones studying at the City University of New York. He’s now a construction supervisor.

Former Marine Tireak Tulloch did two tours in Iraq and had advanced training in network engineering. His skills are in demand, but at first, he says he couldn’t get past initial phone interviews. A reservist when he was job searching, he felt managers wouldn’t hire him because they feared he’d be sent back to Iraq. But he kept at it and his civilian career in technology has since taken off.

Those who speak for veterans say there's a great deal of mistunderstanding amongst employers. 

“I think there are a lot of misconceptions that every veteran is a ticking time bomb,” says Derek Bennett, an Army veteran, who is chief of staff of the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a reality after combat. But veterans groups say employers need to understand that PTSD is managable. Overall, they want employers to look beyond stereotypes and do more to reach out to veteran communities, where they may find men and women with the skills they’re looking for.

Mark Garrison: Companies love to run ads about supporting the troops. But former Army officer Derek Bennett, of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, says that doesn’t always mean hiring them.

Derek Bennett: Finding employment can be difficult. Translating what you’ve done in the military into something that is recognizable by an employer can be difficult as well.

Marine veteran Michael Wersan says combat experience is hard to explain on a resume.

Michael Wersan: Nobody cares that I did 700 patrols in seven months. That doesn’t compute for a civilian.

He’s now a construction supervisor. Iraq Veteran Tireak Tulloch found job hunting frustrating at first.

Tireak Tulloch: I really couldn’t get past the phone interview.

But he kept at it and now works in network engineering. Apart from misunderstanding military skills, Derek Bennett says some employers misunderstand vets.

Bennett: I think there are a lot of misconceptions that every veteran is a ticking time bomb.

Not all veterans have PTSD. And it’s manageable. Vets want employers to look beyond stereotypes and do more to find the veterans who might have the skills they’re looking for. I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.

Amazon Prime could be too popular?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 01:00

There's been speculation that Amazon may drive away customers by jacking up the price of its Prime service, which includes free two-day shipping and amenities like streaming video. In a survey, about 40 percent of Amazon Prime customers told Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) that, yes, they might ditch the service if the price went up twenty bucks. 

However, CIRP partner and co-founder Josh Lowitz doesn't believe them. He says Prime is still a good deal: Free shipping, plus the video streaming, and word of more to come, like free streaming music.

"We think people will figure it out. In fact, we think when people make the $99 commitment to Amazon Prime, they’re going to be even better Amazon customers.  Because they’re going to want to get their money’s worth out of the shipping."

Which could be the real problem for Amazon. That’s how Colin Gillis, a tech analyst at BGC Partners, sees it. He points out that Amazon already loses billions of dollars a year on shipping, and those losses are growing fast.

"If you look at their shipping losses, it’s about 4.7 percent of total revenue. And that’s about the margin that a decent retailer makes."

Worst-case scenario, Amazon becomes a big-scale version of an old joke:  Sure, I lose a penny on each one, but I sell a ZILLION of them!

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of a CIRP partner and co-founder. He is  Josh Lowitz. The text has been corrected.

A letter to the President warns of history repeating itself

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 01:00

Formed in 1975 to examine the possible overreach of national security investigation and intelligence, the Church Committee - named after the chairman of the committee, Frank Church - was responsible for the creation of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act. At the time, the committee investigated when and how the NSA had overstepped its bounds, including the opening of people's mail without notification.

Former members of the group sent President Obama a letter this week sighting similarities between their findings during the original investigation and the current situation with NSA surveillance. In fact, they pointed out that this time around, the technology available has made the offenses much worse and larger in scope. Cyrus Farivar, senior business editor at Ars Technica, points to the increase in personal technology that the average American carries on their person.

"Typically in those days people had one phone at a fixed location: their office, their home. Nowadays, nearly all of us carry around mobile phones in our pockets which act as a really good proxy for showing where we are [and] when we are in time...I think that that’s really incredible to see these veterans of looking at some of these abuses from 40 years ago saying now that what’s going on today is far worse than what they saw previously."

Opposition Fails To Maintain Momentum In Venezuela

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 01:00

Venezuela has cracked down on student protests, leaving 29 people dead. The main square in Caracas, where protesters were based, has been dismantled. The opposition is divided over what to do next.

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Satellite Images Show Potential Debris From Flight 370

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 01:00

Host David Greene gets the latest from NPR's Frank Langfitt about the potential debris from Malaysia Flight 370 spotted by satellite imagery in the southern Indian Ocean.

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