National News

Kerry Lands In Badhdad, Bearing Warnings For Iraqi Leaders

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:07

Secretary of State John Kerry is touching on a number of complex foreign policy issues this week — from violence in Iraq, to political instability in Egypt and the conflict in Ukraine.NPR's Jackie Northam is on the trip and talks with All Things Considered.

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Guilty Verdicts Claim 3 More Reporters, As Egyptian Courts Roll On

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:07

An Egyptian court issued its verdict in the trial of three journalists from the Al Jazeera English network. Though evidence of their alleged crimes was never presented in court, two of the journalists were slapped with seven-year sentences and one with a ten-year sentence. The decision has been met with international condemnation.

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Maliki's Power Base Crumbles As Iraq Slips Into Chaos

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:07

The Iraqi prime minister once boasted that he brought stability to the country, but as Iraq looks more like a Sunni vs. Shiite battlefield, critics say Nouri al-Maliki's policies have led to the mess.

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World's Chemical Weapons Watchdog Clears Syria

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:07

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons has announced that Syria has handed over the last of its declared chemical weapons stockpile. Despite the milestone, what questions remain about chemical weapons in Syria?

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EPA Gets A Win From Supreme Court On Global Warming Emissions — Mostly

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:07

The court's 7-2 decision gave the EPA the right to regulate greenhouse gases. But in a separate 5-4 vote, the justices curbed the agency's attempt to rework one section of the Clean Air Act.

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In 'Drone Memo,' A Step Toward Transparency On Targeting Americans

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:07

On Monday, a federal court made public a long-secret memo that lays out the Obama administration's legal justification for killing an American citizen in a drone strike. The memo, which concerns the 2011 killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki, says that the man presented an imminent threat to the United States.

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Along Iraq-Syria Border, Two Key Crossings Fall To Insurgents

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:07

Ned Parker, the Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters, speaks with Melissa Block about the ways in which the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has moved to take control of the border between the two countries.

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After The Fall, A Young Man Chronicles His Life With Multiple Sclerosis

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:04

Jason DaSilva was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 25. He has applied his skills as a documentary filmmaker to show what it's like to quickly lose the ability to walk.

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Sandwich Monday: Burger King's Extra Long Cheeseburger

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 11:35

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try the Burger King Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger. It's like a regular BBQ Cheeseburger, but longer.

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Bad transactions can lead to losing your bank account

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 11:33

Zikomo Fields carries around a prepaid debit card with around $23,000 on it. This is the only way he can control his money because he doesn’t have a bank account -- and this isn’t by choice. He makes more than $100,000 a year and has a steady job as a software engineer. But when he applies to a bank, his name appears in a consumer credit reporting database called, ChexSystem.

Danielle Douglas, a Financial reporter for The Washington Post, wrote a story on Fields and how many people are shut out of the banking system because of a past history of bad money transactions. Whether it’s repeated overdrafts or bounced checks, ChexSystem has it on file. And these transactions don’t just disappear from your record overnight:

“Most of these accounts will have some kind of bad mark in your file for up to seven years, which is a problem. If you’re trying to get back in the traditional banking system, then it’s gonna be difficult to get a checking or savings account” says Douglas.

While there are other options to store your money -- like the prepaid debit card Fields owns -- it still prevents one from taking out loans or mortages, even if you could now afford it. 

Under Attack By ISIS, Iraq Agrees To Give U.S. Troops Immunity

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 11:31

Back in 2011, Iraq refused to grant American troops immunity, so the U.S. pulled out leaving no residual forces.

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Beijing: Hong Kong Democracy Referendum 'An Illegal Farce'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 11:11

State-run media have denounced the unofficial vote organized by pro-democracy activists. So far, more than 700,000 people have cast ballots.

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Be A Varsity Player ... In Video Games?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 10:11

A private university elects to make a popular video game into an official varsity sport. Marketing ploy or sign of the future?

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School Nutrition Fight Widens As School Board Members Join In

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 09:38

Leaders of the National School Board Association say they're concerned about "federal overreach on school meals." But the first lady maintains that now is not the time to turn back the standards.

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Central Park Five Settlement: Was Justice Served?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 08:59

New York City reached a $40 million settlement with the "Central Park Five," men who were wrongfully convicted of a brutal rape in 1990. Sarah Burns, who wrote a book about the case, offers an update.

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Child Detention Centers: A 'Headache' For The Obama Administration

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 08:54

U.S. officials are detaining thousands of immigrant children who tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border alone. Two journalists discuss conditions at detention centers, and what's driving the migrants.

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Top Malaysian Court Upholds Ruling On Who Can Use 'Allah'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 08:01

A lower court decided last year that only Muslims can use the word to describe God. But the government now says the ruling applied only to the Catholic newspaper that brought the case.

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Christian Woman Escapes Death In Sudan Over Conversion

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 08:01

Meriam Ibrahim, 27, says she was raised an Orthodox Christian after being born to a Muslim father. A court ordered her release Monday, throwing out a death sentence.

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U.S. Court Releases Obama Administration's 'Drone Memo'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 07:19

The memo explains the administration's legal reasoning for launching a drone attack on an American citizen overseas.

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Hollywood's influence on politics

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 07:14

Celebrities endorsing politicians--and, indeed, the idea of politicians becoming celebrities themselves--goes back a lot further than you might think.

"It's always been driven by a mix of obsession and fascination with power, the desire to be seen with the celebrity that is politics," says Timothy Stanley, author of the book "Citizen Hollywood: How the Collaboration Between LA and DC Revolutionized American Politics." 

But in the late '20s and early '30s, Stanley says, it was mostly driven by "hard-headed business decisions."

"People do make money out of this connection," he said.

Hollywood has always been able to raise a large amount of money for political campaigns throughout its history -- $13 million in one month during the 2012 Presidential campaign, Stanley says.

These days, however, he argues that Hollywood has had a poisonous impact on politics. A lot of it started with the election of one John F. Kennedy, and his father's ambitions to make one of his children President of the United States.

"When [Joe Kennedy] wants Jack to run for the Presidency, where does he send him to learn charm and star power? He sends him to Hollywood," Stanley said. "And the Kennedys discovered that what it required was being seen with beautiful people, it was going to expensive events, and developing that Camelot glamour."

It's this commitment with charm and star power, Stanley says, that has diluted American politics.

"I always find it sordid that you could drop names and get elected based on the people you're seen with," he said. "It's not healthy for a constitutional republic to have that kind of glamourization of its political leaders."

As Stanley points out below, there's a point where having star power for the sake of having star power doesn't help your case.

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