National News

Ebola plush toy sells out online

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-21 11:03

For less than $10, you can order Ebola online and take it home — not the disease itself but rather, a cuddly, worm-shaped mock up of the virus.

"GIANT Microbes" are stuffed animals that resemble tiny microbes, only at one million times their actual size. The website says the characters are designed to be “appealing personalities” which can engage any audience. And yes, there is one for Ebola.

The toys are based on a real microscopic image of an actual microbe, sans the googly eyes. The Ebola virus plush sells for $9.95, but is currently sold out. There are also "gigantic" and Petri dish versions of the toy.

The Ebola doll has a positive five-star review on the website, which calls the disease the “T. Rex of microbes." Reviewers note the toy is the "perfect prop" for a Halloween costume, with others commenting they didn't realize the virus was "so cute."

Who's Catching Your Cellphone Conversations?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 10:39

The police do it. The FBI does it. Could be, foreign governments do it. With the right equipment, people can hijack your cellphone calls and texts and listen in.

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Will A Sting, A Court Award And A Protest Help Stop Global Sex Trafficking?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 10:23

Stories of trafficking — including a sting using a "Walking Dead" actress — are making headlines. An expert talks about the practice, which victimizes millions around the world.

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'Mr. President, Don't Touch My Girlfriend,' Chicago Voter Teases Obama

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 09:34

CNN called it a "presidential love triangle" at an Illinois polling location, but, really, the episode was just some good fun.

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American Freed After Months Of Detention In North Korea

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 09:13

Jeffrey Fowle was arrested in June for allegedly leaving a Bible in his North Korean hotel room. Americans Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae remain in custody.

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The Yarmulke Comes To 3-D Printing

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 09:11

Using math and imagination, a college professor creates a new kind of kippah.

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When The Economy Goes Down, Vasectomies Go Up

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 09:04

It's well known that people are less eager to have children when the economy sours. And it looks like men got really serious about that during the Great Recession.

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DHS: Travelers From West Africa Limited To 5 U.S. Airports

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 08:36

Passengers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will be subject to secondary screening at JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta and Chicago.

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The numbers for October 21, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-21 08:20

McDonald's and Coca-Cola both reported disappointing earnings Tuesday morning, with 30 percent and 14 percent drops in revenue respectively. Both companies saw declining sales in the U.S. and Europe, and the fast food chain is still grappling with a scandal in China.

Yahoo's earnings call is expected after markets close today, it's make-or-break for CEO Marissa Mayer, who will likely address the company's acquisition strategy and stake in Alibaba.

Here are some more stories we're reading, and other numbers we're watching, Tuesday.

5

Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, last year. Pistorius' lawyer said the Olympian could only serve 10 months before being placed under house arrest. The sentence was handed down by the second black woman to become a high court judge in South Africa, Thokozile Masipa.

7

 The number of YouTube stars appearing in a new collaboration between Google and Lionsgate to promote the studio's new "Hunger Games" movie, AdAge reported. It's a high-profile push into branded entertainment for YouTube, and just the latest example of a big corporation exploring the value of Internet celebrities. 

$50 million

That's how much Kansas City could potentially make once business from the run-up to the World Series and the games themselves are all totaled. But other expenses, like the $225,000 parade thrown by San Francisco when the Giants won in 2012, have some questioning whether the costs involved in hosting a large sporting event mean the benefits are more modest than projected.

2

That's how many "Notorious R.B.G." shirts Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has given to NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg. Ginsberg is apparently relishing in her meme status, and has collected "quite a large supply" of the shirts.

Israeli Homes, Decorated With A Shopping Spree In China

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 08:12

Some Israelis are flying to China to buy most everything they need to furnish a home. They say it's cheaper than buying in Israel, though there are also cautionary tales of shopping trips gone wrong.

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Can Hand-Cut, Artisanal Ice Make Your Cocktail That Much Better?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 07:51

If you're sipping craft cocktails, your fancy $15 drink might now come with fancy ice. It's bigger, clearer and allegedly better tasting than the regular stuff made with tap water.

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A Hong Kong Protest Camp Spawns Its Own Art

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 07:47

Pro-democracy street art inspired by sources ranging from Les Miserables to John Lennon fill an open-air museum of sorts that has cropped up in Hong Kong.

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A Tale Of Two Cities: World Series Fever Takes Hold In SF, KC

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 07:27

In San Francisco, there's a lot of confidence. In Kansas City, which gets its first shot at the championship rings in nearly 30 years, the excitement is palpable.

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Volunteer Recap: Why Wearing The Right Shoes In Rio Matters

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 06:35

When medical student Robert Snyder visited Rio de Janeiro last summer to do volunteer work, he learned the hard way that Birkenstock clogs are not a wise footwear choice.

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More Insurers Put Spending Limits On Medical Treatments

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 06:14

To contain costs, some plans are capping how much they will pay for certain routine procedures, such as knee replacements. Patients can be on the hook for anything over the limit.

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The legacy of Oscar de la Renta

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-21 06:00

Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died at age 82 on Monday. His clothes were well-liked by celebrities, by politicians, and also by many professionals who admired his sensibility and his style.

Vanessa Friedman, fashion critic and the fashion director for The New York Times, is someone who closely followed de la renta's career, and joined us to talk about his lasting legacy.

Click the media player above to hear Vanessa Friedman in conversation with Marketplace's David Gura.

McDonald's earnings are less than super-sized

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-21 05:00

Fast Food juggernaut McDonald’s released its earnings Tuesday. The company’s share price is less than super-sized. Comparative global sales dropped 3.3 percent in the third quarter. The Q3 report comes on the heels of the company’s troubles in China, where suppliers reportedly sold expired meat to stores.

As a result sales were down significantly in Asia, and the company upped spending on marketing to reassure customers that its food was safe.

But the bigger threat to McDonald’s is the drop U.S. and European sales, says Sara Senatore, a senior research analyst at Sanford Bernstein: “Same store sales declined pretty meaningfully in both regions."

Analyst Howard Penney attributes much of the sales slump to McCafe, the company’s rebranding of the old fashioned hamburger stand into something more Parisian shall we say. “They over indexed themselves to beverages in McCafe and that really changed the structure of the business and complicated the back of the house,” says Penney.

CEO Don Thompson acknowledged the company’s troubles in Asia the U.S. He also blamed the diluted earnings on a higher effective tax rate.

When Women Stopped Coding

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 04:54

For decades, the share of women majoring in computer science was rising. Then, in the 1980s, something changed.

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Opera About 1985 Achille Lauro Hijacking Draws Protests At Met

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 04:41

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was among those who denounced The Death of Klinghoffer by John Adams, calling it anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

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CEO Of French Oil Giant Total Dies In Plane Accident

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-21 03:53

Christophe de Margerie, 63, and three other people died when his private plane collided with a snowplow at an airport in Moscow.

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