National News

Ebola's Surge Requires 'Drastic Action' To Stop

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:29

Cases of Ebola continue to mount in West Africa in the largest outbreak of the disease ever recorded. Public health officials are concerned the viral disease could spread farther.

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FIFA: Unsanctioned underwear is "incidental exposure"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:26

Three items from the 2014 FIFA World Cup caught our eye on Thursday.

1. The U.S. men's national soccer team lost to Germany, yet still advanced to the next round of the tournament.

2. Uruguay's Luis Suarez is gone for the rest of this year's World Cup and has been banned for four months for his bizarre biting incident.

3. And finally, Brazil's star player Neymar whipped off his shirt after a game earlier this week revealing some colorful undershorts. Unsanctioned underwear, apparently. Brazilian media report the underwear did not come courtesy of the Brazilian team's sponsor, Nike, or FIFA's  official sponsor, Adidas, but from a design house called Blue Man, which sent a pair to everyone on the team. 

John Horan, the publisher of Sporting Goods Intelligence, says sponsors spend millions of money in exchange for brand visibility at sporting events. And sports associations are zealous about making sure players wear sanctioned clothing and equipment.

"They've all been read the riot act about this stuff," Horan says.

A couple years ago, a Danish soccer player also caught flak for flashing non-sanctioned undies at a match. He got fined more than $100,000.

Reports swirled that FIFA, the World Cup's governing body, is conducting an investigation into Neymar's underwear reveal. But in an email, a spokesman waved off the matter, saying the organization "is not in a position to provide detailed individual feedback on every potential ambush marketing incident."

It regards Neymar's slip as "incidental exposure."

Unsanctioned underwear: the new wardrobe malfunction?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 09:26

Three items from the 2014 FIFA World Cup caught our eye on Thursday.

1. The U.S. men's national soccer team lost to Germany, yet still advanced to the next round of the tournament.

2. Uruguay's Luis Suarez is gone for the rest of this year's World Cup and has been banned for four months for his bizarre biting incident.

3. And finally, Brazil's star player Neymar whipped off his shirt after a game earlier this week revealing some colorful undershorts. Unsanctioned underwear, apparently. Brazilian media report the underwear did not come courtesy of the Brazilian team's sponsor, Nike, or FIFA's  official sponsor, Adidas, but from a design house called Blue Man, which sent a pair to everyone on the team.

Latinos Pledge Allegiance To More Than One Soccer Team

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 08:12

For many Hispanics cheering on Team USA and a Latin American team is a win-win. Univision taps into this double patriotism by referring to the U.S. team as "el equipo de todos" — everybody's team.

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U.S. Advances In World Cup Despite 1-0 Loss To Germany

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 08:06

The U.S. advances to the round of 16 after a tight loss to Germany, 1-0, and a 2-1 win by Portugal over Ghana. This is the team's second consecutive trip to the knockout round.

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FDA Warns Of Life-Threatening Reactions With Acne Products

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 07:06

Many people use products using benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to treat acne. The Food and Drug Administration says rare but dangerous allergic reactions have landed people in the hospital.

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Clinic 'Buffer Zone' Law

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 07:01

The justices said Massachusetts' law mandating a 35-foot buffer zone around clinics providing abortion services violates First Amendment rights.

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Facebook's Diversity Numbers Are Out, And They're What You Expect

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 06:42

As the industry grapples with a gender gap, major tech firms are starting to release the gender and racial breakdowns of their staffs. Facebook's workers are mostly male and white.

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In Narrow Ruling, Supreme Court Invalidates 3 Obama Appointments

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 06:34

The court says the 2012 appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are invalid because they weren't approved by the Senate, which was in pro forma session at the time.

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FIFA Bites Back: Uruguay's Luis Suarez Suspended 9 Games

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 06:16

The suspension comes two days before Uruguay faces Colombia in the round of 16 on Saturday. It begins immediately, FIFA says.

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Will Ferrell, Teddy Goalsevelt Pump Up U.S. Fans

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 05:48

"I'm not going to lie to you – I'm not in the best shape," Will Ferrell told American soccer fans in Brazil last night, after being announced as U.S. Soccer's "secret weapon" in the World Cup.

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Why bank loans are getting riskier

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 04:25

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued a new report that says banks are taking bigger risks when they lend. They're doing that in two ways: lending more in auto loans to individuals, and lending more in leveraged loans to companies. And, increasingly, they're making those corprate loans "covenant-lite." Stopped you in your tracks, huh? Let me explain:

Q. First, what's a leveraged loan?

A "leveraged loan," also often known as a high-yield loan (if you're talking dirty, a junk loan), is a risky loan, borrowed by a company that's heavily in debt. Because of the risk, leveraged loans come with high interest rates. They also usually come chock-full of covenants.

Q. Which raises the question: What's a covenant?

A covenant is a requirement that the borrower has to meet every month. Perhaps is a certain debt-to-earnings ratio, or a minimum amount of gross income.  It can be anything the lender decides on. Covenants act like canaries in the coal mine for lenders, giving them early warnings that a company might run into trouble and possibly default on the loan.

Q. Got it... so what's a covenant-lite loan?

A covenant-lite (cov-lite, in the jargon) loan is like a coal mine with few or no canaries. So there will be little or no advance warning of problems in these loans: the first the lender hears about any issues is when the loan is on the brink of default.

Q. So why would anyone want a covenant-lite loan?

Well, borrowers love cov-lite loans, because they're easier to live with. There are fewer pesky rules and regulations to follow, and in some cases the loans are just pure money, with no strings.  Lenders don't really like them, for obvious reasons, but right now they're over a barrel. They're stuffed full of cash that they have to put to work in a very low-interest rate environment. There are precious few investment opportunities out there that will make the much money. And that allows the borrowers to force the lenders' hands. If you want a real estate analogy, it's a buyer's market. The buyers are the borrowers, and they're getting pretty much anything they want in these loans.

Q. Finally, then, why should I care?

Because all this means that risk is being baked into the system again. Leveraged loans are already risky.

When they're structured with few covenants, they're even riskier.

And when banks are loaded down with risky investments, well, we all remember how dangerous unfettered risk can be... don't we?

'We Welcome' Syrian Airstrikes On ISIS, Iraqi Leader Maliki Says

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 04:17

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says that he didn't ask for the airstrikes along the border — but he doesn't have a problem with them, either.

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Reports Of New Fighting Rattle Ukraine's Truce As Kerry Urges Russia To Help

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 03:23

Russian state news media report explosions in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia could face sanctions if it doesn't help end the violence.

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Oil Off The Coast Of Ibiza? Protesters Don't Want To Know

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 03:15

Spain is weighing a plan to allow oil exploration near the party island of Ibiza. Opponents fear the move could threaten the environment and tourism, but finding oil could also be an economic boost.

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In Flanders Fields, Europeans Still Learning How To Get Along

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-26 03:03

On the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, EU leaders will meet at Flanders Fields Museum. They'll have an opportunity to reflect on what can happen when nations fail to find common ground.

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Millennials kick up soccer's popularity

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 03:00

The team is called Sacramento Republic FC -- The FC stands for football club (even Sacramento’s booster club also has a European flavor).

But they -- the mostly young people in their twenties in the stands -- call themselves the Tower Bridge Brigade. They stand, sing, and chant all game long.

“I grew up watching soccer,” says fan Ana Garza. “I grew up listening to soccer, I grew up with a soccer ball in my crib.  The whole thing is just exciting.”

Sacramento Republic plays in the USL. The league is a notch below Major League Soccer, where U.S. superstar Clint Dempsey plays for the Seattle Sounders. But don’t tell Sacramento Republic fans they’re second-tier. The team has sold out several games in a 20,000-seat stadium.

So why are these mostly young fans so revved up?

“If you just look at the numbers the average person, the average person when they graduate high school, at least in the Sacramento has played seven years of soccer,” says team owner Warren Smith.

Smith says he has actually been surprised by the extent of the crowds. But he knew all those young soccer players and their parents could support a team.

“They’re familiar with it. They understand it. They have played it. And so if they play it, that is one of the first indicators that they will buy a ticket," says Smith.

Sports economist Patrick Rishe says the reason professional soccer is growing is because it’s connecting with millennials.  

“I think it’s just a natural progression of people being interested in soccer,” says Rishe. “It’s been a popular youth sport for a long time. And now NBC has this deal with the English Premier League, so now we can see regularly the top quality soccer league in the world.”

Some say Republic FC’s early success at the gate and on the field could bump the team up a notch to Major League Soccer. But on a recent night, they were losing 1-0 to Arizona United SC.  

Brian Trainer, one of the leaders of the Tower Bridge Brigade says it time to get louder: “We’re going to keep singing, and it might happen right here, I’m hoping for it. Here we go, here we go…”

And just then, Republic FC booted through the game-tying goal. The assist, more or less, came from its fans in the stadium.

PODCAST: GoPro's next move

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 03:00

IKEA announced it would raise its minimum wage -- more on the motivation behind companies raising pay without prompting from government. Plus, with GoPro's IPO going strong, a look at what the company might do to remain profitable besides just selling cameras. Also, a new report shows that although Latinos are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the U.S., they remain underrepresented in American media both on air, and behind the scenes.

Report finds Latinos are underrepresented in the media

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 03:00

It is no secret that Latinos are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in America. By the year 2015, Latino buying power is expected to exceed $1.6 trillion. Yet, despite this surge in population and buying power, one place that Latinos are under represented is in the media.

The Center For the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University just released a new report on that found Latinos are vastly underrepresented in the American media landscape, both on screen and behind the scenes.

For more on the report, click the media player above to hear Univision news anchor Enrique Acevedo in conversation with Marketplace's Mark Garrison.

Aereo loses at the Supreme Court: what's next?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-26 02:00

After weeks of waiting the Supreme Court has decided on the ABC vs. Aereo case, with the court ruling against the video streaming startup and in favor of broadcasters. 

With a 6-3 vote, the court found that Aereo infringes on copyright because it presents a public performance, citing that the service's audience is not individuals.

According to Sam Gustin, a Vice correspondent covering technology policy for Motherboard, “The takeaway is that court simply didnt buy Aereo’s technological argument.”

The ruling could have implications for how the courts rule on other copyright issues raised by digital distribution.

“One thing that it tells us is that the courts are sympathetic to the arguments of the broadcasters and rights holders,” says Gustin.

Still confused about Aereo? Here are some answers to your questions

What is the service? 

What is its business model? 

 What might have happened if the court ruled in Aereo's favor?

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