National News

The Cold War 'Mole' Who Smuggled 1,000 East Germans To The West

NPR News - Sun, 2014-11-09 01:32

Hasso Herschel fled East Germany in 1961 on a false passport. Over the next decade, he helped more than 1,000 East Germans flee by smuggling them through tunnels or by hiding them inside cars.

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'Chief Resilience Officers' Could Help Cities Cope With Calamity

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 17:00

The Rockefeller Foundation will pay 100 cities to hire people who can help them prepare for future shocks and stresses.

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The cost of freezing your eggs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-07 15:11

Apple and Facebook offered to pay, to different degrees, for employees to freeze their eggs. Citigroup says they too will provide coverage for egg freezing.

I thought, OK, I'll talk about it. Marketplace Weekend is about how the economy collides with real life. Here's how it collided with mine.

A few years back, I got sick. I have a condition called endometriosis, where uterine tissue grows in places it shouldn't. And it can make it hard to have kids. So, in between surgeries bookending a few years of my life, I froze my eggs.

It cost me $7,000, insurance covered the drugs, which were $1,800. The rest, I paid out of my own pocket. Storage runs about $300 a year.

It was scary. Painful. Expensive. And I still don't know if all that money and effort will ever be worth it, because the science is pretty new.

But, I do know that I bought myself maybe a little confidence to go forward in my career, and not worry late at night that I'm throwing away my chance to be a mother, because I love my job.

And if more companies are going to pay for women to have this expensive chance, what does that mean? Maybe greater freedom to work in your 20s and 30s?

And that brings us to this weekend's number: 4.4 percent. American women's earnings at work decrease 4 percent for every child they have, according to a study at the University of Massachusetts.

And yes, it controls for education, hours, and different types of jobs.

Weekly Wrap: Jobs report

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-07 14:45

Joining Kai to talk about the week's business and economic news is Nela Richardson from Redfin, and John Carney of the Wall Street Journal. The big topic this week: The unemployment report.

Click play on the audio player above to hear the whole discussion.

Loretta Lynch To Be Nominated As Next U.S. Attorney General

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 14:27

A lead federal prosecutor in New York City, Lynch will be introduced by President Obama at the White House on Saturday. Her office has handled old-school Mafia busts, cutting edge cybercrime and more.

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Two Of Three States Reject Ballot Measures Restricting Abortion

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 14:22

North Dakota and Colorado voters struck down the "personhood" measures, which would give legal rights to fetuses. But Tennessee's Amendment 1 passed with 53 percent of the vote.

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For Political Junkies, A (Literary) Post-Election Fix

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 14:22

Post-elections, Molly Antopol and Jason Sheehan reflect on the results by turning to their favorite political books, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.

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Dallas Ebola Monitoring Period Ends With An All-Clear

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 14:13

In Texas, more than 100 people had been monitored for the 21-day period that marks Ebola's incubation period.

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As A New 'Doctor Who' Season Ends, Have Its Stories Matched The Hero?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 14:03

Britain's Doctor Who series finishes its first season with new hero Peter Capaldi on Saturday. TV critic Eric Deggans says Capaldi's portrayal of the Doctor is often better than the stories he's in.

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President, Lawmakers Signal Bipartisanship In Post-Election Meeting

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 13:27

At a two-hour lunch meeting with leaders of both parties and both chambers, Obama said he would judge ideas not on whether they are from Democrats or Republicans but on whether they work.

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Ralph Peer: The man behind the modern music industry

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-07 12:40

The mythology of the early music industry in this country is filled with enterprising A&R men -- that stands for "artists & repertoire"-- men who scoped out new talent all over the country, sign contracts and make a little money. Some made piles of it. 

Ralph Peer, whose career started with wax recording cylinders and ended with vinyl LPs, was one of them. Peer was a major force behind popularizing what was then known as roots music: country, gospel, blues, and later, jazz. Those staples of American music weren't really a part of the popular music scene in the early 20th century. 

The literature on Peer is thin, though, according to Barry Mazor, limited mostly to brief mentions in the biographies of country greats he helped discover. When Peer's family approached Mazor, he got access for the first time to royalty statements, Peer's papers and letters. His ensuing book is Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music. 

When he got into the music industry, the focus was on sheet music and songs fresh off Broadway. Genres like blues and gospel got little-to-no attention outside of churches and local dives. Then in 1920, Peer recorded Mamie Smith singing "Crazy Blues." 

 

"It was the first recording of blues sung by an African-American ever," Mazor said. "It hadn't been done."

And the record went on to sell 1 million copies. It bears repeating: this is 1920. 

"He saw something early on," Mazor said. "The reason he would bring Jimmie Rodgers or the Carter family... they were strong personalities with songs. The personality would sell the song, and then the song would sell again."

In other words, every new recording of the song, by new artists, benefitted everyone who worked on the originals. They made money off the royalties. Peer set the standard for that game. The blurbs for Mazor's book include everyone from Chuck D to Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder and Donovan. 

"Their business wouldn't be there if he hadn't been there first," Mazor said. 

How Africa's Oldest National Park Can Benefit Both Gorillas And Locals

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 12:23

Virunga, a new documentary on the Congolese park, premieres Friday on Netflix. We spoke to the chief warden about endangered mountain gorillas, oil speculators and the power of tourism.

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Beyond The Unemployment Rate: Look At These 5 Labor Indicators

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 12:19

The unemployment rate tells only a partial story about the labor market and the state of American workers. Five other measures provide a fuller understanding of the economy and the nation's workforce.

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Saudi Council Reportedly Recommends Letting Some Women Drive

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 11:56

The Associated Press reports that after years of refusing to review the kingdom's ban on female drivers, a key council now says that with restrictions, women could be allowed to drive.

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Transgender Men Who Become Pregnant Face Social, Health Challenges

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 11:53

Getting prenatal care can be a struggle, transgender men report in what may be the first study of its kind. And their feelings on once again appearing more female varied greatly.

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Robert Gates: 'We have to be more engaged' in Iraq

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-07 11:43

President Barack Obama announced Friday that he will send up to 1,500 troops to advise and train forces in Iraq.

Marketplace's David Gura asked former Defense Secretary Robert Gates about the possibility of further deployments. Plus, how another across-the-board spending cut would, in his view, blunt military effectiveness. Listen to the full interview (or read the transcript below):

 

 
David Gura: President Obama said today he’s going to deploy up to 1,500 more personnel to Iraq to fight against ISIS. Do you think that move was inevitable? We see these numbers climbing up. Will they keep climbing?

Robert Gates: I understand the President’s desire not to re-fight the Iraq War. I don’t think there are very many Americans who want to do that either. The challenge that I think he faces is to draw a distinction between having a substantial advisory presence there and sending in battalions and brigades who are going to be the primary combat forces. So I think as long as the mission and role of these troops is constrained, I think you can keep the numbers to very small numbers.

I personally believe that you cannot achieve the President’s objective of destroying ISIS without having embedded trainers and advisers with the Iraqis and with peshmerga and some of the Sunni tribal leaders and so on. I think you need forward air controllers, spotters, and we need some special forces. But I think -- I think we’re talking in terms of hundreds of troops, not thousands or tens of thousands. So, I think to be able to achieve his objective we are going to have to be more engaged on the ground, below the brigade level.

But I think that you can constrain this so that it isn’t just an inexorable march back to having significant numbers of combat troops. The key will be, that if we have these embedded advisers, and even that is not working, to be able to say, okay, now what’s the alternative? And the alternative is not going back into Iraq with a large ground force of American troops.

So there’s more here than just a semantic distinction when we’re talking about trainers and advisers. They really are doing something different.

Oh yeah, there’s a difference between being a trainer and adviser at the brigade level, or at the division level – which puts you way back from the front, if you will, from the fighting – and having somebody who’s embedded with an Iraqi company or an Iraqi battalion that is out there on the front lines. There is risk associated with that. There’s no two ways about it. And that’s why you have to limit the forces that are doing that.

But it’s hard for me to see how they retake ground from ISIS – for example, to retake the city of Mosul – without some pretty close-in, Western, including American, assistance, advice and training.

While there’s this ramp up, how hard is it to execute these missions when there’s the threat of these automatic spending cuts due to take effect in 2016?

I’ve said publicly, there may be a more stupid way to cut the federal budget than through sequestration, but I can’t imagine what it might be. This is absolute madness because it requires us to cut the most important things that we are doing at the same level, or at the same percentage you’re cutting the stupidest things we do.

At the same time as we’re cutting perhaps some bureaucracy and overhead, we’re cutting the money that has been set aside to take care of wounded warriors and their families, family counseling programs, as well as modernization programs, maintenance and operations, so I think that this Congress and the President have a “must have,” as a very high priority, getting rid of sequestration.

If they want to cut the budget, then do it through the regular budget process, and set aside this crazy plan that even they didn’t want to enact.

Your Wallet: Profiting on passion

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-07 11:18

This week, we're exploring how you've tried to make money our of your passion.

Whether the arts, music, theatre, basket-weaving, how'd it go? How much support did you get?

We want to know. 

Send us an email, or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND

Republican Ed Gillespie Concedes Virginia Senate Race

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 11:08

He told supporters in Springfield, Va., that the gap in the number of votes between him and the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Mark Warner, had grown and "I know that a change in outcome is not possible."

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Capitalism Is Making China Richer, But Not Democratic

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 11:08

The U.S. thought trade and investment would eventually make China more democratic. In fact, it's had the opposite effect: creating a rich, authoritarian leadership class that remains repressive.

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U.S. Will Send Up To 1,500 More Military Personnel To Iraq

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-07 11:01

The new personnel will serve "in a non-combat role to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces, including Kurdish forces," White House press secretary Josh Earnest says.

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