National News

U.N. Security Council Votes Unanimously In Favor Of Iran Deal

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 05:29

Under the terms of the deal, the toughest sanctions put in the place against Iran by the world body would be dismantled in exchange for restrictions on some of the country's nuclear activities.

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Sen. John McCain: Trump Owes Vets, Not Him, An Apology

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 04:40

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stirred more controversy by lashing out at McCain, saying he preferred "people who weren't captured."

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FIFA Will Select New President In February

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 04:06

Soccer's world governing body has been rocked by a corruption scandal that forced current President Sepp Blatter to call for a new presidential election.

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After 54 Years, The U.S. And Cuba Formally Restore Ties

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 03:41

Cuba and the U.S. now have embassies in Washington and Havana. Later today Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in Washington.

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For The Rubik's Cube World Champ, 6 Seconds Is Plenty Of Time

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 03:16

Competition was fierce at the Rubik's cube world championship in Brazil. There was a 4-year-old and a category for those who do it with their feet. The overall winner needed less than six seconds.

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PODCAST: Fast-tracking doctors

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-20 03:00

First up, we'll talk about the economic lesson in today's plunge in the price of gold. Plus, we'll talk about a program in Savannah, Georgia, that's attempting to lure would-be doctors into primary care by offering a fast-track education to ease student loans.

Lockheed Martin reaches deal to buy Sikorsky Aircraft

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-20 03:00

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin has reached a deal to purchase Sikorsky Aircraft, the company that manufactures the Blackhawk helicopter. The deal is worth $9 billion dollars.

If this deal goes through, the world’s largest defense contractor will likely gain even more influence in negotiations with the Pentagon.

For the past few years, revenue has been fairly flat for Lockheed Martin. Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, says this deal suggests a shifting strategy for the contractor.

“Broadly speaking there’s two types of defense contracting. One is building stuff, whether it’s tanks, ships or aircraft. And the other is providing services. Whether it’s network solutions of systems integration,” he says.

Aboulafia says when it comes to profitability, nothing is quite as lucrative as building stuff. To that end, Lockheed this morning also announced that it could sell or spin off its government IT and technical services.

Still, this deal leaves Lockheed in a strong position says American University Professor Gordon Adams.

“There is no question in my mind the upper-hand is with the industry. Because the industry is so concentrated. The Pentagon needs to, has to have this equipment. They don’t have a lot of options of where to turn,” he says.

Adams says given consolidation in this sector, contractors have the ability to hold the government hostage in negotiations.

Sometimes A Little More Minecraft May Be Quite All Right

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 02:54

Minecraft can be more social and creative than watching TV. But kids' drive to play for hours on end can strain recommended limits on screen time. What's a mother to do?

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Rare July Rain Washes Out Bridge On I-10 In California

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 02:49

The rain cut right through the highway, forcing drivers to take long detours. There was one bit of good news with all the rain, however: It helped control wildfires.

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Commerce Department: Tighter Controls Needed For Cyber Weapons

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 02:41

If software can be used to attack a computer network, then companies need permission before sending that software overseas, the government says. But the cybersecurity industry is up in arms.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield will offer credit protection

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-20 02:00

Earlier this year, hackers broke into the database for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield – one of the nation’s largest insurers. The bad guys made off with personal information of nearly 80 million consumers.

By the start of next year, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans will offer credit monitoring and fraud detection to most of their collective 106 million members.

The company's senior vice president of operations and chief information officer, Doug Porter, says Blue Cross Blue Shield is making a major investment.

“We’re not doing this in lieu of other protections, it’s one more prong to make sure we have the protections from beginning to end,” he says.

Consumers have the choice to opt in for this service. Several IT analysts say the measure could cost several hundred million dollars. While that may ultimately get baked into the price consumers pay, John Pescatore with the SANS Institute says it’s a wise move for the Blues.

“By offering these credit monitoring services, you are essentially working to limit your liability in the future. $350 million may cost a lot of money, but a class action law suit may cost you more than that,” he says.

We may find out soon. Some 100 lawsuits have been filed against Anthem for its data breach and are being wrapped into a class action suit in California.

Fast-tracking doctors to lessen student loans

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-20 02:00

One of the goals of health reform is to cut costs by keeping patients healthy through preventative care. But that approach leans heavily on routine care from family doctors — who are in short supply. A program in Savannah, Georgia is trying to fast-track primary care doctors through medical school.

Inside Memorial Hospital’s pediatric unit, Mary Keith makes her rounds, checking on a seven-week-old patient who’s about to go home. Keith is a family medicine resident at Mercer University. But unlike most students, she spent just three years — not four — in medical school before starting her residency.

Keith says the shortened program was appealing, but that’s not the only reason she chose Mercer.

“When I came into medical school I knew I wanted to do family medicine, so it kind of seemed like a no-brainer to me to have a fast-track into a good family medicine program,” she says.

The accelerated program cuts out some electives, like clinical experience in ear, nose, and throat (ENT) or pulmonology. Still, students like Keith will save more than $40,000 in tuition and start earning a salary a year early.  

Dr. Robert Pallay is chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at Mercer. He says if you can cut the length and cost of med school, more students will consider primary care over a higher-paying specialty.

“One of the things that helps the students choose what discipline they want to go into in medicine is funding,” he says. “You talk to medical students, a lot of them don’t want to admit that money is the reason behind their choice of a specialty, but we all know that that’s real.”

Especially, he says, when they know they’ll be graduating with hefty student loans.

Texas Tech University has a similar fast-track program and several schools around the country are looking at this model.   

Dr. Rich Hawkins of the American Medical Association says this approach could help solve the primary care doctor shortage.

“But a caution is just making sure that when students graduate early from medical school, that they’re ready to graduate,” Hawkins says.

And if they’re not, he says, med schools have to make sure students get the skills they need before they’re allowed to practice.

The three-year model could catch on: the AMA is looking at ways to improve medical education in general, including accelerated training for some students. Georgia lawmakers recently approved more than a million dollars a year to expand Mercer’s program.

Banks in Greece reopen

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-20 02:00

After three weeks of financial purgatory, retail banks reopened in Greece on Monday. Withdrawal limits at ATMs remain, but more can be taken out at once. Plus, Greeks will finally be able to get into their safety deposit boxes.

Economist Vicky Pryce of the Centre for Economics and Business Research in London joined us to talk about what this means to Greek pensioners — Click the media player above to hear more.

And from our partners at the BBC:

Athens reached a cash-for-reforms deal aimed at avoiding a debt default and an exit from the eurozone.

But many restrictions remain and Greeks also face price rises with an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).

Queues at ATMs have been a feature of life in Greece for weeks, with people waiting in line each day to withdraw a maximum of $66 a day, a restriction imposed amid fears of a run on banks.

From Monday, the daily limit becomes a weekly one, capped at $460, meaning Greeks will not have to queue every day.

An architect told the BBC that the banks reopening will make only a small difference to his ability to operate.

"The key challenge is that we cannot pay our suppliers, which means that we will eventually run out of products to sell," Vassilis Masselos told the BBC World Service's Newsday program.

Water prices rise in California

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-20 02:00

Paying for utilities is fairly uncomplicated. If you turn off the lights and the air conditioner, your electricity bill is lower. So, you might assume that using less water would mean a smaller water bill. For residents of drought-hit California, that's not necessarily the case. 

Consumers have been told to cut back on their water usage. The state has instituted new regulations, but the companies that provide the water still have to pay for infrastructure.

Lori Anne Dolqueist, a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips who represents water utilities, says when it comes to paying for water, consumers are also paying for "the cost of installing, maintaining, repairing, replacing the underlying infrastructure: the pipes, the pumps, the wells. The other facilities." 

Paying for water has always meant much more than simply paying for what comes out of the tap. And as people are required to use less water, utility companies raise prices to make up the difference.

Click the media player above to hear more.

Banks in Greece re-open

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-20 02:00

After three weeks of financial purgatory, retail banks re-opened in Greece on Monday. Withdrawal limits at ATMs remain, but more can be taken out at once. Plus, Greeks will finally be able to get into their safety deposit boxes.

Economist Vicky Pryce of the Centre for Economics and Business Research in London joined us to talk about what this means to Greek pensioners — Click the media player above to hear more.

And from our partners at the BBC:

Athens reached a cash-for-reforms deal aimed at avoiding a debt default and an exit from the eurozone.

But many restrictions remain and Greeks also face price rises with an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).

Queues at ATMs have been a feature of life in Greece for weeks, with people waiting in line each day to withdraw a maximum of €60 (£41) a day, a restriction imposed amid fears of a run on banks.

From Monday, the daily limit becomes a weekly one, capped at €420 (£291), meaning Greeks will not have to queue every day.

An architect told the BBC that the banks re-opening will make only a small difference to his ability to operate.

"The key challenge is that we cannot pay our suppliers, which means that we will eventually run out of products to sell," Vassilis Masselos told the BBC World Service's Newsday programme.

Water price rise in California

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-20 02:00

Paying for utilities is fairly uncomplicated. If you turn off the lights and the air conditioner, your electricity bill is lower. So, you might assume that using less water would mean a smaller water bill. For residents of drought-hit California, that's not necessarily the case. 

Consumers have been told to cut back on their water usage. The state has instituted new regulations, but the companies that provide the water still have to pay for infrastructure.

Lori Anne Dolqueist is a partner at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips. She represents water utilities.

"The cost of installing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, the underlying infrastructure: the pipes, the pumps, the wells. The other facilities," Dolqueist says.

Paying for water has always meant much more than simply paying for what comes out of the tap. And as people are required to use less water, utility companies raise prices to make up the difference.

Click the media player above to hear more.

Gold takes a tumble

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-20 01:53
3 weeks

That's how long Greek banks will have been effectively shut down, re-opening on Monday after difficult negotiations regarding the country's debt. As reported by the BBC, the former $66-a-day cash withdrawal limit now becomes a weekly limit of $462. 

5 metric tons

That's how much gold was sold on the Shanghai Gold Exchange during early morning trading in Asia. It's a large amount to be sold in a two-minute window when you consider 25 tons is the normal amount traded in an entire day. Monday saw gold trading down 1.9 percent, falling to a low not seen since 2010. As the Wall Street Journal reports, analysts site a couple possible culprits: China's central bank issued data that show its reserves missed estimates by about half, and information that led some to believe that a big fund would be selling its holdings. Also cited was the expected rise in U.S. interest rates.

3 years

That's how long Mary Keith spent in medical school — as opposed to the customary 4 years — before starting her residency. Keith benefits from a program in Savannah, Georgia, that is aiming to attract more potential doctors to primary care by fast-tracking them through medical school, thereby lessening potential student debt.

37 million

That's how many users are on AshleyMadison, a website that helps cheating spouses arrange affairs. Services like these thrive on secrecy, which is why the news of a breach by a group calling itself "The Impact Team" could be potentially disastrous. As TechWorld reports, the group is demanding the service be taken offline, or else it will publish the names and account information of users of the site. 

80 million

That's how many customers of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield had their personal information stolen in a hack earlier this year. It's why next year, the company will offer credit monitoring and fraud detection to most members. The new service comes with a hefty cost for Blue Cross Blue Shield, but some analysts point out that it will probably be less than having to pay for an inevitable class action law suit.

Scientists Say They Can Read Your Mind, And Prove It With Pictures

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 01:17

Scientists say they can now download signals from your brain — and translate them back into a picture that you saw.The images aren't crystal clear. But you can make out what's going on.

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How Should Republicans Deal With Donald Trump?

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 01:16

Donald Trump is rising in the polls and is getting all the attention when he delivers controversial speeches. A look at how the other candidates, and the Republican establishment, are responding.

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Old U.S. Embassy In Havana Becomes The New One As Relations Are Restored

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-20 01:16

The old U.S. Embassy in Havana has a storied past. The Cubans long described it as a nest of spies. Today the building again becomes an embassy as the U.S. and Cuba formally restore relations.

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