National News

Pentagon Says Drone Strike Killed Leader Of Militant Group Al-Shabab

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 07:39

The United States launched airstrikes in Somalia on Monday targeting Ahmed Abdi Godane, a co-founder of the al-Qaida affiliate in Somalia.

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Ukraine Says It Reached A Cease-Fire Deal With Separatists

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 06:58

Ukraine and the Russia-backed rebels have announced a cease-fire agreement set to go into effect Friday.

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In Ukraine, Cease-Fire Between Government, Separatists Takes Hold

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 05:45

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was hopeful that this would be a long-lasting peace. The central disagreements in conflict, however, remain.

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Science On Diets Is Low In Essential Information

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 05:44

The diet industry generates billions of dollars annually, but it is built on razor-thin evidence about what is best for any person. And it's likely that one diet type doesn't fit all.

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What's Your Take On #NPRTheTalk?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 05:35

African-American parents have long discussed the importance of teaching children how to interact with police. Do parents in other communities have similar conversations? Join the discussion.

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Update: After A 4-Day Hunt, Albino Cobra Is Caught In LA Suburb

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 05:27

A driver spotted the highly venomous snake and called authorities. It was captured without incident.

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Hiring Slows In August, But Unemployment Dips To 6.1 Percent

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 04:46

Coming in below expectations, the U.S. economy added 142,000 jobs in August. Still, the survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the unemployment rate dipped a tenth of a percent.

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U.S. Announces Coalition To Fight Against The Islamic State

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 04:31

Secretary of State John Kerry said the coalition will support U.S. allies on the ground and continue to use airstrikes on militants. Kerry ruled out any "boots on the ground."

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U.S. Expresses Concern That Syria May Still Have Chemical Weapons

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 03:57

The U.N. official in charge of coordinating the removal of Syria's chemical stockpile said they found discrepancies in the country's accounting of its arsenal.

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PODCAST: Colleges join ESPN

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-05 03:00

Just 142,000 jobs were added to American payrolls last month. That amounts to an unpleasant surprise. More on the disappointing numbers for August. And nearly a quarter of a million newly-naturalized American citizens or immigrants may lose their health insurance coverage under the federal reform law at the end of the month. The government is trying to verify people's identities and immigration status. Plus, ESPN3, the online streaming channel of the sports media giant is the place for less mass-market sports in America like cricket or volleyball. But it's growing it's share of college sports, including football. Schools eager for the exposure are finding creative ways to join the network. 

NATO Announces 'Rapid-Reaction Force' Amid News Of Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 02:49

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he and a rebel leader had agreed to a cease-fire, which is part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's seven-point plan toward peace.

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Does It Matter That Rosie Perez Is The First Latina Co-Host Of 'The View'?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 02:38

The Oscar-nominated daughter of Puerto Rican parents is the first permanent Latina co-host in The View's 17-year history. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans explains why that matters.

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Building Me: A Puzzlement

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-05 02:03

I am made of atoms. Seven-thousand-trillion-trillion of them. How did I teach them to tie my shoes? Or did they teach me?

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What to do when terrorists claim your company's name

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-05 02:00

What do you do when your brand gets adopted by a terrorist organization? That’s the question faced by businesses with ISIS in their names — the English-language acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

The most extreme strategy is to simply change the name. Mobile payment app Isis has announced it will change its name to Softcard. 

But so far, this is the exception. There are 49 corporations in New York State alone with "Isis" in their name, from Isis Fitness to Isis Nails. 

Patricia Luzi is the founder of Isis Essentials, selling organic oils and other products. She’s not afraid of a terrorist homophone.

"Isis is an Egyptian goddess and has been for thousands of years," she says. "I am not affected at all."

According to Steve Manning, founder of naming agency Igor, most Isis-branded businesses have nothing to fear because there is little chance of confusion with a violent sect of Sunni fundamentalists.

"But if your business isn't doing well or if you've got a bad reputation, it's the perfect excuse to make a change," he adds. 

This is what Manning believes was the true motivation of the mobile wallet app that is now called Softcard. 

"The irony being this mobile wallet was a huge initiative that never got any traction," Manning says. "Had it, they wouldn't have changed the name."

It wasn’t so much protecting a successful brand, as abandoning a failed one.

Many immigrants may lose health insurance under the ACA

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-05 02:00

Nearly a quarter of a million newly naturalized citizens or immigrants may lose their health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act at the end of the month.

The federal government is trying to verify people’s identities and immigration status, and Friday is the deadline to submit paperwork.

The National Immigration Law Center’s Jenny Rejeske says people are hustling to confirm their eligibility. But there are only so many ways they can reach out.

“People have mailed in their documents by certified mail, who have also tried to upload their documents online,” she says.

Despite that, Rejeske says, immigrants and naturalized citizens keep getting termination notices.

She says this is an old story for the Obama Administration.

“It’s just been part of the whole of array of technical problems that HealthCare.gov has faced,” she says.

Sonya Schwartz with the Georgetown Health Policy Institute also faults a lack of thorough planning. Why, she wonders, were most notices in English?

“It should have been a higher priority to think about how to communicate to all the different people in America, not just the people in English,” she says.

Apart from interrupting people’s health coverage, Schwartz says basic problems like this have a chilling effect on the millions who remain uninsured.

The federal government says it has whittled down immigration cases by nearly 75 percent.

Even if the deadline passes, Schwartz has a piece of advice for anyone who has received a notice:

“When in doubt, submit your paperwork again.”

'Security Princess' or 'Engineering Manager'?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-05 02:00

In the tech world, it’s not uncommon to meet a princess. Mine is named Parisa Tabriz. I know, because it says so on her business card.

“So, 'security princess' is my self-appointed title,” Tabriz says. “My actual job title is I am the engineering manager for the Chrome security team.”

But she figures the title “security princess” is “more fun.”

It’s also much more Silicon Valley. It’s sort of like a tradition here, at least when companies are starting up, to let employees choose their titles — not their real titles — but the ones they put on their business card.

“This is my last business card when I worked at Apple,” says Guy Kawasaki.

It reads “chief evangelist.”

I ask, “Who gave you the title?”

“I took that title,” Kawasaki answers. “I assumed that title.”

Kawasaki says choosing your title — even if it’s just the one on your business card — encourages you to think big about your job. Take Kawasaki’s title: evangelist.

He says when Apple was introducing the Macintosh in the mid-1980s, the masses barely knew about personal computers. And they sure didn’t get why you’d buy one.

So Apple needed more than just sales people; it needed somebody to sell the idea that personal computing would change their lives. They needed an evangelist.

“Evangelism is seeing your product or service as a way to change the world, and you want to bring this good news to people,” says Kawasaki.

He says it might sound delusional, but it is different than sales. You're not worrying about quotas and selling units. So a new job needs a new name.

Kawasaki left Apple in the late '90s, and since then, techies have introduced all sort of titles, says Scott Brosnan, a tech recruiter at Workbridge Associates.

“Ruby on rails rockstar,” he says. "Software ninja, data wrangler, I see a lot of now."

Brosnan isn’t impressed by the titles. But, he says, like wearing jeans and T-shirts to work, when tech companies allow employees to choose their title, they’re saying: We’re not corporate types, we’re creatives! Come work for us!

Keith Rollag, a management professor at Babson College, says there’s a study that shows this practice can make employees happier. The study was conducted by two researchers from Wharton and one from the London Business School.

They went into a health care company and let some of the employees define their titles.

“And what they found was it actually reduced people’s feelings of job exhaustion and it reduced the stress they felt while they’re on the job,” says Rollag.

Rollag says those employees felt empowered to redefine their jobs in ways that felt more meaningful.

ESPN3 grows its offerings with student productions

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-05 01:30

On Saturday, the Mercer Bears from Macon, Georgia, will play their first Southern Conference football game against Furman. Fans can watch it on the ESPN3 Web stream, even though the Bears football program is only one year old. Mercer decided to take advantage of an ESPN3 initiative that allows schools to join the network.

“We're one of the first in football to pick that up and run with it and self-produce an event for ESPN,” said Mercer Athletic director Jim Cole.

It took an investment of $150,000 to upgrade the university's TV production studio, get some high-grade cameras and pull fiber cable throughout campus. But, Cole says, joining the ESPN network is money well spent — even if it's only their Web stream.

“I'm looking for name ID for Mercer,” Cole said, to showcase Mercer to potential students around the country. “Kids understand what ESPN means, so we view this as a recruiting advantage as well,” he said.

ESPN3 has been the place for niche events like cricket, tennis or volleyball, but it's making headway into college sports, including football. Colleges and universities are eager for exposure on any of the sports media giant's network, and the school production initiative is part of ESPN3's business strategy.

“There is the ability for us to leverage our position in the marketplace to deliver a Mercer college-football game in the same APP as Monday Night Football,” said Jason Bernstein, ESPN's senior director of programming and acquisitions.

ESPN3 has different deals with each school, but the production quality has to fit their broadcast standards, Bernstein said.

Mercer University has a professional producer and director on staff, but the rest of its production crew are students who work for free.

Students Emanuela Rendini (left) and Sam Strickland (right) are part of the 20 student production team.

Susanna Capelouto

“Being paid, to me, is not really important,” said sophmore Emanuela Rendini. She is a journalism major and works as a grip during football games. She's in it for the experience, and the ability to leverage the ESPN brand name.

“Having ESPN on your resume when you graduate is really big to me,” she said.

Her volunteer efforts help her school add to the more than 7 ,000 exclusive live productions on ESPN3 this year, which can be seen by 95 million ESPN subscribers, 21 million college students and soldiers who get internet access through their school or military base.

ESPN3 will stream the Mercer vs. Furman game Saturday at 6 p.m. 

Silicon Tally: Taxi for two

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-05 01:30

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week, we're joined by Stephanie Humphrey, who writes about tech for Ebony.com.

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Can Body Cameras 'Civilize' Police Encounters?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 23:32

Police in Ferguson, Mo., started wearing video cameras this week. What effect do they have on behavior? A criminologist reviews the (preliminary) evidence.

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