National News

N.Y. Prison Break Update: Search Is Costing $1 Million A Day

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 13:04

A district attorney says the two inmates may have used power tools left behind by maintenance contractors at the Clinton Correctional Facility.

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Why Target is selling its pharmacies to CVS

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-15 13:00

First it bailed on Canada. Then it shed its furniture business. Now Target’s dumping its unprofitable pharmacies and clinics, selling them to CVS Health Corp. for $1.9 billion.

The deal will put the CVS brand on Target’s roughly 1,700 pharmacies and 80 clinics.

“Only about 5 to 7 percent of Target's customers actually utilize the pharmacy business, and so Target was basically operating that business near break-even,” says Ken Perkins, an analyst with Morningstar.

The problem may have been a brand disconnect.

“A lot of consumers are reluctant to use a pharmacy at a mass merchant," says Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, a pharmaceutical management consultancy. "They don't think of the place where they get their DVDs, their TVs and their bed sheets as the place where they can also get their prescriptions.” 

But Fein expects that will change with pharmacy industry giant CVS taking over Target’s pharmacies and clinics. Fein says CVS will connect Target customers to more generic drugs and a program for managing prescriptions, and give them access to high-priced specialty drugs, like one for treating Hepatitis C.

“CVS is the largest dispenser of these specialty drugs and has a number of programs and services that Target just can't offer,” he says. “Target just doesn't have the scale and capabilities to play in this new world.”

Fein says if customers can get those drugs and services at a CVS within Target, they might stick around and stock up on other stuff.

China helps 'Jurassic World' devour the box office

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-15 12:58

"Jurassic World" roared to an international box office record this weekend — $524.1 million — propelled by a $100 million-plus opening in China.

"I think it's not such a surprise," says Aynne Kokas, an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and a scholar at Baker Institute China Studies Program at Rice University.

Kokas expects China will keep box office records for American films. 

"At some point soon we’ll see the Chinese market becoming larger than the U.S. in every successive month," she says. By some estimates, the Chinese box office will overtake the U.S. box office by the end of the decade.

There’s a huge expansion in the number of theaters in China, Kokas says. There are a growing number of 3-D screens and digital screens. And there are more theaters in second- and third-tier markets in the country.

There's also a wealthier Chinese population that likes going to the movies.

"It’s the sort of thing that Hollywood studios salivate about," says Michael Curtin, a professor of film and media studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

But Hollywood saliva alone does not land a movie on Chinese screens. The Chinese government allows only 34 movies a year to be imported.

And how exactly a film gets on that list is a little murky, Curtain says. "I don’t think anyone in Hollywood can really tell you.  It has to do with relationships, it has to do with the nature of the film."

Curtain says these days studios work with Chinese censors in the earliest phases of planning a movie to try to get it on the list.

Hollywood is also working on co-productions with Chinese studios, which aren't subject to the quota. 

And, more broadly, everyone in the industry is thinking about the global audience.

Janet Yang,  a film producer and head of Janet Yang Productions, helped negotiate the distribution of U.S. films into China in the 1980s. She says in the past, studios tried to appeal to an international audience in a pretty rudimentary way: "Let's put in a Chinese character or two in a primarily Western production, or conversely, let's put a Western character or two into a Chinese production," she says.

Yang says that's changing. Now it’s about finding truly organic, international stories and bringing writers, directors, crew and actors together — from the West and China.

Welcome to the party, Jeb

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-15 12:58

Jeb Bush made it official today: he wants to be president.

There's a big rally down in Miami — campaign posters, the whole smash. 

Also, as it turns out, a little digital fun.

The New York Times' Jeremy Bowers noticed on now-candidate Bush's website that the JavaScript of the announcement includes a synopsis of the movie "Die Hard."

Seems like an odd thing to include in the JS of your presidential announcement page. https://t.co/bA8DeSzeyk pic.twitter.com/vwfUbBLt0M

— Jeremy Bowers (@jeremybowers) June 15, 2015

Yeah, that "Die Hard."

Why?

No idea.

AIG bailout trial: a partial moral victory

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-15 12:55

The former chief of American International Group Inc. has been handed a victory of sorts.

In a class action lawsuit, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg argued that when the government bailed out insurance giant AIG in 2008 during the financial crisis, the terms of that $85 billion loan were unfair to shareholders. A federal judge in New York agreed Monday, finding that those terms were “unduly harsh” when compared to its treatment of other institutions.

However, while Greenberg may been vindicated by this decision, it was only a partial win, says Ernie Patrikis, a partner at White & Case who previously worked at both AIG and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

"A Pyrrhic victory is, you win the battle but you still lose the war,” he says. “Here, he won the battle of 'was it an unconstitutional taking?' but he lost the battle of 'does he get damages?' "

Greenberg had been seeking up to $40 billion in compensation, but the judge wrote in his decision that without the government’s intervention, AIG would have filed for bankruptcy and therefore didn’t award any damages, even as he agreed the government overstepped when it took 80 percent of AIG’s equity in exchange for the loan.

“Remember [the government was] making an $85 billion loan, an extraordinary loan to one financial institution that had seemingly been run in reckless fashion,” says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School. “They were buying a pig and a poke. They didn’t know just the full major liabilities they were going to encounter when they took over the company. They wanted complete control.”

The big question, in light of this decision, is what this means for how the next financial crisis is handled, if there is one. Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virgina, says the government could likely still make emergency loans, just not take equity, as it did with AIG.  

“It may be if this stands that Congress would have to revisit the authority of the federal government and try to expand it so that it does have the flexibility to move in financial crises,” he says.

But first, Tobias says this decision will almost certainly be appealed.

Zimbabwe To Street Vendors: Pack Up, Clean Up, Ship Out!

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 12:28

The government says thousands of vendors must pack up their wares, move off the streets and pay rent to sell from designated zones. The vendors say: How will we be able to earn a living?

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Round-Up: A Few More Worthwhile Thoughts On Rachel Dolezal

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 12:09

On misogynoir, "lying about a lie," and what constitutes black identity in America.

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Jeb Bush Makes It Official: He's Running

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 12:07

The former Florida governor becomes the 11th major Republican candidate for the party's presidential nomination.

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The Pope's thoughts on climate change are leaked

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-15 12:06

Setting aside for the moment the issue of who inside the Vatican might leak a papal encyclical, it does appear that that's what has happened. The Italian magazine 'L'Espresso' leaked a draft of the document today... 192 pages about climate change and its effects on the poor. In the document, Pope Francis calls for “urgent action” against climate change and endorses biofuels. The official release date is Thursday, and Vatican authorities are saying the official text is still under embargo.

Scott Tong explains the effects of this leak. 

Supreme Court Denies N.C. Appeal On State's Ultrasound Abortion Law

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 12:02

The controversial 2011 law was previously struck down on the grounds that it reflected ideological, rather than medical, priorities.

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Firearms Company Colt Defense Files For Bankruptcy Protection

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 11:04

Sam Colt founded the company in 1855. Colt Defense filed for Chapter 11 protection late Sunday.

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Instead Of Replacing Missing Body Parts, Moon Jellies Recycle

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 11:03

If a starfish loses a limb, a new arm buds and grows in its place. But young moon jellies have a different strategy for self-repair: Existing limbs rearrange themselves to regain symmetry.

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Sudanese President Flies Home After South African Court Orders His Arrest

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 09:23

President Omar al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 on charges that he committed war crimes and genocide in Darfur, where 300,000 people died.

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Show us your commute's #WeakLink

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-15 09:11

This week, Marketplace’s sustainability desk explores the state of infrastructure across the U.S. We’re teaming up with Waze to look at the nation’s freeways and our transportation infrastructure.  

If you want to be part of our series and report bad infrastructure on your own commute:

1. Download and open Waze

2. Select the "Report" icon in the lower right corner

3. Press "Hazard" and choose the problem

4. Describe the problem and add the hashtag #WeakLink

5. Hit send! 

Safe-driving reminder: We want everyone to drive safely, so please only use this feature if a passenger can assist you or if you're at a complete stop. Or use it if you're walking or at home.

Rachel Dolezal Resigns As President Of Spokane NAACP

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 08:07

Dolezal made news after it emerged that she had been presenting herself as being of mixed race, when she was born to white parents.

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Magna Carta Is 800 — 'This Awful Thing' That Shaped Legal Rights

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 07:07

The landmark birthday prompted a Google Doodle in Britain depicting a man in chains — a reference to the rights that were eventually extended beyond the nobility.

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Colorado Supreme Court Says Employees Can Be Fired For Marijuana Use

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 07:00

The court said while pot use is legal in the state, it is still a federal crime, so employees are not protected by a statute that bars employees from being fired for partaking in lawful activities.

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Vatican Prosecutor Indicts Defrocked Priest On Pedophilia Charges

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 04:32

Jozef Wesolowski, the former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, will be the first to face a trial over the charges. He could face up to 12 years in jail.

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PODCAST: Is this the year VR will dominate?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-15 03:00

On Friday, the house of representatives failed to pass measures that would have granted President Obama a kind of fast-track authority to negotiate the so-called Trans-Pacific Parternship. Claiming victory here: labor unions. More on that. And with the E3 video game conference beginning Tuesday, will this be the year that virtual reality takes prominence in gaming? Plus, a huge swathe of people don’t take all their vacation in this country. To what extent is corporate culture and badly designed vacation policies to blame?

Texas Braces For Heavy Rain As Tropical Wave Gathers Steam In Gulf

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-15 02:57

The National Weather Service warned that some places could see as much as 10 inches of rain. Parts of Texas suffered fatal flooding just weeks ago.

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