National News

Obama: U.S. Forces Won't Return To Combat In Iraq Crisis

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 09:14

President Obama says the U.S. will send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to help it cope with a Sunni extremist group, but Americans won't be taking up combat roles.

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As More Latinos Drop Religion, Should GOP Be Extra Worried?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 09:08

The percentage of Hispanics who aren't affiliated with a particular religion is ticking upward. This demographic tends to be more socially liberal, too, which may have political consequences.

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It's Not Tennessee Whiskey If It's Aged In Kentucky, State Says

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 08:18

Tennessee recently began regulating whiskey carrying the state name, sparking a dispute between two liquor titans. A complaint over barrels stored in Kentucky added a new twist to the conflict.

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Fumbled Patent: Is It Just A Matter Of Business?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 08:13

The U.S. Patent Office said the name of Washington's pro football team is "disparaging to Native Americans," cancelling its trademark registration. Gabriel Feldman explains more about the decision.

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Iraq Turmoil: How Extremists Use Social Media To Gain Support

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 08:13

Government clashes continue in Iraq after an attack on an oil refinery. The extremist group ISIS may be responsible. Tell Me More learns how the militant fighters use technology to win supporters.

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Supreme Court Rules Against Patents For Abstract Ideas

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 07:55

At issue in the case, Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International: Do software inventions get the same kinds of patent protections as other inventions? The court's decision was unanimous.

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Supreme Court Sides With Whistleblower In Retaliation Case

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 07:27

The Supreme Court calls sworn testimony at a trial "a quintessential example of citizen speech" that is protected by the First Amendment. The decision was unanimous.

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1,000 Words: Afghans Engage In A Dangerous Game

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 07:11

A snapshot of goat-grabbing, a popular sport in Afghanistan.

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American Apparel Ousts Its Controversial Founder, Dov Charney

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 06:27

The company said it made the decision in the wake of allegations of misconduct against Charney. It did not elaborate. He has been subject to past lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct.

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House Republicans To Vote On Cantor's Replacement Today

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 05:42

Today's 2 p.m. ET vote is to decide who will join House Speaker John Boehner in a top leadership role. While that slot seems decided, the No. 3 spot is up for grabs.

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Book News: Cache Of Unpublished Pablo Neruda Poems Found In Chile

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 05:15

Also: Evie Wyld's gorgeous, grim novel All the Birds, Singing has won the Encore award; Clinton's Hard Choices sold more than 100,000 copies in its first week.

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Only 7 Percent Of Americans Are Big Fans Of Congress

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 04:39

The amount of confidence Americans have in Congress has hit a new low, plummeting from highs in the 1970s and '80s. In the same period, the military has boosted its image.

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Free College For All: Dream, Promise Or Fantasy?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 04:03

The movement for free tuition is growing. Time to look a gift horse in the mouth.

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Dodgers' Ace Kershaw Notches His First No-Hitter

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 03:47

The no-hitters just keep coming for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In less than a month, the team's pitchers have thrown two games without giving up a hit.

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Iraq Battles Militants For Key Oil Refinery In Beiji

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-19 03:20

Rapid gains by Sunni extremist group ISIS are having a wide impact, crimping Iraq's oil industry and leading to calls for its Shiite leader, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to resign.

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PODCAST: American Apparel undressed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-19 03:00

In her press conference yesterday, Chairman Janet Yellen seemed to go easy on inflation. More on the carefully chosen language in her statement. Plus, why the outcome of the case against Aereo has implications for companies far outside the broadcast television realm. Also, with news that American Apparel has ousted its CEO Dov Charney, a conversation on the challenge of finding a new leader for a troubled company.

Should the U.S. take in more refugees?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-19 03:00

With Eric Cantor's recent defeat in the Virginia Republican primary, many are wondering how immigration reform will play out in Congress as the political divide seems to grow even wider. And with rising tensions in Iraq and the ongoing crisis in Syria, there's a new focus on how to handle refugees. 

Marketplace economics correspondent Chris Farrell  sees a light in this otherwise dark tunnel. He argues the U.S. could improve its economy as well as the safety and well-being of foreign citizens by increasing its intake of refugees. 

Click the audio player above to hear Chris Farrell in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio

Big tech: becoming what it set out to destroy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-19 02:00

The evidence is everywhere if you know how to look. 

Apple is an obvious one. The company that used the phrase "Think Different" to set itself apart from a homogeneous environment of personal tech just settled a class-action lawsuit alleging it colluded with book publishers to make the prices of all e-books more expensive. 

Amazon, a company that started selling books because founder Jeff Bezos loved the broad spectrum of titles available, has been in the news for understocking, delaying deliveries and preventing pre-orders of books from a publishing company. For an organization with a stated mission of being "where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online," fighting with Hachette doesn't really fit the bill.

And then there's Google. Even ignoring "don't be evil," the company's fight with independent artists and labels over terms and conditions for creating its new YouTube music service looks like a betrayal of what the company's platform stands for. YouTube is supposed to be a place where everybody can upload; where your success is only limited by the quality of your content and your ability to hustle. When that changes to "agree to our terms or get blocked," and Billy Bragg calls you "stupid," you're probably not serving that ideal. 

Is anyone else getting a creeping feeling that we're seeing some grand scale bait and switch? Tech companies -- even big ones -- pride themselves on "disrupting" in a good way, and "removing friction" from traditional business transactions. When it's done right, innovation is a democratizing force that makes our lives better. And when they're doing right, tech companies offer us alternatives to petrified, monopolized industries and marketplaces. So what happens when we opt in early and often, and then find ourselves pushed and bullied by the companies we thought were offering a new and better way of doing business?

Awaiting the Supreme Court decision on Aereo

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-19 02:00

The Supreme Court is poised to rule on a case that’s being watched closely by everyone from ABC to Google to the NFL.

It involves internet start-up Aereo, which streams broadcast television – CBS, NBC, Fox, and the like – to consumers on their phones, tablets, and computers, but doesn’t pay those providers retransmission fees. Instead, the company charges a subscription of up to $12 a month for which subscribers receive a tiny antenna to stream and record broadcast TV.

Whatever the court rules, the stakes are high, says Harvard Professor Susan Crawford.

If Aereo wins, cable providers might argue they don't have to pay networks for the rights to show their programming. That means the networks would lose billions, forcing them to live off advertising revenue exclusively.

“So what really happens is that sports moves off broadcast and becomes something only available through your cable subscription,” Crawford says of that scenario.

If Aereo loses, Crawford says that could raise numerous copyright questions about services somewhat similar to Aereo; services that store movies and music in the cloud, for example.

She says ultimately Congress may have to get involved, meaning a long fight in Washington with a “mosh pit of special interests” battling it out.

By the numbers: What violence costs the planet

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-19 02:00

How much does war and violence cost us—all 7 billion of us on Planet Earth?

In its Global Peace Index, the Institute for Economics and Peace, an international think tank, attempts to quantify the economic impact of violent strife of all kinds — from homicide to civil war to terrorism — in 162 countries around the world.

The bottom-line: nearly $10 trillion spent “containing and dealing with the consequences of violence” worldwide in 2013. That cost has been rising steadily for the past eight years, as global “peacefulness” declined, especially in regions like the Middle East, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Violence containment” by the Index’s definition includes everything from buying tanks, deploying surveillance satellites and paying soldiers; to economic damage from civil war, political violence, drug trafficking, and refugee crises; to the costs of domestic security—from police, airport security, and jails, to lost wages and fear of criminality suffered by homicide victims’ families.

Here’s Marketplace’s take on the Global Peace Index “By the Numbers”:

$9.8 trillion

That was the global cost of violence in 2013 — for trying to contain it, and dealing with its consequences. $9.8 trillion represents 11.3 percent of global GDP, or $1,350 for every person on the planet. It is double the GDP of Africa. The cost of violence rose nearly 4 percent from 2012.

$5,455 per person

The U.S. cost of violence containment per-capita — for every man, woman, and child living in America. The U.S. spends 10.2 percent of GPD to deal with violence — everything from the costs of homicide and law enforcement, to military and terrorist threats like North Korea and Al Quaeda. The U.S. spends more per-capita than Mexico ($1,430), France ($1,300), South Africa ($1,000), Argentina ($635), or India ($145). The U.S. even outspends Israel, at $2,795 per capita, or 8.1 percent of GDP.

#1: Iceland

Iceland (spending $320 per person on violence containment) again ranked as the world’s most peaceful country. Iceland does well on many of the 22 indicators that the Index tracks. These include: homicide rate, terrorist activity, displaced persons due to civil conflict, per-capita weapons imports and exports, size of police and armed forces, incarceration rate, per-capita military spending, and the number killed in armed conflict. Rounding out the “Top 10 Most Peaceful” list: Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Norway.

#162: Syria

Syria overtook Afghanistan in 2013 as the “least peaceful place on earth”—ranked 162 out of 162 countries surveyed. Rounding out the “10 Most Violent”: Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and North Korea.

#152 and #151: Russia, Nigeria

Cutting off the “10 Most Violent” list here leaves off these two giants, which are eleventh and twelfth. Russia’s adventurism in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine solidified its dismal performance on the Index, and also caused Ukraine’s peacefulness to fall. Nigeria has suffered a severe deterioration in public safety as terrorists have murdered and kidnapped with little effective response from the military or police.  

#101: U.S.

The U.S. rank in the 2014 Global Peace Index. Just behind Bangladesh, Haiti and Benin . . . but beating out Angola, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The U.S. is the least peaceful country in North America — but its only regional competition is Canada, which ranks #7 for peacefulness worldwide.

35 out of 36

That’s how many countries in Europe are more peaceful than the U.S. Only Turkey is less peaceful — and it has a civil war next door. In Central America, Costa Rica and Panama are the most peaceful countries; Mexico and Honduras the most violent. For a safe South American vacation, go to Uruguay or Chile, ranked tops in the region; avoid Colombia and Venezuela. Brazil ranks near the bottom of the continent, at #91 — World Cup muggers, anyone?

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