National News

Three jobs, a family and uncertainty

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:59

Kai Ryssdal is reporting live from Athens. He talks with Tonia Korka, a mother and research associate at the Hellenic Institute of International and Foreign Law, about her job prospects in the future.


Sandwich shop owner keeps the optimism alive in Greece

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:59

Kai Ryssdal is reporting live from Athens. He talks with Nick Voglis, owner of Trends Subs and Salads in Greece, about what it's like trying keep a small sandwich shop afloat during economic turmoil.

Little Athens has to cope with the crisis, too

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:59

The Greek debt crisis has consequences for businesses outside of Greece too. In the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York  — also known as Little Athens — some store owners have higher prices for many products, which is hurting business. 

Dianna Loiselle of Telly's Taverna says the products she buys from Greece have spiked since the economic crisis began.

“The olives we buy were about $28, $29, and now they’re $52,” she says. 

Antony Fidanakis of Titan Foods has also been experiencing price hikes at his store.

“We used to be a store that was known for bargains,” he says. “We’ve actually become more and more expensive because all of those exports we’re buying from Greece have become less and less competitive.”

Tourism in an economic crisis

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:59

Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal is reporting live from Athens. He spoke with several tourists at the Acropolis of Athens to get their reactions to the crisis in Greece.

Promise, risk await post-sanction Iran

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:58

Iran today is young.  Sixty-four percent of the population is under 34 years old. 

Iran today is also getting older.  Its “youth bulge,” as demographers refer to the spike in births in the '80s and early '90s, is starting to think about “bread and butter issues – jobs, getting married, getting your own apartment,” says Kevan Harris. He's the Associate Director of Princeton University's Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies. 

“Twenty percent of adults in Iran have some form of higher education, and among Iranians of college age now, 50 percent are going into higher education,” Harris says. Harris says Iran today is also highly educated.   

Ian Bremmer, head of Eurasia Group, says the country and its population are uniquely situated among its regional neighbors. “The country is relatively open, it’s a relatively diverse economy, and that you have a fairly globally-oriented young people in it ... means the ability of Iranians to take advantage of sanctions relief is much greater.”

Iran today is also frustrated, observers say.

“After going out of the universities they expect to find good jobs, but it is very difficult to find good jobs, or jobs at all,” says Hossein Bastani with BBC’s Persian Service.  “Many are qualified but cannot find jobs so it leads to frustration.”

These young aspiring Iranians – and their government – are hanging a lot of their hopes on sanctions relief, says Princeton's Harris.

“This kind of deal represents for them, maybe over optimistically, a big chance for a change,” he says.  “They believe European investment, maybe even American investment, will upgrade the economy.”

For U.S. and European companies, Iran represents a market for imports currently dominated by Asian companies.

“Asia has captured Iran’s market,” explains Ebrahim Mohseni, research associate at the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies.  “Basically that means China.  But what you need to keep in mind is that opinion polls have also shown that people ... don’t like Chinese goods. They’re forced to buy them.”

American and European goods are available, he says, but they are luxury goods, bought through intermediaries at highly marked up prices. iPhones are not unheard of on the streets of Tehran. As sanctions are relieved and Iran’s dismal exchange rate improves, buying power will also increase, says Fariborz Ghadar, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and professor at Penn State.

“The GDP of Iran is twice that of Greece, and the population is seven times of Greece, much younger, much more entrepreneurial, and much more willing to buy stuff,” he says. 

 The associated expectations carry the possibility of disappointment, experts say, since foreign businesses may not trust that the deal will last, or they may not view Iran as a safe place to invest.

“Even before sanctions, a lot of oil and gas companies just kind of threw in the towel because they found it so difficult to operate with the Iranians,” says Keith Crane, senior economist at the RAND Corporation.  

If this occurs, foreign firms may simply view Iran as a market in which to sell goods “for fast, risk free cash,” says University of Maryland’s Mohseni.  “If this happens, there is going to be a rise in unemployment.  A lot of Iranian industry is likely to go bankrupt because they will not be able to compete, which would result in unemployment .”

It’s not simply the spending by foreign investors that is in the air.  Out of the hundred billion dollars in Iranian assets released by the U.S. government under the deal, the government that made the deal has limited discretion on how to spend it, analysts say. 

If that is not spent productively, he says, there is a risk that the government of President Hassan Rouhani will not be able to fulfill its promises of creating employment and development. “It’s not the only decision maker,” Hossein Bastani says.  “There are a lot of government institutions not controlled by the government, that do not report to the administration – I’m talking about state-run institutions under the control of supreme leader Khameini.  There will be competition among such institutions to have a bigger share of the released money.” 

“If young people believe that the speed of change is not sufficient, they will become angry," Bastani says. 

Sweet treats in the midst of economic fallout

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:58

Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal is reporting live from Athens. He spoke with Olga Karastathi, owner of Chemin Bakery, about how she started her business during the economic crisis, and why she’s still hopeful.

College students feel the weight of the Greek crisis

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:58

Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal is reporting live from Athens. He talked with Efie Garavela, a twenty-year-old college student in Athens, about how she feels entering Greece’s job market.

One last moment from our trip to Athens

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:56

We're on our way home tomorrow, after two days of live broadcasting our show from Athens. 

Saturday morning, we were talking to Vassilis and his boss at Bairaktaris Taverna, when someone else wanted to hop on the mic and say her piece about Greece.

It's worth a listen for the historical perspective, if nothing else. Hear the bit of tape in the audio player above.

New Exhibit Laces Together Sneakers And History

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:31

From high-heeled kicks to Air Jordans, a traveling exhibit from the Brooklyn Museum encourages us to look at everyday footwear as exquisite objects of desire, and see "sneakerheads" as the historians.

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Michelle Obama Is A Rock Star For Global Teen Activists

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 12:06

The first lady spoke to 200-plus girls gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Girl Up Leadership Summit. Was she inspirational? Need we even ask?

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The Last Boston 'Snow Farm' Finally Melts

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 11:58

The city dumped cleared snow in unused parking lots this winter, creating piles it called "snow farms." This one was once 75 feet high. It finally became a puddle Tuesday.

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Early Push To Require The HPV Vaccine May Have Backfired

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 11:58

The HPV vaccine has failed to gain market share compared to other new vaccines, even though it's great at preventing cancer. Concerns about teen promiscuity and attempts to require it may be why.

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Deal Offers Hope To Families Of Americans Imprisoned, Missing In Iran

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 11:18

Those detained include a former Marine, a pastor and a Washington Post reporter. The missing man is a former FBI agent. The U.S. says Iran should "make a humanitarian gesture and bring" them home.

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6 Things You Should Know About The Iran Nuclear Deal

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 11:05

The deal is comprehensive and technical, but here's a quick write-up that explains sanctions, centrifuges, breakout time and enrichment.

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When Weed Is The Cure: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 10:59

Dr. David Casarett used to think of medical marijuana as "a joke." But after taking a deeper look, he's changed his mind. Casarett's new book is Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana.

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Egg War: Why India's Vegetarian Elite Are Accused Of Keeping Kids Hungry

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 10:00

Serving eggs in free school meals could boost the protein-deficient diets of poor, lower caste Indian school kids. But in some Indian states, powerful vegetarian politicians have thwarted these plans.

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Eric Garner's Family Urges Justice Department To Prosecute Officer

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 08:25

Having reached a $5.9 million settlement with New York City over Eric Garner's death last summer, Garner's family members say they want a federal indictment of a police officer.

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In The Middle East, Iran Deal Called 'Bad Mistake,' 'Great Victory'

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 08:15

Israel has sharply criticized the historic agreement that the U.S. and its five allies struck with Iran on its nuclear program. Iranian allies Syria and Iraq have welcomed the deal.

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Would Banning Headers In Soccer Solve the Concussion Problem?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 07:12

Most concussions in youth soccer happen during heading the ball. But it isn't the ball's fault, researchers say. Rather, it's player collisions. Avoiding aggressive play would help reduce injuries.

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FDA To Take Another Look At Essure Contraceptive Device After Health Complaints

NPR News - Tue, 2015-07-14 06:41

Thousands of women say they've been harmed by the permanent contraceptive Essure. But it's unclear if the problems were caused by the device. The Food and Drug Administration is taking a closer look.

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