National News

Politics And Power Complicate The Airliner Search

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 12:00

Malaysia's government, which is leading the search for the missing airliner, has come under fire from critics who are accusing it of mismanagement and partisan politicking.

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Q&A: A Crash Course On Common Core

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 12:00

The new benchmarks in reading and math have been adopted in 45 states and Washington, D.C. But there's still plenty of confusion about what exactly the standards are, and what they mean for students.

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Young People Are Falling Into A Health Insurance Subsidy Gap

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 12:00

Young people on the upper range of income eligible for subsidies are finding that they don't always qualify. That could influence the number of young adults who enroll.

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A Cold One For Everyone: Craft Beer Sales Surge In 2013

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 11:41

If craft beers seem to be everywhere these days, there's good reason: Sales jumped 20 percent in 2013. To stand out in an increasingly crowded field, many brewers are pushing the flavor frontiers.

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American businesses wary of sanctions in Russia

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-18 11:12

Large American companies like GE, Boeing and Pepsico do billions of dollars worth of business in Russia, and, in some cases, have spent the past 20 years building infrastructure and relationships with Moscow. They fear that if the U.S. imposes sanctions that are too tough, competitors in Europe and Asia could take advantage and step in. Meanwhile, U.S. businesses with operations in Crimea are facing a quandary of their own: whether to accomodate to Russia's absorption of Crimea or to sell, likely at a loss, and get out. 

Report: NSA Can Record, Store Phone Conversations Of Whole Countries

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 11:11

Based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the Washington Post reports the U.S. has the capability to record "100 percent" of a country's phone calls.

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Thank Your Gut Bacteria For Making Chocolate 'Healthy'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 10:31

Dark chocolate may help the heart and waistline. Now scientists have figured out one reason why: Bacteria in the gut turn cocoa into compounds that lower inflammation and make us feel full.

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Top Democrat Insists Party Will Hold Senate — But Turnout Is Key

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 09:43

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says the Republican Party hasn't changed at all since its 2012 losses and continues to alienate "huge swaths of voters."

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Wal-Mart will buy your used video games now

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-18 09:00

Starting next week, you can take your old video games to Wal-Mart and get store credit for them. According to Carl Howe, Vice President of Research at the Yankee Group, it's a smart move for the superstore.

"I think what the retailers have found is that there’s a very robust secondary market for games. They’re expensive enough and the demographic that buys games is young enough that they’re pretty cost sensitive."

The used game market in the US is worth more than $1.5 billion, which is not great news for game publishers. Companies like GameStop and Best Buy, however, have deep roots in the used game market.

Wal-Mart does have size on its side. Its hired an outside company to handle refurbishment of the old games that come in, and plans to start selling them at Wal-marts by the end of the year.

Opting Out Of Your Insurance Plan's Network Can Be Costly

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 08:53

People who choose to go to unapproved doctors and hospitals for care may find themselves with unexpected out-of-pocket expenses and copayments for services that would otherwise be free.

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Chechen Leader Known As 'Russia's Bin Laden' Reported Dead

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 08:25

A separatist website says Doku Umarov, who has claimed responsibility for several high-profile attacks in Russia, has been "martyred." However, this isn't the first time his death has been announced.

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Three floods in three years? Yeah, we'll buy your house

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-18 08:17

Don Garboski loves his big open kitchen, and the pool out back where his grandkids play in the summer.

He’s lived in this house nearly 50 years, but in a few months, Garboski will pack up his belongings and hand the keys to the state of New Jersey so they can demolish it. He’s already stopped fixing problems as they arise in the house.

“This door knob that's broken,” says Garboski, “I refuse to have it replaced because we’re leaving. Why fix it?”

Instead, a piece of duct tape covers the latch. Garboski tells guests not to bother taking their shoes off, despite having replaced all the floors and carpet after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“I don't care if someone comes in with ice skates,” he shrugs.

Garboski lives in Sayreville, N.J., east of New Brunswick along the Raritan and South Rivers.  His neighborhood has severely flooded three times in the last three years. Following Sandy, the state wants to buy his house and some 1,300 other homes for their pre-storm value and demolish them. It's part of a $300 million “Blue Acres” program, funded with federal Sandy aid. The state of New York has launched a similar program.

Sixteen months after Sandy, more than 400 deals are in the works in New Jersey, but only 50 have closed so far. The first home was demolished just last week.

One cause of the delay is that Garboski and many of his neighbors feel they've been low-balled by the state.

“The assessment process is a very sore subject with me," says Garboski, noting that he believes his offer was at least $20,000 short. “Some people made out better than others. Some people, pardon the expression, got screwed.”

Rich Boornazian runs the Blue Acres program. He agrees some of the appraisals were too low, and encouraged those homeowners to appeal. But that adds time to the process.

Other delays have arisen from the surprising number of homeowners owing more on their mortgage than the house was worth before the storm.

"What we didn't expect was the thirty percent rate of people that were 'underwater' on their mortgages," says Boornazian. "So that's a tough one. The state doesn't have extra money to pay more than the appraised value." 

The state is now negotiating with banks to see if they will accept less than full repayment of a mortgage.

Now, the state has to wait for a second round of federal funds to be released before it can make more offers.

But perhaps the largest factor in these buyouts and a common cause for delays are all the emotions that come with leaving a long-time home.

Some families have requested to stay until the end of the school year, says Boornazian.

"There's some people that come to us and say, 'I want to die in this house,'" he adds. "It's not all logical. It's very gut-wrenching emotional decisions that people have to make."

After all the work Zigmunt and Mary Dombrowski put into their house and the 49 years of memories they have there, the couple says they simply can't move – they can't imagine where they'd go.

“I did everything myself except this boiler,” says Zigmunt, proud of his post-Sandy repairs and the bargain furniture finds from Goodwill that he and Mary used to restock the house after the storm.

The Dombrowskis have lived next door to the Garboskis for nearly five decades. But unlike their neighbor, Zigmunt and Mary have decided to turn down the state’s offer. They don’t have to sell if they don’t want to. 

"Why would I want to leave now?" Zigmunt asks. "When we came here there were only two or three houses. If they all leave, that's fine with me. I'm used to that. That's the way it was before."

The Dombrowskis say even if the state offered him more money, they still wouldn't sell.

VIDEO: Flames Spread After Helicopter Crashes In Seattle

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 07:59

At least two people were killed and one was injured when a news helicopter came down on several cars. Witnesses say it may have tumbled from atop a nearby building.

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The year the big screen came to the little screen

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-18 07:49

From the Marketplace Datebook, here’s a look at what’s coming up Wednesday:  

  • The House Natural Resources Committee takes a trip to Fresno, Calif., for a field hearing on the Golden State water crisis.
  • The Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day meeting on interest rates.
  • And sixty-one years ago the Oscars were televised for the first time.

WATCH: Physicist Gets 'Smoking Gun' Proof Of His Theory

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 07:30

Andrei Linde, one of the founding fathers of cosmological inflation, answers the door to the news that his theory appears to have been confirmed.

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Kids Think The Darndest Thoughts

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 07:11

Children believe all sorts of things growing up, but kid logic isn't that different from adult logic.

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Feminism Is Fashionable For Nigerian Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 07:00

Adichie might be Africa's best-known young writer, and she's making a big mark on this side of the Atlantic. She talks about feminism and fashion and the possibility of filming with Lupita Nyong'o.

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Here Are The 24 Heroic Stories Behind Today's Medals Of Honor

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 06:35

At the White House, the nation's highest honor for valor in action will go to 24 men — three of whom are still alive. Most were Jewish or Hispanic and had been unfairly passed over.

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Yes, It's A Headache. No, You Don't Need A Brain Scan

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 06:28

In 2010, 15 percent of people who went to the doctor for a headache got a brain scan, even though the vast majority of headaches aren't symptoms of something seriously wrong.

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More Theories But Still No Sign Of Missing Malaysian Jet

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-18 04:30

As the search for Flight 370 and the 239 people on board continues, investigators are pursing many possibilities. One question: Was the crew overcome by smoke?

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