National News

Payments Start For N.C. Eugenics Victims, But Many Won't Qualify

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 13:04

North Carolina forcibly sterilized thousands of people between 1929 and 1976. The state has begun compensating victims, but some who were sterilized may never receive restitution from the fund.

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U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power Sees Signs Of Hope In West Africa

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 12:59

After a four-day visit to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, she reports progress — along with the need for continued support.

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How Liberia Is Starting To Beat Ebola, With Fingers Crossed

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 12:54

There's potentially some good news about Ebola: While cases are still rising in Sierra Leone, the outbreak shows signs of slowing in Liberia. Communities are banding together to get Ebola out.

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Former Band Member Found Guilty In FAMU Hazing Case

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 12:43

A Florida jury found Dante Martin guilty of manslaughter for his role in the fatal hazing of drum major Robert Champion.

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When it comes to rugby, the US is a developing market

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-31 12:28

In a no-frills gym, on 16th street in Manhattan, a group of young athletes is getting down to lifting some serious weights. The guys here are strength training, and amidst the concentration, sweat and grunting, as legs and arms are clenched and unfurled, you can practically feel the tiny muscle fibers tearing. The teenagers here are part of Xavier High School's rugby team, and they are serious about their workout.

If they work hard enough, some of them could end up at the Olympics one day playing rugby.

Rob Spenser, dressed for Halloween outside his job at a café serving Australian food. Until recently, rugby has been seen as something of a novelty in the U.S.

Sally Herships

For the first time since 1924 (when the USA beat France to take the gold) rugby is going to the Olympics. And in case you suffer from American-itis when it comes to the world of international sports, i.e, your knowledge of rugby does exist, but is abstract – then let us offer you a description from 16-year-old, Jack Palillo, a junior at Xavier High School:

“It’s a game played by gentlemen, but it’s a ruthless game,” he says. "The people that play the game, they’re pretty scary and mean. But after every single game, usually you have some kind of reception. And the people who are your enemies five minutes ago, you’re eating lunch with them."

Palillo plays 15-a-side rugby. The teams playing at the Olympics will use seven players. But either way, rugby is a cross between football and soccer. You can’t throw the ball forward, and the players don’t wear helmets. And for American Pro athletes there’s another difference, which even high-schooler Palillio is aware of:

“You’re definitely not getting paid as much,” he says.

Sixteen-year-old Jack Palillo, sweating after his workout calls rugby players “animals.”Sally Herships

While it packs stadiums elsewhere, rugby simply isn't a big deal in the U.S. Since the announcement that the sport would be played in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, tiny bubbles of anticipation and excitement have started to percolate through the industry, but depending on whom you ask, it can be hard to tell what kind of difference the news has made. At the Times Square office of Michael Principe, CEO of The Legacy Agency, a sports marketing and management company, the decor is all-American. Football, basketball, and baseball memorabilia fill his office, but there's only one rugby item - a lone jersey, framed and hung on the wall.

"Candidly, we didn’t spend a ton of time thinking about rugby five years ago. We didn’t spend a ton of time thinking about it three years ago,” says Principe.

But now the Legacy Agency is thinking about rugby. When a sport goes to the Olympics, "it's a big deal."

Notes Principe, when the Olympics goes out to TV viewers around the world,  NBC and other sponsors will spend ungodly amounts of money on broadcast rights and commercials – "billions of dollars." 

And this is an extra-special case.

"It’s not often that the United States is considered a developing market," says Principe, "an emerging market, but with rugby, it is."

But ask the folks who run the national rugby team, and they say finding funding is a different story.

“There was a perception around the world that the minute the game went Olympic, suddenly everybody would be throwing tons and tons of dollars at all the big Olympic countries,” says Nigel Melville, CEO of USA Rugby, the national governing body for the sport.

Melville says the Russians and Chinese both threw government money at their rugby teams, but in the U.S., not so much.

"The biggest challenge over here is there is no government funding," says Melville of finding money to subsidize an Olympic team, "it’s reliant on sponsors and fundraising.”

In case you didn't know, our national league rugby team, both men's and women's are called the Eagles. The men's team hosts New Zealand's All Blacks Saturday in Chicago.

Melville says the athletes training for the Olympics get a stipend – but it's only about $20,000 a year. As for the Eagles, there’s a donate button on the team's website.

There is a small payment for team members, but it's not enough to live on, says Mike Petri, who, when he's not working as a science teacher, or coaching Xavier High's rugby team, plays scrum-half. Petri says he considers himself a professional athlete in the way he approaches the game, but not in the financial sense, but he says, he's very hopeful for the future of the sport in the states. Being part of rugby now, he says, is like working for NASA.

"Realizing that we could send people to Mars," he says. "Personally, I’m probably not going to be the person that goes to Mars, but if I were in NASA I'd be really excited and really pumped for the guys who did get to go."

But there's another draw beyond salary for 16-year-old Xavier High School team member John Patterson to playing rugby.

“It’s kind of associated with [the] foreign, but yet manliness, so, that’s always good,” he says.

Rugby, while exotic to some Americans, still possesses a familiar allure. 

"When we play," says Patterson, "we're right by the bus stop, and everyone stops and watches."

Your Wallet: Guilty Pleasures

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-31 12:28

No matter how bad or good your financial situation is, what's one thing you will always spend money on? Do you feel guilty? 

According to a poll released this week by Bankrate.com. Two-thirds of Americans are watching what they spend each month. 

Last week we asked listener’s to tell us their stories of what they will not give up – even when their budgets are tight. Many listeners wrote in. 

Nanette Karapetian, a Psychoanalyst in Los Angeles, spoke to Marketplace Weekend about your guilty pleasures.

A Field Of Medicine That Wants To Know Where You Live

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 11:46

Where do you live? Health specialists think that simple question could make a difference in how doctors prevent and treat diseases for individuals. That's expanding its storied role in public health.

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Why Is North Korea Freaked Out About The Threat Of Ebola?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 11:31

Fear of the virus has prompted Pyongyang to ban tourism and quarantine all foreigners. It's a curious stance since the Hermit Kingdom has plenty of other, more pressing health woes.

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How seasonal hiring really works

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-31 11:21

Retailers, who were expected to hire more than 700,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, are increasingly relying on online outreach to reach potential workers.

FedEx, which combined with UPS planned to hire 150,000, says it’s relied heavily on social media this season.

“Word of mouth is always a popular way to get more people on board,” says FedEx spokesperson Bonny Harrison. “We also highly target on… various career websites, and you’ll see this year that we’re using social media very heavily to try to promote and advertise the fact that we have these jobs open.”

Companies looking for holiday seasonal workers are casting a wide net and getting creative with their recruiting efforts this year, says Ellen Davis with the National Retail Federation. That’s because unemployment is down, and there are fewer people looking for seasonal or temporary work.

“What we’ve seen on a national level is retailers really using their recruiting efforts by email and even leveraging their own social media channels,” Davis says. 

Companies are also getting creative. Retailers, for instance, may approach potential candidates who might be looking for a second part-time job or who can be enticed by the  potential of getting employee discounts during the holiday shopping season. 

But once the applications start flowing in, much of the work heads to the local and regional levels, Davis says. “And what you then start to see happening is on the local level… managers will collect applications, go through them, interview and hire candidates.” 

It’s a divide-and-conquer strategy. If you have to hire lots of people at once, empower local managers to hire a few each. 

"Meeting the person who’s going to make the decision, in this case it’s often the store manager, is critical,” says John Challenger of the Chicago-based job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 

But for those big hiring drives, such as UPS which has held regional recruiting and interviewing events in Chicago in which it processed hundreds of applicants at a time, Challenger says it’s still mostly about matching up open positions with applicants' past experiences.

 

After Mass Protests, Hungary Gives Up On Internet Tax

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 11:13

The government had proposed taxing Internet usage, but opponents claimed it the government was trying to impose a digital iron curtain on Hungary.

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1 Dead After Commercial Spaceship Crashes During Test Flight

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 11:05

The Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two was undergoing a test flight when it crashed in the California desert. The spaceship is designed to take tourists to space.

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Internet in the U.S: High cost, slow service

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-31 11:00

There’s a new study out by the New America Foundation that ranks 24 cities around the world for their broadband offerings. That is, how much bang do we get from our buck?  

The study ranks Internet service providers in a few ways, says Nick Russo, a policy analyst at the Foundation. But the most interesting for consumers is the speed you can get for $40 in the cities.

“Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo rank in the top three,” Russo says.

San Francisco is number six but LA, New York and Washington are at the bottom of the list. That means a lot of Americans are basically paying more money for slower service. Why is that?

Christopher Yoo, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School, says it’s simple.

“Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo are all the result of massive government subsidies,” he says.

Those countries have invested about $300 million for that fast, affordable service, Yoo says. But that’s not going to happen in the U.S., where Congress is looking to makes cuts in the budget for internet services

Al Hammond, a professor at Santa Clara University’s School of Law, says there’s another force at play.

“I think it’s the lack of competition,” he says.  

Hammond says, unlike other countries, the big Internet service providers in the U.S. aren’t required to rent out their broadband pipes to smaller ISPs. That means people in some cities are limited to one or two choices for internet service. And Hammond says some smaller cities are trying to provide cheaper, faster service to their citizens but the big ISPs are fighting that effort.

Soon you will be able to get Starbucks delivered

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-31 11:00

If you're craving a pumpkin spice latte but are tired of waiting in line to get one, you're in luck.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, said world's biggest coffee company is going to roll out a delivery service. The service will be available through the Starbucks mobile app starting in the fall of 2015.

"Imagine the ability to create a standing order that Starbucks delivered hot or iced to your desk daily," Schultz said.

We are, Mr. Schultz. We are.

Weekly Wrap: Elections, inflation and GDP

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-31 11:00

Leigh Gallagher, an Assistant Managing Editor at Fortune magazine, and Cardiff Garcia, from the blog FT Alphaville join Kai to talk about the week in review.

Listen to the full conversation using the audio player above.

The music of politics

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-31 10:56

Just days away from midterm elections, depending on where you live, you might be getting bombarded by political ads on TV and radio. Meet one of the people behind the curtain.

Jeff Trueman runs a company called High Gravity Sounds. He works with producers and post production houses to create custom sound design. This time of year, he's busy producing music for campaign ads.

Listen to the full story in the audio player above.

Why inflation is a central banker's goal

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-31 10:49

It used to be that if you really wanted to scare economists and the public, you need only mention one terrifying word: inflation. But really, inflation is a lot like candy. A little bit here and there makes your life so much better, and — as millions of kids are bound to find out this weekend — too much leads to ruin.

One of the goals of Quantitative Easings I through III was to stimulate inflation up to a point; 2 percent was the Federal Reserve's stated goal.  And even though inflation never quite reached that target, QE is ending.

Now Japan is picking up the torch. For decades, the once booming economic powerhouse has been suffering from stagnation, or to put it another way, a lack of inflation.

“Japan wants inflation,” says economist Justin Wolfers.  “Last night they announced that they were going to buy even more bonds because they aren’t getting as much inflation as they wanted.”

So why do Japan, the U.S. and Europe want to stimulate inflation? Because inflation, in the right amount, is a sign of economic growth. In a healthy economy, wages increase steadily. In turn, businesses raise prices and that leads to inflation.

At the moment, wages in the U.S. and Japan are down when adjusted for inflation and lots of people are still looking for work. “Those of us that have jobs probably don’t feel comfortable asking for a raise, and all those people looking for work are willing to accept work at fairly low wages,” says Wolfers. “So all of that puts downward pressure on wages.”

Typically the first thing a government can do to boost the economy, cut unemployment and raise inflation is lower interest rates. But, says economist Josh Bivens, “the short term interest rates that the Fed controls directly, have been stuck at zero since about 2008 and interest rates can’t go below zero.”

Which is why the Federal Reserve and now Japan have turned to the more unconventional tool, buying trillions of dollars in bonds. 

But these tools don’t get used in a political vacuum. People disagree about how much stimulus to inject into the economy.  That makes finding the right amount of stimulus harder than getting a kid to sit still after eating a bag of candy.

With Reports Of Doping, World Marathon Majors Postpones Awards Ceremony

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 10:10

Rita Jeptoo, the accomplished marathoner who holds the course record at Boston, has reportedly tested positive for a banned substance. The Majors said it's awaiting a decision by the governing body.

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The numbers for October 31, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-31 09:46

It's Halloween, and at "Marketplace" we're getting in the spirit. Marketplace Morning Report Producer Katie Long has been working on her costume:

We're helping @Marketplace producers brainstorm costumes for #halloween2014 https://t.co/GZHZ4SbY0p

— Ariana Tobin (@Ariana_Tobin) October 31, 2014

There are plenty of stories to read and numbers to watch today — Japan's stimulus, the ongoing legal drama surrounding Ebola quarantines, the impending midterm elections — but since it's a holiday and a Friday, we're going to stick to only the spookiest numbers today.

To get us started, Quartz is featuring the ten scariest economic charts out there. From European unemployment to student debt, keep repeating to yourself "it's only a chart, it's only a chart..."

Here are some other spine-chilling stories we're reading today.

2

That's how many people have died from accidentally eating THC-infused edibles since Colorado legalized medical marijuana use. Denver police have put out a PSA warning parents about the varieties of edibles that look like typical Halloween candy, the New York Times reported. There haven't been any reported cases of people passing out edibles, and some Marijuana advocates say the claims are alarmist. Others are pushing for tighter regulation of the treats.

94103

One of the best trick-or-treating neighborhoods in the nation — Noe Valley, San Francisco — according to a study by Zillow. In last week's "Dear Prudence" column over at Slate, Prudie ripped into a self-professed one-percenter for griping about children from outside the area coming over to trick-or-treat. It's a well-known phenomenon, also explored in a Washington Post column Thursday. The conclusion: don't spend Halloween dressed up like Scrooge. 

$3

The price of Starbuck's "secret" Halloween treat, a "Franken Frappuccino." The unholy concoction is a green tea Frappuccino with three pumps of white mocha sauce, three pumps of peppermint syrup and mocha java chips, the LA Times reports. [Shudder]

Seeing Red During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 08:20

Decades of effort to raise awareness of breast cancer hasn't helped to reduce the death toll once it spreads. One woman living with metastatic breast cancer says it's way past time for a change.

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Why My Grandma Never Had A Pap Smear

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-31 07:40

Women in the developing world may never be tested for cervical cancer. Clinics are far away, cultural biases may keep them away. Now an inexpensive test lets them do it themselves.

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