National / International News

Air Force Roots Out Cheaters In Ranks — As Well As Why They Did It

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 12:00

The Air Force has implicated some 100 officers in a cheating scandal at U.S. nuclear missile bases. Its investigation has found an issue: Officers often feel pressure to achieve near-perfect scores.

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Israeli Prisoner Release Steps Toward Peace And Draws Controversy

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 12:00

Israel is preparing a prisoner release as part of the peace process with Palestinians. Arab citizens of Israel are set to be let go, a move more controversial than releasing non-citizen Palestinians.

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Fighting food deserts takes more than fresh produce

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:48

Food deserts are communities where residents with little or no access to healthy foods, often because there is no full-service supermarket.  Food deserts are often found in low-income neighborhoods, and many cities in the U.S. have made efforts to bring fresh produce to these communities, which often have much higher rates of obesity, diabetes and other health problems. In California, public health officials are trying a new approach.

On a sunny morning in Boyle Heights, a predominantly Latino neighborhood in East Los Angeles, the sidewalk in front of the Euclid Market was packed with TV news cameras and city officials. The sign on the store read "Todo Lo Que Necesita," everything you need. Dr. Eric Walsh, the director of the Health Department in nearby Pasadena, stepped up to a podium and adjusted the microphone.  Next to him was a table covered with brightly colored packages of tobacco products and sweetened alcohol drinks.

"Well, I want to start by saying we ought to take pause and ask a very difficult and hard question," Walsh began. "Who do these products target? Why are they in the neighborhoods that they’re in? In fact, what we face today is a question about the new civil rights in America. That there are corporations and practices out there that are targeting the poorest, most vulnerable, least resourced people in our community. The blackest the brownest. So we have a responsibility in public heath to step up and address this."

The purpose of the news conference is to announce the results from a statewide survey, the first of its kind. Researchers visited more than 7,000 grocery stores in California, everything from small corner stores to big-box stores. The survey looked at how tobacco, alcohol and junk food are marketed.

The survey found that 71 percent of the stores carried alcohol, while 37 percent sold milk, and more than half did not carry fresh produce. The survey also found that unhealthy products were more prevalent and more heavily marketed in poor neighborhoods.

The news conference was held at the Euclid Market because it's participating in a Market Makeover project sponsored by UCLA and the University of Southern California. Store owners get a free remodel of their store if they agree to offer healthy products and take down ads for junk food, alcohol and tobacco.  Before the makeover, the first thing you saw when you walked into Euclid was a wall of potato chips. Now it’s a produce case. And the windows of the store are no longer covered with ads.

Maria Avila owns the Euclid Market. She says the store is beautiful now. Removing the ads from the windows brought more natural light in, and more life. Avila’s seen a slight uptick in sales.

But not everyone is convinced that these makeovers are good for business. The owner of a corner store a few blocks away had planned on participating in the makeover project, but said he changed his mind. He makes most of his money selling beer and junk food and he wasn’t convinced that people would buy produce even if he offered it.

And the owner is right. Stocking stores with produce is only part of the solution. People have to be motivated to buy it.

"Most of the people we are working with are either food stamp recipients or food stamp eligible," said Mary Otetra Garcia, who runs a nutrition and physical activity program in Pasadena. " People that are under the poverty level of 185 percent."

Garcia teaches classes on health and nutrition in a working class neighborhood with few places to buy healthy food.

"I always tell people, whatever your cultural food is it’s okay to have that, because the more American diet they adopt or their children adopt, the unhealthier they get," she said. "Studies have shown that people who come from other countries are healthier than the people that are here."

Maria Vargas participated in the program. She says it’s made a big difference in her families’ health. She buys potato chips and soda only for special occasions now, and doesn’t take the family to McDonald’s any more. Now she cooks most of her meals at home with her three children.

"They need to participate," Vargas said. "That’s the way they learn how we can cook different and healthy foods."

Asked what she made for dinner the night before, she replied, "Well,  you know when you do the Mexican rice, we do it steamed and I put tomato."

Joseph Garcia also took the class and has worked hard at changing his families’ eating habit, especially his eldest sons.

"I think with all of us at home, we weren’t crazy about the changes," Garcia said. "And I think a lot of of the family members don’t want to hear it. That you shouldn’t drink a lot of soda and eat a lot of fried things."

He said he worries a little bit about what his son eats when he's not at home. "I know that sometimes he will eat a hamburger around there. So I will find in the car a bag from Taco Bell or something. But he ends up doing alright for the most part."

Nearly all the restaurants in this part of Pasadena are fast food, mostly fried chicken and burger joints, a few small Mexican places. But fresh fruit was available from Alejandro Beltran, who sells mango, pineapple, cucumber and coconut, sliced and sprinkled with lime and chile, from a cart. He said business is pretty good.

"I sell to all social classes, different races, Latinos, Asians, Americans," he said.

Bletran pulled a chunk of pineapple from his cart and sliced it in half with his knife.  Everyone eats fruit, he said.

VIDEO: Manmade DNA may 'revolutionise' medicine

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:36
Scientists have created the first synthetic chromosome for yeast in a landmark for biological engineering.

9 Missile Commanders Fired, Others Disciplined In Air Force Scandal

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:25

The actions stem from a scandal over cheating on proficiency exams at the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

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The Search For The Perfect Cup Of Coffee Can Be Such A Grind(er)

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:25

It's the holy grail of the coffee world: a grinder that optimizes flavor from every bean. An Idaho couple has spent years perfecting a hand-cranked machine that's as good as much pricier models.

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Obamacare Enrollment Exceeds 6 Million

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:19

That means the White House reached its revised enrollment goal for the first year the Affordable Care Act was in full effect.

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Jump In Autism Cases May Not Mean It's More Prevalent

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:18

The number of children diagnosed with autism keeps rising, but researchers warn that it may be just because we're getting better at recognizing and treating the disorder.

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Mine explosion 'like jet engine'

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:09
The sound of an underground explosion at a Swansea Valley pit where four men died was "like a jet engine", a court is told.

Hales ton one of best ever - Broad

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:06
Stuart Broad says Alex Hales' century for England against Sri Lanka in the World T20 is one of the best he has seen.

El Salvador opposition admits defeat

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:05
El Salvador's Arena party finally accepts the defeat of its candidate to former rebel leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren in a tight vote earlier this month.

Stress tests to focus on housing

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:02
Stress tests will look at the ability of banks to withstand a shock from the housing market, says the Bank of England.

Waffle tacos, bacon milkshakes... it's a trend!

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:02

There's the Waffle Taco. Red Robin's got its bacon milkshake. KFC had the double down.

It's officially a trend. "We are seeing quite a bit of more indulgent, more interesting, and more innovative items coming out especially from fast food," says Darren Tristano with food industry research group Technomic.

But what are the ingredients behind these culinary chimeras?

1. "Whats driving it right now is that the quick service restaurant industry as a whole is not growing. The packaged food business is not growing. The need for innovation is critical right now" – Gary Stibel, The New England Consulting Group.

2. The need for buzz. Even if a flavor combo doesn't take off, it still creates hoopla. "If you shorten the product cycle and come out with new flavors that are only going to be a limited time thing, you effectively encourage more frequent trial by consumers" – R.J. Hottovy, restaurant analyst with Morning Star.

3. Millennials. Turns out they like to try new things, and they are helping fuel the trend. "It's a trend that has gained traction with younger consumers, and ultimately brands look to what's successful." “-- Darren Tristano with food industry research group Technomic

4. Laziness. Well maybe that's not fair. Busy-ness? Either way, Taco Bell's Waffle Taco is built to be portable and easy to deliver to the mouth. "What we have seen as a longer term trend is portability, the ability for the consumer in one hand have a sandwich and in the other hand steer their car or text." -- Darren Tristano with food industry research group Technomic.

Five food mashups to make your mouth water -- or your stomach turn

By Shea Huffman

Taco Bell's Waffle Taco is only the latest novelty food combination to hit the culinary market. There have been plenty of mashups from fast food chains, retail brands, and hipter chefs that have either provided the answer to our munchie-prayers, or unleashed abominations that nobody asked for.

1. The Cronut


(Via Wikimedia Commons)

Probably the most popular mashup in recent food history, the combination of croissant and doughnut took New York -- and subsequently your local doughnut shop -- by storm in the summer of 2013.

2. The Ramen Burger

The latest foodie trend out of New York is spreading as quickly as the cronut, and our taste buds couldn't be happier.

3. Doritos Locos Tacos

(Courtesy of Taco Bell)

Taco Bell actually has a fairly long history of . . . interesting food combinations. A taco shell covered in the popular tortilla chip's seasoning might not be appealing to those with more discerning palates, but for the fast food chain's target demographic, it was a no brainer.

4. Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwiches

(Courtesy of Carl's Jr.)

These fast food companies sure do know how to cater to their more . . . munchie-prone customers. The Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich never made it out of test markets, but that can't stop you from getting out that ice cream scoop.

5. Baconnaise

(Courtesy of J&D Foods)

There's a reason this stuff comes up whenever someone talks about the obesity epidemic:


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Hillsborough 'suspects' identified

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 10:59
The police watchdog identifies 13 "suspects" among retired and serving officers at the centre of the probe into the Hillsborough investigation.

When Secret Service agents go rogue

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 10:58
Five scandals involving the US Secret Service

Open verdict in Berezovsky inquest

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 10:45
A coroner records an open verdict at the inquest into the death of Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky.

VIDEO: Emotional tributes at Benn funeral

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 10:38
Politicians and well-wishers gathered at Westminster on Thursday to bid an emotional farewell to former Labour minister Tony Benn.

Texas Judge Orders State To Reveal Source Of Execution Drug

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 10:30

Texas has argued it needs to keep its supplier secret because its previous supplier received threats and stopped selling them the sedative used in the execution cocktail.

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Hales hits historic ton in England win

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 10:21
Alex Hales becomes the first England player to score a Twenty20 century in a remarkable six-wicket win over Sri Lanka.

Missing Nida's family told of body

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 10:10
The family of missing teenager Nida Naseer are told police have found a body which has yet to be identified at a wetland site in Newport.

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