National / International News

Elizabeth Holmes on democratizing medical testing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 02:00

At 31, Elizabeth Holmes is the youngest female, self-made, multi-billionaire in America, according to Forbes. The company Holmes created, Theranos, developed a home blood testing kit that could challenge the business model of medical labs. 

This spring, she was invited by the White House to be a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, where she’ll focus on attracting women to science, tech, engineering and math fields, as well as improving global public health.

Click the media player above to hear Elizabeth Holmes in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.


Bitcoin offers no easy escape for Greece

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 02:00

In the midst of the current Greek financial crisis, some cryptocurrency enthusiasts have pointed to Bitcoin as the panacea for the country's financial woes. The price of the cryptocurrency has steadily risen as the Greek financial crisis has intensified. However, the question remains: can digital money give Greece an out? Spoiler alert: no.

Nathaniel Popper, author of the book, "Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires trying to Reinvent Money," maintains Bitcoin will not save Greece because “at this point, I think Greek citizens are locked into their own system and the bad decisions people have made. I don't think there is an easy way out.”

In theory, Bitcoin seems like just that. However, the logistics of buying bitcoin requires you to move money from your bank account to the bank account of a Bitcoin service. Not so easy when Greeks are unable to withdraw money from the ATM. Sure, you can buy bitcoins from someone in a café with cash from under your bed, but to pull a country out of a financial crisis? Unlikely.

Popper points to Argentina as an example where some “real experimentation is going on” with Bitcoin, but he reminds us that the Bitcoin story “is a very young technology. It’s not ready for the prime time. It’s like expecting to run Netflix on the Internet of 1995.”

As Popper explains it, Bitcoin hopefuls may be expecting too much from the cryptocurrency: “Throughout the Bitcoin story, it's been offered as a utopian solution. But these utopian solutions always need to find some way to get from the current system to the utopian future.”

Ideas anyone? We’re still buffering our 1995 dial-up Netflix.

"Poor Doors" exit New York

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 02:00

New York mayor Bill de Blasio has banned "poor doors," or separate entrances to be used by lower-income residents of mixed-income buildings. 

De Blasio inserted language into a tax program signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Housing analysts say real estate developers are likely to look for other ways of appealing to market-rate tenants, like the addition of luxury features inside their apartments.

Those who study mixed-income housing say New York's leaders would do best to determine if they simply wants to build more affordable housing, or, additionally, attempt to integrate New Yorkers along income lines. If it's the latter, the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy should probably learn to share buildings.

Click the media player above to hear more.

U.S. rice growers want to get in on Cuba

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 02:00

The U.S. will open an embassy in Havana, Cuba — so said President Barack Obama Tuesday, a significant step showing that efforts to normalize relations with Cuba are ticking along. However, the embargo still stands and only Congress can lift it. Should that happen, many U.S. exporters will stand to benefit, including American rice farmers.

Ray Stoesser grows about 4,000 to 5,000 acres of rice on his Texas farm and would very much like to see some of it head to Cuba.

“We as farmers, we analyze what the market is, what people want to buy and we grow it,” he says. “Right now, we don’t have enough buyers and that’s why the rice price slipped so much.”

Rice prices have dropped significantly this year, but Stoesser thinks if the U.S. could sell to Cuba, the increased demand would help prices recover. Cuba was a major importer of rice before the embargo.

But Louisiana grower Fred Zaunbrecher says margins are so slim right now, growers aren’t investing in new equipment or planning for new potential customers.

“We really can’t bank on it or grow a crop on it or make financial decisions on it until it’s actually opened and our markets are responding to that demand,” says Zaunbrecher.

However, should Congress decide to lift the embargo, the rice industry will be ready, says Terry Harris with Riceland Foods, a large rice miller and marketer.

“We have the abilities, we have the infrastructure,” he says. “We could ship rice to [Cuba] starting next week.”

VIDEO: Val Doonican: Ireland's Bing Crosby

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:59
Val Doonican, the singer and TV presenter, has died at the age of 88. David Sillito looks back at his life and career.

Bubble wrap just doesn't burst like it used to

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:49

That's how many U.S. jobs were added in June, with the unemployment rate declining to 5.3 percent, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But as the New York Times reports, economists have pointed out that the unemployment rate fell for the wrong reason: people exiting the workforce.

$1.9 billion

That's how much Puerto Rico paid back Wednesday of its $72 billion in debts, narrowly avoiding default. Puerto Rico makes up a small part of the bond market but it's an attractive place for investors, and some are getting worried that the market as a whole could take a hit if the country becomes "America's Greece" and fails to pay back what it owes.

$20 billion

That's the sales taken in for ... wait for it ... bubble wrap in 2013. But Sealed Air Corp., the original seller of the packing material, has lately seen its sales deflate (pun-intended). That's why it's starting to sell a revamped version of the product that comes in flat rolls and is inflated by the buyer with a specialized pump. But we'll let the Wall Street Journal burst your bubble on this one: the new wrap doesn't pop like it used to.


That's what a monthly subscription to Apple Music costs in India, a fifth of the U.S. price, and it's not the only country where subscriptions are slashed. Quartz points out other local and international music services already enjoy a foothold in these emerging markets. For example Rdio costs a mere $0.60 in India. Apple is uncharacteristically bringing prices down to stay competitive, betraying its latecomer status in the streaming business.

$45 million

That's how much Hillary Clinton has raised in her first quarter as an official presidential candidate, breaking the fundraising record sent by President Barack Obama last cycle. Bloomberg notes her dominance could be short lived, as other campaigns and super PACs haven't disclosed their donations yet.

BBC to cut more than 1,000 job cuts

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:46
The BBC is to cut 1,000 jobs after a £150m shortfall was discovered in its licence fee income.

Irish singer Val Doonican dies

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:41
Singer and TV entertainer Val Doonican has died aged 88

Lightning storm across Scotland

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:37
A dramatic thunder and lightning storm lit up many parts of Scotland overnight.

RAF repatriates more UK Tunisia dead

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:33
The bodies of nine more Britons killed in the Tunisian beach massacre arrive at the Tunis military airbase ready to be flown back to the UK.

Firth out of IPC World Championships

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:31
The British team suffers a major blow as injury forces Northern Ireland's Bethany Firth out of big Glasgow competition.

VIDEO: Sir Nicholas Winton 'saved my life'

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:28
Lord Dubs, a Czech-born British Labour Party politician, recalls how Sir Nicholas Winton rescued him from the Nazi regime.

Sanctions on South Sudan generals

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:24
The UN Security Council imposes sanctions on six generals accused of fuelling the 18-month conflict in South Sudan, the world's newest state.

VIDEO: The robots that could change our lives

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:22
From machines that can help around the house, to ones that could be used as sales assistants, robots can change the way we live our lives.

Ex-PM sorry for bank crisis hardship

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:17
The former Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen apologises for 'hardship and distress" caused by the Irish financial crisis which began during his tenure.

Solar Impulse breaks solo record

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:15
Swiss adventurer Andre Borschberg breaks the record for the longest ever non-stop solo-flight without refuelling, as his solar-powered plane continues to reach across the Pacific.

Regatta teams' 'mystery melting oars'

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:09
The hot weather may be the cause of the "mysterious case of melting oars" at Henley regatta, say organisers.

Georgia Leads A Push To Help Ex-Prisoners Get Jobs

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-02 00:58

Federal grant money is flowing to skills training programs for ex-offenders. But aid will be successful only if employers are willing to hire them. That's where state re-entry programs show promise.

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Sunnis Flee The Islamic State, But Still Fall Under Suspicion

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-02 00:57

The Islamic State is a Sunni Muslim group. Yet many Sunnis have abandoned their homes and fled areas where ISIS has taken over in Iraq. But that doesn't mean Shiites welcome them with open arms.

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Tunisia arrests over Sousse attack

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-02 00:45
Twelve suspects have been arrested in connection with Friday's deadly attack on a Tunisian resort by Islamic State, an official says.