National / International News

When Humans Quit Hunting And Gathering, Their Bones Got Wimpy

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 11:03

Humans have lighter bones than other primates, and that change happened a lot later than anthropologists had thought. Blame our sedentary ways after our ancestors took up farming.

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The 85-Year-Old Widow Who's The Symbol Of Spain's Economic Woes

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 11:02

Carmen Martinez Ayuso was evicted from her apartment due to a loan her son took out and couldn't repay. Now she's been the recipient of unexpected kindness this holiday season.

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Man behind 'world's largest instrument'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 11:00

For the past 25 years, Peter Richard Conte has gone to work every day in the women’s casual department at the Center City Macy’s in Philadelphia. But he doesn't sell designer denim or stocking sweaters. He tickles the keys of what is billed as the largest instrument in the world: the Wanamaker organ.

Considered a national treasure, the organ is 110 years old and named for John Wanamaker, the department store magnate who bought it for his flagship Philadelphia store. He had it shipped from St. Louis in 11 freight cars. The organ now has 30,000 pipes and thousands of keys, buttons, levers and pedals. To play it well, Conte must be equal parts musician and athlete. 

“It’s a difficult instrument to play,” Conte says. “There are so many things going on. It’s multitasking at the nth degree. Literally for a five-minute piece of music I will spend up to 20 hours preparing it on an instrument.”

As the Grand Court Organist, Conte performs twice a day, Monday through Friday during most of the year. But during the holidays, the frequency increases as does the spectacle.

“At Christmas time we get thousands and thousands of people into Macy’s to hear this instrument,” Conte says. “And it actually accompanies the world famous light show. Thousands and thousands of LED lights and it ends up with this incredible finale when all the lights in the trees come on and the organ plays a really wonderful arrangement of O’ Tannenbaum. It’s a thrill because you get to have these huge audiences every couple of hours in the store. I just love what I do.” 

Organist who brings 'world's largest instrument' to life

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 11:00

For the past 25 years, Peter Richard Conte has gone to work every day in the women’s casual department at the Center City Macy’s in Philadelphia. But he doesn't sell designer denim or stocking sweaters. He tickles the keys of what is billed as the largest instrument in the world: the Wanamaker organ.

Considered a national treasure, the organ is 110 years old and named for John Wanamaker, the department store magnate who bought it for his flagship Philadelphia store. He had it shipped from St. Louis in 11 freight cars. The organ now has 30,000 pipes and thousands of keys, buttons, levers and pedals. To play it well, Conte must be equal parts musician and athlete. 

“It’s a difficult instrument to play,” Conte says. “There are so many things going on. It’s multitasking at the nth degree. Literally for a five-minute piece of music I will spend up to 20 hours preparing it on an instrument.”

As the Grand Court Organist, Conte performs twice a day, Monday through Friday during most of the year. But during the holidays, the frequency increases as does the spectacle.

“At Christmas time we get thousands and thousands of people into Macy’s to hear this instrument,” Conte says. “And it actually accompanies the world famous light show. Thousands and thousands of LED lights and it ends up with this incredible finale when all the lights in the trees come on and the organ plays a really wonderful arrangement of O’ Tannenbaum. It’s a thrill because you get to have these huge audiences every couple of hours in the store. I just love what I do.” 

Pope Francis is not feeling the holiday cheer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 11:00

Pope Francis gave his annual Christmas address to the priests, bishops and cardinals that run the Roman Catholic Church. And it wasn't all warm and fuzzy.

The pope chastised them for workplace ills that include office gossip, jealousy and pandering to the bosses, according to the New York Times.

It's reassuring to know these things happen pretty much everywhere.

FedEx and UPS do better this year, but Amazon lurks

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 11:00

UPS and FedEx have spent a lot of money getting up to speed for this holiday season. And they’ve done well. But long term, they may need to do a lot better because Amazon is disrupting  the shipping business. The big carriers will have to think differently if they want to continue to compete, particularly if Amazon decides to get into the shipping game itself.

Price war brews over costly hepatitis C drug

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 11:00

The biotech industry has reaped huge profits in recent years by developing custom drugs that treat a wide variety of conditions, including cancer and arthritis. The massive cost of some of these drugs has caused lawmakers and insurance companies to push back. So it was big news today when pharmacy benefit-manager Express Scripts announced it was switching to a new hepatitis C drug by a different manufacturer.

At around $84,000 for a 12-week course of therapy, Express Scripts dropped the drug Sovaldi and its maker Gilead Sciences Inc., in favor of a new hepatitis C drug offered at a discount by rival company AbbVie. Even though having multiple drugs to choose from is a good thing, some clinicians say exclusive arrangements, like the one Express Scripts brokered with AbbVie, are not always best for the patient. 

"We don't want to have our hands tied, to be told that we can only offer drug A or drug B, because there may be a reason that the one that's not offered may be preferable to the patient in front of you," says Dr. Robert Fontana, a professor of hepatology at the University of Michigan.

VIDEO: Joe Cocker on Top of the Pops

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-22 11:00
Joe Cocker, who has died at the age of 70, performing on Top of the Pops.

VIDEO: Rural shoppers boost online figures

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-22 10:56
The number of online shoppers is on the rise this Christmas, with 91% of rural dwellers now shopping online.

Army General To Determine Fate of Bowe Bergdahl

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 10:47

The Pentagon said action against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could range from no further action to convening a court martial. The Taliban held Bergdahl for five years until his release in a prisoner exchange.

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Van driven into shoppers in France

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-22 10:42
Ten people are injured as a van is driven into shoppers at a Christmas market in Nantes, French officials say, with reports the driver then stabbed himself.

VIDEO: Men sentenced for 'lunatic' driving

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-22 10:30
Seven men are sentenced for "driving like lunatics" in a convoy which caused a head-on crash.

In quotes: Reaction to Glasgow bin lorry crash

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-22 10:30
Politicians, religious and civic leaders give their reaction to the bin lorry crash that killed six people in central Glasgow.

In Slovakia, Christmas Dinner Starts In The Bathtub

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 10:19

Christmas carp is a holiday mainstay in many central European nations. Traditionally, it swims in the family tub for a day or two, sometimes becoming a sort of pet before it ends up on the plate.

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Singer Joe Cocker Dies At Age 70

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 10:13

Joe Cocker, the raspy-voiced British singer famous for hit songs such as "Feelin' Alright" and "Up Where We Belong," has died, his management agency says.

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Reasons to donate to Marketplace

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 10:09

Marketplace turned 25 this year. That’s 25 years of bringing you the news, the numbers and explaining how Wall Street affects your street. That’s also 25 years of providing a public radio news service, thanks in large part to support from our listeners. A program of the nonprofit American Public Media Group, Marketplace has a staff dedicated to providing compelling and relevant content, day in and day out.

Follow along below as Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson and Marketplace Weekend host Lizzie O’Leary get their goofy on for a good cause: Inspiring you to make a donation. Help us reach our goal of 2,500 donors in honor of our 25th anniversary. Make a donation by Dec. 31 and your gift counts twice thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match by the Kendeda Fund.

How is anyone supposed to think around here with these thin walls?

Witnesses tell of 'horrible scenes'

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-22 09:59
Eyewitnesses describe the "horrible scenes" after a bin lorry crashed into pedestrians in central Glasgow, killing six people.

Singer Joe Cocker dies aged 70

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-22 09:31
Singer Joe Cocker, best known for his cover of the Beatles' With A Little Help From My Friends, dies aged 70.

Is murder the price of 'anti-police' rhetoric?

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-22 09:30
Is New York's mayor to blame for rising tensions?

Two men charged with PC's murder

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-22 09:22
Two men are charged with the murder of off-duty Merseyside police constable Neil Doyle.

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