First lady Michelle Obama hosted winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a recipe contest for kids tied to her Let's Move Campaign. But Friday's event wasn't all cheerleading for healthy food.
Earlier this year, the town of Murrieta California started positioning itself as a culturally diverse and economically strong oasis in the California desert. About an hour north of San Diego, the bedroom community is trying to lure companies in the tech and medical fields. But then, a wave of undocumented immigrants began crossing the border in Texas, some 800 miles away.
Soon, US Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers brought hundreds of those undocumented immigrants to the federal detention in Murrieta. And with that, anti-illegal immigration protests broke out, giving the city a huge public relations black eye.
To see how the business community is responding to all the bad press, we spoke with Kim Davidson, Murrieta’s Business Development Manager.
Click play above to hear how immigration and immigration protests affect Murrieta.
Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel offer a summary of what's now known about the two big stories of the day: the shot-down Malaysian jet, and the mounting Israeli ground invasion in the Gaza Strip.
It's likely that the missile that downed the Malaysia Airlines plane yesterday was a relic of the Cold War era known as a "Buk."
Here’s what we know about the Soviet-era missile system:
What is a Buk missile?
The Buk is a surface-to-air missile that can shoot down airplanes flying up to 13 miles off the ground.
It looks like the lower half of a tank or truck, with a few anti-aircraft missiles on the top and was developed by the Soviet Union in the early 1970s.
What does "Buk" mean, anyway?
Buk means “Beech Tree” in Russian. During the Cold War, NATO’s code name for the Buk was "the Grizzly.”
How many of them exist?
There are several hundred Buk missile systems out in the world today, in the hands of about a dozen countries, says arms control expert Igor Sutyagin with the Royal United Services Institute in London. Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet republics are known to have them. Syria, which has bought weapons from Russia for years, has also been known to own the systems.
Who has them now?
There is no official registry of where each Buk system is, but the United Nations and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute keep lists that attempt to keep track of these and other weapons. Individual countries also try to track the weapons through their own intelligence agencies.
How could one have ended up in Ukraine?
There are a few theories on the origins of the Buk missile system that allegedly shot down the Malaysian passenger jet. The Ukrainian military inherited some Buks after the Soviet Union collapsed. It's possible that pro-Russian rebels captured one from the Ukrainian army. Or, it could have come from a Russian military commander, either through official channels or on the black market.
Why do weapons from that era end up in different places?
It’s not uncommon for old weapons from Russia and the U.S. to have second and third lives beyond their original owners. Military officials sell old equipment to other countries, often at bargain prices.
“The United States is anxious in many cases to provide allies with military capabilities that don’t bust their budget,” says Bruce Bennett, Senior Defense Analyst with the Rand Corporation. The sales are legal, and governments aren’t required to report the movements of those weapons around the globe, though the UN and SIPRI both try to keep track.
It’s even more difficult to know how many smaller, less conspicuous Soviet-era weapons are circulating around the world's conflict zones illegally.
The Israeli army's invasion on the margins of the Gaza Strip has already wreaked havoc and injury for Gazans. A day in the life of the Abu Tawila family illustrates that stark and tragic reality.
Since October thousands of children attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border have been taken into custody. Author Kate Bernheimer recommends a book to help reflect on the lives of these children.
Listen to their conversation in the audio player above.
The good people at Nielsen did some measuring of how many apps we use on a regular basis.
You'll probably need a second to think about it; there are lots of categories to consider, right? News, travel, entertainment, finance...
We all, on average, we use 26.8 apps per month on a regular basis.
There seems to be a natural cap of 30; no age group uses that many.
Some 255 million people log on to Twitter every month. That’s lot of people, but the number’s not growing fast enough to satisfy some investors. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports Twitter may unveil new metrics to convince investors that the world of people who engage with Twitter is bigger than the world that logs on.
“When you’re analyzing a social network, there are only two things that you care about,” says Shyam Patil, senior internet research analyst at Wedbush Securities. “The number of users and the level of engagement.”
Twitter describes those now with two metrics: monthly active users and timeline views. But there’s a problem, says analyst Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group.
“The problem is: Twitter - surprise, surprise - isn’t for everyone,” he says.
Growth in users and engagement has slowed year-over-year.
But these days, plenty of non-tweeters still interact with tweets. Say you’re a sports fan reading a piece online about LeBron James going back to Cleveland. Tweets from LeBron might be embedded in the article.
“So that would be me engaging with Twitter, but not really signed on,” says Shyam Patil.
Your mom might not send tweets, but she’d see and hear them if you watched "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" together.
Twitter’s new metrics would – reportedly – capture some of that wider audience. The company declined to comment, citing the quiet period that precedes earnings reports.
Analyst Brian Wieser says he thinks all this focus on Twitter user metrics is “distracting from the fact that they’ve got a great business. Metrics that would tell a much better story are things like: How many advertisers do they have? What is the average spend per advertiser?”
Things, he says, that speak more directly to Twitter’s source of business than the number of people who see tweets.
Journalist Noah Sneider was at the site in eastern Ukraine where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down, killing all 298 people onboard. Sneider updates Audie Cornish on the state of the site.
The downed Malaysia Airlines jet has passengers and airlines alike asking new questions about safety, wondering why the company stuck to a flight path directly over a volatile conflict zone. President Obama says it appears the plane was shot down by a missile from Ukrainian land controlled by pro-Russian forces.
Ukrainian authorities had closed the flight path up to 32,000 feet. But Flight MH17 was above that altitude. Even before the incident, some airlines avoided the area altogether. Malaysia Airlines, however, stayed the course, as did several other carriers. A less efficient flight path means more money spent on fuel, crews and maintenance. So it’s not a decision carriers take lightly.
“This industry has gotten so dog-eat-dog and so competitive that they’re looking at the bottom line far more than they ever have in the history of this industry,” says University of Portland finance professor Richard Gritta, who has long studied commercial aviation.
The strict cost cutting of modern airlines is striking to those who remember aviation’s glamorous golden age. Retired American Airlines pilot Jim Tilmon remembers taking a plane hundreds of miles off its planned path to avoid nasty weather and provide a more comfortable ride for passengers.
“I did burn a little bit more fuel, but it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t so much that the airline got upset,” Tilmon remembers.
With airlines facing high fuel prices and relentless shareholder pressure, pilots today don’t expect their employers to be so lenient.
Mark Garrison: Airlines use computer modeling and human judgment to choose flight plans. Basically, they look at two things, says aviation consultant George Hamlin.
George Hamlin: The first thing is safety. The considerations after that are basically you would like to do that at the lowest possible cost.
A less efficient flight path means more money spent on fuel, crews and maintenance. So it’s not a decision carriers take lightly. Ukrainian authorities had closed the flight path up to 32,000 feet. But Flight MH17 was above that. Some airlines still avoided the area altogether, paying more for extra safety. Malaysia Airlines stayed the course, as did several other carriers.
Richard Gritta: This industry has gotten so dog eat dog and so competitive that they’re looking at the bottom line far more than they ever have in the history of this industry.
University of Portland finance professor Richard Gritta says a longer flight path may only cost a few dollars more per seat. But multiply that over all the flights and it takes a real bite out of profits.
Gritta: It becomes a fairly big deal, especially if you’re flying that route several times a day.
Strict cost cutting is why you don’t often hear captains of today’s commercial jets talk like Jim Tilmon.
Jim Tilmon: I’ve flown hundreds of miles around weather to keep my passengers secure and safe and comfortable.
Tilmon was a longtime American Airlines pilot, whose career included air travel’s golden age.
Tilmon: I did burn a little bit more fuel, but it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t so much that the airline got upset because I did that.
With companies facing high fuel prices and shareholder pressure, pilots today don’t expect their employers to be so lenient. I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.