National / International News

In Indian elections, it's the economy, stupid

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-16 12:19

In India on Friday, Narendra Modi claimed victory as the country's next prime minister. It's a big win for his Bharatiya Janata party, which is expected to take control of Parliament.

India's long-ruling Congress party is out: it has been swept away, says Sruthijith KK, by a new wave of pro-business sentiment.

"The [Bharatiya Janata] used to profess a very different kind of economics early on," says KK, the New Delhi-based Indian editor for Quartz, "which focused on self-reliance and boycotting American products, but Modi has completely changed that economic philosophy. He has modeled himself off Reagan or Thatcher, and that is very reassuring to business men."

Modi's origin story is straight out of a Horatio Alger novel. Growing up he sold tea at railway stations to make ends meet. KK says his rise from obscurity is an inspiration for India's urban youth, fed up with a lack of jobs and stagnant economic growth.

"The changing demographics of India is precisely what has delivered a thumping victory to Modi... His pitch has been we need to get rid of Welfarism. Growth will pick people up from poverty."

In looking for a Prime Minister, KK notes that Indians put a premium on someone who could cut through the country's enormous amount of red tape.

"In Gujarat Modi showed he could make the bureaucracy work...the size of mandate that the people have now given him gives him so much stature that people expect he'll be able to push through things. He'll get the bureaucracy to deliver what needs to be done."

European Ruling On Removing Google Links May Leave A Mess

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 12:12

Europeans now have the right to have search results about them deleted from online databases. But legal experts say each of the EU's 28 countries could interpret the decision differently.

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After Eastern Ukrainian Steel Magnate Flexes Muscle, Barricades Fall

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 12:01

Barricades in the eastern Ukrainian town of Mariupol have been dismantled, following a deal between separatist leaders, police and steelworkers from the city's biggest steel mill.

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Feds Slap GM With $35 Million Penalty For Safety Law Violations

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 12:01

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced that General Motors has entered into a consent decree with the U.S. government, a response to how the company handled its ignition switch recall. As part of the agreement, GM will pay a record penalty of $35 million.

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What's To Blame For California's Early Fire Season?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 12:01

John Laird, the secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, discusses how to fight fires differently, as well as the role climate change may play in the frequency of fires in California.

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To Pay For Hepatitis C Drugs, Medicare Might Face A Steep Bill

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 12:01

The federal Medicare program for the elderly and disabled will cover two new drugs that can cure hepatitis C, a liver disease that can cause cancer and lead to death. The drugs are very expensive, but they cure hepatitis C in most cases. The government and insurers are concerned about these costs; three million Americans have hepatitis C, most of whom don't know they have it.

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After Weeks Of Voting, India's Opposition Party Gets A Sweeping Win

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 12:01

After several weeks, India's parliamentary elections have finally finished. Voters swept opposition leader Narendra Modi into power as prime minister, voting for the Hindu nationalist party he leads.

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Amid Raging Wildfires, Southern Californians Find Blaze On Doorstep

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 12:01

Wildfires are burning in California's San Diego County. Megan Burks of KPBS says that one person has been killed in the blaze, and high temperatures are frustrating containment efforts.

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'Suicide bid' couple in custody

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 11:48
A retired British couple facing extradition to the US on fraud charges are remanded in custody after an apparent suicide bid.

India's Modi hails 'landmark' win

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 11:46
Incoming Indian PM Narendra Modi hails a "landmark" election victory by his BJP party, which has given it an outright majority in parliament.

Watergate Conspirator Jeb Stuart Magruder Dies At 79

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 11:45

As President Nixon's deputy campaign committee head, Magruder helped authorize the unsuccessful break in of the Democratic National Committee's headquarters on June 17, 1972.

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A Role Reversal In Pennsylvania's Race For Governor

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 11:39

GOP Gov. Tom Corbett is using a populist attack against Tom Wolf, the businessman who is leading the Democratic field in the May 20 primary.

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Do millionaires pick up stray coins on the street?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-16 11:09

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's an extended look at what's coming up next week:

Students from around the country are in Washington to compete in the annual National Geographic Bee championships getting underway Monday.

Look over your financial plans because Tuesday is Be a Millionaire Day. Something I think most of us like to think about. At least how we'll spend it.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee holds a roundtable discussion on economic security for working women.

And 60 years ago, Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" was released as the B-side of the single "Thirteen Women." It still sounds totally rockin'.

Toward the end of the week, we get some reports on housing for April: Thursday, the National Association of Realtors reports on sales of existing homes. Friday, the Commerce Department issues data on new home sales.

And before you vanish into your three-day odyssey of BBQ, beaches and beer for Memorial Day weekend, let's land face up on National Lucky Penny Day.

That's right, pick that lucky penny up: you're working toward being a millionaire, after all.

Man City fined and squad capped

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 11:03
Manchester City are fined £49m and will have a reduced Champions League squad next season after failing financial rules.

Top VA Health Official Resigns Amid Scandal Over Treatment Delays

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 10:59

The resignation of the department's undersecretary for health comes a day after he and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki testified before Congress.

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Five big stores that are moving online

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-16 10:49

To no one's surprise, online sales in the U.S. are continuing to steal a larger and larger share of the consumer market, and expected to hit $370 billion by 2017. Even though the overwhelming majority of stuff is sold offline, where you shouldn't shop for the latest Game of Thrones novel in your underwear, brick-and-mortar retailers are still doing everything they can to move into that still growing market. Here are five big stores that have said they are moving to become a bigger presence in the online market:

Staples

Staples is really feeling the pinch from online retail. According to its chairman, Ronald L. Sargent, online retail is the main reason Staples will close nearly 225 stores by the end of 2014. And with the closing of so many physical stores, Staples is trying to make sure it dominates the online office supply market. Already, online orders make up nearly half their business, and Staples now offers 500,000 products on its website, rather than the 100,000 offered just a year ago. It even acquired Runa, a tech company specializing in e-commerce personalization. However, investors might be wary of Staples' new direction, as its stocks fell 15 percent in one day when the company announced it would close stores.

Wal-Mart 

Amazon is still the king of selling everything you could possibly want over the internet, but Wal-Mart, known for its gargantuan stores in real life, could be closing the gap. In 2013, Wal-Mart’s online sales grew faster than Amazon’s for the first time. Wal-Mart’s had to invest heavily to catch up to Amazon, acquiring 12 tech companies and building a presence in Silicon Valley. But even though Wal-Mart is growing faster than Amazon, it’s still a world away. Just look at the numbers: While Wal-Mart racked up $10 billion dollars in online sales over 2013, Amazon took in $67.8 billion.

Apple

The Apple Store might be the shiniest place in the mall, but Apple’s online store might be even shinier -- metaphorically, that is. That’s because Apple is the second largest online retailer in the U.S., right behind Amazon. Factoring in the App store, iTunes, and sales of Apple’s hardware at Apple’s website, Apples pulls in $18.3 billion in online sales. It’s not that Apple doesn’t still value it’s retail stores; they’re doing very well. But for the first time in Apple’s history, one person is being put in charge of both the online store and the retail stores, which is supposed to bring more collaboration between the two entities. As it is now, Apple’s online and retail aspects are both extremely successful, leaving Apple in a pretty sweet spot.

Best Buy

According to its CEO, Best Buy is now an “online first” retailer -- as opposed to being a "showroom" when shoppers would browse Best Buy first, and then actually buy their electronics online. They’ve even hired a handful of tech people to update their decade-old (yup, decade old) website. They’ve also instituted a loyalty program that works with their website and started a big-data mining project called Athena to get customer information for a more focused experience. Perhaps most notably, they’re using innovative methods to attempt to get products to shoppers faster than Amazon. This is all in an effort to double their online sales, and hopefully compete in a market that may have left them behind.

Target

With the public relations fallout from a huge data breach as well as an employee rant going viral on Gawker, Target is in a pretty bad place right now. But the company is hoping a push toward online retail could help turn things around. It’s experimenting with Google to deliver same-day shipping, and it’s significantly expanded its online subscription service. However, if the anonymous employee rant is anything to go by, they have a long way to go.

Twin bombing near big Nairobi market

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 10:36
Two bomb explosions strike Gikomba market area of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, killing at least 10 people and injuring scores, officials say.

Ex-student held over terror bombing

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 10:34
A former Welsh university student is arrested in connection with a bomb blast at a crowded bus station in Nigeria in which more than 70 died in April.

Separatists Abandon Government Buildings In Eastern Ukraine

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 10:25

Patrols of miners and steelworkers, urged on by Ukraine's richest man, have forced pro-Russian partisans to end their occupation of some areas.

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That Darn Cat: 'Hero' Feline Will Throw Out First Pitch At Game

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 10:15

The cat that saved a young boy from an attacking dog became an Internet star this week. Next week, we'll see how Tara the cat does on the ball field.

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