National / International News

How education tax breaks benefit the rich

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:54
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World Cup: Greece 2-1 Ivory Coast

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:52
Greece score a controversial penalty to beat Ivory Coast and move into the last 16 of a World Cup for the first time.

'Star Wars' Museum Lands In Chicago

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:50

Filmmaker George Lucas has selected the Windy City to house his collection of art and movie memorabilia. San Francisco had also reportedly been in contention.

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Nigeria atheist 'ruled mentally ill'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:46
A Nigerian man is sent to a mental institute in Kano state after declaring that he did not believe in God, according to a humanist charity.

VIDEO: Highlights: Greece 2-1 Ivory Coast

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:27
Georgios Samaras scores from the penalty spot to secure a 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast.

Survey says: Guilty of not filling out your survey

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:27

I guess I should be happy that JetBlue and American Express and Dividend Miles and my kids’ pediatrician, and my dentist, and the Hertz "Gold" program, which I signed up for, but never used, care about what I think.

But on a scale of one to five, with one being "I am respected, hear me roar," and five being "I feel ignored," I’m all the way at ten—as in, "What kind of sucker do you take me for?" Apparently it’s not enough that I give these businesses my money, now I’ve got do their market research, too—for free.

Oh, excuse me, to be fair, sometimes they do offer a tiny payment, or the remote chance of winning a prize—both of which are obviously designed to get me to use the product or service again, which in turn will trigger … another survey. I don’t see a living in it.

But the surveys are gaining on me. The country’s best-known survey platform, SurveyMonkey, is now processing survey responses at the rate of 2.2 million per day, up from one million a day in January 2013, and it recently introduced a mobile app, meaning clients don’t even have to be at their desks to create and zap off a survey. Look out, here comes one now!

We have the internet to thank for this, of course. Online technology makes it less expensive and easier to send surveys than in the past, when data analysis took longer, and at least the cost of stamps were a deterrent.  

But you know, there can be one thing worse than taking a survey: not taking it. At my sons’ local GameStop, the employees are so nice, and make such heartfelt appeals for me to fill out the Customer Experience Survey that I feel actual remorse when I don’t. Survey guilt—who would have thought it possible?

VIDEO: 'Baghdad will fall within a month'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:20
In an exclusive interview, Sunni fighters have told the BBC that they are determined to reach Baghdad within a month.

VIDEO: Highlights: Colombia 4-1 Japan

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:17
Colombia beat Japan 4-1 to top Group D with a 100% win record and set up a last 16 match against Uruguay.

'Ban Suarez for as long as you can'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:16
BBC pundits including Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, Robbie Savage and Danny Mills react to the Luis Suarez 'biting' controversy at the World Cup.

World Cup: Japan 1-4 Colombia

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 14:13
Colombia finish top of Group C to set up a last-16 tie against Uruguay after beating Japan, who are eliminated.

VIDEO: Call for hospital safety experts

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:50
As a government review suggests that a fifth of hospital trusts in England may be covering up mistakes, a victim's husband tells the BBC hospitals should employ safety experts.

'Natural' Food Sounds Good But Doesn't Mean Much

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:48

A consumer advocacy group says it's time to ban the word "natural" from food labels because it's misleading. But the quest to get the government to outlaw the word entirely faces tough legal hurdles.

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Rich politicians emphasize humble beginnings

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:45

The economic disparity between the common man and the politician is as old as democracy itself. In 64 BC when Cicero was running for consul of the Roman Republic, his brother is believed to have written what could be called the first electioneering handbook.

“One question I think people should be asking is does it matter that politicians are so much better off than the people they are supposed to represent,” says Nicholas Carnes, the author of "White Collar Government: The Hidden Roles of Class in Economic Policy Making." “And what I find is that yeah, it really does matter. Politicians, who don’t have experience doing working class jobs really do think differently, vote differently, and introduce different kinds of legislation than the few politicians who do know what it’s like to be a blue collar worker.”

Carnes says that the average member of Congress spent 1.5 percent of his pre-Congress career working in manual labor or service industry jobs, a percentage that has changed little over the last 100 years.  

But talking about that divide can be a political landmine as evidenced by Hillary Clinton’s recent claim that she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House.


Alex  Gourevitch teaches political Science at Brown. He says the politicians who are best at pretending to be equal are the ones who avoid talking about their own wealth at all, or emphasize their humble beginnings, like John Edwards for example, who campaigned not as a wealthy attorney, but as the son of a mill worker.


Another strategy is to be upfront about wealth as Romney did during his bid for the presidency.


Here's Bill Clinton discussing his life before he was an attorney in 2008.


And here's Jimmy Cater in a campaign commercial from 1976:


Surprising data on student loans

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:40

A new Brookings Institution report on student loan debt is causing quite a stir. It says the student loan crisis we’ve heard so much about may not be as bad as we think.  

The findings are so startling, even co-author Matthew Chingos didn’t believe them at first.

“My first reaction when we ran these data was, this has to be wrong,” he says.

But Chingos re-checked the data until he was satisfied with his conclusions. Among them: monthly student loan payments have stayed at three to four percent of a borrower’s monthly income, since 1992. Chingos also says, in 2010, only two percent of young households owed more than $100,000. 

“There don’t seem to be more of those than there used to be," he says. "If anything there are less.”

But Chingos says more people have student loans. Because more students are going to college. The people he really worries about? Those who never got their degree. People like Rhonda Wanzer, who at 48, has a good job with the federal government, but no college degree. She still owes about $28,000.

“I’m trying to devise a plan where I can pay it off at least before I can retire retire," she says. "I can retire in about 15, 20 years.”

Chingos insists Wanzer isn’t typical. He says most student loan borrowers do finish college, and eventually pay off their loans. 

His study has its critics who say his data -- which is from the Federal Reserve -- is too limited, doesn’t count everyone, and is old. 

Chingos says the Fed data is the best there is for this kind of research. And he’ll take a close look at new data when it comes out in the next six months or so. 

Other researchers, using Education Department data, agree with Chingos’s conclusions.   

Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, says the real culprit here is high college tuitions.

"Tuition has certainly gone up rapidly, and particularly, in recent years,  in public colleges and universities, ” she explains.

Chingos says soaring tuition is the disease. And student loans are just the symptom. 


Ukraine army helicopter shot down

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:27
Ukraine says one of its army helicopters has been shot down by pro-Russian rebels in the east, killing all nine on board - one day into a truce.

US no-fly rules 'unconstitutional'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:15
A federal judge has ruled the US no-fly list deprives people of their constitutional right to travel without giving them a way to clear their names.

A New Jersey Law That's Kept Smart Guns Off Shelves Nationwide

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:15

The law says that once "personalized" guns are available in the U.S., all handguns sold in New Jersey must be smart guns. So, to avoid triggering the law, vendors aren't selling them — anywhere.

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Uni's foreign students visa freeze

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:14
Glyndwr University is suspended from recruiting overseas students after a Home Office investigation into alleged visa fraud.

Meet The New Stars Of Campaign Ads: Mom And Dad

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:07

The smiling spouse, kids and a dog once made for a perfect campaign ad. But politicians are increasingly turning to their parents to help them make the pitch to voters.

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The circus that saves young Nepalese

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:06
Poor, trafficked - and now starring at Glastonbury
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