National / International News

17 States Sue Obama Over Immigration Actions

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 12:37

Texas, which is leading the states, filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Southern District of Texas. State Attorney General Greg Abbott said the president's action "tramples" the Constitution.

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Newborn baby murder suspects held

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-03 12:24
A man and a woman are arrested over the death of a newborn baby found at a house in Lancashire.

In Rural Alabama, Fighting HIV With A Game

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 12:22

In rural Alabama, HIV infection rates are among the highest in the nation, but talk of the virus is largely taboo. One researcher is hoping to break through the stigma with a video game.

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In New York, Video Chat Trumps Quarantine To Combat TB

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 12:22

Ebola isn't the first dangerous microbe to spur calls for quarantine in American cities. But as New York City's experience with drug-resistant tuberculosis suggests, isolation isn't always best.

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A Drug Might Heal Spinal Injuries By Sparking Nerve Growth

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 12:22

A neurologist's unorthodox thinking led to an experimental drug that allows trapped nerve fibers to grow again. And that growth helps amplify signals that restored movement in laboratory rates.

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England win a small step - Hughes

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:57
England made some progress with victory over Sri Lanka in the third one-dayer, but they still have plenty of work to do says Simon Hughes.

Hey, College Kids: You Really Can Minor In Craft Beer Studies

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:51

Paul Smith's College, in upstate New York, is among a handful of higher ed institutions offering coursework in craft beer. Be forewarned: The classes are heavier on the science than the partying.

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No charges in NY chokehold case

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:33
A grand jury has not charged a New York City police officer over the death of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by the officer.

One Jong Un To Rule Them All: N. Koreans Banned From Using Leader's Name

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:33

Those who already share Kim Jong Un's name must change it. That's according to South Korean media, which cited an official North Korean directive.

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Colombia-Farc talks 'to resume'

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:25
The Colombian government and Farc rebels have agreed to resume peace talks suspended over the abduction of an army general, mediators say.

Pope dismisses Swiss Guard chief

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:14
Pope Francis removes the commander of the Swiss Guard, apparently because of his authoritarian style, the Vatican's daily newspaper reports.

From German Teen To ISIS Jihadist: A Father's Struggle To Understand

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:13

Manfred Karg's 19-year-old son, a convert to Islam, is one of at least 60 Germans killed fighting alongside ISIS militants. Karg says efforts to stop the flow to Syria and Iraq are taking too long.

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York & Fig: The House on Meridian Street

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:02

Gentrification often comes with, well, let's call 'em "uncomfortable feelings." There can be a kind of culture clash between the people who lived in the neighborhood before it was hot, and the new folks moving in  — who often have more money and different tastes.

As neighborhoods gentrify, house prices rise. Some homeowners take advantage and cash out, while others buy high. 

Marketplace's Noel King has been looking at this dynamic at a house on Meridian Street in Highland Park. with three "generations" of owners going back 25 years.



Inside the 'investor economy'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:00

What do record amounts of corporate debt, a continuing rally of American stocks and a precipitous decline in commodity prices all have in common? Investors. 

Marilyn Cohen of Envision Capital Management says low interest rates have been great for bond sellers and haven't scared away bond buyers. Alex Bryan at Morningstar investment research says commodities are a different story – with oil falling, they look a little scary right now. And Quincy Krosby, a market strategist for Prudential Financial,  says the portfolio rebalancing that happens between these asset classes also happens between stocks, at the end of every year.


Highlights from the Fed's beige book

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:00

The Federal Reserve released the beige book today, which is its periodic look at the U.S. economy on a regional basis, released eight time per year.

There are always great tidbits in there that the Wall Street Journal pulls out so we don't have to.

Here are some highlights:

  • In Pennsylvania, analysts said this may be the first year in which a majority of households eat their turkey and pumpkin pie at restaurants rather than at home.
  • Logistics and delivery companies in the Atlanta region said recent growth was driven mostly by e-commerce. Duh.
  • And average daily hotel room rates in Southern California are back to where they were before the recession, but holiday bookings by Western Europeans are down from last year.

Come on, how could you not love the Fed?

Why temporary tax breaks remain temporary

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-03 11:00

Congress is working on extending a number of expiring tax breaks. These temporary tax cuts are very important to business; some are for research and development, others let companies write off investments in equipment or facilities. 

Corporations really want to see them extended. But nothing’s free in Washington.

“These temporary provisions become very efficient tools for members of Congress to raise money, ” says Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor. He says that members of Congress want to keep these tax breaks temporary so they can tell corporate donors: Give us campaign contributions so we can stay in office and renew your tax breaks. This keeps lobbyists busy too, according to Lessig. 

“So everybody inside the beltway wins in this Christmas gift process, which we call the extension of these temporary provisions,”  he says.

There are other reasons the tax breaks are temporary. For one, Congress can’t decide which ones should be made permanent.

“Those require politically difficult decisions, compromise between Democrats and Republicans," says Len Burman, director of the Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center. "And those are things that Congress isn’t good at these days.”

Also, if the tax cuts were permanent, Congress would need a permanent way to pay for them. With tax hikes, or spending reductions.  And keep in mind, Congress is only considering an extension of the tax breaks through this year.

“This has to be taken up again next year and hopefully with a better outcome,” says Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

American Couple Detained In Qatar Allowed To Return Home

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 10:56

Qatari officials had accused Matthew and Grace Huang of murdering their 8-year-old adopted daughter last year. The Huangs, who were acquitted on appeal, argued that their case had racial overtones.

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N.Y.C. Grand Jury Does Not Indict Officer In Chokehold Case

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 10:54

The encounter between Eric Garner and officer Daniel Pantaleo caused an uproar after video footage was released. It showed Garner gasping, "I can't breathe."

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Sen. Rand Paul Introduces Declaration Of War Against ISIS

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-03 10:43

Paul introduced the measure because he said President Obama does not have the authority to wage a war against the so-called Islamic State.

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Algeria handed tough Nations Cup draw

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-03 10:39
Africa's top-ranked nation Algeria are drawn against Ghana, Senegal and South Africa at the 2015 Nations Cup.