National / International News

House Passes Restrictions On NSA's Collection Of Phone Records

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 10:38

The measure, which now goes to the Senate, would require the National Security Agency to get permission before searching phone metadata. But critics say the bill doesn't go far enough.

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What Thailand's political climate means for the economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-22 10:31
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 14:28 Rufus Cox/Getty Images News

Thai army soldiers secure the grounds of the venue for peace talks between pro- and anti-government groups on May 22, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thailand’s been said to have a “Teflon economy”: Political instability has wracked the country in recent years, but its major industries haven't been very affected. 

Jonathan Head, a BBC correspondent based in Bangkok, said the current military coup might change that.

“A lot of the businesses that drive Thailand’s economy are based outside of Bangkok. Manufacturing, cars, electronics... those [exports] will continue as normal,” says Head. “Where there are real worries is that because of this long crisis big investment decisions have been delayed. And the political uncertainty has put off foreign direct investors too.”

Head says Thailand’s military leaders are stressing that the country is currently safe for tourists. But people with future travel plans to Chiang Mai or Bangkok might want to reconsider.

“For example [the military] is stressing that, although there is a curfew, tourists will be able to drive late at night to the airport and back. But in the end the element of uncertainty of whether there is going to be conflict is going to put tourists off." 

Head says right now, the streets of Bangkok are calm. It’s what the military coup means for the long term that is worrisome.

“When they took over in the last coup in 2006 the country was a lot less polarized, they faced very little resistance, and yet they were accused of completely mismanaging the economy..[Now] they have to do it again with consumer demand already collapsing, with a lot of people in debted after a consumer binge in the last few years. That could all make it very tricky for the army.”

Marketplace for Thursday May 22, 2014Interview byInterview with Kai Ryssdal and Jonathan HeadPodcast Title What Thailand's political climate means for the economyStory Type InterviewSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Jupiter's Dot And Mine. Why Life Is Unfair

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 10:26

Jupiter has a large red dot on its surface. I, too, have a dot on my surface. It's on my cheek. Jupiter just got lucky with its dot. Me? Not.

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Voters heading to polls across UK

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 10:25
Millions of people are voting on Thursday in the European elections and for local councillors in England and Northern Ireland.

VIDEO: First footage from yacht search scene

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 10:02
Debris has been found in the Atlantic near to where the UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki disappeared.

Experimental Malaria Vaccine Blocks The Bad Guy's Exit

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 10:01

Most attempts at a malaria vaccine have unsuccessfully tried to keep the parasite from breaking into red blood cells. But a new twist that keeps the parasite from escaping the cells may work better.

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Bombers target Shia pilgrims in Iraq

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:58
At least 24 Shia Muslim pilgrims have been killed and dozens wounded in three bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officials say.

Ex-Sussex pair charged with fixing

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:53
The England and Wales Cricket Board charges former Sussex players Lou Vincent and Naved Arif with match-fixing.

Moffett forces extraordinary meeting

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:51
Welsh Rugby Union prepares to call an Extraordinary General Meeting after challenger David Moffett gets enough backing from clubs.

Malawi poll marred by 'rigging'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:50
Malawi's elections were marred by "serious irregularities", including computer-hacking, President Joyce Banda says, as one of her ministers kills himself.

'Boko Haram' destroy Nigeria village

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:48
Suspected militant Islamists kill more than 25 people and burn nearly all the homes in a village in north-eastern Nigeria, residents say.

VIDEO: Nile Rodgers collects Ivor Novello

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:46
Nile Rodgers and London Grammar are just two of the winners at the Ivor Novello Awards 2014.

Lightning strikes Shard skyscraper

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:43
Several bolts of lightning hit London during a brief thunderstorm, including one captured over the Shard in south London.

Cardiff striker Bellamy retires

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:43
Former Wales captain Craig Bellamy retires from football following Cardiff City's relegation from the Premier League.

Why population growth isn't always an economic boon

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:40
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 16:39 Shea Huffman/Marketplace

A map showing the seven cities in Texas with the greatest rate of population growth between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Texas is leading the way in U.S. population growth. The Census Bureau said Thursday that seven of the top 15 fastest-growing cites are in Texas. They’re clustered around big oil and gas boomtowns like Dallas and Houston, or tech hubs like Austin.

Sometimes population equals prosperity.

“They go hand in hand,” says Luis Bettencourt, who studies cities at the Santa Fe Institute. “You add a person, and you get more money per capita.”

Income growth in the booming suburbs of Austin is high because of the types of jobs there. But Bettencourt says there are caveats. This past decade wrecked all the economic models; the housing bubble was making people move.

“There was cheap housing available, and the actual construction of that housing created jobs,” says Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, which monitors cities' economic growth. But some economists say even without the housing bubble, the theory that growth begets growth is off. Consider Las Vegas. People are moving there for jobs.

“Naturally if there’s a lot of hiring you would expect people to migrate in," says Paul Gottlieb, an economist at Rutgers. "But the jobs have not necessarily been very high paying.”

Gottlieb says, sure you have new people and new jobs, but they don’t have fat wallets. They don’t bring growth and prosperity. Gottlieb says, in some big, northeastern cities, income is rising much faster than population.

Marketplace for Thursday May 22, 2014by Nancy Marshall-GenzerPodcast Title Why population growth isn't always an economic boonStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Don't wash your jeans, freeze them.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:39
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 16:39 Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A customer looks at Levi jeans hanging on display at a Levis store in 2003 in New York City. CEO, Chip Bergh, stated you can clean your jeans by freezing them rather than washing them in an interview today at Fortune's Brainstorm Green.

Two pearls of wisdom from big time corporate CEOs in the news:

Pearl number one comes from Chip Bergh. He runs Levi Strauss and Company, famous of course for its blue jeans. Mr. Bergh says that it's OK to not wash your denim garments.

He's trying to save the world. Levi's has been upfront about wanting to cut back on the water used in the making of its jeans. Bergh and Levi says you can freeze 'em, instead. Which will kill the bacteria... and the smell.

Pearl number two comes from Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. He's a tad upset about American rules forcing car makers to build a certain quota of battery powered electric vehicles. Speaking about the Fiat 500e, Marchionne says, "I hope you don't buy it, because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000."

So, okay. I won't.

Marketplace for Thursday May 22, 2014by Kai RyssdalStory Type BlogSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Ragu: the way many of us learned to love 'Italian' food

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:38
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 16:33

Back in 1937, if you wanted to buy Ragu pasta sauce, you would have had to buy it out of the trunk of a car from its creators -- a married couple named Giovanni and Assunta Cantisano. Back then pasta and red sauce was not a staple of the American diet like it is today.

“It didn’t happen overnight, but sometimes these things can," says Wharton marketing professor Leonard Lodish. As Americans’ attitudes about Italian immigrants changed, Italian food became popular, and Americans’ perception of Italian food was built on tomato sauce. Ragu was a big part of that.

Today, Ragu is the number one pasta sauce brand in the U.S., but sales are down 18 percent since 2009 as more shoppers turn to private label sauces.  This could be one reason Ragu’s parent company, Unilever, is selling the iconic brand to the Japanese company Mizkan for $2.15 billion.

Mizkahn is the largest producer of vinegar in the world, along with other food products that, according to the company’s website, are revered throughout the world for bringing flavor to life TM.

Overall, the food industry is a slow-growth market.

“So if you are looking for high growth, food is a tough place, it’s going be a market share bet,” says Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst with the NPD Group.

If Mizkan wants to grow Ragu’s market share, says Balzer, it will have to take it away from a competing sauce.

Check out these other Ragu sauces from across the ages:

When you hear "Ragu," you might think of simple, old-fashioned red sauce. But like every other food product that's been around for a while, the brand has tried several other variations on its staple which did not stand the test of time. Here's a few memorable -- or unmemorable, as it were -- Ragu products:

1. Ragu Pizza Quick - For those who want something between the DIY of Boboli and the ready-made Bagel Bite

2. Ragu Chicken Tonight Simmer Sauce - Everyone of a certain age knows the accompanying dance to this ad

3. Ragu Beef Tonight Simmer Sauce - Because chicken wasn't enough

4. Ragu Fresh Italian Sauce - The selling point of this sauce was its inclusion of more comparison to other Ragu sauces

5. Ragu Chunky Garden Style - It was like the chunky peanut butter of pasta sauces

Marketplace for Thursday May 22, 2014by David WeinbergPodcast Title Ragu: the way many of us learned to love 'Italian' foodStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Fishermen 'survived on two biscuits'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:36
Two fishermen feared lost at sea off the Aberdeenshire coast survived on two biscuits and a bottle of water in the two days before their rescue.

Oh Canada... the black hole for U.S. stores

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:32
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 16:29 Thivierr/

A Sears store at Chinook Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Sears Canada today posted a steep fall in quaterly sales.

Sears announced today that it lost more than $400 million in the first quarter and is planning to close more than 80 locations. One of the big losses for the company was in Canada, where Sears saw its biggest sales dive in five years. But Sears isn’t the only retailer that got a curveball from our neighbor to the north. This week, Target sacked the head of its Canadian operations after losing nearly $1.5 billion on its Canadian stores. Wal-Mart and Lowe’s have also had trouble finding their footing in the Canadian market. 

"We are different. People forget that we are different in terms of how we buy," says Debi Andrus, Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business. "We buy the same items and we’re still looking for value, but we have different purchasing behaviors."

Take Target, which charged into Canada last year, opening more than 100 stores. That might sound like over-reach, but Target was already popular with Canadians, who had been crossing the border to shop at its stores for years.

"I don't want to call it arrogance, I wouldn't want to say that," says Brian Yarbrough, an analyst with financial services firm Edward Jones. "There was too much complacency. They thought, 'We can go up to Canada and open these stores just like in the U.S. and people are just going to flock to stores. That didn't occur."

Yarbrough says part of the problem was Target tried to stock its Canadian stores the same way it stocked those in the U.S. "We have financial advisors up in Canada and we get these calls that are like, 'It’s the middle of October and it’s winter up here already and they don’t even have gloves in their stores."

Canadian retailers also upped their game in anticipation of Target coming to Canada, by lowering prices, stepping up marketing… with one notable exception. "Sears Canada wasn't changing as the other Canadian retailers were changing with the other American companies coming in," says Andrus. She says Canada is a competitive market. Although the country is huge, its population is relatively small. There are 35 million Canadians, compared with more than 300 million Americans. And there are only so many loonies to go around.

Marketplace for Thursday May 22, 2014by Stacey Vanek SmithPodcast Title Oh Canada... the black hole for U.S. storesStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Does Smuggling A Cow Into School Make You A Creative Genius?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-22 09:25

Before graduating, some seniors take time to pull off the perfect prank. But it's not just childish behavior. Journalist Annie Murphy Paul says pranks showcase creativity and attention to detail.

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