National / International News

BNP Paribas Agrees To Nearly $9 Billion Fine And Admission Of Guilt

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-30 14:20

The French banking giant BNP Paribas will pay a penalty of nearly $9 billion and plead guilty to criminal charges for doing business with countries sanctioned by the U.S.

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VIDEO: New MEPs enter European Parliament

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:52
The new session for Euro MPs has begun at the European Parliament, and the BBC's Chris Morris offers a guide to the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union.

Why Bob McDonald is a big departure for the VA

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:40

Today, one month to the day after Eric Shinseki resigned as the Secretary of Department of Veterans Affairs, President Obama announced his pick to replace him: Bob McDonald, former president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer products company.

In the past, the VA has been led by generals, a colonel, and a congressman, in addition to lobbyists and lawyers. Alan Simpson, who used to chair the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, praises the president for picking someone who hasn’t spent his career in the military or government service: “Oh, that’s big,” he says. “It’s huge and it’s critical.”

It's definitely different -- check out this list of McDonald's forbears: 

Ed Derwinski attended Loyola University, a private university in Chicago, and graduated in 1951. Before he became a Republican congressman, he served in the U.S. Army.

Anthony Principi, a Naval Academy graduate, served in Vietnam before attending law school at Seton Hall. He was a Navy JAG and a lawyer for the Department of the Navy before he became deputy secretary of the VA.

Jesse Brown graduated from City College of Illinois, then served as a marine in the Vietnam War. From 1973 until 1983, Brown was the supervisor of the National Service Office, National Appeals Office, Chief of Claims, National Service and Legislative Headquarters, and Deputy National Service Director.

Hershel Gober served in Vietnam, before he became the director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs and the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Togo West went to Howard University for college and law school, before he became a U.S. Army JAG. He went on to become a corporate lawyer, then the Defense Department’s general counsel.

Jim Nicholson, a West Point graduate, received a master’s in public policy from Columbia University, and a law degree from the University of Denver School of Law.

Gordon Mansfield, a Villanova University graduate, served two tours of duty in Vietnam. Injured by an enemy solider, he received the Distinguished Service Cross.

James Peake went to West Point. After he served in the Army, he became the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Project Hope; then, QTC’s chief medical officer and CEO.

Eric Shinseki, who went to West Point, received a master’s degree in English literature from Duke Uiversity. He received a purple heart for his service in Vietnam, and was the director of several major corporations.

Sloan Gibson, another West Point grad, led the USO. He was an Army Ranger.

'Family-like' Hobby Lobby has religion, Court rules

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:33

Corporations have religious beliefs -- or, at least some corporations do. That’s one takeaway from the 5-4 ruling of the Supreme Court today in the "Hobby Lobby" case.

The victory for the Oklahoma City-based crafts store Hobby Lobby and dozens of other businesses who filed suit means “closely held” companies can deny contraception coverage to their employees. The question in front of the Supreme Court was fairly straightforward: Can Hobby Lobby be forced to offer contraception coverage as part of its health insurance, if that contraception violates its religious beliefs?

Specifically, the company opposed covering certain forms of contraception, such as some intrauterine devices and products like Plan B One-Step, because it believes they amount to abortion.

In writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito went out of his way to focus on certain businesses, says Duke Law professor James Cox.

“The Justice was fairly clear in saying he’s talking about a closely held, family-dominated corporation with no outside owners and no diversity of opinion,” Cox says.

It’s not clear how many businesses meet that definition. Some 9 out of 10 corporations are “closely held.” That includes everything from mom and pop shops to giants like Koch Industries and Cargill, which employ hundreds of thousands.

The bright line the court draws is about religious intent.

George Washington law professor Robert Tuttle says you can imagine how two or three owners (who may be related) share religious views. Publicly traded companies like Apple and IBM and their armies of shareholders are a different animal.

“It’s just really hard to see how they can have a sincere religious objection to anything,” says Tuttle.

While this verdict is aimed at a class of corporation, Boston College’s Kent Greenfield – who filed an amicus brief in the case – expects companies of all shapes and sizes to try to squeeze through this new opening.

“This opinion gives companies the opportunity to ask for a waiver for regulation, and usually regulation costs money, he says. "And if they can avoid those costs by asserting a religious waiver, then they will.”

Greenfield says this decision could give certain companies a competitive advantage on the basis of religion.

France 2-0 Nigeria

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:26
France reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup as second-half goals knock out Nigeria in Brasilia.

BNP Paribas Agrees To Pay $8.83 Billion In Sanctions Probe

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:13

The U.S. alleges that the French bank violated U.S. sanctions laws by facilitating transactions involving Sudan, Cuba and Iran.

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Today at Wimbledon: Tuesday at a glance

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:05
Who is playing? How you can watch? Everything you need on day eight of Wimbledon 2014.

New York City extends paid sick days to more workers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:05

Workers of New York, July 30 is the first day you can use your earned sick days under New York City’s new paid sick day law.

How are you feeling - can you make it?

Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work,  a network of coalitions in 21 states that work for policies like paid sick days, says come the end of the month, don’t expect to see a sick day bubble where workers all over the city call in with hives.

“No, what we’re going to see is fewer people going to work sick and making co-workers and customers sick," she says. "Fewer people losing jobs and paychecks.”

On average, Bravo notes, workers use fewer sick days than they earn.

Sherry Leiwant, co-president and cofounder of A Better Balance, a legal advocacy organization based in New York that does advocacy around paid sick days, says more often than not, workers treat sick days like insurance.

"They save them because they know they’re going to maybe need them to take care of their kids, or take care of themselves if they get sick, so don’t want to waste them," she says.

New York City estimates there are about half a million employees who had no paid sick time before the new law. Leiwant notes the lack of sick leave cuts across sectors, so the list of industries where workers are currently without sick time includes retail, child and health care, leisure, hospitality and dining.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the *New York City Hospitality Alliance, and a personal recipient of sick day leave, says restaurant owners understand that people get sick and they want to take care of their teams, but that the new policy does present challenges for business owners in the dining industry. 

“A lot of business owners believe it’s going to be expensive, it’s also going to be tricky, especially in restaurant industry or nightlife industry if an employee calls in sick, you need to replace them," he says. "There are some office jobs, where if someone comes in sick, they’ll come in the following day and their work will be there on their desk. But if you’re working in a restaurant and you’re short a line cook, you need to bring in an additional line cook.”

Ellen Bravo notes that paying employees for a handful of sick days a year is much cheaper than spending the thousands of dollars it costs to replace even low wage workers. While it would be more convenient if no one got sick, she says, from a business perspective sick days make sense.

"You certainly don’t want to be the restaurant that gets in the headlines for having a norovirus, as a number of them had, because the worker felt obliged to come in for fear of losing their job, or simply because they couldn’t afford the time."

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified the affiliation of Andrew Rigie, a hospitality executive. He is executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance. The article has been corrected.

Toronto mayor: Rehab saved my life

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:03
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford returns to work after "intensive treatment" for drug and alcohol abuse, speaking of a "long road to recovery".

Abducted Israeli teens found dead

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:03
Three Israeli teenagers abducted this month in the West Bank have been found dead near Hebron, the Israeli military says.

Nominating New VA Chief, Obama Says 'We Have To Do Better' For Vets

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:03

President Obama nominated the former chief of Procter & Gamble to take over the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert McDonald said he wanted to make the system more efficient and effective.

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Klinsmann has concern over referee

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-30 13:00
United States boss Jurgen Klinsmann criticises the appointment of an Algerian referee for their meeting with Belgium.

Obama shifts resources to US border

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-30 12:59
President Barack Obama has directed immigration resources to the US border with Mexico as he promised to fix the "broken immigration system" without an "obstructive" Congress.

Dominant Djokovic into last eight

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-30 12:56
Novak Djokovic beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the quarter-finals as Grigor Dimtrov books a last-eight date with Andy Murray.

English explodes in India

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-30 12:55
India is using English like it has never been used before

Lead Exposure May Cause Depression In Chinese Children

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-30 12:51

Lead exposure lowers children's IQ and causes aggression. But children exposed to low levels of lead show different symptoms, including more depression and anxiety, a study of preschoolers finds.

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An Algorithm Is A Curator At The Sept. 11 Museum

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-30 12:50

Curators at the September 11 Memorial and Museum came up with a novel solution to the problem of interpreting the tragedy. They put a computer algorithm in charge of an exhibit. But is it objective?

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Between Israel And Hamas, 3 Killed Teens Escalate Tensions

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-30 12:42

Three Israeli teens who have been missing since June 12 were found killed in the West Bank. Israel blames Hamas and is expected to take action against the militant group.

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High Court Allows Some Companies To Opt Out Of Contraceptives Mandate

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-30 12:38

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that closely held companies can defy the Affordable Care Act mandate to cover some forms of contraception if they object on religious grounds.

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Hobby Lobby Ruling Cuts Into Contraceptive Mandate

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-30 12:35

The Supreme Court says closely held corporations may be exempted from the health law's contraceptive mandate. Here are some questions and answers about the ruling.

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