National / International News

How ISIS, Endowed By Conquest, Stocks Its War Chest

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-18 12:22

The militant group ISIS has managed to fund a full-scale offensive using a financial system that's very similar to the Mafia's. For more on the means the group uses to finance its operations, Robert Siegel speaks with Juan Zarate, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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ISIS Presses Its Advance, Attacking Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-18 12:22

While ISIS militants assault Iraq's largest oil refinery, the country's prime minister is vowing that his forces will turning back the insurgency.

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The Specter Of Iraq Haunts The Political Life Of Barack Obama

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-18 12:22

From his time as an Illinois state senator to his role as U.S. commander in chief, President Obama's political life has been defined by the issue of Iraq — and not necessarily because he wanted it to.

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Ruling On Redskins' Trademarks Carries Symbolic Weight

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-18 12:22

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has cancelled trademark registrations by the Washington Redskins football team, ruling that the team's name is "disparaging" to Native Americans.

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Sluggish Housing Market A Product Of Millions Of 'Missing Households'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-18 12:22

Economists say there are more than 2 million "missing households" in the U.S. — young people who bunk with family or friends rather than buying their own home. New data suggest this trend continues.

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Jazz Pianist, Composer Horace Silver Dies At 85

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-18 12:11

He created a rhythmic style that combined R&B, gospel and jazz that became known as "hard bop," and performed with such jazz greats as Stan Getz and Miles Davis.

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VIDEO: Cancer missed in botched smear test

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 12:03
A hospital apologises to a Cheshire a woman after she was wrongly given the all-clear after a smear test.

Redskins team trademarks cancelled

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 12:01
The US patent office cancels the Washington Redskins trademarks, finding the football team's name disparages Native Americans.

San Francisco losing black residents, black businesses

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:58

During World War II, the Navy hired thousands of workers for its San Francisco Bay Area shipyards. Many were black migrants from the South who settled in the city's Fillmore District -- a neighborhood left with vacancies because of the internment of Japanese-Americans.

A vibrant black community flourished, and music venues opened up on nearly every block, hosting jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, and Duke Ellington. The Fillmore District was nicknamed the Harlem of the West.

In those years, if you were a black visitor to San Francisco, you most likely made a pilgrimage to Marcus Books. In 1956, the NAACP convention came to town, and Reverend Amos Brown -- then just 15-years-old -- was a delegate from Mississippi traveling with his mentor, civil rights hero Medger Evers. It was the first time Brown met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and the first time he visited Marcus Books.

It was an iconic institution of culture, information, sociopolitical empowerment,” Brown reminisced. “Many international scholars and thinkers and civil rights leaders appeared at Marcus bookstore.”

The store began as a publishing company, printing hard-to-find texts from black leaders like Marcus Garvey, whom the bookstore was named after.

San Francisco poet Devorah Major says her father first brought her to Marcus Books when she was two years old. Later, the store was crucial to her career as a writer.

“I did readings when my first novel went out at Barnes & Noble, and they didn’t care -- I’d have five, or six, or ten people there,” she said. “I went to Marcus, and it was standing room only. It also is a measure of support, and those turn into sales.”

Marcus Books got into financial trouble last year, and the owners couldn’t afford to keep the store open. They tried a crowdfunding campaign to help raise money to buy back the property, and their supporters rallied on the steps of City Hall. But Reverend Amos Brown says the store’s problems started long before this. Business took a hit as San Francisco’s black residents moved out.

“We’ve lost over 50,000 since 1970, and that’s tragic,” Brown said recently when I talked to him in his office at San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church, where he arrived as pastor in 1976.  In the 1960s and '70s, city redevelopment policies displaced thousands of African Americans, and segregation often made it difficult to find new housing.

Brown is now the president of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP. The city, he says, is not as liberal and friendly towards African-Americans as its reputation might suggest.

“When it comes to employment, education, and housing opportunities, it’s not the ideal place to be in. If there is not a positive effort made to work with the African-American community to stop this hemorrhaging, I predict that in the next 5 to 10 years, there will not be 20,000 blacks left in this city.”

Black residents began leaving long before the current tech boom in the city, which has only made housing rentals even more difficult to secure. Mayor Ed Lee has committed to building 30,000 new affordable housing units in by 2020. Today, most of San Francisco’s black residents are low income renters.

Theodore Miller is director of San Francisco’s Out-Migration Initiative, the government’s latest attempt to retain black residents. One of Miller’s priorities is attracting young, college educated African-Americans to the city.

“We know the city of San Francisco is experiencing record growth across industries, and we need to make sure that African-Americans throughout the country think about San Francisco as a place to live and grow and raise their families,” he said.

But even if a new wave of black residents settles here, they’ll arrive in a city without many black-owned businesses. And Marcus Books in San Francisco won't be one of them -- it's gone for good.

This story was produced by TurnstyleNews.com, a project of Youth Radio.

Amazon Fire Phone offers 3D effects

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:42
Amazon unveils its first smartphone, which can change the perspective of an image depending on how the owner moves their head.

The goddess who still has to do homework

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:35
The living goddess who still has to do homework

Forget your wallet, text messaging is the way to go.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:24

Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Charles Graeber spent 10 days in Kenya with only one requirement: to not use his wallet -- and to pay for everything by phone.

"I've never gone to Africa and I've never paid for anything with my phone," he said. So, intrigued by Kenya's M-pesa system ("M" stands for mobile and "pesa" means payment in Swahili). The system allows users to transfer money from phone-to-phone through text messages. Once Graeber landed in Kenya, it took him fifteen minutes to get set up with a phone, SIM card and become a client of the country’s largest mobile provider, Safaricom.

Charles was able to use his phone to pay for his taxi, book his hotel and even haggle down meat prices from the local market. This use of payment has become widely popular since its launch in 2007.

"Something like 93 percent of Kenyans with mobile phones have this... The truth is it's an alternative to banking... it is quickly becoming people's bank accounts. In fact, some people will keep their money on a SIM card, and then take that SIM card out and keep it in a cookie jar, sort of as a virtual savings account."

While the majority of Kenyans are using this method of payment, the U.S. has yet to adopt a system like this. It’s a shame, at least for Charles, who says he’s already missing it.

"You walk out the door only needing your phone… and your wallet is one less thing to forget."

Patients' 200-mile bed trek concern

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:20
Some mental health patients in Suffolk and Norfolk are having to travel more than 200 miles (321km) for a bed, it emerges.

Ronaldo limps out of Portugal training

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:18
Cristiano Ronaldo limps out of training with ice on his knee amid fears about his participation in the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

Eleven-year-old Li will play US Open

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:15
Eleven-year-old Lucy Li will become the US Women's Open's youngest qualifier as the event visits the men's venue Pinehurst.

VIDEO: 'Explosion' in child online sex abuse

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:13
The online trade in images that show child sex abuse is now "an epidemic", the head of the global initiative to combat the problem has warned.

Doctors Aren't Sure How To Stop Africa's Deadliest Ebola Outbreak

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:12

It started in February in West Africa. It has surged in the past few weeks, and now it has killed more than 300. The death toll is the highest of any outbreak since Ebola was detected in 1976.

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Fed Slows Pace Of Bond Buying, Keeps Rates Steady — For Now

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-18 11:03

The Federal Reserve said that it was curtailing its bond purchases to $15 billion per month. It gave no hint when interest rates would rise.

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Man held in Barbados murder probe

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 10:43
A man is arrested after a British former soldier was stabbed to death on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

How an Illinois company does businesses in Iraq

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-18 10:39

Jason Speer, President of Quality Float Works Inc., a float metal ball manufacturing company, has travelled several times to Iraq since their expansion into the troubled country:

"People still don’t even believe me, I have to show them some pictures," says Speer, about his business trips to Iraq.

Speer says he saw investing in Iraq as an opportunity.

"The country needs to be rebuilt," says Speer. "Everything has been destroyed over the years of neglect. I think there are a lot of opportunities for American businesses especially."

Doing business in Iraq is definitely not easy. Just shipping the float metal balls can be a tricky process. Speer says they work with a local business man that assists with the logistics of getting their product into the country, but sometimes their products sit for weeks at a time, just waiting for the paperwork to be handled and to be cleared.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.

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