National / International News

President Obama travels east, still pledging a 'pivot'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-21 13:11

President Barack Obama leaves on a diplomatic trip to Asia on Wednesday. First stop, Japan. Then, on to other allies in the region—South Korea, the Phillippines and Malaysia. He’ll be talking economics, and trade, and cooperation—to try to signal to these Pacific Rim allies that the U.S. is serious about its stated aim to ‘pivot’ toward them. Analysts say the President needs to convince them that the U.S. will back them up in their regional competition with rivals like China, as tensions have heated up over conflicts in the East China Sea.

For decades, America focused primarily on allies and enemies across the Atlantic. But, more and more U.S. trade and investment are happening across the Pacific. Stephen Biddle teaches international affairs at George Washington University, and is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He says so far, the shift of military capability toward the Western Pacific has been minimal.

“2,500 U.S. Marines, for example, were sent to bases in Australia,” he says. There are more ships going to Japan and Singapore, and ultimately the U.S. plans to put 60 percent of naval and air forces into the Pacific—up from 50 percent today. Key Pacific allies—Japan, South Korea, and Australia—plan to purchase American-made F-35 fighter jets, which will allow more cooperation and joint operations in the area.

“There’s going to be a different future budgetary fate for the parts of the U.S. military that are relatively better suited to the Pacific,” Biddle explains. He says Navy and Air Force units will be needed to cross the long distances, and to cover the large expanses of ocean in the Pacific Rim. Army and Marine Corps units, which have been deployed heavily in Europe and the Middle East, will be less useful there, and will likely be cut more as a result.

Right now, defense spending is not going up—due to the drawdown from Middle East wars, and Congress’s sequester budget cuts.

“In terms of dollars, frankly, we have not seen much of a shift in the way the Department of Defense has allocated its resources toward the kind of capabilities that I think might be needed in the future in the Pacific region,” says former Air Force official Mark Gunzinger, now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Gunzinger lists potential threats, starting with China, which has been boosting defense spending by double-digits: “Precision-guided anti-ship cruise missiles, advanced air defenses, undersea warfare systems, attack submarines . . .” Gunzinger says crucial shipping lanes, and strategic access to the area for the U.S. and its allies, could be blocked by these and other weapons that China is developing.

But defense analyst Mark Jacobson at the Truman National Security Project points out that the U.S. does not need to meet the security challenges in the region alone; nor are U.S. allies fatigued and depleted, as America’s European allies were at the end of World War II, when the current projection of U.S. power into the Atlantic sphere of influence was implemented.

“You’re talking about some of the world’s strongest economies,” says Jacobson. “With their power comes some responsibility for their own defense. And I don’t think this is lost on the South Koreans, the Australians, or the Japanese, at all.”

Powdered Liquor: Now Legal But Won't Be In Your Margarita Soon

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 13:09

The feds have approved dehydrated versions of vodka and even mojitos. Simply add water and voila! You've got a cocktail. But red tape will likely keep the high-proof powder off the market for a while.

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Netflix reports rise in profits

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 13:08
Internet streaming video service Netflix reports profits of $53m during the first quarter, and says it will soon increase subscription prices.

Manchester City 3-1 West Bromwich Albion

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 13:04
Pablo Zabaleta, Sergio Aguero and Martin Demichelis score as Manchester City beat West Brom to keep alive their title hopes.

If life gives you eggs, make egg salad

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-21 12:59
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:33 David Silverman/Getty Images

Freshly-laid eggs being collected for delivery to the local packing plant.

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up April 22, 2014 :

  • President Obama is scheduled to visit the community of Oso in Washington State where last month's devastating mudslide occurred.
  • The National Association of Realtors reports on sales of existing homes for March.
  • It's director John Waters' birthday. He'll be 68.
  • A toast to the planet we live on. Tomorrow is Earth Day.
  • And speaking of toast, do you have a lot of eggs to eat? Maybe you dyed dozens of them for Easter. Then you may be among those observing Egg Salad Week.
Marketplace for Monday April 21, 2014by Michelle PhilippePodcast Title If life gives you eggs, make egg saladSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

To Keep Business Growing, Vendors Rebrand Pot's Stoner Image

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 12:54

In Colorado, where recreational pot is now legal, stores are working hard to stand out — marketing to fans of organic, locally grown produce and trying to liken using pot to enjoying a glass of wine.

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Don't drink coffee as soon as you wake up

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-21 12:38
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 15:35 FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

Don't drink coffee first thing in the morning for maximum caffeination.

You’re probably going about your workday all wrong – if you’re trying to reach peak productivity, that is. Quartz’s Rachel Feltman gives some suggestions about how to optimize your workday:

1.    Don’t drink coffee when you first wake up in the morning.

“For the first couple of hours after waking up, your cortisol levels are going to start to peak anyway and that’s what really perks you up in the morning,” says Feltman. It’s a waste of the caffeine – better to wait until that initial morning buzz wears off, between 9:30 and 11 a.m.

2.    Send emails that don’t need to be answered right away at 6 a.m.

“6 a.m. emails tend to have higher opening rates than other times of the day,” says Feltman. However, she says, it may be a good time for reading the email, but not necessarily replying. She suggests sending emails that require more thought at 6 a.m., giving the receiver time to respond later in the morning.

3.    Brush your teeth at 2:30 p.m.

Feltman admits she hasn’t started doing this one yet, but the benefits are two-fold. You’re less likely to snack if you’ve just brushed your teeth, and it’s good to have breaks in the middle of the afternoon slog. “It’s a nice little interlude,” she says.

Read the complete guide to an optimized workday at Quartz.

Marketplace for Monday April 21, 2014Interview by Kai RyssdalPodcast Title Scheduling the ideal workdayStory Type InterviewSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Don't drink coffee as soon as you wake up

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-21 12:35

You’re probably going about your workday all wrong – if you’re trying to reach peak productivity, that is. Quartz’s Rachel Feltman gives some suggestions about how to optimize your workday:

1.    Don’t drink coffee when you first wake up in the morning.

“For the first couple of hours after waking up, your cortisol levels are going to start to peak anyway and that’s what really perks you up in the morning,” says Feltman. It’s a waste of the caffeine – better to wait until that initial morning buzz wears off, between 9:30 and 11 a.m.

2.    Send emails that don’t need to be answered right away at 6 a.m.

“6 a.m. emails tend to have higher opening rates than other times of the day,” says Feltman. However, she says, it may be a good time for reading the email, but not necessarily replying. She suggests sending emails that require more thought at 6 a.m., giving the receiver time to respond later in the morning.

3.    Brush your teeth at 2:30 p.m.

Feltman admits she hasn’t started doing this one yet, but the benefits are two-fold. You’re less likely to snack if you’ve just brushed your teeth, and it’s good to have breaks in the middle of the afternoon slog. “It’s a nice little interlude,” she says.

Read the complete guide to an optimized workday at Quartz.

VIDEO: Mixed emotions at Boston marathon

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 12:32
Spectators cheer on the runners, reporting feelings of solidarity and defiance one year on from the bombings which killed three and injured more than 260.

Man released in death investigation

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 12:31
A 36-year-old man arrested in connection with the discovery of a woman's body in west Belfast is released unconditionally.

Teen Stowaway Somehow Survives Flight To Hawaii In Wheel Well

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 12:05

The FBI is saying that a 16-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after he hid in the wheel well of a flight from San Jose to Maui. Severe temperatures and low oxygen would make survival difficult. Investigators are examining the case.

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A Year From Tragedy, Boston Marathon Laurels Go To American

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 12:05

The Boston Marathon is back, over one year since bombs rocked its finish line. NPR's Jeff Brady discusses the race, its heightened security and Meb Keflezighi, the first American to win it since 1983.

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Eastern Ukraine Town Sent Reeling After Checkpoint Killings

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 12:05

The killing of three people at a checkpoint in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk has increased tension in the town, where a government building is being occupied by pro-Moscow militants.

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Tennessee Bill Could Send Addicted Moms To Jail

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 11:58

The proposal awaiting the governor's signature has bipartisan support, despite doctors' opposition. Critics say it could deter expectant mothers from seeking help, or even encourage more abortions.

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'Gay leader' scout troop disbanded

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 11:53
The Boy Scouts of America revokes the charter of a scouting group at a church in the US state of Washington after learning its leader is gay.

West criticises Syria election plan

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 11:51
The Syrian government's plan to hold a presidential election on 3 June is a "parody of democracy" that could torpedo peace efforts, Western powers warn.

Seven arrested in Belfast disorder

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 11:50
Police make seven arrests after they were called to deal with disorder in several parts of Belfast on Monday, including a public park and the city's main train station.

Made In The USA: Childless Chinese Turn To American Surrogates

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 11:45

Growing numbers of Chinese have hired American surrogates, allowing a couple to get around China's ban on the procedure and its birth limits. It also guarantees a coveted U.S. passport.

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Oso, Wash., Mudslide Death Toll Rises To 41; 4 Still Missing

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 11:18

The Snohomish County medical examiner's office says two more people have been added to the list of the dead from last month's disaster in Washington state.

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Statement 'could stop march protest'

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 11:14
A nationalist residents' group has said it would hold no more protests against loyalist parades if march organisers made a statement confirming they would abide by Parades Commission rulings.
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