National / International News

'Charlie Hedbo' A Provocateur, Challenging Status Quo

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:58

Melissa Block speaks with New Yorker editor Francoise Mouly about the French satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo and the larger landscape of satirical publications in France.

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VIDEO: Gerrard: Right time for LA Galaxy

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:56
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says his summer move to LA Galaxy comes at the "right time for a new challenge".

Brain Scans May Help Predict Future Problems, And Solutions

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:56

Brain imagery can help researchers tell if people are more likely to be able to quit smoking or have trouble with reading. But those tests aren't yet ready for the doctor's office or classroom.

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The rapidly changing Asian world

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:50
A trip to south-east Asia highlights why the 21st century is an Asian one, Katty Kay says.

Sorry, No Space Heaters: Hawaii Copes With Record Cold

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:50

As temperatures hit the 50s, some stores sold out of space heaters. Some residents turned to blankets, layers of heavy clothes and thermal socks to stay warm.

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Animal victims of Australian fires

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:47
The animals killed and maimed in Australia's bushfires

White House: Paris Attack An Evolution Of Terror Threat

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:33

In a statement on Wednesday, President Obama pledged support for the French authorities after the terrorist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

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Paraguay rebel leader 'killed'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:32
The leader of Paraguay's ACA rebel group, Albino Jara, is killed in a clash with special security forces in the north, the authorities say.

French Media, Public Rally Behind 'Charlie Hebdo'

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:26

Three major media groups said they would lend staff and equipment to ensure the satirical magazine can continue publication after a deadly attack on its offices in Paris.

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Cape Cod's Offshore Wind Project In Jeopardy

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:22

A controversial offshore wind project under development in Cape Cod has lost both of the buyers for its power. Without financing, Cape Wind is missing deadlines to deliver.

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Growth In Manufacturing Tempered By Low-Wage Jobs

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:22

President Obama is touting growth in manufacturing jobs, but if they're low-wage jobs is that a good thing?

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NYPD Commissioner Is A Man Caught In The Middle

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:22

The ongoing work slowdown by the NYPD puts police commissioner William Bratton in a tough spot. Bratton was hired to improve relations between the NYPD and the community, as he's credited with doing in Los Angeles. But first, he will have to ease tensions between city hall and the department's rank-and-file.

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FBI Offers New Evidence Connecting North Korea To Sony Hack

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:22

FBI Director James Comey offered new evidence that North Korea was responsible for the cyber attack against Sony. Some technology experts had been skeptical of the proof the FBI had offered before.

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Unemployment, Deflation Felt Acutely In Spain

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:22

Spain's jobless rate still tops 23 percent and salaries are stagnant or declining. The Spanish economy is technically out of recession but many Spaniards still aren't celebrating.

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Euro Falls To 9-Year Low Against U.S. Dollar

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:22

Europe may have a deflation problem. Eurozone consumer prices fell on an annual basis in December for the first time since the depths of the financial crisis five years ago. The decline was driven by a sharp drop in energy prices. The news is expected to increase pressure on the European Central Bank to come up with a more aggressive response to slow growth and high unemployment.

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In Midwest, Bitterly Cold Temps Keep Students At Home

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:22

In Chicago, a city that relishes their ability to deal with the harsh realities of winter the cold weather forced the closing of its schools on Wednesday. While classes were cancelled in over 100 districts, buildings were open to accept students who had nowhere to go and could not stay home alone.

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French Government Organizes Massive Manhunt To Find Gunmen

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:22

At least 12 people were killed after gunmen attacked the offices of a satirical magazine in Paris on Wednesday.

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A Cow Head Will Not Erupt From Your Body If You Get A Smallpox Vaccine

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:22

The eradication of smallpox was arguably one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine. But people had crazy ideas about the vaccine when it was created in 1798. A new exhibit tells the story.

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Alan Dershowitz: A high-flying lawyer's unwanted publicity

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:02
The fiery US lawyer in an unwanted spotlight

Legal pot sales could top $10 billion by 2018

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-07 12:02

Roughly half of U.S. states now permit medical marijuana use with a prescription. In Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, buying marijuana for recreational use has been legalized as well. By 2017, legalization advocates predict another dozen states could follow suit – including the biggest prize for marijuana businesses – California.

Revenues from marijuana production and sales in the U.S. states where it is legal could top $10 billion dollars by 2018 (up from $2.6 billion in 2014), according to research by the ArcView Group, which promotes investment in the emerging cannabis industry.

The business holds high potential for reward – and risk – for anyone thinking of taking the plunge. This was evident at a pair of major cannabis conventions last November in Las Vegas – an investor "pitch-a-thon" put on by ArcView and the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo, hosted by the publication Marijuana Business Daily.

Among the several thousand who attended: Filmmaker and talk-show host Ricki Lake, working on a documentary called “Weed the People,” about the potential benefits of cannabis as a cancer treatment; and bootstrapping entrepreneurs such as Jill St. Thomas of Colorado, purveying her “Mad Hatter” line of cannabis-infused coffees, teas and "mocktails," and Gracen Hook of Washington, trolling for investors for what he called the first pot-themed resort with a “five-star restaurant, a spa conducive to cannabis tourism and a 40-room hotel.”

Tripp Keber, CEO of Denver-based Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, one of the fastest-growing cannabis companies nationwide, was offering pot-infused soft-drinks, candy and fudge. “If you look at Colorado alone, this year it’s forecast to exceed $700 million – that’s massive expansion,” Keber says.

The federal government remains an obstacle to people trying to build regional or national marijuana businesses. 

Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the federal Controlled Substances Act, which puts cannabis in the same class of illegal drugs as heroin. And federal tax and banking rules make routine business activities – like paying the rent or sending product-samples through the mail – a nightmare of financial risk.

Bruce Granger helped found a state-of-the-art marijuana production and retail company in Denver called Kind Love. The company’s new facility in a Denver warehouse district is brimming with the latest agricultural technology and climate control systems, not to mention plenty of security.

And Kind Love has plenty of customers. But, says Granger: “Banks are nervous to take our money.” Federal money-laundering rules don’t allow banks that are FDIC-insured to handle proceeds from illegal drug-sales, he explains. “Think about running a business and not being able to use a bank account," he says. "How do you do accounting? Most people don’t have a bank statement. So it’s all cash.”

Brooke Gehring runs Live Green Cannabis, a chain of medical and recreational pot-stores in Colorado that do tens of thousands of dollars in sales every day. Managers carry that cash around – in their cars and briefcases – to deliver the payroll. “They have one of our armed security officers with them, to collect and sign off for payment in cash," Gehring says. Previously, she was a bank compliance officer, so she is aware of how closely banks are scrutinized. “As much as banks like fees, they’re not going to risk their insurance or their reputations to bank this industry that still remains federally illegal," she says.

States predicted as likely to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults 21 or older, or medical marijuana. As predicted, voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia approved recreational-marijuana legalization in November 2014. Voters in Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize recreational marijuana production, distribution and retail sale in 2012.

The ArcView Group, ArcView Market Research

To complicate the business further, the IRS tax code doesn’t allow businesses selling federally illegal drugs (including those legal under state law) to deduct most business expenses from their tax bill. So they’re taxed not just on profits, but on all revenue.

Oregon Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer has introduced legislation to do away with what he calls these “punishing” federal rules for state-legal cannabis businesses.

“If you care about money laundering or tax evasion or just theft, forcing legitimate businesses to pay their taxes with shopping bags full of $20 bills is insane,” Blumenauer said in an interview at the ArcView investor conference. “Let these legitimate businesses have fair taxes and banking services. They’ll be better off, but so will society.”

Blumenauer predicts that the reform bills he supports – HR 2240, the Small Business Tax Equity Act, and HR 2652, the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act – will receive bipartisan support, even in this deeply divided Congress.

Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Washington oppose marijuana legalization. But key conservatives, such as California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and anti-tax activist Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, are working in with Blumenauer and fellow liberals on this issue.

These lawmakers and advocates say they want to give the emerging cannabis industry room to grow and experiment – on the right side of the law.