National News

A Ticking Clock Threatens Obama's Immigration Plan

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 16:48

A New Orleans federal appeals court case may determine whether the President can implement his immigration plan before his term is up.

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How The Food Industry Relies On Scientists With Big Tobacco Ties

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 14:38

Critics of the system that ushers food products to market say it is rife with conflicts of interest. When scientists depend on food companies for work, they may be less likely to contest food safety.

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Hillary Clinton Supports Amendment To Get Hidden Money Out Of Politics

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:57

Clinton called campaign finance reform one of the "four big fights" of her campaign. But does this idea of a constitutional amendment to restrict or eliminate big money stand a chance?

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Oklahoma Approves Nitrogen Asphyxiation For Executions

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:57

The new method was proposed after the botched execution by lethal injection last year of an Oklahoma inmate.

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Hillary Clinton Supports Amendment To Get Hidden Money Out Of Politics

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:57

Clinton called campaign finance reform one of the "four big fights" of her campaign. But does this idea of a constitutional amendment to restrict or eliminate big money stand a chance?

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First-Place Fake-Out: Woman Who Didn't Run Marathon Stripped Of Title

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:20

Race officials say Kendall Schler faked her win at last Sunday's GO! St. Louis race. They say she also cheated in last year's race where she finished third.

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German luxury carmakers make a mass-market push

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:13

The German luxury carmakers BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are reporting record levels of global sales after the first quarter of 2015.

The news marks a bit of a turning point for an industry that was founded on notions of exclusivity.

As entry-level prices drop, more and more car buyers can hope to buy a piece of fine German engineering, but the move does come with a few risks.

It used to be the case that owning a luxury car was something to aspire to. These days, luxury carmakers are even targeting millenials buying their first car.

“They're more concerned about keeping you in the fold and making sure that there is something there for each of your life stages,” Huge Marketing Director Megan Malli says. “That's really where they're headed with respect to the marketplace.” 

Lower starting prices and a broader range of models may translate into higher sales, but it also risks diluting the brand’s cache.

They are now competing against the Hondas and the Fords of the world, and frankly, often those other vehicles can really beat them on options and pricing,” Malli says.

That’s where marketing strategy comes in to play. If would-be buyers still believe that BMW equates with say, “performance,” then being more mass-market is actually a good thing.  

"They really preserve their brand messaging, even if they produce cars that are less expensive," says NYU Stern School Professor Thomaï Serdari. She also notes that the German's mass-market strategy won’t work for every luxury car brand.

"Cadillac is a brand that had a lot of cache a few years ago, but also it was associated with people of a specific type and background, perhaps much much older," says Serdari.

In recent years Cadillac has had little to tout besides its high end Escalade SUV. In order to become relevant again, Serdari believes the brand needs to cut back its offerings, and go upmarket to firmly re-establish itself on the high end of luxury, a place BMW, Audi and Mercedes already occupy.

"Then perhaps they can reverse their strategy and start targeting the mass market with less expensive models."

As Ebola Cases Dwindle, West Africa Turns To Economic Recovery

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:13

International banks are promising nearly a billion dollars in aid to the three countries hardest hit by Ebola. The number of weekly cases has dropped below 40 — the lowest level since last May.

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"Jeopardy!" tried to sponsor a mustache

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:00

Remember that giant hack at Sony from late last year? Well, Wikileaks published the whole stack of leaked documents this week.

Buried in there was one from "Jeopardy!" executive producer Harry Friedman, who was looking to grow revenue, I guess.

Here's what he wrote:

After 13 years , Alex Trebek has grown back his mustache. We have a plan to take advantage of the seemingly never-ending interest in his upper lip, and monetize the interest that will be generated when he shaves it off again. So, yes, we're looking for someone .....Gillette, Dollar Shave Club, Harry's , Schick, Bic....to be the Official Razor of Alex Trebek's Mustache.

Never did go anywhere, which is kind of a pity.

Running A Marathon? How To Eat and Drink So You Don't Hit The Wall

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 12:39

There's only so much fuel you can store before a big race. A performance nutrition expert gives us the rub on how to optimize carb-loading to avoid the miserable experience of running out of fuel.

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Remembering Don Quayle, NPR's First President

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 12:34

The first president of NPR has died at the age of 84. Don Quayle had a long career in public broadcasting, both in television and radio. Susan Stamberg reflects on his impact on NPR and her career.

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In New Orleans, A Second-Chance School Tries Again

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 12:29

Crescent Leadership Academy has a checkered reputation, but a new principal is trying to do right by some of the toughest — and most troubled — kids in the city.

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As Lake Mead Levels Drop, The West Braces For Bigger Drought Impact

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 12:29

Near Las Vegas, levels in the nation's largest reservoir have dropped 140 feet since 2000. Water deliveries to Nevada, Arizona and California may soon be rationed — and farmers would feel it first.

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Oklahoma City Bombing A 'Wake-Up Call' For Government Security

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 12:09

After the bombing 20 years ago, the government determined federal buildings should be set back from the street and engineered to prevent floors from collapsing. But has it gone to far?

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5 Things You Should Know About Mike Huckabee

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:29

He's run marathons and issued more than 1,000 pardons and commutations as governor of Arkansas. Here's what you might not know or remember about Huckabee.

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WATCH: Chimps In Uganda Look Both Ways Before Crossing

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:25

A 29-month study of chimpanzees in Uganda's Kibale National Park reveals that many have learned a valuable survival skill — to look both ways before crossing a busy highway.

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Why A Blockbuster Of A Trade Deal With Asia Matters

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:19

Congress is giving President Obama new powers to help seal the deal on an ambitious Asia-Pacific free trade agreement, a move which angers many Democrats and unions.

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U.N., Oxfam Report At Least 120,000 Displaced In Yemen Fighting

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:04

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says estimates for the number of internally displaced persons ranges from 120,000 to 150,000. Separately, Oxfam puts the figure at 121,000.

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Why markets freaked when Bloomberg crashed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:00

Service from the financial data giant Bloomberg cut out Friday morning, just as trading got underway in London, staying out of commission for more than two hours. Bloomberg terminals — which cost $20,000 a year — are a lifeline for workers in the financial industry. Trading in some markets nearly stopped, and the U.K. government actually postponed the sale of a series of bonds.  

In addition to an array of market data and news, many traders use Bloomberg's built-in chat system as a kind of virtual trading pit.

"That messaging system has become a critical lifeline for many people in the industry," says Douglas B. Taylor, a consultant to financial-data companies, including Bloomberg and competitors like Thompson Reuters.

The "network effect" — the fact that so many traders already use Bloomberg this way — is one reason the company has outgrown those competitors, and why it is likely to remain dominant, according to Matt Turck, a partner at First Mark, a venture capital firm.

For traders who use Bloomberg's chat system this way, an outage would be like trying to organize 20 people to go out to dinner, and finding that your phone has stopped working. 

"It’s like being shut out of the rest of the world," Turck says. "Suddenly, there’s no information coming in, and you have nobody to call."  

So during the outage today, a lot of traders just sat around. Some sought solace on Twitter:

[<a href="//storify.com/danweissmann/bloomberg-goes-down-traders-freak-out" target="_blank">View the story "Bloomberg goes down, traders freak out and make jokes" on Storify</a>]

Can Top Slugger Joining Cubs End 106 Years of Sadness?

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 10:11

Top prospect Kris Bryant is set to bat fourth against the Padres Friday in his major league debut, bringing with him hope Chicago may someday soon win another championship.

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