National News

At Low Pay, Government Hires Immigrants Held At Detention Centers

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:11

It's illegal to hire immigrants without legal status. Yet the federal government employs thousands of undocumented workers. They prepare food and clean detention facilities where they are held.

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The Associated Press Puts Its Vast Archive On YouTube

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:11

The Associated Press is making thousands of hours of archival news footage available on YouTube. The clips date back to 1895 and include historic moments from around the world.

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After Cold, Icy Winters, Lake Michigan Is Rising Rapidly

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:11

Just two years after dropping to a record low, Lake Michigan's water level is rebounding at a near record rate. It's good news for restoring the habitat, but not so good for some who live on the lake.

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Investigators Seek The Gunman's Motivation In The Chattanooga Shooting

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:11

Federal authorities in Chattanooga, Tenn., say they still don't know why a man shot up two military installations last week, killing five people. But they are releasing new details on the shooting.

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Kenyan Novelist Explains What President Obama's Visit Signifies

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:04

Kenyan novelist Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor provides a tour of her homeland and discusses what President Obama's visit means to the African nation.

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Is Hillary Clinton 'Likable Enough'?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:03

A new round of polls in key swing states showed Hillary Clinton's favorability ratings suffering badly. It's a warning sign for Clinton's campaign, but also for politicians, generally.

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Ben Carson, A Man Made In Detroit

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:02

A Republican presidential candidate and former neurosurgeon, Carson was born and raised amid the tumult of Detroit in the 1960s. Even as a young man, Carson sought a different path from his peers.

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Fast-Food Workers Cheer As $15 Minimum Wage Advances In New York State

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-23 00:30

The increase, which boosts the minimum wage for many fast-food workers from $8.75 to $15 over several years, needs the labor commissioner's OK. Franchise holders say they're being targeted unfairly.

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Younger Adults with Alzheimer's Are Key to Drug Search

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-22 23:47

A very rare genetic mutation causes some people to develop Alzheimer's in their 30s. It also makes these people the ideal candidates for tests of potential Alzheimer's drugs.

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Detoxing The Buddhist Way: Nuns Preserve Art Of Korean Temple Food

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-22 23:42

In South Korea, Buddhist temple food is viewed the way spa food is in the U.S.: curative, cleansing, perhaps even medicinal. Buddhist nuns have preserved these cooking techniques for 1,600 years.

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Trying To Keep Your Data Safe? You're Probably Doing It Wrong

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-22 22:41

A new study by Google indicates that experts and non-experts have very different approaches to securing their online data. And the non-experts should probably rethink the way they're going about it.

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Bill Cosby Handed Legal Setback In Sexual Assault Claim From 1974

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-22 15:49

The California Supreme Court denied the comedian's petition to review a lawsuit brought by a woman who says he molested her when she was 15. Her attorney says she will depose Cosby within 30 days.

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California, New York And Washington, D.C., Make Moves On Minimum Wage

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-22 15:12

The University of California system will increase hourly wages to $15, while New York is one step closer to doing the same for its fast-food workers.

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Leprosy From An Armadillo? That's An Unlikely Pecadillo

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-22 14:05

Yes, health officials in Florida have reported nine cases of leprosy so far this year. And yes, armadillos can transmit leprosy. But scientists say we needn't fear the armored mammals.

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New York City, Uber Strike 4-Month Deal On Vehicle Cap

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-22 13:57

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration had sought a 1 percent cap on Uber's growth within New York City, pending a study. Uber had opposed the measure.

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Paul Just The latest Candidate To Assault Paper

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-22 13:10

Rand Paul burned and used a wood chipper and chainsaw on a stack of paper representing the federal tax code. But he's hardly the first candidate to attack what he sees as an offensive pile of paper.

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U.K. University Finds Muhammad-Era Quran Among Its Possessions

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-22 13:09

The manuscript is one of the earliest versions of Islam's holy book to survive. Radiocarbon analysis dates the parchment on which the text is written to between the years 568 and 645.

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Soundtracks have a life beyond the movies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-07-22 13:00

A movie’s soundtrack can have big impact on the movie itself. However, sometimes a soundtrack can take on a life of its own, says Los Angeles Times writer Gerrick Kennedy. Case in point, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its use of the track “Earned It” by The Weeknd.

Gerrick Kennedy

Tony Wagner/Marketplace

“['Fifty Shades of Grey' is] not the greatest movie. Decent enough book. Soundtrack — super hot. And I think...we saw what just happened with really successful music, and how you build that into the film,” Kennedy says.

While Kennedy says that Weeknd fans may not identify with the film, "everybody that saw 'Fifty Shades of Grey' [knows 'Earned It'], so the song is killing pop radio."  

Kennedy says that the trend of creating a soundtrack that has consistency — which also extends to music from films like "Furious 7" and "The Hunger Games" — isn’t new.

“That brings you back to what was happening in the '90s, where it was always about the whole body; the entire soundtrack was what you bought,” he says.

Although this trend may have lulled for a few years, Kennedy says “now I think executives are working a little bit hard to make the music play into the film a little bit better.”

New York City gives up in Uber cap dispute

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-07-22 13:00

Uber has won a big one. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been going after the pioneering sharing-economy company in a very public way the past couple of weeks,  saying he wanted to limit the number of Uber vehicles on city streets.

As of Wednesday, the mayor's administration has blinked, announcing it'll stop pushing for the cap

The city is now going to study the effect of for-hire cars on — one would imagine — the taxicab industry in New York. 

Moral of the story? You can indeed fight City Hall. 

Oil is cheap, but gas is still expensive in California

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-07-22 13:00

Willie Hudgins drives a 2006 Ford Expedition stretch limo. Earlier today, he pulled into a Mobil station in Birmingham, Alabama to get gas. He paid $2.39 a gallon. Happily.

"Oh, it's like, man, pennies on the dollar," he says, compared with before global oil prices collapsed.

The national average for gas is $2.74 a gallon. Then there's California, where prices are almost always higher.

"Typically, California prices should be about 40 cents above the national average," says Severin Borenstein with the Energy Institute at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

But in Los Angeles right now, people are paying a dollar and a half more than the national average, he says.

Part of that is because California requires a cleaner burning fuel, Borenstein says, "and as a result, we can't trade gasoline with other parts of the country. We need this special blend."

Because there's no quick way to relieve a shortage, he says, prices spike when there's a hiccup in the production of that special blend — like an explosion at the Exxon Mobil refinery in Los Angeles in February. Borenstein says those usually fizzle out within a month or so, but not this time.

"It has definitely raised concerns that this isn't just natural shortages," he says.

One explanation: the California Energy Commission says refineries are making more than twice the profit per gallon than a year ago.

And finally, analysts say, when other states have shortages, they bring gasoline in through pipelines...but California doesn't have pipelines, so when the gas finally comes, it comes by barge or tanker, which costs more. Ed Hirs, an energy economist at the University of Houston, has a message for California residents: "You guys are screwed!"

"Those are highly technical industrial terms," he adds. "You're screwed in California."

Hirs says California's refineries can't meet consumer demand. And he says when you combine that with a lack of infrastructure, you're going to pay. Just like consumers did in New England this past winter. There, Hirs says, there were no pipelines to bring in enough natural gas to meet electricity demands.

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