National News

How Crash Could Change The Ukraine-Russia Conflict

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-19 04:00

NPR's Scott Simon talks with David Herzsenhorn of The New York Times about the latest developments in Ukraine, where a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was downed on Thursday, killing 298 people.

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Biden: Loved By The Left, But With Limits

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-19 04:00

At the annual conference known as Netroots Nation, the vice president received a warm embrace from progressive activists. But that doesn't mean they want him to run for president in 2016.

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Malaysian Airlines Copes With A Second Tragedy

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-19 04:00

Asia correspondent Anthony Kuhn talks with NPR's Scott Simon from Kuala Lumpur about the reaction to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on Thursday, killing 298 people.

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Gaza Toll Near 340 As Israel Presses Ground War

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-19 03:42

A health official in Gaza says 338 Palestinians, including more than 70 children, have been killed so far in the 11-day conflict.

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Ukraine Accuses Rebels Of Destroying Evidence At MH17 Crash Site

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-19 03:27

U.S. and European officials worry that evidence pointing to the cause of the crash could be altered or removed, and that bodies exposed to the elements are beginning to decay.

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In The World Of Global Gestures, The Fist Bump Stands Alone

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-19 03:08

Obama does it. And increasingly, so do folks around the world. Why is the fist bump so popular? And do other cultures have similar gestures?

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Tech Week: Microsoft Layoffs, Comcast Call Hell And Call Of Duty

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-19 01:42

Also in this week's tech headlines: Visa looks to boost online shopping, a Wall Street cyber scare, and fears that driverless cars could be used as "lethal weapons."

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How Turbans Helped Some Blacks Go Incognito In The Jim Crow Era

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-19 01:32

At the time, ideas of race in America were quite literally black and white. But a few meters of cloth changed the way some people of color were treated.

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No Filter: Interior Tweets America The Beautiful

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-19 01:31

The Department of the Interior might not have the largest Twitter following among federal agencies, but its account might be the most loved of all.

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Nuclear Negotiations With Iran Extended 4 Months

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-18 16:04

The U.S., Iran and five other nations have agreed to continue talks past their Sunday deadline.

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New York's 'Night Of Birmingham Horror' Sparked A Summer Of Riots

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-18 15:52

The shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer in New York City led to six days of rioting in Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant — the first in a series of violent protests in 1964.

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White House Fetes 54 Kids With Serious Cooking Chops

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-18 14:26

First lady Michelle Obama hosted winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a recipe contest for kids tied to her Let's Move Campaign. But Friday's event wasn't all cheerleading for healthy food.

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How businesses in Murrieta are coping with immigration protests

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-18 14:17

Earlier this year, the town of Murrieta California started positioning itself as a culturally diverse and economically strong oasis in the California desert. About an hour north of San Diego, the bedroom community is trying to lure companies in the tech and medical fields. But then, a wave of undocumented immigrants began crossing the border in Texas, some 800 miles away.

Soon, US Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers brought hundreds of those undocumented immigrants to the federal detention in Murrieta. And with that, anti-illegal immigration protests broke out, giving the city a huge public relations black eye.

To see how the business community is responding to all the bad press, we spoke with Kim Davidson, Murrieta’s Business Development Manager. 

Click play above to hear how immigration and immigration protests affect Murrieta.

Wrap-up: The Day's Events In Eastern Ukraine And Gaza

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-18 13:46

Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel offer a summary of what's now known about the two big stories of the day: the shot-down Malaysian jet, and the mounting Israeli ground invasion in the Gaza Strip.

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What we know about Buk missiles

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-18 13:45

It's likely that the missile that downed the Malaysia Airlines plane yesterday was a relic of the Cold War era known as a "Buk."

Here’s what we know about the Soviet-era missile system:

What is a Buk missile?

The Buk is a surface-to-air missile that can shoot down airplanes flying up to 13 miles off the ground. 

It looks like the lower half of a tank or truck, with a few anti-aircraft missiles on the top and was developed by the Soviet Union in the early 1970s.

What does "Buk" mean, anyway?

Buk means “Beech Tree” in Russian. During the Cold War, NATO’s code name for the Buk was "the Grizzly.”

How many of them exist?

There are several hundred Buk missile systems out in the world today, in the hands of about a dozen countries, says arms control expert Igor Sutyagin with the Royal United Services Institute in London. Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet republics are known to have them. Syria, which has bought weapons from Russia for years, has also been known to own the systems.

Who has them now?

There is no official registry of where each Buk system is, but the United Nations and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute keep lists that attempt to keep track of these and other weapons.  Individual countries also try to track the weapons through their own intelligence agencies.

How could one have ended up in Ukraine?

There are a few theories on the origins of the Buk missile system that allegedly shot down the Malaysian passenger jet. The Ukrainian military inherited some Buks after the Soviet Union collapsed. It's possible that pro-Russian rebels captured one from the Ukrainian army. Or, it could have come from a Russian military commander, either through official channels or on the black market. 

Why do weapons from that era end up in different places? 

It’s not uncommon for old weapons from Russia and the U.S. to have second and third lives beyond their original owners. Military officials sell old equipment to other countries, often at bargain prices.

“The United States is anxious in many cases to provide allies with military capabilities that don’t bust their budget,” says Bruce Bennett, Senior Defense Analyst with the Rand Corporation. The sales are legal, and governments aren’t required to report the movements of those weapons around the globe, though the UN and SIPRI both try to keep track.

It’s even more difficult to know how many smaller, less conspicuous Soviet-era weapons are circulating around the world's conflict zones illegally. 

Inside Gaza And Under Israeli Fire, A Family Tries To Stay Safe

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-18 13:41

The Israeli army's invasion on the margins of the Gaza Strip has already wreaked havoc and injury for Gazans. A day in the life of the Abu Tawila family illustrates that stark and tragic reality.

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Surviving An Adult World In Fairy Tales, And Real Life

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-18 13:35

Since October thousands of children attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border have been taken into custody. Author Kate Bernheimer recommends a book to help reflect on the lives of these children.

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Weekly Wrap: Duck hunting and the Fed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-18 13:33

Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal discussed the week that was in business and the economy with the Wall Street Journal's John Carney and chief economist at Redfin Nela Richardson

Listen to their conversation in the audio player above.

How many apps do you use in a month?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-18 13:31

The good people at Nielsen did some measuring of how many apps we use on a regular basis.

You'll probably need a second to think about it; there are lots of categories to consider, right? News, travel, entertainment, finance...

Okay, ready?

We all, on average, we use 26.8 apps per month on a regular basis.

There seems to be a natural cap of 30; no age group uses that many.

Twitter may change metrics to reflect a wider audience

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-18 13:28

Some 255 million people log on to Twitter every month. That’s lot of people, but the number’s not growing fast enough to satisfy some investors. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports Twitter may unveil new metrics to convince investors that the world of people who engage with Twitter is bigger than the world that logs on.

“When you’re analyzing a social network, there are only two things that you care about,” says Shyam Patil, senior internet research analyst at Wedbush Securities. “The number of users and the level of engagement.”

Twitter describes those now with two metrics: monthly active users and timeline views. But there’s a problem, says analyst Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group.

“The problem is: Twitter - surprise, surprise - isn’t for everyone,” he says.

Growth in users and engagement has slowed year-over-year.

But these days, plenty of non-tweeters still interact with tweets. Say you’re a sports fan reading a piece online about LeBron James going back to Cleveland. Tweets from LeBron might be embedded in the article.

“So that would be me engaging with Twitter, but not really signed on,” says Shyam Patil.

Your mom might not send tweets, but she’d see and hear them if you watched "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" together.

Twitter’s new metrics would – reportedly – capture some of that wider audience. The company declined to comment, citing the quiet period that precedes earnings reports.

Analyst Brian Wieser says he thinks all this focus on Twitter user metrics is “distracting from the fact that they’ve got a great business. Metrics that would tell a much better story are things like: How many advertisers do they have? What is the average spend per advertiser?”

Things, he says, that speak more directly to Twitter’s source of business than the number of people who see tweets.

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