National News

Scientists, General Public Have Divergent Views On Science, Report Says

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:26

A Pew Research Center study shows that the two groups disagree most strongly on the safety of GM foods, the use of animals in research, climate change and human evolution.

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With 'Discover' Feature, Snapchat Bucks Social Trend In News

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:16

Snapchat says social media likes and shares aren't what makes a story important. The ephemeral messaging app has rolled out Discover, featuring multimedia articles from major news brands.

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NBC's 'Parenthood' Ends As A Family Drama Built On Small Moments

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:10

NBC's Parenthood airs its final episode, wrapping after six seasons. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says it's a rare gem; a family drama centered on the small, emotional moments between relatives.

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To Protect His Son, Father Pushes School To Bar Unimmunized Kids

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:59

Melissa Block talks to Carl Krawitt, whose son Rhett is in remission from leukemia but still cannot be vaccinated for measles. Rhett attends school in Marin County Calif., where nearly seven percent of students are not vaccinated. Mr. Krawitt has asked the local superintendent of schools to "require immunization as a condition of attendance."

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Prosecutor's Murky Death Could Impact Argentina's Elections

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:59

Argentina is focused on the funeral of a prosecutor who died mysteriously. And the nation's politics — with elections this fall — reverberate over the 20-year-old bombing he was investigating.

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The Spicy History Of Short Selling Stocks

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:59

David Kestenbaum of NPR's Planet Money tells the story of the first stock ever shorted. It's a tale of intrigue, lies, sabotage and a life of exile.

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Mormon LGBT Announcement Met With Cheers, Skepticism

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:59

Robert Siegel talks to Mormon leader Elder Dallin Oaks about the press conference this week where the church announced it would support LGBT anti-discrimination legislation in return for laws that protect religious freedom.

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Senators Work To Open Up Travel For Americans To Cuba

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:59

Several members of Congress — recently back from Cuba — are taking steps to further ease a decades old embargo on the communist island. But even as they announced new legislation to open up travel for Americans, Cuba's president is talking tough about what it will take to ultimately normalize ties.

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Guantanamo Bay A Sticking Point Between U.S., Cuba Since 1903

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:59

Guantanamo Bay is home to the United States' oldest overseas base. Melissa Block talks to Vanderbilt History Professor Paul Kramer.

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Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:56

A new report from two environmental groups reviewed the recyclability and compostability of packaging from 47 food companies. It found few examples of companies that have prioritized waste reduction.

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Pro-ISIS Messages Create Dilemma For Social Media Companies

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:54

Facebook, YouTube and other sites are being asked to do more to stop terrorists. Yet they are also being asked to let some of the propaganda remain to help officials track jihadis.

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U.S. Report On Spending In Afghanistan Classified For First Time

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:51

The latest quarterly report on U.S. spending in Afghanistan was released on Thursday. Conspicuously missing were figures on how more than $50 billion is being spent on training and equipping Afghan military and police forces. Those figures have been classified for the first time in years of such reporting and the general who ordered keeping them secret says it's to keep enemies from sharpening their attacks. Key senators disagree.

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Woman Held By Jordan Has Close Ties To Islamic State

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 12:51

Jordan has indicated that it is willing to swap a convicted terrorist for a Jordanian pilot held captive by the so-called Islamic State. The terrorist is a woman named Sajida al-Rishawi. She and her husband conducted a suicide attack at a Jordanian hotel. Her belt did not detonate but dozens of people were killed. ISIS has demanded her release in part because she has longstanding ties to the group.

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Girls Get Good Grades But Still Need Help. As For Boys ... SOS!

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 11:42

A study shows that girls do better in math, science and reading than boys in just about every country. So boys clearly need help to success in school. But so do girls.

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British Fighters 'Escort' Russian Bombers Near U.K. Airspace

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 10:35

A pair of Russian "Bear" bombers flew alarmingly close to British airspace on Wednesday. London has asked Moscow to explain the incident.

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Gunman Reportedly Kills 3 U.S. Contractors In Attack At Kabul Airport

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 10:02

Three Americans who were working as contractors in Afghanistan died in a gunman's attack at Kabul's international airport complex Thursday, according to the AP.

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Value of a dollar in Indiana's Medicaid expansion

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-29 09:54

A deal between Indiana and the federal government to expand Medicaid provides a telling glimpse into how flexible the Obama Administration is willing to be to get more people on the healthcare insurance rolls. Under the agreement reached this week – which could serve as a model for other states – monthly premiums will be at least $1.

Doesn’t sound like much, right? But that dollar is enormous to people who are philosophically opposed to the Medicaid expansion. It’s also huge to those whose incomes are staggeringly low.

Penalties on the way for the uninsured under Obamacare

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-29 09:53

According to the new numbers from the Department of Treasury, 2 to 4 percent of taxpayers will owe a penalty for not having health insurance last year. That's approximately 3 million to 6 million households. But who has to pay — and what happens if they don't?

The penalty this tax season is $95 per adult — about half that per child — or 1 percent of household income, whichever amount is  higher. The fines will also keep going up. Not having insurance in 2015 will cost $325 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income. In 2016? 2.5 percent or $695 per person and tied to inflation in the years that follow. 

It's unclear how many will actually have to pay up, however. Many groups are exempt from the penalty and the IRS' ability to enforce could be limited, especially after recent budget cuts.

For more, listen to the story in the audio player above.

McDonald's orders a fast-food quick-fix

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-29 09:51

McDonald's Don Thompson announced this week he'll resign after two years as CEO — two years that were not very successful for the company. Sales at McDonald's roughly 14,000 U.S. restaurants have slumped.

Raghu Manavalan/Marketplace

Sara Senatore, a research analyst with research firm Sanford C. Bernstein, says part of the problem is competition from more "wholesome" competitors, so-called fast-casual chains like Chipotle. “The food is better quality and tends to be higher priced as a result. There's a real emphasis on provenance, sourcing, local farms,” she says.

McDonald's also faces image problems with customers who just want a good deal on lunch. Carla Norfleet Taylor at Fitch Ratings says that's another area where competitors are winning. “Whether it’s Burger King with '2 for $5,' 'mix and match,' 'choose what you want,' [they’re] just being a lot more creative than what we're seeing with McDonald’s, I think, on the promotional front,” she says.

Incoming CEO Steve Easterbrook is currently McDonald's chief brand officer. He's spearheaded efforts to boost marketing and allow diners to more easily customize their orders. He previously led a successful turnaround in McDonald's United Kingdom business. He helped dispel worries about food quality, and even took part in a televised debate about the fast-food industry.

Still, Sara Senatore wonders why the chief brand officer will face a brand crisis when he takes over the corner office. "He should've had some imprint when there does seem to be an issue with brand resonance,” she says.

Easterbrook takes over on March 1, 2015.

McCain Calls Protesters 'Low-Life Scum' At Senate Hearing

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-29 09:49

The anti-war demonstrators were shouting at former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was attending a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on global security challenges.

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