National News

What You Need To Know About Sierra Leone And Ebola

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 12:18

Sierra Leone is one of three West African nations hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is there and has the latest.

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Africa: The Richest Region For Young Workers And Consumers

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 12:14

Sub-Saharan Africa is the youngest region in the world. American corporations are seeking ways to do business on a continent that is home to 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24.

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Where The Wild Things Play

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 12:10

What makes a great adventure playground? Among other things, lots of freedom, stuff to build ... and a zip line.

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Oxytocin Isn't Lacking In Children With Autism, Researchers Say

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 11:41

Since the hormone oxytocin makes people more social, it's easy to imagine it might cause the social deficits of autism. But a study found children with autism no more likely to be short of oxytocin.

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Luxury seats coming to an AMC theater near you

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-04 11:37

As movie ticket sales continue to decline, AMC has found a new way to attract moviegoers to its theaters.

The second largest movie chain plans to spend about $600 million to add luxury reclinable seats to 40 percent of theaters over the next five years. While this could mean up to 70 fewer seats per screen, AMC has seen an 80 percent increase in crowds at theaters that have undergone renovation. Wesley Morris, a staff writer for Grantland, says AMC hasn't raised the prices on these tickets yet.

"But they put a premium on that kind of movie going. You see it where the nicer theaters become this exclusive event. So they’ve all gone out to the suburbs… and so you got a whole class of movie goers that are stuck downtown with the crappy bedbug seats."

AMC plans to wait a year after revamping its theaters before increasing ticket prices. The average ticket price has been becoming more expensive every year, and with the added fee for luxury seats, it raises the question of who can actually afford these tickets.

“You can never get AMC to obviously sort of say, ‘Oh, well clearly we’ve got an upper class customer.’ But I think they would say that we are trying to appeal to an upper-echelon.” 

Tennessee Denies Public Assistance To Drug Users

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 11:19

The state last month began requiring welfare applicants to detail their drug history. It's the latest attempt to find a constitutional way to deny assistance to people who use illegal drugs.

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James Brady, Gun Control Campaigner And Presidential Spokesman, Dies

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 10:09

Brady became a prominent gun control advocate after being struck by a bullet during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. He was 73.

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Hacker Says He Can Break Into Airplane Systems Using In-Flight Wi-Fi

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 10:03

Two years ago, a group at Las Vegas' annual hacker convention said it could break into air traffic control systems. This year a session will show how a passenger can hack a plane while in the air.

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Iraqi Leader Orders Air Support For Kurds Battling Extremists

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 09:35

Meanwhile, Kurdish forces are urging the U.S. to provide weapons in the fight against militants with the Islamic State.

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WATCH: Playful Lion Cub Scares The Daylights Out Of Dog

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 08:53

The viral video was filmed at a farm in South Africa that specializes in training animals to work in movies.

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The push to protect student data

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-04 08:30

It’s summer. School is out and kids are more concerned with what they're wearing to the pool, than with history and algebra.

But that doesn't mean teachers and other educators are taking a break.

In fact,  lots of them are spending their summer breaks grappling with student data.  What to gather. How to use it. And how to protect it.

Data has never played a greater role in education, particularly as schools move to models of "personalized learning," or tailoring a child's education to meet his or her abilities.  

And while there are lots of upsides to having so much information on students, there are downsides as well.

Parents are concerned about privacy—especially after the  NSA revelations and the Target data breach. Parents are also worried that marketers could get a hold of their kids' information.

The U.S. Department of Education has jumped in.  It issued new guidance for schools and districts about how to keep parents informed about data collection.  

There’s also a new government website focused on the federal laws that cover how student data can be used.  

And this video highlighting The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act known as FERPA: 

 

Last week, U.S. Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced new federal legislation to protect student privacy.  They’ve called it the “Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2014.” 

Here are some highlights of the bill.   (And take note, it's  all about how data is shared--not about what's collected) 

   Security 

  • Requires educational agencies and schools to have security measures in place to keep student data confidential.
  • All parties to whom schools and agencies disclose data must have established security procedures to protect the data.
  • Any outside party obtaining access to records must destroy all copies, after the data has been used for the expressed purpose.

  Marketing

  • Outside parties can’t use the data to market to students.

 Transparency

  • Parents and students must be allowed to view records and request corrections of any data they believe is inaccurate.
  • Agencies and schools must keep track of who requests access to educational records.

 

Federal Judge Rules Alabama Abortion Law Is Unconstitutional

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 08:18

The law required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The measure is similar to legislation in 10 other states.

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Doctor With Ebola Is Improving, As Nigeria Reports Second Case

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 08:06

Dr. Kent Brantly, the first person to be treated for Ebola in the U.S., arrived in Atlanta Saturday, while the outbreak in West Africa continues to spread. Nigeria says a doctor there has the virus.

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Hospitals And Health Plans See The Future Very Differently

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 07:52

Are we going back to the bad old days of big increases in health care spending or is the modest boost of recent years here to stay? It really depends on who you ask — insurers or hospitals.

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Chef Grills Steak, Volcano-Style, With Molten Lava

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 07:50

After Sam Bompas roasted marshmallows over lava at a volcano in Japan, he wanted to recreate the experience. So he asked a geologist and sculptor who'd built an artificial volcano to host a barbecue.

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Storms, Aftershocks Hurt Rescue Efforts Following Deadly China Quake

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 06:38

The earthquake that hit Yunnan Province on Sunday afternoon has killed nearly 400 people. It displaced about 230,000 people, and more than 57,000 may still be waiting for rescue.

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Mudslides, Flooding Strand Thousands In California

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 05:19

One person was killed Sunday when a mudslide buried a car. Officials told people in two communities and in a campground to shelter in place.

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Gaza Conflict: Israel Begins Redeploying Troops

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 03:58

Israel also declared a seven-hour humanitarian cease-fire, but there were still no signs that a long-lasting peace was at hand.

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PODCAST: "Mini" muni in Colorado

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-04 03:00

Massachusetts-based Market Basket hosts a job fair on Monday in response to employees protesting the firing of CEO Arthur Demoulas -- The company is looking to replace said employees. Plus, the VA reform bill crossing President Barack Obama's desk has a new benefit for veterans looking to attend college -- public universities receiving G.I. money must charge in-state tuition for all vets. So who wins and who loses in this new set-up? And municipal bonds are the sort-of boring financial tool that big institutional investors use to hedge their bets. But this week, the city of Denver is hoping to attract a totally different class of buyers for its bond sale. The city is selling $500 “mini-bonds" to state residents, as a way to get locals literally invested in the community.

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