National News

Black buying power hits $1.1 trillion. What does it mean?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-07 16:30

Think about the price-tag of $1.1 trillion dollars.

If we were talking about countries, that would be the 16th biggest economy in the world, but it's not a country, it's the combined buying power of a group of people who are part of this country: African-Americans.

A recent study by the Nielsen Company predicts that African-American buying power will hit that $1.1 trillion number next year. "The black population is young, hip and highly influential. We are growing 64 percent faster than the general market," says Cheryl Pearson McNeil, a Vice President at Nielsen.

Companies spend $75 billion a year on advertising, but only three percent of that is in Black publications, and casting Black actors, and on Black TV and radio stations. Pearson-McNeil says, if you ignore this demographic, as many big companies have done, you do so at your own peril.

"If you want to market to those groups, then you should know what particular group buys your stuff," says Noel King, reporter for Marketplace's Wealth and Poverty desk. "Blacks tend to spend more on electronics, utilities, groceries, footwear. They spend a lot less on new cars, alcohol, entertainment, health care, and pensions."

Dr. Jared Ball, a professor at Morgan State University, has done some research into Black buying power, but says that $1.1 trillion doesn't mean everything is great for the Black community. "This phrase, 'buying power,' is used as a glossy euphemism for Black poverty for being the fault of Black spending habits, as opposed to a pre-determined need in our economic model. A lot of people pick up this phrase and hear these large numbers, and assume Black America is stronger than Black America actually is."

Stomach Bug Closes Landmark New York Resort

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 14:58

The Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y., closed Friday afternoon so that cleaning crews from a company that specializes in disaster responses can scour the place after an outbreak of intestinal illness. Norovirus appears to be the culprit.

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Beer per minimum wage hour

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-07 14:45

Stuck somewhere between economic policy and happy hour.

The website Quartz has a chart of how many hours it takes -- working minimum wage -- to afford a beer at a bar or restaurant in whatever country the work is being done. Check it out here

Some highlights:

Here in the U.S.A:

24 minutes per beer.

Russia (hey, Olympics):

1 1/2 hours  per beer.

Brazil:

1 hour per beer.

Bangladesh:

13 1/2 hours per beer.

Ireland:

1/2 hour per beer. 

Technology Tracks Crews Through The Fog Of Wildfire

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 14:40

Communication breakdowns can be fatal for firefighters, but are all too easy when crews are shrouded in smoke and a blaze is moving fast. Florida, with its millions of acres of forest and grassland, has rolled out a new system that can pinpoint crews without relying on voice communication.

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Alleged Silk Road Mastermind Pleads Not Guilty To Trafficking

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 14:35

Ross William Ulbricht, who allegedly ran the shadowy online marketplace before his arrest in October, is set to stand trial in November.

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House Republicans May Get To Immigration, Just Not Now

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 14:11

In politics, it often comes down to timing. And right now, the timing just isn't good for congressional Republicans to take up an immigration overhaul.

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Alex Rodriguez Drops Lawsuit Against Baseball, Players Union

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 14:00

The federal lawsuit was Rodriguez's last chance at trying to overturn a 162-game suspension. Major League Baseball said dropping the lawsuit meant Rodriguez wanted to return to the focus to the game.

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Olympic Photo Of The Day: Giant Head Edition

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:35

Imagery from Russia's recent past – including the hammer and sickle that adorned the flag of the Soviet Union – is seen in the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympics Friday.

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Weekly Wrap: Taper the taper?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:34

The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy and Bloomberg Government's Nela Richardson join Kai to talk about the new jobs report -- and it's making Reddy sad:

"We've seen so much excitement about what could have been a stronger recovery in 2104. We had all of these expectations of stronger economic growth, consumers going out and spending more, busiensses finally putting all that cash to good use. And what we're seeing is the labor market that we've had for the last 3 or 4 years, and perhaps even worse than what we've had for the last 3 or 4 years. And it's possible that this could just be a blip, but it doesn't give us that upturn, that big, excitnig move forward that we've all been waiting for. " Sudeep Reddy 

To the question, "Is it just a blip?" Richardson says:

"I have to answer that with a question: What is it called when you keep doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result? I think that's what this economy is doing."

And later -- 

"If the second half of 2014 was more of a fluke than real, there is a possibility Janet Yellen could do something come March."

Disappointing Jobs Data May Point To A Tougher 2014

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:19

After consistent improvements in 2013, employment growth has downshifted over the past two months. Economists fear that could be pointing to slower growth in 2014.

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After A Stroke, Women's Lives Are Worse Than Men's

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:12

Women's reduced ability to recover physically after a stroke may have big effects on their quality of life. Researchers don't know why women don't fare as well as men after strokes, but they say it's a topic in need of attention.

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Iran's President Rouhani Gets The Benefit Of The Doubt, For Now

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:00

Iran is preparing for a national holiday celebrating the Islamic Revolution 35 years ago, and NPR's Peter Kenyon is among the few foreign journalists in Tehran for the event. He's found that the optimism that greeted President Hassan Rouhani's election last year has moderated — but not vanished.

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In The Wake Of Tragedy, The Possibility of Understanding

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:00

Emily Bazelon recommends a memoir about facing the danger and squalor of addiction and eventually overcoming it, while Abigail Deutsche ponders the love story at the heart of Edward St. Aubyn's novel Bad News: The one between a man and his drugs.

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Muslims Flee CAR Capital, Chased By Christian Jeers

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:00

A convoy of nearly 500 vehicles full of Muslim families filed out of the capital of Central African Republic on Friday, watched closely by crowds of cheering Christians. Two months of sectarian violence preceded the exodus, which Associated Press photographer Jerome Delay witnessed firsthand. Melissa Block speaks to Delay about the situation.

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Beneath The Bunting, Afghan Shadow Campaign Kicks Off

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:00

The Afghan presidential campaign is under way, and on the surface it looks like what you'd see in any other democracy. But underneath the decorations and sloganeering lies the shadowy practice of wooing tribal elders, warlords and other influential Afghans who can "deliver" votes or, in some cases, prevent opponents' voters from making it to the polls.

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Pakistan And Taliban Come To The Negotiating Table

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:00

Pakistan's government and the Pakistani Taliban are holding a first round of peace talks in Islamabad. Expectations are low for any substantial progress toward ending what has been a particularly bloody insurgency. Some analysts believe that the Pakistani military will soon launch a major offensive against the militants in their strongholds along the border with Afghanistan.

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Glory And Glitches At Sochi Opening Ceremonies

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:00

The 2014 Winter Olympics officially opened Friday with a ceremony celebrating Russian culture and introducing Olympic athletes from around the world. NPR's Robert Smith was at the ceremony in Sochi and joins us to recount the pomp and pitfalls on display.

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Job Growth Runs Cold In January

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:00

The U.S. Labor Department reported disappointing hiring numbers on Friday. In January, employers added just 113,000 jobs, though the unemployment rate fell slightly to 6.6 percent.

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Allegations Reconvene Woody Allen's Trial By Media

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 13:00

Actress Mia Farrow and two of her children have revived allegations that the film director sexually abused his adopted daughter more than 20 years ago. The charges and counter-charges are playing out not in the legal system but in social media, on blogs and in big-name publications.

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Virginia Textbooks To Recognize S. Korea's 'East Sea' Claim

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 12:52

State lawmakers heard from Korean Americans and Japanese lobbyists before deciding to have the Sea of Japan designated also as the East Sea, the term Seoul prefers.

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