National News

Acupuncture May Help With Nasal Allergies, Doctors Say

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 11:22

Over-the-counter remedies can help a lot if your stuffy, drippy nose is caused by allergies, new guidelines say. Acupuncture might help, too, but there's no evidence that herbal remedies do a thing.

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Less Than A Day Old, Bahrain News Channel Is Yanked Off The Air

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 11:12

The new Middle East broadcaster, Al-Arab, went on air Sunday. But it was shut down before dawn on Monday, apparently for airing an interview with an opponent of Bahrain's monarchy.

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The Super Bowl, Shark Attacks And Monday Morning Quarterbacks

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 11:07

Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson of Pop Culture Happy Hour sit down for a chat about the game, the halftime show and the adorable, adorable puppy.

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Journalist Jorge Ramos Takes On Obama, Republicans

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 11:03

Often called the Walter Cronkite of Latino America, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos could play a big role in the 2016 presidential elections.

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N.J. Gov. Chris Christie Jumps Into Vaccine Debate

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 10:48

Amid a Measles outbreak, the Christie said parents need a "measure of choice" when it comes to some vaccines. His office quickly clarified that when it came to measles, "kids should be vaccinated."

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A nation in agreement: Nationwide's ad was a buzzkill

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-02 10:44

Imagine you are at the biggest party in the world. Katy Perry is there, on a giant, golden robotic puppet lion. She's going to sing and everyone is having a great time, because it's the Super Bowl.

Then an adorable little boy shows up in an ad and tells you he’s dead.

"You’ve been watching the game. Suddenly, someone comes in and puts a downer on it all," says Britt Bulla, a strategy director with international branding agency Siegel+Gale. He echoed a sentiment that's been buzzing all over Twitter. Nationwide's ad was a buzzkill.

Shedding light on childhood deaths is important, Bulla says, but the the ad wasn't handled well.

"Look at the context we’re in. We’re watching a ball game," he says. "And we’re going to go back to watching a ball game."

Say what you want, but that #nationwide commercial is a good reminder to cherish everything you have because you could get fired tomorrow.

— John Ramsey (@jtramsey) February 2, 2015

David Rogers, a professor of digital marketing at Columbia Business School, offers an opinion about as subtle as those popping on Twitter.

"I think their ad agency should be fired. They did a horrible job," he says. "You don’t start a conversation by freaking people out."

The communication strategy made no sense, Rogers says.

”It didn’t even have a direct enough link to their makesafehappen website.”

"We're Nationwide Insurance! EVERYONE DIES. Enjoy the game! Nationwide."

— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) February 2, 2015

An ad for a not-so-peppy topic can be successful during the Super Bowl, just look at the spot that Procter& Gamble's Always brand ran, says Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

“The interesting contrast is what Nationwide did and what Procter & Gamble did," he says. “The two companies were trying to do pretty much the same thing. Which was say 'we’re working on important issues that matter.'”

Amid the post-game day chatter about Nationwide, there's the notion that no publicity is bad publicity. But it’s hard to find too many tweets or marketers who see it as a success.

One big problem says Rogers, is practical.

"They flash at the very end – this hashtag and url," he says. "Your child could die at any minute, and what should you do about it? Tweet our hashtag," he says. "Where are you supposed to go from there?"

Truly proud of our #client @Nationwide and my team @Ogilvy for #makesafehappen. The most brave and the most important film of #SuperBowlAds

— Adam Tucker (@Adman_Tucker) February 2, 2015

Five highlights of the Sundance Film Festival

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-02 10:10

Netflix and Amazon attended the Sundance Festival in Park City, Utah, this year – looking to make digital distribution an option for independent filmmakers. So were the digital companies a big hit at the festival?

"Not really," says Wesley Morris, film critic at Grantland. "I think what you’re going to see is people feeling Amazon out. I think filmmakers really do want to feel like their movie is at a movie studio, and they have a deal to reflect that. And for now, Sundance is their number one distribution deal."

One festival highlight was "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl."

"It is a very charming, really well-made movie about a guy who befriends a dying girl," says Morris. "And when you’re watching that movie and you get to the last 10 to 15 minutes, as someone said to me – when I was like 'I’m not going to be moved by this at all' – 'you won’t be human if you aren’t.'"

"Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" swept the festival awards and was picked up by Fox Searchlight after a bidding war.

Four more highlights from Sundance 2015:

"The End of the Tour" 

"Tangerine"

"The Wolfpack"

"Results"

Recapping this year's Sundance Film Festival

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-02 10:10

Netflix and Amazon attended the Sundance Festival in Park City, Utah this year – looking to make digital distribution an option for independent filmmakers. So, were the digital companies a big hit at the festival?

 

"Not really," says Wesley Morris, film critic at Grantland. "I think what you’re going to see is people feeling Amazon out. I think filmmakers really do want to feel like their movie is at a movie studio and they have a deal to reflect that. And for now, Sundance is their number-one distribution deal."

 

One of the festival’s highlights was "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl."

 

"It is a very charming, really well-made movie about a guy who befriends a dying girl," says Morris. "And when you’re watching that movie and you get to the last 10 to 15 minutes, as someone said to me – when I was like 'I’m not going to be moved by this at all' - 'You won’t be human if you aren’t.'"

 

"Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" swept the festival awards and got picked up by Fox Searchlight after a bidding war.

 

Four more highlights from Sundance 2015:

 

"The End of the Tour"

 

"Tangerine"

"The Wolfpack"

 

"Results"

 

 

 

Florida Leads Insurance Sign-Ups, Despite Political Opposition To Overhaul

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 09:41

With two weeks to go until the 2015 Obamacare enrollment deadline, Florida is ahead of even California, which has twice the population and embraced the Affordable Care Act from the start.

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Why Cambodians Never Get 'Depressed'

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 09:05

In many parts of the world, there's no direct translation for terms like depression or anxiety. Cambodians, for example, say "the water in my heart has fallen." So how does a doctor refill a heart?

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In Greece, designer retail therapy on a shoestring

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-02 08:59

Greece remains mired in crisis and profoundly depressed, yet at least one small corner of the country's economy is flourishing: luxury goods. The business of helping Greece keep up appearances in economically troubled times is, apparently, booming.

For instance, Starbags rents out expensive designer handbags, and offers an affordable solution to any woman who wants to flaunt her wealth even if she doesn't have it anymore.

“Most women who would rent from a company like ours would want instant recognition,” says Oliana Spiridopoulos, Starbags' owner. “They want to be recognized for their good taste and economic status. They want to be seen looking their best but also looking socially mobile.”

That’s upwardly socially mobile … even though the country may not be headed that way economically. Starbags charges the equivalent of about $60 to rent a handbag by such designers as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and other top fashion houses. More importantly, it's a cheaper option than paying $1,800 to buy a new bag.

“People rent the handbags for very special occasions, like weddings and christenings, where they’d be expected to carry something relatively more expensive than usual,” says John Spiliotakis, Starbag’s executive director.

So, do people who rent the handbags pretend they own it? “Some tell their friends they’ve hired the bag, some don’t. But, look, nobody is going to come up and ask whether the bag you’re carrying belongs to you,” says Spiridopoulos says.

Down-on-their-luck fashionistas who prefer to own their clothes and accessories have another option in Athens, they can buy second-hand designer clothing like shirts, jackets, coats, dresses, pants and even wedding dresses at a store called Kilo Shop. “We buy large quantities of secondhand or surplus designer clothes abroad by kilo,” says George Danakas, a co-owner of the shop. “So it is only fair to sell by the kilo to our cash-strapped customers here in Greece.”

The clothes are in excellent condition but since they have been bought in bulk and could be 10, 20 or even 30 years old, the prices are low: a pair of Levi 501s for under $20, a Tommy Hilfiger shirt for just over $10. 

Sabine Danakas, another Kilo Shop co-owner, claims that the business is prospering in spite of — or perhaps because of — the crisis. “Greek people live mostly outside. They may live in plain houses and apartments but when they go out in the sun, they have this feeling of showing off,” she says with a laugh. “And this is particularly true during an economic downturn. They want to look good and if it does not cost very much to look good, they’re really happy!”

Neli Sfigopoulou, a 28-year-old tourist trade worker, looks happy as she weighs which designer top to buy in the Kilo Shop. In these difficult economic times, she says, this kind of shopping is retail therapy on a shoestring.

Virtual Schools Bring Real Concerns About Quality

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 08:08

E-learning in K-12 is a growing trend, but many schools are underperformers. What's to be done?

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Freed Al-Jazeera Journalist Looks Forward To 'The Little Things'

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 07:35

Australian Peter Greste, who spent more than a year in an Egyptian prison, was freed on Sunday. He says he remains concerned about his still-jailed Al-Jazeera colleagues.

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Quiz: Big year for university endowments

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-02 07:18

Harvard University raised more money in 2014 than any U.S. school ever.

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FCC regulator: Don't dish out discounts to Dish

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-02 07:00

A regulator with the Federal Communications Commission is crying foul over Dish Network Corp.’s pursuit of small business discounts in a wireless spectrum auction last week.

Dish pulled in more than $13 billion worth of wireless licenses in the auction. But it might not end up paying that much. Dish is seeking to tap discounts the FCC sets aside for small businesses. It secured bids through a couple small companies it's invested in. Those partner firms qualify for the discounts. 

“It is an outrage that a Fortune 500 corporation, using some shell corporations that are very creatively structured, can try to claim over $3 billion worth bidding credits that are meant for small businesses,” says FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai.

Pai is calling for an FCC investigation into the matter. Dish couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. It has generally stayed mum about the auction. 

The company is not a wireless service provider—it’s in the business of satellite TV and internet. And yet, over the past few years, Dish has amassed a surprising amount of wireless spectrum. 

Blair Levin, a former FCC chief of staff, says it’s unclear if Dish will partner with another wireless company or start an independent wireless service—or something else altogether.

But Levin says the final result might be worth the $3 billion in discounts Dish is seeking.

“If they provide ways so that Americans can have faster, better, cheaper mobile services, I think we’ll look back and say it was a bargain,” Levin says.

Still, the FCC’s Commissioner Pai says the rules of the bidding process must be followed, and he want to make sure Dish hasn't flouted the rules.

"The mandate we got was to give small businesses a chance to break into the wireless marketplace," he says. "It wasn't to give large corporations with sophisticated lawyers an opportunity to game the system in order to get the taxpayer-funded discount on bidding at spectrum auctions."

After The Game, Looking Back At 'The Worst Call In Super Bowl History'

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 06:31

Many are blaming the Seattle Seahawks' loss to the New England Patriots on the decision to pass the ball instead of handing it to Marshawn Lynch.

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Ex-IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn's Prostitution Ring Trial Begins

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 05:34

The former IMF head, whose career unraveled amid allegations he raped a hotel maid in New York, went on trial in France in a new case. He is accused of procuring prostitutes for orgies at a hotel.

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How do sports teams get their championship T-shirts so fast?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-02 05:20

Listener Danielle Addleman from Novato, California, has always wondered about how major league sports teams get T-shirts that declare them the champions immediately after they win.

To figure out how the winning team gets their hands on those T-shirts so quickly, I wanted to understand just what it takes to make one of these commemorative tees. So I visited a screen-printing company called AKT Enterprises in Pomona, California. The warehouse, where T-shirts are printed and packaged, was warm and smelled like ink.

Daisy Palacios/Marketplace

AKT’s head of West Coast operations, Robert Pfeffer, gave me a tour. He told me about the different variables that go into the T-shirt making business, "type of garment, color of garment, locations, size of artwork, the different colors that are going into the print and the type of inks that are used."

The longest part of the process is figuring out what the client wants. For example, if you needed shirts for your kid’s entire little league team, "standard screen printing is probably anywhere between a 7- to 10-day process," Pfeffer says. "To get garments ordered, get everything here, get your artwork approved, and then to actually have it printed and shipped out to you."

But when the client is an entire football league? The planning starts before the season does.

Jim Pisani, president of Majestic Athletic, has an entire team dedicated to championship events for the major league sports and the NCAA.

"They plan about six months out for each event, from the product, the T-shirts and the fleece that are going to be used, to working on designs with each one of the leagues," Pisani says. "During what we call the ‘hot market’ – whether it’s the Super Bowl, the World Series or the Stanley Cup championship – we do what’s called ‘locker room T-shirts.’"

Those locker room T-shirts are the ones you saw the Patriots wearing after the Super Bowl, and that you can buy right away at the stadium. Every year, shirts are printed for both teams before the final game and are kept in closely guarded boxes behind the scenes. The second the clock expires, workers take the winner’s shirts onto the field and give them to the new champions. And just like that – instant marketing for the same T-shirts that will be in stores the next morning.

However, Pisani says, most championship T-shirts that you can buy in stores the next day are printed right after the game.

"That’s when we’ll really kick into gear. We’ll have product ready within less than 24 hours, sometimes within two to three hours depending on where the location is," Pisani says.

Manufactures and retailers pre-position thousands of blank shirts, jackets and hats at printing facilities all over the country. As teams are eliminated in the playoffs, so are the screen-printers that were hired in their region. So, when the Super Bowl’s game clock was running out, the T-shirt print workers in Seattle and in New England run in and wait for the count – to start up the T-shirt press.

Daisy Palacios/Marketplace

“The actual printing, once the order is taken, the stencil is made, and everything is set up – it probably takes anywhere between 10 to 15 seconds,” Pfeffer says.

Depending on the complexity of the design, T-shirt printers move pretty fast. "I’ve seen numbers upward over 600 an hour and as few as 200 an hour," Pfeffer says.

Big orders like these might require the winner’s T-shirt print shop to run for at least 18 hours and bring in a second shift. The shops hired to print the losing team’s gear just go home.

What’s going to happen to the pre-printed shirts that say the Seahawks won the Super Bowl? Twenty years ago they would have been destroyed, but the leagues and retailers now partner with nonprofit organizations and donate the clothing to Third World countries.

The only condition the league sets with these organizations is that the licensed apparel never makes it way to the U.S. market, says Beau Stephens, senior vice president of university business at Navigate, an investment analysis firm that specializes in sports and entertainment.

"I think they take it very seriously because it’s additional revenue. They fiercely protect it in that they don’t want misprinted merchandise on the streets either," Stephens says.

The majority of the donated gear comes from retailers. "On average, the typical amount is probably somewhere in the $2 million range that goes overseas," he says.

Which means there’s a strange bright side to blowing the big game. Sure – the Patriots made its hometown fans happy, but the Seahawks will get new fans all over the world.

Punxsutawney Phil Scoffs At The Idea Of An Early Spring

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 04:44

The world-famous groundhog saw his shadow his morning. His prediction on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., came as a winter storm moved from the Midwest to the Northeast.

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Watch The Super Bowl Or We'll Kick This Dog: The Saddest Ads Ever

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 04:43

After years of nearly naked women and crazy animals, the Super Bowl ads had a new theme this year: your heart, and how to break it.

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