National News

Low Draft Picks, No-Names Stand Out At Super Bowl

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 12:15

Many of the stand-out players in last night's Super Bowl were relative unknowns going in to the game. That's all changed now.

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Despite Political Resistance, Florida A Leader In ACA Sign-Ups

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 12:15

Florida's governor and its Republican-led legislature opposed the Affordable Care Act and have resisted calls to expand Medicaid. But aided by non-profit groups and strong interest among Hispanics, Florida is one of the leaders in signing residents up for Obamacare.

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A Look At What's Inside Obama's Budget Proposal

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 12:15

President Obama's budget proposes more government spending and more taxes on the wealthy. How will Republicans respond?

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Cash Is Definitely Not King For Card-Carrying Swedes

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 12:15

In a world moving toward cashless economies, Sweden is leading the way. More than 95 percent of transactions are already digital; some churches now pass a card reader instead of a collection plate.

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Detained Reporter Becomes Unlikely Star Of Venezuela Tourism Ad

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 12:15

Miami Reporter Jim Wyss tells us why he was surprised to see a Venezuela tourism ad using a photo of himself looking happy. He was happy because at the time the picture was taken in Miami, he'd just been released from 48 hours in detention.

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Critics Say Abe's 'Interventionism' Made Japan A Target For ISIS

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 12:15

The beheading of two Japanese nationals by ISIS has created political problems for Japanese President Shinzo Abe back home, from those who blame his rollback of Japanese pacifist policies in place after World War II.

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Egyptian Court Condemns 183 To Death In Mass Trial

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-02 11:57

Those convicted were accused of attacking a police station, and killing and mutilating at least 11 security officers. But critics of the verdict say many of those arrested were not even at the scene.

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The budget as a starting point for tax reform

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-02 11:30

Republican lawmakers called President Obama’s budget “top down” and “backward looking.” They said it “contains no solutions to address the drivers of our debt.” So where is the room for compromise?

"The one point Democrats, Republicans and the president can agree on is the tax system is a mess,” says Richard Kaplan, the Peer and Sarah Pedersen Professor of Law at the University of Illinois. “That you wouldn’t design it this way from scratch, that many of its key features are unjustifiable and that you ought to fix it.”

Kaplan points out you don’t see that kind of agreement on financial reform or healthcare reform. The president’s plan goes after money that companies have made and stashed overseas. He has proposed a one-time tax of 14 percent on that money.

“He’s hitting a popular theme,” says Thomas Cooke, a distinguished teaching professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “I think there is general consensus that we need to do what we can to get money back from offshore.” Cooke also sees says room for compromise on how the government taxes interest on investments.

But it is easy to say you are in favor of tax reform, says  Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. “It’s like saying we are all in favor of mother and an apple pie, but what does that really mean?  And it means very different things to the president and congressional Republicans.”

The president wants to raise more revenue through reform, to spend on things like improving infrastructure. Republicans insist tax reform not raise any new revenue. “And that is a point of major disagreement between the president and congressional Republicans,” Gleckman says.

The president’s budget is a starting point. It will be months before we get detailed plans for tax reform from Democrats and Republicans.

 

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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