National News

Looting And Rioting? First Responders Remember 1968

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 01:10

Some first responders are dealing with looting and burning in Baltimore for the first time. But Michel Martin asks whether there's a familiarity for those who were on duty during the riots in 1968.

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Saudi King Salman Reshuffles Line Of Succession

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 00:42

Saudi Arabia's King Salman shook up the monarchy on Wednesday. According to a royal decree, the king's nephew takes over as crown prince, and the king's young son becomes deputy crown prince.

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Survivor Pulled From Rubble 5 Days After Nepal Earthquake

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 00:14

Crowds cheered Thursday as an 18-year-old male was pulled, dazed and dusty, from the wreckage of a 7-story Kathmandu building. Rescuers used jacks to lift the concrete slabs that had wedged him in.

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The Frightened Vietnamese Kid Who Became A U.S. Army General

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 23:25

Forty years ago, Viet Luong was a 9-year-old Vietnamese boy fleeing Saigon with his family. Today he's the first Vietnamese-American general in the U.S. Army and is helping train the Afghan military.

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Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Founder: Monument Almost Never Got Built

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 23:24

Jan Scruggs commemorates the 40th anniversary of the end to the Vietnam War with a walk along the memorial he pioneered building.

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Learning About The Quran ... From A Catholic Archbishop

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 23:23

As a young priest, Michael Fitzgerald studied Islam and served the Vatican in Muslim countries. Devoted to promoting Catholic-Muslim understanding, he's now teaching Jesuit students about the Quran.

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Photos: Baltimore Quiet For 2nd Night; New York, Denver Protests Noisier

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 21:33

Police arrested about 100 demonstrators in Manhattan after crowds tried to block a major tunnel, and pepper spray was deployed in Colorado. In Baltimore, the curfew was honored.

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5 Things You Should Know About Bernie Sanders

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 17:15

He's the longest-serving independent member of Congress in U.S. history who once voted with the National Rifle Association. Here's what you may not know.

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Seeking Presidency, 'Socialist' Sanders Looks To Elevate Less-Talked About Issues

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 16:51

Bernie Sanders, the liberal senator from Vermont, will try to be more than a fringe presidential candidate. He's aiming to elevate the issue of income inequality on the national stage.

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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Jumps Into The Presidential Race

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 16:24

Sanders, a darling of the country's liberals, is expected to pull front-runner Hillary Clinton left. He will make a formal announcement Thursday.

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Lawyer Says Activist Arrested On Live TV In Baltimore Is OK, Healthy

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 16:02

Many on Twitter called the arrest of Joseph Kent a kidnapping, because little was known about his whereabouts until today.

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Your Tough Job Might Help Keep You Sharp

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 15:10

In an eight-year study of older people, those who had held mentally demanding, stimulating jobs tended to retain their mental agility better than people whose work was less stimulating.

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Court: Corporations May Be People, But 'Judges Are Not Politicians'

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 14:57

The Supreme Court has increased campaign spending limits, but not when it comes to judges. It found an "unavoidable appearance that judges who personally ask for money may diminish their integrity."

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Israeli Dads Welcome Surrogate-Born Baby In Nepal On Earthquake Day

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 14:19

Mazel tov, it's a global baby boy! The egg was from a South African donor, the sperm was from Israel. The surrogate mom lived in Nepal. And when the dads came to meet their son, an earthquake struck.

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SEC Rule Would Link Executive Pay To Performance

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 13:33

The rule, which grew out of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill, would make it easier for shareholders to see whether salaries are in line with a company's financial performance.

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Japan's Abe Pushes The Pacific Trade Deal Onto Center Stage

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-29 13:01

The Japanese prime minister used his time in the spotlight in Washington to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying it would create both prosperity and peace. Democrats remain skeptical.

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GDP suffers what's becoming a seasonal slowdown

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 13:00

Growth of the U.S. gross domestic product, a broad measure of the economy, ground almost to a halt in the first three months of the year, growing just 0.2 percent, even lower than expected.

A number of temporary factors, economists and analysts say, account for the first quarter slowdown, including: a West Coast port slowdown that caused a backlog of exports, a slowdown in exports themselves due to a strong dollar, and reduced consumer spending, which might be at least partly accounted for by a second year of bad winter weather.

"Spending on mining, exploration and wells, a.k.a energy, is down 48.7 percent — that is a big number," says Guy Lebas of Janney Montgomery Scott. The reason for that is oil prices. They are down, and so is investment in that sector.

Weather is another big culprit for slowing GDP growth, Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics says. "The weather was unusually severe this winter, as it was last year, so that's part of what's happening," he says.

Bad weather affected consumer spending, which grew 1.9 percent in the first quarter, compared to the previous quarter's 4.4 percent growth.

But the effects of winter weather, aside from unusually severe weather, are supposed to be accounted for in the GDP numbers, says Justin Wolfers, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"Government statisticians actually seasonally adjust the data," Wolfers says.

Wolfers examined that adjustment of the last 30 years, and found a pattern. "The estimate of GDP growth in the first quarter has consistently been lower than on all the other quarters," he says, adding that could mean the seasonal adjustment is off.

Statisticians haven't significantly changed the seasonal adjustment algorithm (although they've tweaked it) in decades, he says. In fact, Wolfers says there is a lot more consistency in yearly GDP numbers.

"The yearly numbers have been remarkably consistent," he says. "They've suggested that this is an economy that keeps growing."

Jim O'Sullivan says to put the first-quarter GDP numbers in context, he is also watching jobless claims. "Over time, if there is significant slowing in the trend in GDP, invariably you see an uptrend in claims." So far, he says, such an uptrend has not occurred.

Warren Buffett serenades shareholders

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 13:00

Two things: one, the rich really are different. And two, Coca-Cola had its annual shareholder meeting today.

At the meeting, a Coke shareholder named Warren Buffett sang the soda giant's jingle "I'd like to Buy the World a Coke" while playing the ukulele, which you can watch below:    

How great is that? Buffett was piped in via video, by the way—he wasn't live.

Buffett's own annual shareholder meeting for his holding company Berkshire Hathaway is this weekend in Omaha.

Get this: 50,000 are expected to show up. Oracle of Omaha, indeed. 

My First Job: Junior Journalist

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 13:00

Sometimes it takes a few years — or even a few decades — to figure out what you want to do.

But deciding on a career was never really a problem for Richard Stolley, who got his first job as a journalist at the age of 15 and would go on to become a founding editor of People magazine.

During World War II, a friend of Stolley’s joined the Navy. His job — sports editor at the Pekin Daily Times — would be left vacant. So the newly enlisted friend asked if Stolley was interested in the position.

“Of course, not knowing any better, I said I would be very interested,” Stolley says.

Stolley was tasked with filling stories and editing the sports section, but he also got to read news about the war well before most Americans.

“This was during WWII and a lot of unusual things were taking place,” Stolley says.

The day before the invasion of Normandy, the Pekin Daily Times’ teletype received an alert that a major news break was coming.

“I felt very privileged that a 15, 16-year-old could walk over to the teletype and find out things about WWII that almost nobody else in the world knew,” Stolley says. “Pretty heady stuff.”

Stolley remembers the excitement of hearing the presses turn on every afternoon. The roar resonating from the basement of the newspaper offices invigorated him too.

“I had this feeling, well, whatever I wrote is going out to 15,000 readers — can’t call it back now,” Stolley says.

For Stolley, his first job was more than just a paycheck. It set the tone for his entire career.

“I mean, it cemented my life,” Stolley says. “There was no way after working as a professional journalist at the age of 15 that I was ever going to want to do anything else.”

Baltimore and the cost of rioting

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-29 13:00

Residents of Baltimore are still cleaning up from Monday’s riots. The unrest came at the start of the tourism and convention season, and just after Baltimore had just launched a new ad campaign earlier in the month, featuring celebrities like baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.

Now, Visit Baltimore, which handles the city’s tourism and convention marketing, is pulling the new ad campaign. They're working on a different message, reassuring tourists they’ll be safe.

“And the second thing we want is to make sure they understand the city’s in great shape,” says Visit Baltimore CEO Tom Noonan.

But that could be a hard sell. Two conventions scheduled for this week in Baltimore were cancelled, and the city’s 10 p.m. curfew is scheduled to stretch into next week. Restaurants and bars have already taken a hit, and things will just get worse because they'll have to close early this weekend.

“Especially for the waiters and waitresses and bar staff who rely on tips. That’s like having probably two thirds of your income just reduced overnight," says Bernard Lyons, bar manager at Bertha’s, in Baltimore’s touristy Fell’s Point neighborhood.

And the economic damage from a riot can last a long time — just ask Los Angeles. Of course, its 1992 riots dragged on and Baltimore’s only lasted about a day, but still, the city's economy is suffering. And outside aid isn't likely to pour in, like it does when a community is hit by a natural disaster.

“It’s almost as if people are saying you fouled your nest, you fix it,” says Rob Baade, an economics professor at Lake Forest College who co-authored a study that says the losses from LA's riots totaled at least $3.8 billion.