National News

Skip A Grade? Start Kindergarten Early? It's Not So Easy

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 02:03

New research calls for a fresh look at policies on jumping gifted students ahead.

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The NFL draft comes to Chicago

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-30 02:00

On Thursday, Chi-Town becomes Draft Town — the NFL Draft, that is.

It’s the first time since 1964 the draft has been anywhere other than New York, and Chicago officials are ecstatic to host the three-day “fan festival." The city won its bid to host this year’s NFL draft, and it's going big.

There’ll be football clinics for kids, a replica of an NFL locker room, and Buckingham Fountain will reflect team colors during the draft. Over the top?

“I don’t believe that the term 'over the top' is something that could apply to the NFL, because everything they do is over-the-top,” says Todd Jewell, who teaches finance at Texas State. He adds that the payoff for Chicago is lots of buzz.

But having won the bid, the city will spend $3 to $4 million on this extravaganza. Robert Baade, who teaches economics at Lake Forest College calls it the "winner’s curse.”

He says even though the city promised not to spend public money on this, it will hit taxpayers one way or another. The real winner, he says, is the NFL, especially if cities start bidding for the draft every year.

Ben Bernanke joins Pimco

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-30 02:00

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has scored his second advisory gig in the past month. He recently announced he’d advise hedge Citadel LLC. Now he’ll also offer his economic expertise to money management giant Pacific Investment Management Company, or Pimco.

It manages about $1.6 trillion in assets for public and private retirement plans, among other customers.  

Bernanke will advise Pimco following a period of turmoil at the firm. Investors pulled money from Pimco funds after co-founder Bill Gross left last year.

Bernanke is the second high-profile economist the firm has recently hired to burnish its macroeconomic forecasting credentials. And Bernanke’s familiarity with Fed personalities and decision-making could be an added benefit.

"All markets, all security prices, are impacted by what the Fed does, what the Fed may do, and what it’s thinking,” says Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, a Pimco competitor.

Paulsen says Bernanke could give Pimco especially pertinent insights into the conditions under which officials would raise interest rates.

“It would be very important information flow for asset managers that are going to lay down bets on what the direction of interest rates is,” Paulsen says.

But Bernanke's advisory role at Pimco makes Russell Campbell uncomfortable. He's the chief executive of Your Second Opinion LLC, which consults with small asset management companies.

“It raises policy implications about who's influencing who and who has direct access,” he says. “He can probably pick up the phone and call the president. There's only so many people that can do that.”

The Securities Exchange Commission, not the Fed, oversees Citadel and Pimco. Bernanke could not be reached for comment about his pay at either appointment.

Bitcoin gets a bit of a bump

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-30 01:58

That's the version of Windows that Microsoft showed off Wednesday, skipping Windows 9 and what tech correspondent Molly Wood called "a bit of a prom king moment." Between the new operating system and HoloLens, the tech giant could finally be delivering on the comeback it's been promising for years, earning back some cool to go along with its resilient pile of cash.

$1.6 trillion

That's the worth of assets in public and private retirement plans directed by money management giant Pacific Investment Management Company, or Pimco. And who is advising them on how to manage those assets? Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke


The number of earnings calls from 2007 to 2014 in which analysts told companies they had a "great quarter, guys," according to an analysis by Bloomberg. Turns out a "great quarter, guys" doesn't always mean things are going all that great. In fact, 66 companies heard they were coming off a "great quarter, guys" at the start of 2008, just a few months before the economy tanked.

$50 million

That's how much money Goldman Sachs, along with a Chinese investment firm, is committing to Circle Internet Financial, a start-up focused on the technology behind Bitcoin. As the NY Times reports, it's a significant vote of confidence for the digital currency's potential legitimacy. 

$21 billion

That's the size of the Swiss watch market, as of last year, and it's a market Apple has to tap into with its new smart watch. While tech coverage has been exhaustive, we've heard relatively little from the other world Apple is straddling with the Watch. The Verge sat down with John Tarantino, head of the mechanical watchmaker Martenero, getting his impressions of the Watch and whether he considers it a threat to his business.

$100 million

Once valued at $100 million, anonymous phone app Secret will soon be no more. Founder David Byttow said the app has drifted from his original vision, and so he has decided to call it quits. As reported by BBC Tech, the company will return some of its $35 million in funding to investors.

With Only One Runway, Kathmandu's Airport Hinders Earthquake Relief

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 01:15

There's gridlock at Nepal's international airport. That has complicated efforts to get goods and supplies into the country after Saturday's earthquake.

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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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