National News

The Urban Neighborhood Wal-Mart: A Blessing Or A Curse?

NPR News - 15 hours 22 min ago

The nation's largest retailer is known for sprawling suburban and rural stores. But now Wal-Mart is moving into city centers — sometimes despite strong local opposition.

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Nigeria's New President: From Military Ruler To 'Newborn Democrat'

NPR News - 15 hours 22 min ago

For the first time, an opposition challenger has defeated a sitting president at the ballot box. A peaceful transfer of power from one elected leader to another would be another first for Nigeria.

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Income inequality is affecting life expectancy

Marketplace - American Public Media - 15 hours 23 min ago
21%

That's the price jump in one local seafood restaurant in Seattle. This iconic eatery plans to raise base wages for the whole staff. In addition, the management team aims to get rid tipping, an effort to prevent servers from taking a hit when tips went away. The move comes right after Seattle put into effect a higher minimum hourly wage at 11 dollars today. 

143,355

That's the current population of Dayton, Ohio. The former industrial city has experienced decades of brain drain, causing its population to shrink by more than 100,000 people in the last half century. Recently, the city has actually witnessed a small growth spurt, thanks to low housing prices and high rates of entrepreneurship. 

$300

Despite paying for $300 a month for health insurance, a lawyer from Indiana who has suffered from depression for 20 years still pays out of pocket for her weekly psychotherapy treatments. One study shows today that health insurance industry discriminate against the mentally ill, even though the federal law and the affordable healthcare act both require insurer to provide patients suffering mental illnesses with the same level of coverage. 

Five years per 1,000 people

That's the drop in average life expectancy for every 1 percent rise in income inequality, according to a University of Wisconsin analysis reported by New York Times' the Upshot. It's a similar impact to what you might expect with a 3 percent rise in obesity, or a 4 percent increase in smoking. The method researchers used is complex, but fascinating, and points an a persistent correlation between inequality and poorer health.

82 percent

 The portion of pregnant women in the late 2000s that continued to work within a month of having their first child, according to Pew Research. The opposite was true 50 years ago, when only 44 percent of women remained in the workforce during their pregnancy at all.

77.6 percent

The portion of people who successfully switch jobs without actively searching or applying, according to a new paper from the San Francisco Fed. Quartz crunches the numbers on why the workforce can be unfriendly to those without connections or existing experience. 

Engineer-Turned Cabbie Helps New Refugees Find Their Way

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 23:55

Omar Shekhey left engineering to found a nonprofit that helps refugees navigate their new lives near Atlanta. He also drives a cab — and often gives the money to families to help them settle in.

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Tobacco Firm Asks FDA To Lift Warning Label On This Product

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 23:53

The product is called Snus — a tiny bag of tobacco that users slip between the lip and gum. Its Swedish maker claims the product is safer than cigarettes, cigars, dip and chewing tobacco.

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Closing Arguments To Begin Monday In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 23:32

The defense rested its case Tuesday in the trial of admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Because of holidays and judicial housekeeping duties, the trial won't resume until next week.

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Gary Dahl, Creator Of The Pet Rock, Dies At 78

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 22:35

In 1975, Gary Dahl was an advertising executive when he came up with the Pet Rock idea. The stones came in a cardboard box containing a tongue-in-cheek instruction pamphlet for "care and feeding."

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Coroner: Death Of Getty Oil Heir Most Likely Natural Causes, Accident

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 22:22

Andrew Getty's death appeared to be from natural causes, a Los Angeles County coroner's assistant said Tuesday, but it has been initially called an accident because of medication found at the scene.

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READ: Commutation Letter President Obama Sent To Inmate

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 15:51

Obama commuted 22 sentences for federal prisoners serving time for drug-related crimes. Obama said that under current laws, those inmates would have already been released.

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Oversight Committee Issues Subpoena To Two Secret Service Agents

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 14:57

The Secret Service, said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, is refusing to allow his committee to interview two agents involved in the investigation of a potential bomb near the White House.

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Federal Judge Says South Dakota Officials Violated Native American Families' Rights

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 14:26

Two of the state's largest tribes win class action lawsuit alleging that the state routinely put their children in foster care without due process

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Supreme Court Deals Medicaid Blow To Doctors And Health Companies

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 13:38

The court ruled Tuesday that private Medicaid providers cannot sue to force states to raise reimbursement rates in the face of rising medical costs.

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Activists Stop Paying Their Student Loans

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 13:36

Students who say their for-profit college degrees are worthless took their "debt strike" to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today.

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Lufthansa Says It Knew Of Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz's Depression

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 13:22

Prosecutors say Lubitz deliberately crashed his plane carrying 149 others into the French Alps last week. Lufthansa said he had informed them in 2009 of a "previous depressive episode."

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Despite Criticism, Arkansas Passes Religious Freedom Bill

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 13:18

The measure is similar to the controversial law passed by Indiana. Gov. Asa Hutchinson had previously said he would sign the bill into law.

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Watchdog Groups File Complaints Against Likely Candidates

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 12:55

Two liberal groups say some politicians have crossed the legal line that defines a candidacy in campaign finance law, even though they haven't declared anything yet.

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Advice For Trevor Noah From The 'Jon Stewart Of South Africa'

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 12:53

The Daily Show isn't the only fake news show around. South Africa has Late Nite News, starring comedian Loyiso Gola. We asked him how he feels about Noah's new job — and what advice he has to offer.

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Supporters Work To Reclaim Legacy Of Penn State Coach Joe Paterno

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 12:46

A campaign is underway to repair former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno's legacy after a child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky tarnished his image.

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Latvians differ over sanctions against Russia

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-31 12:29

Latvian farmer Uldis Krievars is a casualty of the new cold war with Russia.

“ We’re fighting for survival. Many other farmers are also struggling “ he says, gloomily surveying his dairy herd on his farm sixty miles southeast of the Latvian capital, Riga.
Krievars has seen his milk prices slump well below the cost of production due to over supply. Latvia is awash with milk because Russia retaliated against EU sanctions over Ukraine by banning food imports from Europe.

But that doesn’t mean Krievars is unhappy about those EU sanctions.

“ Yes, the sanctions are hitting us hard," he says. “But I believe they are necessary and should have been even tougher. We are still worried about our independence.”

Independence is still a raw subject in the tiny Baltic state, which has been invaded and occupied over the centuries by at least four different powers – Sweden, Poland, Germany and Russia. The country only threw off Russian rule 24 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed – an event which the current Russian President Vladimir Putin described as “ the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”

Liana Langa –a Latvian poet - claims that the annexation of Crimea shows that Putin would like to turn the clock back and rule the Baltic states - including Latvia - again.
“He’s trying to restore empire, he’s trying to restore empire.” she says. “Let’s remember: Putin can only think as a KGB guy because he comes from the KGB.”

Some members of Latvia’s large Russian minority dismiss that as pure paranoia; they just don’t believe Putin has any designs on the Baltic States. Aleksandr Gamaleyev deplores the sanctions against Russia as a massive over-reaction. “ I think it’s very bad for Latvia to be part of this campaign because Russia is our bigger neighbor, and economically it’s very bad for Latvia,” he says.

In fact, although the dairy farmers are reeling, Latvia overall has not been that badly affected by the crisis. The economy is still growing at the cracking pace of more than four percent a year . The country has managed to escape some of the worst effects of the new Cold War as many Latvian companies have,  since regaining independence, been busy re-orienting their businesses away from the Russian market. The Karavela fish processing plant in Riga, for example, now sells most of its herrings and sprats in Europe.

“ We feel more comfortable and safer developing markets in this part of the world” says spokeswoman Sintija Skarstāne .

Latvia has pursued the same policy, along with the other two Baltic states, turning away from Russia and embedding itself in the west by joining NATO, the European Union and even adopting the euro for added security.

“We clearly feel safe now, we feel secure.” says Andrejs Pildegovics, State Secretary at the Foreign Ministry in Riga. “But if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that we cannot be complacent.”

The biggest fear is that Putin might “do a Ukraine” and stoke up trouble using Latvia’s Russian-speaking minority. But economist Morten Hansen of the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga points out that there’s a big difference between Ukraine and Latvia – quite apart from NATO and EU membership. Latvia is more prosperous and more content.

“ In terms of income per person we’re ahead of Ukraine by a factor of three to one.” Hansen says. “This is a huge transformation. We were at the same level as Ukraine 22 years ago . Now we’re three times richer."

This , he says , is Latvia’s ultimate shield against Putin’s mischief-making: economic self interest.

Media Mischief On April Fools' Day

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-31 12:01

When news organizations make fun of the news, it can be funny — or not.

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