National News

Your Wallet: Ceilings

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 11:05

Next week's show is about ceilings.

And we want to know: what are the ceilings you've bumped up against in your career?

Tell us what happened.

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Or on twitter ... We're at @MarketplaceWKND

CDC Warns Of More HIV, Hepatitis C Outbreaks In Drug Users

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 10:21

The U.S. epidemic of injected opioid use could lead to severe outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis C like those now occurring in Indiana, the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention said Friday.

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The business behind the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:45

Everyone who reserved a Las Vegas hotel room for a grand per night next weekend, you can breathe a little easier. The biggest boxing match in years is confirmed. A contract dispute between the two promoters meant tickets just went on sale yesterday for a fight that's years in the making and just a week away. That was a close one.

The pent-up demand for Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to get into the ring is totaling up to big bucks.

"Its guys that are five years past the moment when they should’ve been having this fight," says Kenneth Shropshire from the Wharton Sports Business Initiative. "It’s not the heavyweights. This is where people are excited to see someone that is closer in size to the average man."

Remembering Gallipoli, A WWI Battle That Shaped Today's Middle East

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:34

The clash at Gallipoli was one of the most memorable fights of World War I — and one of the most consequential. Its reverberations are still felt to this day in the chaotic Middle East.

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Fake Medicines Do Real Damage: Thousands Die, Superbugs Get Stronger

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:03

In tests of anti-malarial pills and antibiotics, 9 to 41 percent didn't meet quality standards. And the world does a crummy job chasing criminals who reap $75 billion a year from counterfeit meds.

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Inside the not-so-invisible primary

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:02

Sure, it's April 2015, but the 2016 election is well underway. Just this week, the Koch brothers, the billionaire conservatives, signaled that they may put their money behind Governor Scott Walker. 

The time when candidates who may or may not run amass money and buzz is often called the "invisible primary," or the money primary. It is crucial to campaigns — it's the time when candidates gather funds and experts to back their campaigns. And, the invisible primary is getting longer.

Rick Wilson, a Republican media consultant based in Florida, says he hasn't signed on to any particular campaign — yet. But that's likely to change.

Wilson says he's been talking about the 2016 election on a professional level since two days after the 2012 election.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.

The biggest, baddest black markets in the US

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

Landfills, Star Wars, abstinence and breakfast cereal — just a few of the numbers the website Statistic Brain tracks.

There's also a tally on the value of black markets. Overall, Statistic Brain says there is about $625 billion of illicit trade in the U.S. every year, and 1.8 billion jobs are created by the black market globally.

Product counterfeiting tops out as one of the most lucrative categories, at a U.S. market value of $225 billion.

CEO Seth Harden says some of these numbers can be hard to come by, but here's a quick snapshot of some value of goods for sale on the black market, according to Statistic Brain:

Average U.S. Street Value for Illicit Items Street Value AK-47 Price $400 Cocaine Price $174.2 per gram Ecstasy Price $35 per tablet Heroin Price $200 per gram Marijuana Price $20 – $1,800 per ounce Meth Price $3 – $500 per gram

 Listen to the full interview in the audio player above to hear more.

Life inside the cloister

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

In the hills of Hollywood, California, a cluster of uniform, nondescript white buildings with red-tiled roofs isn't eye-catching from the street, especially behind high cement walls. But this is home for Dominican nuns, cloistered inside this Catholic monastery.

Author Maura Weiler researched cloistered nuns for her new book "Contrition," a fictional tale about two sisters separated at birth — one, a talented artist, who is a cloistered nun with a vow of silence.

Inside the Hollywood monastery, Sister Mary Pia explains what life is like as a real cloistered nun at the Monastery of the Angels.

Listen to the full story using the audio player above.

From human trafficking victim to survivor

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

For several years, Rama was virtually invisible to the outside world.

In 2003, she was sold by her late husband's family in southern India to work for a doctor in California. She was effectively housebound, working without pay for more than three years, with no real idea where she was.

"Every day I would hear, 'You don't have papers, we could do anything to you,'" she says.

She was eventually able to escape, working a series of other jobs below minimum wage in other doctors' homes for a few more years.

In 2012, she got help from the South Asian Network, or SAN. That's when she was able to get her T Visa, for victims of trafficking.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above to hear Rama's story.

From human trafficking victim to survivor

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

For several years, Rama was virtually invisible to the outside world.

In 2003, she was sold by her late husband's family in southern India to work for a doctor in California. She was effectively housebound, working without pay for more than three years, with no real idea where she was.

"Every day I would hear, 'You don't have papers, we could do anything to you,'" she says.

She was eventually able to escape, working a series of other jobs below minimum wage in other doctors' homes for a few more years.

In 2012, she got help from the South Asian Network, or SAN. That's when she was able to get her T Visa, for victims of trafficking.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above to hear Rama's story.

Dynamic camouflage will let soldiers hide like a squid

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:56

Some of the newest technology and development in camouflage is inspired by a 60-million-year-old creature: squid.

In a lab at UC Irvine, chemical engineering professor Alon Gorodetsky and his team are making synthetic squid protein using bacteria. The lab is recreating a protein called Reflectin — it's what allows squid to change color and disappear into their surroundings by manipulating light — in the hopes that it could someday be used by the military as part of more effective camouflage.

Gorodetsky is working on taking the purified protein to coat tape, stickers and other materials in an effort to use the natural camouflage properties outside the ocean. His work is part of a larger movement towards dynamic camouflage — camouflage that responds to external stimuli and adapts. 

The early versions of Reflectin-coated stickers appear to change color and reflect light in unique ways. A piece of shiny, coated material that normally has a metallic blue color will appear red if placed on a red piece of paper. The coating can take on colors across the spectrum, and can even reflect back infrared light, which most things can't. 

The Department of Defense and the Department of Energy have taken note of the animal-inspired research. Squid-protein coating could potentially help soldiers be less vulnerable to thermal or infrared detection, and could be used to create distinct tags or patterns so that team members could recognize one another in the dark, thus preventing friendly fire. 

The squid protein has multiple uses — Reflectin could also be used in clothing to help regulate body temperature to keep cool during a workout or to keep warm with a very thin jacket. That's what has the DOE and clothing company Under Armour so excited. Gorodetsky says the defense and energy applications for Reflectin complement each other.

"[They are] two sides of the same coin, whether you're working to control radiative emissions for energy applications or whether you're working to make it harder for someone to detect you, the technology will be quite similar," he says.

Gorodetsky says color-changing clothing could be on the way in the next decade, even further out to 30 or 40 years from now, camouflage could become even more adaptive.

"You could have a shirt that looks more like formal wear in one situation and then changes to look more like an informal T-shirt in another situation," he says.

Even though this type of research is in very early stages, Gorodetsky says the future of camouflage is dynamic.

"That's is really the exciting area to go into," he says. "Using natural systems and animals for inspiration, because the things that they can do in terms of camouflage are far beyond anything that we've been able to do artificially."

'Bali Nine' Ringleaders Could Face Indonesian Firing Squad Within Days

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:00

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the heroin-smuggling ring, are expected to get execution dates on Saturday. Indonesian law requires they receive 72 hours notice.

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Sexy, Simple, Satirical: 300 Years Of Picnics In Art

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:36

From Goya to Banksy, artists through the century have tackled modernity and its discontents through depictions of eating outdoors.

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Richard Corliss, 'Time' Film Critic, Dies At 71

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:14

The magazine said Corliss died Thursday night in New York following a stroke he suffered a week ago. Corliss reviewed films for the magazine for 35 years.

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2 Years After Garment Factory Collapse, Are Workers Any Safer?

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 06:59

At the site of the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh, families gathered to remember their loved ones and call for better working conditions. Changes have been made but there's a long way to go.

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Native American Actors Walk Off The Set Of Adam Sandler Comedy

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 06:37

The movie is the The Ridiculous Six, an apparent spoof of the classic Western The Magnificent Seven. The Native American actors say the movie's script insults native women, elders and Apaches.

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To Weather Criticism, It Helps To Think of The Big Picture

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 06:28

Negative feedback is supposed to be good for us, but it sure doesn't feel so good. Shifting the context by thinking more broadly helps blunt the sting, a study found. So does embracing change.

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Comcast Calls Off Merger With Time Warner

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 06:09

Comcast is abandoning its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable. For more details, Steve Inskeep speaks with NPR's Yuki Noguchi.

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Alleged Skipper Of Migrant Boat Appears In Italian Court

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 05:56

The 27-year-old man faces homicide and human trafficking charges. He says he was only a passenger, but survivors from the disaster that killed at least 700 are likely to testify that he was captain.

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Nursing home care is changing, and it may save money

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 05:42

Thanks to advances in medicine, elderly patients now live much longer. But they’re also much sicker, and skilled nursing facilities are often ill-equipped to handle patients in need of such high levels of care.

“Once they are discharged from the hospital and go to either home or to a skilled nursing facility, that kind of level of attention that kind of level of monitoring, that kind of level of immediate remediation just isn’t possible,” says David Reuben, UCLA School of Medicine’s chief of geriatrics.

The result is that growing numbers of medically fragile patients are sent by ambulance to local emergency rooms—over and over again.

It’s estimated that 20 to 30 percent of elderly patients discharged from the hospital find themselves back within a month, many of them arriving from nursing homes.

That’s frustrating for patients, and it’s expensive, says Brian White, President of Northwest Hospital in Baltimore. In an effort to reduce hospital readmissions White prompted his hospital to bring the doctors to the patients rather than the other way around.

“We’re looking at bringing those resources to the bedside, rather than putting the patient in an ambulance and bringing them to a facility that supposedly has those resources,” White says.

Dr. Raymond Miller works for a group of Maryland physicians called Post Acute Physician Partners – a group White helped launch in March of this year. On a recent day, Miller checked up on Dorothy Terkowitz, a patient at Levindale Geriatric Center in Baltimore, where she is recovering after a hospital stay.

As part of that outreach, Miller asks Terkowitz how she’s doing, if she is in any pain, if the rehab is helping.

Miller and his partners follow patients discharged from four Baltimore area hospitals to surrounding nursing facilities. They see patients like Terkowitz daily, with the goal of heading off problems before they become critical and land patients back in the hospital.

In a pilot project with a single nursing home over the last year, hospital readmissions were reduced by about half, says White. And while he says the cost of running the group just breaks even, it adds up to huge savings for the hospital.

"You’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars for every patient you can impact – times lots of patients," says White

White hopes Baltimore will serve as a model for other hospitals to imitate. But not everyone is quite so certain that blurring the lines between hospital and nursing homes will be the panacea he hopes.

Mary Tinetti, chief of geriatrics at Yale New Haven Hospital and Medical School, worries that there are some patients who are simply too sick for nursing homes. They will always need the hospital she says, and reproducing the hospital setting in nursing homes to care for these patients is less efficient and potentially more costly. Instead, Tinetti argues the real problem is that patients often believe they are getting better, when they aren’t.

“I think having a more frank and open discussion with these patients might mean that the care that they would prefer would change from having these frequent hospitalizations to perhaps moving to palliative care or even hospice care sooner than currently,” Tinetti says.

Tinetti says the real measure of quality is whether a patient’s care meets their goals – and that’s much harder to quantify than the number of patients coming back to the hospital.

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