National News

Kill The Messenger: NASA Orbiter Set To Crash Into Mercury Thursday

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:41

Messenger was launched from Earth back in 2004. After 4,104 orbits of Mercury and billions of miles of space travel, the orbiter will end its mission with a quiet bang Thursday.

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France Investigates Claims Its Soldiers Abused Children In Africa

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:38

President Francois Hollande warns of consequences if the allegations about the abuse in the Central African Republic are true. The U.N. worker who publicly revealed the abuse has been suspended.

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A Forgotten Tradition: May-Basket Day

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:38

For at least a century or so, April flowers led to showers of May-baskets on the front-door knobs of American homes.

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The Great Success And Enduring Dilemma Of Cervical Cancer Screening

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:28

The Pap smear has dramatically decreased rates of cervical cancer, but testing too often has a downside, too. Many women say they aren't yet ready to follow new guidelines and skip the annual tests.

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More Than 90 Writers Join Protest Of Free Speech Award For 'Charlie Hebdo'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:17

Dozens of writers have now signed an open letter that condemns the attacks on the French satirical magazine, but questions whether it deserves a free speech prize for its willingness to offend.

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Health Plans Often Fail To Provide Free Coverage For Women's Health

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 07:05

Insurers dispute that notion that the problems are widespread. Consumers and advocates have complained to insurers, and some policies have been changed.

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Is Bashar Assad Just Losing Some Ground ... Or His Grip On Power?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 06:26

After four years of the ebbs and flows in Syria's civil war, rebel fighters are pushing back Assad's forces. He's having trouble replacing soldiers. And his allies may be providing less support.

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Safe Surgery Is A Dream In The Developing World

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 06:21

One third of global deaths occur because people don't have access to safe surgery, a study finds. Dirty operating rooms and unskilled attendants make going under the knife extremely risky.

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'Charlie Hebdo' Cartoonist Says He Will No Longer Draw Prophet Muhammad

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 05:55

"He no longer interests me," Luz said in an interview. Militants attacked the magazine Jan. 7, killing editorial staff and others, in apparent retaliation for its depiction of their prophet.

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Bullfighting For Buddhists: A Less Bloody Alternative In South Korea

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 04:26

There are no matadors, no swords and little gore, just two bulls butting heads at the country's annual bullfighting festival. In the end, neither creatures dies, they just "express their emotions."

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10 Men Sent To Prison Over Shooting Of Malala In 2012

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 04:05

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has sent 10 men to prison for 25-year terms for their roles in the near-fatal attack on activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012.

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Rescue Brings A Bit Of Good News To Nepal's Capital After Earthquake

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-30 03:36

For five days, a teenager in Kathmandu was covered in the rubble of a seven-story building that was hit by Saturday's powerful tremor. On Thursday, rescue crews pulled him to safety.

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PODCAST: Bernanke joins PIMCO

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-30 03:00

The number of people signing up for unemployment benefits hit a 15 year low in the last week. More on that. Plus, more on the efforts to get aid to Nepal with AmeriCares CEO Michael Nyenhuis. And former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is joining PIMCO as an advisor. We look at what this means.

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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