National News

Quiz: Who’s in charge here

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 08:12

Almost two-thirds of school administrators are women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Calif. Lawyer Proposes Ballot Initiative To Kill Gays And Lesbians

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 07:49

The "Sodomite Suppression Act" is unlikely to get a vote, but it's making waves in the Golden State, where all it takes is $200 and a few hundred thousand signatures to get on a ballot.

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Feds Claim Obamacare Launch Is Hindering Government Transparency

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 07:31

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a backlog of some 3,000 FOIA requests and says it may need 10 years or more to dig out from under some large cases.

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Quality-Testing Legal Marijuana: Strong But Not Always Clean

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 07:22

Early efforts to test legal marijuana are finding that it's got lots of buzzworthy THC. But it can also have fungus, chemical residue and bacteria. What that means for health and safety isn't clear.

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Even In Nursing, Men Earn More Than Women

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 07:01

Almost all registered nurses are women, but men in the profession are paid more, a study finds. The differences were especially startling in outpatient settings and for nurse anesthetists.

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TB Patients That The World Writes Off Are Getting Cured In Peru

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 06:41

When a person is diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, the treatment is so long and painful that some countries decide it's not worth bothering. Partners In Health disagrees.

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Old-timey Slang: 'Polking' Was A Vulgar Word

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 06:18

Slang words come and go — and some stay on forever.

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Germanwings Jet Crashes In The French Alps

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 06:05

The plane, an Airbus A320 run by a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa, went down with 150 people aboard. French President Francois Hollande voiced fears that there would be no survivors.

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Angelina Jolie Pitt Has Ovaries Removed, Citing Cancer Fears

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 04:32

Writing in The New York Times, the actress, who had a preventive double mastectomy two years ago, said she carried a gene that gave her an elevated risk of cancer.

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The "Angelina Jolie effect" on medical testing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 03:01

Two years ago, actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie wrote in the New York Times of her decision to have a double mastectomy. The surgery was preventative. Jolie carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, heightening her risk of breast cancer. In the months after the op-ed appeared, researchers discovered what they now call the "Angelina Jolie effect." 

"What we noticed is that very soon after Angelina Jolie went public with her risk-reducing surgery for her breasts, that there was a massive increase in referrals to clinics dealing with inherited breast cancer," said Gareth Evans, a professor of genomic medicine at Manchester University. His research focused on women in the UK, but he said similar trends were found  in the U.S., Australia and Malaysia. 

Today, in another op-ed, Jolie writes of her choice to have her Fallopian tubes and ovaries removed. Evans says he suspects clinics will see a similar bump in referrals. Many medical professionals have pointed out that Jolie's particular medical circumstances are uncommon, but say that awareness, as long as it is informed, is a positive thing.

PODCAST: Spicing things up

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 03:00

We haven't lost the thread that low gasoline prices are helping American pocketbooks and businesses that consume fossil fuel. But we are also watching the effects on an oil and gas industry. And guess who's warning loudly about the potential health effects of electronic cigarettes. More on that. Plus, all over the news today, a new study suggesting that whole grains in the diet is associated with people living longer. Eating healthier is also pushing people to cook more instead of just pulling something out of the freezer. This trend has been good to the spice company, McCormick where profits out today beat estimates. 

All the news that's fit to print...on Facebook

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 03:00

The New York Times is reporting that Facebook is in talks with a group of news organizations that might start publishing their content directly on the social network. Right now, publishers post links to Facebook that bring users to the original content on the publisher's websites.

This new kind of arrangement could have big implications for the publishing partners, which reportedly include the New York Times. And Mike Isaac, technology reporter at the Times and broke this story, says one big change could be an impact to the advertising model. 

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French Prime Minister: Nearly 150 On Board Crashed Airliner Feared Dead

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 03:00

A Germanwings plane with 142 passengers and six crew members has crashed in the Alps, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. The aircraft was traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany.

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Report: Israel Spied On U.S. Nuclear Talks With Iran

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-24 02:47

The Wall Street Journal says Israel spied on the talks and passed on the information to U.S. lawmakers in the hopes of undermining the deal. Israel denies spying on the talks.

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Shell's Arctic drilling questioned over safety concerns

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 02:00

The U.S. government won’t confirm, but it’s widely expected to reaffirm a controversial Arctic oil lease sale by the end of March.

Shell Oil wants to drill for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea, despite major equipment failures and accidents a few years ago. The Interior Department has proposed tighter rules for Arctic drilling, including a containment dome nearby, in case of a blowout.

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Your yard is getting smarter, too

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 02:00

The internet of things is coming to your front lawn...literally. The market for devices that can connect your yard may be new, but it’s already rather interesting.

“ It all comes down to sensor technology,” says Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief at “Sensors are getting small and cheap, and now they can be embedded in things like the ‘Eden.’”

The ‘Eden,” Turrentine says, is similar to a large stake that goes into the soil, and is powered by solar energy. Once it’s in the soil, it monitors soil and plants to keep track of nutrients, moisture, and whatever else you may need to know to maintain your yard.

“You can also partner it up with a smart valve,” says Turrentine. The valve connects to a hose or watering device, which helps ‘Eden’ turn on the water when it determines that the plants need water.

What else might  be in store for smart yards in the future?  

“These companies are just starting to figure out the answers to really tough problems,” says Turrentine. “How do you get your outdoor sensors to work over your home wifi? How do you keep water from damaging these devices?"

As they solve these problems, she says, more such devices will start to appear in the market.

“These things are going to be much more accessible in probably five years, maybe ten,” says Turrentine.


Health-conscious consumers reach for spices

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 02:00

Food industry analysts say Americans increasingly prefer home-cooked meals with fresh, simple ingredients. It’s the food that you find in the refrigerated sections on the perimeter of grocery stores, rather than the processed foods stacked on shelves in the middle aisles.

“The center of the store represents items that have not performed as well as those on the perimeter,” says Darren Seifer, a food and beverage analyst at the NPD Group.

That's not great news for some big food companies. But analysts say the spice industry, on the other hand, is getting a boost. People use spices to accent their fresh veggies and meats.

“The overall spice industry is growing mid to single digit type rates — let's call it 3-5 percent — whereas the packaged food guys are barely growing volumes or are slightly negative,” says Brian Yarbrough, a research analyst with Edward Jones.

Yarbrough says the U.S. spice and seasonings industry is a roughly $5 billion market. And it's dominated by McCormick & Company. Yarbrough says while McCormick is benefitting from healthy eating trends, it's losing market share to smaller niche brands and to competitors like Walmart and Safeway, which offer store brands. They're often cheaper.

“It's private label and a lot of these smaller players combined that are definitely impacting the McCormick Business,” he says.

Jeanette Beger, 32, of St. Paul, Minn., is the kind of consumer that McCormick may want to woo. She’s one of the millennials food industry analysts say were driven into their kitchens when the Great Recession rendered dining out unaffordable.

“We use a lot of spices,” Beger says, as she and her toddler spoon turmeric and coriander into a frying pan for a curry dish.

But a glimpse inside Beger's spice cabinet shows how McCormick is losing ground. Only two of the couple dozen spice containers are labeled McCormick. Beger buys niche brands and bulk spices from the local co-op.

Erin Lash, an analyst with Morningstar, says McCormick is trying to get health-conscious consumers like Beger to notice its products in the fresh food sections of stores.

“Over the past year, the company has worked to reposition their products outside the center of the store and place those next to produce and proteins to get them in front of consumers and be that next purchase,” she says.

Brian Yarbrough at Edward Jones says McCormick has been successful acquiring smaller spice makers and may also lean on that strategy as “an avenue of growth.”


Big tobacco says your e-cigarette may kill you

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 02:00

Back in 1994, the heads of the largest tobacco corporations were called before Congress to testify about the effects of tobacco. Each and every executive said they believed nicotine was not addictive. But today we know that the tobacco industry was aware of nicotine's addictiveness—and tobacco's harm—for decades.

So a recent push to put strong warning labels on e-cigarettes and to place them behind the counter, away from children's hands, may seem like big tobacco has had a change of heart. But experts say they believe large tobacco companies are trying to dominate the e-cigarette market by pushing smaller competitors out of business.

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Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-24 01:53
11 months

This month, China's factory sector saw its lowest number in 11 months. As Reuters reports, it could be a sign that China's economy, the second largest in the world, is slowing.


That's how many GOP presidential contenders count Ted Cruz as one of their Twitter followers. Cruz became the first major candidate to officially enter the race Monday, and he's keeping tabs on other hopefuls including Scott Walker, Rick Perry and Chris Christie. Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal don't make the cut, and Christie doesn't follow back. Bloomberg has a fun interactive graphic of all the potential candidates' Twitter info, including the only GOP contender who follows Barack Obama.

$5 billion

That's the worth of the U.S. spice industry, which is primarily dominated by McCormick & Company. It's a good time to be in the spice business - with more families choosing to cook at home instead of eating out, there's an increased interest in spicing up those home-cooked meals. But with the rise of smaller brands, as well as stores producing their own products, companies like McCormick & Company are trying to make their way out of the center of the grocery store and into the produce and protein sections where health-conscious consumers are shopping.

12 hours

The maximum amount of time a cruise ship crew has to clear out all passengers, clean, restock and otherwise turn over what is essentially a small floating city before setting off again. It's a hectic process that runs on astounding efficiency and gets more complicated as the industry builds larger and larger vessels. The New York Times profiles "turnaround day" for  one 6,000-passenger ship.

3 years

That's how long you could potentially go to prison for sending an email that "causes annoyance." Section 66A, a law in India, outlines severe punishment for online activity such as commenting on social networks. As the BBC reports, the Supreme Court in India ruled to strike down the law on Tuesday, saying that it violated people's constitutional right to free speech.

84 percent

The median cell phone ownership in 32 emerging and developing countries, according to a new Pew Research report. Internet access is not nearly as widespread, the survey found, still concentrated in the young and educated in richer countries.

Many Doctors Who Diagnose Alzheimer's Fail To Tell The Patient

NPR News - Mon, 2015-03-23 23:42

Only about half of Medicare patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's are told of the diagnosis by their doctor, a study finds. That compares to 90 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer.

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