National News

'The Interview,' Now Sony's Top Online Film Ever, Earns $15M

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 08:13

The film also earned nearly $3 million through screenings at 331 theaters. The comedy that was pulled from widespread release following threats was rented or bought more than 2 million times.

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Eileen Fisher: Timeless design 30 years later

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-29 07:57

Eileen Fisher started her clothing line in 1984 with $350 in savings and a few design ideas inspired by the kimono. Thirty years later, her company is thriving. She has 67 stores across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and she employs 1,200 people. Fisher supports women-run small businesses through grants and is collaborating with TakePart to share the stories of 30 female entrepreneurs in a series called "In Her Company."

Marketplace’s Adriene Hill talked to Fisher about the changes she’s seen in fashion and her company since she first began.

On how fashion has changed over the years:

What I’ve found that’s very interesting is that it’s sort of come full circle. We’re actually reproducing certain styles. We’re calling them icons that we did in the very first few lines that we designed.

We do watch the trends and we do think a lot about how our concept of timeless design belongs to the moment, so there’s an attention to trend while keeping in mind what will be timeless about this particular moment in time.

On her customer base:

I think our customer … I’d like to say she’s ageless and timeless and really a broad customer. In the early days, I would say she was an artist or therapist, maybe a teacher because there’s a certain creativity in how people wear the clothes. You put them together in a lot of different ways and also the idea of being ourselves, and therapists help us do that so therapists like the clothes.

Does Eileen ever use an alias?

With a few friends sometimes I do, but I won’t tell you what it is ... it’s funny because sometimes people will comment about my clothes or say something like … if someone takes my credit card they’ll say, “you know there’s a famous designer with your name,” and I’ll say, “Yeah, I know that” and I’ll just try to go anonymous [laughter] … because they don’t think that I would be her!

Republicans Sort Their Priorities For The New Congress

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 06:56

The GOP will take over both chambers of Congress on January 6th, with issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, Obamacare and immigration reform likely to take priority.

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"The Interview" makes history

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-29 06:53

“The Interview” seems like an unlikely film to be making history.  The screwball comedy is about a plot to kill the leader of North Korea.

But “The Interview” is reportedly Sony Pictures’ biggest-grossing online release ever.  The latest figures on how much consumers spent to download the film?  More than $15 million, and counting.  “The Interview” is giving a healthy nudge to a trend away from movie theaters.

“I don’t think a lot of people necessarily want to go to their suburban megaplex anymore and drop 12 bucks for a box of popcorn or whatever they charge these days,” says Dan Kennedy, who teaches journalism at Northeastern University.

It’s not clear how Sony shares the cash from “The Interview” with its online distributors.  But it usually splits ticket sales with theaters, 50, 50.   

Kennedy  doesn’t think the studios are cheering the demise of the multiplex.  He says if theaters go extinct, there will be one less distribution channel for films. 

But he says theaters could revive themselves with extras, like special audio effects, that would make going out to the movies a more high-end experience.

Pakistan Court Orders Conditional Release For Suspect In Mumbai Attack

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 06:39

Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi's lawyers argued that extended detention infringed on his rights because he had been granted bail by an anti-terrorism court. The Islamabad High Court agreed.

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Diversity In Space: Tracking The First Asian Pilot In The Star Wars Movies

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 06:33

The Asian characters in the original Star Wars films are few, fleeting and often forgotten. But the Manager of the Holocron at Lucasfilm helps uncover their back stories.

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Family Planning In Senegal: Which Imam Do You Listen To?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 06:31

In the village of Mereto, one imam is in favor of family planning while the other is not. Ngour Sen and his two wives, with a total of 11 children, knew which leader's advice they wanted to follow.

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Texted Reminders Help Parents Get Kids In For Flu Shots

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 06:30

It's hard enough to get kids in for one flu shot, let alone two. But when parents got texts that explained why the child needed a second dose, they were much more likely to get the job done.

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Looking To 2015, Economists See Five Reasons To Celebrate

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 05:54

Economists' forecasts for 2015 have gotten even more optimistic as oil prices have declined. Most now say inflation will remain low as hiring strengthens. That should lead to more consumer spending.

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As Night Falls, Still No Signs Of Missing AirAsia Airplane

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 05:35

As the search for the missing airliner entered its second day, Indonesia's vice president said he feared the worst may have happened. Authorities said, the search are would be expanded on Tuesday.

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Quiz: Higher ed’s biggest losers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-29 04:33

Enrollment at two and four-year colleges declined 1.3 percent between Fall 2013 and 2014, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

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5 Dead, Scores Still Stranded Aboard Burning Greek Ferry

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 02:46

Monday morning, rescue crews continued to airlift survivors to safety. Video from a coast guard helicopter showed a black plume of smoke billowing from the vessel.

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Walgreens poised to get bigger and go global

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-29 02:00

Walgreens – the biggest drugstore chain in the U.S. – is poised to become the biggest drugstore chain on the planet. Shareholders approved the final stage of a merger with European drugstore chain Alliance Boots by a 97 percent margin at a company shareholder meeting Monday morning.

All told, the merger is worth more than $21 billion. In a 2012 deal, Walgreens acquired 45 percent of Alliance Boots. The remaining 55 percent tranche of the deal went forward in mid-2014, and following shareholder approval, it will close Wednesday. Executives from Alliance Boots will be in significant leadership positions in the merged company.

Alliance Boots has more than 4,500 stores across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Walgreens has more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. But, according to retail consultant Burt Flickinger of the Strategic Resource Group, Walgreens has weaker discount-programs and worse-performing stores than its rivals, and it has lost ground in the domestic market.

“This merger really allows Walgreens-Alliance Boots to pole vault past CVS or anyone else in global competition,” says Flickinger.

Meanwhile, Walgreens could benefit from some of Boots’ higher-end European offerings, says John Palizza, a retired business professor and former Walgreens executive who owns shares in the company.

“Some of Boots' private-label is very high quality,” says Palizza. “Here in the U.S., when you see private label you typically to think, ‘Well, this is second tier.’”

Selling more premium store-brands could help Walgreens, says Palizza, since it’s the items that fill the aisles in the front of the store – groceries, household supplies, health-and-beauty products – that increasingly drive drugstore profits.

Walgreens to get bigger and go global

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-29 02:00

Walgreens—the biggest drugstore chain in the U.S.—is poised to become the biggest drugstore chain on the planet. Shareholders approved the final stage of a merger with European drugstore chain Alliance Boots by a 97 percent margin at a company shareholder meeting Monday morning.

All told, the merger is worth more than $21 billion. In a 2012 deal, Walgreens acquired 45 percent of Alliance Boots. The remaining 55 percent tranche of the deal went forward in mid-2014, and following shareholder approval, it will close on December 31. Executives from Alliance Boots will be in significant leadership positions in the merged company.

Alliance Boots has more than 4,500 stores across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Walgreens has more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. But, according to retail consultant Burt Flickinger of the Strategic Resource Group, Walgreens has weaker discount-programs and worse-performing stores than its rivals and it has lost ground in the domestic market.

“This merger really allows Walgreens-Alliance Boots to pole vault past CVS or anyone else in global competition,” says Flickinger.

Meanwhile, Walgreens could benefit from some of Boots’ higher-end European offerings, says John Palizza, a retired business professor and former Walgreens executive who still owns shares in the company.

“Some of Boots' private-label is very high quality,” says Palizza. “Here in the U.S., when you see private label you typically to think, ‘Well, this is second tier.’”

Selling more premium store-brands could help Walgreens, says Palizza, since it’s the items that fill the aisles in the front of the store—groceries, household supplies, health-and-beauty products—that increasingly drive drugstore profits.

Staying ahead of the curve on cyberthreats

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-29 02:00

When hackers are increasingly organized and effective, what can a government do to protect citizens? Investing in open security architecture may be one option.

Transcript: President Obama's Full NPR Interview

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 01:02

Steve Inskeep's wide-ranging interview with President Obama covers recent executive actions on Cuba and immigration, race relations in the U.S., health care and extending democracy in the Middle East.

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Obama Finds Reset Button With 2 Years To Go: Is It Too Late?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 01:01

The president knows he was once regarded as having limitless promise, and realizes as well how disappointed many of his acolytes have been.

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Despite Election Defeat, Obama Sees Room To Push His Agenda

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 01:00

President Obama begins his administration's final phase the way he began several others: recovering from disaster, in this case the loss of the Senate. He's striving to show he won't be a lame duck.

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First Survivors Rescued From Burning Greek Ferry Arrive In Italy

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 00:50

Some 150 people remained trapped on the smoke-filled vessel adrift in frigid temperatures and rough seas between Italy and Albania.

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Teaching Friends And Family How To Reverse A Drug Overdose

NPR News - Sun, 2014-12-28 23:36

Quick treatment with Narcan can save a life after an overdose of heroin or opioid pain pills. The year 2014 saw more cops, drug users and their families carrying Narcan "rescue kits."

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