National News

As Elections Approach, Greece Teeters On Austerity Question

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:09

Six days from parliamentary elections, Greece is weighing whether to continue its EU-imposed — and unpopular — austerity program. Former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou discusses the issue.

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What's Most Likely To Kill You? Hint: Probably Not An Epidemic

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:09

Noncommunicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease are now the biggest killers on earth. They account for 68 percent of deaths — and have an even greater impact in the developing world.

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U.S. Solar Industry Sees Growth, But Also Some Uncertainty

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:09

The solar industry employs nearly 174,000 workers in the U.S., up 22 percent from a year ago. But the industry's future is murky, as government subsidies are set to expire within two years.

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After Aurora Shooting, A 'New Way Of Responding' To Mental Crises

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:09

In response to the 2012 theater killings, Colorado added clinics, hotlines and mobile units to support early crisis prevention. At the heart of the initiative are 13 walk-in crisis centers.

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As Students Go Back To School In Guinea, Ebola Fears Mix WIth Daily Routine

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:09

Schools in Guinea have been closed since the summer, when they were closed due to the Ebola outbreak. As schools finally re-open Monday, one family in the capital, Conakry, is striving to revive its early-morning routine.

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On Eve Of Bombshell Testimony, Argentinian Prosecutor Found Dead

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:09

Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor investigating Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has been found dead. He'd accused Kirchner and others of covering up Iran's involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish Community Center. Haley Cohen of The Economist speaks with Robert Siegel about the story.

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Chipotle's Pulled Pork Highlights Debate Over Sow Welfare

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:07

Wondering why your local Chipotle is no longer serving pork? It's because a big supplier was housing pigs in confined quarters. But there's debate about whether that's really worse for the animals.

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NFL's Wilfork Lifts Driver Out Of Crashed Car, Hours After AFC Title Game

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:06

Massachusetts State Police say New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork stopped at an accident Sunday night and helped lift a woman out of a crashed car "with one hand."

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Whistleblowers Say DOJ Grants Failed To Protect Kids Behind Bars

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:03

A Senate panel is investigating the use of federal grant money to states that incarcerated children alongside adult criminals. Whistleblowers have spent years flagging problems with the program.

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Want to track a snowplow? There's an app for that.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-19 11:22

When a couple of inches of snow fell a few weeks ago in Washington, D.C., the new mayor took some heat – as mayors often do – for the poor condition of the city streets.

Now Chicago, New York and Seattle are among the cities to have smartphone apps that can be used to track snowplows in real time using GPS data, according to an AP report.

It is "a way to show skeptics that plow drivers are working hard and not just clearing the streets of the wealthy and well-connected," the report says.

But the data can be misleading. One woman in Chicago said the app indicated a snowplow had gone down her street. It had ... but the plow had its blade up.

The rich get richer, with no end in sight

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-19 11:12

In a new report, Oxfam says that by 2016, the wealthiest 1% of people may control more than 50% of the world's wealth.

Inequality has proven to be a durable and thorny problem, and economists are divided over how to tackle it. Some argue for the "redistribution" of wealth, in the form of higher taxes on the rich, or increased subsidies for the poor.

Some say it's better to tackle the root causes of inequality, like the millions of Americans stuck in low-wage jobs. They argue that better education and training are needed to prepare workers for better-paid jobs in science and technology.

Others, meanwhile, argue there's no problem. And while politicians and experts debate the issue, inequality is likely to grow.

How Obama plans to tax the biggest banks

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-19 11:11

President Obama will address both houses of Congress and the American people Tuesday to discuss the State of the Union.

The address is expected to touch on tax reform, including new tax credits for families with two working parents; bigger, simpler tax credits for child care, college and retirement; and a plan to pay for it all with higher taxes on what the administration calls the "wealthiest." That includes the wealthiest people, with tax hikes on capital gains and inheritances, but also the wealthiest financial institutions: Those with at least $50 billion in assets.

More specifically, it's a tax on bank debt. Stanford professor of economics and finance Anat Admati explains this could help push back perverse incentives in the current tax code, which encourage banks to do business with borrowed money. But it's an approach that has been proposed before, as recently as 2010 when it was called the "Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee." It failed back then, and Joel Slemrod, professor of economics and director of the Office of Tax Policy Research at the University of Michigan, says with Republicans in charge of Congress, it doesn't have a chance.


Momentum builds to repeal medical device tax

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-19 11:09

In Washington, momentum may be building to repeal an important funding source for the Affordable Care Act – a 2.3 percent sales tax on an array of medical devices – everything from surgical gloves to artificial joints.

The industry has raised an army to battle the provision on Capitol Hill and spent more than $200 million since 2008 on the effort.

The manufacturers’ campaign is just the latest example of why it’s hard to reform an industry that’s crying out for change.

Origin Unknown: Study Says Blast Of Radio Waves Came From Outside Our Galaxy

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 10:36

Scientists call them "fast radio bursts," or FRBs, mysterious pulses of radio waves coming from far, far away. Researchers in Australia say they've observed one in real time.

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From Detox To Elimination Diets, Skipping Sugar May Be The Best Bet

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 10:06

Detox diets are a hot trend, but scientists say there's really no evidence that they are necessary or helpful. One strategy that does make sense: Cut back on sugar. We tell you why.

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Classroom Reflections On America's Race Relations

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 09:36

A middle-school classroom in Michigan takes on the complicated issue of race and justice in society. The students, all of whom are black, worry what happened to Trayvon Martin could happen to them.

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Prosecutor Who Accused Argentine President Of Cover-Up Is Found Dead

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 08:53

The federal prosecutor was found dead from a gunshot wound, one day before he was to testify about an alleged cover-up after a deadly terrorist bombing at a Jewish center in Argentina.

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NFL Investigates Reports Of Deflated Balls After Patriots Rout Colts

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-19 07:05

In wet and slippery conditions, an under-inflated ball could be easier to grip and catch. Quarterback Tom Brady calls the allegations "ridiculous."

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The daily rituals of creative people

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-19 05:41

There are only 24 hours in a day, but it sure seems like certain people are able to do way more with their time than the rest of us. Some of us barely have time to do the laundry, while others write plays or compose symphonies. 

Mason Currey writes about 161 creative minds, among them are painters, composers, philosophers and poets, in his book, "Daily Rituals: How Artists Work." He finds that many of these artists and geniuses accomplished so much each day because they used their time wisely and efficiently, and practiced rituals.

"People would find that a certain habit was associated with a period of productivity or great insight and they would often, kind of relentlessly stick to that one ritual in a sort of superstitious fashion believing that it somehow enabled their creativity," Currey says.

PODCAST: The World Economic Forum

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-19 03:00

It's the time of year when our January mood is lifted by the notion that other people are having a nice conference near the ski slopes in Switzerland. The annual world economic forum is convening in Davos at a time that the U.S. has been resurgent when other key economies are losing steam. Plus, a conversation with one of America's top entrepreneurs on the challenges that face female CEOs. And later this year, the US and the UK are set to conduct cyber war games with each other. It'll test the hardiness of the financial sector. More on that.