National News

Obama: U.S. Military In Chad To Aid Search For Missing Schoolgirls

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 11:39

The president tells Congress that 80 U.S. armed forces personnel have been deployed to the central African nation to help locate the nearly 300 girls kidnapped last month in Nigeria.

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The Vegetables Most Americans Eat Are Drowning In Salt And Fat

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 11:17

Potatoes and tomatoes are nutritious and delicious. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that Americans tend to consume way too many of them in unhealthy ways, like french fries and pizza.

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Which cities will profit off the Star Wars museum?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 11:15
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 07:38 Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Darth Vader and George Lucas (R) onstage during Spike TV's 'SCREAM 2011' awards held at Universal Studios in 2011 in Universal City, California. San Francisco and Chicago are currently bidding for a chance to host George Lucas' Lucas Curltural Arts Museum in their city.

Chicago wants to lure director George Lucas to build his Lucas Cultural Arts Museum in the Windy City instead of San Francisco.

“We expect that the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum would generate between $2 and $2.5 billion in direct economic impact over ten years,” says Gillian Darlow, who co-chaired a task force to find a site for the museum in Chicago.

Attracting visitors is a pretty safe bet. Star Wars fans are devoted and they spend money. (A full storm-trooper costume can cost upwards of $1,200.)

But some conservationists and football fans aren’t crazy about the proposed site for the museum -- currently, it’s the Chicago Bears’ parking lot.

Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday May 22,2014by Jeff TylerPodcast Title Which cities will profit off the Star Wars museum?Story Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

It May Not Be A Tea Party Year, But Outsiders Are Still Thriving

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 11:12

It's clear this year that this will not be another 2010 or 2012, when upstarts embarrassed the GOP's conventional favorites in primary after primary.

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Russia, China Secure Nearly Half-Trillion-Dollar Gas Deal

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:17

The 30-year agreement involves supplying 38 billion cubic meters of gas a year via a Siberian pipeline starting in 2018.

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Will women CEOs still stand out in 2024?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:10

You’ve probably been hearing the name “Jill Abramson” a lot lately.

The former New York Times Executive Editor’s firing last week has started a new conversation about an old problem in the corporate world: the fact that there are hardly any female CEOs.

“I don’t think this is primarily some kind of Oliver Stone-like conspiracy,” says  Nancy Koehn, a historian at the Harvard Business School. “I think it's primarily that the tributaries that feed into the river of talent haven’t -- until recently -- been replete with talented women. Not because they aren’t out there in droves -- they are -- but because [they have] only recently come into the kinds of management jobs which feed top leadership talent.”

Koehn says women traditionally haven’t worked as much in the direct roles like sales and research that lead to executive jobs. She says General Motors CEO Mary Barra is an example of what can happen when women buck that trend.

“[She] didn’t stay in HR. She didn’t stay in PR or Legal. Instead, [she] was moved around into Manufacturing and Research...She had a full plate of professional positions that made her a great candidate to run this huge auto company.”

Koehn says it won’t be long until stories like Barra’s aren’t a rarity.

“[This] kind of social change isn’t a line. It's a curve. It's slow to begin with, like the adoption of a new technology, and then it ratchets up. And it has all these spillover effects. Talented women mentor other women. They mentor other women. The curve gets very steep very quickly.”

Turns out, shame and fear don't fight cancer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:01

Shame and fear – that’s the way marketers have traditionally tried to convince women to strip down in a cold room and squish their breasts between two plastic paddles.

Dr. Steve Woloshin, a professor of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, remembers one American Cancer Society ad from the 1980s that stated, "If you’re a woman over 35 and you haven’t had a mammogram, you need more than your breasts examined.”

“That was the classic persuasive message telling women if you don’t get screened, you’re crazy, you need your head examined," Woloshin says.

Scaring women about cancer is still the norm, but that could be shifting.

No Scolding Allowed

"Avoid anxiety": That's the mantra at the country’s largest breast imaging company in the country – Texas-based Solis Women’s Health.

At Solis Women’s Health centers across the U.S., employees don’t just steer clear of scaring women, they avoid talking cancer at all.

"Fear is not a motivator. It’s typically something that will cause people to procrastinate,” says Kate Maguire, president of Motivation Mechanics, a group of Philadelphia-based research and marketing strategists who worked for Solis Women’s Health.

After interviewing women about what they wanted in a mammography experience, Maguire – whose grandmother and mother had breast cancer – outlined a major marketing makeover.

The Makeover

Here are a few examples of what Solis Women’s Health changed:

Terminology: Women are referred to as visitors, instead of patients.

Clinic Layout: There are two different hallways, one for women coming in for a standard screening and another for women who have been called back for additional imaging. This helps reduce anxiety for the women who are nervous after being called back, Maguire says, because they don't see people leaving faster. 

Tagline: The old tagline at Solis was “Annual mammograms, it’s what smart women do.” That phrase, says VP of marketing Greg Scott, was a "bad girl message.”

Now, the tagline is “When you’re ready, we’ll be there for you.” 

Cost & Convenience

Breast imaging is big business. A report from Frost & Sullivan estimates revenues of $1 billion in 2011, and an expected rise to $1.4 billion in 2016.

But, from a business perspective, there are two main barriers to getting women in the door for screenings: financial and emotional. The Affordable Care Act, by making mammograms a fully-covered service, has cut the cost obstacle.

Now, there’s the psychological barrier – which companies like Solis Women’s Health are trying to counter by alleviating the fear that comes with scheduling and going through with a mammogram.

Marketing director Greg Scott says, by offering convenient, fast visits and fast results (within 24-48 hours by email if there is no additional screening required) his company is pushing past the competition.

Solis Women’s Health saw about 240,000 women in 2013, Scott says, and for the first quarter of 2014, growth was more than 10 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth and 4 percent nationwide.

Conflicting Messages

Steve Woloshin of Dartmouth says deciding whether to get a mammogram is much more complicated than any glossy brochure may suggest.

“The reason it’s controversial is the evidence supporting mammography, even though intuitively it seems like it’s got to be the right thing to do, the evidence we have isn’t so clear cut.”

Mammograms do save lives, Woloshin says, but they can also have downsides: false alarms, follow-up testing, and over-diagnosis.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says for every 10,000 women, mammograms probably save five lives of women in their 40s, ten lives of women in their 50s, and 42 lives of women in their 60s. Meanwhile, half of women screened for ten years have a “false positive” – a suspicious mammogram that leads to a repeat test or biopsy on a healthy breast.

Ultimately, decisions on whether or not to get a mammogram, he says, should be individualized. And the decision should be based on information, rather than fear.

On The Trail Of Durian, Southeast Asia's 'Crème Brûlée On A Tree'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:39

A young couple got hooked on durians after one life-changing bite in 2009. And after two years of tracking the stinky sweet fruit through Southeast Asia, they've become experts on durian tourism.

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5 Convicted In 2006 Killing Of Famed Russian Journalist

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:38

Anna Politkovskaya was known for her coverage of corruption and the war in Chechnya. An earlier trial had resulted in acquittal but a Moscow jury on Tuesday found five men guilty in the murder case.

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Saying It Was Hacked, EBay Urges Users To Change Passwords

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:23

EBay says that it hasn't seen any sign of fraudulent activity since the breach was detected "about two weeks ago." It says it stores financial data and customer records in different places.

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How much would it cost us to eliminate the penny?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:14

I'll go on the record as saying I personally am in favor of getting rid of the penny. I've got a jarful in my office just collecting dust.

And really over the course of a year how much difference would rounding up or down to the nearest nickel really make, anyway?

As it happens, we have an answer to that question: 

Canada began phasing out its penny at the beginning of last year and a Quebec man kept track of how much he was gaining or losing over a year. Grand total? He was 89 cents ahead after 365 cash transactions.

So there you go: I say get rid of it.

Oregon Voters Approve Local Bans On GMO Crops

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:04

Despite heavy spending by agribusiness and potential legal hurdles, voters in two rural Oregon counties approved bans on genetically modified crops on Tuesday.

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City Nixes Move To Outlaw Bullying Up To Age 25

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 08:21

The city council of Carson City had given unanimous initial approval of a bill making it a misdemeanor crime to bully anyone from kindergarten age up to 25 years old.

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In Primary Races, Republicans Fight Back Tea Party

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 08:10

Six states held primaries on Tuesday, and the results were good for the GOP establishment. Host Michel Martin learns more about the results from NPR Politics Editor Charles Mahtesian.

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Does It 'Suck To Be A Fat Girl'?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 08:08

A recent episode of FX show Louie raised some controversial questions about women, weight and body image. Did the episode miss the mark? Our panel of writers and bloggers weigh in.

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Are India's Elections A Wake Up Call For The Diaspora?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 08:07

An overwhelming win for India's conservative opposition party could profoundly change the direction of the world's largest democracy. But what do Indian Americans think?

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Nigerians Fear 'Things Are Falling Apart Right Before Their Eyes'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 08:07

Five weeks after hundreds of Nigerian school girls were abducted by the extremist group Boko Haram, bomb blasts have hit two cities. Journalist Chika Oduah gives an update on the volatile situation.

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The 1,000-Year-Old Schism That Pope Francis Seeks To Heal

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 07:52

The Catholic and Orthodox churches split in 1054. In the Holy Land this week, the pope and Orthodox leaders will meet to try to start restoring unity. But not everyone is eager for reconciliation.

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Your coffee cup probably isn't recyclable… yet

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 07:45

Fancy drinks—your lattes, mochas and the like—have been getting fancier cups lately. Double-walled paper, compostable, recycled... you name it. As a result, the paper cup industry is on the rise, and it’s edging out the old go-to in to-go cups, polystyrene, usually known as styrofoam.

At an International Paper factory in Kenton, Ohio, 16-ounce coffee cups fly through tubes along the ceiling and land in neat stacks. The paper giant plans to spend over $60 million to expand its plant floor in central Ohio and add 125 jobs by mid-2015.

“It’s very exciting, we’re in a growth business right now, there is increased demand for our products and there has been for a number of years running,” says Michael Lenihan, director of sales for food services at IP.

The buzzword: sustainability.

“Right now, it seems like the consumer is saying, 'We want sustainably-sourced products that are made from renewable resources',” Lenihan says.

The interest in renewable resources has been bad news for foam products: lately some big names like McDonald's and Jamba Juice have tossed polystyrene cups and gone to paper, under pressure from environmental groups. In 2013, New York City banned polystyrene food packaging.

Meanwhile, demand for paper cup stock has risen to fill the gap. According to the American Forest and Paper Association, production for domestic use of cup stock rose 16 percent in the last five years. Containerboard production is also growing due to the increasing popularity of online shopping and the associated shipping. Good old-fashioned paper and newspaper have taken a hit, but International Paper is making up for it in other areas.

International Paper’s various products have a lot of green labels: The company works with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to use certified sustainable forests for some products, and they produce compostable EcoTainer cups and 10 percent post-consumer recycled cups. All that could make you feel vaguely good about your double macchiato, to go.

But foam—the kind you’d probably know as styrofoam (which is actually a brand name trademarked to Dow, not a generic product name)—is also trying to get on that green wagon.

“Most of this is really a perception issue,” says Michael Westerfield, the head of recycling for Dart, a major foam cup producer. Polystyrene foam is known for being hard to dispose of. But Westerfield says foam is mostly air, so it actually takes less energy than paper to produce and ship. And it can be recycled in some places; Dart even runs a few recycling plants itself.

“There’s no doubt that foam has environmental attributes that are very favorable when compared to paper,” Westerfield argues. Dart recently acquired Solo, which makes paper, plastic and foam cups, and Westerfield says the company is working on recycling solutions in all areas.

How to sort through all this potential garbage? Product safety company UL is one of several companies that do independent sustainability analyses for companies, making its own business out of sorting through green claims.

“Some of these debates, like paper versus plastic or paper versus styrofoam always somewhat amuse me,” says Scot Case, director of markets development for UL Environment. He says foam has well-known issues, but paper has hidden costs—it does take a lot of water and energy to make paper. So when you look at the whole life cycle, says Case, the answer is: bring your own cup.

“A reusable mug, a reusable glass tends to trump either of those options,” Case says, even accounting for the water and energy used to manufacture and wash the reusable cup. 

With both foam and paper, there's also the matter of where all those billions of cups end up. Over at Rumpke Recycling in Dayton, marketing director David Schwendeman points at a giant pile of bottles, cans, paper—birds are picking through for food.

“We’re a middleman,” he says. “We don’t have a magical black box to take things and make ‘em into something.”

To recycle a product he needs to be able to sell it to someone, and a lot of paper cups are coated in plastic or contaminated with liquid residue. In most (but not all) U.S. Cities, they are no more recyclable than foam. In addition, compostable cups generally have to be composted in an industrial composting facility; unless you live in a city that does pick-up for a composting facility, your compostable cup is probably headed to a landfill, where it may never actually break down.

A promise by Starbucks to make all of its cups recyclable in Starbucks stores by 2015 has been delayed; Starbucks acknowledges on its website that it has “struggled to implement this single solution.”

So your coffee cup might seem greener than the next disposable thing, but here at Rumpke Recycling, it’s just clogging up the system.

“It’s probably a percentage... that end up in the mix,” says David Schwendeman, “but there’s also a percentage that end up in the landfill.”

When Doctors Play This Game, You Get Better Medical Care

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 07:44

Who doesn't like a contest, especially if it lets you prove that you're smarter than your peers? When doctors played a game that tests their knowledge, patients' blood pressure control improved.

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