National News

Will Camu Camu Be The Next Amazonian 'It' Fruit?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 07:38

Camu camu will soon dethrone açai — an Amazonian berry that's made its mark in the crowded health food market. Or so its promoters are claiming. We asked NPR's Brazil bureau to investigate.

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In Worst Attack In Years, 89 Afghans Killed By Suicide Bomber

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 07:36

The attack occurred Tuesday morning near a market in the eastern province of Paktika. At a time of political uncertainty, deadly attacks are taking place on a near-daily basis.

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Why Google and Novartis are teaming up

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-15 07:00

First, there was Google Glass. Now, Google is getting into contact lenses, teaming up with the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis. 

They're working on smart lenses that will be able to monitor blood sugar levels for diabetics through the natural tears in our eyes.  

Google and Novartis also say they’re developing another lens that can auto-focus the eye. It could help with reading, because as the eye ages, it’s harder to see things up close.   

The two companies complement each other pretty well: Google doesn’t need any money from Novartis, while Novartis can help Google navigate the clinical and regulatory side of things.

“They need more the expertise in terms of running clinical trials, getting approval from the FDA, and then marketing after approval,” says John Mack, who follows the pharmaceutical industry as publisher of "Pharma Marketing News."

Google could definitely use an FDA go-between. About five years ago, the FDA went after pharmaceutical companies about ads that popped up in Google searches. The FDA said the ads didn’t contain relevant risk information. 

The partnership also benefits Novartis. Its contact lens division, Alcon, will get a huge jump into smart contact lens technology with the deal. 

Novartis sees a lot of potential for contact lenses that monitor our health. The company says it sees the Google deal as an opportunity to “develop and commercialize” Google’s smart lens technology.

CORRECTION:  The original version of this story misidentified the publication of John Mack. The text has been corrected.

 

Money and love: What would you change about your partner if you could?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-15 06:55

A 2009 study by Jeffrey Dew, faculty fellow at the National Marriage Project and an assistant professor of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University, found that couples who argue about money once a week were 30 percent more likely to divorce over time than couples who reported disagreeing about finances just a few times per month.

We're collecting stories and moments that drive you crazy when it comes to your partner and money. Here's a few responses we've received so far:

@lizzieohreally @MarketplaceWknd Daily Starbucks visits (when I bought him an espresso machine for Christmas).

— Melissa (@Muhlyssa_A) July 15, 2014

@lizzieohreally @MarketplaceWknd Bet you'll get this a lot, but too cheap! Example: driving around for 30+ mins to avoid paying for parking

— Daryl Paranada (@darylparanada) July 14, 2014

What could you change financially about your partner if you could? Let us know in the comments or email us.

And if you need more help when it comes to money in your relationships, here are a few stories from our archives:

Marriage and money: Tips before you walk down the aisle
Hiding money from your spouse, for the sake of the marriage
Money & relationships: When you can't just hug it out

Money and love: What could you change if you could?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-15 06:55

A 2009 study by Jeffrey Dew, faculty fellow at the National Marriage Project and an assistant professor of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University, found that couples who argue about money once a week were 30 percent more likely to divorce over time than couples who reported disagreeing about finances just a few times per month.

We're collecting stories and moments that drive you crazy when it comes to your partner and money. Here's a few responses we've received so far:

@lizzieohreally @MarketplaceWknd Daily Starbucks visits (when I bought him an espresso machine for Christmas).

— Melissa (@Muhlyssa_A) July 15, 2014

@lizzieohreally @MarketplaceWknd Bet you'll get this a lot, but too cheap! Example: driving around for 30+ mins to avoid paying for parking

— Daryl Paranada (@darylparanada) July 14, 2014

What could you change financially about your partner if you could? Let us know in the comments or email us.

And if you need more help when it comes to money in your relationships, here are a few stories from our archives:

Marriage and money: Tips before you walk down the aisle
Hiding money from your spouse, for the sake of the marriage
Money & relationships: When you can't just hug it out

Citigroup Settlement Offers Former Homeowners 'Cold Comfort'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 06:55

The Justice Department's settlement with Citigroup offers $2.5 billion for "consumer relief." Critics say it will do nothing for those hurt most by the foreclosure crisis: people who lost their homes.

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Most Employers See A Benefit In Covering Contraceptives

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 06:32

The recent Supreme Court ruling gives employers more latitude in refusing to pay for certain kinds of birth control for employees. But most companies won't go that route, analysts predict.

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NPR News Executive Leaves For Job At The Atlantic

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 06:28

Margaret Low Smith, who has served as NPR's senior vice president for news for three years, is leaving the company to become the president of The Atlantic's live events business.

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No School, No Handshakes: Reporting On Ebola From Sierra Leone

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 05:55

NPR's Jason Beaubien is covering the outbreak that began in March and is still going strong. En route to the burial of a 70-year-old Ebola victim, he talked about the impact on the town of Kailahun.

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Kerry Cites Progress In Iran Nuclear Talks But Says Gaps Remain

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 05:39

The U.S. secretary of state said he would consult with President Obama on a way forward ahead of a July 20 deadline. Meanwhile, Iran is showing some flexibility on its nuclear program.

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Calorie Counting Machine May Make Dieting Easier In The Future

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 04:48

Tracking the calories in food you eat can be tedious. But a GE scientist is working on a device that fits over your plate and automatically tells you exactly how much energy is in your meal.

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Tobacco Giant Reynolds American To Buy Lorillard In $27B Deal

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 04:06

The deal unites the maker of Camel with Lorillard, the market leader in e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes, the fastest-growing segments of the tobacco market.

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Who Is Smuggling Immigrant Children Across The Border?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 04:03

Border authorities demonize coyotes as ruthless criminals who kidnap, rape and abandon their clients. But one smuggler says he treats his young clients well — which helps him get repeat business.

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Why Smartphone Breaks At Work Aren't Such A Bad Idea

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 04:03

Playing a quick game or taking a moment to connect with family or friends benefits both employees and their employers, a new study finds.

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Moscow Metro Train Derails, Causing Deaths And Many Injuries

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 03:58

The morning rush-hour crash wounded 150 people, some of them severely, and killed at least 19 others, officials say. The train had been moving at more than 40 mph when it suddenly stopped.

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PODCAST: Home Depot in 3D

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-15 03:00

First up, more on Janet Yellen's profile in the New Yorker. Plus, the week-long Farnborough International Airshow is in full swing. We take a look at how the sale of aircrafts is looking this time around. Also, with Home Depot making MakerBot 3-D Printers available in some of its stores, we explore the motivations behind offering the high tech hot item.

 

Hammer, lumber, 3-D printer? Home Depot sells it all

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-15 03:00

Starting this week, you can walk into one of twelve Home Depot stores and buy a MakerBot 3-D printer, a desk-top machine that can create small items from melted plastic. They’re heralded as the next big thing in everything from medicine to manufacturing, but this pilot is a step toward mainstream consumers.

Click the audio player above to hear more on the sale of MakerBot 3-d printers at Home Depot.

Here are the numbers behind Home Depot and MakerBot:

$1,375

Home Depot offers two models of MakerBot printers. The smaller printer is $1,375 while the larger model sells for $2,899.

$18

Most refill packs of plastic filament used to create objects cost $18 or $48, depending on their size and color.

$153.8 billion

Home improvement retail stores, like Home Depot, are expected to earn $153.8 billion in revenue in 2014, according to research firm IBISWorld, Inc.  

$1.4 billion

Companies that manufacture 3-D printers are expected to bring in $1.4 billion in revenue in 2014 from products, materials, and maintenance, according to IBISWorld.

18.4%

Stratasys Inc., which acquired MakerBot in 2013, has a 18.4 percent marketshare of the 3-D printing manufacturing industry, according to IBISWorld.

$550 billion

By 2025, the economic impact of 3-D printing could be as high as $550 billion a year, according to research by the McKinsey Global Institute. Moreover, it could save consumers 35-60 percent in costs per printed product. 

Israel Resumes Airstrikes On Gaza, As Cease-Fire Chance Slips Away

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 02:56

Israel initially agreed to an Egyptian-brokered deal to stop hostilities, but leaders of Hamas did not support the plan.

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Cellphones as logging detectors

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-15 02:00

Illegal logging has been a worldwide problem for conservationists, as it is often only possible to tell that logging has occurred once it has already happened. But Topher White, CEO and founder of Rainforest Connection, has an innovative solution: use cellphones to listen for the sounds of trees being cut down.

The hardware consists of a black box with the phone located inside. "Petals” located on the outside of the box act as solar panels, maximizing the brief flashes of light in the rainforest bed. The generated power then goes to microphones attached to the phone, which in turn listens for the sounds of trees being cut.

While it might sound daunting to pick out the exact sounds, it is far from impossible.

“With a chainsaw, they do have an internal combustion engine, which turns at about 110 times per second, so we are able to pick out these spikes that occur at very set frequencies,” Topher says.

The sound is then uploaded — even at the edges, forests do have cell service — to the cloud, where it is analyzed, and sent to local law enforcement.

Topher is currently looking to fund an expansion of the project on Kickstarter.

 

Casinos developers take extra steps to sweeten the pot

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-15 02:00

Boston's new deal with a casino developer will bring the city more than $300 million. That may not seem remarkable, save for the fact that the casino wouldn’t even be in Boston. In a bid to coax casinos into new markets, gambling companies are taking an extra step to sweeten the pot.

In Massachusetts, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority wants to build the next of its “Mohegun Sun” casinos in the city of Revere. It’s paying a dozen surrounding cities and towns, too.

“Fifty million dollars in annual payments to 13 [host and surrounding] communities closest to the city is just amazing,” Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess says. “We’re good neighbors.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh calls the negotiation with Mohegan developers long but productive.

“They were great in our case. We were basically throwing things on the table,” Walsh says. “They pushed back a bit on it, but everything that we pretty much wanted we were able to achieve.”

All this cash to help neighboring towns pay for better roads and more police is new. Normally, gambling laws carve out a share of casino profits only for the host city and the state. Case in point: Rosemont, Illinois gets no payments from a casino that’s just over the border in Des Plaines. Cezar Froelich, an attorney specializing in casino gambling law, says the state money is supposed to help neighboring municipalities. But it doesn’t always work out that way.

“Part of the problem is, depending on the state’s finances, sometimes it doesn’t get back to the local jurisdiction, as much as the … surrounding community would like,” Froelich says.

There’s no precedent for such payments, such as Mohegan Sun’s deal last week with Boston, which would give the city $300 million in direct investments over 15 years — the largest pact of its kind in the country. Froelich says a lot of Massachusetts cities and towns got greedy.

“Well, you know, if you’re a community and somebody walks up to you says, ‘Listen, you’re a surrounding community. Let’s talk about how much I owe you.’ You’re not going to set the number real low,” he says. “You know, human nature, get as much as you can, I suppose.”

In western Massachusetts, the town of Longmeadow recently failed to reach a deal with a proposed MGM casino in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts. So town manager Stephen Crane went to arbitration and won. Longmeadow would get nearly $850,000 upfront, and $275,000 per year after that.

“Even though we were not victorious, we thought it was a fair process,” says MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis. “At the end of the day, I think we’re a better proposal for it.”

Crane agrees the law worked pretty well. “It gave us a seat at the table, where otherwise we would not have one,” he says.

The extra cash outflows may actually save casinos in Massachusetts. There’s a referendum here on the November ballot to repeal gambling. Some voters might now see those dollars headed to their towns and might not be so concerned about a casino nearby.

Regardless of whether Massachusetts backtracks on casino gambling, the state may have shown the rest of the country a better way forward. Mohegan CEO Mitchell Etess says the Massachusetts gambling law could be a model for new casino developments around the country.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if you see it, because it takes a lot of concerns off the table,” he says.

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