National News

Got milk (and financial success)?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 01:44
15 percent

According to the National Urban League's "State of Black America", the black unemployment rate exceeds 15 percent in 33 major U.S. cities. The report also included a state-by-state assessment of education inequality for the first time, and found that areas with greater segregation also saw major reading and math proficiency gaps, as well as high school graduation gaps.

350 jobs

Yahoo announced it would close its remaining office in China, effectively eliminating 350 jobs. The company says the move is part of its efforts to cut global costs. As reported by the BBC, the fired employees have already been approached by a local employment agency.

$9

That's how much Target will pay in minimum wage starting next month, as reported by the WSJ. As companies like Wal-Mart and T.J. Maxx make similar moves, efforts to attract and retain low-wage workers are getting more competitive.

$10 million

Speaking of Target, the company has reportedly agreed to pay a $10 million settlement in the class-action lawsuit related to 2013's data security breach. As reported by Reuters, Target will put the money into an " interest bearing escrow account, to pay individual victims up to $10,000 in damages."

6,000 babies

That's how many babies were involved in a Brazilian study looking at correlations between breast feeding and long-term success. As reported by the Guardian, babies that were breast-fed longer tended to be better educated, and higher-earning as adults.

Scientists Catch Up On The Sex Life Of Coral To Help Reefs Survive

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:35

It's all in the timing. Biologists haven't been able to breed embryos of the rare, pillar coral in the lab because it's been tough to catch the creatures in the act.

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More Americans Opt For Risky Long-Term Car Loans

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:33

The length of the average car loan isn't just creeping up, it's leaping up. Nearly 40 percent of people secure car loans that take more than five years to pay off. The trend has some analysts alarmed.

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One Year After Mudslide, First Responders Tackle Emotional Damage

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:29

This weekend, residents of Washington state will mark one year since a massive mudslide devastated a small community, killing 43 people and destroying dozens of homes in a matter of minutes.

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As Women Try Out For Armor Units, 'If You Can Hack It, You Can Hack It'

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:24

As part of an experiment, the men and women of a Marine armor unit are being assessed on difficult physical tasks, such as hooking up heavy towing gear. The women are keeping up, but it's a struggle.

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Obama Says Critics Making 'The Same Argument' Despite Better Economy

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:22

President Obama defends his economic track record, even as Republicans are trying to change the government's fiscal course. House and Senate committees unveiled draft budgets that would cut spending.

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Why Is Insulin So Expensive In The U.S.?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:06

The hormone that controls blood sugar among diabetics is one of the oldest medicines used today. But more than 90 years after its discovery, a low-cost version is no longer available in the U.S.

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Microsoft Is Phasing Out Internet Explorer

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 17:39

The web browser will be replaced in Windows 10, with what's currently being called Project Spartan.

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Blue Shield Of California Loses Its Exemption From State Taxes

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:27

The state's third largest insurer reportedly has $4.2 billion in financial reserves. The firm's former public policy director says the insurer is "unwilling or incapable" of serving the public good.

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Want to run the Iditarod? You'll need a lot of scratch

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:37

Before musher Lance Mackey leaves a checkpoint in a race, he greets every dog on his team, with a scratch behind the ears, or a nuzzle. Mackey is the winningest musher in Alaska’s long-distance sled dog racing history, but he’s certainly not the richest.

Lance Mackey leaves a race checkpoint, driving a sled bedecked with the logos of sponsors that help finance his mushing career.

Emily Schwing/Marketplace

“Oh man, the cost is ridiculous,” he says. 

It can take between $70,000 and $100,000 to keep a kennel full of racing dogs running year-round.

“[It’s] the price of fuel, price of dog food, entry fees all that stuff isn’t normally justifiable by racing for first place of $25,000,” says Mackey.

This year’s first place Iditarod finisher wins 70-thousand dollars and a brand new pickup truck. The first prize in Alaska’s ‘other’ 1000-mile sled dog race, the Yukon Quest, is less than half that, and there’s no truck. Mackey says prize money barely covers the cost of the race and expenses throughout the season, so he relies heavily on sponsorships to get his team to the start line.

“I have a new dog food company from Italy of all places," says Mackey.

That sponsor’s logo is sewn on his sled bag and all the coats his dogs wear. Some mushers are sponsored by major international companies. Others make deals with small local businesses, but Mackey knows those relationships are often short-lived.

“Sponsors are not only hard to come by they are hard to keep,” he says.

That’s why some mushers, like Rob Cooke, also work a second job. He runs boisterous Siberian huskies. They’re also a slower breed, unlikely to win any big races. So, when Cooke isn’t training them, he works as a qualified aircraft engineer in the Canadian Yukon. “There’s that old quote that ‘It’s as expensive as cocaine, but a lot more addictive,’” says Cooke.

“I think that’s the truth. It’s so much fun, and it has to be worth it if you sit and think about how much money we do spend on this,” he says.

So how much money does Cooke spend?

“The meat costs for the race season was about $5,000. A new sled was about $3000, so yeah, I don’t want to think about it,” he laughs.

Four-time Iditarod Champion Jeff King used to own more than 100 dogs. Now he works with 35. “The dogs need to eat and be cared for every day: Vet bills, vaccinations and equipment … anything that is remotely disposable about our income goes into dogs,” says King.

Thirty years ago, a bag of dog food used to cost about nine dollars. These days, high-quality kibble can cost up to $60 a bag and it only lasts for two days.

This may be the last season of competitive long distance mushing for French Canadian Normand Casavant, known as the singing musher. And while he may be singing, he’s also broke.  “I don’t know how I did that, but now it’s time to change.  The thing is I need to bring money in now with my dogs,” says Casavant.

He wants to replace his tourism business with a mushing school, where he’ll start training the next generation of long-distance mushers, but it’s not clear if he’ll include a class on how to finance a dog team.

Controversial French Comedian Convicted Of Condoning Terrorism

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:17

A Paris court gave Dieudonne a two-month suspended sentence for his Facebook post in January after the deadly attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

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Bad Blood Gets Worse Between Barack, Bibi And Israel

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:04

Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election is likely to cause President Obama more headaches when it comes to dealing with Republicans, the Iran negotiations and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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Record Number Of Inmate Deaths Has Florida Prisons On The Defensive

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 13:56

Many of the inmates died of natural causes, but a series of suspicious deaths — against the backdrop of a shrinking budget and staff shortages — has lawmakers calling for a prison oversight board.

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How Malaria In The Brain Kills: Doctors Solve A Medical Mystery

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 13:53

A child stricken with the deadliest form of the disease can quickly fall unconscious and die. A doctor in Michigan has dedicated her life to figuring out how this happens. At last, she has the answer.

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WATCH: Police Detonate 20,000 Pounds Of Fireworks

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 13:42

The Midland, Texas, Police Department assisted the ATF in detonating the illegal fireworks. It took them 3 1/2 days.

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Chicago Mayor's Race Puts Democratic Divide In Spotlight

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 13:37

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is in a fight for his political survival, signaling a deeper divide in the Democratic Party.

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Premera Blue Cross Cyberattack Exposed Millions Of Customer Records

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 13:24

The health insurance provider revealed Tuesday that a cyberattack discovered in January, may have made the medical and financial information of 11 million people vulnerable to thieves.

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Starbucks Campaign Already Inspiring Awkward Conversations About Race

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 12:52

Vlogger and deejay Jay Smooth was on MSNBC Tuesday night to talk about Starbucks' "Race Together" campaign, which has already birthed a very public, cringe-worthy conversation about race.

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Pain From The Grain: Corn Belt Towns Languish As Prices Drop

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 12:25

Some farmers won't break even this planting season, and may have to tap into their savings. Many Corn Belt towns depend largely on these farmers and businesses linked to farming.

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Britain Unveils A New 1-Pound Coin

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 12:24

The coin has 12 sides and a fresh design. It also has new technology that the Royal Mint says will make it the most counterfeit-proof coin in the world.

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