National News

Plants Talk. Plants Listen. Here's How

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 10:33

Animals bark, sing, growl and chat. Plants, one would think, just sit there. But it turns out that plants bark, growl and chat as well. Here's how they do it.

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Weather clear and cool at the first inaugural ceremony

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-29 10:11

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Wednesday, April 30, 2014:

The Force Is With Them: Star Wars Episode VII Cast Revealed

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 09:24

Newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver will join old favorites Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. The movie is due to be released Dec. 18, 2015.

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Famed 83-Year-Old Jewel Thief Pleads Guilty To Stealing Diamond Ring

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 09:01

Doris Payne's rap sheet dates back six decades. She walked into an upscale jewelry store last October and walked out with a $22,500 ring. On Monday, she was sentenced to four years in custody.

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To Survive A Tornado, First Run To Shelter, Then Grab A Helmet

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 08:41

In a tornado, debris flung by high-speed winds can cause deadly injuries. A sturdy shelter is the best protection, but even lying in a ditch may save your life. Or putting on a bike helmet.

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Psst! Wearable Devices Could Make Big Tech Leaps, Into Your Ear

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 08:03

Get ready for a different kind of distraction. Tech experts predict hearables, which you wear in your ear, are going to hit the market in a big way very soon. And they may change the way we behave.

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NBA Hits Clippers Owner Sterling With Lifetime Ban, $2.5 Million Fine

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 07:46

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is being punished for making racist remarks in an audio recording that was made public Friday. His fine is the maximum allowed under the NBA's charter.

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A Life Story In 6 Songs — Part 3

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 07:11

When Erica Werner sings to her singing parrot, the term "songbirds" takes on a whole new meaning.

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What's The Secret To Pouring Ketchup? Know Your Physics

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 07:04

Many restaurants still serve ketchup in glass bottles, but they make it hard to get the right amount onto your plate. A video explains how the problem lies with the physics of the condiment itself.

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Health Law Adviser Says Insurers Will Morph Into Providers

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:58

In his new book, former White House adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel says the Affordable Care Act is going to work in the long run, but that we'll see a lot of changes in health care along the way.

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PODCAST: A case of the Mondays for BofA

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:55

Bank of America stock lost more than six percent of its value on Monday after it revealed it made a big mistake on its stress tests, which is the Federal Reserve's system to see if banks have the wherewithal to survive a future crisis without a bailout. BofA blames an internal communications error for miss-stating the amount of money it had in certain locations on its balance sheet. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman joins us to explain.

Meanwhile, starting Tuesday, you can stroll into Starbucks for a Chai Tea with Oprah’s name on it – Teavana Oprah Chai, to be exact. Oprah Winfrey's product and book endorsements used to send sales through the roof. But will the "Oprah Effect" hold, now that she's teamed up with a corporate giant?

And, you may have missed this a while back in the MIT Sloan Management Review, volume 52, number three. They call them "dormant ties" but it's really about the business value of connecting with old flames, or at the very least, re-connecting with someone whom you used to know, to paraphrase Gotye. Wharton business school professor Adam Grant keeps an eye on the business journals for us and joins us to explain

Campus Sexual Assaults Are Targeted In New White House Report

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:14

Noting that 1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted in college, the White House releases new guidelines to help victims of that violence and improve the way schools handle such cases.

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Government targets millions for job training programs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:47

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has announced $150 million in new funding for states to develop and expand job-training programs. Since January 2014, a total of $1 billion in federal spending has been targeted to workforce development and employment opportunities for people suffering the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

The money is authorized under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. States can apply for the newly released money to help fund apprenticeships, on-the-job training, partnerships with employers, and industry certification programs. The overall goal, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is to train people—especially the long-term unemployed—in industries where there is now increasing demand for skilled labor.

As manufacturing picks up and Baby Boomers retire from middle-class blue-collar jobs, there’s plenty of need for additional workers, said machine-tool instructor Keith Knight at Mount Hood Community College near Portland, Oregon.

“As far as industries looking for these jobs—Boeing, Oregon Iron Works, the majority of industries—they’re starting to see more and more work showing up,” said Knight. The community college’s programs for machine-tool operator, automotive technician, and welder all fill up quickly, and many students are able to line up jobs before they graduate, instructors said.

Knight said job training can help someone with only a high school diploma, or a two-year associate’s degree, land a higher-skilled or better-paying job.

That’s what attracted Andrew Stevens, 27, to the community college program. “This is 'Plan F,'” said Stevens ,as he sat at his workbench disassembling and rebuilding a Chrysler transmission in the bright, clean automotive classroom. “I’ve done many things—from guiding fishing in Alaska, to laying ceramic tile—which is no fun—to being a prosthetics technician—I made fake arms and legs. I was pretty much at the top of my pay scale, making as much as I was going to make, and decided that wasn’t enough.”

Stevens’ instructor, Steve Michner, said auto technicians can ultimately earn $45,000 to $55,000 per year.

Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, said job-training programs can help individual workers boost their earnings and job opportunities, and they can help companies fill positions that require specific skills. But they can’t necessarily address high local or regional unemployment—for instance, in old industrial cities or depressed urban areas.

“The fancy term is ‘spatial mismatch’—people live in the wrong part of the country from where the jobs are,” explained Van Horn. “There might be lots of jobs in Southeastern Louisiana. But the people who used to work in the construction industry in New Jersey either can’t, or don’t want to, move there. Or, go to the Dakotas, which is another place that’s booming.”

Van Horn pointed out that sometimes the spatial mismatch is hyper-local. Some neighborhoods in New Orleans, for instance, have high poverty and unemployment, even though oil refineries and chemical plants may need skilled workers just a couple hours away.

Many economists say skills training is important at this point in the economic recovery, so employers can fill jobs in regions and industrial sectors that are growing strongly. But also, employers need to generate more jobs overall, in more places, to pick up the slack in the labor market nationwide.

Government targets $1 billion for job training

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:47

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has announced $150 million in new funding for states to develop and expand job-training programs. Since January 2014, a total of $1 billion in federal spending has been targeted to workforce development and employment opportunities for people suffering the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

The money is authorized under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. States can apply for the newly released money to help fund apprenticeships, on-the-job training, partnerships with employers, and industry certification programs. The overall goal, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is to train people—especially the long-term unemployed—in industries where there is now increasing demand for skilled labor.

As manufacturing picks up and Baby Boomers retire from middle-class blue-collar jobs, there’s plenty of need for additional workers, said machine-tool instructor Keith Knight at Mount Hood Community College near Portland, Oregon.

“As far as industries looking for these jobs—Boeing, Oregon Iron Works, the majority of industries—they’re starting to see more and more work showing up,” said Knight. The community college’s programs for machine-tool operator, automotive technician, and welder all fill up quickly, and many students are able to line up jobs before they graduate, instructors said.

Knight said job training can help someone with only a high school diploma, or a two-year associate’s degree, land a higher-skilled or better-paying job.

That’s what attracted Andrew Stevens, 27, to the community college program. “This is 'Plan F,'” said Stevens ,as he sat at his workbench disassembling and rebuilding a Chrysler transmission in the bright, clean automotive classroom. “I’ve done many things—from guiding fishing in Alaska, to laying ceramic tile—which is no fun—to being a prosthetics technician—I made fake arms and legs. I was pretty much at the top of my pay scale, making as much as I was going to make, and decided that wasn’t enough.”

Stevens’ instructor, Steve Michner, said auto technicians can ultimately earn $45,000 to $55,000 per year.

Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, said job-training programs can help individual workers boost their earnings and job opportunities, and they can help companies fill positions that require specific skills. But they can’t necessarily address high local or regional unemployment—for instance, in old industrial cities or depressed urban areas.

“The fancy term is ‘spatial mismatch’—people live in the wrong part of the country from where the jobs are,” explained Van Horn. “There might be lots of jobs in Southeastern Louisiana. But the people who used to work in the construction industry in New Jersey either can’t, or don’t want to, move there. Or, go to the Dakotas, which is another place that’s booming.”

Van Horn pointed out that sometimes the spatial mismatch is hyper-local. Some neighborhoods in New Orleans, for instance, have high poverty and unemployment, even though oil refineries and chemical plants may need skilled workers just a couple hours away.

Many economists say skills training is important at this point in the economic recovery, so employers can fill jobs in regions and industrial sectors that are growing strongly. But also, employers need to generate more jobs overall, in more places, to pick up the slack in the labor market nationwide.

North Korea Conducts Artillery Drills Near Southern Border

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:19

The exercises, while not uncommon, are considered provocative in the immediate wake of President Obama's visit to South Korea.

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Several Wounded In Shooting At FedEx Facility In Georgia

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:28

Police say at least six people were hurt in an incident early Tuesday at the facility in Kennesaw, Ga. The shooter is reportedly dead.

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EU Follows U.S. In Imposing New Sanctions On Russia

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:24

The sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin's "inner circle" drew a response from Moscow, which described them in Cold War terms.

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Twisters In 3 States Kill More Than A Dozen People

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 03:26

About 50 tornadoes were reported in the region in a 24-hour period, according to meteorologists. More severe storms are forecast for the Eastern U.S.

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Which brand is bigger: Oprah or Starbucks?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-29 02:58

Starting Tuesday, you can stroll into Starbucks for a Chai Tea with Oprah’s name on it – Teavana Oprah Chai, to be exact. Oprah Winfrey's product and book endorsements used to send sales through the roof. But will the "Oprah Effect" hold, now that she's teamed up with a corporate giant?

"No," says marketing consultant Jonathan Salem Baskin.

He says it's been a while since Oprah was a TV regular. But he says any sales are a win-win for Oprah, since proceeds help her youth education work.

"The only potential downside exists for Starbucks," he says. "However sincerely they want to help Oprah support her schools, their goal is to sell a boatload of cups of tea."

Brand-building expert Denise Lee Yohn thinks Starbucks, known for its coffee, may have this incentive to use Oprah's name.

"Tea may be perceived as being more exclusive, more upscale," she says. Oprah's known for her taste, but, "she also has very mainstream appeal. So this may be a way for Starbucks to make tea seem more accessible and relevant to the average person."

Ringleader Of Human Smuggling Ring Dies, Leaving A Complex Legacy

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 02:50

Cheng Chui Ping died of cancer in prison on Thursday. She made a career of smuggling thousands of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. and worked with a notoriously violent gang to enforce payment.

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