National News

CIA Chief Says Governing Is Too Big A Job For ISIS

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 14:28

Director John Brennan sees discord within the group, despite its great success at attracting new fighters.

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Lumber Liquidators Defends Its Products After '60 Minutes' Report

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 13:55

The flooring retailer says the tests used by its critics give a misleading impression of product safety. But Lumber Liquidators says it will pay for safety testing for customers who want it.

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Nurses Have To Translate When Medical Devices Fail To Communicate

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 13:47

Medical technology can make patient care better and more precise. But the gadgets and computers can cause trouble, too. One big problem is that most of the devices often can't talk with one another.

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Univision Incident Reignites Questions About Diversity In Latino Media

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 13:45

Fashion critic and host Rodner Figueroa has been let go for offensive comments about First Lady Michelle Obama. Critics see the incident as an example of racism in Spanish-language broadcasts.

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Drumbeat Grows Louder For Impeachment Of Brazil's Rousseff

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 13:32

The second-term president faces a massive corruption scandal at the state oil company that implicates her party, rising inflation and a tanking currency. Now, her popularity is at an all-time low.

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Ferguson Mayor Knowles Slams 'Hostile Language' From Eric Holder

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 13:13

Saying that he's trying to save Ferguson, Mo., Mayor James Knowles adds that he is frustrated and concerned by the tone of the attorney general's remarks.

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Athletes Help Cheerleader With Down Syndrome Defy Bullies

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 12:15

Desiree Andrews is a cheerleader at Lincoln Middle School in Wisconsin. She has Down syndrome — and as some hecklers learned last year, she also has the support of her school's basketball team.

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The Rules Don't Apply To Hillary Clinton...Or Any Of The Other Un-Candidates

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 11:44

A unanimous ruling from the Federal Election Commission reaffirms that Hillary Clinton is, in fact, not a candidate for president — yet.

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'Going Clear' explores the finances of Scientology

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-13 11:38

Marketplace's Lizzie O'Leary speaks to filmmaker Alex Gibney and author-producer Lawrence Wright about their HBO documentary, "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief."

"Going Clear" opens in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York on Friday, March 13, with a broadcast release on HBO on March 29th.

More information about the Scientology response to the film is available at the Church of Scientology Freedom Magazine website

Listen to the full interview with Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright in the player above.

Pope pushes on with Vatican financial reforms

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-13 11:33

Friday marks the second anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. In just two years, he’s credited with breathing new life into the Catholic Church with his focus on reform and repairing the church's reputation.

One priority has been cleaning up the Vatican Bank, created during World War II to manage money for the Catholic Church. Over the years it became mired in allegations of money laundering and tax evasion.

“So far, he’s been the new sheriff in town,” says Gerald Posner, author of the book “God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican." “He’s really passing reforms that—if he’s there long enough—will change this bank into a boring, mid-level, sort of government bank, and the wild, crazy days of the past will be over.”

The return of the debt limit

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-13 11:33

This Sunday the United States' statutory debt limit will once again go into effect, essentially reinstating the debt ceiling at the level of the U.S. debt on Sunday, probably around $18 trillion.

The reason the debt limit is returning to haunt our fiscal dreams is because Congress kicked the can down the road when it passed a suspension of the debt limit in February, 2014. 

But it's hard to know how long the Department of Treasury can use "extraordinary measures" to keep paying its bills before it begins to risk defaulting on its debt. That's because government revenues are lumpy — lots comes in during tax season, for example. The best estimate sets the new deadline at some time in October or November.

My money story: When family values battle happiness

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-13 11:32

Betty Ming Liu's parents immigrated to the United States in the mid-1940s to escape political turmoil in China. Liu grew up in New York's Chinatown, where her father owned a book-keeping business.

She explains her outlook on money, and her experience growing up with immigrant parents.

Betty Ming Liu is a blogger, journalist, and professor in the New York City area. To hear Betty Ming Liu's full story, listen using the audio player above. 

Arianna Huffington wants you to sleep more

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-13 11:09

After collapsing from exhaustion eight years ago, Arianna Huffington had a realization that re-shaped her way of life.

The media guru who founded The Huffington Post now touts the importance of sleep in her latest book, Thrive. She has installed nap rooms for employees at the Post’s office and encourages disconnecting from technology — but could she have gotten to the place she’s at now if she had followed her own advice at the beginning of her career?

Huffington seems to think so.

“I would not only be where I am, I would be where I am with less damage to my health, my relationships, less worry and anxiety,” she says.

Huffington is excited that conversations surrounding meditation and sleep have become more mainstream

“We are all living a little bit under the collective delusion that burnout is the essential price for success, and all the modern scientific findings make it very clear that that’s not the case,” she says. “New science is validating ancient wisdom about the importance of sleep, of renewal, of what we are calling unplugging and recharging.”

However, Huffington's own media channel might be, in part, to blame for the obsession with being interconnected and constantly in the digital world.

Ryssdal: You start your book writing of an incident in which you basically woke up to this realization. Describe me for that, would you?

Huffington: It was about 8 years ago when I collapsed from exhaustion, burnout, and sleep deprivation… hit my head on the way down, broke my cheekbone, got four stitches on my right eye. That was the beginning of this journey that I’ve been on, of really coming to… in my own pool of blood. And nobody had shot me! And asking the question, “is this what success is?” We are all living a little bit under the collective delusion that burnout is the essential price for success, and all the modern scientific findings make it very clear that that’s not the case. In fact, that’s one of the exciting things about the times we’re living through – that new science is validating ancient wisdom about the importance of sleep, of renewal, of what we are calling unplugging and recharging.

Ryssdal: Without discounting any of that, I mean that is all important and we all have to do it, but I wonder if it’s easy for you to say – a woman of some means who’s had a lot of success in her life and who got there by burning out and who is now saying “Oh, wait a minute. Let’s not do it this way anymore.”

Huffington: Well, it’s hard because our culture is so screwed up. There is that prevalent assumption that if you burn out…that if you’re up all night…you’re going to be better at finding a job or making ends meet when, in fact, the opposite is true. You can tell…each one of us can tell from our personal experience when we’re exhausted, when we’re burnt out, we are less creative. We are much more reactive. So the truth is, we have all the evidence in front of us that that’s not the case. But nevertheless, it is a very very entrenched collective delusion, so I can understand why you’re asking this question.

Ryssdal: Do you think the company you founded, do you think the Huffington Post, helped get us where we are today with needing to be plugged in?

Huffington: Unfortunately, this is just something that happened because of so many factors and so many companies. It’s our smartphones. It’s Facebook. It’s Twitter. It’s the Huffington Post. It’s every digital media company. It’s really the times we’re living through. But what is great is that in the last year, we’ve begun to have a fascinating conversation around the need to disconnect. Suddenly, these things – meditation, sleep, renewal - have gone from the pages of the Yoga Journal to the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and The Economist. We are going to see many more people adopting these new practices, which are actually very old.

Ryssdal: I want you to do something for me. Think for a minute about the Arianna Huffington of 2005, as she was launching the Huffington Post. Now take the Arianna Huffington of today, and tell me what you would tell yourself from 10 years ago, having come through this and now found your moment of zen, if you will.

Huffington: I would tell myself to stop worrying and get more sleep.

Ryssdal: But would you be where you are today? That’s the point.

Huffington: Oh, absolutely! I would not only be where I am, I would be where I am with less damage to my health, my relationships, less worry and anxiety. I have 55 pages of scientific add. notes in the book so this is not a matter of one woman’s opinions or one woman’s experience. This is simply collecting all the data. We see all around us casualties, people who are willing to sacrifice their wellbeing on the altar of success. And if you go back and study where that started, it started with the Industrial Revolution when we thought we could really emulate machines and have a hundred percent up-time, and human beings were not designed that way.

Ryssdal: What’s it like to work for you? If I walk into the Huffington Post today, am I going to see this all reflected?

Huffington: Yes, absolutely. First of all, four years ago, we opened two nap rooms and I encourage everybody who starts during the day to have a nap instead of a fifth cup of coffee or a third cinnamon bun.

Ryssdal: Have you ever used those nap rooms?

Huffington: Well actually I have, but I also have a couch in my office, and I don’t want to occupy the nap room. My office has all glass, and when I would have a nap, I would normally close the curtain, and now I don’t. Because I feel like it’s a really good message, when I’m seen actually napping on the job to actually make it clear that it’s perfectly ok.

Ryssdal: Arianna Huffington, you know her from The Huffington Post. Her book is called Thrive. Arianna, thanks very much.

Huffington: Thank you so much, thank you.

Pope Francis Says His Tenure At The Vatican Will Be Short

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 11:06

Pope Francis also said he misses the relative anonymity he had as a bishop — and that he'd like to sneak out for a pizza, unrecognized.

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Investigation Open On 'Black Tax' At Charlotte's Ritz-Carlton

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 11:03

North Carolina's Attorney General asks why an event with predominantly African-American attendees was tagged with a surcharge at a luxury hotel.

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Obama 'Embarrassed' for Republicans Who Wrote Iran Letter

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 10:14

In two interviews, President Barack Obama weighs in on controversies over the letter 47 Republicans wrote to the leaders of Iran and Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account.

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Mr. Mambia Goes To Washington: To Honor His Sister, Who Died Of Ebola

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 10:03

Tarkpor Mambia of Liberia is now a student in Massachusetts. When he learned of his sister's death, he was determined to go to the nation's capital to put a human face on global health issues.

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Kremlin Says Putin Is Fine, Just Fine

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-13 09:36

The Russian president hasn't been seen in public in more than a week. That sparked all sorts of buzz. The Kremlin released photos of a healthy-looking Putin and chalks up the rumors to "spring fever."

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How money gets burned

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-13 09:33

What happens to money after it becomes too old and worn to be useable?

Until just a few years ago, most of it was sent to landfills. Now, as part of a recycling initiative at the Federal Reserve, hundreds of tons of shredded bills are burned each year to generate electricity.

Officials at the Federal Reserve in Los Angeles said that the program — which has increased the percentage of recycled cash from 30 percent to more than 90 percent since 2010 — has multiple benefits for the region.

“We’re able to divert the shredded currency away from landfills, we have done so at lesser cost to the Fed, and the County of Los Angeles now has an additional source of fuel,” says Deborah Awai, a group vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Deep within the Federal Reserve’s cash-processing facility in Los Angeles on a recent Monday morning, employees were loading bundles of currency into sorting machines that determine whether a bill is still fit enough to stay in circulation, is too old and worn, or is counterfeit.

The Los Angeles branch received 3.1 billion notes of currency in 2014. Good bills are set aside to await their return to circulation. Counterfeit ones are sent to the Secret Service. Lousy notes are shredded.

Nationwide, about 5,000 tons of currency are shredded annually. The shredded currency is recycled in various ways, including composting and manufacturing. About one-third is burned to generate electricity.

The Los Angeles branch burns more currency than any of the other 27 cash processing facilities in the nation.

The conversion occurs at the refuse-to-energy facility in the City of Commerce near Los Angeles. Five days a week, trucks back into the plant’s warehouse and dump garbage into an enormous pit inside.

Matt Eaton, a division engineer with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, said that the facility receives about 100,000 tons of waste from various sources each year. The heat generates enough electricity from its steam turbines to provide power for 20,000 homes.

The approximately 535 tons of shredded money from the Los Angeles cash-processing branch only constitutes a minuscule percentage of the total waste the facility receives. Still, Eaton estimated that energy provided by the burned cash is enough to power 100 homes.

The money is also valuable because it acts as kindling for messier garbage.

“It does burn really well, and it helps support the combustion of some waste we get in that may be wetter or doesn’t burn as easily,” Eaton said.

He said the fact that the cash was recently worth millions of dollars doesn’t phase employees when it arrives.

“It’s treated like any other source of waste. People don’t come out running when we see the currency. If it wasn’t shredded, maybe, but because it’s shredded, no. It’s like any other waste,” Eaton said.

Burning Money

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-13 09:33

What happens to money after it becomes too old and worn to be useable?

Until just a few years ago, most of it was sent to landfills. Now, as part of a recycling initiative at the Federal Reserve, hundreds of tons of shredded bills are burned each year to generate electricity.

Officials at the Federal Reserve in Los Angeles said that the program — which has increased the percentage of recycled cash from 30 percent to more than 90 percent since 2010 — has multiple benefits for the region.

“We’re able to divert the shredded currency away from landfills, we have done so at lesser cost to the Fed, and the County of Los Angeles now has an additional source of fuel,” says Deborah Awai, a group vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Deep within the Federal Reserve’s cash-processing facility in Los Angeles on a recent Monday morning, employees were loading bundles of currency into sorting machines that determine whether a bill is still fit enough to stay in circulation, is too old and worn, or is counterfeit.

The Los Angeles branch received 3.1 billion notes of currency in 2014. Good bills are set aside to await their return to circulation. Counterfeit ones are sent to the Secret Service. Lousy notes are shredded.

Nationwide, about 5,000 tons of currency are shredded annually. The shredded currency is recycled in various ways, including composting and manufacturing. About one-third is burned to generate electricity.

The Los Angeles branch burns more currency than any of the other 27 cash processing facilities in the nation.

The conversion occurs at the refuse-to-energy facility in the City of Commerce near Los Angeles. Five days a week, trucks back into the plant’s warehouse and dump garbage into an enormous pit inside.

Matt Eaton, a division engineer with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, said that the facility receives about 100,000 tons of waste from various sources each year. The heat generates enough electricity from its steam turbines to provide power for 20,000 homes.

The approximately 535 tons of shredded money from the Los Angeles cash-processing branch only constitutes a minuscule percentage of the total waste the facility receives. Still, Eaton estimated that energy provided by the burned cash is enough to power 100 homes.

The money is also valuable because it acts as kindling for messier garbage.

“It does burn really well, and it helps support the combustion of some waste we get in that may be wetter or doesn’t burn as easily,” Eaton said.

He said the fact that the cash was recently worth millions of dollars doesn’t phase employees when it arrives.

“It’s treated like any other source of waste. People don’t come out running when we see the currency. If it wasn’t shredded, maybe, but because it’s shredded, no. It’s like any other waste,” Eaton said.

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