National News

After Falling Into Recession, Japan's Prime Minister Calls For Snap Elections

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-18 04:51

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for an election two years ahead of schedule and he also delayed an increase in sales tax.

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Bob Marley family launches global pot brand

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-18 04:50

The family of Jamaican-born reggae star Bob Marley launched a first-of-its-kind global cannabis brand on Tuesday. The brand, Marley Natural, is meant for both medical and adult-recreational use (21-and-over), and will hit the market in late 2015. It is a venture of Bob Marley’s widow, Rita, who is also a reggae musician, and Marley's children and grandchildren, in partnership with Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, a leading cannabis-focused private equity firm.

Bob Marley’s name and legacy—attached to a mass-marketed global marijuana brand—could be a killer app in this booming industry. Legal marijuana sales are expected to grow from $2.4 billion in 2014 to $10 billion by 2018, according to the cannabis investment group ArcView. The meteoric growth in revenue is predicated on an expected transition of current and new cannabis consumers from purchasing marijuana on the illegal black market, to purchasing it in state-regulated and taxed retail stores and dispensaries.

However, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and there are many obstacles to success for investors and brands. It is currently extremely difficult for cannabis-related businesses to obtain banking services, and many business expenses can’t be deducted under federal tax law. Production, processing and distribution can generally be done only within the state where the marijuana is sold. Interstate and international shipping of marijuana is not permitted.

Marley Natural products will include heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains in smokeable and vaporizable form, said Privateer CEO Brendan Kennedy in an interview at a huge  pot trade show—the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo—in Las Vegas last week. The brand also features therapeutic cannabis and hemp-infused lotions; pot paraphernalia, such as smoking implements; carrying cases and the like. The Jamaican marijuana strains offered will be similar to those Bob Marley himself favored during his life, said Kennedy, including “Lamb’s Bread” and “Pineapple Skunk.”

Marley Natural will only be available for sale in local, state, and national jurisdictions where marijuana use is legal, according to Privateer. 23 states and the District of Columbia now permit marijuana use for medical purposes; four states plus the District of Columbia have legalized recreational adult-use, including Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska (the latter two by voter initiative in November 2014, with implementation pending under state law). Legalization advocates predict California, Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Hawaii could pass similar initiatives by 2017 (see map below). Several European countries and Uruguay also permit some legal use of marijuana.

A new online ad for Marley Natural begins with sweeping aerial views of a tropical jungle and a voiceover saying: “In Bob Marley’s vision for a better world, one united by love, respect and social justice, he advocates for the positive power of the herb,” as reggae music swells in the background. The brand's logo appears in the video; it includes an image of the Lion of Judah, a powerful spiritual symbol for the Jamaican Rastafari movement, which reveres cannabis.

“In many ways our father helped start this movement at least fifty years ago,” said Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s daughter, in an interview before the launch. “He said it himself: ‘When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.’ So it feels very natural to us to use his voice on a global scale, getting the message across of the many benefits of cannabis.”

But even as public opinion appears to be gradually shifting toward more support of legalization for adult users, most Americans still don’t see cannabis as a beneficial recreational or mind-altering pastime. And they may not be ready for slick marketing of everything from joints, to powerful pot cookies and candies.

Rachel O’Bryan is a lawyer and mother in Denver. She co-founded the group Smart Colorado, which advocates for tighter regulation of marijuana. She said her goal is to prevent use and access by young people, as well as inappropriate marketing of edibles and other products to children.

“I think if we end up with national brands, the federal government will have no choice—there will have to be more attention on the safety of these products,” O'Bryan said.

Members of the Marley family insist their new brand is aimed at legal adult users 21-and-over, and not young people. They promise that both the labeling and the marketing will be clear on this point.

“Children like music,” said Rohan Marley, Bob Marley’s son. “But just like with other adult products—tobacco, consumption of alcohol, going to a nightclub—people have to be responsible. Our label will always gear toward adults and steer away from children. We want people to have a responsible mind, to have full knowledge, to understand the benefits of cannabis. It’s not a toy.”

States labeled 'adult use' are predicted to pass recreational marijuana legalization for adults 21 or older, or medical marijuana. As predicted, voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia approved recreational-marijuana legalization in November 2014. Voters in Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize recreational marijuana production, distribution and retail sale in 2012.

The ArcView Group, ArcView Market Research

 

Obama Orders Review Of U.S. Hostage Policy

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-18 04:00

The administration revealed the review just after the Islamic State took responsibility for killing a third American citizen. It is not clear whether the U.S. will reconsider its no-ransom policy.

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PODCAST: Taxing marijuana

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-18 03:00

The people with their PhD's in economics were thinking wholesale prices would fall for October. How could they not with oil prices dropping and dropping? What happened instead today, an uptick in the producer price index. More on that. Plus, when choosing iPhone versus Android, you might see Apple and Samsung as rivals. But a deal is reportedly in the works for Samsung to once again supply most of the microchips inside Apple phones and tablets. And there's news that some cities in Oregon are looking at legal options to see if they can tax marijuana sales once recreational use becomes legal next summer. The ballot measure voters approved the other week says only the state can tax pot. 

Attack On Jerusalem Synagogue Leaves Four Dead

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-18 02:54

Assailants armed with guns, knives and axes attacked worshippers at a Jerusalem Synagogue during morning prayers. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to respond "with a heavy hand."

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Mapping New York's massive public wi-fi needs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-18 02:00
10,000

The number of pay phones New York City could replace with pylons providing free public Wi-Fi and domestic calls under a new proposal called LinkNYC. The program would be the largest of its kind in the country and, the Verge notes, would provide dizzying speeds many homes don't have access to yet. The plan would be funded by advertising on the kiosks, which are projected to rake in $500 million in 12 years. It's all very ambitious, with a long road ahead.

2.5 million

That's how many children in the U.S. experience homelessness annually, according to a new study. The numbers represent a historic high and the root causes are primarily economic. In states like California that have a high cost of living, families surviving on minimum wage can't afford the average two-bedroom apartment, which generally costs $28/hour in income.

495

That's how many satellites the U.S. has in orbit, more than a third of the at least 1,200 orbiting earth right now. Using data from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Quartz has compiled massive, beautiful interactive graphic showing them all. You can watch the pace of the satellites at varying altitudes and sort them by country, purpose and more.  

3.5 years

The portion of a life sentence Lindy Chamberlain served after being wrongly convicted for killing her infant daughter in the early 1980s. New evidence came to light showing Chamberlain's claim, that little Azaria has been stolen from the family's campsite by a dingo, was actually true. Chamberlain was released, but for decades she fought public opinion, which had long condemned her, and the state, which long refused to change Azaria's official cause of death. Her struggle went largely ignored as "a dingo took my baby" became a pop culture punchline completely divorced from the tragedy. The Retro Report has a new mini documentary on the case.

$10 billion

That's how much legal marijuana sales is projected to bring in by 2018. The family of Jamaican-born reggae star Bob Marley launched a first-of-its-kind global cannabis brand on Tuesday. The late performer could become a powerful messenger for the emerging marijuana market. As his famous quote goes: "When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself."

Samsung and Apple: It's complicated

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-18 02:00

We’ve been seeing reports that Apple and Samsung have reached a deal for Samsung to supply most of the chips for Apple iPhones and iPads, starting in 2016.

There's no confirmation from Apple, but there’s no denying that Samsung has been a major supplier for Apple, which could be surprising, considering they’re competitors. 

Apple and Samsung have fought in court over patents. But, like many a squabbling couple, they find they need each other.

“It’s a complicated relationship,” says Jon Erensen, research director in the semiconductor group at Gartner.   

Erensen says Samsung needs Apple because it’s a big player, ordering lots of chips. Apple needs Samsung because it can reliably spit out lots of chips for Apple products.

“They want to make sure they don’t create a bottleneck in their supply chain for a key component,” Erensen says.

But how can they be so intertwined, when they seem to hate each other? It’s simple. Samsung has compartmentalized its relationship with Apple.

“It’s different parts of Samsung," says Michael Palma, the IDC research manager for consumer semiconductors. "Samsung is a huge corporation. The chip business is run separately.”

So, while the Samsung division that sells phones may hate Apple, its chip business found a way to Apple’s heart. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The number of homeless kids is on the rise

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-18 02:00

A new report on child homelessness in America finds that 2.5 million children experience homelessness annually.

The numbers represent a historic high and the root causes are primarily economic.

The study, published by the National Center on Family Homelessness, finds that as many as one in thirty children are homeless at some time during the year, an increase of 8 percent.

“The largest group is families that are doubled up and living place-to-place. They’re moving in with families and friends, and they’re kind of moving around a lot,” says Carmela DeCandia, Director of the National Center on Family Homelessness.

DeCandia says part of the reason for the shockingly high numbers is that previous studies on child and family homelessness often didn’t count families living outside the [homeless] shelter system.

High living costs are a particular problem in California, which accounts for more than one-fifth of all homeless children in the country, nearly 527,000.

According to the report, California's high cost of living means an average two-bedroom apartment in California costs $28/hour in income.

“Which means that that even if you had two parents working at minimum wage, they would still not be able to afford that kind of apartment,” notes Colette Auerswald, a pediatrician and professor at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Minimum wage in California is $8/hr.

Auerswald says homeless children need to become a funding priority for state and federal agencies, much like chronically homeless adults and homeless veterans. 

Near The Front Lines In Iraq, An Homage To The White House

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 23:34

Kurdish businessman Shihab Shihab decided he'd like to live in the White House. So he is building a 32,000-feet version of the U.S. presidential residence in Erbil, near the raging war against ISIS.

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Firm Accused Of Illegal Practices That Push Families Into Foreclosure

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 23:33

A class action lawsuit alleges Ocwen Financial, one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers, charges marked-up and illegal fees. The firm says it will vigorously defend itself against the claims.

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Doctor Shortage Looming? Maybe Not

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 23:32

Physicians have been warning for years about a coming shortage of primary care doctors. But others say primary care teams that include other types of health workers might fill the gap better.

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Guarding The Ebola Border

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 23:30

Ivory Coast is determined to keep Ebola out. The government shut down the border, and enlisted local villagers to serve as informal border security.

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4 Killed In Jerusalem Synagogue Attack, Israeli Police Say

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 22:08

Police say two attackers walked into the synagogue Tuesday with knives, axes and guns and attacked the worshippers. The attackers were killed in a shootout with police.

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Uber Exec In Hot Water After Suggesting A Journalist Smear Campaign

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 21:38

A senior vice president of the ride-service company has issued an apology after news broke of his comments about digging up info about reporters' personal lives.

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Hong Kong Begins Clearing Main Protest Camp As Demonstrators Watch

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 18:36

Pro-democracy protesters had held the site outside Hong Kong's main government buildings for nearly two months. "We will proceed on the principle of peace and nonviolence," said one protest leader.

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Man Gets 8 Months In Jail After Driving VW Hatchback Onto Race Track

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 17:12

The prank might represent a daydream of many would-be racers. But it also proved why such dreams should be pursued with both care and the proper equipment.

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Take It In: 'Vape' Is The Oxford Dictionaries Word Of The Year

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 15:12

The growing popularity of e-cigarettes sparked the notice of the Oxford Dictionaries, which chose "vape" as the word of the year for 2014. It beat out contenders such as "bae" and "normcore."

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Ahead Of Ferguson Decision, Governor Declares Emergency

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 14:55

Gov. Jay Nixon's decision clears the way for the National Guard and state agencies to work together to help quell any potential unrest related to the Michael Brown case.

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What You Need To Know About The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-17 14:38

The long-delayed project is a jobs generator to some and an ecological disaster to others. Ahead of a key Senate vote, we revisit what the Keystone XL pipeline would do and why it's so contentious.

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