National News

Arthur Disrupts July 4th Festivities, But Does Little Damage

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 05:12

The first hurricane of the season — now downgraded to a tropical storm — skirted the U.S. East Coast, inconveniencing holiday revelers.

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Indian Nurses Back Home After Being Trapped By Fighting In Iraq

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 04:45

The nurses, most hailing from southern India, had been caught in Mosul since Sunni insurgents seized the city last month.

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Ukrainian Forces Retake Key Rebel Stronghold In East

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 03:57

Slovyansk, a city of 100,000 that had been part of the rebels' self-proclaimed republic, fell to government forces after a night of intense bombardment, witnesses and officials say.

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In Honduras, Gangs Tell Boys To Join Or Be Killed

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 03:43

A large proportion of young people showing up at the southern U.S. border come from Honduras. Societal pressures there, like poverty and gang violence, are fueling the exodus.

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Texas Gov. Testifies On Crisis In Child Immigration

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 03:43

This week the House Committee on Homeland Security met to discuss minors entering the U.S. alone through Texas. NPR's Tamara Keith talks with correspondent John Burnett, who's been covering the surge.

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How New FCC Rules On Political Ads Impact N.C. Senate Race

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 03:43

Every TV station in the U.S. is now required to post its political ad sales online. NPR's Tamara Keith talks to Mark Binker of WRAL-TV about what this means for the North Carolina Senate race.

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Chaos In Iraq Might Give Kurds A Better Chance Of Independence

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 03:43

As Iraq continues to fracture, the Kurdish minority could seize the moment to push for greater autonomy. Columbia University's David Phillips tells NPR's Tamara Keith about the potential opportunity.

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One Year After The Coup, Egypt Is Still Divided

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 03:43

In the year since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted, a military man was elected president and a budding insurgency has grown, as correspondent Leila Fadel tells NPR's Tamara Keith.

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Have The Islamist Militants Overreached In Iraq And Syria?

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 01:14

After sweeping military victories, the group now known as the Islamic State is demanding loyalty from all Muslims. Like other radical Islamist groups, they may be alienating potential supporters.

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Two Sisters Share One's Road To Recovery

NPR News - Sat, 2014-07-05 01:12

When Shirlene English was immobilized by a stroke in 2000, her sister Loretta stepped up as chief caregiver. Then Loretta's father developed dementia, and she stepped up again.

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As A Husband Becomes Caregiver To His Wife, A Marriage Evolves

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 13:32

Rick Rayburn became a full-time caregiver to Marianne, his wife of 42 years, after she developed dementia. She may not be the woman he married, but he says she's helping him become a better husband.

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July 4th is a big beer holiday

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-04 13:06

Independence Day is a time for family gatherings, patriotic parades, plus picnics, barbecues, ballgames—and beer.

The July 4th weekend is one of the peak periods for beer-drinking in America—as much as 40 percent higher than normal. Summer is also beer’s big season, with sales up more than 10 percent over the rest of the year.

But it's getting harder for the major beer brands to boost sales in the U.S. market. Americans’ drinking habits are changing—shifting toward fancier, more expensive drinks—away from the standard Buds, Millers and Coors that many beer-drinkers are raised on in their early twenties.

At the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon this weekend, several beers were on sale for thirsty music-lovers: Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon had two ales on tap, and there was also a craft brew from Miller. They were priced around $5-per-cup. Cheaper alcoholic offerings were available from Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

Waiting on line, festival-goer Tom Bothwell of Yakima, Washington riffed about beer and the blues: “In heaven there is no beer, that’s why we drink it here.”

Tawnya Bothwell had ordered a Deschutes Mirror Pond Ale. “I’m a regular beer drinker,” she said. “Once a week I have a beer on the weekend. Compared to my early twenties, I’m drinking much less. We like to drink the local beer when it’s available to us in restaurants, or if we just go the brewery.”

Graphic courtesy of the Brewers Association.

And therein lies the makings of a slow-rolling market crisis for the big breweries.

Beer drinkers are moving to craft beers—or, as they age, wine. That’s leaving the mass-produced beers like Bud and Miller behind. Beer production peaked in the U.S. in the 1990s and started declining. Sales have been down in four of the past five years.

But craft beer sales are up—nearly 20 percent in 2013. “There’s been a long, slow, and relatively moderate decline,” in the mainstream beer market, said Jim Hertel, a beverage analyst at consulting firm Willard Bishop. “The more popular and premium brands, the heavily-advertised brands, are in that decline.”

Hertel said craft beers are certainly more expensive. But they benefit what marketing pros call “badging,” a kind of cachet for spending more.

“If you’re out in a bar, perhaps you’re on a date trying to impress a girl,” said Hertel. “PBR is probably not what you want to be seen holding. It turns out that the craft beers have a little bit extra panache.”

During Beer Week at neighborhood pub Saraveza in Portland, Oregon, recently, Dave Dalisky was showing off summer beers from Flat Tail Brewing, the microbrewery he works for in Corvallis, Oregon.

“People that are younger, that are 21, 22, 23, are starting to get into craft beer,” said Dalisky. “Also what’s out there, what you can get at your local store, is a huge selection.”

Image courtesy of the Beer Institute.

Young people—especially young men—are still the biggest beer drinkers.

To try to hold onto them, the big multinational brewers are trying everything. Like rolling out their own smaller-run craft-brew varieties. Or creating new citrus brews, like Budweiser's margarita-flavored beer on the market. And even introducting higher-alcohol beers, like Miller Fortune, marketed to be served in a glass on the rocks, like a cocktail.

Hurricane Arthur Makes History With Its Landfall

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 12:00

Hurricane Arthur is dampening the July Fourth weekend along the eastern seaboard. It's the earliest hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina since records began in the mid-19th century.

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Chicago Students Enroll As Boys, And Graduate As College-Bound Men

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 12:00

For five years running, 100 percent of the graduating seniors at Urban Prep Academies have won admission to four-year colleges. The schools work to promote positive examples of black masculinity.

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Safety Changes Are Small Comfort When Oil Trains Pass

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 12:00

Regulators and railroads have implemented new practices since a runaway oil train destroyed the center of a small Canadian town a year ago. One key improvement, however, will take some time.

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Jerusalem Is Roiled By Violence In A Third Day Of Clashes

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 12:00

Journalist Daniel Estrin reports that dozens of Palestinians and Israeli police were injured in clashes in Jerusalem after the funeral for a Palestinian teenager.

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On July 4, A Celebration Of Walt Whitman's Irreverent Hymnal

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 12:00

For "This Week's Must-Read" poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips turns to Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, the man who first heard America singing.

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From Axes To Razors, The Stuff That Makes You Feel Manly

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 12:00

For All Things Considered's series on men in America, we asked you to tell us about the objects that make you feel manly. Answers ranged from handkerchiefs and boxing gloves to typewriters and tools.

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Tests And Tales Of Becoming A U.S. Citizen

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 12:00

Swearing-in ceremonies for new citizens are traditional on Independence Day in America. What does U.S. citizenship mean to those who choose to naturalize?

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Teacher tenure under fire

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-04 11:38

There's a new challenge to teacher tenure laws in New York. Almost a dozen students -- and their parents -- have filed suit against the city of New York and New York state, along with state and local departments of education.

They argue it's gotten too hard to fire poorly performing teachers and that New York tenure laws violate the state constitution.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of another challenge to tenure laws, in California. In that case, an LA judge said tenure laws, "have deprived students of the quality education they're entitled to."

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