National News

India's air pollution problem

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 02:30

The last time President Barack Obama made a major state visit to Asia was last year when he met with Chinese president Xi Jinping and announced a broad-reaching climate change deal.

We shouldn't expect the same thing from his visit to India, even though its cities have air that's four times deadlier than in Beijing. But how does India’s environmental pollution stack up, and what might the U.S. do to curb greenhouse gas emissions there?

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New effort ranks drug-makers by impact

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 02:00

Pharmaceutical companies have one very obvious reason to avoid developing drugs and vaccines for infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis: There’s basically no money in it.

That’s because most people with those conditions are poor and have little means to pay. So what kind of incentive do you need to get drug makers to take on global health epidemics? The answer may be a new index that ranks companies by who has the most effective drugs.

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Silicon Tally: A bird? A plane? No, it's Crystal Meth!

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news.

This week, we're joined by Harry Campbell, whose experience as a driver for Lyft, Uber and Sidecar fuels both his blog and podcast known as The Rideshare Guy.

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Greece prepares to vote; Eurozone worries

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 02:00

Voters casting their ballots in this weekend's general election in Greece know that much is at stake. A radical, far-left party called Syriza is leading in the polls. It's promising to roll back the deep public spending cuts imposed by the outgoing government and renegotiate Greece’s $280 billion bailout deal. Such moves would have big repercussions for the European economy and the global economy, too.

Despite the high stakes, the campaign here has lacked razzmatazz and the mood is subdued. Conservative politician Adonis Georgiadis, however, doesn't pull his punches when he talks about  the possibility of a Syriza victory. 

"If they win, we will be bankrupt within a month, maybe," he says.

Georgadis, a former minister in  the outgoing government, warns that Syriza’s plans to unpick the carefully-negotiated deal on Greece’s bailout would lead to the country defaulting and being expelled from the Eurozone:

"Unfortunately, it's a big possibility and it will destroy us. Two months. I have totally no doubt about it." he says.

But Syriza’s chief economist Yiannis Milios argues that austerity measures and crippling loan repayments are already destroying Greece. He says some 60 percent of young Greeks are without work and that has to change. He doesn't believe recent reports saying the Germans would rather see Greece default and leave the euro than renegotiate the bailout.

"They're bluffing" he says.

Former minister Adonis Georgiadis thinks Syriza is making a dangerous mistake. The Germans, he warns, never bluff.

Bluffing or not, Germany must respect the democratic will of the Greek people, says Syriza candidate and economist Yanis Varoufakis. He predicts that if  Greece is forced out of the Eurozone, the currency union will ultimately fragment and collapse.

"When one third of the world economy—that’s Europe—implodes in this way as the result of the fragmentation of the Eurozone, we’re going to be facing a post-modern 1930’s," he says.

Right now, the prospect of a euro collapse, let alone a 1930’s Depression, still seems remote. But the potentially massive repercussions of this weekend's election in a small corner of Europe is one more risk for the world to worry about.

 

The income gap is widening faster than you think

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 01:30
$280 billion

That's the amount of Greece's bailout deal, which the radical, far-left party called Syriza, promises to renegotiate should they win the upcoming elections. Such moves would have big repercussions for the European economy and the global economy, too.

$106 million

Abercrombie and Fitch's expected profits from last year, less than half of what they made in 2012. The flagging sales eventually lead to longtime CEO Mike Jeffries ouster late last year. Jeffries made Abercrombie his life, at times quite literally, and a new Businessweek feature shows Jeffries' uncompromising vision and eccentricities built one of the top brands in the world, but also lead to its downfall.

6.5 pounds

That's how many pounds of Crystal Meth a drone attempted to carry over the Mexico/U.S. border before crashing. But you already knew that didn't you? So why not prove your knowledge of the week in tech news by taking our quiz over at Silicon Tally?

$11,000

That's how much more money the bottom 80 percent of the population would have per household if today's economy had the income distribution it had in 1979, the Financial Times reported. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent would have $750,000 less per household. Further evidence that the rich are getting richer, and fast.

$40,000 to $80,000

That's the range of incomes of those most likely to lose their health insurance as a result of a Supreme Court decision on King v. Burwell against federal subsidies in states that don't run marketplaces for healthcare exchanges. As reported by the New York Times, other characteristics of this group include being predominantly white, Southern, employed and middle-aged.

162,000

The approximate number of drivers working for Uber, quadruple the amount from just a year ago. That's according to new data released by the company, which shows Uber drivers are a rapidly growing and diverse group, but one with very high turnover: 11 percent of drivers quit after a month, and half stop driving after a year.

American Millennial Missionary In Guinea Isn't Scared Off By Ebola

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 01:03

Luke Whitworth, 23, came to Guinea from South Carolina 13 months ago. That's when the outbreak there began. His sponsoring group gave him the option to leave — but he's determined to stay.

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A Blind Woman Gains New Freedom, Click By Click By Click

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 23:37

Blind since birth, Julee-anne Bell wasn't comfortable heading out on her own. And when she learned an echolocation technique that gave her more independence, she discovered that it came with costs.

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To Keep Planes From Disappearing, NTSB Urges Constant Tracking

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 18:42

The agency wants every-minute updates on the locations of planes that fly over water, as well as longer-lasting batteries for black-box beacons, following the disappearance of a Malaysian jet.

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Former WWE Fighters Suing Over Alleged Brain Damage

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 17:44

The wrestlers say World Wrestling Entertainment downplayed dangers in the ring.

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Ancient Egyptian Relic Broken, Repaired With Glue

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 17:20

Anonymous officials say the beard of the golden mask of King Tutankamun broke off during a cleaning last year, and was glued back on in a hurry.

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Goosebumps And Gas: New Data From Rosetta Probe Describes Comet

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 17:16

We're learning more about the comet that a European Space Agency paired up with its Rosetta probe last fall. For one thing, it has "goosebumps" on steep cliff faces. It's also highly porous.

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Fun fact Friday: Lifestyles of the rich and famous

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-22 16:15
Fun fact: Bill Gates has enough money to buy Uber ... twice.

We did the numbers on what some of the wealthiest people on earth are capable of purchasing.

Doing the numbers on the super rich Fun fact: No one really knows how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.

But more than one group of candy-crazed engineers have tried to find a satisfying answer. Read about it here:

Tootsie Roll CEO, 95, leaves behind a sweet legacy Fun fact: Amazon Prime subscriptions are booming in — of all places — rural Alaska.

That’s because Amazon Prime’s $99 annual subscription fee comes with free shipping, no matter how heavy the package.

Free shipping a boon for Alaska's Amazon customers Fun fact: When it comes to the presidential wardrobe during the State of the Union address, blue ties beat out red.

Still, both red and blue are more popular than the dark and yellow tie President Clinton wore in 1998.

State of the Union, by the numbers

The Doomsday Clock Moves 2 Minutes Closer To Midnight

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 15:40

A group of prominent scientists use the clock as a symbol of imminent disaster for humanity.

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Saudi King Abdullah, Who Laid Foundation For Reform, Dies

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 15:28

Abdullah put forward the Arab Peace Initiative for a deal with Israel, cracked down on al-Qaida within the kingdom, and became known as a ruler committed to reform. But the moves were limited.

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Police Departments Issuing Body Cameras Discover Drawbacks

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 14:57

They are being hailed as a technological solution to bad police-community relationships, but research on the cameras' impact is thin, and some departments are dealing with unintended consequences.

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Investment Fund Pours Cash Into Cleaner, Greener Fish Farming

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 14:43

Aqua-Spark is the world's first investment fund for sustainable aquaculture. So far it has bet on an alternative fish feed that could take pressure off the oceans and a tilapia farm in Mozambique.

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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Dies; Witnessed A New Era

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 14:28

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has died, according to his state TV. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud was 90 years old; when he was born, Saudi Arabia was not a country, let alone an oil-producing power.

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Family Dollar Shareholders Approve Takeover By Dollar Tree

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 14:03

Two of the biggest dollar stores are merging. Family Dollar shareholders agreed to an $8.7 billion takeover Thursday, choosing not to accept a bigger offer from Dollar General due to antitrust fears.

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French Prisons Prove To Be Effective Incubators For Islamic Extremism

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 13:54

Two of the men involved in the Paris attacks met in prison, where they transformed from small-time criminals to jihadists. France is now redoubling its effort to prevent radicalization in its prisons.

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30-Year Sentence Lifted For Woman In El Salvador Abortion Case

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 13:40

Carmen Guadalupe Vasquez Aldana had steadfastly denied having an abortion. She said her unborn baby had died due to medical complications. This week, Congress pardoned her after seven years in jail.

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