National News

"We're sorry you got hacked": Target's letter to unlucky shoppers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-01-16 09:34

A Marketplace staffer / Target "guest" received this email from the beleagured chain this morning. They're offering victims a year of credit monitoring, deep regrets, and some (all-too-useful?) advice: 

Dear Target Guest,
As you may have heard or read, Target learned in mid-December that criminals forced their way into our systems and took guest information, including debit and credit card data. Late last week, as part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken.I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion.

I am truly sorry this incident occurred and sincerely regret any inconvenience it may cause you. Because we value you as a guest and your trust is important to us, Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring to all Target guests who shopped in U.S. stores, through Experian's® ProtectMyID® product which includes identity theft insurance where available. To receive your unique activation code for this service, please go to creditmonitoring.target.com and register before April 23, 2014. Activation codes must be redeemed by April 30, 2014.
In addition, to guard against possible scams, always be cautious about sharing personal information, such as Social Security numbers, passwords, user IDs and financial account information. Here are some tips that will help protect you:

• Never share information with anyone over the phone, email or text, even if they claim to be someone you know or do business with. Instead, ask for a call-back number.
• Delete texts immediately from numbers or names you don't recognize.
• Be wary of emails that ask for money or send you to suspicious websites. Don't click links within emails you don't recognize.
Target's email communication regarding this incident will never ask you to provide personal or sensitive information.
Thank you for your patience and loyalty to Target. You can find additional information and FAQs about this incident at our Target.com/databreach website. If you have further questions, you may call us at 866-852-8680.
Gregg Steinhafel

Chairman, President and CEO

Want to go shopping, anyone?

Trial Starts For Suspects In Ex-Lebanese Leader's Slaying

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 09:28

The four Hezbollah members accused of killing former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 are being tried in absentia. Prosecutors in Leidschendam, Netherlands, said Thursday they have pieced together mobile phone data allegedly used by the plotters. Hezbollah has denied any role in the killing.

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Fox News and Roger Ailes 'reversed the economics of TV news'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-01-16 09:20

Fox News and Roger Ailes aren't uncontroversial things to talk about. And we know you'll have some feedback on this interview. Click the button to right and give us your opinion -- in your own voice:

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As one surveys the American corporate landscape, there are few CEOs out there as successful, influential, or powerful as Roger Ailes, the founder and president of Fox News.

He started in daytime television with Mike Douglas, back in the 1960s, got into politics with then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon, and since starting Fox News in 1996, has built it into a multi-billion dollar business and a huge political force.

Gabriel Sherman covers the media for New York magazine and is the author of "The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News and Divided a Country." Sherman says he interviewed 600 sources for his book, but Ailes was not one of them.

"He has reversed the economics of the TV business by revolutionizing how TV is packaged. By using politics he's figured out a business model that has allowed his network to generate twice the ratings of his competitors, CNN and MSNBC. His profits exceed all of cable news and the broadcast evening news networks combined, so as a business story it is an unparalleled success."

Fox News: 'Recreated in Roger Ailes' image'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-01-16 09:20

var audioboo={stream_id:'1816105'};

As one surveys the American corporate landscape, there are few CEOs out there as successful, influential, or powerful as Roger Ailes, the founder and president of Fox News.

He started in daytime television with Mike Douglas, back in the 1960s, got into politics with then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon, and since starting Fox News in 1996, has built it into a multi-billion dollar business and a huge political force.

Gabriel Sherman covers the media for New York magazine and is the author of "The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News and Divided a Country."

Egyptian Voters Said To Overwhelmingly Back New Constitution

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 08:09

Unofficial results say more than 95 percent of voters approved the document. The results are seen as a boost to the military government and Army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is widely expected to seek Egypt's presidency. The Muslim Brotherhood boycotted this week's vote.

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FDA Asks Doctors To Stop Prescribing High-Dose Acetaminophen

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 07:55

Acetaminophen overdoses, many of which are inadvertent, are a leading cause of acute liver failure. People taking several kinds of drugs may not realize that more than one of them can contain acetaminophen.

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Photos May Show Marines Burning Iraqis' Bodies

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 07:48

The Marine Corps is looking into images obtained by the entertainment website TMZ. They appear to show U.S. Marines burning the corpses of Iraqi fighters during the 2004 battles in Fallujah.

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Why Sugar Makes Us Feel So Good

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 06:59

Why does sugar leave our brains crying, "More! More! More!"? A neuroscientist and research psychologist who studies sugar addiction breaks it down for us in a clever new TED-Ed video.

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Why Sugar Makes Us Feel So Good

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 06:59

Why does sugar leave our brains crying, "More! More! More!"? A neuroscientist and research psychologist who studies sugar addiction breaks it down for us in a clever new TED-Ed video.

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Why is Congress focusing on poverty?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-01-16 06:53

Income inequality is at levels we haven’t seen since the 1920s, according to Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution. But Burtless says there’s a key difference between then and now -- government safety net programs like unemployment benefits and food stamps. But Burtless says the fruits of the current economic recovery aren’t being distributed equally.

"The stock market has hit new record highs and there has been a very sharp recovery in the income position and the wealth position of people who were very affluent," he says. 

Wages for lower income Americans haven’t improved much since 2007.  And, Burtless says, the high unemployment rate certainly doesn’t help.

“If there are three people looking for a job for every vacancy then workers are in a very weak bargaining position," he explains.

And those workers are spread out. In Republican, and Democratic congressional districts. Which is one reason why both parties are paying attention to inequality. 

Vatican Comes Under U.N. Scrutiny Over Priest Abuse Scandal

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 06:35

The Committee on the Rights of the Child takes church officials to task for their handling of sex abuse allegations, saying the Holy See must "take all appropriate measures" to keep children safe.

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Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady At Pre-Recession Level

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 06:26

The good news is that it appears layoffs are not piling up too rapidly. The bad news is that new jobs aren't either.

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Labor wins two rulings, Walmart vows to fight back

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-01-16 06:14

Labor advocates scored two legal victories this week in their multi-pronged campaign against retail giant Walmart: at the National Labor Relations Board, and in a federal court in Southern California. In both cases, Walmart has pledged to fight the charges.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder, of California's Central District, reaffirmed an earlier decision that a class-action lawsuit (Carrillo v. Schneider Logistics) filed on behalf of warehouse workers who loaded goods for Walmart outside Los Angeles, can go forward. The judge rejected the claim by Walmart and Schneider (a national logistics company that operates warehouses for Walmart), that she should dismiss the lawsuit because the warehouse workers were directly employed and paid by subcontractors (in this case, temporary staffing agencies), and not Walmart or Schneider.

And on Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel issued a formal complaint against Walmart for allegedly taking illegal retaliation against dozens of Walmart workers in 14 states. Those workers (many affiliated with the group OUR Walmart, backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union) had engaged in protests and strikes over wages and working conditions. More than sixty Walmart supervisors and one company executive are named in the complaint, for allegedly threatening workers who participated in strikes at Walmart stores in May and June of 2013, in California, Kentucky, Texas, Washington and other states. The NLRB complaint says the workers were given written and verbal warnings and reprimands for striking. The complaint also says Walmart has miscategorized time spent on strike as an ‘unexcused absence’ from work.

Walmart spokesman  Kory Lundberg told Marketplace on Wednesday that the company looks forward to making its case on the merits of the NLRB complaint, and believes it will be vindicated. The case will come before an administrative law judge after Walmart files its response to the general counsel’s complaint at the end of January. The judge’s decision on Walmart’s culpability will then be accepted or rejected by the full five-member NLRB board.

"No reasonable person thinks it’s OK for someone to come and go from scheduled shifts as part of a union-organized campaign without being held accountable," Lundberg said of the Walmart workers who went on strike at stores last year.

Labor attorney Michael Rubin of Altshuler Berzon LLP in San Francisco, who is representing warehouse workers in the Carrillo case and has followed the worker-retaliation case as well, says the NLRB complaint is significant. "Retaliation is usually an individual-by-individual matter," says Rubin. "It is a big deal if a company had a nationwide policy or practice, established, implemented, or overseen from corporate headquarters, to retaliate against on-the-ground employees."

In reference to Judge Snyder’s denial of Walmart’s motion to dismiss the Carrillo class-action case (which alleges wage theft and other labor violations in Southern California warehouses operated for Walmart), Rubin says the judge has let the plaintiffs’ argument that Walmart was a 'joint employer' of the workers go forward. That is in spite of Walmart's claim that it was a 'customer' of the warehouse operator, Schneider Logistics, and wasn’t directly responsible for the subcontracted temporary workers’ wages or working conditions. 

PODCAST: The NBA has made it clear -- they want to expand to Europe

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-01-16 06:09

More than 100 college presidents will meet with President Obama to discuss ways to help low-income minority students graduate.

NBA officials have made it clear; they want to expand the brand in Europe.

Most local government finances are doing well when it comes to balance sheets, even capturing that elusive word -- surplus! We take a look at the state of state finances.

Colleges Guide Low-Income Students From Getting In To Graduating

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 05:52

An education summit at the White House focuses on finding new ways to help poor students succeed. "The dirty little secret of American higher education is that universities care about racial diversity and do a good job of trying to promote that, but they completely ignore the issue of socioeconomic diversity," says one scholar.

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Planning a Kickstarter campaign? Avoid these words

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-01-16 05:49

A new study from Georgia Tech looks at how words you use can determine whether your Kickstarter campaign reaches its goal.

Researchers analyzed proposal language and found projects with phrases like "even a dollar" or "not been able" don't do well. Talk like that in your campaign pitch, and I hope you have rich relatives. As for winning projects, they stressed reciprocity, scarcity and authority. 

Oscar Nominees For Best Picture Include 'Captain Phillips,' 'Gravity'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 05:46

The latest nominees for the movie industry's highest awards are out. Nine films have also been nominated for the "best picture" award. The others: American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street.

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Do You Know Who Owns Your Favorite Liquor?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 05:29

Many spirits are tied to a particular place, but liquor companies have gone global and a small number of firms now dominate the market internationally.

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34 Officers At Nuclear Site May Have Cheated On Exams

NPR News - Thu, 2014-01-16 04:50

An investigation into alleged drug use by officers led to evidence that some had also been sharing answers to proficiency exams, the Air Force says. The 34 who allegedly were involved have been suspended. It's the latest in a string of scandals for the nuclear missile launch command.

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The current state of state finances

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-01-16 04:49

As parts of the U.S. economy rebound, some states are beginning to find themselves in the position of needing to think about what to do with the extra money coming in from taxes.

Yes, an actual surplus. Remember that?

Marketplace's economics expert Chris Farrell, joins host David Brancaccio to discuss the current state of local government finances. 

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