National News

Pelosi Picks Democratic Team For Benghazi Panel

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 15:07

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's decision to play ball with the House Benghazi select committee was defensive in nature.

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Invoking 'Castle Doctrine,' Mont. Man Pleads Not Guilty In Teen's Death

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 14:46

A Montana man says he was justified in shooting a prowler, a German exchange student, in his garage. The case has revived the debate over how far Americans should be able to go to defend their homes.

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Kidnapped California Woman, Missing Since 2004, Is Found Alive

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 14:10

The unidentified victim was reportedly abducted when she was 15 and held for years against her will. Her alleged captor has been arrested.

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For Automakers, Internet-Connected Cars Are A Balancing Act

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 14:04

General Motors is putting 4G capabilities directly into its vehicles. But analysts say connecting your car to the Internet poses a challenge to automakers: how to balance safety with convenience.

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China and the U.S.: Who's spying on whom?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 13:31
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 16:27 Feng Li/Getty Images

The Chinese state-controlled press is having a field day with U.S. Justice Department indictments claiming the Chinese army is spying on American companies. They have been leveling counter-charges that the NSA is doing the same thing to Chinese companies.

Who’s to blame all depends on which side you’re on, says David Sanger, the National Security Correspondent for the New York Times.
 
He says Americans argue that “…when the NSA spies, it is spying either for pure national security – say it’s hunting for terrorists or nuclear proliferators – or it is spying for some kind of national economic advantage.” They argue that the Chinese spy for individual companies.

Sanger has been writing about the charges since they were revealed earlier this week. He says it’s unlikely the Chinese and Americans will just acknowledge they’re both spying on each other and move on, a la The Cold War.

“American companies are losing hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in stolen intellectual property. And frankly, the Chinese are not at a state of development where we’re that interested in stealing their stuff. But they’re highly interested in stealing ours. And so the cost of jobs in the United States, the cost in lost revenue is very high for us, and it’s been very low for the Chinese.”

Marketplace for Wednesday May 21, 2014Interview by Kai RyssdalPodcast Title China and the U.S.: Who's spying on whom?Story Type InterviewSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

China and the U.S.: Who's spying on whom?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 13:27

The Chinese state-controlled press is having a field day with U.S. Justice Department indictments claiming the Chinese army is spying on American companies. They have been leveling counter-charges that the NSA is doing the same thing to Chinese companies.

Who’s to blame all depends on which side you’re on, says David Sanger, the National Security Correspondent for the New York Times.
 
He says Americans argue that “…when the NSA spies, it is spying either for pure national security – say it’s hunting for terrorists or nuclear proliferators – or it is spying for some kind of national economic advantage.” They argue that the Chinese spy for individual companies.

Sanger has been writing about the charges since they were revealed earlier this week. He says it’s unlikely the Chinese and Americans will just acknowledge they’re both spying on each other and move on, a la The Cold War.

“American companies are losing hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in stolen intellectual property. And frankly, the Chinese are not at a state of development where we’re that interested in stealing their stuff. But they’re highly interested in stealing ours. And so the cost of jobs in the United States, the cost in lost revenue is very high for us, and it’s been very low for the Chinese.”

In Kentucky, An Epic Senate Race Takes Shape

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 13:25

While GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell's strategy is to attack Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes as a tool of her national party, she's seeking to put the senator on the defensive over women's issues.

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What to do when your refrigerator starts advertising

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 13:18

Google, in a letter to the SEC, imagined a world where ads would be delivered in some pretty odd places: refrigerators, car dashboards, and thermostats, for starters. 

Which raises an interesting question: How will we ignore ads when they are in our thermostats, our cars, and our dashboards?

We’ve gotten pretty good at shooting down popups and closing video ads before they’ve even loaded and we know who they’re for. 

“When I’ve tested experienced users, one sees extreme results,” says Ben Edelman, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. “One in 10,000 college graduates clicking a banner ad.”

Part of growing up and becoming familiar with the internet, is learning how to put up blinders to the internet. 

Some advertisers have tried coercion – forcing you to watch a video before you can get to the content you actually want to see. We’ve learned to ignore those too. 

“What I end up doing is switching browser tabs, muting  the ad – I’ve seen so many friends do this – and coming back to it later,” says Jeff Harmon, with Harmon Brothers Inc. He was behind one of the most famous ad campaigns of 2013, for bathroom deodorizer Poo-Pourri. 

But that’s really clinging to the old TV mindset, says Harmon, which doesn’t translate to the internet where ignoring annoyance is just a click away. Plus, many advertisers – Google among them – have been moving away from that kind of force-feeder advertising. 

These days, most video ads, for example, make you sit through just 5 seconds of an ad. So if you like it, you can watch the rest, and if you don’t, you move on. 

So really, the strategy that will win in the future will be the strategy that wins today:  “Being relevant and engaging,” says Harmon.

Perhaps in the future, we will turn to our Google-refrigerators and iCoffee makers for content: hilarious ads, dramatic ads, or companionship, friendship, and love. Oh sorry, not the last parts. But the content part.  

Check out the slideshow above for some especially creative advertising solutions.

Why people are still buying GM cars post-recall

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 13:11

The latest recall from General Motors came Wednesday. It was for a couple hundred thousand subcompact Chevrolet Aveos. That’s on top of a couple million cars and trucks recalled Tuesday. And, of course, that was on top of the big recall over ignition defects that were linked to 13 deaths. 

So far, GM has recalled almost 14 million vehicles this year, according to the company. But it's not slowing interest among people shopping for new GM cars, at least according to traffic on the car shopping site Edmunds.com.

Does the recall not matter? The site's consumer advice editor, Carroll Lachnit, notes their traffic only reflects new car shoppers, and some of GM’s recalled vehicles aren’t sold new anymore. And there's a question of branding: "In the majority of cases, the cars that people are looking at don't have the name GM on them," she says. "They're Chevrolets, they're Buicks."

Robert Passikoff of the group Brand Keys says GM’s brand loyalty had been edging back after quality issues and the hit of bankruptcy, but it still isn’t great. Passikoff recently surveyed the reaction of GM car owners who’ve had vehicles recalled.

And they were of course negative, but they were three times as large as brands where loyalty was high,” he says.

In other words, less loyalty going into a recall meant more unhappiness coming out. Passikoff says that will show up in GM sales down the line. 

Anxiety And MRIs May Be Driving The Rise In Double Mastectomies

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 13:09

More than two-thirds of women who had a double mastectomy after a cancer diagnosis didn't have the high risk that could be reduced by the surgery, a study finds.

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New DOJ Policy Urges Agents To Videotape Interrogations

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 13:04

The policy shift, set to take effect July 11, is designed to align practices across the federal government, where some law enforcement agencies employ recordings and others don't.

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Gazprom goes to China, Russia's economy rejoices

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 13:03

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been visiting China. The result? The two countries are reported to have struck a $400 billion deal in which the Russian gas company Gazprom will supply energy-hungry China.

Gazprom is a company. It has a CEO, Alexei Miller, and you can buy its stock. But ownership is a combination of private and public, and Keith Crane, director of the Rand Corporation’s environment, energy and economic development program, says a little over half the shares are owned by the state and the state calls the shots.

“Gazprom’s key asset is the fact that if you’re a gas producer in Russia, there’s only one company you can sell your gas to, and that’s Gazprom.”

The company, says Crane, has something of a reputation. "It’s highly corrupt, and a lot of money leaks out of the country into the hands of various officials and individuals so I would not invest in it,” he says.

That's one reason why, he notes, this deal with China is so important.

Then, there's the European problem. With the tension between Russia and Ukraine,  through which most Russian gas moves, European countries are looking for alternative sources. Andy Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategeic and International Studies, says the European market for Russian gas is growing a lot more slowly.

“China is the largest growth engine, it’s the fastest growing consumer, and importer of hydrocarbons, oil and gas,” he says.

And, Kuchin notes, while oil makes up a large part of Russia's revenue, keeping natural gas prices low, for production and heating costs, is critical for the country’s domestic economy.

"A good way to think about it is that for the Russians, they’ll say, 'That’s oil, that’s dengi, that’s money. But for gas, 'That’s khleb, that’s our bread,'" he says.

Kuchins says Gazprom probably has rights to over 15 percent of the gas reserves in the world. And since it shares a border with China, this deal for gas should be a win for both countries.

71 Arrested For Internet Child Porn In New York

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 12:42

Described as the largest-ever such operation in the city, it yielded some 600 computers, tablets and smartphones containing what officials say are "shocking" images.

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Obama: U.S. Military In Chad To Aid Search For Missing Schoolgirls

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 11:39

The president tells Congress that 80 U.S. armed forces personnel have been deployed to the central African nation to help locate the nearly 300 girls kidnapped last month in Nigeria.

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The Vegetables Most Americans Eat Are Drowning In Salt And Fat

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 11:17

Potatoes and tomatoes are nutritious and delicious. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that Americans tend to consume way too many of them in unhealthy ways, like french fries and pizza.

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Which cities will profit off the Star Wars museum?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 11:15
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 07:38 Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Darth Vader and George Lucas (R) onstage during Spike TV's 'SCREAM 2011' awards held at Universal Studios in 2011 in Universal City, California. San Francisco and Chicago are currently bidding for a chance to host George Lucas' Lucas Curltural Arts Museum in their city.

Chicago wants to lure director George Lucas to build his Lucas Cultural Arts Museum in the Windy City instead of San Francisco.

“We expect that the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum would generate between $2 and $2.5 billion in direct economic impact over ten years,” says Gillian Darlow, who co-chaired a task force to find a site for the museum in Chicago.

Attracting visitors is a pretty safe bet. Star Wars fans are devoted and they spend money. (A full storm-trooper costume can cost upwards of $1,200.)

But some conservationists and football fans aren’t crazy about the proposed site for the museum -- currently, it’s the Chicago Bears’ parking lot.

Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday May 22,2014by Jeff TylerPodcast Title Which cities will profit off the Star Wars museum?Story Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

It May Not Be A Tea Party Year, But Outsiders Are Still Thriving

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 11:12

It's clear this year that this will not be another 2010 or 2012, when upstarts embarrassed the GOP's conventional favorites in primary after primary.

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Russia, China Secure Nearly Half-Trillion-Dollar Gas Deal

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:17

The 30-year agreement involves supplying 38 billion cubic meters of gas a year via a Siberian pipeline starting in 2018.

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Will women CEOs still stand out in 2024?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:10

You’ve probably been hearing the name “Jill Abramson” a lot lately.

The former New York Times Executive Editor’s firing last week has started a new conversation about an old problem in the corporate world: the fact that there are hardly any female CEOs.

“I don’t think this is primarily some kind of Oliver Stone-like conspiracy,” says  Nancy Koehn, a historian at the Harvard Business School. “I think it's primarily that the tributaries that feed into the river of talent haven’t -- until recently -- been replete with talented women. Not because they aren’t out there in droves -- they are -- but because [they have] only recently come into the kinds of management jobs which feed top leadership talent.”

Koehn says women traditionally haven’t worked as much in the direct roles like sales and research that lead to executive jobs. She says General Motors CEO Mary Barra is an example of what can happen when women buck that trend.

“[She] didn’t stay in HR. She didn’t stay in PR or Legal. Instead, [she] was moved around into Manufacturing and Research...She had a full plate of professional positions that made her a great candidate to run this huge auto company.”

Koehn says it won’t be long until stories like Barra’s aren’t a rarity.

“[This] kind of social change isn’t a line. It's a curve. It's slow to begin with, like the adoption of a new technology, and then it ratchets up. And it has all these spillover effects. Talented women mentor other women. They mentor other women. The curve gets very steep very quickly.”

Turns out, shame and fear don't fight cancer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:01

Shame and fear – that’s the way marketers have traditionally tried to convince women to strip down in a cold room and squish their breasts between two plastic paddles.

Dr. Steve Woloshin, a professor of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, remembers one American Cancer Society ad from the 1980s that stated, "If you’re a woman over 35 and you haven’t had a mammogram, you need more than your breasts examined.”

“That was the classic persuasive message telling women if you don’t get screened, you’re crazy, you need your head examined," Woloshin says.

Scaring women about cancer is still the norm, but that could be shifting.

No Scolding Allowed

"Avoid anxiety": That's the mantra at the country’s largest breast imaging company in the country – Texas-based Solis Women’s Health.

At Solis Women’s Health centers across the U.S., employees don’t just steer clear of scaring women, they avoid talking cancer at all.

"Fear is not a motivator. It’s typically something that will cause people to procrastinate,” says Kate Maguire, president of Motivation Mechanics, a group of Philadelphia-based research and marketing strategists who worked for Solis Women’s Health.

After interviewing women about what they wanted in a mammography experience, Maguire – whose grandmother and mother had breast cancer – outlined a major marketing makeover.

The Makeover

Here are a few examples of what Solis Women’s Health changed:

Terminology: Women are referred to as visitors, instead of patients.

Clinic Layout: There are two different hallways, one for women coming in for a standard screening and another for women who have been called back for additional imaging. This helps reduce anxiety for the women who are nervous after being called back, Maguire says, because they don't see people leaving faster. 

Tagline: The old tagline at Solis was “Annual mammograms, it’s what smart women do.” That phrase, says VP of marketing Greg Scott, was a "bad girl message.”

Now, the tagline is “When you’re ready, we’ll be there for you.” 

Cost & Convenience

Breast imaging is big business. A report from Frost & Sullivan estimates revenues of $1 billion in 2011, and an expected rise to $1.4 billion in 2016.

But, from a business perspective, there are two main barriers to getting women in the door for screenings: financial and emotional. The Affordable Care Act, by making mammograms a fully-covered service, has cut the cost obstacle.

Now, there’s the psychological barrier – which companies like Solis Women’s Health are trying to counter by alleviating the fear that comes with scheduling and going through with a mammogram.

Marketing director Greg Scott says, by offering convenient, fast visits and fast results (within 24-48 hours by email if there is no additional screening required) his company is pushing past the competition.

Solis Women’s Health saw about 240,000 women in 2013, Scott says, and for the first quarter of 2014, growth was more than 10 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth and 4 percent nationwide.

Conflicting Messages

Steve Woloshin of Dartmouth says deciding whether to get a mammogram is much more complicated than any glossy brochure may suggest.

“The reason it’s controversial is the evidence supporting mammography, even though intuitively it seems like it’s got to be the right thing to do, the evidence we have isn’t so clear cut.”

Mammograms do save lives, Woloshin says, but they can also have downsides: false alarms, follow-up testing, and over-diagnosis.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says for every 10,000 women, mammograms probably save five lives of women in their 40s, ten lives of women in their 50s, and 42 lives of women in their 60s. Meanwhile, half of women screened for ten years have a “false positive” – a suspicious mammogram that leads to a repeat test or biopsy on a healthy breast.

Ultimately, decisions on whether or not to get a mammogram, he says, should be individualized. And the decision should be based on information, rather than fear.

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