National News

Uber surges for New Year's Eve

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 02:00

Uber expects to be busy New Year's Eve, and its policy of raising rates when demand is high, or surge pricing, is economics 101. Low demand leads to lower prices. Higher demand means a company can jack up prices and customers will still pay.

Defenders of the surge pricing policy say Uber is transparent, warning riders that getting from point A to point B will cost them more. Still, the concept is a new one for many people, and so even if there's no trickery involved, there's still likely to be pushback from frustrated users who just can't understand why their car delivery service raises prices, right when they most need a ride.

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American Apparel closes a challenging year

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 02:00

American Apparel once stood for some combination of sexy, creepy, and made-in-the-USA. But after a year of flat sales, the company is making some changes, at least at the top. As of January 5, the company will have a new CEO, as its infamous self-proclaimed "dirty guy" was fired after a long string of harassment allegations (and flat sales). And now hedge fund Lion Capital is reportedly pushing the company to find a new owner. But can a change at the top alter the brand's bottom line? 

Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at the NPD Group, says it faces new competition in the "fashionable basics" category. And Jennifer Black, CEO of Jennifer Black & Associates, says to succeed in this new environment will take both low prices and to nail the next fashion trend.

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Weather Hampers AirAsia Search, Sonar May Have Found Parts Of Plane

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 01:37

Sonar may have located parts of the AirAsia flight that disappeared Sunday over the Java Sea with 162 people on board. Recovery teams have now pulled at least seven bodies from the choppy waters.

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Doing the numbers on New Years Eve

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 01:30
11,875 pounds

The weight of the ball set to drop in Times Square at midnight. This year's time ball is decorated with 32,256 light bulbs, compared to 100 on the first ball to drop in New York back in 1907.

3,000 pounds

Speaking of Times Square, that's how much confetti will be thrown out when that ball drops.


That's how many cities allow public drinking in some fashion, including New Orleans; Lincoln, Nebraska; Las Vegas and Erie, Pennsylvania. The Huffington Post has a map and a history of public drinking laws in the U.S.

Courtesy:Huffington Post 50x

That's Uber's maximum surge pricing multiplier. It's a ceiling they've never actually hit, save for one experiment in Sweden. Still, the car service expects Wednesday night to be among its busiest ever, and the company advises requesting a ride before midnight or after 2:30 a.m. to avoid peak rates.

71.2 percent

The portion of Jawbone Up fitness tracker users who are awake at midnight on New Year's, lower than most other countries with a high number of Up users.

$7.3 billion

That's how much ESPN is paying to broadcast seven college football playoff games a year over 12 years. The first in 2015 is the Rose Bowl, starting at 5 p.m. Thursday. 

Waiting For A Break: Obama on 'Strategic Patience' In Foreign Policy

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 01:00

"I believe in diplomacy, I believe in dialogue, I believe in engagement," the president says of Iran and other regimes perceived as U.S. enemies. But he says restoring relations is a gradual process.

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Vocab-Intensive Tech For Toddlers Encourages 'Anytime, Anywhere Learning'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 23:31

Sesame Workshop's games are designed to help kids learn words and have fun. One New York City educator says it's never too soon to teach tykes that technology can be more than just entertainment.

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Potent Powdered Caffeine Raises Safety Worries

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 23:28

With two young men dead, the Food and Drug Administration is considering banning sales to consumers of a highly concentrated form of pure caffeine. A lethal overdose is too easy, officials warn.

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Why Emotional Learning May Be As Important As The A-B-Cs

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 23:27

A growing body of research suggests that teaching really young kids how to recognize and express their feelings can help them into their adult lives.

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There And Back Again For U.S. Military In Iraq

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 23:25

Three years after the U.S. military officially withdrew from Iraq, 2,000 U.S. troops are back restoring the old buildings they'd left behind and renewing former contacts with Iraqi officers.

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Roxane Gay: 2014 Was The Year Of 'Enough Is Enough'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 23:25

Author Roxane Gay spent 2014 thinking and writing about issues that exposed divides in America over race and gender. She offers her thoughts on some of the year's most-talked-about stories.

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Banish 2014's Woes With Our Stand-Up Comedy Picks

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 23:23

NPR's Elizabeth Blair polled comedy-industry insiders to find out their favorite jokes of 2014. The results range from supermarket-checkout observations to a historically hysterical take on Oprah.

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Sanctions Intensify Russia's Free Fall Into Economic Crisis

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 23:22

The Russian economy took a big hit in 2014. The U.S. and other countries imposed economic sanctions after Russia annexed Crimea, but it was falling oil prices that really hurt the country.

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Toddler Fatally Shoots His Mother At Idaho Wal-Mart

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 22:10

The Kootenai County sheriff's office says the 2-year-old boy, who was seated in a shopping cart, reached into his mother's handbag, found the loaded gun and shot her. She died at the scene.

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Kazakhstan Accepts 5 Long-Held Detainees From Guantanamo

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 20:28

The release of two men from Tunisia and three from Yemen brings the prison population at Guantanamo to 127, according to a Pentagon statement on Tuesday.

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