National News

We Have A Weiner: Joey Chestnut Defends Hot-Dog-Eating Crown

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 11:23

Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., devoured 61 hot dogs and buns in the allotted 10 minutes. Miki Sudo, who ate 34 franks and buns in the allotted time, won the women's competition.

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Fast food just got even faster

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-04 11:14

The days of waiting in line at your local McDonald's could be over soon.

The fast food chain started a pilot program for an order-ahead app in a limited number of stores around the Columbus, Georgia area -- not to be confused with the "McD App," which offers coupons and loyalty offers in test markets elsewhere in the nation.

"You download it, you place your order, and when you get to the restaurant, you scan in your phone, and at that point the kitchen starts to fire up your meal," says Bloomberg Business reporter Venessa Wong, who adds that the new app is part of an initiative to make things more convenient for customers.

The new app targets the young, tech-savvy customer whose life is, inevitably, tied to his or her smartphone.

"Being able to reach your customers and push out promotions to them on their phone is actually quite valuable," said Wong.

What may be convenient for the customer, however, may be less convenient for the restaurant itself as it may struggle to keep up with the increased speed at which orders are coming in.

"The point is to improve speed and improve service," she said, "but when you have orders coming in from a new and separate stream, the kitchen has to adapt to that."

China levies bribery charges against British drugmaker

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-04 10:33

A major scandal engulfing the British pharmaceutical company Glaxo Smith Klein has taken another turn. The Chinese government has accused GSK of systemic bribery and corruption. Its top executive in China is under arrest.

And now, a private investigator Glaxo hired -- who's also been detained -- says he believes these allegations of impropriety are credible.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard has been following the story from London, and says Glaxo's executives recieved emails last year from a self-proclaimed whistle-blower claiming that officials with the company had bribed doctors and hospitals in China to buy Glaxo's drugs at inflated prices. Glaxo investigated the claims, and says that while it uncovered some unrelated fraudulent activity, it did not find any evidence of bribery.

GSK also claims it has been the target of a smear campaign.

"And there does seem to be something in that," says Beard, "Someone, for example, secretly filmed the top Galxo executive in China having sex with a woman who was in that classic tabloid phrase, 'not his wife'."

Beard also says that Glaxo is under a deal of pressure from Chinese authorities to push down the prices it and other Western drug companies charge in the country.

Andrew Halper of the international law firm Olswang spoke to the BBC about how non-Chinese corporations in China are vulnerable.

"Foreign companies don't benefit from cover, they don't benefit from connections," says Halper, "They rarely, if ever, will have that sort of thing to protect them; they're exposed."

The twist in the story, however, is that private-eye who turned on Glaxo to say the charges may have merit.

"After recieving the sex tape, Glaxo hired this private eye to find out who was trying to smear the company," says Beard, "He submitted his report, was then in days arrested by the Chinese authorities. But here is, as you say, the latest wrinkle: It's now emerged, having seen some of the whistle-blowing emails, the investigator thinks those bribery allegations are entirely credible."

Since Glaxo only generates about three percent of its revenue from China, it may not suffer a huge amount of damage from this scandal, in terms of its overall business in the region. But the company may be looking at some collatoral damage as British fraud regulators are opening their own investigation. The Department of Justice is rumored to be taking an interest in the case as well.

Germany And Brazil To Face Off In World Cup Semifinals

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-04 10:20

Brazil ended Colombia's Cinderella story on Friday with a 2-1 win to advance to the World Cup semifinals. On Tuesday Brazil will face Germany, who defeated France 1-0 in the quarterfinal.

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