National News

Home-Wrecker: Woman Doesn't Like Neighbors, Demolishes Their Home

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 13:11

Ana Maria Moreta Folch said she was doing her neighborhood in St. Johns County, Fla., a favor. She was charged with criminal mischief, a third-degree felony, and released on $10,000 bail.

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Keep Or Kill Last Lab Stocks Of Smallpox? Time To Decide, Says WHO

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 12:51

"If smallpox is outlawed, only outlaws will have smallpox," says one NIH virologist. Others say keeping vials of deadly virus just invites a horrific accident or theft. WHO is about to vote — again.

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Faced With Pentagon Budget Cuts, Congress Finesses The Numbers

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 12:31

The Pentagon's congressionally-imposed budget cuts ran into a powerful opponent this week: Congress itself. The House Armed Services Committee rejected $5 billion worth of proposed cuts.

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Want to buy a home? Better bring cash

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-09 12:28

If you're buying real estate these days, you should probably come with bags of cash. More and more people seem to be doing that at least.

Last quarter, a third of the existing homes sold in the U.S. were purchased entirely in cash.

Who's buying them this way? Retirees, foreign investors and Americans who can, i.e. those who don't want to bother with trying to get a mortgage.

Something that's still tough.

Heisman Winner Slides In NFL Draft, Caught By Cleveland

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 12:11

The NFL draft opened Thursday night, and as sportswriter Stefan Fatsis notes, it wasn't short on drama. The most talked-about draftee, quarterback Johnny Manziel, slid to the 22nd pick. Stretched across the whole weekend, the draft has become all but ubiquitous.

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On Victory Day, Fanfare In Crimea And Turmoil In Eastern Ukraine

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 12:11

As Russians celebrated their World War II victory, President Vladimir Putin made his first visit to Crimea since its annexation to Russia. Meanwhile, pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine are preparing for a referendum Sunday.

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After Setbacks In Battle, Syrian Rebels Seek Victories In D.C.

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 12:11

The new Syrian rebel leader Ahmed Jarab is in D.C., trying to get more support. He is meeting with members of Congress and the State Department, as well as National Security Adviser Susan Rice. President Obama is also expected to drop by. While the U.S. is considering stepping up its secret weapons shipments, some military analysts and officials say this aid may already be too late.

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Meet NPR's New Chief Executive: Jarl Mohn

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 12:11

NPR announced the selection of its new CEO: Jarl Mohn, a longtime radio DJ and former media executive, who's been a venture capitalist and corporate board member in recent years.

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Ahead Of Wildfire Season, Scientists Study What Fuels Fires

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 12:11

The federal fire scientists hope to hand off their findings to fire managers, who have to make the quick decisions on where to deploy resources that could protect lives and property.

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Spain Fines Team Of Racist, Banana-Throwing Fan, But Is It Enough?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 11:59

Soccer, Spain's national pastime, has been tainted by racism. After two recent ugly incidents, debate is raging over how to punish racist fans, and if the teams they love should be held responsible.

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NBA Picks Dick Parsons As Interim CEO Of Los Angeles Clippers

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 11:46

Parsons previously served as CEO of Time Warner. The appointment comes in the wake of the scandal surrounding racist comments made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whom the league banned for life.

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Not-So-Social Media: Why People Have Stopped Talking On Phones

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 11:37

There was a time when teens would spend hours on the phone gabbing with friends. Now, that's the stodgiest behavior imaginable. Even for older people, a ringing phone is an unwanted intrusion.

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Opinion: Of course P. Diddy should speak at graduation

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-09 11:14

Moguls, icons and millionaires like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were also welcomed back to their unofficial alma maters after dropping out of school. But Sean Combs, who many readily accept to host a party or give a shout out, is somehow shelled out of the realm of successful individuals who have made it without higher education.

America, you can't be that selective. If we are to teach hip-hop in universities, we can certainly have one of its most successful moguls speak to our students, no?

What makes Combs' story so special wasn't his rise to the top as a drop out. It's his rise to the top as a black man…who dropped out. And frankly, if we're to compare Jobs, Gates and Combs, let's get one thing clear - their starting points were not the same. There's this thing called "privilege."

Combs perfected the art of business. His Sean Jean clothing line, the unprecedented Revolt TV, or popularizing the "Vote Or Die" campaign that bolstered the numbers of young voter registration (and led to Barack Obama's presidential win). Howard University is still at the helm of that success.

Isn't demonizing and excluding Combs from academia for his musical content, or because he didn't make his money as a lawyer or doctor, a nuanced way to say this subset of black culture isn't good enough for Howard University?

Howard does need someone suggesting to its African-American graduates that he couldn't have made it without the knowledge he acquired at the esteemed college, and, possibly, insight to navigating in this faux "post-racial" world as educated black people.

And for that, I'm certain Bill Gates or Steve Jobs couldn't provide any insight or advice.

The triple tax break of a Health Savings Account

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-09 11:13

Higher deductibles and rising premiums got you down? We’re getting hammered by the high costs of healthcare and even employers are feeling the pinch.

To help offset some of the costs, many employers are now asking their workers to take a closer look at health savings accounts, or HSAs. With an HSA, you can get a triple tax break while saving money on healthcare expenses.

But are they the right move for everyone?

Kimberly Lankford of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance says there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. “But it is an option for many more people now that so many of us are dealing with higher healthcare deductibles,” Lankford says.

Who can qualify for an HSA? If your health insurance plan has a deductible of at least $1,250 for an individual and $2,500 for family, you’ll most likely qualify for an HSA. That covers a lot of the Silver and Bronze plans for sale on the insurance exchanges. You can open them up with a bank, brokerage firm and many employers are now offering them to encourage employees to choose a cheaper, higher deductible plan.

Some employers are even contributing as much as $1,000 themselves to get the ball rolling.

Lankford says the benefit is in the tax savings. “It’s a triple break,” she says. “It’s either pre-tax with your employer, or tax-deductible if you’re buying on your own. The money grows tax-deferred, and you can use it tax-free for any medical expenses.”

The money continues to grow and you don’t have to use it every year, unlike a flexible spending account (or FSA). Lankford recommends depositing money every year and letting it grow until retirement and using it for Medicare expenses or even long term care.

The cash can be used to pay for deductibles or Medicare premiums, and even for portions of long-term care costs.

"It's a great way to build a tax-free stash of money for future healthcare costs,” she says.

The best time to jump into an HSA is when you’re young and healthy without too many fixed medical costs. If you’re older with more costs or are dealing with a medical condition, you’ll really need to crunch the numbers to see what kind of plan will leave you better off in the long run.

"For someone with higher fixed costs like diabetes it might not be a great deal,” Lankford says. “You need to not just look at premiums but look at what are your regular expenses for medicine, for doctors. If you have a condition where you have similar medical expenses every year, do the math and add it up. In some cases you may come out ahead with lower premiums but sometimes the higher premiums might leave you with lower expenses at the end of the year."

Employers are excited about the plans because anything that encourages people to take on a higher deductible plan will save the boss some cash.

And who doesn’t want to save their company some money?

Turkish Man On Dating Show Was Ax Murderer; He Also Killed Wife

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 10:51

The 62-year-old appeared on a show called Luck of the Draw and said he'd learned from his past and was now an "honest person looking for a new wife." The host wasn't convinced: She told him to leave.

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Health Centers Hurt In States That Skipped Medicaid Expansion

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 10:41

Most of the affected patients live in the South, because every state in the region except Arkansas and Kentucky opted against expanding the Medicaid program for the poor.

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What Are The Most (And Least) Charitable U.S. States?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-09 10:40

There are only two U.S. states where at least 50 percent of residents say they've recently given either money or time to charity: Utah and Minnesota, according to a new Gallup poll.

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Quiz: Americans use HOW much electricity?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-09 10:33

It's international quiz time on the Marketplace Morning Report. Stephan Richter, editor-in-chief of the online international affairs magazine The Globalist brings us a question that will test your knowledge of our energy needs in context. 

The World Economic Forum for Africa wrapped up in Nigeria today, and energy production was a central theme. Richter's question: How much electricity does the average Nigerian use each year compared to an American? The equivalent of:

  1. A. One American's air conditioner running in the U.S. all year long.
  2. B. One American's refrigerator running all in the U.S. all year long.
  3. C. One American's microwave oven running in the U.S. all year long.
  4. D. One American's coffee maker running in the U.S. all year long.

Scroll down the page to see the answer -- and click play on the audio player above to hear our report about electricity. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER: C. The average American uses 13,000 kilowatt-hours (kwh) per year. That's quite a bit. A microwave oven consumes 135 kilowatt hours per year. That is 1/100 of the average US energy consumption per person. 

Gear up for Bike to Work Day

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-09 10:09

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's an extended look at what's coming up the week of May 12, 2014:

In Washington, a look at the nation's balance sheet. The Treasury Department is scheduled to release its monthly statement for April.

Here's a tourist opportunity. The Washington Monument reopens to the public. It's been undergoing repairs for earthquake damage since August 2011.

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reports on retail sales for April.

National Police Week continues with a candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

The Senate Budget Committee discusses, "Expanding Economic Opportunity for Women and Families.

And America will be spending some late nights with him in the future. Stephen Colbert turns 50.

That brings us to Wednesday. The Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for April.

And thanks to him you are now obligated to publicly acknowledge the birthdays of people you may hardly know. Mark Zuckerberg turns 30.

On Thursday the Federal Reserve releases its monthly report on industrial production.

Friday is the anniversary of the first Academy Awards ceremony held in 1929. "Wings" took top honors for best picture, the only silent film to do so.

And put your high heels in your backpack for your daily commute. Friday is Bike to Work Day.

A possible deal worth billions, but no billionaires

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-09 10:00

The sound of a reported $3.2 billion is music to Dr. Dre's ears, and not just because his company, Beats Electronics, deals in high-end headphones and sound equipment. If it happens, it would also make him the richest mogul on the Forbes' list of hip hop's wealthiest artists, surpassing Puff Daddy by $100 million.

Though, Forbes' Zack O'Malley Greenburg points out that while the rappers and producers on the list are very wealthy, none are actually billionaires. The rumored sale of his company to Apple would then bring Dre's net worth up to $880 million.

Here's a look at some of the wealthiest people in hip hop if the Beats buyout were to happen (with accompanying lyrics):

1. Dr. Dre - Net Worth: $880 Million (projected)

Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for BET

"You gotta get it - get it. Get it playa. Count all the cash up. You gotta get it, get it, get it."

                                                                                                                                      - Dr. Dre, "Get Your Money Right"

2. Puff Daddy - Net Worth: $700 million

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Clear Channel

"Still got cash to blow, raps that flow. Still them cats that know, pack ya flow. That's fo' sho'"

                                                                                                                                                      - Puff Daddy, “Bad Boy For Life”

3. Jay-Z - Net Worth: $520 million

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

"We push the hottest V's, peel fast through the city. Play Monopoly with real cash"

                                                                        -Notorious B.I.G. featuring Jay-Z, “I Love the Dough” 

4. Bryan “Birdman” Williams - Net Worth: $300 million

Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

"Vroom on a Yamaha chromed out 11 hundred. What I'm doin'? Gettin' money. What we doin'? Gettin' money."

                                                                                                                                                 - Bryan "Birdman" Williams, Stuntin' Like My Daddy

5. 50 Cent - Net Worth: $100 million

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

 

"Startin to feel like there's nothin left to talk about but the, money, money."

                                                                                                                                               -50 Cent, “Money”

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