National News

African Responses Night And Day From Rwanda, U.N. Envoy Says

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-11 00:38

As a scholar, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power wrote about the U.S. failure to intervene in Rwanda. Morning Edition co-host David Greene talks to her about current crises in Africa.

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One Man Becomes Another's Hands, Feet And Family

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 23:55

Collin Smith was in high school when an accident left him unable to use his arms and legs. So Ernest Greene, 50 years his senior, decided to help. And when Collin went to college, Ernest went, too.

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Paying Off Student Loans Puts A Dent In Wallets, And The Economy

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 23:53

Repaying college debts prevents many Americans from investing in homes or retirement. The impact can add up — for individuals and the economy as a whole, a researcher says.

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What's The Right Size For The U.S. Army?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 23:52

In the coming years, U.S. Army rolls could drop to their lowest level since World War II. Some think a leaner force can meet the challenges ahead; others say the U.S. will face unacceptable risks.

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The Ebola Survivors: Reborn But Not Always Embraced

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 23:51

They have recovered from the deadly virus that is ravaging Guinea. They feel blessed by their good fortune. But family and friends are often afraid to welcome them back with open arms.

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Nirvana Leads New Class In Rock Hall Of Fame

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 22:23

Nirvana, who set music and fashion trends with their grunge sound but whose career was cut short by leader Kurt Cobain's suicide 20 years ago, led inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Shoe Thrown At Hillary Clinton During Speech

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 21:57

A woman was taken into custody Thursday after throwing a shoe at Hillary Clinton. The incident happened moments after Clinton took the stage at a Scrap Recycling Industries meeting in Las Vegas.

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9 Killed When FedEx Truck Slams Into Students' Charter Bus

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 21:32

A FedEx tractor-trailer crossed a grassy freeway median in Northern California and slammed into a bus carrying high school students on a visit to a college. At least 9 were killed, authorities said.

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Obama And Al Sharpton: An Odd Couple Who Make Political Sense

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 15:38

For the cautious president and the free-wheeling reverend, there's a political symbiosis that comes from sharing the same stage.

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Sebelius, Leader Of Rocky Health Care Rollout, Resigns From HHS

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 15:09

Kathleen Sebelius has resigned from her position as secretary of health and human services. President Obama accepted her resignation, and he plans to nominate Sylvia Matthews Burwell to replace her.

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Judges Appear Divided In Case On Utah's Gay Marriage Ban

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 14:53

A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case prompted by last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

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Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Is Resigning

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 14:48

Sebelius is resigning after a five-year term that will no doubt be remembered for the calamitous implementation of Obamacare.

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Don't break my heart: This week's Silicon Tally

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-10 14:07
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 06:09 Paul Gilham/Getty Images

It's time for Silicon Tally. How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week's guest is Nitasha Tiku, , co-editor of Valleywag, Silicon Valley's tech gossip rag.

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What's your type?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-10 13:55

The break-up of a graphic design duo has resulted in a lawsuit of $20 million – over fonts. Tobias Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler worked together for 15 years to create some of the most famous and ubiquitous fonts around– used by GQ, Martha Stewart, the New York Jets and Saturday Night Live. They won awards for their typefaces - before the relationship turned sour. So now we want to know: How much do you care about fonts? Take our survey! (function(){var qs,js,q,s,d=document,gi=d.getElementById,ce=d.createElement,gt=d.getElementsByTagName,id='typef_orm',b='https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/share.typeform.com/';if(!gi.call(d,id)){js=ce.call(d,'script');js.id=id;js.src=b+'widget.js';q=gt.call(d,'script')[0];q.parentNode.insertBefore(js,q)}})()

What Family Dollar says about the economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-10 13:47

The retail chain Family Dollar said Thursday it's going to close more than 300 stores. Shrinking sales and falling profits are the proximate causes. There is a line of thinking that says, "If a discount store like Family Dollar is reporting bad news like this, maybe that's good news for the broader economy."  

Discount stores tend to do well during a downturn, when once higher-income consumers “trade down” for cheaper options, the argument goes, so perhaps the fact that discount stores are showing signs of struggle means those customers are trading back up, in response to a recovering economy.  

And it is true that Family Dollar has thrived during many economic shocks.  In fact, there’s a chart Family Dollar management recently trotted out at a retail industry conference that highlights this phenomenon -- a timeline of shocks to the American economy, events like the 9/11 terror attacks and the housing meltdown. After each of these events, you see a  steep incline on the graph, denoting earnings increases for Family Dollar. 

Family Dollar

But just because Family Dollar is floundering now doesn’t mean the larger economy is thriving. Higher-income customers may be leaving family dollar now that their economic fortunes seem to be brightening in the economic recovery.  But the story is complicated by the fact that low-income households still face high unemployment rates, and less money to spend in the wake of recent cuts to government assistance programs like food stamps and unemployment insurance.

Family Dollar

German Fears About U.S. Spying Could Hurt Trade Deal

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 13:38

In a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, Germans overwhelmingly said they prefer EU data privacy standards to those of the U.S.

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Stephen Colbert: The End Of One Joke, The Start Of Many More

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 13:33

Eric Deggans looks at the move by Stephen Colbert from the show he does in character on Comedy Central to CBS late night.

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Greece is back in the bond market

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-10 13:27

For the first time in four years, Greece has sold long-term government bonds to international investors—and found a hungry market. It sold 3 billion Euros ($4.14 billion) worth of five-year notes priced at a yield of 4.95 percent—lower than economists expected. And the issue was oversubscribed.

Greece defaulted on its debts in 2012 and nearly crashed the Eurozone. Its economy is now improving, with a return to minimal growth this year after years of deep recession. Still, the government is heavily in debt, more than 25 percent of the population is unemployed (and a higher percentage among young workers), and there are frequent strikes against austerity measures.

Fiscal reforms, wage and benefit cuts, improvements in tax collections—plus bailouts from the EU and IMF—have helped pull the country back from the brink of financial collapse and a chaotic exit from the Euro. But the reason investors now appear willing to take a risk funding Greek debt may have more to do with a statement made by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi at an investment conference in London in July 2012: “Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the Euro. And believe me, it will be enough.”

Economist Barry Bosworth at the Brookings Institution says that statement gave new life to the economic fortunes—and sovereign debt—of Europe’s troubled peripheral countries. Those include Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy—and especially, Greece. “At that point investors said, ‘oh, Greece is not really risky. It’s being backed by the full faith and credit of the Eurozone,’” says Bosworth.

Investors now believe no Eurozone country—even Greece—will be allowed to default or pull out of the common currency, says Bosworth.

Greece’s credit rating remains poor, but it is offering relatively high interest to investors—nearly 5 percent—much more than they would earn on safer U.S. or German bonds.

“Global investors are still looking for attractive places to put their cash,” says economic strategist John Canally at LPL Financial in Boston.

Picking up the tab for MH370 search

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-10 13:20

There are affordable technologies currently on the market that would have rendered the search for MH370 much quicker.  Corporate jet owners use them.  Even Air France Flight 447 subscribed to tracking services.  In the case of MH370, a back up battery system could have maintained the tracking systems available.  

Ryan Budget Vote Produces 'Win' For Both Parties

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 13:09

Democrats made lots of speeches about the horrors of the GOP's Ryan budget. Republicans made lots of speeches about its wonders. The actual effect on public policy? None.

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