National News

U.S. Seeks Extradition Of 7 FIFA Officials From Switzerland

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-02 06:18

Swiss prosecutors said the requests were delivered Wednesday evening. The FIFA officials were arrested in May in Zurich in a corruption investigation of soccer's governing body.

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BP To Pay $18.7 Billion To Settle Gulf Coast Oil Spill Claims

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-02 06:01

The agreement with the U.S. government, five Gulf Coast states and more than 400 local governments comes five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill.

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Unemployment Rate Falls To 5.3 Percent, But For The Wrong Reason

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-02 05:02

The economy keeps adding jobs at a steady pace, including 223,000 in June, but the Labor Department report for last month shows more people are also leaving the labor force and wages are not rising.

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Washington Navy Yard On Lockdown Following Reports Of An 'Active Shooter'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-02 04:11

The Washington Navy Yard in southeast Washington, D.C., was the site of a September, 2013, shooting in which 12 people were killed and three injured.

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The Top Words Of Wisdom For New Graduates

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-02 03:33

Our searchable commencement app is now updated with the best speeches from 2014 and 2015.

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PODCAST: Rice in Cuba

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 03:00

It would appear people are dropping out of the American labor force in spite of new jobs created. More on that. Plus, as the U.S. announces plans to open a full embassy in Cuba, we look at the American rice industry, which is poised to benefit from more normalized relations, and ask how they’re preparing for changes ahead between the two countries. And with the Greek economy nearly immobilized by its debt, and Puerto Rico close to default, does the U.S. have lessons to learn from these situations? Marketplace's senior economics correspondent Chris Farrell weighs in.

Elizabeth Holmes on democratizing medical testing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 02:00

At 31, Elizabeth Holmes is the youngest female, self-made, multi-billionaire in America, according to Forbes. The company Holmes created, Theranos, developed a home blood testing kit that could challenge the business model of medical labs. 

This spring, she was invited by the White House to be a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, where she’ll focus on attracting women to science, tech, engineering and math fields, as well as improving global public health.

Click the media player above to hear Elizabeth Holmes in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.

 

Bitcoin offers no easy escape for Greece

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 02:00

In the midst of the current Greek financial crisis, some cryptocurrency enthusiasts have pointed to Bitcoin as the panacea for the country's financial woes. The price of the cryptocurrency has steadily risen as the Greek financial crisis has intensified. However, the question remains: can digital money give Greece an out? Spoiler alert: no.

Nathaniel Popper, author of the book, "Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires trying to Reinvent Money," maintains Bitcoin will not save Greece because “at this point, I think Greek citizens are locked into their own system and the bad decisions people have made. I don't think there is an easy way out.”

In theory, Bitcoin seems like just that. However, the logistics of buying bitcoin requires you to move money from your bank account to the bank account of a Bitcoin service. Not so easy when Greeks are unable to withdraw money from the ATM. Sure, you can buy bitcoins from someone in a café with cash from under your bed, but to pull a country out of a financial crisis? Unlikely.

Popper points to Argentina as an example where some “real experimentation is going on” with Bitcoin, but he reminds us that the Bitcoin story “is a very young technology. It’s not ready for the prime time. It’s like expecting to run Netflix on the Internet of 1995.”

As Popper explains it, Bitcoin hopefuls may be expecting too much from the cryptocurrency: “Throughout the Bitcoin story, it's been offered as a utopian solution. But these utopian solutions always need to find some way to get from the current system to the utopian future.”

Ideas anyone? We’re still buffering our 1995 dial-up Netflix.

"Poor Doors" exit New York

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 02:00

New York mayor Bill de Blasio has banned "poor doors," or separate entrances to be used by lower-income residents of mixed-income buildings. 

De Blasio inserted language into a tax program signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Housing analysts say real estate developers are likely to look for other ways of appealing to market-rate tenants, like the addition of luxury features inside their apartments.

Those who study mixed-income housing say New York's leaders would do best to determine if they simply wants to build more affordable housing, or, additionally, attempt to integrate New Yorkers along income lines. If it's the latter, the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy should probably learn to share buildings.

Click the media player above to hear more.

U.S. rice growers want to get in on Cuba

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 02:00

The U.S. will open an embassy in Havana, Cuba — so said President Barack Obama Tuesday, a significant step showing that efforts to normalize relations with Cuba are ticking along. However, the embargo still stands and only Congress can lift it. Should that happen, many U.S. exporters will stand to benefit, including American rice farmers.

Ray Stoesser grows about 4,000 to 5,000 acres of rice on his Texas farm and would very much like to see some of it head to Cuba.

“We as farmers, we analyze what the market is, what people want to buy and we grow it,” he says. “Right now, we don’t have enough buyers and that’s why the rice price slipped so much.”

Rice prices have dropped significantly this year, but Stoesser thinks if the U.S. could sell to Cuba, the increased demand would help prices recover. Cuba was a major importer of rice before the embargo.

But Louisiana grower Fred Zaunbrecher says margins are so slim right now, growers aren’t investing in new equipment or planning for new potential customers.

“We really can’t bank on it or grow a crop on it or make financial decisions on it until it’s actually opened and our markets are responding to that demand,” says Zaunbrecher.

However, should Congress decide to lift the embargo, the rice industry will be ready, says Terry Harris with Riceland Foods, a large rice miller and marketer.

“We have the abilities, we have the infrastructure,” he says. “We could ship rice to [Cuba] starting next week.”

Bubble wrap just doesn't burst like it used to

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-02 01:49
223,000

That's how many U.S. jobs were added in June, with the unemployment rate declining to 5.3 percent, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But as the New York Times reports, economists have pointed out that the unemployment rate fell for the wrong reason: people exiting the workforce.

$1.9 billion

That's how much Puerto Rico paid back Wednesday of its $72 billion in debts, narrowly avoiding default. Puerto Rico makes up a small part of the bond market but it's an attractive place for investors, and some are getting worried that the market as a whole could take a hit if the country becomes "America's Greece" and fails to pay back what it owes.

$20 billion

That's the sales taken in for ... wait for it ... bubble wrap in 2013. But Sealed Air Corp., the original seller of the packing material, has lately seen its sales deflate (pun-intended). That's why it's starting to sell a revamped version of the product that comes in flat rolls and is inflated by the buyer with a specialized pump. But we'll let the Wall Street Journal burst your bubble on this one: the new wrap doesn't pop like it used to.

$2

That's what a monthly subscription to Apple Music costs in India, a fifth of the U.S. price, and it's not the only country where subscriptions are slashed. Quartz points out other local and international music services already enjoy a foothold in these emerging markets. For example Rdio costs a mere $0.60 in India. Apple is uncharacteristically bringing prices down to stay competitive, betraying its latecomer status in the streaming business.

$45 million

That's how much Hillary Clinton has raised in her first quarter as an official presidential candidate, breaking the fundraising record sent by President Barack Obama last cycle. Bloomberg notes her dominance could be short lived, as other campaigns and super PACs haven't disclosed their donations yet.

Georgia Leads A Push To Help Ex-Prisoners Get Jobs

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-02 00:58

Federal grant money is flowing to skills training programs for ex-offenders. But aid will be successful only if employers are willing to hire them. That's where state re-entry programs show promise.

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Sunnis Flee The Islamic State, But Still Fall Under Suspicion

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-02 00:57

The Islamic State is a Sunni Muslim group. Yet many Sunnis have abandoned their homes and fled areas where ISIS has taken over in Iraq. But that doesn't mean Shiites welcome them with open arms.

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Labor Department To Release Jobless Data Ahead Of Holiday Weekend

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 22:14

Economists surveyed by Reuters are predicting that employers added about 230,000 jobs to their payrolls. That's less than the month before but still a pretty strong showing.

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POTUS Weighs In: No Peas In Guacamole

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 15:28

The online debate began after the New York Times published a guacamole recipe that includes fresh peas.

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Cities In California Conserved A Lot Of Water In May

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 14:18

Felicia Marcus of the State Water Board said, "We need all Californians to step up — and keep it up — as if we don't know when it will rain and snow again, because we don't."

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A Dose Of Culinary Medicine Sends Med Students To The Kitchen

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 14:05

Aspiring doctors at the University of Chicago are learning how to teach patients about healthy eating. Nutrition advocates say this kind of training is critical to fighting obesity and diabetes.

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Donna Karan leaves behind a fashion legacy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-07-01 14:04

Over the last two decades, Donna Karan International has been one of the biggest brands in the fashion industry. Founder and chief designer Donna Karan announced on Tuesday that she was leaving her namesake company to focus on other projects.

Fashion journalist Kate Betts says that Karan has left a clear impact in the world of fashion.

“She designed for women in a way that was very sensuous and much more feminine than previous looks for women,” Betts says.  “It was a revelation for many professional women.”

Karan was later able to spin off this success into DKNY, which Betts says was the first line in what’s come to be known as the contemporary market.

“She covered a lot of different areas of the fashion market with that one line, and it was a huge hit,” Betts says.

The fact that she was such a trailblazer in this field may have played into her desire to step down when her company was at its peak.

“I think it’s kind of ironic that she created that contemporary market, and now that’s the market that’s taking over for the higher end. And you could argue that that’s one of the reasons that she’s kind of leaving her brand,” Betts says.

Karan will still remain as an adviser to her company.

Senators Call For VA To Explain Why It Couldn't Find Mustard-Gassed Veterans

NPR News - Wed, 2015-07-01 13:28

A dozen senators have also called on the Veterans Administration to say why some of the WWII-era troops who were found by an NPR Investigation were denied benefits.

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The Obamacare sales pitch

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-07-01 12:59

It’s been almost a week since the Supreme Court’s momentous ruling that further cements the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land, and Wednesday President Barack Obama flew to Nashville, Tennessee, to talk about health care.

While some consider this a bit of a victory lap, the president’s choice of Tennessee suggests it’s much more of an overture.

For those of you not keeping score at home, just 29 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, the healthcare program primarily for low-income and disabled people.

The president wants that list to grow.

So how do you convince GOP governors and conservative lawmakers in the wake of the King vs. Burwell decision to do something they’ve sworn to oppose? For years, the Obama administration has made a financial argument.

“When I worked on the Council of Economic Advisers, we did a report and basically demonstrated again and again and again that states would win economically,” says Mark Duggan, now an economist at Stanford University.

That report is from 2009. Since then, study after study has echoed similar themes that go something like this: if Washington picks up nearly the entire tab for expansion, states will see new jobs, budget savings and economic prosperity. With many states still holding out, that argument hasn’t worked on everyone, obviously.

(Courtesy Kaiser Family Foundation) 

But until recently those reports have been a bunch of words. Now, the Urban Institute’s Stan Dorn says there are actual results that may grab the budget hawks’ attention.

“Every state that has looked comprehensively at both costs and benefits has found that the state budget is better off than it would have been without expansion,” he says.

Take Arkansas and Kentucky, says Dorn. They’ve expanded Medicaid and stopped spending money elsewhere.

“On mental health programs, Kentucky is saving $21 million this year; Arkansas is saving $7 million this year. On uncompensated care to hospitals. Kentucky is saving $12 million; Arkansas is saving $17 million,” says Dorn.

This is more than pointy heads in Washington running numbers. Even GOP presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says “expanding Medicaid was the right decision for New Jersey.”

While the math may be convincing to some, Stanford’s Lanhee Chen doubts it moves many conservative statehouse types who think Medicaid is a broken program.

“The difficulty is Medicaid expenses continue to increase. So some state lawmakers have a legitimate concern around maybe not what the next five years look like, but what the next 10 or 15 years look like,” he says.

Chen believes the path to expand Medicaid is more about politics than economics. His advice to the president: give states more flexibility in designing their own programs and you’ll see states bite.

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