National News

Iraq's Infamous Abu Ghraib Prison Temporarily Closed

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-16 06:44

The country's Justice Ministry made the announcement that it was moving the prison's 2,400 inmates because of fears that Sunni insurgents might overrun the complex.

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Revisiting Pulitzer Nominees That Touch On Issues Of Race

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-16 05:30

The announcement of the winners and finalists for the Pulitzer Prizes gives us an opportunity to herald great journalism that illuminates matters relating to race, ethnicity and culture.

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43-Year-Old Cold Case Closed: South Dakota Girls Died In Accident

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-16 05:14

The two teens disappeared in 1971. Last year, their bodies were found in the Studebaker they were last seen in. Now, authorities say it appears they mistakenly drove into a creek.

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Tasting With Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks So Strange

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-16 05:01

The color of food can affect how we perceive its taste, and food companies aren't afraid to use that to their advantage. An artist tests perceptions by dousing familiar foods with unorthodox colors.

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In Ukraine: Reports Of Soldiers Switching To Pro-Russia Side

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-16 03:55

As the government tries to assert control in the eastern part of the nation, there's word that some Ukrainian troops may now be on the side of locals who wish to join Russia.

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.buzz and .pics: Your site here

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-16 03:20

"After hearing all the .buzz and .reviews surrounding .london, we’ve finally settled on the .uk as our destination for our 2014 .vacations": these dot-words are possible future top-level domain names expected to be released in the upcoming months since the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) began its rollout of new top-level domain names on January 24 of this year.

Since its inception, over 175 domain names have been created, and on Wednesday, you can start to register domain names ending in .holiday and .marketing. 

  • Marketplace reported on the new domain frontier earlier this year when things got underway, and here's an update on how to create your own .holiday: 
  • You can visit hockey.today, jamesforbes.photography, or vintageelectric.bike to see these new domain names in action. 
  • The most popular names thus far include .guru, .berlin, .photography, .email and .today.
  • Some companies are pushing for industries to cluster around specific names.

For example, luxury brands such as Chanel, Balenciaga, Ferragamo and Harry Winston, Isabel Mirant, and a few others have already registered with the domain name .luxury, according to Zoe Coady of Brandstyle Communications.

".Luxury is providing an innovative platform and competitive advantage for companies to position themselves within the luxury space. For the first time, luxury goods and services will now be found in one place online," said Monica Kirchner, CEO, .Luxury.

Here's a screenshot from the TSOHOST.com website displays domain names expected to launch April 2014: 

Hundreds Missing After Ferry Sinks Off South Korea's Coast

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-16 02:55

Most of the passengers, according to news reports, were high school students and teachers on a school trip. Of the nearly 500 people who were on board, nearly 300 were initially unaccounted for.

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Happy 50th birthday, Ford Mustang

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-16 02:36

If you're in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday and look way, way up, you might see a Mustang perched on the observation deck of the Empire State Building -- a triple yellow, 2015 model. It's Ford's way of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic car. The Mustang's design was so innovative it had a huge impact on auto makers and car culture, and Ford is still making the cars today.

Mark Takahashi, an editor with automotive website Edmunds.com, says the first Mustangs sold for around $2,300. When the first Mustang came out, in 1964, it was a hit.

"People driving around the first Mustangs were being hunted down on boulevards, being asked to pull over, so they could take a look at the car," he says. "You pull into a parking lot and you're just swamped with people – it was just such a big deal back then."

The Mustang's sales, he said, blew away expectations. "They expected to sell 100,000 the first year, and they ended up selling 100,000 the first three months."

David Whiston, an equity analyst with Morningstar, says the Mustang was built on the platform of another car, the Falcon, which saved a lot on development, engineering and design costs.

"It was sporty, it was cool. It was something you wanted to drive, or take to the beach, but it was also -- and the key thing for why it was still around -- it was affordable."

A lot of automakers today, notes Whitson, are interested in building multiple models on the same platform. Luckily he says, they won't have to reinvent the wheel.

Attack of the shrimp (prices)

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-16 02:34

If you're a shrimp lover, you may be wondering why you're paying more for your favorite shrimp cocktail or Pad Thai. It's a bacterial infection ravaging shrimp farms in Southeast Asia called "early mortality syndrome" or EMS. The disease doesn't affect people, but it kills baby shrimp.

Shrimp farms in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Mexico have all been affected, but production in Vietnam and Thailand has dropped by more than half. Now the U.S. is getting most of its shrimp from India, not Thailand, and the shortage has caused price spikes.

"I would say the import prices went up anywhere from 50 to 100 percent, depending on what the item was," says Marc Nussbaum, president and COO for shrimp and seafood importer International Marketing Specialists. "Due to this, retailers have moved their prices up."

And that, dear consumer, is why you may opt for the fettucine alfredo instead of shrimp scampi next time you eat Italian.

On a bus to nowhere

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-16 02:10

Santa Clara County in the south Bay Area has the fifth biggest homeless population in the United States. Over 7,600 people are without a home on any given night, in Silicon Valley's backyard.

People like Elizabeth Garber. At 2:30 in the morning, she sits on on a crowded Valley Transportation Authority bus somewhere in San Jose.

"I've been homeless for about eight months so far, riding the Bus 22 every night, as many times at night as we have money for," she says.

Bus 22. It's a regular city bus line during the day - traveling between East San Jose and Palo Alto. But at night, for $2 a ride, it unofficially becomes Hotel 22 to dozens of people like Elizabeth Garber.

She stays on the bus every night with her husband Michael, who explains they ride the bus for the full two hours of its route. Then they stand out in the cold, waiting for the next bus to head back the other way.

"Back and forth, back and forth. I try to get sleep when I can, and then it's just figuring out where to go in the morning from there," he says.

Michael says they get about three to five hours of sleep a night, which takes its toll.

"I've missed interviews because I've fallen asleep on the bus in the morning and missed my stop," he says. "I've missed court dates, all kinds of stuff. It's like, okay, I have to get off at this stop, and then you don't even feel yourself going, next thing you know, you wake up, oh you're at the end of the line. I don't know how many opportunities I've lost because of it."

The Garbers say they've tried to sign up for affordable housing, but nothing has panned out.

"There's a one percent vacancy rate in the county," says Bob Dulci, homeless concerns coordinator for Santa Clara County, "which makes it extremely difficult to provide housing for folks, even though we have a lot of rent subsidy dollars."

With the market so competitive, Dulci says, landlords are much more likely to go for someone with a stable job history, instead a person coming off the streets.

Michael Garber said sleeping on the bus is the lowest point of his life, but it could be worse.

"At least out here I'm still free, I'm not incarcerated or somthing like that. It could be a lot worse," he says. "Although sometimes it does feel like jail, you're crowded and shuffled along, no sense of privacy, no sense of decency or anything like that."

I ask Michael what he thinks about the nickname "Hotel 22."

"I call it home," he says.

And next winter, one of Santa Clara County's biggest shelters is closing -- possibly forcing more people onto Hotel 22.

China GDP growth slips to lowest level in 18 months

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-16 00:23

China’s first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2014 was 7.4 percent, the slowest China’s economy has grown in a year and a half.  Markets in Asia rose because of China’s GDP news.

“Markets are going to say: ‘oh, they hit their target, they exceeded their target, whew,’” said Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Assett Management. “Actually, I breathe a sigh of relief when their GDP number goes down," said Chovanec. "Because it makes me think: ‘maybe they’re serious.’ Maybe the declarations that quality matters more than quantity, that they can’t add to the bad debt.”

Chovanec echoes many China economists when he says sustained high GDP figures usually reflect unhealthy growth – In China’s case, that means building more infrastructure - which carries the burden of more debt.

Slower growth, however, could be an indication that China’s leadership is serious about making tough changes to its economic model. China's GDP number is currently somewhere in between – it was pulled down by housing sector problems, yet retail sales in China were up.

 

 

A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-15 23:42

The Smithsonian is set to unpack something it's never had before: a rare, nearly complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. It's a gift from a Montana museum that says this T. rex deserves to be famous.

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How One Michigan City Is Sending Kids To College Tuition-Free

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-15 23:41

In 2005, a group of anonymous donors in Kalamazoo launched a bold program. It pays for graduates of the city's public schools to attend any of Michigan's public universities or community colleges.

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As La. Coast Recedes, Battle Rages Over Who Should Pay

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-15 23:40

A flood protection authority is suing to try to hold the oil and gas industries responsible for Louisiana's land crisis. But policymakers are trying to stop the lawsuit, saying it's bad for business.

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Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-15 23:39

Fans and foes want to know whether the Affordable Care Act is meeting its goals. But, for good reasons, there are no clear answers yet.

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After Losing A Leg, Woman Walks On Her Own — In 4-Inch Heels

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-15 23:37

A year after the Boston Marathon bombing, Heather Abbott has adapted to life with her prostheses, including a blade for running and one that allows her to wear her favorite shoes.

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College Board Provides A glimpse Of New SAT

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-15 23:26

Sample questions for the new version of the college-entrance test were released on Wednesday. The College Board announced last month the test will include real-world applications and more analysis.

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GM To Ask Bankruptcy Court For Lawsuit Protection

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-15 22:11

General Motors revealed in court filings late Tuesday that it will soon ask a federal bankruptcy judge to shield the company from legal claims for conduct that occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy.

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South Korea Says Nearly 300 Missing In Ferry Disaster

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-15 21:31

Dozens of boats, helicopters and divers scrambled Wednesday to rescue more than 470 people, including 325 high school students on a school trip, after a ferry sank off South Korea's southern coast.

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NYPD Shuts Down Controversial Unit That Spied On Muslims

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-15 15:06

The New York Police Department's Demographics Unit reportedly carried out systematic surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods to root out terrorist threats, but it never produced a single usable lead.

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