National News

Gilead Buys Shortcut For FDA Drug Review For $125 Million

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 12:09

The Food and Drug Administration priority review voucher comes from a Canadian company that got it by developing a drug for leishmaniasis, a disease long neglected by pharmaceutical companies.

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NBC And Netflix Shelve Bill Cosby Projects As New Rape Claim Emerges

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 11:07

A TV comedy Bill Cosby was developing for NBC has been canceled, after new allegations of rape against the comedian. Netflix made a similar move late Tuesday, shelving a comedy special.

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Why the New York Fed is in the hot seat

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 11:00

Out of the twelve banks in the Federal Reserve system, only New York has a permanent spot on the interest-rate-setting Federal Open Markets Committee.

Only New York oversees the critical Wall Street institutions like Goldman Sachs, and only New York is under congressional  scrutiny this week for its cozy relationship with the institutions it is supposed to regulate. 

After This American Life and ProPublica published stories using secret tapes that seemed to demonstrate regulators deferring to the institutions they regulate, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio called for hearings, which will take place this Friday. Brown plans to hold NY Fed President William Dudley accountable, and push him to prioritize regulation as highly as interest rates.

Meanwhile, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island has put forward legislation that would change how the next William Dudley would be selected. Reed would take the decision out of the hands of boardmembers - mainly business people - and put it in the hands of the President. MIT economist Simon Johnson says that's exactly the right approach. 

You know what's not selling like hotcakes? Hotcakes

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 11:00

In the past five years, pancake mix sales dropped 1.5 percent, according to Bloomberg.

The report said we spend on average $1.16 a year on pancake mix. If you do the math, that's about the same as buying one box of Bisquick every three years.

It turns out hotcakes aren't selling like hotcakes after all. Maybe it's time to update the idiom for modern times. 

Sadly "selling like kale" just doesn't have the same ring to it. 

With Hand-Sewn Ships, Oman Revives A Glorious Maritime Past

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 10:37

The rich maritime history dates back more than a millennium. There's a group dedicated to reviving it by making boats the old-fashioned way: with coconut palm fiber, shark liver oil and no nails.

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Just What Is In Pumpkin Spice Flavor? (Hint: Not Pumpkin)

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 10:33

Pumpkin spice is the flavor of the season, but does anyone think there's real pumpkin in the "science goo" in our lattes? Turns out flavor companies have come up with a simple chemical recipe for it.

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Me, Myself And The Loo: A Woman's Future Can Rest On A Toilet

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 10:22

"My Toilet," a new photo exhibit in London, documents how commodes — or the lack of a proper one — affect the health, safety and education of girls and women around the world.

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Drug windfall raises questions for foundations

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 10:00

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced on Wednesday that it's getting $3.3 billion in the sale of its royalty rights for a drug manufactured by Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

The foundation invested at least $100 million in the research for the drug Kalydeco, which granted the non-profit a share of the profits. The drug has proven successful in treating some cystic-fibrosis patients.

But it's also very expensive, costing a reported $300,000.

The Foundation’s big payday has raised some eyebrows about whether it's profiting from a drug that’s a financial burden for the very patients it's supposed to help.

"I don’t know whether to celebrate or not...It’s going to take a while to sink in,” says David Orenstein who treats cystic fibrosis at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “The scale of the money that's involved here is phenomenal."

When Vertex first came out with the new drug, Orenstein took issue with the price. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation says it’s had no influence over the price of the drug, and the research it funded was essential to getting the drug developed.

"On the big picture, it’s very similar to what almost all disease foundations do,” says George Annas, a  health law and bioethics professor at Boston University. “Most of them fund research by academics, but it’s not a big leap to fund research by a biotech company on the theory that they are more likely to actually translate their research into a product.”

But so far foundations have not seen returns on their investments anywhere near the scale of billions. And Doctor Peter Bach of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center says he won’t be surprised if he sees big paydays again in the future.

“This will be an outlier until it happens again,” Bach says, “Drugs that get approved even for rare conditions can command essentially infinitely high prices.”

And if foundations benefit from those prices, he says, they could face a conflict of interest. 

Obama Expected To Unveil Immigration Plan On Thursday

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 08:17

The president will then address the issue in a speech at a Las Vegas high school on Friday, a source familiar with the process tells NPR.

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Toilets 'R' Him: Jack Sim Wants A Potty In Every Pad

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 07:43

The Singapore activist created World Toilet Day in 2001, got U.N. sponsorship last year and posed for us on a toilet outdoors on a freezing day. That's how committed he is to bringing toilets to all.

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U.K. To Deny Entry To Controversial U.S. Dating Guru

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 07:36

The Home Office said Julien Blanc's presence wasn't conducive to the public good. Blanc, a dating coach, makes racist and derogatory references to women, and appears to condone violence toward them.

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You Can Monitor Your Baby's Vital Signs 24/7, But Should You?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 07:18

A new generation of baby monitors lets new parents track their child's heartbeat and other vital signs. But they're not health devices, a pediatrician warns, and could give a false sense of security.

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How a $150 million investment turned into $3.3 billion

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 07:00

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has sold its royalty rights to a powerful game-changing drug that it helped fund and develop.

The national charity has flipped a $150 million dollar investment into a more than $3 billion dollar deal, a figure that’s more than 20 times the organization’s budget last year.

While the windfall means more money for research, the drug itself costs more than $300,000 and has been out of reach for some with this fatal disease.

Let’s face it, it’s a little unusual for national charities like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to team up with drug makers and start selling royalties.

But Dr. Ahmet Uluer of Boston Children’s Hospital says it’s good they did.

“Without this relationship this drug is not being developed. And we are maybe not where we are right now, looking at this ethical dilemma of pricing and availability to patients,” he says.

The question for some is whether the foundation has put its own health in front of people with this disease.

In Arkansas, Medicaid officials have denied the use of this treatment to three patients in part because the drug – Kalydeco – is so expensive.

University of Massachusetts’ Dr. Brian O’Sullivan says “this is a really thorny issue and certainly some of this money needs to go back to patient care and access to drugs.”

While Kalydeco helps a sliver of patients, O’Sullivan says the next generation of drugs could treat up to 50 percent, and they may be as expensive, so they may not be as effective.

That would mean lots of potential battles between the sick and insurers who are expected to pay the bill.

Vertex says it offers a patient assistance program to help cover costs. The company says virtually every patient who has been prescribed kalydeco in the U.S. has access to it.

 

WATCH: How Carbon Dioxide Travels Around The Globe

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 06:59

A NASA computer model visualizes in detail where carbon dioxide is released, how it moves across the globe and how it's affected by the seasons.

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L.A.'s the place for YouTube stars seeking wider fame

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 06:32

If you keep track of this stuff, you might have noticed quite a few YouTubers crossing over into the mainstream lately. They’ve landed network TV deals and spots on reality shows. Then there’s Michelle Phan, who spun her Internet fame into a line of cosmetics for L'Oreal.

The success of stars like Phan has inspired YouTubers like Meg DeAngelis to make the pilgrimage to Los Angeles – which is emerging as the center of YouTube entertainment business – in search of Internet gold.

A college dropout, DeAngelis started making videos in eighth grade when she was into gymnastics. Her early videos show her executing backflips and other tumbling moves. The videos are washed out, the sound is distant. They look like clips of a young girl just having fun.

“I started by posting videos that were like my hobbies,” DeAngelis says. “Stuff that wasn’t meant to be like a genre or a channel.”

But the videos got of tens of thousands of hits, and DeAngelis kept making them. She might have just kept posting videos as a hobby,  but things changed last year when she came to Los Angeles to visit a fellow YouTuber.

“She kinda took me around L.A., and I met so many other YouTubers,” DeAngelis says. “It was weird to me, too. And to find out they all live close to each other and hang out was really cool. I just wanted to be a part of that whole bubble.”

So DeAngelis dropped out of college in Florida and moved to L.A. to join a growing community of 20-somethings who are trying to make it as YouTube stars.

“I like putting an insane amount of music in it,” DeAngelis says, showing how she edits her videos. These days, her videos are far more polished and mostly about fashion. One shows DeAngelis modeling fall accessories that she made.

What does it mean to DeAngelis to “make it” as a YouTuber? Would it be a role on television or in a movie?  Being cast on reality TV, like Bethany Mota, who got on "Dancing with the Stars"? But DeAngelis says she’s not interested in acting  

“I really want to have a clothing line because so much of my show is about fashion,” she says.

For YouTubers, making those goals come true often starts at a place like Awesomeness TV, one of a growing number of multi-channel networks on YouTube.

Awesomeness is housed in a large converted warehouse in West L.A. Anybody can start a channel and post videos on the network, but at the same time, Awesomeness TV also creates original videos that feature YouTubers.

Jackie Koppel, the head of talent development, showed me around.

“So much of what we do is in-house,” DeAngelis says. “So we have editors, we have a production team, we have reality, the sales team.” KOPPEL?

When DeAngeles came to Awesomeness, she had about 250,000 subscribers, according to Koppel.

About eight months later, that number has grown to 1.3 million subscribers, Koppel says.

Awesomeness helped DeAngeles accomplish that by plugging her into its shows.

“We have her in a scripted show with Royal Caribbean, where she went on a cruise,” Koppel says. These “branded shows” are paid for by companies that want to promote their goods.

“And then we also have her in some of our more beauty-focused content like "Makeup Mythbusters," that’s a show she sorta helms,” Koppel says.

And remember, this isn’t to launch DeAngelis into an acting career but to get her a clothing line.

Many people mistakenly think of YouTubers as “talent” in the Hollywood sense of the word – as in actors, says Lisa Filipelli, a talent agent at Big Frame, an independent subsidiary of Awesomeness.

 

“They’re influencers, not talent,” Filipelli says. “Talent is a person who just shows up to set, and they do what they do and then they’re done.”

An influencer is someone who is constantly engaging with their audience — whether it’s on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. And Filipelli says these influencers get their audience to talk about stuff and increasingly get people to buy stuff, too.

“There’s YouTubers on the New York Times best-seller list and selling out tours and selling massive amount of product in stores,” Filipelli says. 

YouTubers are disrupting almost every segment of the teen-consumer market, according to Filipelli. For example, instead of fashion magazines, teens are increasingly turning to YouTubers for beauty and fashion tips.

With more advertising money moving from television to video, that trend will accelerate, Filipelli says.

Back at DeAngelis’ apartment, she’s still waiting to make it. She won’t reveal how much she makes at Awesomeness, but says she mostly lives off her savings.

“When I was living with my parents I didn’t pay rent, and so I just saved a lot,” she says.

DeAngelis worked odd jobs and also made money off advertisements that ran on her YouTube videos. If she runs out of money, she’ll probably go back to college, she says. And while she’s hopeful about future opportunities, she is also aware that her time might be limited.

“I can’t do Vine, Snapchat or like any of the new apps, like I can only do Twitter and Instagram and the basic ones,” she says. “And it almost feels like I’m getting really old."

How old, exactly?

"I’m 19.”

YouTube Stars flock to LA to turn fame into gold

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 06:32

If you keep track of this stuff, you might have noticed quite a few YouTubers have crossed over into the mainstream lately. They’ve landed network TV deals and spots on reality shows. Then there’s Michelle Phan, who spun her Internet fame into a line of cosmetics for L'oreal.

The success of stars like Phan has inspired Youtubers like Meg DeAngelis to make the pilgrimage to Los Angeles, which is emerging as the center of YouTube entertainment business, in search of Internet gold.

DeAngelis is a college dropout who started making videos in the 8th grade when she was into gymnastics. DeAngelis’ early videos are of her doing backflips and other tumbling moves. The videos are washed out, the sound is distant. All in all, they just look like clips of a young girl having fun.

“I started by posting videos that were like my hobbies,” DeAngelis says. “Stuff that wasn’t meant to be like a genre or a channel.”

But the videos got of tens-of-thousands of hits and DeAngelis kept making them. She might have just kept making and posting videos as a hobby,  but things changed last year when she came to Los Angeles to visit a fellow YouTuber.

“She kinda took me around L.A. and I met so many other YouTubers,” DeAngelis says. “It was weird to me too. And to find out they all live close to each other and hang out was really cool. I just wanted to be a part of that whole bubble.”

And so DeAngelis dropped out of college in Florida and moved to L.A. to join a growing community of 20-somethings who’re trying to make it as YouTube stars.

“I like putting an insane amount of music in it,” DeAngelis says showing me how she edits her videos. We’re in the lobby of her apartment and these days, DeAngelis’ videos are way more polished and mostly about fashion. In the one she’s showing me, DeAngelis is modeling fall accessories that she made.

I asked DeAngelis what’s it mean to “make it” as YouTuber? Is it a role on television or a movie?  Maybe on reality TV, like Bethany Mota, who got onto Dancing with the Stars? But DeAngelis says she’s not interested in acting  

“I really want to have a clothing line because so much of my show is about fashion,” she says.

For YouTubers, making those goals come true starts at a place like Awesomeness TV, one of a growing number of multi-channel networks on YouTube.

Awesomeness is housed in a large converted warehouse in West LA. Jackie Koppel, the head of talent development, showed me around. Anybody can start a channel and post videos on the network. At the same time, Awesomeness TV also creates original videos that feature YouTubers like DeAngelis.

“So much of what we do is in-house,” DeAngelis says. “So we have editors, we have a production team, we have reality, the sales team.”

Koppel says when DeAngeles came to Awesomeness, she had about 250,000 subscribers.

“Just about 8 months later, she’s over 1.3 million subscribers,” Koppel says.

She says Awesomeness helped DeAngeles do that by plugging her into its shows.

“We have her in a scripted show with Royal Caribbean, where she went on a cruise,” Koppel says. These “branded shows” are paid for by companies that want to promote their goods.

“And then we also have her in some of our more beauty focused content like Makeup Mythbusters, that’s a show she sorta helms,” Koppel says.

And remember, this isn’t to launch DeAngelis into an acting career but to get her a clothing line.

Lisa Filipelli, is a talent agent at Big Frame, which is an independent subsidiary of Awesomeness. She says lots of people mistakenly think of YouTubers as “talent” like in the Hollywood sense of the word as in actors.

“They’re influencers, not talent,” Filipelli says. “Talent is a person who just shows up to set and they do what they do and then they’re done.”

An influencer is somebody who is constantly engaging with their audience — whether it’s on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. And Filipelli says these influencers get their audience to talk about stuff and increasingly they’re getting people to buy stuff too.

“There’s YouTubers on the New York Times best seller list and selling out tours and selling massive amount of product in stores,” Filipelli says. 

And she says, YouTubers are disrupting almost every segment of the teen consumer market. For example, instead of fashion magazines, teens are increasingly turning to YouTubers for beauty and fashion tips.  Filipelli says with more advertising money moving from television to video that trend will accelerate.

Back at DeAngelis’ apartment, she’s still waiting to make it. DeAngelis won’t say how much she makes at Awesomeness, but she does say she’s mostly living off savings.

“When I was living with my parents I didn’t pay rent and so I just saved a lot,” she says.

DeAngelis worked odd jobs and also, made money off the advertisements that ran on her YouTube videos. She says, if she runs out of money, she’ll probably go back to college. And while she’s hopeful about the opportunities ahead, DeAngelis is also conscious that her time might be limited.

“I can’t do Vine, Snapchat or like any of the new apps, like I can only do Twitter and Instagram and the basic ones,” she says. “And it almost feels like I’m getting really old."

How old, exactly?

"I’m 19.”

For wannabe YouTube stars, L.A. is the place to be

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 06:32

If you keep track of this stuff, you might have noticed quite a few YouTubers have crossed over into the mainstream lately. They’ve landed network TV deals and spots on reality shows. Then there’s Michelle Phan, who spun her Internet fame into a line of cosmetics for L'oreal.

The success of stars like Phan has inspired Youtubers like Meg DeAngelis to make the pilgrimage to Los Angeles, which is emerging as the center of YouTube entertainment business, in search of Internet gold.

DeAngelis is a college dropout who started making videos in the 8th grade when she was into gymnastics. DeAngelis’ early videos are of her doing backflips and other tumbling moves. The videos are washed out, the sound is distant. All in all, they just look like clips of a young girl having fun.

“I started by posting videos that were like my hobbies,” DeAngelis says. “Stuff that wasn’t meant to be like a genre or a channel.”

But the videos got of tens-of-thousands of hits and DeAngelis kept making them. She might have just kept making and posting videos as a hobby,  but things changed last year when she came to Los Angeles to visit a fellow YouTuber.

“She kinda took me around L.A. and I met so many other YouTubers,” DeAngelis says. “It was weird to me too. And to find out they all live close to each other and hang out was really cool. I just wanted to be a part of that whole bubble.”

And so DeAngelis dropped out of college in Florida and moved to L.A. to join a growing community of 20-somethings who’re trying to make it as YouTube stars.

“I like putting an insane amount of music in it,” DeAngelis says showing me how she edits her videos. We’re in the lobby of her apartment and these days, DeAngelis’ videos are way more polished and mostly about fashion. In the one she’s showing me, DeAngelis is modeling fall accessories that she made.

I asked DeAngelis what’s it mean to “make it” as YouTuber? Is it a role on television or a movie?  Maybe on reality TV, like Bethany Mota, who got onto Dancing with the Stars? But DeAngelis says she’s not interested in acting  

“I really want to have a clothing line because so much of my show is about fashion,” she says.

For YouTubers, making those goals come true starts at a place like Awesomeness TV, one of a growing number of multi-channel networks on YouTube.

Awesomeness is housed in a large converted warehouse in West LA. Jackie Koppel, the head of talent development, showed me around. Anybody can start a channel and post videos on the network. At the same time, Awesomeness TV also creates original videos that feature YouTubers like DeAngelis.

“So much of what we do is in-house,” DeAngelis says. “So we have editors, we have a production team, we have reality, the sales team.”

Koppel says when DeAngeles came to Awesomeness, she had about 250,000 subscribers.

“Just about 8 months later, she’s over 1.3 million subscribers,” Koppel says.

She says Awesomeness helped DeAngeles do that by plugging her into its shows.

“We have her in a scripted show with Royal Caribbean, where she went on a cruise,” Koppel says. These “branded shows” are paid for by companies that want to promote their goods.

“And then we also have her in some of our more beauty focused content like Makeup Mythbusters, that’s a show she sorta helms,” Koppel says.

And remember, this isn’t to launch DeAngelis into an acting career but to get her a clothing line.

Lisa Filipelli, is a talent agent at Big Frame, which is an independent subsidiary of Awesomeness. She says lots of people mistakenly think of YouTubers as “talent” like in the Hollywood sense of the word as in actors.

“They’re influencers, not talent,” Filipelli says. “Talent is a person who just shows up to set and they do what they do and then they’re done.”

An influencer is somebody who is constantly engaging with their audience — whether it’s on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. And Filipelli says these influencers get their audience to talk about stuff and increasingly they’re getting people to buy stuff too.

“There’s YouTubers on the New York Times best seller list and selling out tours and selling massive amount of product in stores,” Filipelli says. 

And she says, YouTubers are disrupting almost every segment of the teen consumer market. For example, instead of fashion magazines, teens are increasingly turning to YouTubers for beauty and fashion tips.  Filipelli says with more advertising money moving from television to video that trend will accelerate.

Back at DeAngelis’ apartment, she’s still waiting to make it. DeAngelis won’t say how much she makes at Awesomeness, but she does say she’s mostly living off savings.

“When I was living with my parents I didn’t pay rent and so I just saved a lot,” she says.

DeAngelis worked odd jobs and also, made money off the advertisements that ran on her YouTube videos. She says, if she runs out of money, she’ll probably go back to college. And while she’s hopeful about the opportunities ahead, DeAngelis is also conscious that her time might be limited.

“I can’t do Vine, Snapchat or like any of the new apps, like I can only do Twitter and Instagram and the basic ones,” she says. “And it almost feels like I’m getting really old."

How old, exactly?

"I’m 19.”

Amid Scandal, Mexican First Lady Decides To Sell Mansion

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 05:55

The modern structure dubbed "The White House" was owned by a construction company awarded millions in government contracts. Angélica Rivera said she had "nothing to hide."

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6 Pitfalls To Avoid When Picking Insurance On The Job

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 04:59

Even if your health insurance is provided by an employer, your plan may be changing quite a bit in 2015. Here's a guide to the questions you should keep in mind when looking over your options.

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A Day After Attack, Worshippers Return To Jerusalem Synagogue

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 04:14

Israeli troops also razed the home of a Palestinian suspected in the attack that left five dead.

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