National / International News

For Extremists In Syria, Extortion Brings Piles Of Cash From Iraq

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 09:45

Radical rebel groups in Syria and Iraq have gained the upper hand over moderates with Mafia-style protection rackets that force ordinary Iraqis to hand over millions across the border.

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President Obama travels east, still pledging a 'pivot'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-21 09:29
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 16:11 Mandy Cheng/AFP/GettyImages

Dozens of Taiwanese fishing boats.

President Barack Obama leaves on a diplomatic trip to Asia on Wednesday. First stop, Japan. Then, on to other allies in the region—South Korea, the Phillippines and Malaysia. He’ll be talking economics, and trade, and cooperation—to try to signal to these Pacific Rim allies that the U.S. is serious about its stated aim to ‘pivot’ toward them. Analysts say the President needs to convince them that the U.S. will back them up in their regional competition with rivals like China, as tensions have heated up over conflicts in the East China Sea.

For decades, America focused primarily on allies and enemies across the Atlantic. But, more and more U.S. trade and investment are happening across the Pacific. Stephen Biddle teaches international affairs at George Washington University, and is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He says so far, the shift of military capability toward the Western Pacific has been minimal.

“2,500 U.S. Marines, for example, were sent to bases in Australia,” he says. There are more ships going to Japan and Singapore, and ultimately the U.S. plans to put 60 percent of naval and air forces into the Pacific—up from 50 percent today. Key Pacific allies—Japan, South Korea, and Australia—plan to purchase American-made F-35 fighter jets, which will allow more cooperation and joint operations in the area.

“There’s going to be a different future budgetary fate for the parts of the U.S. military that are relatively better suited to the Pacific,” Biddle explains. He says Navy and Air Force units will be needed to cross the long distances, and to cover the large expanses of ocean in the Pacific Rim. Army and Marine Corps units, which have been deployed heavily in Europe and the Middle East, will be less useful there, and will likely be cut more as a result.

Right now, defense spending is not going up—due to the drawdown from Middle East wars, and Congress’s sequester budget cuts.

“In terms of dollars, frankly, we have not seen much of a shift in the way the Department of Defense has allocated its resources toward the kind of capabilities that I think might be needed in the future in the Pacific region,” says former Air Force official Mark Gunzinger, now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Gunzinger lists potential threats, starting with China, which has been boosting defense spending by double-digits: “Precision-guided anti-ship cruise missiles, advanced air defenses, undersea warfare systems, attack submarines . . .” Gunzinger says crucial shipping lanes, and strategic access to the area for the U.S. and its allies, could be blocked by these and other weapons that China is developing.

But defense analyst Mark Jacobson at the Truman National Security Project points out that the U.S. does not need to meet the security challenges in the region alone; nor are U.S. allies fatigued and depleted, as America’s European allies were at the end of World War II, when the current projection of U.S. power into the Atlantic sphere of influence was implemented.

“You’re talking about some of the world’s strongest economies,” says Jacobson. “With their power comes some responsibility for their own defense. And I don’t think this is lost on the South Koreans, the Australians, or the Japanese, at all.”

Marketplace for Monday April 21, 2014by Mitchell HartmanPodcast Title Following The Money – A Real Pivot Or Not?Story Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

America's Less Religious: Study Puts Some Blame On The Internet

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 09:19

A computer scientist used statistical modeling to prove how America is losing its religion. Other factors: A drop in religious upbringing and an increase in college-level education.

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Biker dies after crash with car

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 09:13
A motorbike rider dies after his bike was in a collision with a car on the A9 in Perthshire which closed the road in both directions.

Faith groups back PM on religion row

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 09:12
Religious groups back Prime Minister David Cameron's assertion that Britain is "a Christian country".

Boston marathon honours bomb victims

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 09:06
Thousands of runners take to the streets of Boston as it honours those killed and injured in a bomb attack last year at the marathon's finish line.

PODCAST: Is Netflix the new cable?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:52
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 09:23 Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, California.

Two things Netflix-related happened last week. One, Netflix released a trailer for the new season of Orange is the New Black. Two, we got more evidence that Netflix is the new cable.
Data in a new report show nearly 1 in 5 homes with a Netflix or Hulu subscription has no cable.

Once upon a time, we saw Japan as a massive exporter of things like cars, televisions and electronics. That was then. Today there's word Japan's trade deficit surged 70 percent over the last year. The BBC's economics correspondent Andrew Walker's been following this and joined us to discuss.

Meanwhile, a movie you may have never heard of has quietly made a fortune at the box office. The budget of the Christian indie film "God's Not Dead" was dirt cheap relative to other films atop the box office charts. The production budget was less than $3 million, but faith-based movies have a way of making good money using unconventional marketing, all while flying far below the mainstream radar.

 

Marketplace Morning Report for Monday, April 21, 2014by David BrancaccioPodcast Title PODCAST: Is Netflix the new cable?Syndication All in onePMPApp Respond No

Racing broadcaster Wilson dies aged 73

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:45
Former BBC racing presenter and commentator Julian Wilson dies aged 73 following a long illness.

Parents Say 234 Girls Are Missing From School In Nigeria

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:42

Accounts have varied widely about what has happened to girls and young women presumed kidnapped by Islamist extremists. Authorities say 85 are unaccounted for. Families say the number is much higher.

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Lead Poisoning Nightmare In Nigeria May Be Easing

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:41

Four years ago, hundreds of children died, exposed to lead dust that was everywhere, created in a rush to process ore for gold. Nigeria is finding its own path to curb that dust — and save kids.

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Hunger Games: College Athletes Make Play For Collective Bargaining

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:37

The NCAA council approved new rules allowing student athletes unlimited snacks and meals after a star athlete complained about his hunger. But student advocates say they're still waiting to unionize.

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Rand Paul Bids To Loosen Democratic Hold On African-American Vote

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:35

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a top 2016 GOP presidential prospect, is stirring curiosity among black leaders for his outreach efforts and activism in reforming mandatory sentencing laws.

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Burnt boy's mother praises medics

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:25
The mother of a seven-year-old boy who was badly burned in an incident in Aberdeen thanks the medical staff who have been caring for him.

Boycott call for early years tests

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:22
The National Union of Teachers has moved nearer a boycott of assessment checks for four year olds.

Death penalty for 2003 Saudi attack

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:22
A Saudi court sentences five men to death for their role in three suicide bomb attacks on expatriate residential compounds in Riyadh in May 2003.

Library Of Congress, How Could You Forget Run-D.M.C?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:21

The Library of Congress recently added 25 new recordings to its National Recording Registry, but none of them were hip-hop or rap songs. Did it miss a beat?

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Security Threats Hit Deeper Than Heartbleed Bug

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:20

The recent Heartbleed bug may have prompted many people to change their passwords, but as the Huffington Post's Gerry Smith explains, hackers have been taking sensitive information hostage for years.

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Obama Seeks Wider Authority To Release Drug Offenders

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:20

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the administration expects to broaden criteria under which federal prisoners convicted of drug offenses can apply for pardons or reduced sentences.

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No Longer Marching Out To Work, More Mothers Stay Home

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:18

A growing number of American mothers are staying home to raise their children, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. Listeners share their own stories about making that choice.

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Geraghty wins first Irish National

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-21 08:18
Barry Geraghty wins the Irish Grand National for the first time by steering 8-1 favourite Shutthefrontdoor to victory.

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