National / International News

Indiana's Governor Signs 'Religious Freedom' Bill

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 10:28

Among other things, the controversial new law would allow owners of businesses in the state to deny services to same-sex couples.

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Coach Dean Smith calls one last play before passing away

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-26 10:24

Dean Smith, the legendary basketball coach for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, died in early February.

Turns out that in his will, Smith specified that every player who earned a varsity letter while he was there was to get a check for $200 along with a note encouraging them to a dinner out.

Compliments of Coach Dean Smith.

How are pilots psychologically screened?

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 10:22
What psychological screening do pilots have to go through?

After Spending Scandals, Rep. Aaron Schock Says Goodbye

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 10:13

Even in his final floor speech, Rep. Aaron Schock seemed to leave the door open for a future, comparing himself to former President Abraham Lincoln.

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A Single Gene May Decide Why Some People Get So Sick With The Flu

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 10:06

A single genetic mutation might decide who ends up in bed with the sniffles and who heads to the hospital, because it shuts down immune system molecules called interferons.

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Terry signs new deal with Chelsea

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 09:53
Chelsea captain John Terry extends his contract at the club until the end of the 2015-16 season.

How Yemen's Chaos Stretches Beyond Its Borders

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 09:43

The U.S. has lost a key base for counterterrorism operations. The proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is heating up. And one more Middle Eastern state has dissolved into chaos.

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Rotherham police probe expanded

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 09:34
The police watchdog says it is investigating complaints against 42 South Yorkshire Police officers over the handling of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

VIDEO: Rescuer describes plane crash scene

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 09:11
Jean Sebastein Beaud from the mountain police, who arrived at the French Alps site soon after the plane crash, describes the scene as "surreal".

Challenges remain, even after the 'Doc Fix' gets fixed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-26 09:05

Kicking the can down the road is old hat in Washington. But one of the cans that's been kicked for nearly 20 years now has been, well, not kicked.

The House of Representatives, by a wide and bipartisan margin, voted for a more permanent solution to the perennial threats to how much Medicare reimburses doctors, the so-called "Doc Fix" legislation. And while the deal still needs to win Senate approval, to some, like American Medical Association President-elect Dr. Steven Stack, it’s a historic moment.

“I don’t want to pass the opportunity to thank Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi," Stack says.

Now, Stack knows there’s almost no chance that kind of quote is ever published, but he wanted to say it anyway. Take it as a sign of the relief he’s cautiously feeling on behalf of the 94 percent of doctors who have worried about Congress cutting their pay.

“Having stability and predictability in physician payment is essential for quality of care and patient safety,” he says.

Under the bill, doctors would see a half percent bump in each of the next four years, well below the rate of inflation — the price they pay for predictability. There’s another price doctors may pay though, warns the Urban Institute’s Bob Berenson, namely more reporting requirements. Berenson says some lack the technology infrastructure to pull it off.

“Small practices will find this too much of a reporting burden and may just throw in the towel,” he says.

Another key provision would pay doctors more for high-quality care rather than the volume of care. Everybody loves that, says Harvard’s Dr. Ashish Jha. The trouble is it’s very hard to measure "quality."

“We are going to focus on paying doctors for a lot of things. Some of which probably represent real quality and some of which clearly represent checking the box,” he says.

Jha says if Washington is serious about paying based on quality, the government must invest several billion dollars. Absent that, doctors may have more financial stability thanks to this deal, but less certainty about how to best serve their patients.

Why borrowers turn to pricey payday loans

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-26 09:05

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is looking to make payday and other short-term loans more consumer-friendly. For example, it's considering creating rules that would require lenders to consider a borrower's ability to repay the loan and/or limit the number of loans borrowers can take out.

But even without such controls, borrowers keep turning to these services — 12 million borrowers each year, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. A typical payday borrower might make $30,000 a year and borrow a few hundred dollars to pay their rent or electricity bill.  Borrowers may find themselves with unexpected expenses and no other options, says BankRate.com's Greg McBride, as traditional banks don’t generally make small loans and borrowers may not qualify if they did.

Alternatively, borrowers might decide these loans are the best of limited options, says Dennis Shaul, CEO of the short-term lender trade group Community Financial Services Association of America. Shaul agrees with the CFPB that lenders should evaluate people’s ability to repay loans. Wade Henderson, the president of the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, says consumers also need other options to meet their borrowing needs. 

FTSE slides 1.4% as oil prices jump

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 09:04
The London stock market falls as investors react to a jump in oil prices following airstrikes by Saudi Arabia on rebel targets in Yemen.

When disasters happen, all airlines are affected

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-26 09:04

When a plane crashes — it doesn’t matter whose plane it is — the entire airline industry is affected and the entire industry responds. One of the first things airlines do is set to work calming people’s fears.

"So, for example, if a passenger has a question about the type of aircraft being used on his or her flight, call-center employees usually are briefed on how to answer those questions," says Madhu Unnikrishnan, an airline-industry correspondent for Aviation Week. 

Unnikrishnan says other aspects of business as usual are also put on hold.

“They will suspend events, promotional and marketing events for example," she says. "And airlines typically withdraw ads from newspapers and television."

Tragedies bring about cooperation in other areas, says Richard Aboulafia, an airline analysis with the Teal Group.

“I think the most important thing they think about is how to engage with regulatory officials in a positive way,” he says.

In the wake of the Germanwings crash, several carriers, including Norwegian Air and Air Canada have already announced rules changes requiring two pilots to remain in the cockpit at all times. And it’s likely the changes won’t end there. 

"I'd be surprised if their weren't some kind of changes that resulted from this,” says Aboulafia, "because you've got a series a of incidents, that really point to the impact of human malice in the cockpit.”

Eventually, airlines will return to what they do best: compete for business. One thing you will never see them compete on, says Aboulafia, is safety.

That's because most carriers fly the same planes, and they have no interest in raising concerns about a competitors’ pilots or equipment.

Oklahoma race chant student ‘sorry’

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 09:01
A university student in Oklahoma who led a videotaped racist chant that caused a national uproar has apologised.

Quiz: The gift that keeps on giving

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-26 08:51

The percentage of 12-17 year olds in gifted classes rose 6 points between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Skinny Jeans, Expanded Waistlines, And A Washington 'Fix'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 08:50

Congress has acted 17 times to prevent a cut in Medicare doctors' payments. But the so-called "Doc Fix" has always been like that pair of jeans you keep in your closet, hoping someday they'll fit.

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US soldier 'plotted to support IS'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 08:47
A US soldier and his cousin are arrested and charged with conspiring to support the Islamic State, the Department of Justice says.

VIDEO: Clarkson: 'Leave the producer alone'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 08:37
Jeremy Clarkson has said that he wants people to stop blaming the producer he hit for his departure from Top Gear.

Richard III, Whose Remains Were Found Under A Parking Lot, Reburied

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 08:27

The last English king to die in battle was finally given a burial fit for a king — some 530 years after he was killed.

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Tinder prank 'tricked flirting men'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 08:25
After a series of men on Tinder were reportedly tricked into flirting with each other, an expert attacks the app's security.

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