National / International News

VIDEO: Downing Street is lit up for Christmas

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-08 12:13
The Christmas tree outside 10 Downing Street was lit up on Monday as a band played traditional Christmas music.

Obama Administration Unveils New Ban On Racial Profiling

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-08 12:12

Attorney General Eric Holder says he hopes state and local police will adopt the new guidelines for federal law enforcers.

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Starbucks, potential tech juggernaut?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-08 12:08

If you’ve been to a Starbucks lately, you might’ve used your smartphone or noticed other customers using theirs to pay for their lattes.

Now Starbucks is taking another technological step forward by rolling out a fleet of Powermat wireless phone chargers in its stores.

They may help curb arguments with power-outlet hoarders, but the chargers serve a larger purpose – to burnish the Starbucks brand. The company's adoption of new technology is just as important to its image as the quality of its coffee beans, says Jonah Berger, a University of Pennsylvania marketing professor and author of the 2013 book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On.” 

“Starbucks is an older brand, you know, it's not the new kid on the block,” Berger says, “So, seeming like they're technology-forward, like they know what's going on ... will move [them] from [looking like] sort of a fuddy-duddy company to somebody that's on the cutting edge.”

But this strategy comes with risks, Berger says. If customers don't like the chargers, the technology could come off as gimmicky.

All sorts of restaurants are looking to technology to appeal to younger customers

“McDonald’s, the Coffee Bean, Madison Square Garden also use the Powermat. Starbucks is not the only one out there,” says Betsy Sigman, a Georgetown University business professor. 

When done right, Sigman says, access to new technology gives customers another reason to go to the restaurant and spend more.

Starbucks wants to do more than sell more coffee to young people, Berger says. It also wants to influence the way technology is adopted.

If Starbucks can become "the market-maker" for this technology – and Berger notes that it's a big "if" – the company could become a bigger player in the tech industry.

 

Sandwich Monday: Doritos Loaded

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-08 12:00

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try 7-Eleven's latest creation, Doritos Loaded. They're a vaguely Doritos-shaped fried thing stuffed with cheese.

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Jeff Bezos on the best gift he's ever recieved

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-08 12:00

Ten years ago, we started calling up big names in business and culture and asking them, "What was the best gift you've received?"

In honor of Marketplace's 25th anniversary and the holiday season, we've pulled the "Best Gift Ever" series out of our archives. Here's the answer we got from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, which originally aired in December 2004:

The best gift I ever received was all the construction toys that my grandfather gave me over the years when I was a little kid. You know, Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, Legos. 

Every year I'd get a new construction toy of some kind. And then building things is something that has served me well all throughout the years. 

In fact, I love construction toys to this day, and I love them so much that for my fifth wedding anniversary, my wife gave me a huge, 5-foot-tall tool chest filled to the brim with Legos.

 

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Here's how the story originally played when it aired in 2004:

LISA NAPOLI: Time now for our Holiday feature, the Best Gift Ever.

JEFF BEZOS: My name is Jeff Bezos and I'm the founder and CEO of Amazon.com.

The best gift I ever received was all the construction toys that my grandfather gave me over the years when I was a little kid. You know, Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, Legos.

Every year I'd get a new construction toy of some kind. And then building things is something that has served me well all throughout the years.

In fact, I love construction toys to this day, and I love them so much that for my fifth wedding anniversary, my wife gave me a huge five-foot-tall tool chest filled to the brim with Legos.

NAPOLI: Jeff Bezos is CEO of Amazon.com

BEZOS OUTTAKE: What really turned into the best gift was I then got to spend all of my summers working with him on his ranch. Ranchers build everything so I got to do the construction toys for real. We would arc weld gates and build fences and lay pipelines.

 

U.K. Lawmaker Apologizes For Playing 'Candy Crush Saga' At Hearing

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-08 12:00

Nigel Mills said his actions "fell short of what is expected of a member of Parliament." But a colleague defended him, saying hearings were "boring" and he himself had had trouble staying awake.

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MLA's 'gay cake' conscience clause

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:57
A DUP assembly member begins an attempt to introduce a "conscience clause" into equality law in Northern Ireland, following legal action taken against a Christian-owned bakery.

Sierra Leone tops Ebola cases

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:48
Sierra Leone overtakes neighbouring Liberia as the country with the highest number of cases of the deadly Ebola virus, the WHO says.

Torture report: Battle lines being drawn

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:46
With the long-delayed release of a government report on US torture practices during the Bush administration expected soon, a fight over what it might - or might not - say is already brewing.

More troops for battle against IS

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:33
A top US commander says 1,500 more coalition troops are to be sent to Iraq to bolster the fight against Islamic State militants.

Blindfold sex knife attack ex jailed

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:25
A woman who lured her ex-husband to her home for sex before blindfolding and stabbing him is jailed for attempted murder.

Galatasaray 1-4 Arsenal

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:23
Arsenal score three goals inside 30 minutes and cruise to victory in Galatasaray but cannot claim top spot in their group.

Ebola Cases Are Down, So Should Liberians Stop Worrying?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:11

The country is now reporting fewer than 100 new cases each week. But the CDC's chief there says Liberia must stay alert and not allow the presence of Ebola to become a new norm.

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Santa Claus' estimated salary for 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:00

According to insure.com, Santa Claus would make $139,924 this year. This is up 1.5 percent from last year.

The insurance website used Labor Department wage and hour data to calculate its estimate. Most of Santa's salary comes from managing the North Pole toy factory and piloting the sleigh, which the survey determined would earn him the salaries of an industrial engineer and a pilot, respectively.

They also commissioned a survey to see how much people think Santa should make. A total of 29 percent say $1.8 billion, or $1 for each child on the planet under the age of 15. Another 29 percent said he should work for free, and the rest split the difference.

The survey polled 895 adults who said Santa visits their homes.

Here's Santa Claus' estimated salary this year

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:00

According to insure.com, Santa Claus would make $139,924 this year. This is up 1.5 percent from last year.

The insurance website used Labor Department wage and hour data to calculate its estimate. Most of Santa's salary comes from managing the North Pole toy factory and piloting the sleigh, which the survey determined would earn him the salaries of an industrial engineer and a pilot, respectively.

They also commissioned a survey to see how much people think Santa should make. A total of 29 percent say $1.8 billion, or $1 for each child on the planet under the age of 15. Another 29 percent said he should work for free, and the rest split the difference.

The survey polled 895 adults who said Santa visits their homes.

Merck invests in new antibiotics

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:00

Pharmaceutical giant Merck is acquiring antibiotics maker Cubist for more than $8 billion. The deal upends conventional thinking in the market: Some 23,000 Americans die each year from infections resistant to drugs, and overprescribing worsens the problem. Yet big drug companies have been exiting the space since it’s not lucrative.

Analysts say the Merck deal may make sense for a few reasons. Drug companies are focusing more on targeted products than blockbusters. Those new antibiotics can shorten hospital stays and persuade insurance companies to pay for them. Federal grants also help companies develop new antibiotics, and more may be on the way. Finally, the scarcity of next-generation antibiotics may help drug makers raise prices.

Click below to hear an interview on the subject with Michael Kinch, director of Washington University's Center for Research Innovation in Business.

 

Click below for a longer interview with Jeff Wager, co-founder and CEO of Enbiotix.

 

 

 

 

Why a strong dollar's a dud for indebted foreign firms

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:00

The dollar is super strong right now.  It's up 11 percent against the euro, and 16 percent versus the yen.

That's good news for Americans who want to spend their money abroad. It's even better news for foreign companies who want to sell their stuff to us. Except for the ones that borrowed money in dollars – which is a lot of companies over the last few years.

Those companies have to pay interest in dollars on those loans, but they get paid locally in their own currency. So, as the dollar rises, they have to pay more local currency to buy the dollars to service their debts. There's a big risk here, if companies start to default on those loans, or, worse go bankrupt. It could present a threat to their host countries, and maybe to the entire economy.

Cosmo and CoverGirl team up on New Year's Eve

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-08 11:00

Cosmopolitan magazine has teamed up with one of their biggest advertisers, Cover Girl makeup, to ring in the New Year together.

 

The two companies agreed to a joint sponsorship of the New Year’s Eve ball at Times Square in New York City. 

 

The event has lots of marketing potential, according to Jessica L’Esperance, a Vice President of User Experience at Huge Inc. She says experiential advertising is preferable to stagnant, traditional methods. For Cover Girl, the event means people in Times Square will be able to try their products in an environment that they associate with a fun celebration.

 

"There is no print ad or TV commercial that's really going to help you see it on your own face," says L’Esperance.

 

From Cosmo’s perspective, getting one of your advertisers like to help foot your marketing bill is a pretty savvy strategy too, according to Cathy McPhillips of the Content Marketing Institute. Cosmo and Cover Girl has very similar audiences and they're not competitors.

 

But McPhillips says getting into bed with just one advertiser could backfire for Cosmo. They run the risk of losing advertising dollars from some of their other clients. 

How Afghanistan Vets Are Trying To Cultivate Peace Through Saffron

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-08 10:57

Afghanistan has an ideal climate for growing saffron, the most expensive spice in the world. But little is exported. Rumi Spice is working with small farmers there to build the U.S. market for it.

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U.S. Boosts Security At Facilities Ahead Of Torture Report's Release

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-08 10:54

The White House says the report "could lead to a greater risk" to U.S. facilities and individuals around the world, but that the president supported the Senate's release scheduled for Tuesday.

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