National / International News

Four dead in Mexico oil rig blaze

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-01 13:24
An oil rig in Mexico is engulfed in flames after fire breaks out in a pump room, killing four and forcing workers to jump into the sea.

US senator charged with corruption

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-01 13:19
US Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, is accused of using his influence to illegally benefit his long time friend, an eye doctor from Florida.

McDonald's to raise pay for US staff

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-01 13:09
The fast-food giant McDonald's says it will raise the pay of more than 90,000 US employees to at least $1 above the legal minimum wage.

VIDEO: Snowden's smashed laptop goes on show

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-01 13:04
The laptop used to store top-secret documents leaked by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden has gone on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Trading Walkathons For Ice Buckets, Charities Try To Hold On To Donors

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:32

Some of the largest, most established walkathons and similar events that raise cash for charity aren't doing as well as they used to. There's more competition, fundraisers say, for money and time.

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Navajos Fight Their Food Desert With Junk Food And Soda Taxes

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:26

Many have dreamed of taxing Cheetos and soda. The Navajo Nation is now doing both. The first-in-the U.S. tax measure aims to raise revenue for health programs and make wholesome food more affordable.

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Justice Department Won't Charge IRS' Lois Lerner With Criminal Contempt

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:25

At issue is whether the former IRS official waived her Fifth Amendment rights when she made an opening statement proclaiming her innocence over the agency's targeting of conservative groups.

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With Nostalgia And A Last Nosh, 1 Of 3 Remaining HoJo's Closes

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:25

The iconic orange roofs of Howard Johnson's restaurants were once fixtures of the American highway. But the chain faded in the '80s. The 60-year-old location in Lake Placid, N.Y., closed Tuesday.

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The Transaction: The right price

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:24

Albuquerque, New Mexico: 1970.

Marketplace listener Jose Antonio Ponce was 13 when he learned a few chords on the guitar, and he fell in love. But when his teacher, his brother, moved away for a job and took his guitar with him, Jose had to figure out a way to get his own. 

In Battered Tikrit, Iraqi Forces Claim Much, But Not All Of City

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:20

The Iraqi military, with help from the U.S. and Iran, now holds most of Tikrit after a month of heavy fighting with the Islamic State. NPR's Alice Fordham visited and says the city is still volatile.

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Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted On Corruption Charges

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:18

The indictment alleges that Menendez abused his office to benefit a friend and donor. The New Jersey senator has always maintained his innocence.

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Justice Department Indicts Sen. Robert Menendez On Corruption

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:18

The indictment alleges that Menendez abused his office to benefit a friend and donor. The New Jersey Senator has always maintained his innocence.

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Williams makes semis with 700th win

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:11
Serena Williams wins the 700th match of her career to reach the Miami Open semi-finals with victory over Sabine Lisicki.

California Governor Issues 1st-Ever Statewide Mandatory Water Reductions

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:09

Cities in drought-stricken California will have to reduce their water usage by 25 percent. In a news conference, Gov. Jerry Brown said the "historic drought demands unprecedented action."

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California Governor Issues 1st-Ever Statewide Manadatory Water Reductions

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 12:09

Cities in drought-stricken California will have to reduce their water usage by 25 percent. In a news conference, Gov. Jerry Brown said the "historic drought demands unprecedented action."

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A Virus In Your Mouth Helps Fight The Flu

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 11:20

It's related to herpes. And it infects most of the world — about half of Americans, nearly all the developing world. But don't go out and get infected. The virus has a dark side, too.

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Trevor Noah Is A Quarter Jewish. Does That Make His Anti-Semitic Jokes OK?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 11:13

Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old South African with a global following, appeared on The Daily Show three times before he got the nod as Jon Stewart's replacement. Now he's in hot water over some old tweets.

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McDonald's to boost wages for 90,000 workers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-01 11:12

The list of companies that have raised their minimum wage lately, companies like WalMart, Target, TJ Maxx and IKEA, got one longer today.

McDonald's announced it will raise hourly wages by 10 percent, at the approximately 1,500 restaurants it operates directly.

The move will affect about 90,000 employees, which the company's new CEO Steve Easterbrook said will bring average hourly pay up to $9.90 by July. The company said it hopes its franchisees -- which operate another 14,000 McDonald's locations -- will follow suit. 

"These increases come after several years of wages barely keeping up with inflation," says Krissy Clark, who covers low-wage work for Marketplace's Wealth and Poverty Desk. "So in some ways it's a bit of a game of catch-up."

The economy is also catching up to the demand for jobs. Skilled workers who may have resorted to entry-level jobs in retail and restaurants are returning to higher paying positions. That applies more pressure to lower wage employers to raise pay and attract the workforce they need. 

Fast food workers have staged strikes in recent months seeking a $15 hourly wage. The National Employment Labor Project (NELP) sought to temper enthusiasm, calling it a "modest gesture."

In a statement, NELP Executive Director Christine Owners said the increases will "boost pay a little for a small number of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who are trying to make a living selling McDonald’s food and burnishing McDonald’s brand."

And yet, advocates see their actions as directly contributing to the wage increase. 

"One McDonald's worker who is paid about $7.25 an hour right now said, 'Because we joined together and stood up, McDonald's was forced to raise pay,'" Marketplace's Clark said. And yet, they're still pushing for more. 

"A wage of $10 an hour is still going to mean, for many of those families, that they still qualify for public assistance," Clark noted. 

One retailer whose wage bump is making a bigger difference? IKEA.

"They're the only company so far that has tied their wage raises to a living wage calculator, where they're actually trying to say, we want to make sure that you don't have to rely on public assistance if you're working for us," says Clark

More information on growing wage pressure -- from competitors and market forces overall -- when we get jobs data on Friday.

Diagnosing A Sinus Infection Can Be A DIY Project

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 11:11

The nation's ear, nose and throat doctors want people to diagnose sinus infections themselves in an effort to reduce overuse of antibiotics. They're telling you how.

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Iraq Claims Victory Over Militants In Strategic City Of Tikrit

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-01 11:10

Iraqi flags are flying over government buildings again in Tikrit, one month into a major offensive to reclaim the city from fighters with the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

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