National / International News

Your Wallet: What are you waiting for?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 09:05

Next week, we explore the economics of waiting.

What are you waiting for? Is it a big purchase? Maybe marriage? Childbirth?

We want to hear from you. Send us an email, or reach us on Twitter @MarketplaceWKND.

What are you waiting for?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 09:05

Next week, we explore the economics of waiting.

What are you waiting for? Is it a big purchase? Maybe marriage? Childbirth?

We want to hear from you. Send us an email, or reach us on Twitter @MarketplaceWKND.

Small town hopes to rescue itself by selling pot

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 09:04

North Bonneville, Washington, is surrounded by forests on one side. On the other is the Columbia River. 

“There is one gas station. There is one restaurant. There is a golf course. And there is the Bonneville Hot Springs Hotel,” says John Spencer, the former city administrator. Now he’s a consultant. And with some exceptions, he’s just described most of the town’s economy.

A few years ago, the town of about 1,000 people stopped watering parks and other public places to save money. And a few months ago, it started turning off streetlights to cut down on its electricity bill.

“The city is on its knees financially. They have run negative numbers in the general fund multiple months in a row because they have no retail sector here,” Spencer says. “This store could very well make a town that is otherwise going to fail.”

The store Spencer is talking about is The Cannabis Corner: the first recreational pot shop in the country run by a government.  

It opened earlier this month. Technically, the city doesn’t own it. Rather, it set up a public development authority to run it.

“In the headlines, everybody wants to say it’s a city-owned pot shop, which, I guess, I leave for the lawyers," says North Bonneville Mayor Don Stevens, who embraces the title of “The Marijuana Mayor,” right down to the personalized license plates he’s ordered for his car that read "MJMAYOR." 

"I guess technically, on some level, it is.” Stevens says there was a strong likelihood of a pot shop opening in the town anyway. So the city decided to open its own store to have more control over how it’s operated.

“Whereas if a private person came in and opened a store and it wasn’t working out in the community’s best interest, we’d have a really long, ugly path to try and straighten that situation out,” Stevens says. He says all the profits from North Bonneville’s pot shop will go back to the community, by partnering the shop with the city on projects.

“While it can’t just deposit its profit directly into our general fund, (it) can as a separate corporation, help us defray costs with law-enforcement contracts, public health and safety programs, any number of things that ultimately will have a positive affect on our bottom line,” he says.

Right now, the city’s annual budget is $1.2 million. Officials think The Cannabis Corner could eventually bring in half a million dollars in profit every year.

That’s big money here. After the timber industry collapsed in the 1990s, tourism became the county’s main industry.

Casey Roeder, the executive director of the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce, says the town’s pot shop adds another reason for people to visit.

“It’s an amenity, in my mind, just as a winery or brewery,” she says. “The cannabis store in North Bonneville just adds to that whole menu of options for folks to come and spend money.”

And Roeder says if people come here and see the region’s natural beauty and lifestyle, they just may want to move here and bring their business with them.

 

Interior Dept. Issues New Fracking Rules For Federal Lands

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-20 09:03

The regulations, which go into effect in 90 days, establishes safety measures for wells and for drilling companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in the process.

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EU pledges Greek humanitarian funds

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:57
The EU pledges €2bn (£1.45bn; $2.15bn) to ease what it calls Greece's "humanitarian crisis" - echoing words used by the Greek government.

VIDEO: The business of 'networking'

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:54
The communication skills migrating from our private lives... into our working day.

McCluskey warning over union ballots

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:52
Unite boss Len McCluskey says he will not "respect" any law setting a minimum turnout threshold for industrial action.

Iran Nuclear Talks On Pause As Deadline Looms

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:52

With just days left before a self-imposed deadline to reach a framework agreement, stubborn gaps remain on an array of key issues.

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US school sorry for Arabic pledge

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:48
A school in New York state apologises after an uproar was caused by students reciting the US Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic.

Week in pictures: 14-20 March 2015

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:47
A selection of the best news photographs from around the world, taken over the past week.

Fun Fact Friday: Much ado about macaroni and cheese

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:35

David Gura offered his final Marketplace sign off Friday, but not before he hosted a discussion about the week that was with Leigh Gallagher of Fortune and Sudeep Reddy with the Wall Street Journal. Listen to that above, then read about some of the best stuff we learned this week at Marketplace:

Fun Fact: It can take between $70,000 and $100,000 to keep a kennel full of racing dogs running year-round. This week, Alaska hosted the Iditarod.

We spoke to Alaska's top musher in long-distance sled dog racing history, Lance Mackey, who broke down the economics behind running races like the Iditarod. This large sum includes the cost of fuel, entry fees and food for the dogs, which costs around $5,000 every race season.

Want to run the Iditarod? You'll need a lot of scratch

Fun Fact: Kids take an average of 113 standardized tests by the time they finish high school.

This year, standardized tests are being tied to Common Core education standards, creating a divide between schools and parents. According to a Gallup poll conducted late last year, 41 percent of teachers say they view common core standards positively, vs. 33 percent of parents. Should parents let their kids decide whether to take the Common Core tests? Take our poll: 

Parents weigh the lessons of common core testing

Fun Fact: Kraft is recalling 6.5 million boxes of macaroni and cheese.

The company said numerous consumers reported finding metal pieces in the packages. While it may be too early to determine the cost of this recall, some experts warn it proves that the food-safety system in the United States is inadequate.

Kraft recalls 6.5 million boxes of macaroni and cheese

Oh, one more thing: We already miss David.

Ethiopian ivory stockpile destroyed

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:19
Ethiopia destroys its entire six-tonne stockpile of illegally poached ivory in an effort to curb poaching.

Rosetta's comet is spinning down

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:16
The comet being observed by Europe's Rosetta satellite is very gradually spinning down, most probably because its jets of gas and dust are acting like braking thrusters.

'Match Day' is a rite of passage for young doctors

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:15

Friday was a big day for young doctors across the country. It's Match Day — the day medical students find out where they will spend their residencies.

It's a competitive process. This year, more 41,000 applicants are vying for about 30,000 spots. 

Dr. Atul Grover, Chief Public Policy Officer with the Association for American Medical Colleges, says he remembers his 1998 Match Day well.

"It was really all about the envelopes," Grover says. "We went back to our groups of friends, family, sat down and everybody kind of opened their envelopes on the count of three. And I can just remember, myself, being personally elated of getting my first choice."

But not everyone is so lucky. Thousands will not be placed. A record number of young doctors applied for residencies this year, and while enrollment in medical schools is increasing, funding for residency positions has stayed about the the same, making the process more competitive.

Man gets life over partner kill bid

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:05
A man who was Tasered by police after trying to stab his partner with two kitchen knives is jailed for life for attempted murder.

British values 'tough for Ofsted'

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 08:02
Inspecting British values has made life 'difficult' for Ofsted, one of the watchdog's senior officials has said.

Memorial for Corrie's Anne Kirkbride

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 07:58
A memorial service for Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride will take place at Manchester Cathedral on 30 May.

Nigeria's President Hopes To Push Back Boko Haram In A Month

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-20 07:47

Facing reelection in a week, Goodluck Jonathan says he thinks that all the territory seized by the extremist group can be retaken.

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Marketplace asks: Have you cut the cord?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 07:38
In 2014, Time Warner Cable lost nearly 600,000 subscribers. Comcast lost 150,00 subscribers of their own service.

1.4 million U.S. households "either canceled pay-TV over the trailing 12 months or never subscribed," according to Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett.

Are you one of them? Tell us how you watch TV:

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Sterling puts contract talks on hold

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 07:35
Raheem Sterling has put contract talks with Liverpool on hold until the end of the season, says Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.

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