President Obama has nominated a former Army ranger to take over the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert McDonald is also the former CEO of Procter & Gamble. He spoke on Monday about the challenges he'll face if confirmed to head the VA.
ROBERT MCDONALD: At Procter & Gamble, we always focus on our customer. At the VA, the veteran is our customer. And we must all focus all day, every day on getting them the benefits and the care that they so earned.
It makes some sense that young people might work less than their older counterparts. They are figuring out their lives, going in and out of school and making more short-term plans.
But a whopping 5.8 million young people are neither in school nor working. It is "a completely different situation than we've seen in the past," says Elisabeth Jacobs, the senior director for policy and academic programs at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
Chicago is practically giving away land: vacant lots for just $1 each. The catch? To buy one, you must already own a home on the same block.
Like many U.S. cities, Chicago has struggled with what to do with a growing number of empty lots in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. Efforts to develop affordable housing or urban farms have had some mixed results.
So Chicago officials and community development advocates hope the vacant lot program can help spark a renewal in some of the city's most blighted areas.
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that closely held companies may, for religious reasons, opt out of paying for their workers' contraception. Closely held is the key phrase, here. And as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, it's a phrase that is now being closely examined.
The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint on Tuesday, alleging that wireless provider T-Mobile made hundreds of millions of dollars on bogus charges against its customers.
Essentially, the FTC claims that T-Mobile knew that its customers never ordered text message subscriptions for things like "flirting tips, horoscope information or celebrity gossip," but it still continued to charge them $9.99 a month for the service.
What's the most popular seafood in the U.S.? Shrimp. The average American eats more shrimp per capita than tuna and salmon combined. Most of that shrimp comes from Asia, and most of the salmon we eat is also imported. In fact, 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad, but one-third of the seafood Americans catch gets sold to other countries.
People are worried about being able to pay for health insurance. So the insurance industry and a group of Democratic senators have proposed offering cheaper, skimpier "copper plans" on the health law's marketplaces that could draw in people who were unhappy with the cost of available plans.
But consumer advocates and others who study the insurance market suggest that there may not be a big demand for these plans and that they could expose people to unacceptably high out-of-pocket costs if they got sick.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne. The U.S Supreme Court has wrapped up its latest term, issuing two important decisions. One is a setback for the Affordable Care Act and a victory for some for-profit companies.
GREENE: The other decision is a major defeat for public employee unions. We'll hear reaction to both decisions in a few minutes. We begin our coverage with NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.
The U.S. Supreme court ruled yesterday that the owners of closely held for-profit corporations, like Hobby Lobby, the chain of stores that brought the case, do not have to cover FDA-approved contraceptives in their employee health insurance.
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In this decision, the words closely held stood out. What does closely held actually mean? While the IRS offers a long technical definition, we wanted a simpler one.
Now we get your reaction to both the Supreme Court decisions - first, to the ruling that some businesses can cite religion to opt out of covering contraceptives under the new health care law. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.
JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: In Chicago, a few dozen abortion rights opponents gathered to celebrate the decision as a victory for religious liberty. Emily Zender is with Illinois Rights Alive.
Banking giant BNP Paribas has agreed to pay American regulators nearly $9 billion dollars to settle charges of economic sanctions violations. It's the largest such fine ever imposed by the U.S. The bank will plead guilty to two criminal charges. It was accused of helping clients in Sudan, Cuba and Iran conduct business in the United States. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
Representatives for the French bank BNP Paribas pleaded guilty on Monday and agreed to pay $8.83 billion over allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions laws by facilitating transactions involving Sudan, Cuba and Iran.
Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 12:38 pm
A fund established by GM to pay claims related to defective ignition switches won't limit claim amounts and will include people who have already settled a case with the carmaker. Those and other details about the long-awaited compensation plan were announced by plan administrator Kenneth Feinberg on Monday.
"GM basically has said, whatever it costs to pay all eligible claims under the protocol, they will pay it," Feinberg said.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some public employees cannot be required to contribute to unions.
In a 5-4 ruling split along ideological lines, the court recognized a category of "partial public employees" who cannot be required to contribute union bargaining fees. The court said the current practice, which permits automatic deductions, violates the First Amendment rights of those nonmembers who disagree with the union's positions.
Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 11:54 am
The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act's provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections.
The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores and those of another closely held company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., had objected on the grounds of religious freedom.
The ruling affirms a Hobby Lobby victory in a lower court and gives new standing to similar claims by other companies.
In the airline industry, we've gone through a period of mergers, consolidation and downsizing. Because of all this, some airlines have had to disappoint cities. They've stopped using them as hubs, which brings us something unusual at Seattle-Tocoma International Airport. The Northwest News Network's Tom Banse reports that Delta Air Lines has made it its newest hub.
In September, Scotland will vote on whether to break away from the United Kingdom and declare independence.
So far, the debate has been largely about money: One poll says most voters would switch their vote if it meant an extra 500 pounds, or around $800 dollars.
North Sea oil and gas are central to this economic debate â€” nowhere more so than in the remote Shetland Islands, many miles from the Scottish mainland, where tankers carrying North Sea oil come ashore. The oil has transformed both the local and national economy.
Lauren Kay has never met her therapist in person. The 24-year-old entrepreneur found it difficult to take time off work for appointments.
So she started seeing a psychotherapist online.
"It's definitely been different," she says. Kay, who lives in New York, found her counselor through an online therapy service called Pretty Padded Room. When it's time for an appointment, all she has to do is log in to the website, click a link and start video chatting.