Wal-Mart is rolling out a new money transfer service today. The company says this will make things much simpler for people seeking to send and receive cash. For years, consumers might otherwise have looked to services like Western Union or Money Gram, and some wonder whether those companies can survive this new competition.
Here's NPR's Allison Keyes.
ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: Tunoa Hampton was standing in line at a Wal-Mart Money Center in Washington, D.C., but she wasn't waiting to transfer funds.
This new high-tech offering is not exactly footwear. SuperShoes are squishy insoles that fit inside your shoes.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And inside those insoles are vibrotactile ticklers that are linked to your mobile device. You enter a destination and apparently these ticklers will guide your way, with a tickle to the left or a tickle to the right.
OK, we know mom and pop shops have been struggling for some time now, trying to compete against big-box stores and online retailers. Just in the last quarter, online sales jumped by 16 percent. But all is not lost for the shop around the corner. Some small retailers are actually embracing their size by making their businesses very, very specialized.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm David Greene. Good morning. President Obama is on the first leg of a four-country trip to Asia and today he reassured Japan that the U.S. will defend it in territorial disputes with China. China is not on the president's itinerary this time, but that country looms large over the trip all the same. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us from Seoul, which is the president's next stop. Anthony, good morning.
The CIA is ramping up a program to ship arms to rebels in Syria - more powerful weapons than in the past. The United States had resisted this step until now. We're learning about it from NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman who's in our studios once again. Tom, good morning.
TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: What kind of weapons are we talking about here?
The Labor Department has announced new rules to protect coalminers from black lung. Regulations were supposed to eradicate black lung decades ago. Yet when I went to college in Eastern Kentucky's coal mining region, some of my fellow students had fathers who'd been killed by it. Black lung is blamed for 76,000 deaths over 50 years.
NPR's Howard Berkes reports how the rules are changing now.
In Kansas this week, a political icon returned home. Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole has been traveling the state, meeting with friends and supporters who embraced his long political career.
Dole is not running for office, but the 90-year-old has a tour schedule that could tire a politician half his age. He's made 10 public appearances over three days, including a stop at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
This week in Seattle, Bill and Melinda Gates are attending a meeting of the minds.
Five hundred of the world's top innovators in global health have gathered for the Global Health Product Development Forum, an annual event in which scientists, engineers, policymakers and activists work to develop new tools for fighting diseases.
At some schools, the admissions process itself can work against low-income students, according to Georgia Nugent, former president of Kenyon College and a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges.
Nugent says during her tenure at Kenyon, there were low-income students at the bottom of the admissions list who sometimes weren't accepted so the school could make room for more affluent students.