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Last Build Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 03:24:31 +0000

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In Germany, miners and others prepare for a soft exit from hard coalIn Germany, miners and others prepare for a soft exit from hard coal

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:44:35 +0000

The top of the mine shaft at the Prosper-Haniel coal mine  in Bottrop, Germany, looks like a big black hole going deep into the earth. Most people see it as just a tunnel, but Andre Niemann looked into that black hole and saw the future. No regrets from this soon-to-be-ex-miner Niemann leads the hydraulic engineering and water resources department at the University of Duisberg-Essen, in the heart of German coal country, western Germany's Ruhr Valley. For more than 150 years, Germany mined millions of tons of anthracite, or hard coal, from coal mines here that at their peak employed half a million miners. But that's history now — Germany's government decided a decade ago to end subsidies that made German hard coal competitive with imports. Now, the last of these mines are set to close at the end of 2018, ending an industry, a tradition and a culture. “Prosper-Haniel is really special," Niemann says. “It's the last mine in this region, and everyone is looking, 'OK, what's happening now?'



First-ever bitcoin futures trading is now underway First-ever bitcoin futures trading is now underway

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:41:07 +0000

The virtual currency bitcoin is now trading on a major global exchange for the first time. The first-ever bitcoin futures started trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Sunday. The price of the virtual currency has soared in recent weeks. And so far, it appears investors believe bitcoin will continue to rise in value, the BBC reports . Some also see futures trading as a sign that bitcoin is creeping into the mainstream. “I think it’s a big deal in that it allows institutional investors to start putting bets on the technology,” said Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research at Coin Center, a nonprofit that looks at public policy issues raised by digital currencies like bitcoin.“I think more people looking at it [and] more money-making trades will lead to a better understanding of the long-term value proposition of the technology.” But there are skeptics. “Just introducing a futures contract doesn’t legitimize anything, frankly,” said Paul Donovan, the chief global economist


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Foreign experiments with trickle-down tax cuts: A rare proposition for a robust economyForeign experiments with trickle-down tax cuts: A rare proposition for a robust economy

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:39:48 +0000

In the late 1970s, Ireland’s economy was struggling. So, they decided to cut business taxes dramatically while also increasing individual taxes, including on the middle class. The idea was stronger businesses would benefit everyone. It worked. “For the following 25 years, they had really rapid economic growth and went from being the poorest country in Europe to one of the richest. It really did help everybody,” said economist James Hines , a tax specialist at the University of Michigan. "Now, Ireland was a very specific situation and the question is whether that kind of lesson would apply to the United States?” Hines says that’s debatable. The United States isn’t Ireland 40 years ago.   “Unemployment is very low in America right now,” said Hines. “Also, when Ireland cut their business taxes, they did it in a very smart way. They targeted it to foreign manufacturing firms, initially, because they thought that they would get the greatest economic benefits from that, rather than across


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Top Stories: UTA Study Highlights Dallas' Public Transit Problem; A Border Family ReunionTop Stories: UTA Study Highlights Dallas' Public Transit Problem; A Border Family Reunion

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:38:23 +0000

The top local stories this evening from KERA News: A new study commissioned by Dallas officials shows the city has a ways to go in providing more frequent and more equitable public transportation to people across the city, and especially low-income people.


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Can kids recognize fake news? Sort of.Can kids recognize fake news? Sort of.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:37:46 +0000

Sometimes a story is so outrageous that it’s easy to recognize as fake news. But it can also be much more subtle: It can be hard to flag a story with just one incorrect statement or opinion masquerading as a fact. And if it’s hard for adults to spot fake news, can children do it? The University of Salford  teamed up with the BBC Newsround for one year to study how well children ages 9 to 14 can spot false information. “Young people are actually really savvy about the theory of fake news — they’ve heard the term, they can understand it, they can debate it,” says Beth Hewitt, who led the study. What children can’t necessarily do is distinguish fake news from the real thing, especially on social media. Hewitt says the results of the study show that digital literacy should be part of the curriculum in schools, helping kids question who’s writing articles, where links and pictures come from and whether the information has been confirmed elsewhere. “After all, they live in a digital,


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Poland's government fines a US-owned TV broadcaster Poland's government fines a US-owned TV broadcaster

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 23:07:48 +0000

Poland's ruling party has used the term "fake news" to attack its critics in the media. Monday, the government took its attack a step further. It levied a $415,000 fine on TVN24, a US-owned independent Polish news channel, saying the broadcaster's coverage of anti-government street protests had encouraged illegal activities. "The government disliked the way that this television channel portrayed some demonstrations that were actually a year ago," says Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum. "It's unprecedented. Now they decided that the portrayal of anti-government demonstrators somehow violated the law or was against the national interest."  TVN24 is the most widely watched independent broadcaster in Poland. Polish regulators did not describe exactly how the station had violated the law in its coverage of the protests.  Applebaum says Poland's government is taking a cue from Washington's attitude toward journalists and has embraced "the idea that it's OK to not just push back



After Court Ruling, Military Will Accept Openly Transgender Recruits As Of Jan. 1After Court Ruling, Military Will Accept Openly Transgender Recruits As Of Jan. 1

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 23:01:13 +0000

Following a federal court ruling, the Pentagon has confirmed it will allow openly transgender individuals to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1. The Trump administration had resisted that deadline in court, seeking to have its ban on new transgender troops reinstated — but on Monday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly upheld an earlier decision to temporarily block President Trump's ban. That ban has been under fire since it was issued in a presidential memorandum in August. It quickly drew several lawsuits, and two federal judges — including Kollar-Kotelly in October — moved to put it on hold while those cases were decided in the courts. As NPR's Camila Domonoske explained then , Kollar-Kotelly found "that trans members of the military have a strong case that the president's ban would violate their Fifth Amendment rights." The administration appealed that ruling, seeking to implement its ban during the pending court cases, only to see the appeal denied by Kollar-Kotelly on Monday. In


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How hate and debate came to a Connecticut mosqueHow hate and debate came to a Connecticut mosque

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 23:01:09 +0000

The night of Nov. 14, 2015, was not the first time Ted Hakey, 50, went into his backyard in Meriden, Connecticut, and fired guns to let off some steam. It was the night after a deadly terror attack in Paris , and Hakey was furious. So he shot his Springfield Armory M1A .308-caliber rifle into the air. Some of those shots hit the Baitul Aman Mosque next door. Luckily, no one was in the building at the time. “I wanted to scare ’em, but the shots that hit were never supposed to hit,” says Hakey, who admits he harbored significant hate for Muslims back then. His Facebook posts reflect that well enough. Ted Hakey (left) fired shots that hit a mosque next door to his house in Meriden, Connecticut in 2015. Two years later, he says that meeting Zahir Mannan, a mosque leader changed things. “The amazing part is how as soon as I met Zahir — within five minutes… when I did my apology, [my hate] was gone,” Hakey says. Credit: Arthur Nazaryan/PRI Prosecutors used some of those posts to build their



Court Says The State Must Ramp Up Foster Parent RecruitingCourt Says The State Must Ramp Up Foster Parent Recruiting

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 23:00:20 +0000

From Texas Standard . A six-year-old class action lawsuit over the system of foster care in Texas may be reaching a climax. It’s the case in which a federal judge found Texas’ foster care system to be so dangerous to foster kids as to be unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack has called the system that cares for some 10,700 kids “broken.” Now, court special masters are making recommendations that are sure to attract pushback from the state of Texas, which has been aggressively privatizing the foster care system. Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News reports Texas could be forced by the court to recruit thousands of foster parents , as the crisis in child protective services continues.


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Texas Landowners Take The Wind Out Of Their SalesTexas Landowners Take The Wind Out Of Their Sales

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:59:10 +0000

Trey Murphy is a grad student in North Carolina, but he has dreams of owning land in West Texas. A few months ago, he was looking at real estate online and came across something strange. “I saw that there was this particular listing that was selling the surface estate, but not willing to sell the wind estate,” he says.


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Why German pilots won't fly Afghan refugees back to AfghanistanWhy German pilots won't fly Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:55:34 +0000

Last week, German media  reported  that some pilots have refused to carry out deportations of Afghan refugees. "Following an information request from the Left party," reported Deutsche Welle, "the government said that 222 planned expulsions were stopped by pilots." While it may seem the pilots are refusing to fly Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan out of sympathy, that's not the only reason. There are security reasons behind their decisions as well, according to Bernd Mesovic, deputy director for  Pro Asyl , a pro-immigration advocacy group in Germany. He points to two incidents on Lufthansa flights as examples.  One happened in 1999 , when 30-year-old Aamir Ageeb, a Sudanese refugee, was put on a flight back to Sudan. After he resisted, German security guards bound his hands and feet to his seat and placed a helmet on his head. Shortly after takeoff, he was found dead, suffocated. "Regular passengers became witness of the drama," says Mesovic. "Bad publicity for Lufthansa, which is



12/11/17: Such a bubblicious economy12/11/17: Such a bubblicious economy

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:45:49 +0000

We’ve all heard bitcoin is volatile, risky, quite possibly a bubble. So why then the demand for bitcoin futures? We take a look at what happened during yesterday’s bitcoin futures trading launch. And in Saudi Arabia, a ban on movie theaters has been lifted, ushering in what is predicted to be a $24 billion cinema industry to offset the economy’s dependence on oil. Plus, the Environmental Protection Agency adds 21 new Superfund sites, public and private entities alike are scrambling to add more electric charging stations, especially in the American West, and the Trump administration is trying to take credit for killing regulations that are already dead.



The EPA adds sites to its Superfund list, but no budget increase for oversightThe EPA adds sites to its Superfund list, but no budget increase for oversight

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:38:31 +0000

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced 21 new places to be deemed Superfund sites, areas with toxic pollution around the country. Being added to the Superfund list means federal officials oversee the cleanup. Yet the White House budget proposal includes a 30 percent cut for the Superfund program.



Before Voting Begins, A Look At Alabama's Special Senate ElectionBefore Voting Begins, A Look At Alabama's Special Senate Election

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:02:00 +0000

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Suspect In New York Subway Blast Had 'Low-Tech' DeviceSuspect In New York Subway Blast Had 'Low-Tech' Device

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:02:00 +0000

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The Challenges Of Regulating Autonomous WeaponsThe Challenges Of Regulating Autonomous Weapons

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:02:00 +0000

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Congressional Republicans Hope To Pass Tax Overhaul Bill By Dec. 25Congressional Republicans Hope To Pass Tax Overhaul Bill By Dec. 25

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:02:00 +0000

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.