3:21am

Tue February 26, 2013
Business

Technology Upends Another Industry: Homebuilding

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

The recession forced Mid-Atlantic Builders Executive Vice President Stephen Paul to cut the company's staffing. But he says the firm is being efficient with half the original number of employees.
Marie McGrory NPR

Years into the economic recovery, hiring remains slow. Many businesses learned to do more with less during the recession, so they don't need to bring on as many people now.

These new efficiencies have led to what economists call "labor displacement," which is taking place around the country. One business in Rockville, Md., is doing the same amount of work with half its original staff.

Two things are noticeably absent from the offices of Mid-Atlantic Builders: people and paper.

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7:18pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Shots - Health News

Governors' D.C. Summit Dominated By Medicaid And The Sequester

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:31 pm

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks during a panel discussion at the National Governors Association 2013 Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

When the nation's governors gathered in Washington, D.C., over the weekend for their annual winter meeting, the gathering's official theme was about efforts to hire people with disabilities.

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6:29pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Election March 5th

Twelve Questions With Chattanooga Mayoral Candidate Robert Chester Heathington, Jr.

Three candidates are running for Chattanooga mayor: Andy Berke, Guy Satterfield and Robert Chester Heathington, Jr.  WUTC interviewed all three candidates and asked them about their leadership experience, family background and positions on various issues.  In this segment, Heathington joins us.

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5:53pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Remembrances

Koop Turned Surgeon General's Office Into Mighty Education Platform

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 1:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

C. Everett Koop was the most outspoken and some would argue the most influential of all U.S. surgeon generals. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The correct plural form of the word is surgeons general.] He wore the uniform throughout most of the 1980s, and he turned an office with little power into a mighty platform - to educate Americans about AIDS prevention and the dangers of smoking.

C. Everett Koop died today at his home in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was 96. NPR's Joseph Shapiro looks back on his career.

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5:53pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Economy

Too Soon To Blame Payroll Tax For Stagnant Retail Sales?

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:23 pm

Wal-Mart is one of several large retailers that say an increase in the payroll tax may hurt U.S. sales in the months ahead.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

For Darden Restaurants, the company behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster, its earnings projections out last week were not pretty. Sales will fall, it said, and company CEO Clarence Otis called higher payroll taxes a "headwind."

After a two-year tax break, the payroll tax, which funds Social Security payments, went back up to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1. The 2-percentage-point increase is an extra $80 a month in taxes for someone earning $50,000 a year.

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5:37pm

Mon February 25, 2013
The Two-Way

C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General Who Fought Against Smoking, AIDS, Dies

Former Surgeon General of the United States C. Everett Koop.
Geisel School of Medicine

C. Everett Koop, known as America's Family Doctor during his tenure as surgeon general from 1981 to 1989, died today at his home in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth announced.

He was 96.

Koop made a name for himself for the surprising stands he took during the AIDS epidemic, as well as for his efforts fighting for a smoke-free country.

The Associated Press reports:

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5:18pm

Mon February 25, 2013
The Two-Way

Italian Elections Produce Murky Result, Financial Jitters

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:41 pm

Workers open ballots in a polling station in Rome on Tuesday following Italy's general elections. The initial results showed a close race with no clear-cut winner, a development that made financial markets jumpy.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

As Italy's elections results came in Monday, the country appeared headed toward political gridlock, a development that rattled financial markets hoping for a clear result.

A center-left coalition, headed by Pier Luigi Bersani and favored in pre-election polls, looked like it would win the lower house of Parliament, according to partial results.

But in a surprise, the center-right grouping, headed by the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, appeared to be ahead in the upper house.

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5:07pm

Mon February 25, 2013
The Two-Way

Brooklyn Assemblyman Defends Blackface Costume

Dov Hikind is in the middle.
Facebook

Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is facing a storm of criticism after he dressed as an African-American basketball player in blackface. Hikind wore the costume to a party at his house celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim.

He posted a picture of himself on Facebook wearing an afro wig and an orange jersey.

The New York Times reports that some fellow Democrats criticized the costume. The Times adds:

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5:02pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Shots - Health News

Most People Can Skip Calcium Supplements, Prevention Panel Says

Forgoing calcium supplements is a fine approach for most people, a preventive services panel says.
iStockphoto.com

Women have been told for years that if they don't take calcium supplements religiously, they're putting themselves at risk of crippling hip fractures in old age.

Now the word from a major government panel: Why bother?

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5:01pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Health

Increased Humidity From Climate Change Could Make It Harder To Tolerate Summers

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, a story about heat, the sweaty, miserable kind. Heat plus humidity. Working outdoors or playing sports on a hot, muggy day can be dangerous, even deadly. And as the climate continues to warm, being outside will become even more challenging. Those are the findings of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

NPR's Richard Harris tells us more.

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