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Ernie Ranglin. (Courtesy of the artist)

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Apr 25, 2014

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Heavy Rotation is a monthly sampler of public radio hosts' favorite songs. Check out past editions here.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Oscar D'León. (Courtesy of the artist)

Latin Roots: Oscar D'León

Apr 24, 2014

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For this installment of Latin Roots from World Cafe, The Latin Alternative's Ernesto Lechner discusses one of his favorite artists, the Venezuelan salsa singer Oscar D'Len. Now in his 70s, D'Len is still going strong with a demanding style of improvisational salsa. As Lechner tells us, D'Len directs his band using hand gestures and directions contained in the lyrics for a set without a net.

Check out Ernesto Lechner's Oscar D'Len Spotify playlist.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Set List

  • "Irimo," by Dimension Latina (Salsa Brava)
  • "Me Voy Pa' Cali," by Oscar D'León (Pura Salsa)

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Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt speaks at the Chinese University in Hong Kong in November of 2013. (AFP/Getty Images)

Tech Giants Settle Wage-Fixing Lawsuit

by Eyder Peralta
Apr 24, 2014

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Eyder Peralta

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Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe have decided to settle a lawsuit brought by 64,000 employees, who accused the companies of conspiring on a scheme that would drive down wages.

The lawsuit claims that the companies agreed not to recruit each others' employees. The Wall Street Journal reports that while the terms of the suit were not revealed, it has learned it involves a $325 million payout.

The paper adds:

"During pretrial proceedings in the class-action antitrust case, emails from top executives including the late Mr. Jobs, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and then-CEO Eric Schmidt surfaced, showing the executives conferred on hiring plans, sometimes through intermediaries. An attorney for the plaintiffs said questioning the executives before a jury would have been probable.

"The defendants recently filed motions seeking to exclude evidence—including testimony that made Mr. Jobs appear to be a 'bully.'

"'Steve being agitated was not unusual,' Mr. Brin testified in a deposition, discussing Mr. Jobs's phone calls to Google executives about not "poaching" workers. Spokespeople for the defendants said that avoiding that kind of testimony and having executives appear on the witness stand made a settlement attractive.

In one particularly damning email, Eric Schmidt of Google tells Steve Jobs that a recruiter who contacted an Apple employee had violated the agreement and would be terminated "within the hour."

Jobs responded with a smiley face.

The lawsuit was filed in 2011 for a scheme that allegedly ran from 2005 to 2009.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Set List

  • "Irimo," by Dimension Latina (Salsa Brava)
  • "Me Voy Pa' Cali," by Oscar D'León (Pura Salsa)

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt speaks at the Chinese University in Hong Kong in November of 2013. (AFP/Getty Images)

Feds Rescind Washington State's 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver

Apr 24, 2014

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Martin Kaste

Washington has become the first state to have its "No Child Left Behind" waiver revoked by the Obama administration. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan notified the state of his decision today, which will restrict Washington's flexibility in spending federal education dollars.

It sounds bureaucratic, but it's an important flare-up in a long-running war between teachers unions and the federal government over standardized testing — and whether students' scores should play a role in evaluating teachers.

Washington, like every other state with a waiver, had promised to make that happen. But the Legislature balked, in part because of pressure from teachers, but also because of growing "test fatigue" among students and their parents. A standardized-test boycott at Seattle's Garfield High School made national headlines last year.

In his letter, Duncan made it clear that test scores have to be part of the mix.

"Including student learning growth as a significant factor among the multiple of measures used to determine performance levels is important as an objective measure to differentiate among teachers and principals," he wrote.

The Washington Education Association — the union — has responded by calling No Child Left Behind a "failed federal law," and it praised the state Legislature for rejecting "Duncan's inflexible and bureaucratic demands."

Washington state won't lose federal dollars, but without a waiver, underperforming schools will have to set aside 20 percent for remedies from "private vendors." That means schools might have to pay for private tutoring, or transportation of dissatisfied students to other schools. They also run the risk of being declared "failing," and possibly having staff replaced.

The state's superintendent of public instruction, Randy Dorn, pushed for the Legislature to link teacher evaluations to testing and he says he's not surprised the waiver was rescinded. But he also says the consequences of losing the waiver are disproportionate.

"You have to write the letter to everyone that you're a failing school," he says. "You're supposed to have 100 percent of students at proficient grade level. If you have one kid that's not proficient, you've got to send out the letter."

He guesses 90 percent of Washington state schools will have to send out that letter this summer.

But he says he expects other states will soon be in the same boat, as other legislatures refuse to comply with the conditions of their waivers.

Duncan, meanwhile, says if Washington state changes its stance on the testing issue, he'd be "pleased" to reconsider the revocation of the waiver.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Set List

  • "Irimo," by Dimension Latina (Salsa Brava)
  • "Me Voy Pa' Cali," by Oscar D'León (Pura Salsa)

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt speaks at the Chinese University in Hong Kong in November of 2013. (AFP/Getty Images)

Kerry Says Window For Russia To Change Course In Ukraine Is Closing

by Eyder Peralta
Apr 24, 2014

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Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a strongly worded warning to Russia on Thursday, saying the U.S. is ready to impose more sanctions if Russia refuses to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.

"The window to change course is closing," Kerry said. If Russia doesn't change course, "the world will make sure the costs for Russia will only grow."

Kerry's statement comes after Ukraine used lethal force against pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. As Reuters reports, Ukrainian forces killed five separatists and in response Russia performed some military drills near the border.

Earlier today, Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to express his "deep concern over the lack of positive Russian steps to de-escalate the crisis."

The U.S. said it planned to deploy 600 troops to Poland and the Baltic states to "reassure allies and partners"

Of course, this all stems from Russia's annexation of Crimea. The U.S. imposed sanctions on individuals and Russian officials back in March.

Kerry said what happened in Crimea appears to be happening again in eastern Ukraine.

"Nobody should doubt Russia's hand in this," Kerry said, adding that uniformed men who have taken over official buildings in eastern Ukraine are dressed and are acting in the same manner as those who took over Crimea.

Russia, Kerry said, is behind a campaign of "distraction, deception and destabilization" in Ukraine.

In a statement, Russia's Lavrov said he told Kerry in a phone call that Ukraine is the one that needs to defuse the crisis.

Ukrainian nationalists should drop their weapons and initiate constitutional reforms, the statement said.

Russia has claimed the rebels are Ukrainian. The U.S. disputes that. Kerry called Russia's actions a "full-throated effort to actively sabotage the democratic process."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Set List

  • "Irimo," by Dimension Latina (Salsa Brava)
  • "Me Voy Pa' Cali," by Oscar D'León (Pura Salsa)

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

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