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In his wide-ranging keynote interview at South by Southwest, the music, film and tech festival in Austin, Texas, President Obama focused on technology's role in civic life.

Obama, who was interviewed by Evan Smith, editor of the Texas Tribune, cited low voter turnout as an area in which technology could improve citizens' participation in government. He said it was "easier to order a pizza than to vote" and said we need to think about how to "redesign our systems so that we don't have 50 percent or 55 percent voter participation in presidential elections."

Nevada's home solar business is in turmoil as the state's Public Utilities Commission starts to phase out incentives for homeowners who install rooftop solar panels. Some of the largest solar companies have stopped seeking new business in the state and laid off hundreds of workers.

A controversy over a secretly installed data monitoring system is simmering at university campuses across California.

Last summer, hackers broke into the computer network at the UCLA medical center. A few months later, the University of California system's president quietly ordered a new security system to monitor Internet traffic on all UC campuses.

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If you don't hang out with lawmakers, economists and journalists in Washington, you probably think Democrats and Republicans disagree on economic policy.

They don't.

In Washington, there's actually a broad consensus about economic growth. These ideas have held sway for decades:

  • Globalization is inevitable
  • Technology boosts productivity
  • Immigration brings in fresh talent
  • Trade deals spur growth

Split Views On Health Overhaul In Ohio

Mar 11, 2016

Adults in Ohio are divided when it comes to whether they believe the Affordable Care Act has been good or bad for them.

And while most rate their own health care positively, far more Ohioans rate the state's overall health care system as fair or poor than rate it as excellent. Those are some of the findings in a series of recent polls by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The legal dispute between Apple and the FBI continues: the government has filed a response to Apple's refusal to cooperate with a federal magistrate's order instructing it to assist the FBI in circumventing the security features on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

More than 50 major players in the U.S. publishing industry are petitioning the White House and Congress to end the Cuba trade embargo as it pertains to books and educational materials.

Calling the book embargo "counter to American ideals of free expression," the petition — endorsed by publishing companies, authors and agents — says "books are catalysts for greater cross-cultural understanding, economic development, free expression, and positive social change."

The Justice Department on Thursday filed its latest argument in the dispute with Apple over access to a locked iPhone, accusing Apple of "false" rhetoric and "overblown" fears in its public refusal to cooperate with a court order.

The California Senate voted Thursday to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. The measure is part of a larger package of legislation aimed at cracking down on tobacco.

If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill, California will become the second state, after Hawaii, to raise the age limit for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products. More than 100 cities around the country, including New York and Boston, have already raised the age limit.

The FCC has unveiled a proposal that would restrict Internet providers' ability to share the information they collect about what their customers do online with advertisers and other third parties.

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The fight to improve wages for Florida's tomato pickers hit the national stage over the past week, as part of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Canada and the U.S. have announced a cooperative plan to tackle climate change by cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, investing in clean energy research and reducing future hydrofluorocarbon use.

At a joint press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Obama praised the strong ties between Canada and the U.S. They also announced plans to further facilitate trade between the two countries and expressed a shared commitment to protect the environment.

China's economy isn't doing too well these days, but you wouldn't know it from the government's real estate transaction center in Shanghai's Baoshan district. Hundreds of people jam the office every day to put in paperwork for homes they've just purchased. The crowds are so loud and anxious that guards wearing white hardhats and wielding bullhorns patrol the lines to keep order.

Record numbers of airline passengers will soon be taking off for spring break, expecting to find fun.

But first, they'll have to get through the Transportation Security Administration screening at the airport. Definitely no fun there.

Both the TSA and Airlines For America (A4A), an industry trade group, say travelers should brace for long waits in epic lines. "It's a very serious concern," A4A Senior Vice President Sharon Pinkerton said on a conference call with journalists Wednesday.

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When Melissa Harris-Perry refused to host her eponymous MSNBC talk show in late February, she said she was stepping back because over the past few weeks she had been "silenced." Shortly afterward, she and her network confirmed they had parted ways.

From the start, Harris-Perry and her employers had very different explanations for why things went south. Harris-Perry said her show was being undermined; MSNBC says it, like other shows, was temporarily affected by the election season.

Volkswagen announced Wednesday that its top U.S. executive, Michael Horn, is stepping down, effective immediately. A statement from the company said the decision was reached by mutual agreement. It read:

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Medicare is going to test new ways to reimburse doctors for medications, in hopes they'll choose less expensive drugs.

The plan would alter Medicare Part B, which pays for medicines administered in doctors offices or outpatient hospital clinics — to eliminate incentives for doctors to use the most expensive drugs.

It appears that the attacks on presidential candidate Donald Trump's business record seem to have touched a nerve.

Despite three more primary and caucus victories on Tuesday, Trump eschewed a traditional victory speech, adding in a press conference — and something else: a table piled high with a veritable Trump-ucopia of Trump-branded products.

"I have very successful companies," the New York billionaire told reporters at the event at Trump National Golf Club Jupiter, in Jupiter, Fla., as raw steaks, bottles of wine and vodka, and magazines stood near the man himself.

In the first of a series of games pitting Google's AI computer against a human world champion in the ancient game of Go, Google DeepMind's AlphaGo program has narrowly taken Round 1 from Lee Sedol.

He lives vicariously through himself. He has won the lifetime achievement award, twice. In museums, he is allowed to touch the art. He is ...

... out of a job.

Georgia Pecan Farmers Vote In Marketing Effort

Mar 9, 2016
Grant Blankenship/GPB

Voters across the country are choosing candidates in the presidential election. But pecan farmers in Georgia and more than a dozen other states are voting in an election of their own. It’s part of a proposal for better marketing.

Over the past few decades, New York City has become safer, richer and a lot more crowded than it used to be. All over Manhattan these days, you can see apartment buildings going up — and yet finding a decent place to live has become tougher than ever.

"We are in an official housing crisis, period, in New York City," says Alicia Glen, New York City's deputy mayor for housing and development. "Our population is growing much more rapidly than our housing stock and so we have a really imbalanced housing market."

In the past, falling oil prices have given a boost to the world economy, but recent forecasts for global growth have been ratcheted down, even as oil prices sink lower and lower. Does that mean the link between lower oil prices and growth has weakened?

Jason Bordoff, head of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, says there are still good reasons to believe cheap oil should heat up the world economy.

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