National / International News

Steve Bannon Out As Chief White House Strategist

NPR News - 6 hours 43 min ago

Steve Bannon, who salvaged Donald Trump's presidential campaign but struggled once he reached the West Wing, is out as Trump's chief strategist.

(Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Pool/Getty Images)

Charlottesville Victim's Mother Says She Will Not Take Trump's Calls

NPR News - 6 hours 57 min ago

"You can't wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying I'm sorry," Susan Bro told Good Morning America. Her daughter Heather Heyer was killed as she was protesting against white supremacists.

(Image credit: Joshua Replogle/AP)

Doing the math on back-to-school tax breaks

Last week on the show, we talked a lot about the costs associated with school: the cost of sending kids back to school, the cost of teacher supplies and the cost of a poor education. This week, we’re going to talk a little about saving. Sixteen states offer tax holidays during the year, a tax-free day or two of purchasing certain items, like hunting gear and weather-preparedness products. Several of those states have specific back-to-school sales tax holidays targeting school supplies. It’s a popular but controversial tool meant to help people save a few dollars as they stock up on pencils and notebooks for the year and give local businesses a bump. But Meg Wiehe isn’t buying it. She’s the deputy director at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that studies the effects of tax policy. She said there are very few winners in this game, and some significant losers, too. “Ultimately, I really think that it benefits lawmakers more than anyone,” Wiehe said. “If you’re a lawmaker … you get all this free advertising. Retailers are doing all the work for you, and it looks like you’re doing something great for your constituents.”   And, she said, research has found that there’s no real benefit to retailers, who expect to see increased traffic in their stores. But consumers are simply shifting the timing of school purchases that they would make anyway. “The taxpayers themselves, those getting the break, not really the winners either for a number of reasons,” Wiehe said. Consumer savings is nominal, she pointed out. Take Alabama, for example, where the state sales tax is 4 percent. “I looked at a list of back-to-school supplies that a family would have to purchase for a student at a school in Alabama: four boxes of crayons, a roll of paper towels, a box of storage bags” to name a few. The total was about $35. And the tax holiday break? “A whopping savings of a $1.36.” The real issue, she said, is why are families and teachers being asked to buy supplies in the first place? “[In] reality that family would save $34 if state lawmakers instead provided adequate revenues and funding for K through 12 education, including classroom supplies.” Instead, over the years, a number of states have come to depend on families to make up budget shortfalls. Particularly in states with sales tax holidays, families and teachers are increasingly buying classroom supplies, Wiehe explained. Paradoxically, those sales tax holidays may also contribute to budget shortfalls in those states. “In most of the states on the list of the 16 that have sales tax holidays have a very high reliance on sales taxes the other 362 or 363 days of the year,” Wiehe said. “But it also leads to inadequate revenues over the long term.” The Institute estimates that back-to-school tax holidays will cost those states a total of 231.2 million in lost revenue this year.

Barcelona's Victims Hailed From All Over The World, Including U.S.

NPR News - 7 hours 8 min ago

The State Department said Friday an American was one of at least 14 people killed in the attacks, and the more than 100 injured came from at least 34 countries. Here's a glimpse of the lives lost.

(Image credit: Carl Court/Getty Images)

Sir Bruce Forsyth: TV legend dies aged 89

BBC - 7 hours 36 min ago
The former Strictly Come Dancing presenter and performer had been unwell for some time.

From Israel, Quiet Efforts Are Underway To Aid Civilians In Syria

NPR News - 7 hours 46 min ago

The two countries have fought each other in the past and technically remain in a state of war. But both the Israeli military and private organizations are quietly delivering humanitarian aid.

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Israel Defense Forces)

Who Are The Confederate Men Memorialized With Statues?

NPR News - 7 hours 56 min ago

Confederate statues and monuments are coming down all over the country.

(Image credit: Library of Congress)

China Championship: Selby, Higgins, Trump, Ding, Fu, Hawkins all out

BBC - 8 hours 5 min ago
The world's top six players are all knocked out in a remarkable second round at the China Championship.

Chelsea: Question about Diego Costa has Antonio Conte in stitches

BBC - 8 hours 9 min ago
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte sees the funny side when asked about wantaway striker Diego Costa saying he has been treated like a 'criminal'.

Obituary: Sir Bruce Forsyth

BBC - 8 hours 14 min ago
In a 70-year career, Bruce Forsyth went from struggling variety performer to the king of Saturday night TV.

Spain attacks: One police officer killed four Cambrils suspects

BBC - 8 hours 17 min ago
Five people in all were shot dead after a car was driven into pedestrians in Cambrils, Catalonia.

Spain attacks: Terror timeline

BBC - 8 hours 23 min ago
Two terror attacks in Spain's Catalonia region have left 14 dead and many more injured. How did events unfold?

Maryland State House Removes Statue Of Judge Who Wrote Dred Scott Decision

NPR News - 8 hours 29 min ago

The infamous 1857 decision upheld slavery and declared that blacks were not citizens. Maryland's State House Trust voted Wednesday to remove the statue from its grounds, where it stood for 145 years.

(Image credit: Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Wythenshawe Hall fire: Man jailed for arson attack

BBC - 8 hours 38 min ago
The judge said starting the fire that gutted part of Wythenshawe Hall was an "act of selfish folly".

Davinson Sanchez: Tottenham agree deal for Ajax defender

BBC - 8 hours 40 min ago
Tottenham are closing in on the signing of centre-back Davinson Sanchez from Ajax in a reported club record £42m deal.

South Yorkshire Police failed to act on Ian Watkins abuse claim

BBC - 8 hours 42 min ago
Officers did not take complaints against Lost Prophets singer Ian Watkins seriously, the IPCC says.

Philippe Coutinho: Liverpool reject third Barcelona bid for Brazil midfielder

BBC - 8 hours 46 min ago
Liverpool reject a third bid from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho - believed to be in the region of £114m.

Charlottesville victim's mum rebukes Trump

BBC - 8 hours 52 min ago
Susan Bro has "no interest" in speaking to Mr Trump after his remarks on the Virginia clashes.

What We Know: Multiple Terrorist Attacks Hit Spain

NPR News - 9 hours 30 min ago

Police believe the attacks that killed 14 people are the work of an organized group of terrorists — and that they acted after an accidental explosion earlier this week.

(Image credit: Carl Court/Getty Images)

Hatti Archer: GB steeplechaser in line for second 2010 European medal upgrade

BBC - 9 hours 44 min ago
Britain's 2010 European steeplechase bronze medallist Hatti Archer is set to be upgraded again after Russia's Lyubov Kharlamova is banned.