National / International News

Internal Probe Decries GM's 'Incompetence And Neglect'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 12:16

An internal probe of how General Motors handled an ignition switch defect has found "a pattern of incompetence and neglect" at GM. On Thursday, CEO Mary Barra announced the dismissal of 15 employees, many of whom were executives and senior managers.

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Bergdahl Homecoming Party Canceled, As Joy Turns To Worry

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 12:16

In Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's hometown, a celebration had been planned for his homecoming. Now, facing new questions and controversy, the town of Hailey, Idaho, has cancelled that celebration. Jeff Gunter, chief of the Hailey Police Department, explains the decision.

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Sprint Might Finally Get Its Way With Possible T-Mobile Deal

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 12:16

Reports say that a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile is at hand. Sprint has made no secret of its designs on its smaller rival; why are the companies considering a deal now?

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On Eve Of D-Day Anniversary, World Leaders Cope With Fresher Scars

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 12:16

President Obama and other G-7 leaders are meeting in Brussels for a summit that is expected to be dominated by developments in Ukraine and Russia.

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Judge Sums Phone-Hacking Details, As Jury Prepares To Decide Case

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 12:16

A London judge has been summarizing the findings of a phone-hacking trial that has touched the highest levels of British politics and journalism. The case is expected to go to the jury very soon.

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One Year Later, Snowden Still Evades U.S. Charges

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 12:16

One year ago Thursday, Edward Snowden leaked National Security Agency documents revealing details of its surveillance program. The Obama administration still considers Snowden a fugitive from justice and wants him to return to the U.S.

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A Privacy Capitalist Wins Big After Snowden

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 12:16

The NSA scandal has hurt some companies, but there are also some tech winners, including an American who has been cashing in on the political hype. Mike Janke's firm sells privacy devices and apps.

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Hazel out of Commonwealth defence

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 12:15
English heptathlete Louise Hazel will not attempt to defend her Commonwealth title after suffering an illness setback.

Lockdown continues in Canada city

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 12:05
The Canadian city of Moncton remains on lockdown as authorities hunt for a man accused of shooting five police officers, killing three.

Senators Reach Framework To Pay For Veterans' Care Outside System

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:54

Sens. Bernie Sanders and John McCain announced the accord, which comes a week after Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned in the wake of the scandal over veterans' health care.

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Madeleine police search drains

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:50
Police and forensic officers investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have begun searching drains at a site in Praia da Luz.

Russia must engage with Kiev, says G7

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:47
Leaders of the G7 industrial nations say Russia needs to begin talks with the new leadership in Kiev to end the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

GM accepts 'troubling' recall report

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:44
GM accepts the findings of a "brutally tough, deeply troubling" report into recalls of its Chevrolet Cobalt over ignition problems which have been linked to 13 deaths.

So, who's picking up the doughnuts?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:31

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Friday, June 6:

It's the first Friday of the month which means all eyes will be on the May jobs report.

Has word gotten around your office that it's National Doughnut Day? It was established in 1938 as a fundraiser for The Salvation Army in Chicago to help those in need during the Great Depression.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to issue consumer credit data for April.

On June 6, 1998, HBO's "Sex and the City" premiered. It ran for six seasons and fortunately remains in syndication.

It's also the anniversary of the first federal gasoline tax, enacted in 1932. One penny per gallon. That's where it began. Today we pay 18.4 cents per gallon, and state tax too.

And the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival gets underway in Little Chute. That's right, people: cheese and doughnuts.

Murray not overawed by Nadal semi-final

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:10
Andy Murray will not be overawed by eight-time champion Rafael Nadal as he tries to reach his first French Open final.

Vehicle ignitions aren't the only problem at GM

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:10

General Motors CEO Mary Barra has responded to the auto recalls by firing 15 employees. She also ordered a compensation plan for the victims of the deadly auto defects.

After a report from an internal investigation was released, Barra said the company has some culture issues.

"Mary Barra has made this point that General Motors used to be a cost-focused culture, and now it’s becoming more customer-focused," says Micki Maynard, Director of the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism at the Cronkite School at Arizona State. "But if you read the report, things were going on in 2012 and 2013. It’s not like all of this was ten or fifteen years ago, this is very recent stuff. So I think there’s going to be a lot of work to do."

So if GM culture hasn’t improved in the last few years, what will it take for it to change?

"Maybe nothing can change it," says Maynard. "It might be that General Motors is the way it is, and you have to manage around that. In a good financial situation, you do just fine. But when things go bad, you end up in bankruptcy and need a bailout."

Britain is giving subsidies for rock music

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:09

In Britain, government subsidies for the arts have traditionally been focused on ballet, opera and theater. But now, they are giving a boost to a rather less exalted area of creativity: thrash metal bands, acid punk and nu-grunge groups.

The aim is to promote British musical talent abroad by subsidising the cost of mounting a foreign tour. The grants – which have so far totaled more than three quarters of a million dollars – have caused outrage in conservative circles and have stirred criticism from low-tax campaigners.

But the recipients have defended the subsidy.

"As a band trying to break through, the cost of touring abroad can be prohibitive," argues Dave Silver, lead singer of the heavy metal band Savage Messiah. The band is getting $25,000 of public money.

Is this sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll at the taxpayers’ expense?

“Absolutely not !” says Silver “ There are strict controls on how you can spend the money. It can only be used for things like marketing costs, tour support, venue costs, international travel and so on.” 

The taxpayer will not be footing the bill for: tattoos, studs, chin spikes or other body piercing… let alone picking up the tab for wrecked hotel rooms and wild parties. Not that Silver indulges in such excesses.

“I don’t actually drink alcohol at all. I don’t smoke. I don’t take drugs. So yeah, we’re pretty well behaved, really," he says.

The bands say they need state aid because they’re losing money from illegal downloads. And the only way to make a decent living is to break through into the live touring circuit. 

The government clearly believes that it’s worthwhile offering a helping hand to up and coming talent and supporting the smaller, independent record labels.

Music is an important export for Britain. The British Recorded Music Industry – a trade body – claims that one in ten of all the albums sold in the United States are by British artists; the figure for continental Europe is one in four. 

None of this cuts any ice with the Taxpayers’ Alliance, a group that campaigns for lower taxes. Political director Dia Chakravarty claims that the touring subsidy is wasteful and  unnecessary. 

“British bands have a long history of breaking overseas markets but that’s because they had great songs to sing, not because of taxpayers’ subsidies,” she argues.

Chakravarty takes a keen personal interest in the music industry. 

“I’ve actually just finished working on my first album of Bangladeshi songs but I’ve supported that by having a day job….working at the Taxpayers’ Alliance,” she says. “I’ve not taken a single penny from taxpayers.”

Oddly enough, her argument against subsidy strikes a chord with Dave Silver. The lead singer of Savage Messiah divides his time between headbanging and studying economics and he’s a real fan of the Austrian School of Economics which favors the free market. So why accept the government grant?

“We’re a band. We’re four people in the band and not everyone in the band is of the Austrian School, so what can we do?" saysSilver. And he laughs: “ Yeah in an ideal world privatize everything that moves  and have no state intervention in the economy. But that’s not where we’re at now. We've got to break into overseas touring.”

VIDEO: The Queen honours war dead in France

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:07
The Queen has laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris at the start of her state visit to France.

Four guilty of 'revenge killing' bid

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:02
Four men found guilty of the attempted revenge killing of three people whose car was rammed off the road in Newport.

Taking More Time Between Babies Reduces Risk Of Premature Birth

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 11:02

Getting pregnant again within a year of giving birth boosts the chance that the second baby will be born prematurely, a study finds. The risk was especially high for black women.

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