National / International News

Government childcare plan questioned

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:46
Scottish Labour accuses the Scottish government of misleading parents over its plans to expand childcare in the event of independence.

Scallop fishing family hit with fine

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:46
A man is fined £42,000 after being convicted of illegal scallop fishing in Ceredigion while three other members of his family are fined £1,000.

Footballers held in spot-fix probe

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:38
Seven players from Football League clubs in north-west England have been arrested in connection with alleged spot-fixing, the National Crime Agency says.

VIDEO: No badger cull expansion after trial

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:36
The government says it will not expand badger culling to reduce TB in cattle after two pilots were judged ineffective, as Claire Marshall reports.

Benteke ruled out for six months

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:34
Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is ruled out for a minimum of six months with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Saturn moon hides 'great lake'

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:33
New measurements by Nasa's Cassini probe suggest Saturn's moon Enceladus hides a mass of liquid water as big as Lake Superior under its icy surface.

What to do when an online review isn't true

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:32

Negative, anonymous reviews on websites like Yelp can hurt small businesses.

A carpet cleaner in Virginia says false and malicious reviews on Yelp drove customers away, forcing the company to lay off employees.

Joe Hadeed wants the Virginia Supreme Court to force Yelp to reveal the identities of the people who wrote the negative reviews.

But Virginia law is unusual. In the rest of the country, most judges have protected anonymous online reviews to ensure reviewers are safe from retaliation.

Yelp spokesman Vince Sollitto says the company vets its reviews. “We actually use an algorithm to recommend the most valuable and reliable content. So Yelp only recommends about 75 percent of the content it receives.”

White House: Creation Of 'Cuban Twitter' Was Not Covert Program

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:30

According to a report by the Associated Press, the U.S. funded the creation of a social media platform designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba.

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VIDEO: The woman who got 'slothified'

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:25
Monique Pool is used to rescuing and rehabilitating sloths at her home in Paramaribo, Suriname - but even she was left struggling when 200 arrived at once.

G4S goes where public forces can't

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:23

London based company G4S is the largest private security company in the entire world. It contracts ex-military soliders to go where public forces can’t. The company has about 620,000 employees in 120 different countries, and provides gurard services anywhere from oil fields to nuclear facilities in the U.S.

William Langewiesche wrote about the company in a piece for Vanity Fair called “The Chaos Company”.  He said G4S is a $12 billion a year industry, and that the company has grown so large, that sometimes they have lost control.

“There’s no doubt that that’s a problem for G4S -- as it would be for any company that size. So yes, of course they have problems. And they’re an easy target because they are a private force and this goes against the conventional grain: Where these are either police or military functions... in an ideal world [they] would be performed by a public force.  But you have to compare that to the riots, the killings, the brutatlity done by armies and by police forces.”

Langewiesche said the private security business is not without criticism, but that those who oppose the industry should take a close look at what public forces have actually done.

Farmers Need To Get 'Climate Smart' To Prep For What's Ahead

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:14

Climate change will likely hurt food production, raise food prices and increase hunger. But those calamities may not be inevitable, according to a group of international agriculture researchers.

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US 'secretly built Cuban Twitter'

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 09:54
The US created a text-message social network designed to foment dissent in Cuba, according to an investigation by the Associated Press news agency.

VIDEO: White House confirms 'Cuban Twitter'

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 09:53
White House spokesman Jay Carney has confirmed US involvement in a text message based social network programme designed to foment dissent in Cuba.

US mudslide death toll hits 30

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 09:43
The number of dead in a mudslide that hit the north-western US state of Washington has risen to 30, as recovery workers struggle to identify remains.

VIDEO: Changing weather to ease pollution

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 09:38
The Met Office expect changing weather to begin to move the high levels of air pollution affecting parts of the UK in the next 24 hours.

What we look for in a monthly jobs report

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-03 09:32

Updated, Friday at 8:35am ET: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported domestic employers added 192,000 to non-farm payrolls in the month of March, leaving the current unemployment rate at about 6.7 percent. 

The numbers are considered an important way to check on the nation’s economic vital signs. A couple things we looked for on Friday: 

Was it the weather after all? December and January weren’t so hot... neither in temperature nor in jobs. Whereas in November we added 274,000 jobs,  December we added 84,000, and in January we added 113,000 144,000.  February wasn’t great either at 129,000 197,000 jobs created. [Strikethroughs represent the original BLS estimates, they revised their numbers in the March jobs report released Friday].

Many economists lay equal parts blame and hope at the feet of the cold weather. Having warmed up since January, we might expect to see a bounce upward in total non-farm payroll. If we don’t, there will be more reason to think that it wasn’t really the weather, but rather that our economy is sicklier than we’d imagined.

How close will we inch to the pre-recession jobs peak? It’s a target that looms in the distance of every jobs report these days. The pre-recession peak for total non-farm payroll employment was 138.365 million people (seasonally adjusted) back in January of 2008. In February of 2014, we were tentatively at 137.699 million people (seasonally adjusted) with fulltime jobs. So we have 666,000 more to go. We aren’t going to get that tomorrow, but it’s conceivable we might in three months or so. Something to think about.  

I can’t go without saying, though, that the pre-recession jobs peak is a misleading reference point.

We shouldn’t be happy with the level of employment back in 2007 Because we’ve had lots of new people join the workforce. The Hamilton Project (affiliated with the Brookings Institute) keeps track of the “jobs gap,” which is the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month.

The date when they'll really catch up? The estimate is 2020.

Smithsonian's Air And Space Museum To Get $30 Million Spiffier

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 09:31

Curators say they'll use the big grant from Boeing to better highlight how exploratory flight — from the Spirit of St. Louis to the Starship Enterprise — has transformed the world.

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Eleven jailed for kidnap and torture

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-03 09:29
Eleven members of the same family who kidnapped and tortured a couple they falsely accused of murdering a widow are jailed.

PODCAST: Fewest first quarter layoffs since 1995

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-03 09:26
Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 09:43 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Jobs fair.

American companies announced fewer layoffs January to March than in any first quarter since 1995. Might that be a hint of good things to come in the month's big employment report that's on the way? We consult Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

Also, when it comes to measuring the health of a country's economy, using the nation's Gross Domestic Product is often the barometer of choice. But as more dollars change hands, why aren't the outcomes always better? There's a new listing of 132 countries that uses 54 different indicators that together measure how well a country is doing in giving its citizens good lives. It's called the Social Progress Index. Michael Green, CEO of the Social Progress Imperative, says that although GDP is important, it doesn't tell the whole story.

Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday April 3, 2014by David BrancaccioPodcast Title: PODCAST: Fewest first quarter layoffs since 1995Syndication: All in onePMPApp Respond: No

Overdraft fees hit a record

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-03 09:10
Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 16:02 Spencer Platt/Getty Images

People walk by a Citibank office in midtown Manhattan in New York City.

If you’ve overdrawn your checking account lately, you may have noticed a jump in the penalty. A recent study from economic research firm Moebs Services says the median overdraft charge reached $30 last year—up from $29 the year before.

Banks say they’re trying to make up for lost revenue. Since 2010, customers have to opt in to overdraft plans, which let you buy that $4 latte even when you have just $2 in your account. That’s cut into the fees banks can collect. Moebs says people are also being more careful not to spend money they don’t have.

Marketplace for Thursday April 3, 2014by Amy ScottPodcast Title: Overdraft fees hit a record Story Type: News StorySyndication: SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond: No
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