National / International News

VIDEO: Taxi driver finds $300,000 on back seat

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 18:18
A Las Vegas taxi driver who found a package containing $300,000 on the back seat of his cab has been rewarded for returning the money.

A year in hiding in wartime Florence

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 18:01
How a Jewish family gave the Nazis the slip in wartime Florence

US and Canada suffer continuing cuts

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 17:14
More than 500,000 homes in the north-eastern US and the south-eastern Canada are still without electricity after last weekend's severe ice storm.

Heavy rain kills eight in St Vincent

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 16:43
At least eight die in flooding caused by heavy rain in the Caribbean islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, with five deaths reported in St Lucia.

VIDEO: Obama's must-read daily email

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 16:00
The spiritual adviser who sends Obama his must-read daily email

VIDEO: Treats making pet monkeys diabetic

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 16:00
The overfed pet monkeys now suffering from diabetes

VIDEO: What were the top 10 films of 2013?

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 16:00
Tom Brook looks back at the top 10 films of 2013

Anger over Ukraine activist's beating

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 14:55
Opposition politicians in Ukraine are demanding an investigation into the beating of investigative journalist Tetyana Chornovol outside Kiev.

VIDEO: Anger at Ukraine activist's beating

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 14:39
Anti-government demonstrators in Ukraine have held a rally to protest against an attack on an opposition journalist.

Power 'to remain out for Christmas'

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 14:34
Some of those hit by power cuts over Christmas could be without electricity until the end of the week after storms which also left 1,000 homes in England flooded.

Defiant Turkish PM in reshuffle

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 14:34
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan reshuffles his cabinet after three ministers resigned over a corruption probe, with one of them urging him to quit.

Car Bomb Kills Dozens Near Church In Baghdad

NPR News - Wed, 2013-12-25 14:14

The bomb went off during Christmas Mass at a church in the Dora neighborhood. Earlier, two bombs exploded at an outdoor market in a Christian neighborhood, killing 11. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Iraq's Christian minority has often been targeted by al-Qaida and other insurgents.

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So much for express shipping

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2013-12-25 13:39

This final note: Maybe one of the presents you ordered didn't make it to your house in time to put beneath the tree.

Well, UPS says some shipments were delayed this year. Why? "Heavy volume," the company says.

In other words, too many packages, people!

Last week, Big Brown delivered a 132 million packages. On Monday alone, it processed 7.5 million shipments.

So, a note to shoppers. Remember, all those promises made in the online world, about what'll get where by when, still have to be carried out in the real world.

A 'Weird Wednesday' Christmas for the economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2013-12-25 13:16

For anyone who has been scrambling through the malls this week doing last-minute shopping, it may have been hard to tell, but retail activity has actually been a bit slow.

ShopperTrak reports that there were 21 percent fewer people shopping during the week that ended Sunday, compared to last year, and that sales were down 3 percent (not including online sales).

Part of the reason might be the calendar.

“I think this is one of the most stressful Christmas weeks,” says Golden Gate University consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow. "Because the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are shorter, plus Christmas is falling on a Wednesday, so that means that people are in massive time-crunch.”

Yarrow says many Americans only get Christmas Day off as a holiday. Most employers don’t give the day after Christmas as a gift, and many employees can’t afford to take extra time as vacation, or don’t have the time accrued to take by year’s-end.

Yarrow points out — this happens about every seven years. “So it’s like the arrival of the locusts — not the best year in terms of both enjoyment of the holidays, and also productivity at work.”

Patty Edwards is experiencing this first-hand. She’ll be driving the crowded freeways around Seattle to spend Christmas at her step-daughter’s home, and then turning around to head home again. “As much as I love everyone in the family,” says Edwards, “I am dreading the fact that I have to get up the next morning and be at work because I have meetings.”

Edwards is managing director for investments and a consumer-economy expert at U.S. Bank. She says retailers dread the calendar this year, too.

“We know that the most ideal time for Christmas to land is on a Monday, because you have the entire weekend to shop, and then you can just relax and the retailers get what they want,” she says, adding that Christmas on Wednesday is the worst timing for retailers. That’s because people had to shop, and work, on Monday and Tuesday.

Although, Edwards also thinks the post-Christmas retail situation may be better this year compard to last. “Online sales for those folks who got gift cards will probably be higher on December 26, because it is a Thursday.” Edwards says just like on Cyber-Monday, people will be shopping from their desks, instead of working.

Next week will also be a productivity-mess at work, when New Years Day falls on a Wednesday.

At least on December 26, when people do go back to work or out sale-shopping, one stresser will be removed — the ubiquitous Christmas music at the mall.

Power restored after Christmas gales

BBC - Wed, 2013-12-25 13:12
Electricity supply is restored to all homes in Scotland after gales swept across the country, causing power cuts over Christmas.

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