National / International News

Indian officials take up brooms

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 20:34
India launches a nationwide campaign to clean up the country on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, but many of the country's bureaucrats are not happy about it, writes the BBC's Geeta Pandey in Delhi.

Facebook apologises to drag queens

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 20:30
Facebook has apologised to transgender and drag queen users whose accounts were deleted for violating its policy on using "real names".

Japan in $617bn 'fat finger' error

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 19:48
Japan's stock markets were rattled after a trading error caused more than $600bn (£370bn) worth of orders to be made and then cancelled.

Fry: Drugs different to abuse cases

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 19:37
Actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry says there is a "huge moral difference" between historical drug use and cases of sexual abuse.

VIDEO: Hong Kong protests to dent economy?

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 19:20
Hong Kong's pro-democracy street protests may deter some mainland Chinese from visiting the city during their 'Golden Week' holiday.

Sharks can be 'social or solitary'

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 19:17
A UK study finds that the most feared predators in the sea have individual personalities, which determine how readily they socialise.

Top Bahrain rights activist arrested

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 17:45
Leading Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab is arrested over Twitter remarks deemed "denigrating" to government institutions.

Young people 'lack workplace skills'

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 17:32
Young people lack workplace skills such as communication and team working, a study among employers suggests.

Mexico arrests drug syndicate leader

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 17:31
The Mexican authorities say they have captured the head of a notorious drug crime syndicate, Hector Beltran Leyva.

Ebola fight hit by aid cuts, MPs warn

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 17:20
Cuts in the amount of health aid the UK provides to Liberia and Sierra Leone have "compromised the fight" to stop the spread of the Ebola virus, MPs warn.

Pimco investors withdraw record sum

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 17:09
Bond giant Pimco saw its investors withdraw a record $23.5bn (£14.5bn) in funds after manager Bill Gross abruptly left the company last month.

Man Convicted In 2010 Oregon Bomb Plot Sentenced To 30 Years

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 16:27

Mohamed Osman Mohamud was convicted in January of 2013, but his sentencing was delayed after the government revealed it had attained evidence from secret NSA electronic surveillance.

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Can antidepressants treat cancer?

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 16:25
Can antidepressants treat brain tumours?

Texas children 'monitored for Ebola'

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 16:24
Five children in Texas who came into contact with the Liberian man infected with Ebola are being monitored at home.

Warsaw Uprising: 'There were flames everywhere'

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 16:22
RAF veterans who risked their lives to help Polish resistance

The strange world of super-specialist cutlery

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 16:21
A designer has made a collection of "useless cutlery" to highlight how absurd some kitchen implements are.

How small financial setbacks can derail college plans

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-10-01 15:58

A year ago Jan Escobar was working part-time as a bank teller and going to school full-time at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. Then his boss started asking him to work more. Escobar needed the cash and didn’t want to jeopardize the job.

“When you’re in a tight situation with your money, it’s harder to say no to extra hours,” he says.

Escobar, the son of working-class immigrants from El Salvador, thought he could manage the workload. It turned out he couldn’t.

“The way I planned it out, everything had to fall perfectly into place, and that’s really not likely at all,” he says. “It didn’t work out.”

Escobar ended up dropping a class—after the deadline—and wound up owing the school almost $500 for credits he never got. He couldn’t re-enroll until he’d saved enough to pay off the debt. The whole thing set him back a year.

“What you can see is that a few hundred dollars, a thousand dollars, can really derail a student’s success,” says Mike Wasserman, Massachusetts executive director for Bottom Line, a group that helps low-income students get in to college and then make it to graduation.

Situations like these are one reason low-income students are much more likely to drop out of college than wealthier students. One study from the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education found that only 11 percent of low-income, first-generation students (those whose parents didn’t finish college) had earned a bachelor’s degree in six years, compared to 55 percent of more advantaged students.

Colleges will often be flexible about things like an add/drop deadline when an emergency comes up, Wasserman says, but students may still have to give back their financial aid.

“Often families are using a student’s financial aid to keep the family going,” he says.

So even when the school doesn’t charge for dropped classes, students may have to return their financial aid, Wasserman says. If the money’s already been spent on rent and food, students have to find a way to pay it back.

Other times students just lose track of what they owe. A couple of overdue library books and an unexpected charge at the campus health center can add up.

Angel White had to take some time off from Western Illinois University to work at Wal-Mart so she could pay off a few hundred dollars she owed the school. After she returned, a financial aid snafu left her owing $1,300 she couldn’t pay.

When she tried to transfer to a less expensive community college, White says Western Illinois wouldn’t release her transcript. That meant she couldn’t transfer even the credits she’d paid for. She had to take several classes over again.

“The whole experience set me back a lot, seeing as though right now I’d be a senior in college instead of a sophomore,” she says. “It’s a very discouraging process.”

When you don’t have parents who can bail you out or help navigate the system, small mistakes and emergencies can carry a high price, says Nancy Leopold, executive director of CollegeTracks, which works with low- and moderate-income students in Montgomery County, Maryland.

“In many ways what they really lack is the slack that their more affluent counterparts have, that sort of room to maneuver when the unexpected happens,” she says.

Many believe colleges aren’t doing enough to help those students manage the almost inevitable financial challenges.

“Many colleges now have opened the doors wider to admitting low-income students because they are interested in a more diverse student population, but they haven’t addressed the problems of keeping those students in school,” says Marvin Hoffman, who helps advise disadvantaged students from Chicago in a program called AIM High.

More colleges are turning their focus to retention. Some schools offer emergency loans or grants. Others have stepped up their advising to help students avoid pitfalls in the first place.

Jan Escobar went back to Montgomery College with the help of a mentoring program called Future Link. His mentor made him a deal: Future Link would pay half the debt as long as Escobar got more involved with the group.

“We’re in touch like twice a week,” Escobar says. “They’re always checking up on me to see if I’m doing my work.”

So far he is, he says. He found a job with more flexible hours, working as a host at a restaurant. He’s hoping to finish his associate’s degree in business administration next year and then transfer to a four-year college.

Horowitz to write new Bond novel

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 15:54
Anthony Horowitz, best-selling author of the Alex Rider teenage spy adventures, becomes the latest writer invited to pen a new James Bond novel.

Head of US Secret Service resigns

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 15:42
Secret Service director Julia Pierson resigns as criticism of the agency intensified following several high-profile security lapses.

One Picture, Of 35,000 Walrus, Shows One Effect Of Global Warming

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 15:28

The picture shows the walrus huddled up on an Alaskan beach. Usually, they would spread out on sea ice. But this year, it's all melted.

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