National / International News

Megadams: Battle on the Brahmaputra

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:52
The battle for water on one of the world's great rivers

Lawrence Walsh: His Judgment Came Not From Confidence But From Insecurity

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:42

NPR's Nina Totenberg reflects on a man she met more than four decades ago. She learned to respect Walsh's judgement, even when it seemed a little wacky.

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4 questions about the U.S. sanctions on Russia

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:39
Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 15:48 Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama announced he will 'impose additional costs' on Russia, including further sanctions on individuals and a bank.

Today, there was a big vote in the Russian parliament. Legislators in the State Duma, the lower house, voted 443-1 to annex Crimea. At the White House this morning, President Obama said the U.S. plans "to impose additional costs on Russia." He announced another round of economic statements, indicating more sanctions could follow.

Q. Who do these sanctions affect?

The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned a handful of individuals, most of whom President Vladimir Putin counts as friends and political allies. It also sanctioned the St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya.

President Obama also left the door open to sanctioning "key sectors of the Russian economy" in the future.

Q. That's it? This seems like a pretty short list…

Well, it is. Simeon Kriesberg, an expert on sanctions at the law firm Mayer Brown, says that while the sanctions on individuals are largely symbolic, the sanction on Bank Rossiya "is quite significant."

As a result, Kriesberg says, banks around the world may worry that a person or an institution with whom they do business could be a target in the near future.

"It has a chilling effect on commercial relationships that extend well beyond the specific targets that are announced," Kriesberg says.

Q. Still, couldn't the U.S. do more?

Yes, but so far, the U.S. government and its allies have decided that sanctions are the weapon they wish to wield. 

Victor Comras, an attorney and consultant who deals with issues related to sanctions, terrorism, and money laundering, says that the Obama administration is "walking a tightrope," because Russia economy is so important to the world economy.

"It's going to be hard to find that sector of the Russian economy that is not going to have an impact on its trading partners in Western Europe, in Asia, and around the world," he says.

Q. How did Russia react to the president's announcement?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said that, "there should be no doubts – we will respond adequately to every hostile attack."

Nine Americans are no longer able to travel to Russia: Speaker of the House John Boehner; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA); Sen. Dan Coates; Caroline Atkinson, deputy national security adviser for international economics; Daniel Pfeiffer, one of President Obama's senior advisors; and Benjamin Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communication.

Sen. Menendez's reaction to their reaction: "if standing up for the Ukrainian people, their freedom, their hard earned democracy, and sovereignty means I'm sanctioned by Putin, so be it."

Senators McCain and Landrieu agree:

I'm proud to be sanctioned by Putin - I'll never cease my efforts & dedication to freedom & independence of #Ukraine, which includes #Crimea

— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 20, 2014

I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, Gazprom stock is lost & secret bank account in Moscow is frozen http://t.co/TgwZneD4HY

— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 20, 2014

Being sanctioned by President Putin is a badge of honor. #SanctionedByPutin

— Senator Landrieu (@SenLandrieu) March 20, 2014

Marketplace for Thursday, March 20, 2014by David GuraStory Type: InterviewSyndication: PMPApp Respond: No

President Obama makes the rounds stumping for ACA

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:37

This month the Commander-in-Chief became the Promoter-in-Charge.

With less than two weeks before the deadline to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama is making the rounds.

Today’s appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show is just the latest stop on the president’s barnstorming tour.

Now here’s the deal with these quick presidential cameos: In exchange for a few minutes to talk up health insurance, President Obama has to deal with questions about shopping trips to the Gap and exchanges with comedian Zach Galifianakis.

Here’s just one question from that Q and A:

Galifianakis:  I have to know, what’s it like to be the last black President?

President Obama: Seriously. What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a President?

The president has taken some heat for using pop culture to promote his ACA campaign -- but here’s the thing: Federal health officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid – the people overseeing the ACA rollout - are expected to spend $52 million promoting the new health law over the first three months of the year.

All these Ellen and Zach Galifianakis interviews don’t cost the federal government a dime.

US general avoids jail in sex case

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:33
A US Army general who pleaded guilty to inappropriate relationships with subordinates avoids jail time but is docked $20,000 (£12,122) in pay.

Birdman told to pay £20,000 costs

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:24
A competitor in the Worthing Birdman competition is ordered to pay £20,000 in legal costs following a lengthy battle with the organisers.

Thrill-Seeking Teen Sneaks To Top Of 1 World Trade Center

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:23

Justin Casquejo, 16, scaled scaffolding, took the elevator and then crept past a sleeping guard before climbing a ladder all the way to the top of the antenna.

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Beach body 'might be ferry jumper'

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:20
Police are investigating whether a man's body found on a Suffolk beach is that of an Albanian who jumped from a ferry while being deported, the BBC understands.

Starbucks to expand alcohol sales

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:19
The coffee retailer plans to offer beer and wine at more of its cafes in the evenings in a strategy to sell alcohol at "thousands of select" outlets.

Lawrence Walsh, Who Investigated Iran-Contra Scandal, Dies At 102

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:18

When appointed by President Reagan, everyone thought Walsh, a well-known Republican commodity, would conduct a pro forma investigation. It was anything but.

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Darkness halts Malaysia jet search

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:14
An international air search in the vast area of the Indian Ocean for possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane ends for the day.

Businesses take advantage of lax regulations on drones

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:10
Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 14:07 AFP/Getty Images

A small drone hovers in the sky on February 1, 2014 during a meet-up of the DC Area Drone User Group. Drone enthusiasts from the Washington area, who come together regularly to fly their small machines.

The Washington Nationals baseball team got into a bit of trouble with the Federal Aviation Administration a couple of weeks ago. They were using a drone to take aerial pictures of spring training -- the kind of shots that are pretty much impossible for a human to capture.

The FAA said that nobody can do anything commercial with drones until it says so. The FAA has since lost a round in court on that issue, but while it works on new regulations, there are loopholes -- and business opportunities.

Josh Ziering runs a San Francisco-based company called QuiQui, which delivers pharmaceuticals via drone 24 hours a day. Ziering said he knows he has a battle on his hands.

“I would describe myself as a trouble maker,” said Ziering. “So we’re going to cause as much trouble as possible until they’re ready to create regulation and make this industry happen.”  

We asked Ziering what he would do if the regulations mapped out by the FAA prohibit him from running his business.

“We would love for the FAA to have regulations that allowed for drones,” said Ziering. “And if it unfortunately excluded us from those regulations that would be tragic. But at the same time, the FAA is only for America. So there is literally an entire world of people that we can deliver things to.”

Marketplace for Thursday, March 20, 2014Interview by Kai RyssdalPodcast Title: Businesses take advantage of lax regulations on dronesStory Type: InterviewSyndication: SlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond: No

Murder inquiry over river death

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:02
Police launch a murder investigation after the body of a 45-year-old man was found partially submerged in a river beneath a road bridge.

NSA may release transparency reports

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:02
NSA deputy director tells the Ted (Technology, Entertainment and Design) it needs to be more transparent in the wake of Edward Snowden's spy leaks.

It's Faction Against Faction In A Grim Future Chicago

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-20 13:00

With Divergent, Hollywood turns to another hit young-adult trilogy for inspiration. Shailene Woodley stars as a 16-year-old searching for her place in a divided dystopian society.

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Benfica 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur (agg 5-3)

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 12:54
Two late Nacer Chadli goals earn Tottenham a draw with Benfica but they still exit the Europa League.

Somerset flood car 'sells for £101k'

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-20 12:53
A submerged car, which became the unofficial symbol of the Somerset floods, is the subject of a £101,100 winning bid on eBay.

What's the deal with presidents and comedy shows?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 12:48
Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 15:11

President Barack Obama on FunnyorDie.com

President Barack Obama appeared on yet another television show on Thursday, this time talking all things healthcare on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Some (including media pundit Bill O'Reilly) may have been confused when they saw the President of the United States appear on the internet show Between Two Ferns with Zack Galifianakis only days prior, but it’s not as if presidents haven’t appeared in strange places before (anything to get a message to the people).

Richard Nixon was on Laugh In... 

... and George W. Bush guest-starred on Deal or No Deal:

 

But Obama has truly gone out of his way to poke fun at himself, appearing on more late-night talk shows than any other modern Commander-In-Chief, which, according to some calulations, makes him more likable to the public. A short list of President Obama appearances on comedy-related television shows: 

- Ordered General Odierno to shave Stephen Colbert’s head 

- Wore a Barack Obama mask on SNL during the 2008 campaign

Slow-jammed the news with Jimmy Fallon

Helped say goodbye to Jay Leno

- Counted down a Top Ten list for David Letterman

To be fair, every politician tries to encourage media coverage of themselves and Obama is no exception... though he might be the first to get Five Guys with Brian Williams. But as omnipresent as Barack Obama has been on late night, First Lady Michelle Obama has him beat for off-the-beaten-path TV appearances. She’s been on iCarly, Sesame Street, and Iron Chef.

Marketplace for Thursday, March 20, 2014by Marc SollingerStory Type: BlogSyndication: PMPApp Respond: No

4 questions about the U.S. sanctions on Russia

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 12:48

Today, there was a big vote in the Russian parliament. Legislators in the State Duma, the lower house, voted 443-1 to annex Crimea. At the White House this morning, President Obama said the U.S. plans "to impose additional costs on Russia." He announced another round of economic statements, indicating more sanctions could follow.

Q. Who do these sanctions affect?

The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned a handful of individuals, most of whom President Vladimir Putin counts as friends and political allies. It also sanctioned the St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya.

President Obama also left the door open to sanctioning "key sectors of the Russian economy" in the future.

Q. That's it? This seems like a pretty short list…

Well, it is. Simeon Kriesberg, an expert on sanctions at the law firm Mayer Brown, says that while the sanctions on individuals are largely symbolic, the sanction on Bank Rossiya "is quite significant."

As a result, Kriesberg says, banks around the world may worry that a person or an institution with whom they do business could be a target in the near future.

"It has a chilling effect on commercial relationships that extend well beyond the specific targets that are announced," Kriesberg says.

Q. Still, couldn't the U.S. do more?

Yes, but so far, the U.S. government and its allies have decided that sanctions are the weapon they wish to wield. 

Victor Comras, an attorney and consultant who deals with issues related to sanctions, terrorism, and money laundering, says that the Obama administration is "walking a tightrope," because Russia economy is so important to the world economy.

"It's going to be hard to find that sector of the Russian economy that is not going to have an impact on its trading partners in Western Europe, in Asia, and around the world," he says.

Q. How did Russia react to the president's announcement?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said that, "there should be no doubts – we will respond adequately to every hostile attack."

Nine Americans are no longer able to travel to Russia: Speaker of the House John Boehner; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA); Sen. Dan Coates; Caroline Atkinson, deputy national security adviser for international economics; Daniel Pfeiffer, one of President Obama's senior advisors; and Benjamin Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communication.

Sen. Menendez's reaction to their reaction: "if standing up for the Ukrainian people, their freedom, their hard earned democracy, and sovereignty means I'm sanctioned by Putin, so be it."

Senators McCain and Landrieu agree:

I'm proud to be sanctioned by Putin - I'll never cease my efforts & dedication to freedom & independence of #Ukraine, which includes #Crimea

— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 20, 2014

I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, Gazprom stock is lost & secret bank account in Moscow is frozen http://t.co/TgwZneD4HY

— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 20, 2014

Being sanctioned by President Putin is a badge of honor. #SanctionedByPutin

— Senator Landrieu (@SenLandrieu) March 20, 2014

Happy International Gary Oldman Day

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-20 12:46
Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 13:30 Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Here's what's coming up on Friday, March 21, 2014:  

  • Actor Gary Oldman, known for roles in Sid and Nancy, The Dark Knight and Dracula, turns 56, so we should send up the bat signal and call for champagne. 
  • Jeweler Tiffany is scheduled to release its quarterly earnings.
  • The infamous Alcatraz penitentiary closed its doors in 1963. At any time, “The Rock” housed less than one percent of the total federal prison population, and more than one million tourists visit every year.

 

Marketplace for Thursday, March 20, 2014by Michelle PhilippePodcast Title: Happy International Gary Oldman DayStory Type: BlogSyndication: SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond: No

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