National / International News

Candy Crush firm valued at over $7bn

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 15:07
The games developer behind Candy Crush Saga, King, is valued at over $7bn (£4.2bn) after it raises $500m via a share sale in New York.

VIDEO: One in 10 UK children 'neglected'

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:59
One in 10 children in the UK is a victim of neglect, according to the research commissioned by the charity Action for Children.

Venezuela arrests three generals

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:51
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says three air force generals have been arrested for plotting an uprising against his government.

The Political Winner From The Proposed NSA Changes? Rand Paul

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:50

The Kentucky Republican's stance against NSA data-gathering has made him a champion for those worried about federal government surveillance — among them, young voters.

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VIDEO: Frantic call after deadly landslide

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:42
Rescue efforts continue after a landslide in the US state of Washington killed at least 14 people.

UN condemns Egypt death sentences

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:35
The UN condemns an Egyptian court's decision to sentence to death 528 supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, as another 683 go on trial.

Ex-bank boss Flowers: 'I have sinned'

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:31
Former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers speaks for the first time since his arrest over drugs allegations, telling BBC Newsnight: "I have sinned."

VIDEO: Tour of the 'tiniest' house for sale

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:31
A house said to be the smallest in Colchester is up for sale, with an asking price of £77,000.

Another Uproar? Danish Zoo That Culled Giraffe Kills A Family Of Lions

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:29

Two cubs and their parents were euthanized to make room for a younger lion. The zoo had already come under fire in February for euthanizing a young, healthy giraffe and feeding it to the lions.

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Arsenal 2-2 Swansea City

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:25
Mathieu Flamini's calamitous own goal denies Arsenal a win over Swansea as the Gunners' miserable week continues.

The problem with "Golden Parachutes"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:13
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 15:09 Andrew Burton/Getty Images

People walk past the entrance to the Time Warner center on August 7, 2013 in New York City.

Time Warner CEO Robert Marcus will get $80 million once his company’s sale to Comcast is finished.  Marcus was on the job for just six weeks, which makes this one of the most “golden” of “golden parachutes.”

Nancy Koehn is with the Harvard Business School. She said Golden Parachutes have been around for at least a generation of CEO compensation and they are important for keeping CEOs in the fold when changes of control happen.

Koehn said the idea of “Golden Parachutes” is up for debate.

“Data does not support that if you pay someone like Robert Marcus more than a million dollars a day, that necessarily Comcast and Time Warner shareholders are going be better off, than if you paid him something that most reasonable people including compensation experts and other CEOs would recognize as some kind reward for what he’s doing; helping shepherd the sale of the company."

Koehn said the $80 million Marcus is receiving reflects the overall bar in corporate America being raised in corporate America for the senior levels or corporations.

Marketplace for Tuesday, March 25, 2014by Kai RyssdalPodcast Title: The problem with "Golden Parachutes"Syndication: Flipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond: No

Manchester United 0-3 Manchester City

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:12
Goals from Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure move Manchester City second in the Premier League as they dominate Manchester United.

One in 10 UK children 'neglected'

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 14:00
Child neglect is rife across the UK, with one in 10 children affected, according to the research commissioned by a leading charity.

In which Kai Ryssdal has to settle for $22.40

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 13:57
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 13:52 EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

The new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet.

I got an email from Amazon this morning, telling me I had a credit of $22.40 in my account. It's a payout from the $166 million e-book price-fixing settlement.

What's interesting is how they figured out who got how much: It's $3.17 for each New York Times best-seller you bought, and $0.73 for everything else.

Did you get a settlement payout? Tell us on our RebelMouse page:

Marketplace for Tuesday, March 25, 2014by Kai RyssdalPodcast Title: In which Kai Ryssdal has to settle for $22.40Story Type: BlogSyndication: Flipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond: No

China families vent plane fury

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 13:51
Angry relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines plane scuffle with police outside Malaysia's embassy in the Chinese capital.

The new business of lobbying

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 13:49
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 17:48 KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Addresses on 'K' Street are known as a center for numerous think tanks, lobbyists, and advocacy groups.

What does the word “lobbying” connote? Maybe a smoke-filled room somewhere, or multi-course meals, charged to an expense account. Well, “government affairs professionals,” as they like to call themselves, say the job has changed.

 “I think there is less golf and there are fewer martinis than ever before,” says Dan Bryant, chair of the public policy and government affairs practice group at Covington & Burling.

Still, I persist, arranging to meet Rich Gold, a partner with the firm Holland & Knight, at the Round Robin & Scotch Bar in the Willard Hotel.

According to lore, the term “lobbying” was coined there. Back in the 1870s, Gold’s professional forebears plied President Ulysses S. Grant with cigars and booze. So, as a waiter approaches, I wonder if Gold is going to pick vodka or gin.

“I guess in some ways I am kind of the breakthrough generation,” he says. “I have never had a martini at lunch.”

And the day we met is no exception.

Gold has been lobbying for two decades, and he says the culture has changed.

“There is no walking into a back room anymore, and saying, ‘I need this,’ tapping the table, and getting it done,” Gold explains. The economic downturn also affected lobbying.

“The recession came late to Washington, and the end of 2010, 2011, 2012 were relatively lean years,” he says. “And we’re seeing that in D.C., with some brand-name firms really struggling now.”

Gerry Sikorski is one of Gold’s colleagues. He heads the government section at Holland & Knight. For a decade, he represented Minnesotans in the House of Representatives. We meet in a cafeteria on Capitol Hill – where martinis aren’t on the menu, by the way.

"Lawmaking specialists are less valuable than they once were,” he says.

Sikorski says the federal government is still operating. It is still buying things, regulating industries, and collecting taxes.

“What’s changed is the overarching law making,” Sikorski explains. “Policymaking pieces of it aren’t happening.”

Sikorski says a lobbyist can’t fundamentally reinvent himself, but he can adjust, and many lobbyists have had to. Increasingly, what firms want in a lobbyist is expertise in a particular subject matter.  

According to W. Michael House, the director of Hogan Lovells’ legislative group, there are fewer lobbyists than there used to be.

Lawmakers are spending more time away from Washington. Last year, there were just 159 legislative days, when the House of Representatives was in session. And Congress isn’t passing many bills. In 2013, just 87 became law.  So, a lobbyist like House adjusts.

“We always say Washington goes legislation, regulation, litigation, legislation,” he tells me, noting we are in the regulation stage right now.

Federal agencies are working on financial reform rule writing and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and even though the legislative process is moving slowly, it is moving. There are people interested in tax reform, for example. According to House, “that’ll be a two-to-four, maybe six-year process when it’s all said and done, but the smart people get in early.”

More firms are taking what they call a “multidisciplinary approach” to lobbying. Lobbyists work hand in hand with lawyers, and some firms hire strategic communications consultants.

Back on Capitol Hill, I meet Bryant in the Hart Senate Office Building. The relatively light legislative load doesn’t seem to faze him.  

“The need to be explaining your business more, more clearly, and in a more compelling way, has never been more important both in the U.S. and elsewhere,” Bryant says, noting public policy has become “more global.”

Covington & Burling has grown its business overseas. It expanded its office in Brussels, to lobby European governments, and because many companies based in foreign countries want to lobby the U.S.

“I think as long as governments and government officials are making decisions that affect the public and that affect the business community, there will be lobbying,” he says. Although what that involves will continue to change.

Marketplace for Wednesday, March 26, 2014by David GuraStory Type: FeatureSyndication: PMPApp Respond: No

Russia 'acting out of weakness' - US

BBC - Tue, 2014-03-25 13:43
US President Barack Obama says Russia is acting "not out of strength, but out of weakness" in Ukraine, and warns of further sanctions.

Robo... traffic cop?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 13:41
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 04:00 Junior D. Kannah/AFP/Getty Images

A traffic robot cop on Triomphal boulevard of Kinshasa at the crossing of Asosa, Huileries and Patrice Lubumba streets

Imagine pulling up to an intersection and seeing a giant, solar-powered, traffic-directing robot wearing 80's sunglasses. You might expect Marty McFly to speed by on a hoverboard, or the Iron Giant to take off into the sky as he blissfully declares himself, "Suuuperman."

If you're a resident of Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, these huge, man-like traffic signals might be part of your daily commute. So far, two of these robots have been installed, and in spite of their imposing apperance, the residents enjoy having them around. According to BBC reporter Maud Jullien, it's because the work of traffic directing is often done by policemen; a force not respected by the general public because of frequent harassment. One Kinshasa resident told Jullien that he actually prefers the robots to policemen simply because they do their job:

"The robot is better than policemen because it does its job according to the order. It doesn't bother us, ask for documents, or arrest us."

Marketplace Tech for Wednesday, March 26, 2014by Ben JohnsonPodcast Title: Robo... traffic cop?Story Type: News StorySyndication: SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond: No

Can A 250-Year-Old Mathematical Theorem Find A Missing Plane?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 13:40

As one scientist puts it, Bayes' theorem, developed by a Presbyterian minister, isn't clouded by emotion, so it can be revelatory — and may be the best hope of finding Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

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Disney taps news exec to run TV biz

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 13:30

Ben Sherwood, currently head of ABC’s news division, will take over as president of Disney/ABC Television Group, giving him oversight of the broadcast network as well as the cable assets. It was under Sherwood’s watch that ABC’s Good Morning America topped NBC’s Today Show, a hugely profitable win.

Sherwood is not the first newsie thrown into running a whole network. It hasn’t always gone well, but Disney’s hoping Sherwood will be like Howard Stringer, another former news chief who went on to successful runs leading CBS and Sony.

Disney has some high performing cable channels, but its flagship broadcast network is hurting. Sherwood will need to find new winning comedies and deal with the problems hurting other networks, especially audience fragmentation online and difficulty attracting young male viewers.

Mark Garrison: Sherwood’s credited with powering ABC’s Good Morning America to the top, a hugely profitable win. He’s not the first newsie thrown into running a whole network. NBC tried it, when it tapped Today Show producer Jeff Zucker. But it didn’t go well, says TV news analyst Andrew Tyndall.

Andrew Tyndall: It turns out that in the programming of NBC, when Zucker was in control, his prime time programming moves were not successful at all and then he ended up back in a journalistic institution, which is CNN.

Disney’s betting that Sherwood will be more like Howard Stringer, another former news chief who went on to successful runs leading CBS and Sony. Sherwood inherits a mixed bag. Disney has some strong cable channels. But Edward Jones analyst Robin Diedrich says the flagship broadcast network is hurting.

Robin Diedrich: They’ve been declining over the last several years and that’s really keeping in step, though, with the broader industry. So we see ABC kind of in line with the group from that standpoint.

The network has hits, but also holes.

Brad Adgate: One area would be comedy. Modern Family is obviously Emmy Award-winning comedy year in and year out. But it’s entering its sixth season. They really haven’t had too much success creating a comedy block.

Horizon Media’s Brad Adgate says Sherwood could set himself apart by solving a puzzle all networks now struggle with.

Adgate: One of the goals has been to get scripted shows for men, particularly young men, but, you know, they’re hard to reach and harder to reach on television.

That’s because they’re online, like so many other viewers. And that’s another challenge, herding those eyeballs into Disney’s tent. In New York, I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.

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