National / International News

Ebola Breaks Out In West Africa For The First Time

NPR News - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:30

A deadly form of Ebola has killed 59 people in Guinea. Early reports suggested the disease had spread to other neighboring countries. But none of the more far-flung cases have been confirmed.

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25 years after the Exxon Valdez crisis, we've learned...?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:24

It’s been 25 years since the Exxon Valdez hit a reef and spilled millions of gallons of oil, polluting hundreds of miles of Alaska’s shoreline.

If you were alive during the spill, you can probably still recall the video footage: black shorelines, dead sea otters, oil soaked birds.

“It was vivid,” said Zygmunt Plater, an environmental law professor at Boston College who worked on the Alaska Oil Spill Commission after Valdez. “It pointed to the problems of the oil mega-system." Along every step of the process, he said, “there was repeated cost cutting to increase risk. Our commission concluded that this mega-system was dominated by complacency, collusion and neglect.”

Those are words heard after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 20 years later.

Valdez also showed us just how vulnerable the environment can be, in a way that previous oil spills, including the Santa Barbara spill in 1969, had not.

“It underscored the enormous risk that we place natural resources at when we produce and distribute oil,” said Bob Deans, a spokesperson for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The risk was something we hadn’t quite come to terms with, he said. “There was this perception that it was safe to do this,” Deans said, “and that if the oil got in the water, surely industry had a way to clean it up. Surely there was a way to save the oceans and marine life from the consequence of a spill like this, and we found out that none of that was true.” 

After the Exxon Valdez and again, after the BP oil spill, regulations were tightened.

But spills are not things of the past.

Over the weekend, about 170,000 gallons of oil gushed out into Galveston Bay when an oil barge and cargo ship collided.

Gulnara Karimova: 'I have been beaten'

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:21
The Uzbek president's daughter smuggles a letter to the BBC

Apple + Comcast = ?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:20

Apple and Comcast are reportedly discussing a deal that would give Apple special access to Comcast's wires, the ones that bring cable TV into your home. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple would then deliver streaming television through a set top box.

The deal, if it becomes a deal, would give Apple access to what's called "the last mile" -- the last section of cable that runs from a neighborhood box into individual homes.

"Apple would get what's called managed service access," says Kevin Werbach, a telecom consultant and professor of business ethics at The Wharton School of Business. "So their content would go over a distinct high-priority pipe across the Comcast network and not be mixed in with other internet traffic."

As you've probably noticed, the quality of video on your TV can vary greatly between traditional cable TV and streaming TV. Take Netflix, for example: lots of people had trouble streaming the new season of "House of Cards". So Netflix agreed to pay extra to Comcast for more bandwidth.

A managed service deal with Apple would be great for Comcast because it would allow the cable company to maintain its role as a gatekeeper for content, says Craig Aaron, president of Freepress, a consumer advocacy group.

"Apple should be a competitor with Comcast, Netflix should be a competitor with Comcast, helping bring down prices, offer more choices," he says. But under a managed service deal, Apple's content would have to go through the cable companies infrastructure, effectively turning Comcast's biggest threat into a source of revenue.

It also solves another problem for Comcast. Increasingly people are not signing up for cable. Instead, they are using apps and internet devices to watch video. A deal like this would also make Comcast relevant in the new media landscape.

Chicago train crash injures 32

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:17
A passenger train at Chicago O'Hare International Airport derails while apparently travelling too fast and hurtles up an escalator, injuring 32 people.

Egypt court sentences 528 to death

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:17
A court in Egypt sentences to death 528 supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi on charges including murder.

VIDEO: Deadly landslide in Washington state

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:08
Authorities in the US state of Washington have found six more bodies after Saturday's huge landslide, bringing the number known to have been killed to 14, say police.

Short On Dollars, Venezuela Tries To Halt Black-Market Trading

NPR News - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:07

Venezuela placed controls on its currency as it rapidly lost its value. But that only made matters worse. Now it is rolling out a new system in hopes of stabilizing its weak currency.

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Indiana Becomes First State To Back Out Of Common Core

NPR News - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:03

Forty-five states have adopted the set of standards governing grade-school education. The standards have unleashed political fights that blur party lines.

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Ex-US leader 'hand-writes letters'

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:01
Ex-US President Jimmy Carter says he hand-writes letters to foreign leaders in an effort to evade what he described as pervasive surveillance.

Warnock rejects Forest manager's job

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:01
Neil Warnock rejects the chance to succeed Billy Davies as manager of Championship side Nottingham Forest.

Putin's Out Of The Club For Now: G-8 Is Back To Being The G-7

NPR News - Mon, 2014-03-24 13:00

President Obama and other leaders of the world's biggest industrialized nations say they're not going to summit with Russia in June.

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Russia warns of investor flight

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 12:58
Russia expects investors to move up to $70bn (£42bn) of assets out of the country in the first three months of this year.

G8 summit 'won't be held in Russia'

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 12:48
The G8 summit will not take place in Russia this year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron says.

Will you get rich? Your last name may tell you

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-03-24 12:48

Here's a depressing thought: Your last name is a pretty good determination of how educated you will be, what class you'll be in, and when you will die. And chances are, you won't change that for your children, grandchildren, or any of your offspring.

That's the conclusion of a new book by University of California Davis economics professor Gregory Clark called "The Son Also Rises". Clark studied surnames over hundreds of years from the U.S., Sweden, England, India, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and Chile, and he found that social mobility is not only tied to your last name, it's kind of a sealed deal:

"If you take any level of social status and then look at people by surname groupings, it'll pretty reliably show which are the high status groups and which are the low status groups. And one of the interesting things with the surnames is that we actually detect groups that we hadn't even thought of as distinctive (in the U.S.).

He points to people with French surnames, who statistically fall into the lower class. Clark says many governments pour huge resources into try ing to increase economic and social mobility, but his book concludes that's kind of a waste of time:

"Even societies that have spent much more effort than the U.S. in trying to increase rates of social mobility have not, by and large, succeeded. Modern social mobility rates are no higher than in Medievel England or in pre-industrial Sweden. Even dramatic events like the Communist revolution in China had very little effect on social mobility rates.

Clark laughs off the idea that employers or colleges will ever use last names in hiring or admissions, but he does say there's one realm where his research could come in handy.

"The only case that the book finds that this would matter would be if your goal in life was to produce high status children. It would actually be a guide to dating. So the idea of the book is you shouldn't look at, you should go to If that's your ambition."

In the U.S., there are two metrics that Professor Clark says can help you determine your last name's social status:

1) How many doctors there are per thousand people with your surname.

2) The average age of death. 

We had Professor Clark break down the surname social status of some famous folks. Here's what he found:

Its all in the name... | Create Infographics

Council chief executive leaves

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 12:48
The chief executive of Aberdeen City Council Valerie Watts is to leave her post for a new job in Northern Ireland.

VIDEO: Muppets Most Wanted London premiere

BBC - Mon, 2014-03-24 12:32
Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais has attended the London premiere of Muppets Most Wanted.

Carp(e) Diem: Kentucky Sends Invasive Fish To China

NPR News - Mon, 2014-03-24 12:13

Asian carp are not just a problem for the Great Lakes region. Fish processors in Kentucky are finding novel ways to dispose of them — including sending them to China, where they are prized as food.

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Madoff Aides Found Guilty For Role In Massive Ponzi Scheme

NPR News - Mon, 2014-03-24 12:00

Five of Bernie Madoff's former employees were found guilty of helping him fleece investors of $17 billion. They were convicted on charges of securities fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion.

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Oil Spill Disrupts A Waterway Thick With Barges And Birds

NPR News - Mon, 2014-03-24 12:00

Thousands of gallons of fuel oil spilled from a barge in Galveston Bay, Texas, over the weekend. The spill disrupted shipping and threatens wildlife in the area, and the containment effort has begun.

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