National / International News

GB's basketballers live on '£15 a day'

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-19 14:06
GB forward Kieron Achara and his team-mates are existing on "£15 a day" as they try to reach the European Championships.

Torrential Rain Swamps Phoenix, Strands Drivers

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:59

Monsoonal rainfall caused massive flash flooding in Phoenix on Tuesday, turning roads into raging torrents. One area recorded 1 inch in 14 minutes.

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'No crime' rape inquiries reopened

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:50
A number of rape claims are to be re-examined by Northumbria Police over fears they were incorrectly recorded as a "no crime".

Health records are an easy target for identity thieves

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:46

Community Health Systems, a large hospital operator, got hacked. The word is Chinese hackers stole some 4.5 million health records from the company.  The files included everything from patient Social Security numbers to birth dates and addresses, a veritable goldmine of information for identity theft.

Healthcare providers have been digitizing our records to make everything from treating patients to filing for insurance more efficient. But in their rush towards efficiency, cyber security has gotten lost, says Stephen Cobb, a security researcher at ESET.

“I think a lot of the problem is cultural,” says Cobb. “Doctors and nurses get up and go to work everyday to help people" -  not to protect people from criminals, he says. “An example would be, 'how many hospital systems have chief security information officers'?”

His answer: not many. Plus, he says, many computer systems were put in place before cyber crimes became a real threat, and so a lot of those systems have holes.

Protecting medical records is more difficult than say, protecting your banking records, because they’re constantly being shared and transferred online, says Mac McMillan, CEO of CynergisTek.

“If you look at the average number of people who have access to your information in a hospital encounter, the number I’ve heard is around 150 people,” McMillan says. Each of those people are potential security threats.

Complicating cyber security even further is the "Internet of Things," says Michael Coates, director of product security at Shape Security. He says almost everything in a hospital is wired these days - from printers to “imaging devices or tablets being used by doctors on the wireless network."

Coates says many of these devices aren't secure, and if hackers can break into one device, they can potentially break into the whole system. 

VIDEO: Iraq refugees in 'windswept dustbowl'

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:45
The United Nations is mounting a major aid operation to try and help more than half a million people who have fled for their lives from extremist Islamic State (IS) fighters in northern Iraq.

Lib Dems lift Lord Rennard suspension

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:42
Former Liberal Democrat chief executive Lord Rennard has the suspension of his party membership lifted after disciplinary proceedings against him are dropped.

The big business of tear gas, explained

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:40

Tear gas may be one of the most ubiquitous images on the news looking back over the past several years. White clouds - and people running from them - appear in newsreels depicting uprisings from Ferguson to Cairo. 

Nonlethal weapons are a $1.6 billion-a-year business, according to Visiongain, a market research firm. 

“Seventy percent of that is anti-personnel,” says Michael Emery, defense editor and analyst. Anti-personnel weapons means something used to immobilize or incapacitate people without – ideally – killing them.  This could include rubber bullets and stun-guns. 

“Tear gas is possibly the second most important element after Tasers,” he says, largely because it’s so effective and less lethal. “A few canisters of tear gas can be used to disperse a hundred people, whereas a Taser is one-to-one.”

The science is still out on the long term effects of tear gas, says Sven Eric Jordt, professor of anesthesiology at Duke University School of Medicine.  It can be dangerous for children, the elderly and people with breathing problems, but its general effects aren’t conclusively known. Still, tear gas is less lethal than other options. Rubber bullets, though designed to be sub-lethal, have killed people and water hoses have maimed them.  

The largest consumer of non-lethal antipersonnel weapons, including tear gas, is law enforcement, says Emery, overwhelmingly in the United States.  “The U.S. is by far the largest market for nonlethal systems and due to that there’s a concentration of companies within the U.S.”

Wyoming-based Defense Technology (part of Canadian firm Safariland) appears to be the source of at least some of the tear gas used in Ferguson, Missouri.  Other U.S. companies include  the Pennsylvania-based Combined Systems Inc. and Non Lethal Technologies Inc.  There's also AmTech Less Lethal in Florida.  Another major producer, Condor Non Lethal, is based in Brazil.

Between 2013 and 2014, sales of nonlethal anti-personnel weapons grew 2.2 percent globally.  It’s a moderate number, tempered by security spending cuts.  But Emery says he expects future growth to be much higher.  One reason is that after so many uprisings from Tunis to Rio to Ferguson, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that lethal force makes things worse.

But another reason is that police departments and citizens are getting inured to seeing such weapons deployed, including tear gas.  “The [increased] massive use world wide has decreased the threshold in western countries to deploy tear gas,” says Jordt.

The question is how law enforcement will strike a balance between using it more, and using it well.  

VIDEO: Tension after second Missouri killing

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:39
The police killing of a second black St Louis-area man in 11 days has threatened to further enflame tensions.

Internet-hit near miss biker guilty

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:33
A biker who uploaded a film of a high speed ride in which he almost hit a car head-on is found guilty of dangerous driving.

Man With A Knife Fatally Shot By Police In St. Louis, Officials Say

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:33

The shooting appears to be unrelated to the ongoing protests in neighboring Ferguson, Mo. Police say the 23-year-old, suspected of stealing items from a convenience store, was "acting erratically."

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Amid The Chaos In Ferguson, Another Police Shooting

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:29

Robert talks to St Louis Public Radio reporter Stephanie Lecci about Tuesday's police shooting in St Louis. Authorities say officers shot and killed a man brandishing a knife.

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Blocked At The Border, Gaza Man's Hopes Of Escape Fade

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:27

One man's quest to get out of Gaza and into Egypt highlights Palestinian calls for more freedom of movement.

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Doctors Without Borders: What We Need To Contain Ebola

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:22

Dr. Joanne Liu of Doctors Without Borders says fear and a lack of sense of urgency has kept the international community in their home countries rather than stepping up to the plate in West Africa.

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Volkswagen brings German-style vocational training to the US

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:19

One of the world’s largest automakers has stepped into the fringe of American education. Volkswagen has imported its German-style apprenticeship program to the U.S., and American labor officials hope it might become a model.

“It’s a totally different mindset. It’s a totally different culture,” says Ilker Subasi, who heads the Volkswagen Academy on site at the company’s Chattanooga plant.

Subasi sees a stigma in the U.S. against technical education. But in Germany, more than half of high school graduates go into vocational programs like VW’s. Subasi himself was once a VW apprentice.

Once accepted, the company’s U.S. “mechatronics” students earn a small stipend over the course of three years while learning how to maintain robotics. If they stick with the program, they’re hired with a starting salary of $22 an hour. They also earn an associate’s degree from Chattanooga State Community College and a DIHK certification from the German American Chamber of Commerce, which would allow them to work at German auto plants around the world.

“At first, I was like, ‘Am I going to be pushing around a broom? Am I going to be changing light bulbs?’” recalls Alex Bizzell, a 22-year-old who graduated last week. “It’s been a substantial effort to do it, but now I know exactly what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.”

The VW school is heavily subsidized by the state of Tennessee as part of an incentive package to bring the automaker to the state in 2009. A stadium-sized building beside the plant that builds the Passat houses the classroom space and hands-on learning. 

Inside, a robotic arm two stories tall swings through the air, as a student practices programming machines like the ones used next door. Michael Regan says he tried a year of community college before applying.

“You know, I was never that really into writing and all of that,” he says. “I’m not that big of a writer. I was just always more of a hands-on person. That’s just how I learn better.”

At Regan’s graduation, a top executive told the dozen students he hopes they will ultimately retire with VW.

Some graduates are taking the option to spend a year working at a German plant. Others are deferring their job to finish a four-year degree. Regan starts work immediately – albeit on the night shift.

“Look at the benefits and the future he has with this company,” says Regan’s mom, Sharon. “And that’s why you go to college is to work for a big company – most people – to make a good living and have good benefits. And he’s going to have it at 22.”

Besiktas 0-0 Arsenal

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:15
Aaron Ramsey is sent off as Arsenal fight out a goalless draw with Besiktas in the first leg of their Champions League play-off tie.

Ebola In The Skies? How The Virus Made It To West Africa

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:14

The type of Ebola erupting in West Africa is closely related to one found 2,500 miles away — the distance between Boston and San Francisco. How did the virus spread so far without anyone noticing?

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UN launches northern Iraq aid push

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:09
The UN launches an operation to reach more than 500,000 people displaced by fighting in northern Iraq is launched by the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Workman dies in fall from fire pier

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:08
A man working on the fire-damaged Eastbourne Pier dies after suffering head injuries in a fall on to the beach, the ambulance service says.

What are you up to during a conference call?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:06

Data provided by InterCall, the world's biggest conference call company, and collated by the Harvard Business Review, revealed what people actually do while they're on a conference call. According to the survey, which allowed multiple responses:

  • 65 percent said they do other work, whatever that may be.
  • 63 percent said they send an email.
  • 55 percent said they eat or make food.
  • And 47 percent said they go to the restroom, in a pretty gross display of multitasking.

Just as interesting were the places survey respondents said they took conference calls from. The fitting room, the beach and the ER were all represented.

To replicate their experience, maybe head to one of those places (or a bathroom) to revisit our interview with Zach Scott, who created the awe-inspiring/terrifying

Ferguson Teachers Use Day Off As Opportunity For A Civics Lesson

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-19 12:59

School has been canceled for the week in Ferguson, Mo., as civil unrest continues. While the students are out of the classroom, teachers are helping to clean up the streets.

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