National / International News

SCOTUS On Cellphones And The Privacy Of Poetry

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 14:12

To put a literary spin on the Supreme Court's recent decision to limit warrantless cellphone searches, author Craig Morgan Teicher turns to A.R. Ammons' book of poetry, Tape for the Turn of the Year.

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GM recalls 428,000 more US vehicles

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-27 14:10
General Motors is recalling nearly half a million vehicles in the US amid concerns over faulty air bags and other issues, the company says.

VIDEO: Meriam Ibrahim takes refuge in US Embassy

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-27 14:09
A Sudanese woman whose death sentence for marrying a Christian was overturned has been released from detention and has taken refuge in the US Embassy in Khartoum.

Norway Does A Ctrl+Alt+Delete On E-Voting Experiment

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:52

After trying out online balloting in elections in 2011 and 2013, Oslo has concluded that it didn't improve turnout and might undermine the democratic process.

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Got Leftovers To Share? In Germany, There's A Website For That

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:35

Europeans throw away about 90 million tons of food each year. A new German website aims to ratchet that number down a bit by connecting people with leftovers to spare with people who could use them.

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Are European banks feeling more heat than U.S. ones?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:26

According to the New York Times and other reports, next week the European bank BNP Paribas will pay almost $9 billion in penalties to U.S. regulators and plead guilty to criminal charges. That follows other recent actions against bankers at Credit Suisse. But why are actions like these seemingly so infrequent?

"It's not that the regulators are only focusing on the European banks. I think you could make the a strong case that the penalties that they're seeking are may be a little bit disproportionate to the crimes, at least if you compare them to how much as a share of profits the American banks are having to pay," says Cardiff Garcia with the blog FT Alphaville. "But I don't think it's that the regulators are singling out the Europeans. I think this is more just that the regulators sense a few issues where they can take some scalps and so they're going for it."

"It's kind of the shareholders, in many cases, that have been held to account and not so much the actual people who are making the bad-guy decisions," adds Catherine Rampell, a columnist and blogger for the Washington Post. "And I think that has a lot of people very angry and understandably so."

Bank penalties weren't the only thing being discussed on Wall Street this week, even though the business world slowed down as we approach the July 4 holiday. A terrible GDP report out this week had many wondering about economic growth in the U.S., especially earlier this year.

"Certainly things looked a lot worse in the end than they started in the beginning," says Rampell. "It could turn out that the quarter was better actually than we thought.... and there are a lot of other data points in the U.S. economy that demonstrate that actually we're doing better than the GDP number, at face value, suggests."

And what about all the American attention paid to the 2014 World Cup and the U.S. men's national soccer team?

" We're all just exciteable enough to get into it while the U.S. is winning, and yet the minute we lose or we get knocked out," Garcia says, "we'll just say, oh well, whatever, it's just soccer anyways."

Are European banks feeling more heat than U.S. ones?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:26

According to the New York Times and other reports, next week the European bank BNP Paribas will pay almost $9 billion in penalties to U.S. regulators and plead guilty to criminal charges. That follows other recent actions against bankers at Credit Suisse. But why are actions like these seemingly so infrequent?

"It's not that the regulators are only focusing on the European banks. I think you could make the a strong case that the penalties that they're seeking are may be a little bit disproportionate to the crimes, at least if you compare them to how much as a share of profits the American banks are having to pay," says Cardiff Garcia with the blog FT Alphaville. "But I don't think it's that the regulators are singling out the Europeans. I think this is more just that the regulators sense a few issues where they can take some scalps and so they're going for it."

"It's kind of the shareholders, in many cases, that have been held to account and not so much the actual people who are making the bad-guy decisions," adds Catherine Rampell, a columnist and blogger for the Washington Post. "And I think that has a lot of people very angry and understandably so."

Bank penalties weren't the only thing being discussed on Wall Street this week, even though the business world slowed down as we approach the July 4 holiday. A terrible GDP report out this week had many wondering about economic growth in the U.S., especially earlier this year.

"Certainly things looked a lot worse in the end than they started in the beginning," says Rampell. "It could turn out that the quarter was better actually than we thought.... and there are a lot of other data points in the U.S. economy that demonstrate that actually we're doing better than the GDP number, at face value, suggests."

And what about all the American attention paid to the 2014 World Cup and the U.S. men's national soccer team?

" We're all just exciteable enough to get into it while the U.S. is winning, and yet the minute we lose or we get knocked out," Garcia says, "we'll just say, oh well, whatever, it's just soccer anyways."

'TV Everywhere' is sometimes TV nowhere

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:26

At its peak during Thursday’s US-Germany World Cup game, ESPN was serving up a record 1.7 million streams of its channel over the internet. It was not without hiccups. 

A number of users had issues logging into the service. 

When I tried today — not a peak time for viewership — I, too, got an “authentication error” on my first attempt. 

All this logging in to prove we pay for cable is part of something the industry calls “TV Everywhere." It’s used by HBO GO, CNN, and others. 

It’s designed to give consumers what we want — the ability to watch live TV on computers, tablets, and smartphones — but also keeps us paying the cable company. 

But it’s rarely an easy experience.  

“it’s a huge issue,” says Daniel Frankel, editor of Fierce Cable, and online trade publication. “The problem is that it’s just not fully baked yet. It’s such a hugely complex initiative involving so many rights deals and so many technology deals, it’s bound to not work seamlessly for the consumer.” 

It’s a far cry from services like Netflix, Hulu, even the now illegal Aereo that all let you log in once and keep using the service. 

“The key to TV Everywhere’s future is removing authentication altogether,” says Michael Greeson, President of The Diffusion Group, which consults for the industry.  

TV Everywhere has been slow to catch on. After five years, most cable subscribers don’t know it exists. And, he says the industry has been so afraid of people stealing its content that it’s made it too hard to use. 

Similarly, the music industry initially put far more restrictions on downloads than it does today. Many predict the cable industry will relax its rules. 

ESPN says its working with cable companies to simplify things. Its own president, earlier this year, called today’s TV Everywhere setup, “clunky.”

'TV Everywhere' is sometimes TV nowhere

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:26

At its peak during Thursday’s US-Germany World Cup game, ESPN was serving up a record 1.7 million streams of its channel over the internet. It was not without hiccups. 

A number of users had issues logging into the service. 

When I tried today — not a peak time for viewership — I, too, got an “authentication error” on my first attempt. 

All this logging in to prove we pay for cable is part of something the industry calls “TV Everywhere." It’s used by HBO GO, CNN, and others. 

It’s designed to give consumers what we want — the ability to watch live TV on computers, tablets, and smartphones — but also keeps us paying the cable company. 

But it’s rarely an easy experience.  

“it’s a huge issue,” says Daniel Frankel, editor of Fierce Cable, and online trade publication. “The problem is that it’s just not fully baked yet. It’s such a hugely complex initiative involving so many rights deals and so many technology deals, it’s bound to not work seamlessly for the consumer.” 

It’s a far cry from services like Netflix, Hulu, even the now illegal Aereo that all let you log in once and keep using the service. 

“The key to TV Everywhere’s future is removing authentication altogether,” says Michael Greeson, President of The Diffusion Group, which consults for the industry.  

TV Everywhere has been slow to catch on. After five years, most cable subscribers don’t know it exists. And, he says the industry has been so afraid of people stealing its content that it’s made it too hard to use. 

Similarly, the music industry initially put far more restrictions on downloads than it does today. Many predict the cable industry will relax its rules. 

ESPN says its working with cable companies to simplify things. Its own president, earlier this year, called today’s TV Everywhere setup, “clunky.”

Today at Wimbledon: Saturday at a glance

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:22
Who is playing? How you can watch? Everything you need on day six of Wimbledon 2014.

What's The Matter With Wendy Davis?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:22

The Texas state senator galvanized Democrats across the nation with her 11-hour filibuster to block restrictive abortion laws. Then she ran for governor — and got a big dose of political reality.

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In Iraq, Coordination With Iran Not Impossible, Gen. Dempsey Says

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:22

"I'm not predicting that it's entirely impossible that we would at any point act collaboratively with Iran," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tells NPR.

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Ukraine signs historic deal with the EU

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:19

A HIGHLY SYMBOLIC AGREEMENT...

It was last November that Ukraine’s then president Viktor Yanukovych sparked what would become an international crisis when he pulled out of a trade deal with Europe. Seven months, one toppled presidency, and a Russian invasion later, that trade agreement has been signed.  

Current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the EU signed the deal today.

For many Ukrainians, such as Yulia Drozd, this was a potent confirmation of their European identity and destiny. 

“This is just a sign that the USSR period came to an end in Ukraine and this is a point of no return, you know, this is a joy, just a complete joy,” says Drozd, speaking from a café near Kiev’s main square.

While Drozd believes the accord will lead to economic improvement, “not really many people understand association with the EU from the economic point of view.”

..WITH SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS

But there are far reaching changes now set in motion as European tariffs on 98 percent of Ukrainian goods go down.   

“The calculations are that this would increase Ukraine’s exports altogether by 50 percent over five years or so and increase gross domestic product in the same period by 12 percent,” according to Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

He says the most obvious industry to benefit will be agriculture , which constitutes a third of Ukrainian exports already. The agreement is gradual in its exposure of Ukraine’s agricultural sector to foreign competition. Manufacturing investment from Europe and the U.S. for the purposes of exporting to Europe are also possible.

There are sectors that appear likely to suffer moving forward. “The less modern sectors,” says Åslund, among them steel and heavy machinery. These industries are centered in the Russia-leaning east of the country, and were focused on export to Russia. They have been the target of Russian import restrictions since the crisis began.    

A FOCUS ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND ANTI-CORRUPTION

The European association agreement also contains a list of reforms that Ukraine must undertake to fight endemic corruption and raise standards. “There are literally hundreds of laws that Ukraine has committed itself to adopt,” says Åslund. “And this means that the whole state apparatus in Ukraine which is in very bad shape, will be reformed using technical assistance from the European Union.”

“To give you an example, sixty state agencies of EU countries have made  contracts with corresponding state agencies in Ukraine that these EU agencies will reform these Ukrainian state agencies.”

Alexander Kliment, director of Russia research at Eurasia Group, says these things will lay a foundation for future growth. “The reforms involved in making the Ukrainian economy more efficient and less corrupt are by themselves big advantages.”

COSTS

“The gamble is that over the longer term meeting higher standards, European standards, will open larger markets and create more economic growth, but in the short term there are costs,” says Kliment.

As Ukraine brings regulatory codes ranging from phytosanitary requirements to standards for agricultural products and foodstuffs into harmony with European codes, Ukrainian businesses will have to adapt. “Ukrainian companies are used to meeting one set of standards in Ukraine will now have to invest to meet another set of higher standards,” and this will require investment.

Russia, fearful that its normally open borders with Ukraine would be flooded with European goods, has restricted many goods from crossing its borders since the current crisis began. 

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

The time frame along which the economic effects of the agreement unfold presents one of the greatest challenges to it. Ukrainian politicians, says Kliment, will have a difficult task of managing people's high expectations. “The benefits of this agreement are over the medium to long term, and people’s frustrations with agreements of this kind can come in the immediate to short term.”

Ukraine signs historic deal with the EU

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:19

A HIGHLY SYMBOLIC AGREEMENT...

It was last November that Ukraine’s then president Viktor Yanukovych sparked what would become an international crisis when he pulled out of a trade deal with Europe. Seven months, one toppled presidency, and a Russian invasion later, that trade agreement has been signed.  

Current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the EU signed the deal today.

For many Ukrainians, such as Yulia Drozd, this was a potent confirmation of their European identity and destiny. 

“This is just a sign that the USSR period came to an end in Ukraine and this is a point of no return, you know, this is a joy, just a complete joy,” says Drozd, speaking from a café near Kiev’s main square.

While Drozd believes the accord will lead to economic improvement, “not really many people understand association with the EU from the economic point of view.”

..WITH SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS

But there are far reaching changes now set in motion as European tariffs on 98 percent of Ukrainian goods go down.   

“The calculations are that this would increase Ukraine’s exports altogether by 50 percent over five years or so and increase gross domestic product in the same period by 12 percent,” according to Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

He says the most obvious industry to benefit will be agriculture , which constitutes a third of Ukrainian exports already. The agreement is gradual in its exposure of Ukraine’s agricultural sector to foreign competition. Manufacturing investment from Europe and the U.S. for the purposes of exporting to Europe are also possible.

There are sectors that appear likely to suffer moving forward. “The less modern sectors,” says Åslund, among them steel and heavy machinery. These industries are centered in the Russia-leaning east of the country, and were focused on export to Russia. They have been the target of Russian import restrictions since the crisis began.    

A FOCUS ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND ANTI-CORRUPTION

The European association agreement also contains a list of reforms that Ukraine must undertake to fight endemic corruption and raise standards. “There are literally hundreds of laws that Ukraine has committed itself to adopt,” says Åslund. “And this means that the whole state apparatus in Ukraine which is in very bad shape, will be reformed using technical assistance from the European Union.”

“To give you an example, sixty state agencies of EU countries have made  contracts with corresponding state agencies in Ukraine that these EU agencies will reform these Ukrainian state agencies.”

Alexander Kliment, director of Russia research at Eurasia Group, says these things will lay a foundation for future growth. “The reforms involved in making the Ukrainian economy more efficient and less corrupt are by themselves big advantages.”

COSTS

“The gamble is that over the longer term meeting higher standards, European standards, will open larger markets and create more economic growth, but in the short term there are costs,” says Kliment.

As Ukraine brings regulatory codes ranging from phytosanitary requirements to standards for agricultural products and foodstuffs into harmony with European codes, Ukrainian businesses will have to adapt. “Ukrainian companies are used to meeting one set of standards in Ukraine will now have to invest to meet another set of higher standards,” and this will require investment.

Russia, fearful that its normally open borders with Ukraine would be flooded with European goods, has restricted many goods from crossing its borders since the current crisis began. 

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

The time frame along which the economic effects of the agreement unfold presents one of the greatest challenges to it. Ukrainian politicians, says Kliment, will have a difficult task of managing people's high expectations. “The benefits of this agreement are over the medium to long term, and people’s frustrations with agreements of this kind can come in the immediate to short term.”

Trade deal aligns Ukraine with Europe

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:19

A HIGHLY SYMBOLIC AGREEMENT...

It was last November that Ukraine’s then president Viktor Yanukovych sparked what would become an international crisis when he pulled out of a trade deal with Europe. Seven months, one toppled presidency, and a Russian invasion later, that trade agreement has been signed.  

Current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the EU signed the deal today.

For many Ukrainians, such as Yulia Drozd, this was a potent confirmation of their European identity and destiny. 

“This is just a sign that the USSR period came to an end in Ukraine and this is a point of no return, you know, this is a joy, just a complete joy,” says Drozd, speaking from a café near Kiev’s main square.

While Drozd believes the accord will lead to economic improvement, “not really many people understand association with the EU from the economic point of view.”

..WITH SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS

But there are far reaching changes now set in motion as European tariffs on 98 percent of Ukrainian goods go down.   

“The calculations are that this would increase Ukraine’s exports altogether by 50 percent over five years or so and increase gross domestic product in the same period by 12 percent,” according to Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

He says the most obvious industry to benefit will be agriculture , which constitutes a third of Ukrainian exports already. The agreement is gradual in its exposure of Ukraine’s agricultural sector to foreign competition. Manufacturing investment from Europe and the U.S. for the purposes of exporting to Europe are also possible.

There are sectors that appear likely to suffer moving forward. “The less modern sectors,” says Åslund, among them steel and heavy machinery. These industries are centered in the Russia-leaning east of the country, and were focused on export to Russia. They have been the target of Russian import restrictions since the crisis began.    

A FOCUS ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND ANTI-CORRUPTION

The European association agreement also contains a list of reforms that Ukraine must undertake to fight endemic corruption and raise standards. “There are literally hundreds of laws that Ukraine has committed itself to adopt,” says Åslund. “And this means that the whole state apparatus in Ukraine which is in very bad shape, will be reformed using technical assistance from the European Union.”

“To give you an example, sixty state agencies of EU countries have made  contracts with corresponding state agencies in Ukraine that these EU agencies will reform these Ukrainian state agencies.”

Alexander Kliment, director of Russia research at Eurasia Group, says these things will lay a foundation for future growth. “The reforms involved in making the Ukrainian economy more efficient and less corrupt are by themselves big advantages.”

COSTS

“The gamble is that over the longer term meeting higher standards, European standards, will open larger markets and create more economic growth, but in the short term there are costs,” says Kliment.

As Ukraine brings regulatory codes ranging from phytosanitary requirements to standards for agricultural products and foodstuffs into harmony with European codes, Ukrainian businesses will have to adapt. “Ukrainian companies are used to meeting one set of standards in Ukraine will now have to invest to meet another set of higher standards,” and this will require investment.

Russia, fearful that its normally open borders with Ukraine would be flooded with European goods, has restricted many goods from crossing its borders since the current crisis began. 

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

The time frame along which the economic effects of the agreement unfold presents one of the greatest challenges to it. Ukrainian politicians, says Kliment, will have a difficult task of managing people's high expectations. “The benefits of this agreement are over the medium to long term, and people’s frustrations with agreements of this kind can come in the immediate to short term.”

U.S. lags behind the rest of the world in paid leave

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:17

Today, the Obama administration hosted the White House Summit on Working Families. It rolled out some new policy proposals, and focused attention on maternity and paternity leave, where the U.S. is an outlier in global rankings.

There were panels and plenaries, on topics like caregiving and compensation. Victoria Budson runs the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University, and she says the U.S. has some dubious distinctions. For one, it is “the only industrialized nation in the world that has no mandatory paid leave.”

About ten percent of Americans in the private sector can get some paid leave when they have kids.

“You know, this is a real black eye for the United States,” says Pamela Stone, a sociologist at Hunter College. She says today’s summit was designed to get more Americans to take notice.

“Something like this is really important for raising the visibility of an issue, but also legitimating an issue,” Stone says. “Telling people out there, this is an issue for you.”

The president brought the legitimacy, but the White House must have figured some star power could boost the summit’s visibility -- or get more Americans to watch the event’s live stream. So, organizers invited actress Christina Hendricks to participate.

Hendricks said she was proud to be representing, as she put it, “a working woman in two decades” -- Hendricks, the actress, and the character she plays on “Mad Men.”

“One who is fighting in the past for equality and one who is very, very excited to finally see that dream realized,” she said.

The upshot of today’s summit, however, is that dream has not been fully realized. According to Linda Houser, a professor of social work at Widener University, these issues have become increasingly visible.

“I mean, there are very few people that, in the course of their lives, don’t either care for a child or an adult,” she says.

But despite that, policies haven’t kept up.

U.S. lags behind the rest of the world in paid leave

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:17

Today, the Obama administration hosted the White House Summit on Working Families. It rolled out some new policy proposals, and focused attention on maternity and paternity leave, where the U.S. is an outlier in global rankings.

There were panels and plenaries, on topics like caregiving and compensation. Victoria Budson runs the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University, and she says the U.S. has some dubious distinctions. For one, it is “the only industrialized nation in the world that has no mandatory paid leave.”

About ten percent of Americans in the private sector can get some paid leave when they have kids.

“You know, this is a real black eye for the United States,” says Pamela Stone, a sociologist at Hunter College. She says today’s summit was designed to get more Americans to take notice.

“Something like this is really important for raising the visibility of an issue, but also legitimating an issue,” Stone says. “Telling people out there, this is an issue for you.”

The president brought the legitimacy, but the White House must have figured some star power could boost the summit’s visibility -- or get more Americans to watch the event’s live stream. So, organizers invited actress Christina Hendricks to participate.

Hendricks said she was proud to be representing, as she put it, “a working woman in two decades” -- Hendricks, the actress, and the character she plays on “Mad Men.”

“One who is fighting in the past for equality and one who is very, very excited to finally see that dream realized,” she said.

The upshot of today’s summit, however, is that dream has not been fully realized. According to Linda Houser, a professor of social work at Widener University, these issues have become increasingly visible.

“I mean, there are very few people that, in the course of their lives, don’t either care for a child or an adult,” she says.

But despite that, policies haven’t kept up.

Ex-envoy probed over Monaco murder

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:13
Poland's ex-honorary consul in Monaco is being formally investigated for ordering the murder of his heiress mother-in-law, prosecutors say.

VIDEO: Tracey Emin's bed to be auctioned

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:05
Tracey Emin has said she would like her bed artwork to go on public display in Britain when it goes on auction for the first time.

Podcaster Risks Excommunication For Defending Gay Mormons

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 12:57

Earlier this week, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints excommunicated an advocate for female priesthood. This weekend, a Utah man who questioned church doctrine might face a similar fate.

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