National / International News

VIDEO: British Iranian on hunger strike

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 11:19
A London woman arrested in Iran for watching a men's volleyball match has gone on hunger strike in jail.

US rebuff to gay marriage opponents

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 11:13
The US Supreme Court rejects appeals against gay marriage in five US states, increasing the number where it's legal to 30, in a move applauded by campaigners.

Savings up to £1m to be protected

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 10:40
Savings of up to £1m are to be protected under new proposals from the Bank of England aimed at avoiding a Northern Rock style run on a bank.

On China's Mainland, A Less Charitable Take On Hong Kong's Protests

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-06 10:31

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong largely have been peaceful, but many mainland Chinese see the demonstrators as spoiled troublemakers who are asking for too much, too soon.

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VIDEO: Foley parents speak out on IS murders

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 10:19
The parents of American journalist James Foley who was killed by IS extremists in Syria have questioned their government's stance on negotiating with hostages.

Hewlett-Packard splits

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-06 10:08

Hewlett-Packard is splitting in two, the company confirmed this morning.  The printing and computer side of the business will go in one direction, and in the other direction will go... everything else, under the name HP Enterprise. 

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise is a software and services business. It does advanced analytics, enterprise development and a number of other consulting services. 

The computer printer side is still grappling with the age of the tablet and smartphone, which hit the computer sector hard.

“Not only were consumers purchasing fewer desktops and laptops where HP was strong,” says Ross Rubin, principal analyst with Reticle Research, “but on the smartphones and tablets consumers were doing less printing because tablets can be taken with you and you can view the documents on the tablet itself instead of having to print it.”

The printer and computer side has stabilized over the past few years, and paid down some of its debt. Even so, the Enterprise group had higher margins, says Rubin.

“HP is splitting because there are two different directions and two segments of the business,” he says. “They have different market dynamics, different margin structures, different distribution systems.” HP Inc. (the computer-printer people) has a much bigger consumer-facing marketing component, whereas the Enterprise group is more consulting- and services-focused. 

Generally speaking, “independent companies can pursue what’s best for them rather than what a board of directors looking at various subsidiaries would be doing, and Wall Street tends to value that highly,” says Bill Caffee, a securities lawyer with White Summers Caffee and James. 

Investors who might’ve liked one side of HP but not the other will be free to invest in just the side they want, another reason why splitting can help valuations. Consumers won’t see much difference; computers and printers will keep the high-powered HP brand.  

Bath murderer gets life sentence

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 09:22
A Newport man is jailed for life for stabbing and strangling his girlfriend in a bath.

'Big risks' in German arms spending

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 09:06
Spending on nine of Germany's biggest defence projects is severely criticised by an independent report that cites 140 problems and risks.

From GIs To Gen Z (Or Is It iGen?): How Generations Get Nicknames

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-06 09:02

Baby boomers, Generation X, millennials — every generation has a name. But where do these names come from, who chooses them, and why do we need them?

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Twin Peaks to return with new series

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 09:00
Cult 1990s TV series Twin Peaks is to return with a third series in 2016, 25 years after the end of the second series, creator David Lynch confirms.

Setback for Hungary over big EU job

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:57
The European Parliament rejects Hungary's EU commissioner-designate as unsuitable for the education and culture post.

Tests 'undermine pupils' confidence'

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:55
A Welsh teaching union raises concerns that annual reading and numeracy tests are undermining the confidence of pupils.

Why Ebola Patients Are Getting Treatment In Nebraska

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:40

The Nebraska Medical Center is the largest of four high-level biocontainment patient care units in the U.S.

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Ebola is scaring people away from ERs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:33

During the past few days, there has been no wait at Texas Health Presbyterian’s emergency room in Dallas. Usually, it takes about 45 minutes to see a doctor. But a week after a patient confirmed to have Ebola came through the ER, it’s not the most popular place.

“If I lived in Dallas and became ill, I would head straight for the Texas Health ER knowing that the waiting lines are so short,” Dr. Albert Wu says. Wu is professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  “I would bet that Texas Health is a safer hospital,” Wu says, “and their ED is safer than the other hospitals they would otherwise compete with.”

Wu says even if fear about catching Ebola is not always rational, the panic will have a short-term effect on business. “Emergency departments are certainly one of the main routes to getting hospital admissions," Wu says. "So for almost every big hospital, the emergency room is a crucial way to get patients.”

There are more than 80,000 visits to the ER at Texas Health Presbyterian each year. On average, an ER visit brings in anywhere from $150 to $1,000 in revenue, according to Dr. Angelo Falcone. That might not sound like a lot, but Falcone says if you multiply that by the number of patients that are not coming, it “dramatically affects both the hospital's and the group's bottom line.”

Falcone is CEO of Medical Emergency Professionals, which staffs emergency departments in Maryland and Connecticut. He says the real financial loss isn’t from not treating a broken arm or prescribing pills. It’s from not admitting a patient. Nearly half of hospital patients come through the ER. When you lose one of those customers, Falcone says it could be a loss of tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. Falcone says patients probably won’t avoid the hospital permanently, and fluctuations in patient numbers come with the territory. “It’s the nature of the beast,” he says. “In emergency medicine, you’ll have some days where all of a sudden all the patients show up and other days where it’s not quite as crazy.”

In the long run, Alex Wu at Johns Hopkins says Texas Health Presbyterian could actually benefit. “I’m not sure they’re going to make their reputation on ‘We do the best job curing Ebola cases, send them to us!’ but they are getting their name mentioned and that might not be a terrible thing,” he says.

Right now, we just have the hospital’s symptoms; the prognosis is uncertain.

NPR Chief Announces Departure Of Key Digital Strategist

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:32

CEO Jarl Mohn announced Monday that Kinsey Wilson is leaving the network. Wilson, whose exit follows the departure of several other NPR executives, is seen as a leader on the digital front.

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Bond villain Geoffrey Holder dies

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:30
Geoffrey Holder, the Tony-winning actor, dancer and choreographer known to millions as Baron Samedi in Bond movie Live and Let Die, dies in New York at the age of 84.

The numbers for October 6, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:16

The crowd of protesters in Hong Kong reached 80,000 this weekend, organizers said. The pro-democracy movement and the government were still at a standoff on Monday morning, after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he would "take all necessary actions to restore social order." The crackdown didn't materialize and protesters cleared a small path to the government headquarters as their ranks thinned. Quartz reported that neither side seems to have a clear plan.

Here are the stories we're reading, and other numbers we're watching, Monday.

55,000

That's the number of jobs HP says it will cut—5,000 more than expected—the New York Times reported. The bump comes amid the news that HP will split into two companies, one focused on business technology and the other focused on consumer hardware. 

$290

Bitcoin's value fell nearly 20 percent over the weekend to $290, the BBC reported. It's the sharpest drop yet in a steady decline for the online currency, which was worth more than $1,000 late last year. 

$6 billion

Meanwhile, the mobile payment market was roiling with rumors Monday. Square nabbed $150 million at a $6 billion valuation, but the Verge reported new cash might confirm Square is in trouble. Elsewhere in Silicon Valley, Facebook seems to be experimenting with peer-to-peer mobile payment. A few users found the functionality already hidden in the company's Messenger app, TechCrunch reported.

2016

That's when new episodes of David Lynch's cult hit "Twin Peaks" will debut on Showtime, 25 years after its original run. The Screen Wars rage on.

Inside Sierra Leone's Ebola clinics

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 07:58
How patients' relatives search in vain for treatment

The 21st Century house cat

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 07:53
Can four felines live happily under the same roof?

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