National / International News

UN to investigate ex-chief's death

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:56
A UN panel is to start investigating the mysterious 1961 death in a plane crash of its former Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold in Zambia.

Ex-Feds Accused Of Pocketing Bitcoins During Investigation

NPR News - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:52

Both officials — one with the Secret Service and the other with the Drug Enforcement Administration — were on a task force investigating the Silk Road online marketplace.

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VIDEO: Election leaders - little known facts

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:45
Rarely heard information about the leaders of the UK's bigger political parties

Stephen Fry 'hounded off' Instagram

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:30
TV presenter and actor Stephen Fry says he's deleting his Instagram account telling his followers he was "hounded off".

VIDEO: MH17 probe's plea for missile witness

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:19
An international team investigating the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 has urged witnesses to come forward who saw a Buk missile launcher in the area.

NBC announces 'The Wiz' as its next musical

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:15

For those of you who loved Carrie Underwood in NBC's live broadcast of "The Sound of Music," or Allison Williams in "Peter Pan," or who just loved to watch Twitter as they were airing, big news: NBC announced today its next spectacular will be ... drumroll please ... "The Wiz."

The show is expected to air in December. 

Cirque du Soleil will help produce, but no cast announcements have been made yet.

Quiz: Don’t judge a school by its sticker price

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:09

College costs are rising, but 84 percent of undergrads received financial aid in 2011, according to the Department of Education.

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How do airlines compensate for a plane crash?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:09

As the details of the Germanwings plane crash continue to be put together, one question yet to be determined is how the families or heirs of victims will be compensated.

Regardless of the circumstances that caused the crash — and remember, a prosecutor has said the co-pilot intentionally flew the plane into the ground — Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, will probably not pay punitive damages.

Under an international agreement called the Montreal Convention, the families of victims probably will be entitled to 'unlimited compensation,' unless Lufthansa claims in court that it was not responsible for the crash in any way. That's a claim the company is highly unlikely to make.

Unlimited compensation means that courts will decide compensation for each victim according to fairly standard calculation. "Things like age, income, the earning capacity, marital status, education," says aviation attorney Mark Dombroff with the law firm McKenna Long and Aldridge.

Punitive damages, designed to punish a company in cases of willful negligence, do not apply under the treaty. "Let’s hypothecate that they did everything wrong, the fact is underneath the international agreement, you still can't get punitive damages," Dombroff says.

Still, some compensation cases may yet argue negligence on the part of Lufthansa. The fact that two pilots were not required to be in the cockpit will likely still come up in court.

"Did they know that that could have left them open to sabotage or pilot suicide?" asks Mary Schiavo, a former Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation. "Of course I'd argue that and I will argue that if I'm involved in the case. And they should have known that. So, am I saying that there is no way they'll have additional liability? No.”

Schiavo estimates that total payments will reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, which is well short of the $1.5 billion insurance policy that nearly all airlines carry per flight.

MH17 appeal for Buk missile witnesses

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:08
A team investigating the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine appeals to witnesses who saw a Buk missile launcher in the area.

The risks of being an activist CEO

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:06

There is suddenly a slew of CEOs speaking out about one sensitive issue or another. Tim Cook of Apple wrote a piece in favor of gay rights in the Washington Post. “ 

Tim Cook: Pro-discrimination 'religious freedom' laws are dangerous

America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business,” Cook wrote in the Post op-ed. The CEOs of Salesforce and Yelp made similar stands on the issue, also citing a controversial Indiana law. Not long ago, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz used his coffee pulpit to spur discussion on race relations. Before that,  he waded into the issue of gun control.

Publicly held companies are, at the end of the day, about maximizing shareholder value. And CEOs are locked in a delicate balance of power between those shareholders, their own interests and their boards of directors (which are usually empowered to fire him or her).

So what explains these kinds of high-profile stances? After all, a controversial stand can alienate customers and weaken brand loyalty — or it can strengthen it — but why become embroiled at all?

“CEOs are people too, as surprising as that may sound,” says Steven Davidoff Solomon, professor of law at University of California, Berkeley. “Sometimes they have to speak, just like you do.”

And they usually ask permission first. 

“You don’t very often see a CEO of a public company taking a public stance on a controversial issue without the CEO going first to the board,” says Donna Dabney, executive director of the Conference Board’s Governance Center.

And boards of directors are apt to give the okay, she says. “CEOs and companies these days are feeling they should speak up on societal issues.”

In fact, says Dabney, CEOs are often criticized for not speaking out enough: “It used to be that you would find that heads of large public companies would take a leadership role in community and societal affairs and I think there’s kind of a change toward stepping up to that role again.”

Having the board on board doesn’t necessarily mean things will go well, of course.

“I’m afraid Starbucks found the experience of dealing candidly with race, even though a commendable effort, to have been something that went rather embarrassingly awkwardly for the company,” says John Coffee, professor of law at Columbia University’s school of law.  

A lot of what determines whether a CEO will take a stand boils down to corporate policy. “Every company does things differently,” says Coffee. Some have business-policy committees to control corporate image — and corporate mouths — extra tightly. Others will let a CEO live his or her life as long as they don’t reduce shareholder value.

VIDEO: Kercher mother 'shocked' by verdicts

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 09:02
The mother of Meredith Kercher, Arline Kercher has said she was shocked by the verdict acquitting Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito of her daughter's murder in Italy in 2007.

Mercury 'painted black' by comets

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 08:59
The mystery of Mercury's dark surface can be explained by a steady dusting of carbon from passing comets, research suggests.

Museum displays IS beheadings

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 08:55
A museum defends a decision to exhibit graphic images of beheadings by the Islamic State militant group.

Stephen Fry 'hounded off' Instagram

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 08:53
Author and broadcaster Stephen Fry swears off Instagram, claiming to have been "hounded off" the photo-sharing service.

Iran nuclear crisis: Six key points

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 08:50
Six key points to understanding what the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme is all about.

'Trevor who?' reaction to Noah as host

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 08:49
South African is surprise replacement for Jon Stewart

Ex-Israeli Leader Ehud Olmert Found Guilty Of Corruption

NPR News - Mon, 2015-03-30 08:41

Monday's decision reversed a 2012 ruling that had acquitted the former prime minister. He was convicted last year on separate corruption charges.

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Dozens dead near Yemen refugee camp

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 08:35
At least 45 people have died in a blast near a refugee camp in western Yemen, aid workers say, but officials deny Saudi air strikes were the cause.

Free nursery has 'no academic benefit'

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 08:33
Free nursery places for three-year olds have helped mothers back to work, but have made "no difference" to academic performance later on, researchers claim.

Family of four dead in Gibraltar flat

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-30 08:25
Four people including a British man and two children have been found dead in a flat in Gibraltar, police in the British territory have said.