National / International News

Trains halted by track-side fire

BBC - 10 hours 36 min ago
Trains on a railway line out of Birmingham are stopped due to a fire involving 200 tons of metal in Smethwick.

Armed police in stand-off with man

BBC - 10 hours 41 min ago
Armed police are involved in a stand-off with a man in North Shields who witnesses say was waving a gun.

U.S. Charges Four Hackers Over Theft Of Games From Microsoft, Army

NPR News - 10 hours 42 min ago

The four men were between the ages of 18 and 28 and stole games before they were released. They also stole Apache helicopter simulator software developed by a video game manufacturer.

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Netflix grabs rights to 'Crouching Tiger' sequel

Marketplace - American Public Media - 10 hours 49 min ago

A new battle in the war for our eyeballs has just been scheduled for August 28, 2015. The Weinstein Company announced a deal to release the sequel to the hit art-house martial arts film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" simultaneously in Imax movie theaters and on Netflix. 

It's a shot across the bow of the major movie theater chains — Regal, AMC and Cinemark — who control most of the theaters in the United States and demand an exclusive, 90-day "window" before their films move to smaller screens on television or online.

"Anything that starts to erode or challenge the 90-day window could be disaster for them," says Sam Craig, director of the Entertainment, Media and Technology program at NYU. According to Craig, if just 10 percent of theatergoers stayed home, it would mean a loss of more than a billion dollars in ticket sales. 

"No one has approached us to license this made-for-video sequel in the U.S. or China, so one must assume the screens Imax committed are in science centers and aquariums," says an AMC Theatres statement.

Other movies have attempted to debut online and in theaters, but this deal is the first to include Netflix, and the first to include a film that could have just as easily debuted in theaters, according to BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield. "I think if movie studios see the success of what Netflix and Imax do, I think others will follow," says Greenfield.

If they do, theaters will only be able to differentiate on the basis of the theatergoing experience — something they've been attempting to do for years. Regal Cinemas ran trailers in which action films gradually shrank to a small rectangle in the middle of the big screen, while a narrator intoned: "If you want action this big you can’t have a screen this small."  But consumers with smartphones increasingly watch videos even on the smallest of screens, and hardware options have arguably made home viewing more theatrical. 

"The exhibitors are right: It is a different experience," Craig says. "But you get a lot of people that have 60-inch HD screens and surround sound, and maybe they would be just as happy watching it at home."

Ban On Single-Use Plastic Bags Is Enacted In California

NPR News - 10 hours 52 min ago

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed SB 270, the first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in the U.S. It requires a 10-cent fee for the use of compostable or paper bags.

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Microsoft unveils Windows 10 system

BBC - 11 hours 2 min ago
Microsoft announces the next version of its core operating system, called Windows 10, which will reintroduce the Start Menu.

VIDEO: Driest September in UK since 1910

BBC - 11 hours 6 min ago
September is likely to go down as the driest since records began over a century ago in 1910, according to provisional figures released by the Met Office.

The 'blackout rule' is out because football is more popular than it used to be

In a unanimous five-to-zero vote, the Federal Communications Commission decided to eliminate the blackout rule. Since 1975, the regulation barred cable and satellite television from airing local sporting events when the team failed to sell enough tickets to fill their stadium. The National Football League has defended the rule for many years, calling it a tool to ensure a large attendance at the games.

Kenneth Shropshire, director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, talked with David Gura about the move. Listen to the full conversation in the audio player above.

Marriage of convenience becomes divorce of necessity

EBay and PayPal are going their separate ways. It’s an amicable parting though. 

They don’t need each other like they used to. PayPal is getting fewer and fewer new users from eBay — 25–30 percent today, dropping to 15 percent three years from now, CEO John Donahoe told CNBC. Ebay needs some flexibility as it tries to grow its share of e-commerce. 

Activist investor Carl Icahn launched a high-profile campaign to split the companies nine months ago, heckling eBay’s leadership and preparing to insert board members of his choosing. He was rebuffed in the short term, but eBay has clearly come around. 

“We are happy that eBay’s board and management have acted responsibly concerning the separation — perhaps a little later than they should have, but earlier than we expected,” Icahn wrote in a statement

“They have to grudgingly admit he is right,” says Paul Sweeney, senior media analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.

PayPal wants to be the way everyone pays for everything: online and at the store. But so does Square, Softcard, Google and now Apple Pay

“The eBay folks and PayPal folks looked around the marketplace [and] they saw a market that’s continuing to change rapidly and continuing to get more competitive,” says Sweeney.

If PayPal has to consider eBay every time it makes a decision, it’s going to get tied down.  

“They also recognize they were potentially missing out on other business opportunities by being part of the bigger company,” Sweeney says. “By being a stand-alone company they can be a little more nimble, innovative, and perhaps pursue new opportunities.”

There is enormous money at stake. Proximity payments — paying for things using your phone — are blowing up, says eMarketer analyst Bryan Yeager. 

“This year we expect proximity payments to reach $3.5 billion — doubling over last year,” Yeager says. “We expect it to next year reach $8.59 billion, and by the end of 2018 hitting a little more than $118 billion.”

Even so, Yeager says that’s a drop in the bucket when you consider how much money gets put on credit cards.  

EBay also needs to free up cash to work on its own issues; there’s competition from Amazon and maybe even Alibaba. Mergers and acquisitions may even be in eBay’s future, the CEO hinted to CNBC. 

The companies will split late next year. But they’ll still be friends.

DJ Fox arrested over 'sex assaults'

BBC - 11 hours 8 min ago
Radio DJ Neil Fox - known as "Dr Fox" - is arrested in London by police investigating claims of sex offences.

NHS's extra £425m over two years

BBC - 11 hours 9 min ago
The Welsh NHS is to get an extra £425m to spend over the next two years, Finance Minister Jane Hutt announces.

Obama and Modi call for 'new agenda'

BBC - 11 hours 14 min ago
Indian PM Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama call for a "new agenda" between their countries during Mr Modi's two-day visit to the US.

Thousands of Ebola orphans 'shunned'

BBC - 11 hours 14 min ago
At least 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who have lost one or both parents to Ebola this year face being shunned, the UN says.

CSKA Moscow 0-1 Bayern Munich

BBC - 11 hours 18 min ago
Thomas Muller scores a penalty as Bayern Munich beat CSKA Moscow 1-0 at an empty stadium in the Champions League.

Afghans sign deal to keep US troops

BBC - 11 hours 27 min ago
The new Afghan government signs a security deal with American officials that will allow US troops to remain in the country beyond 2014.

Man hurt in dumper truck incident

BBC - 11 hours 32 min ago
A man is airlifted to hospital in Cardiff with life-threatening injuries after an incident involving a dumper truck in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Brown calls for 'promises' petition

BBC - 11 hours 33 min ago
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls for 100,000 Scots to sign a petition urging Westminster to keep devolution promises.

Fraudulent Italian divorces voided

BBC - 11 hours 34 min ago
"Quickie" divorce cases taken out in courts in England and Wales by 180 Italian couples are declared void after a widespread fraud was uncovered.

Will Premier League bubble burst?

BBC - 11 hours 53 min ago
Would an inquiry burst Premier League bubble?

Morgan's workload promise to teachers

BBC - 12 hours 3 min ago
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan held out an olive branch to the teaching profession in England with the promise to reduce their workload.
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