National / International News

Call to snoop on antibiotic scripts

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 15:01
Doctors should snoop on their colleagues to ensure they are not prescribing too many antibiotics, the NHS in England suggests.

Bishops' letter and inflation slump

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 14:51
Wednesday's front pages report the Church of England's critical message to politicians and the potential consequences of record low inflation.

Chinese factories move to a new frontier: America

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-02-17 14:50

You’ve heard the story before: U.S. factories move to China, jobs are lost, whole towns shattered. But lately, things are shifting: Chinese ventures in the United States have spiked.

In 2014, Chinese companies invested more than $12 billion in projects in the U.S, including a handful of big investments in manufacturing. That’s up from about 0 in the mid-2000s.

This shift is obvious in Dayton, Ohio, where a Chinese auto-glass maker is taking over a former General Motors plant, a cavernous building that was left behind when GM closed up manufacturing operations at its Moraine plant in 2008.

Fuyao Glass America, a subsidiary of one of China’s biggest auto-glass makers, bought almost half of the old plant about one year ago, and announced it would be bringing manufacturing operations — along with 800 jobs — to the area. Recently, the number of jobs nearly doubled to more than 1,500.

The former GM Moraine plant was the subject of an HBO documentary, \"The Last Truck,\" about the workers who lost their jobs in 2008. 

Lewis Wallace/Marketplace

Rebecca Ruan-O’Shaughnessy, one of the first employees of Fuyao Glass America, says employees got the keys to the giant maze of a building in July.

“We didn’t know where to come in,” she says. “We just see this big building and had no idea how to get in.”

Just a few years ago, Dayton’s economy was in shards, and the Moraine plant stood as a sometimes painful symbol of the past. Now, a mix of Chinese and American workers are set up at tables and chairs that Fuyao repurposed from GM’s leftovers.

Ruan-O’Shaughnessy opens the door to a classroom filled with dozens of attentive workers in safety vests. It’s the first day for the first 40 production workers, who were hired through a temp agency. She says the company already has had 1,800 applications just for temp jobs here that could turn into permanent, full-time jobs with benefits after 90 days.

Sitting in a bare office, John Gauthier, the president of Fuyao Glass America, says the symbolism is clear: The recession is in the rear-view mirror for this company town.

John Gauthier, president of Fuyao Glass America, gestures towards a chart of leadership positions still to be filled at the company.

Lewis Wallace/Marketplace

“It means something to us here, to be able to come here and reoccupy this [and] bring this factory back to life,” Gauthier says. He moved from Mt. Zion, Illinois, where he was the manager of a glass plant that’s also been acquired by Fuyao and will remain open as a supplier to this plant.

But this Midwestern story also reflects a trend: Chinese companies are opening up shops from Texas to Indiana, with more on the way. Experts say that’s partly because wages are on the rise in China — but in the United States, real wages for manufacturing workers have been in steady decline, particularly in the case of auto-parts workers.

Thilo Hanemann is the research director at the Rhodium Group, a research firm in New York. He says China is also less dependent on cheap labor in general.

“The growth model in China is changing very rapidly and so companies are moving from low value-added goods, [such as] socks and underwear, towards more advanced goods and services,” he says.

So Chinese companies need more of the kinds of skilled labor available in the United States. Plus, they want to be close to their customers — in this case, U.S. automakers. Between that and changes in U.S. and Chinese policy, companies like Fuyao calculate they can actually cut costs in the long run by setting up here.

Mike Fullenkamp, a supervisor at Fuyao, takes me outside the plant on a golf cart. He says not long ago, this place looked bad — a parking lot with cracked cement, overgrown with weeds.

“The guards said they used to see a bunch of coyotes running across and all that,” he says. “We’ll probably still see that, but we’re trying to tame them down a little bit. Let 'em know it’s our home now instead of theirs.”

Fullenkamp says the company hopes to have nearly 20 lines up-and-running, shaping and finishing glass for almost all the major auto makers, by 2018. At five o’clock, the workers on their first day file out to their vehicles and drive off, looking ahead through glass that could, soon enough, be made in Dayton.

Is the NSA monitoring foreign hard drives?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-02-17 14:48

A report released Monday by Russian software company Kaspersky Lab finds that more than 500 computers in 30 countries have been infected by a new form of malware.

Security researchers say it is the first time hackers have used a method of reverse engineering to hack into the computers' hard drives, or "firmware," code that operates beneath the surface of a device. Because of the hack's scope, sophistication, targeted nature and similarities to the Stuxnet attack on Iranian centrifuges, security researchers suspect it is the work of a state actor such as the National Security Agency.

The hack targeted hard drives made by more than a dozen companies, essentially the entire hard drive market.

Stephen Cobb, senior security researcher at ESET North America, says that hacking firmware can be particularly effective because it is so hard to eliminate.

It's also particularly challenging to do, says Jean Taggart, security researcher at Malwarebytes. "Doing this on just one brand of hard drive would be an almost Herculean task," he says. "You have to understand the hardware as well--if not more--than the original manufacturer."

Vincent Liu, a former NSA analyst and partner at security consultancy Bishop Fox, says the hard-drive makers will now have to pay not only to secure their systems, but to demonstrate that security to foreign customers.

Judge slams care chiefs over EDL dad

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 14:14
A council that took a child from a father after raising concerns about his one-time links to the English Defence League is heavily criticised by a leading judge.

Have The Rich Really Gotten Richer?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-17 14:13

Conventional wisdom is that income inequality has gotten worse in the years since the financial crisis. But a new study by a George Washington University professor says that's not what the data shows.

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Storms hit 1,500 Argentine homes

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 14:08
At least 1,500 houses were damaged as deadly storms hit the northern Argentine province of Cordoba, authorities say.

Shaktar Donetsk 0-0 Bayern Munich

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 14:07
Xabi Alonso is sent off as Bayern Munich draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League last-16 meeting in Ukraine.

Obama: 'Law on our side' on migrants

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 14:03
President Barack Obama has hit back at a ruling in Texas that brought to a halt his radical immigration plan.

Brussels finance talks have Greeks feeling cornered

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-02-17 13:53

Greece will soon run out of money, and while finance talks in Brussels are ongoing, there's still no answer yet as to whether Greece will remain a part of the Eurozone or if it will break away and go back to using the drachma currency. 

"It's what everybody is talking about at cafes at taverns. Whenever friends meet, it's the number one topic," says Giorgos Christides, a correspondent at Spiegel Online based in Thessaloniki, Greece.

According to Christides, the finance conflict is actually increasing pro-government sentiment.

"Everyone is cheering for the government, whether they belong to the left, the center or the political right," says Christides. "Most people feel they are being cornered by the 18 other members of the Eurozone."

Christides thinks many Greeks would see a Greek exit from the Eurozone — or a 'Grexit' as it's called — as a huge waste of time and money.

"I think the general consensus, both among the people and the government, is that, after five years of recession, huge unemployment rates and 240 billion euros being spent bailing out Greece... it would be suicide to say Grexit is the only way," Christides says.

ISIS Beheadings In Libya Devastate An Egyptian Village

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-17 13:45

The small hamlet of el-Aour is reeling from the mass execution of 13 of its men in Libya, where they worked. A lack of jobs in Egypt means laborers still head to neighboring Libya, despite the danger.

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Probe over teacher drink can assault

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 13:40
An MP criticises a school, claiming it asked police not to investigate when a teacher was knocked unconscious by a dropped drink can.

Boy, 17, rearrested over Oisin death

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 13:33
Police investigating the death of Fermanagh schoolboy Oisin McGrath rearrest a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of manslaughter.

Paris Saint Germain 1-1 Chelsea

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 13:21
Chelsea withstand a wave of Paris St-Germain attacks to claim a draw in the first leg of Champions League last 16.

The Grandpa Who Saved His Granddaughter From Ebola

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-17 13:19

Ebola is especially deadly for children and babies. About 80 percent of those infected have died. But one man knew instinctively that love and affection could make a difference.

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Daily Telegraph commentator resigns

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 13:16
The Daily Telegraph's chief political commentator Peter Oborne resigns, accusing the paper of a "form of fraud on its readers' for its coverage of HSBC and its Swiss tax-dodging scandal.

Lib Dem peer George Mackie dies

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 13:06
Tributes are paid to the Liberal Democrat peer and farmer George Mackie, who has died at the age of 95.

New York's Top Judge Calls For Overhaul Of State's Grand Jury System

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-17 13:01

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman called the system a "relic of another time," and said prosecutors have been unable to shake a perception that they are not objectively presenting cases to grand juries.

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Princeton Gifted Rare Books Valued At $300 Million

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-17 12:55

Audie Cornish speaks with Paul Needham, the Schiede Librarian at Princeton University, about the gift from the late philanthropist and alum, William Scheide.

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Boycotting Bali over the death sentence

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-17 12:23
Death sentence for foreigners triggers social media spat