National / International News

Indian train derails killing many

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 02:06
A passenger train derails in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 30 people and leaving dozens injured.

Tax receipts cut government borrowing

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 02:06
Britain's public finances improve in February with government borrowing down by a third from a year earlier thanks to a pick up in seasonal income tax payments.

Michelle Obama promotes girls' education in Asia

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 02:00

First lady Michelle Obama is traveling in Asia this week to promote a new initiative with the Peace Corps aimed at closing the education gap for girls. Around the world, an estimated 62 million girls between the ages of 6 and 15 are not in school. The Peace Corps plans to recruit and train at least 650 new volunteers to help remove the barriers to education in developing countries like Albania, Cambodia, Georgia, and Uganda.

The economic payoff can be significant, says Sarah Lynch, a senior director of the global charity Care, which will help train volunteers. "Investments in girls' education have proven to go further than any other spending in global development," she says.

Click the media player above to hear more.

 

Tesla plans to launch 'autopilot' feature this summer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 02:00

Tesla announced a few software updates it’s planning for its electric vehicles on Thursday, including one where the car tracks its distance from charging stations to try to alleviate driver anxiety about running out of juice. CEO Elon Musk said that the company could push another update — autopilot — to its Model S fleet as soon as June.

While Musk said cars would be technically capable of getting from place to place without a driver having to do anything, initially this feature limited to use on highways, as neighborhoods pose safety issues given their many obstacles and variables. Eventually, drivers could also summon their cars or let the vehicles park themselves.

Mike Wall, an auto analyst at IHS, says this move echoes steps taken by other car companies and that driver-less technology is advancing faster than regulations that will govern its use.

Michelle Krebs, an analyst with AutoTrader, says driverless cars could be on the road tomorrow, but manufacturers are holding back because of regulatory concerns and questions about who’s to blame if there’s an accident. Tesla believes its autopilot feature meets current regulations. 

Michelle Obama promotes girls' education in Asia

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 02:00

First lady Michelle Obama is traveling in Asia this week to promote a new initiative with the Peace Corps aimed at closing the education gap for girls. Around the world, an estimated 62 million girls between the ages of 6 and 15 are not in school. The Peace Corps plans to recruit and train at least 650 new volunteers to help remove the barriers to education in developing countries like Albania, Cambodia, Georgia, and Uganda.

The economic payoff can be significant, says Sarah Lynch, a senior director of the global charity Care, which will help train volunteers. "Investments in girls' education have proven to go further than any other spending in global development," she says.

Click the media player above to hear more.

 

Silicon Tally: Where's my tax refund?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week, we're joined by David Gura, senior reporter for Marketplace in our Washington D.C. bureau. We're celebrating his last day at Marketplace, as he leaves for Bloomberg TV.

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Starbucks' race push irks some

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 02:00

Starbucks new #RaceTogether campaign has set off a storm of controversy. The coffee giant is hoping baristas and customers will have a more frank discussion about American race relations. 

So what's the best way to bring up issues of diversity? Nicole Sanchez, CEO of Vaya Consulting, says Starbucks may have helped create controversy by trying to force this conversation when people are at their most vulnerable—that is to say, before they've had their morning coffee.

But Robert Raben, president of the Raben Group, says Starbucks may be onto something. Its coffee houses are so ubiquitous and integrated that they serve as de facto town halls and community centers for places all across the country. 

Freight rail is king in U.S.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 02:00

Railways carry more than 40 percent of the freight shipped between U.S. cities. The U.S. freight rail system is uniquely profitable, and it's been attracting international attention. Europe, Russia, Brazil and Australia have all sent representatives here.

“There have been dozens of delegations just over the last couple of years,” says Patricia Reilly, senior vice president  for communications at the Association of American Railroads, a trade group for freight rail companies.

Reilly has met with some of the international visitors. They want to know everything, down to what stone is used for rail beds. Some come with interpreters, but Reilly says they speak a common tongue.

“They might not speak our language, but they love railroads," she says. "They love the sound of a whistle.”

Garrick Francis loves the sound of a whistle, too. He’s a lobbyist with the freight rail company CSX Transportation.  

He’s also met with the international delegations. He says they’re curious about a huge difference between the U.S. and the rest of the world. The American freight rail system is run entirely by private companies. Francis says he gets lots of questions about investment.

“So how do we have private investors," he says. "How is this a business that attracts investment from major funds or major shareholders on Wall Street and in other places?” 

But Francis gets harder questions, too, about rail congestion in places like Chicago. Freight trains have to share track with passenger trains, adding to the congestion. 

The international delegations also want to know about new safety technology freight railways have developed. Freight rail’s safety record has improved, with the accident rate down by 42 percent since 2000. Still, accidents do happen. 

“Some of these accidents with the crude oil trains have been drastic reminders that there’s still a long way to go,” says Pasi Lautala, director of the rail transportation program at Michigan Technological University. 

Lautala says, in some ways, freight rail in the U.S. is a victim of its own success, making money and growing enough to attract admirers from around the world — but still facing expensive challenges.  

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcript: NPR's Interview With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-20 01:41

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep on the heels of a win for Netanyahu's Likud Party in parliamentary elections this week. Read a transcript of the interview.

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Facebook me some money

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-20 01:30
500 million

A low estimate for the number of people using Facebook's Messenger app. With the reveal of mobile payments on Messenger earlier this week, Facebook's plans for the app are becoming clearer. TechCrunch reported Messenger will become a platform for third-party developers, who will add more content and commerce. The company is expected to build on the success of its WhatsApp acquisition, and model Messenger after Asia's extremely popular messaging apps like WeChat and Line.

One in four

The whiter a census tract is, except in extreme cases, the more likely it is to have a Starbucks, according to an analysis by Quartz. For example, one in four tracts with 70 percent white people have a 'Bucks. Something to keep in mind if you see "#RaceTogether" on your cup one morning.

$1.9 billion

Last year's revenue across all streaming music services like Spotify, Pandora and Vevo, according to a new report from the RIAA. Streaming is on track to overtake digital downloads, which had already taken a bite out of recording industry revenue in the past decade. All this disruption added up to a flat year for the recording industry.

3 percent

Fewer than 3 percent of construction workers are women. And as employers report job shortages of skilled workers in fields like welding and carpentry, some are calling for women to go after employment in these professions. 

40 percent

That's the percentage of freight carried by the U.S. railway system across the country. It's why this unusually profitable venture has been studied by the global market.

In pictures: Solar eclipse

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 01:15
People gather to see the best solar eclipse in years

Richard III buried with village soil

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 01:10
Soil from the village where Richard III was born will be placed in his coffin when he is reburied, after a donation from the owner of the former king's birthplace.

Pharrell: Everything inspired by something

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 01:09
In his first interview since being sued for copyright for $7.3m (£4.8m) Pharrell Williams warns other musicians could face similar legal action.

VIDEO: Ukraine ceasefire being violated

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 01:09
Fighting is continuing around the government-controlled town of Peski in eastern Ukraine despite the ceasefire.

VIDEO: Six Nations: Best moments so far

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 01:07
Watch the best moments so far from this year's Six Nations Championship before the weekend's deciding matches.

A Push To Move Food Stamp Recipients Into Jobs

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-20 01:05

Critics say the benefit program discourages people from seeking jobs. The Obama administration is announcing grants to 10 states to find a better way to get recipients back to work.

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From Skid Row To Rome: The Story Of An Unusual Running Club

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-20 01:05

A Los Angeles criminal court judge has organized a running club made up of residents from Skid Row's Midnight Mission. This weekend, the club is running far away from home.

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UKIP claims 'couldn't look worse'

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 00:55
Allegations of a "serious financial nature" against a UKIP MEP and general election candidate "couldn't look worse", Nigel Farage says.

Police: BBC FOI request is vexatious

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 00:48
Police dismiss FOI request from BBC

Defence equipment plan 'at risk'

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-20 00:14
Britain's defence equipment capability is at "real risk" from cost overruns and potential government spending cuts, say MPs.

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