National / International News

How much help do rural schools in your state need?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-20 08:30

The Rural School and Community Trust has released its "Why Rural Matters" report for 2013-2014, tracking the conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states. Using a combination of measurements, including student diversity, socioeconomic conditions and educational outcomes, the nonprofit organization categorizes in its report the overall need for support of rural education in each state.

In particular, the report highlighted the fact that rural schools, which serve 20 percent of U.S. schoolchildren, are experiencing higher growths in enrollment rates compared to non-rural schools. Rural schools also serve an increasingly diverse demographic and a growing percentage of students live in poverty, according to the report.

NPR To End 'Tell Me More,' Eliminate 28 Positions

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 08:28

The moves come as part of the network's effort to eliminate budget deficits. Tell Me More host Michel Martin will remain with NPR.

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Tuesday's gossip column

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 08:22
Luke Shaw set for Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid want Luis Suarez, Inter Milan and Liverpool want Ashley Cole and more.

Businesses win riot damage ruling

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 08:20
Businesses whose property is damaged in riots can recover "consequential" losses stemming from the incident, the Court of Appeal rules.

Search under way for missing boat

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 08:13
A major search is under way for a fishing boat with two people on board after it failed to return to an Aberdeenshire harbour.

This is your brain on a phone

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-20 08:00

There is word that Britain's National Health Service has just commissioned a big study to see what mobile phones are doing — if anything — to our kids.

This is one of the biggest stories I'v seen so far while broadcasting this week from London, and yet it has received very little coverage outside of these isles.

Here is the part that stopped me in my tracks: Researchers say this is not something that has been studied much. It should be said that perhaps there are no significant health, cognitive or developmental effects of young people using cell phones the way they do. But until this new research starts bearing fruit in a few years these will remain open questions.

The study will recruit parents and children at about 160 middle and high schools around London. They have to agree to let a special app monitor the phones of children as young as 11. The app will track how the phone is used, as a speaker phone, via headphones or how often it's held up against the ear.

Researchers, coordinated by the Imperial College London, are interested in any effects of radio waves emitted by the phones but also how the regular use of mobiles might change the way kids think or remember information. It's not just the effects of phones they are interested in, but other digital devices such as tablets as well. Alarmist nonsense? It is being noted here that the World Health Organization has said there is an urgent need for this kind of research with youngsters.

It is interesting that for a while now the National Health Service over here has had guidelines urging that phones should only be used by kids for "essential purposes." If you have ever seen a kid stuck in that praying mantis pose with a phone in hand, you know that is not always the case. That is to say kids have been known to use smart phones for more than just calling home for a ride or checking if the teacher had sent an email.

The lead investigator in the new British study is quoted by the BBC saying, "As mobile phones are a new and widespread technology central to our lives, carrying out the study is important in order to provide the evidence base with which to inform policy and through which parents and their children can make informed life choices."

What I am wondering is where they are going to find kids for the study's control group: the kids who never use phones are becoming a very rare breed.

Donors pledge $600m in S Sudan aid

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:58
Donors including the US and the UK pledge more than $600m (£360m; 440m euros) in aid to South Sudan at a conference in Norway.

CIA 'ends use of vaccine programmes'

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:46
The CIA has ended its use of vaccine programmes in its spying operations amid concerns for the safety of health workers, the White House says.

Chipotle restaurant: No guns, please

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:43
US fast-food chain Chipotle asks customers not to bring guns into its restaurants after gun advocates carried assault-style rifles into one in Texas.

Hillsborough search 'painstaking'

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:42
The Hillsborough disaster inquests jury is told of the "very painstaking work" to identify the victims in thousands of videos and photos.

G.M. Recalls 2.42 Million Vehicles Over Four Different Issues

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:42

The American auto company has faced intense criticism over its failure to recall more than 2 million vehicles with ignition switch problems linked to at least a dozen deaths.

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Colombia Three man wins guns appeal

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:36
A conviction of one of the so-called Colombia Three for a weapons offence has been quashed.

Putin seeks gas deal on China visit

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:34
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has begun a two-day state visit to China in which he hopes to deepen ties and sign a major gas deal.

E-Cigarette Users May End Up Paying More For Insurance

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:33

Tobacco users often have to pay higher premiums for health insurance, and it's not clear if switching to e-cigarettes will help them escape that fate. A lot depends on what federal agencies decide.

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Third Of French Are On Psychoactive Drugs, Agency Says

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:29

Too many French citizens are regular or occasional users of prescription drugs such as antidepressants and sleeping pills, a government health agency says.

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Boardroom quotas a 'necessary evil'

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:22
Quotas should be implemented to increase the level of diversity in sport boardrooms, says Fifa member Moya Dodd.

Waiting At VA Hospitals: A Matter Of Life And Death

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:19

The Department of Veterans Affairs is under scrutiny after reports say it makes patients wait too long to see doctors. NPR correspondent Quil Lawrence discusses what happened and the possible fallout.

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Thai PM plea as martial law imposed

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:18
Thailand's acting PM urges the army to act peacefully and within the constitution as it imposes martial law following months of unrest.

Fashion soared as the economy faltered in the 1930s

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:15

Despite dismal economic circumstances, fashion made great technological and aesthetic advances in the 1930s, says Patricia Mears, co-editor of the book "Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s". Mears is the deputy director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Madeleine Vionnet orange cotton cutwork dress, circa 1932, Paris, gift of Genia Graves.

© Eileen Costa

Even amongst the poorest people, she says, there was a strong effort to dress well.

"America was probably the best-dressed country in the world because we were so innovative in ready-to-wear," says Mears. "That sense of occasion that really drove the need to wear a suit...and the fact that you didn't have a lot of resources, so you really wanted to put your best self out there, I think was very important."

It wasn't just the economic downturn in the '30s that sparked a wave of fashion innovation, however.

"It sat very closely after World War I, which was a very revolutionary period that really upended culture and society," Mears explains. "Also, there was a lot of technical innovation going on in things related to clothing, namely with textiles -- the innovation of very lightweight, much more flexible, and larger and longer lengths of woven fabric were available to dressmakers and couturiers." 

Madeleine Vionnet black chiffon dress with pintucks, circa 1930, Paris, lent by Beverley Birks.

© Eileen Costa

Hollywood, naturally, influenced the style of the era in its own way--particularly thanks to one Fred Astaire, who would dance up and down the hallways to make sure his clothes fit properly.

"The fact that he was a dancer and that movement was so important--and that he was on the big screen, he understood the importance of properly-proportioned garments--I think was one of the reasons his style has such resonance today," Mears says. "He was one of those men who could wear a white tie and tails the way that other men wore pajamas. There was that sense of ease about the way he dressed."

Deadly missile strike in north Syria

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 07:08
At least 13 people, including eight children, have been killed in a missile strike on a town in north-eastern Syria, activists say.
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