National / International News

VIDEO: Sochi on alert as Olympics begin

BBC - Thu, 2014-02-06 14:40
Security is tight in the Russian city of Sochi, where the first action has been taking place in the Winter Olympics ahead of Friday's opening ceremony.

As Deficit Anxiety Fades, Debt Rears Its Ugly Head

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 14:28

Cutting the national debt and deficit used to be the most divisive political debate in Washington. These days, not so much. Both parties have agreed to move on and focus on issues they largely agree on: income inequality and social mobility. But there's not much they can do without a sustainable budget.

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Tube strike travel delays continue

BBC - Thu, 2014-02-06 14:13
Londoners endure a second day of Tube disruption during the first of two strikes over planned job cuts and ticket office closures.

Sochi's Stray Dogs Melt Hearts, And Put Officials On Defensive

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 14:13

The stray dogs roaming Russia's Olympics venues have already become the unofficial mascots of the Winter Games. Olympics officials say no healthy dogs will be destroyed, but animal rights groups worried about the fate of the dogs are taking in as many as they can.

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US ice storm sparks mass power cuts

BBC - Thu, 2014-02-06 14:10
Nearly half a million people remain without electricity after the second storm in a week struck parts of the winter-weary US east coast on Wednesday.

Senate Fails To Advance Unemployment Bill, Again

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 14:10

The bill would have restored unemployment benefits to 1.7 million Americans, who have been out of work for the long term.

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The Chinese New Year: A 2 week holiday everywhere?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-02-06 14:06

For the growing number of international companies who do business in China, Chinese New Year is an occasion for workers to take time off and be with their families.

The two-week holiday can mean more than two months of delays for a global economy that depends on all sorts of parts and goods traveling in and out of China.

For Scott Ellyson, CEO of East West Manufacturing, the New Year means pretty much everything grinds to a halt. 

"If you can imagine, as many as a billion people hit the road at the same time trying to get back to their homes, and just everything goes into gridlock," Ellyson says.

How does that happen? One reason, Ellyson says, is the uncertainty of the workforce.

"You often don't know how many of your workers are going to show up after the Chinese New Year. The labor force in China is very migratory, folks often move from the western region to the eastern region of China to work," he says.

"Some years you may lose 25 to 30 percent of your workers after Chinese New Year, they just might not show up because they realize there's better opportunities closer to them or in a different region."

Cameron's pledge to flooding victims

BBC - Thu, 2014-02-06 14:05
As the next band of severe weather heads for the UK, more money is pledged for flood repairs and Royal Marines move in to help on the Somerset Levels.

Building water systems for the next century

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:58

Water's getting a lot of attention these days.

There's the drought across the West, questions about whether the water in West Virginia is safe to drink, and severe rainstorms flooding the East Coast.

The original urban water system started in Ancient Rome, where pieces of aqueducts can still be seen. But for modern civilization? How we get our water is usually out of sight, out of mind.

"But actually, there's a remarkable hidden world bringing water into our homes, treating it before it goes back out into our environment, and providing us with all the water we can ever want," says University of California Berkeley professor David Sedlak. His book "Water 4.0" looks at how civilizations have dealt with their water problems.

"It's part of the same story about water infrastructure -- no longer up to the challenges that nature's throwing at it," says Sedlak.

For example, the city of Perth in Australia used seawater to solve their water crisis:

Sedlak says he's surprised that overhauling existing water systems happens in a relatively short period of time. And that investing in water systems now can save money throughout the next century.

"You don't appreciate water until it's not there," says Sedlak. "What we're seeing is precisely what the climate change models predict -- the wet places are going to get wetter, and the dry places are going to get drier."

Food Industry Groups Say They'll Label GMOs, On Their Terms

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:57

In an open acknowledgement that many consumers are annoyed that GMO ingredients aren't labeled, a coalition announced Thursday that it does support labeling. But it wants a federal standard to be voluntary, and it wants to keep states from passing any more mandatory labeling measures.

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Twitter shares dive as growth slows

BBC - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:47
Shares in microblogging site Twitter fell by 21% after it reported slower growth in user numbers, just three months after its flotation on the New York Stock Exchange.

Italian Navy Rescues Some 1,100 Migrants In Mediterranean

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:47

The people, including pregnant women and about 50 children, were fleeing sub-Saharan Africa when they were intercepted near the island of Lampedusa.

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8 post-apocalpyse scenarios: The Day After the Debt Ceiling

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:45

February 7th marks the beginning of renewed debate in Congress around the Debt Ceiling. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says if we don’t reach an agreement, he won’t’ be able to pay our bills by the end of the month.

So what happens then?

Sam Weiner and Daniel Kibblesmith, authors of “How to Win at Everything” have some ideas. Possible scenarios:

1. The Debt Pit:

In this scenario, if Congress is unable to set aside their differences, the nation's entire supply of dollar bills will be herded into a massive hole in ground.  Once contained, hundreds of federal musclemen will bash the money with heavy tree branches.

2. The Deficit Volcano:

If America can't balance its budget, we'll be forced to sacrifice a lusty virgin and whoever the current Fed chairman is by throwing them into one of Washington D.C.'s 29 active volcanoes.

3. The Financial Miasma:

This noxious, soupy fog would surround Fort Knox, cutting us off from our supply of precious gold.

4. America's Widening Income Gap:

The Income Gap is a literal crack in the earth is spreading all over the country, swallowing up the nation's middle class. Do not even look into the income gap – you will fall in.

5. The Money Meteor, a.k.a.'The Cashteroid':

Fortunately, all of America's economic woes will briefly be solved after the country is hit by The Money Meteor, AKA The Cashteroid, a giant wad of 100 dollars from outer space. Unfortunately, this densely packed chunk of space money will knock over the Statue of Liberty.

6. Attack of the Loan Sharks: 

Next in our financial apocalypse would come the Attack of the Loan Sharks, when anyone who has recently taken out a loan is eaten by a shark.

7. The Credit Crunch: 

This reverse Big Bang will implode the entirety of the nation's credit as well as all other matter in the universe into a single, super-dense particle.

8.  ...America's economy will survive...

Don't worry. The Invisible Hand of the market will guide us through a new Big Bang and billions of years of financial progress until we end up right back in our current state of unchecked prosperity and economic glory.

So bring on the debt ceiling. We have nothing to lose but all of our personal wealth, and the universe as we know it.

Who 'Won' The Creation Vs. Evolution Debate?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:27

Days after a wide-ranging debate on creationism and evolution between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, the topic is driving an online conversation about points raised in the debate. Themes of belief and literalism, logic and faith — and, for some, relevance — are being debated online.

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Health care data is becoming big target for hackers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:11

Retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus have been in the spotlight lately for cyber security breaches but a recent study suggests that your health care provider might be more vulnerable to hacks.

In part, that’s because, our medical records are easy targets because they can increasingly be accessed online, said Barbara Nelson, who is with IronKey, a company that sells encrypted storage devices.

“The healthcare community, especially doctors and nurses, they’re concerned about healing people,” Nelson said. “And it just takes time for these people to change their infrastructure, it’s also expensive.”

Nelson said many healthcare providers still don’t encrypt patient data on laptops or USB sticks, which are often used to transfer files at a hospitals.  

And many providers still give full access to medical records to anybody with a password from doctors to receptionists, said Sam Imandoust, a legal analyst at the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center.

“And considering the value of these patient records where anywhere they can be anywhere from $50 to $500 apiece,” that can be a big temptation for insiders to sell their passwords to hackers.

Imandoust says hackers mostly mine the data for insurance records, which they use to buy prescription drugs. He says 1 million medical records were reported stolen last year but the number is probably much higher because lots of providers stay mum about hacks.

Start Early To Cut Women's Stroke Risk

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:06

Women face a higher risk of stroke than men. But until now there haven't been guidelines specific to women for managing the risk. New recommendations say women should start thinking about reducing their stroke risk early on, when they're thinking about getting pregnant or avoiding pregnancy.

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Violin Worth $5 Million Makes A Safe Return Home

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:00

Police in Milwaukee have recovered a Stradivarius violin and arrested three suspects in its theft. The instrument, said to be worth approximately $5 million, was stolen in a brazen armed robbery from the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra late last month. Mitch Teich of WUWM in Milwaukee reports on the violin's recovery.

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Leaked Ukraine Phone Call Puts U.S. Credibility On The Line

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:00

An apparent private telephone conversation between two senior American diplomats about the crisis in Ukraine has surfaced on YouTube. In the call, which has not yet been authenticated, the two participants discuss the relative merits of the leaders of Ukraine's opposition movement. One of the callers is also vehemently critical of the European Union. There's speculation that the call is between the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

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Maryland Drug Officials Worry Over A Deadly Mixture

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:00

Officials with the Drug Enforcement Agency are meeting with Maryland state police and other law enforcement officers on Thursday. They hope to find a way to head off a tainted heroin mixture that has killed nearly 40 people in the state since September. Officials say the drug is affecting users in both the suburbs and inner cities, and groups that offer services to drug abusers are moving quickly to warn users to watch out for the deadly heroin-fentanyl combination.

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Family Feud Renews Over MLK's Prized Possessions

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 13:00

The children of Martin Luther King Jr. are embroiled in yet another legal battle — this time, over control of the late civil rights leader's Bible and Nobel Peace Prize.

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