National / International News

VIDEO: Digital storytelling of the Somme

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 15:04
The tech turning you into a corporal in 1916

VIDEO: Keeping the lights on in Gaza

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 15:04
The BBC's Yolande Knell talks to the people trying to restore basic utilities in Gaza as a new five-day ceasefire with Israel continues.

Brook hopes to erase 'nightmare' year

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 14:48
Kell Brook says Saturday's IBF welterweight title fight with Shawn Porter in California is the start of a "new chapter".

The 30-year-old health billionaire

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 14:40
The self-made 30-year-old health care boss who's worth $4.5bn

State police take charge in Ferguson

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 14:36
The governor of Missouri announces that state police will take charge of crowd control in the troubled suburb of Ferguson after four nights of unrest.

MLB Owners Pick League's COO As New Commissioner

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-14 14:33

Rob Manfred, a labor lawyer who has worked for the league for 16 years, beat out Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. Current commissioner Bud Selig says he'll retire in January.

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Smartphone stress: Are you a victim?

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 14:29
Are we becoming victims of the 'always on' work culture?

Banana firm Chiquita spurns takeover

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 14:22
Banana firm Chiquita rejects a takeover bid by Brazil's Cutrale and Safra groups, saying it will stick to a plan to merge with Fyffes.

Why won't small firms work with Wal-Mart?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:56

For some companies, scoring a contract with Wal-Mart can seem like hitting the lottery — we're talking business bucket list.

Mark Goldstein is CEO of Scott’s Liquid Gold, a medium sized company which expects to make almost $30 million in revenue this year.

“They have been just the best and finest people to deal with,” he says.

Scott's Liquid Gold sells just under a third of its product line, like air fresheners, to Wal-Mart.

“They help companies like us to be more efficient in manufacturing and transportation,” says Goldstein.

Not all companies feel that kind of affection for Wal-Mart.

Victor Lund, a partner with Wav Group Consulting, used to own WOW, a small company that sold cookie cutters to Wal-Mart.

“Working with Wal-Mart can be a great experience but it’s very, very difficult,” says Lund.

No matter how small you are, he says, if you want to work with Wal-Mart, you have to follow the same requirements that Fortune 100 companies do.

“They have a vendor booklet, that talks about what their requirements are, that was eight inches thick,” Lund says.

With fewer than 20 employees, and less than five million dollars of revenue a year, Lund says WOW was really small,which made dealing with Wal-Mart challenging.

“Making sure that you’re working with a manufacturer in China that’s going to support you in being compliant with Wal-Mart’s rules and regulations is very, very important but it is also drives up costs tremendously,” he says.

And for some companies working with Wal-Mart is just too difficult. In Lund’s case WOW’s vendor agreement with Wal-Mart became more valuable than the company itself. So he sold it.

A Virtual Outbreak Offers Hints Of Ebola's Future

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:56

As the Ebola outbreak rages in West Africa, it is also unfolding — in a virtual sense — inside the computers of scientists trying to predict how far the outbreak will spread and when it will end.

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Why Ferguson's police department uses military weapons

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:43

After President Barack Obama saw images and video from Ferguson, Mo., where a police officer shot an unarmed 18-year-old over the weekend, he urged police there to be “open and transparent.” He also called for officers and protesters alike “to take a step back and think.” 

Five days after the shooting, protests have swelled, and the police have been using what looks like pretty sophisticated, military-style weapons and gear. Many police departments across the country have that kind of equipment. And thanks to federal government programs, they have been amassing more of it.

The Pentagon has what it calls a “Disposition Services” department. Its mandate, quite simply, is to dispose of stuff.  A list of what’s available includes night-vision goggles, combat uniforms, tear gas, grenades and M16s.

Robert Kane heads the department of criminology and justice studies at Drexel University, and he says the Defense Department has sold billions of dollars of equipment at bargain basement prices.

“You know, an armored personnel carrier can cost somewhere along the lines of $780,000, maybe even $800,000, and sometimes the police department can get that for $3,000,” he says.

There are also grants available, Kane says.

State and local police departments have dealt with the DOD for decades, but Congress formalized that relationship in the 1990s, during the war on drugs and after the Los Angeles riots.

“Law enforcement was in many instances outgunned and out-equipped from a technical standpoint,” says Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police.

 After Sept. 11, departments acquired new surveillance equipment, along with new vehicles and weapons. 

David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, worries some departments rely on these high-end tools more and more. “You’ve got the stuff," he says. "'Isn’t this the occasion to use it?’ goes the thinking.”

You'd use it to break up protests. Even to deliver a warrant.

“When you militarize the equipment, and you militarize the personnel, you are also militarizing the situation and that can lead to escalation,” Harris says.

Police need the best training and the most suitable weapons, he says, but departments need to consider carefully how and when they use them.

Currency row dominates campaign

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:41
Currency continues to dominate the independence debate with economists offering rival viewpoints - as the Bank of England clarifies remarks made by Finance Secretary John Swinney.

How A Dissolvable 'Tampon' Could One Day Help Women Stop HIV

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:41

Engineers have come up with an experimental technology that could make HIV prevention as easy as using a tampon. It's based on an ultrafine fabric that's thinner than a human hair.

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Athlete loses gold for removing shirt

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:39
France's Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad is stripped of his 3,000m steeplechase gold medal for taking his shirt off on the home straight.

Porsche designs new model to woo women

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:28

Porsche is the most profitable company in Volkswagen’s family of brands, with a long and storied history. But it has a big problem.

Kyle Stock, Associate Editor at Bloomberg Businessweek says 85 percent of the people who buy Porsches are men.

"They do acknowledge that women are a demographic that they haven’t done great with," says Stock. "They want new buyers, new customers for this and so they’re definitely thinking about that."

After three years of research and development, Porsche rolled out a new model designed to appeal to women, called the Macan.

"Its development was a journey from the Nürburgring test track to the Whole Foods parking lot," says Stock.

Stock believes this crossover vehicle will help the car company increase their female customers, however, they probably should have jumped on the train a long time ago.

"The small SUV segment, the crossover segment, is by far the hottest segment in the market right now," says Stock. "And there is no signs of that slowing down."

Headlines that make you go, 'Wait... what?'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:23

We may have to start a new segment on the program: Marketplace Reads Headlines That Make You Go, "Wait... What?"

And then we'll just read headlines.

Particularly, ones like this one from the Wall Street Journal:

Harvard Scientists Devise Robot Swarm That Can Work Together

Swarm of 1,024 Tiny Robots Works Together Without Guiding Central Intelligence.

I'm telling you, it's got potential.

Heads Still Dry, Scientists Try New Approach With ALS

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:19

An international team of scientists is experimenting with a potential drug to block the production of a protein linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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Attorney General Holder: Ferguson Scenes Cannot Continue

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:16

Eric Holder said federal investigators have already conducted interviews with eyewitnesses to the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in a St. Louis suburb.

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Sayur Manis: Delicious, But Also Deadly, Greens From Borneo

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:13

Sayur manis is a green vegetable that tastes like spinach with a hint of asparagus when cooked. It's packed with nutrients, but the raw leaves have been linked to outbreaks of lung failure.

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Bear Grylls compromises over harbour

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 13:05
TV explorer Bear Grylls agrees to a "sensible compromise" over plans for a harbour at St Tudwal's island off the Gwynedd coast.
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