National / International News

Marketplace's live coverage of the 2015 State of the Union address

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-21 09:41
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VIDEO: Rebels tighten grip on Yemen capital

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 09:37
Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen tighten their grip on the capital, Sanaa, stationing fighters outside the private home of the president.

Boehner Invites Israel's Netanyahu To Address Congress On Iran

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-21 09:33

The White House, which was not informed of the invitation, called it a departure from diplomatic protocol. Boehner, the House speaker, said, "Congress can make this decision on its own."

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Targeting employment or unemployment

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 09:18
Why is David Cameron targeting employment?

'Safer GMOs' made by US scientists

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 09:13
US scientists say they have taken the first step towards making "safer" GMOs that cannot spread in the wild using synthetic biology.

VIDEO: Lucky cat survives chimney ordeal

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 09:09
A cat from Dorset has survived for six weeks after falling down a chimney and getting trapped behind a fireplace with no food or water.

Two are found dead at caravan park

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:59
Two bodies have been found at a caravan park in Newcastle, County Down.

Protest leader quits in 'Hitler' row

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:59
The leader of Germany's "anti-Islamisation" movement Pegida, Lutz Bachmann, resigns after a photo emerges of him apparently posing as Hitler.

Windows 10 upgrade to be 'free'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:52
Microsoft says the next major update to its Windows operating system will be offered as a free upgrade for the first year after its release.

Congress in Netanyahu snub to Obama

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:51
US House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress, in a rebuke to President Barack Obama.

The Challenge Of Fact-Checking North Korea

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:51

A prominent North Korean defector now says he made up some parts of his story. His case highlights the difficulties of pinning down information in a closed, secretive society.

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Pennsylvania installs prefab bridges

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:40

Building a bridge takes years. That’s a problem, because many states have crumbling infrastructures, and they’re looking for ways to shore it up with limited funds.

That's why the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is speeding things up. PennDOT is hiring a team of private contractors to quickly replace hundreds of state bridges.

"We expect that we're going to deliver 558 bridges in 3½ years, instead of what would have taken us eight to 12 years under our traditional method," says PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch.

Prefab bridges

The key is mass production. First, the engineers will put together a couple dozen standard, cookie-cutter designs. They’ll mix and match pieces of those designs based on each bridge site.

Manufacturers will then make some of the concrete bridge parts, perhaps 50-foot bridge surfaces, for example. Everything can't be made in a factory, but they’ll standardize whatever they can.

A construction crew usually has to wait weeks for each section of concrete on a bridge to harden and strengthen before they can move forward, says Andrew Swank, president of Swank Construction, who says his company will replace some bridges under the state's new program. That means means construction on a small bridge can take months, he says.

Building a bridge with factory-made parts only takes a couple of weeks because the pieces are hardened ahead of time and arrive ready to assemble, Swank says.

It's kind of like buying a bookshelf from IKEA. "The pieces will have slotted ends. This piece will fit into this piece and key into this piece," he says.

The construction team uses a crane to lift the pieces, slides them into place and has "a bridge in very short order," Swank says.

Engineers say factory-built bridge parts are actually stronger than poured concrete, because they’re made at the exact right temperature, away from rain, snow and weird weather.

Other states

Pennsylvania isn’t the first state to mass-produce its bridges. Missouri recently fixed and replaced more than 800 bridges in 3½ years.

Utah has also tried replacing some of its bridges with prefabricated parts, says Andy Herrmann, former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. “Florida, New York, Washington and Virginia are also looking into it,” he says, “because they have so many deficient bridges they have to fix, and they’re trying to do it quickly.”

Pennsylvania is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on its program, which it says will still be 20 percent cheaper than traditional methods.

Women's World Cup pitch action ended

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:38
Leading women footballers end legal action over the use of artificial pitches at this year's Women's World Cup in Canada.

VIDEO: Most heavily-guarded place in France?

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:29
James Reynolds looks at the new security measures unveiled by Prime Minister Manuel Valls in the wake of the attacks in Paris.

EU official warns of Jewish exodus

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:19
A top EU official warns that Europe faces a "huge challenge" in persuading Jews not to emigrate in response to anti-Semitic attacks.

VIDEO: 'Equip kids to combat inequality'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:13 speaks to the BBC from the 2015 World Economic Forum about how education can close the equality gap and provide more opportunities to young people.

Stormont departments shake-up on way

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 08:01
Three of Northern Ireland's executive departments are likely to be broken up as part of a Stormont shake-up, the BBC understands.

Schoolboy 'could not be saved'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 07:57
A schoolboy was swept out to sea by waves despite desperate efforts by family members to save him, an inquest hears.

Is your Online Password On The Worst Password List?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-21 07:54

SplashData, an Internet security services firm, has released its annual list of 25 worst Internet passwords. "12345" and "password" top the list.

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Mother and lover 'killed daughter'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-21 07:48
A mother and her lesbian lover killed her daughter after developing a relationship centred around fictional characters, a court hears.