National / International News

Colombia and Farc reach drug deal

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 16:03
The government of Colombia and the Farc rebel group agree on a plan to deal with the illegal drug trade, at peace negotiations in Cuba.

UK told to hand over jailed Afghans

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 15:49
The Afghan government orders the UK to hand over detainees held in military jails in Helmand and Kandahar.

Blue badge fraud prosecutions double

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 15:47
Prosecutions of blue badge fraud have doubled over the course of three years, new figures from English councils reveal.

Missing man's family stage march

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 15:45
The family and friends of a missing man from Glenrothes stage a march in the town to try to jog people's memories about his disappearance.

VIDEO: 'Land invasion' near Brazil stadium

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 15:43
With less than a month to go before the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, the government is facing fresh protests from various groups, including families who have invaded land within sight of the stadium.

Brazil 2014 dengue risk predicted

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 15:37
Scientists develop an "early warning system" to alert authorities to the risk of dengue fever outbreaks in Brazil during the World Cup.

A brief history of plastic

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 15:19
A brief history of plastic, from the Middle Ages onwards

The man who fired a torpedo down a High Street

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 15:16
Author Jeremy Clay tells the story of a man who fired a torpedo down a High Street.

Arkansas court halts gay marriages

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 15:08
The highest court in the US state of Arkansas halts gay marriages there pending an appeal against a lower ruling overturning a voter-approved ban.

Arkansas Supreme Court Suspends Ruling Allowing Gay Marriage

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-16 14:33

In an on again, off again, legal tussle, the high court granted a request from the state's attorney general to put the issuing of licenses on hold.

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Argentine liquid cocaine plan foiled

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 14:30
Argentina seizes two tonnes of liquid cocaine, saying it has foiled a plan to produce and ship the drug to the United States and Europe.

The new rules of internships

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-16 14:25

Summer's almost here, the traditional season of the internship.

 

But interns beware: in the last few years a series of lawsuits against employers offering unpaid internships have changed the rules of the apprenticeship game.

 

Rachel Feintzeig is a management reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and has been writing about the plight of the new internship.

 

In recent years, internships have become a near-necessity for college students trying to stand out in a brutal job market. And while some positions can provide valuable work experience and a glimpse into corporate life, critics maintain that the stints often amount to little more than unpaid labor.

 

A survey last year from the National Association of Colleges and Employers suggests unpaid internships don't help students land full-time jobs. Alums of unpaid internships had full-time job offers at nearly the same rate as those who had no internships at all—about 37%, compared with 62% for those with paid internships.

To read more about how internships are changing, read Rachel's article for the Wall Street Journal

'No contest' plea in school shooting

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 14:11
A 12-year-old New Mexico boy accused of shooting two classmates in January will not contest the charges against him, his lawyers tell a court.

VIDEO: Battles in Mexico's 'cartel country'

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 14:04
In the western Mexican state of Michoacán, a popular uprising led by heavily armed self-defence groups has chased out one of the main drug cartels.

Final Note: Peak Embarrassed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-16 14:04

In our Final Note for Friday, May 16, I've flashed back to my teenage self: those awkward days when we felt we could do nothing right and mortification lurked at every turn, complete disgrace only a heartbeat away. For me, anyway.

Researchers apparently found the exact age when we're most likely to be embarrassed. "Peak embarrassed," they call it.

17. 2 years of age is that peak point when you're more likely to feel embarrassed by your own actions, according to a 2013 study in the journal Psychological Science.

And that's probably good news for adults, or at least anyone over the age of 17.2 years.

Who's at fault for credit fraud: Company or consumer?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-16 14:04

We all know we're supposed to check our credit card statements every month to look for fraudulent charges.

But let's be real, we're supposed to do a lot of things.

We're slip up once in a while. And when we do, what safeguards are in place to catch these sneaky charges?

David Lazarus, columnist for the LA Times and frequent Money guest host, has been examining credit cards, and told the story of one woman's unidentifiable credit card charges for the LA Times.

When Kearns fell for AutoVantage's bogus check, the annual fee for the service was $119.99. Over the years it rose to $129.99 and then to $139.99.

Each time it appeared on Kearns' bill, it showed up in a cryptic fashion, usually "TLG*AutoVtg" and a phone number.

"Everything else had a name — CVS, Stater Bros., Best Buy," she said. "This was the only one that didn't."

Kearns mistakenly took the charge as auto maintenance paid for by her husband — an oil change, say, or tire rotation. It wasn't until this year that she finally realized she'd been paying over and over for something she couldn't identify.

To read more from David about credit card fraud, read his column for the LA Times

Nadal beats Murray in Rome thriller

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 13:59
World number one Rafael Nadal recovers from a break down in the final set to beat Andy Murray in the Italian Open quarter-finals.

VIDEO: Steelworkers patrol in Mariupol

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 13:56
Steelworkers and miners in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol have been clearing barricades set up by pro-Russian insurgents at government buildings.

The Wrap: Keep chuggin' along

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-16 13:43

Things are generally well in the economy (key word = generally). Still, many people are leaving stocks and buying bonds behind, which is what they do when they are nervous about economic prospects. Why?

"The thing which is the risk to bonds -- which is inflation -- doesn't seem like it's going to turn up anytime soon," says Fusion's Felix Salmon.

We have to consider the relationship with inflation to better understand the bonds market. Here's the second question we want to know the answer to: Why is there no inflation in this dragging economy? 

"There's still so much slack in the labor market. People aren't getting hired. That's not pushing upward pressure on wages, the things people buy," Catherine Rampell from the Washington Post. "I think you really need to see a lot more activity in the economy before you really need to worry about inflation."

Inflation holding at low levels. People not getting hired. We've got that covered. We turn next to housing -- a key indicator of growth.

If you don't already know his name, Mr. Mel Watt is the director of the the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and this week, the oversight agency of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said they are going to make it easier for people to make mortgages and take out loans to boost the  housing market.

The third question on our minds at the end of this week: will the housing market ever recover, and how does that help the overall economy?

"I've always been suspicious about the U.S. government trying to boost the economy by making houses more expensive," says Salmon. "If you live in a country with 60-something percent home ownership, those policies always become very popular politically because people like to see the value of their houses go up."

But Watts wants to make Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac smaller: reform them, and maybe get rid of them.

"The administration has thrown its support behind a bill, that's kind of dead at this point, to wind down Fannie and Freddie. To replace them with something else. Hopefully something more permanent that would encourage more ownership. But it doesn't seem like that policy goal has turned around at all," says Rampell.

Are we stuck in the past? We ended our wrap with a callback to the past, as former Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner released a memoir on his role supervising President Barack Obama on the Great Recession. Something which we're very slowly recovering from.

Missing man search halted for night

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-16 13:42
A search operation for a missing man on Lough Erne in County Fermanagh ends for the night.
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