National / International News

Imagine a landscape free of shopping carts

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:50

From the Marketplace Datebook, here’s a look at what’s coming up Thursday:  

  • In Washington, the Commerce Department issues retail sales data for January.
  • The International Energy Agency releases its monthly oil market report on supply and demand around the globe.
  • If you spot an orphaned shopping cart on your block help it find its way home. February is 'Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month.' Hey, does pushing a grocery cart across a parking lots count as exercise?
  • Musician Peter Gabriel turns 64.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture is schedule to release its ten-year agricultural projections. The report is published each February.

Farrington secures halfpipe gold

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:42
America's Kaitlyn Farrington defeats defending champion Torah Bright to win gold in the ladies' halfpipe competition.

For Lower-Income Students, Snow Days Can Be Hungry Days

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:42

When bad weather shuts down school or delays its openings, it locks out many needy kids from a key source of nutrition. Some 70 percent of U.S. schoolchildren who eat school lunches get them for free or at reduced prices.

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Man City's game with Sunderland off

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:23
Manchester City's hopes of returning to the top of the table are hit as their home game with Sunderland is postponed.

Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Barbie?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:21

Fans of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue may be surprised by the newest model to grace the pages of the upcoming issue.

It's a doll -- Barbie, to be specific. The 55-year-old female icon will be featured in a spread, shot by the same photographer who shot cover model Kate Upton and her fellow swimsuit-wearing women. Mattel is also releasing a special edition Sports Illustrated swimsuit doll, and a new ad campaign featuring the hashtag #unapologetic.

Spotted in NYC: Barbie traded her parka for a one-piece! What are you #unapologetic about today?

— Barbie (@Barbie) February 10, 2014


Let's start with the obvious question. Why would Mattel want to put a doll made for little girls in a magazine made for grown men?

"The swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated actually reaches quite a few women," says Lisa McKnight, senior vice president of marketing for North America at Mattel.

The women who purchase the magazine for fashion reasons are potential Barbie fans.

"Target is a big sponsor of this issue, and then will sell a swimwear line in their stores," says McKnight.

Also available at Target: The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition of Barbie, whose full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. The doll will be featured in a modern version of the black and white swimsuit that she wore when she was introduced to the world in 1959. Toy analyst Sean McGowan says this isn't the first time Mattel has marketed Barbie to adults.

"There was a big store in Shanghai that actually had a bar. That doesn't seem very kid friendly," McGowan says.

But putting Barbie in a swimsuit magazine is a very risky move.

"For example," says McGowan, "my wife is an ardent feminist and a teacher of girls from K-12. And she has only reluctantly come around to the idea that Barbie can be used to project positive images of empowerment, and choice, and career options."

Barbie's appearance in a magazine that objectifies the female body, adds McGowan, could undo the progress Mattel has made in convincing parents that Barbie is a positive role model.

British Syria suicide bomber named

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:20
A British man thought to have carried out a suicide bombing in Syria last week was 41-year-old Abdul Waheed Majid, the BBC learns.

Police investigate council payments

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:03
Police investigate payments by two councils to their chief executives described as unlawful by a spending watchdog.

CAR leader 'declares war' on militia

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:03
Central African Republic leader Catherine Samba-Panza says she will "go to war" with Christian militias who are slaughtering Muslims.

US Army tests smart-rifle scope

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:02
The US Army is testing a smart-rifle technology that promises to only fire if a target is properly lined-up and can compensate for weather conditions

Niche Online Dating Promises A Different Site For Every Preference

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:01

The cyber-dating industry is stretching far beyond its mass-market beginnings, with niche dating sites for every lifestyle or preference. "You name the obscure interest, there's probably a site for it," says online dating expert Dan Slater.

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Collingwood handed England role

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 11:00
Paul Collingwood is named England assistant coach for the limited-overs tour of the West Indies and the World T20.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Found Guilty Of Corruption

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 10:58

Ray Nagin was indicted last January, when prosecutors said he engaged in bribery, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and filing false tax returns.

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FCC caps rates for prison phone calls

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-02-12 10:55

This week the FCC adopted new phone rates for people in prison, jail or detention centers. Under the new rules, interstate collect phone calls can cost no more than 25 cents per minute and  debit or pre-paid phone calls can cost no more than 21 cents per minute.

Before the rate caps, an interstate call could cost as much as $17 for a 15 minute call.  Under the new rate caps, a 15 minute call would be about $3.15.

"This is essentially the federal government putting its foot down on a system that’s been broken for a decade," said Leah Sakala, a policy analyst with the Prison Policy Initiative.

Sakala said the prison phone industry preys on people who can’t afford it.

"This is a market that profits from exploiting communities who are the most economically vulnerable," said Sakala.

Sakala claims that the more notable phone companies  used to profit from  the prison phone industry, but were bought out by companies  owned by investment banks.

Below is a rundown of how much certain compnies charge in fees for calls from prison:


 The Los Angeles Times reports that the prison phone market brings in over $1.2 billion every year.

 Today's prison phone market, which brings in $1.2 billion annually, is dominated by two little-known phone companies. Global Tel-Link, based in Atlanta, and Securus Technologies of Dallas, both backed by private equity firms, make up more than 80% of the market, according to Standard & Poor's.

The phone companies insist it simply costs more to provide inmate phone services, which require security features such as call screening, restricting phone numbers and blocking three-way calls.

 "All the real work to allow an inmate to make a call happens before the call is even accepted," said Stephanie Joyce, counsel for Securus. Securus and other companies charge fees to initiate a call, add funds to an account or receive statements, partially to help recoup those costs, Joyce said.

Securus Technologies said the new caps on phone charges will cost them over $10 million in revenues.  

In an interview with Bloomberg BNA, Securus Technologies CEO Richard Smith said he's unsure of what the real impact will be: 

 “Securus is committed to providing high end security features that one third of all the prisons in the U.S. require and we will continue to fight for prisons and jails to fight for the prices that they deem are necessary to support their own prisons and jails."

The U.S Court of Appeals denied a bid to stay the FCC's new rate caps.

RBS would 'adapt' to independence

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 10:51
RBS chief executive Ross McEwan says the bank could "adapt" in the event of a "Yes" vote in the Scottish independence referendum.

Israeli MPs heckle Schulz speech

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 10:51
Israeli MPs from a pro-settler party walk out of Israel's Knesset during a speech by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.

Crashes and weather shut A9 and A82

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 10:31
The A9 is shut at Dalwhinnie and the A82 was closed at Ballachulish because of crashes and wintry weather conditions.

Hillsborough 'spying' may be probed

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 10:30
Claims that police put Hillsborough families under surveillance could form part of the investigations into the disaster, the Home Secretary says.

Judge Dismisses Assisted Suicide Case Against Pennsylvania Nurse

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 10:15

Barbara Mancini was charged with assisting her father's suicide by providing him with a lethal dose of morphine. A judge's decision in her favor is the latest in a series of developments signaling a reluctance of courts and state legislatures to criminalize medical care that may hasten death.

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Scientists Say Their Giant Laser Has Produced Nuclear Fusion

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-12 10:01

Researchers from California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say they've figured out how to get their laser to squeeze hydrogen atoms together to make helium atoms, releasing energy in the process. It's an important step in the decades-long quest for fusion energy.

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VIDEO: 'My sister Joanna Dennehy is monster'

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-12 09:52
Maria Dennehy, the sister of triple murderer Joanna Dennehy, said she had no right to approach the families whose lives had been ruined by her sister's crimes.

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