National / International News

Kids Hurt After Bounce House Soars High In The Air

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:50

Two children were seriously hurt in upstate New York after the inflatable playhouse they were in was sent high into the air by a strong gust of wind.

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PODCAST: Fixing infrastructure and American jobs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:49

President Obama heads to New York's Tappan Zee bridge today. The crumbling, sixty year old span across the Hudson River will be the backdrop for a speech on America's infrastructure. Barring action from Congress, a federal fund for road, bridge and transit construction and repair is expected to run dry in August, something the adminstration argues could cost up to 700,000 jobs. Marketplace's Krissy Clark breaks down that number.

Meanwhile, Cisco Systems is viewed as a sort of barometer for the tech industry, and when it announces its profits on Wednesday, Silicon Valley will be paying attention to the company's latest push into the "Internet of Things," aiming to link cars, machines, devices and everything in between.

And, we now know once-disgraced mortgage giant Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have made enough money to hand more than $10 billion back to the U.S. Treasury for last quarter.  That's where the US Treasury says it has to go, given the taxpayer bailout five years ago. But with all things Fannie and Freddit, this is controversial. Marketplace regular Alan Sloan is senior editor at large at Fortune Magazine and joined us to discuss.

US baby survives 11-storey fall

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:41
A baby in the US state of Minnesota has survived an 11-storey fall from an apartment balcony, local media report.

Kenya court orders reporter's arrest

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:39
The high court in Kenya orders the arrest of journalist Walter Barasa, wanted by a court in The Hague for witness interference.

Cardiff earn £62m TV cash payout

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:32
Relegated Cardiff City earn more TV cash this season than Manchester United did as Premier League champions in 2013.

Bank in no rush to raise rates

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:25
The Bank of England says the economy "has started to head back towards normal", but that interest rates "may stay at historically low levels for some time".

Stewart to chair defence committee

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:19
Conservative MP Rory Stewart is selected to chair the Commons defence select committee.

The Reykjavik Confessions

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:18
Who would admit to crimes they couldn’t remember?

Day in pictures: 14 May 2014

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:17
News photos from past 24 hours: 14 May

The 2014 Club Sandwich Index

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:12

To some, the traditional doubledecker delicacy is an example of excess. To others, it's pure excellence.

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Desperate search at Turkish mine

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:07
Rescue teams are searching desperately for dozens of Turkish miners missing after a blast caused a pit to collapse, killing at least 238.

Man admits offensive teacher post

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 07:03
A man pleads guilty to posting a grossly offensive Facebook message after the killing of Leeds teacher Ann Maguire.

Factories burnt in Vietnam-China row

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 06:56
At least 15 foreign-owned factories are set on fire amid anti-China protests in southern Vietnam over tensions in the South China Sea.

Hundreds of chickens killed on M62

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 06:52
More than 1,000 chickens are killed as the lorry carrying them crashes on the M62 in Greater Manchester.

Wednesday's gossip column

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 06:52
Arsenal and Manchester City want Real Madrid forward, Lallana could force Southampton exit, Everton chase Remy, plus more.

San Diego County Explains 'Offending Words' In Fire Message

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-14 06:50

Fire officials hope they've seen the worst of a fire that has burned 1,550 acres. They also say they'll get to the bottom of a message in an alert stating, "fire in your pants."

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UK jobless rate at five-year low

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 06:45
The UK's unemployment rate falls to a five-year low of 6.8% while the number of people in work rises to a record high, official figures show.

How the White House calculates infrastructure jobs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-14 06:42

President Obama heads to New York's Tappan Zee bridge today. The crumbling, sixty year old span across the Hudson will be the backdrop for a speech on the nation's infrastructure.

Barring action from Congress, a federal fund for building and repairing roads, bridges and transit systems is expected to run dry in August, something the White House says could cost a lot of jobs.

As Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told a White House briefing on Monday, “Unless Congress acts, up to 700,000 Americans will lose their jobs over the next year and road work, bridge building, transit maintenance – all of these types of projects – may be delayed or shut down completely,”

How did he come up with that 700,000 number?

A Department of Transportation spokesperson directed me to an explanation on the DOT website, which breaks down the calculations a bit. According to the explanation there, the tally includes the number of “direct, indirect and induced jobs” that come from highway infrastructure investment. 

A “direct” job would be the kind of work you see crews with hard hats doing, from laborers to engineers—the folks involved in the construction project itself. Paychecks for those jobs actually come out of federal coffers. 

As for the “indirect” jobs, those involve manufacturing the materials-- the steel, concrete or paint, for example, which are used in an infrastructure project. The “cost of materials” line in the budget for a federal highway project would indirectly fund these sorts of indirect jobs.

And then there are those “induced” jobs—jobs created “elsewhere in the economy as increases in income from the direct government spending lead to additional increases in spending by workers and firms,” according to the DOT. 

I asked Robert Puentes, director of the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative at the Brookings Institution, to help translate this one. These jobs, he says could be “everything from the food truck that's getting lunch” for the construction workers themselves, “to the guy that’s cutting their hair.” 

A spokesperson for the DOT would not elaborate on how exactly it estimates the number of induced jobs created, but says that all the numbers are based on research from the White House's Council of Economic Advisers. 

When the Council added up all these jobs-- induced, indirect, and direct—it found that about 13,000 jobs are supported for every $1 billion in federal highway and transit investment.  Recently, the highway trust fund has spent about $50.9 billion dollars annually on infrastructure projects. So, multiply 50.9 by 13,000 and you get a little under 700,000 jobs.

But that may actually be a low estimate, according to research done by Standard and Poor's U.S. Chief Economist Beth Ann Bovino. She recently released a report that found a $1.3 billion investment in infrastructure would likely add 29,000 jobs to the construction sector alone.  Meaning the $50.9 billion annual in federal highway trust fund spending would amount to more than 1 million jobs.

Construction jobs which are, by the way, the kind of “good” jobs that have been largely absent from the economic recovery so far, Bovino points out. 

As her report puts it: “The American middle class, which suffered disproportionately during the recent economic slump, would benefit most from investing in transportation infrastructure because it creates what are traditionally middle-class jobs.” 

MERS 101: What We Do (And Don't) Know About The Virus

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-14 06:39

Scientists are racing to figure out how the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus infects people. After surfacing in 2012, it has spread to the U.S. and other countries. Here's what we know so far.

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Hall jury 'decide where truth lies'

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-14 06:26
A judge tells jurors they "will decide where the truth lies" in the child sex abuse trial of ex-broadcaster Stuart Hall.
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