National / International News

Durkan defends borehole decision

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 03:25
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan is accused of sending out the signal that Northern Ireland "is not open for business" over his decision to block an exploratory borehole in Fermanagh.

Banksy 'Spy Booth' damaged again

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 03:18
A Banksy artwork painted on the wall of a house in Cheltenham is attacked again.

Grateful Dead guitarist cancels gigs

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 03:10
The former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir has cancelled all concert dates planned for his bands RatDog and Furthur

Rugby coach's stag do death probed

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 03:08
Police investigate the death of rugby coach "with heart of gold" who died while on a stag do in Manchester.

PODCAST: Fixing the floodgates

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-08-12 03:00

First up, more on the New York Times report that Manhattan's District Attorney's office has charged that a group of companies broke New York law by making high-interest payday loans over the Internet. Plus, last month, a water main broke on the campus of UCLA and flooded the Los Angeles campus. Since then, city officials say they're working overtime to fix the city's aging infrastructure. But as LA, and many other cities have discovered, the costs are daunting. And two decades after the collapse of the USSR, Armenia is forging closer links with its former Soviet parent Russia to boost its economic fortunes. It's also calling on Armenians who live abroad to publish positive stories about the nation, hoping to promote tourism and foreign investment.

PODCAST: Fixing the floodgates

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-08-12 03:00

First up, more on the New York Times report that Manhattan's District Attorney's office has charged that a group of companies broke New York law by making high-interest payday loans over the Internet. Plus, last month, a water main broke on the campus of UCLA and flooded the Los Angeles campus. Since then, city officials say they're working overtime to fix the city's aging infrastructure. But as LA, and many other cities have discovered, the costs are daunting. And two decades after the collapse of the USSR, Armenia is forging closer links with its former Soviet parent Russia to boost its economic fortunes. It's also calling on Armenians who live abroad to publish positive stories about the nation, hoping to promote tourism and foreign investment.

Payday lender accused of dodging state laws

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-08-12 03:00

First, a primer on payday loans from John Oliver (h/t @qz). Those short on time might want to skip to the last few minutes, for a cameo by Sarah Silverman. 

Payday lenders, which charge notoriously high interest rates, are outlawed in some states, including New York. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has charged that a group of companies broke that law by making high-interest payday loans over the Internet, according to the New York Times.  

According to the indictment, posted by the Times, a Tennessee man created a dozen companies that formed what the DA’s office calls a “payday syndicate.” Each company had a specific function. A shell company, officially incorporated in the West Indies, was structured so the company — as the indictment alleges — “owned no assets, had no officers or employees, possessed no bank accounts, and occupied no office space.”

A lawyer, also charged, allegedly told the defendants, essentially: Don’t worry about it. You’re officially based in the West Indies, and the loans happen in cyberspace. How could you be breaking New York laws? The indictment calls this advice "false."

The DA’s office says the companies loaned out $50 million to New Yorkers just in 2012 and collected $15 million in interest, breaking New York’s interest cap of 25 percent a year. The indictment lists one instance where the companies charged an effective rate of 1290 percent on a loan.

The companies may have violated laws in other states as well. The indictment says they loaned out $500 million in 2012 nationwide. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, 15 states have what Pew calls “restrictive” payday lending laws, and according to the National Council of State Legislatures, a few outlaw them altogether. However, Pew researchers also interviewed more than 33,000 people, and found that even in states where payday loans aren’t allowed, like Arizona, people still used them.

Why do MPs quit Parliament?

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:58
Reasons MPs give for deciding to step down from Parliament

Lion cub leads ranger to dead mother

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:57
A lion cub has led forest rangers to its mother's corpse in an Indian sanctuary, an act described by officials as very unusual behaviour.

Mbeki calls for Israel goods boycott

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:57
South Africa's ex-President Thabo Mbeki calls for a boycott of Israeli goods, saying Israel must "pay a price" for the conflict in Gaza.

SSE Airtricity creates 143 jobs

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:48
Energy firm SSE Airtricity is creating 143 new jobs in Belfast with an expansion of its customer services centre.

Edinburgh panda 'believed pregnant'

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:41
Edinburgh Zoo said it 'believes' its panda Tian Tian is pregnant and may give birth at the end of the month.

Colombian drought triggers clashes

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:40
Residents of Colombia's northern La Guajira province clash with police as they demand more government support to overcome a drought.

Obituary: Robin Williams

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:35
Life and career of actor and comic Robin Williams

Path under fire-hit pier to open

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:29
The seafront path running under Eastbourne Pier will be open in time for the East Sussex town's annual airshow, the council says.

Hoddle joins QPR as first-team coach

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:23
Queens Park Rangers appoint former England boss Glenn Hoddle in a coaching role to work alongside manager Harry Redknapp.

Anger over Nato protester peace camp

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:23
Anti-Nato protesters' plans for a park "peace camp" angers residents as Newport prepares for next month's summit.

VIDEO: Panda triplets born in China

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:16
A zoo in southern China has unveiled newborn panda triplets, thought to be the world's first known surviving trio.

Suicides blamed on jail conditions

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:15
Overcrowding and lack of staff have contributed to an increase in suicides in jails in England and Wales, the chief inspector of prisons says.

Tributes to M4 crash death man

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 02:07
Tributes are paid to a former Swansea University student who died in a crash on the M4 at the weekend.
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