National / International News

The allure of searching for hidden 3D images

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 08:17
A music video has revived the genre of the autostereogram, better known under the trademark Magic Eye. Could this most 1990s of optical illusions make a comeback, asks Jon Kelly.

Woman denies bullying 'rape' soldier

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 08:13
The girlfriend of a soldier accused of raping a Royal Military Police officer found hanged two years later denies bullying her, an inquest hears.

Medieval coin hoard found in field

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 08:09
Two men using metal detectors uncover what is believed to be the biggest collection of medieval silver coins ever found in Scotland.

Georgia in Sochi warning to Russia

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 08:07
Georgia warns it will act if Russia moves to bolster the independence claims of two breakaway Georgian regions at the Winter Olympics.

Chinese Red Guards Apologize, Reopening A Dark Chapter

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-04 08:04

During China's Cultural Revolution, communist youth known as Red Guards persecuted, tortured and killed millions of Chinese — so-called enemies of the Communist Party. Now some Red Guards are apologizing publicly in rare examples of open discussion of the party's historic mistakes.

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Ex-UKIP spokesman led kidnap gang

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 08:03
A man who acted as UKIP's Commonwealth spokesman has served a seven-year jail sentence over a kidnapping in Pakistan, BBC Newsnight reveals.

PODCAST: Microsoft has a new CEO

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-02-04 08:01

The Microsoft Board of Directors made it official: A Microsoft insider will now run the company. As has been telegraphed in recent days, the new CEO is 46 year old Satya Nadella, who's been running Microsoft's so-called Cloud Services. In a statement, Nadella said "The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform."

And, one key headline to watch today is one fromm the Commerce Department: December factory orders. It's coming after yesterday's very weak report drawn from a January survey of people who do ordering at factories. That one showed the biggest drop in factory orders in 33 years. The number of manufacturing jobs in America has been inching up, but there are two million fewer of those jobs since the start of the recession. Where have they gone?

And, as Satya Nadella takes over the reins of Microsoft, we can't forget the previous CEO Steve Ballmer, who dropped out of Stanford Business School to help his friend and co-founder Bill Gates build the software company. Microsoft was about five years old and together they turned Microsoft into a the Windows juggernaut that it once was. Marketplace's Queena Kim brings us this Ballmer retrospective.

PODCAST: Microsoft has a new CEO

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-02-04 08:01

The Microsoft Board of Directors made it official: A Microsoft insider will now run the company. As has been telegraphed in recent days, the new CEO is 46 year old Satya Nadella, who's been running Microsoft's so-called Cloud Services. In a statement, Nadella said "The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform."

And, one key headline to watch today is one fromm the Commerce Department: December factory orders. It's coming after yesterday's very weak report drawn from a January survey of people who do ordering at factories. That one showed the biggest drop in factory orders in 33 years. The number of manufacturing jobs in America has been inching up, but there are two million fewer of those jobs since the start of the recession. Where have they gone?

And, as Satya Nadella takes over the reins of Microsoft, we can't forget the previous CEO Steve Ballmer, who dropped out of Stanford Business School to help his friend and co-founder Bill Gates build the software company. Microsoft was about five years old and together they turned Microsoft into a the Windows juggernaut that it once was. Marketplace's Queena Kim brings us this Ballmer retrospective.

Extremists in Saudi religious police

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 08:00
The head of Saudi Arabia's feared religious police - the "mutawa" - admits the force contains some extremists and promises to remove them.

AUDIO: Nutt: E-cigs are a 'health advance'

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:58
Professor David Nutt claims getting smokers to switch to e-cigarettes would be the "greatest health advance" since vaccinations

Labour bosses back union changes

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:57
Labour's ruling body backs leader Ed Miliband's plans to change the party's links with unions, on the day a leaked report says Unite tried to rig candidate selection in Falkirk.

Why talks with the Pakistan Taliban may never succeed

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:56
Why talks with the Pakistan Taliban may never succeed

Ukraine MPs seek constitution change

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:50
Ukraine's MPs are continuing crisis talks to try to change the constitution - a move aimed at curtailing the powers of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Foster care is costly, and some states send more kids to relatives

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:46

When there’s is a suspected case of child abuse or neglect, often someone will call social services. There will be an investigation, and about four hundred thousand children a year will end up in foster care. But foster care is expensive - $200-$400 dollars a day. Increasingly children are diverted from pricey foster care and sent to live with family instead. This has led to debate about what’s best for kids. 

Sheila Brockington, a 60-year-old grandmother from the Bronx,  has made her foster role official. She’s a registered foster caregiver for her granddaughter and her granddaughter’s new baby, her great-granddaughter. Brockington works as a home health attendant for $10 an hour. So while she says she could take care of the kids on her own, it would be a hardship. 

“A small can of baby milk is $17 by itself and this little grandbaby I got likes to eat. Then the baby diapers and her wipes. She's 11 pounds and she's already outgrown all her clothes,” she says. “It would be tight, because everything is going up but my paycheck. We'd have to cut back. We'd make it,  but we'd be scratching, we'd be clawing."

Brockington’s 15- year-old granddaughter, Taraia, also gets support through the foster care system. “Taraia would get a tutor, if she needs it for after school...therapist, if she needs that,”  says Brockington.  And the new baby could be provided with a crib, a car seat and clothing.

But according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation,  in some states, including Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, more kids are getting sent to family. but outside the foster system. The Foundation says that often means there’s no financial support, or caregivers don’t know it’s available. And, while states may save money, oversight for kids can be lacking. 

Shanequa Henry, Brockington’s case supervisor at Children’s Village, a non-profit that provides support for families and kids in the Bronx, says it’s an issue that pulls her in two directions. Forty percent of the time, she says, extra oversight isn’t necessary; but sixty percent of her feels that the government should stay involved. Family members, she says, can be too lenient on moms or dads who’ve been accused of abuse or neglect, but still want to see the children they’ve lost.   

 “Sure you can take them. Sure they can spend a night, even if they're not supposed to spend a night,” she says. “You think that it's ok but what if the abuse is still going on?” 

Fred Wulczyn, a senior research fellow with the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children, says the debate over how to care for foster childten is not just about the money; it's also about values. There’s a delicate balance between a family’s right to privacy and the interest of the community that kids are safe. Wulczyn notes that most people raise their children without government intervention. 

"Every day, parents without the involvement of the state are making arrangements to care for their children when they themselves cannot.” 

“It really is a values thing,” says Tracey Feild, Director of the Child Welfare Strategy Group at the Annie E Casey Foundation. “Workers, when you talk to them, they say, 'why should we be involved in their lives? We’re just intrusive and families should be able to make their own decisions.' It’s not seen as just ‘we’re going to save money by doing this.’ It seen as a really good thing by workers – it’s best if we stay out of their lives.” 

Almost all the experts agree that children do best when they’re with their own families.   Which means, as Feild explains, diversion to family care isn’t the problem; it’s only problematic “if it’s done wrong,” and there's a  lack of oversight for children.  But too often, she says, that’s the case. 

“The child is left with grandma and no one know what happens next.”

Tuesday's gossip column

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:44
Moyes watches Carvalho again, Keita turns down Liverpool, PSG chase Lloris, Terry says no to England, plus more.

U.S. Ambassador To Russia Will Resign After Olympics

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:44

Michael McFaul led the Obama administration's so-called "reset" of diplomatic relations with the country over the past five years. He says he is leaving to reunite with his family in California.

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U.K. Admits 'Limited' Role In India's 1984 Raid On Sikh Shrine

NPR News - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:32

The acknowledgment comes just weeks after it was revealed that Britain may have had a role in the raid on the Golden Temple. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the assistance was purely advisory.

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A look back at Steve Ballmer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:25

When Steve Ballmer became the CEO of Microsoft in 2000, he became the closest thing tech had to a King and he had a big personality to prove it.

He was knon for his enthusiastic appearances at developers conferences and trade shows -- all 6-foot-5 of him -- running across the stage, jumping and screaming

Back then, the PC ruled in the consumer -- and office markets -- and Microsoft owned that screen with its Windows operating system and "Word." 

Kartik Hosanagar is a professor at the Wharton School of Business. He says, it's worth remembering that Microsoft was so powerful that the government launched an anti-trust investigation. At issue: whether Microsoft was creating a monopoly by bundling Internet Explorer into its windows operating system. And icing out competitors like Netscape.

"In fact the whole anti-trust investigation was around whether we should break up Microsoft because it had become so powerful that nobody could take on Microsoft," says Hosanagar.

Microsoft settled the case and of course, that turned out to be untrue. In large part, because Ballmer failed to see the radical changes that were to come.

"Steve Ballmer was not aggressive in trying to move Microsoft to other devices or non-windows operating systems," says Michael Cusamano, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

While Microsoft was focusing on the desktop, Google was taking over the web and Apple remade itself into a mobile powerhouse. In 2007, when Apple introduced the iPhone Ballmer couldn't have been cockier.

"Five hundred dollars? Fully subsidized with a plan, I said that is the most expensive phone in the world," said Balmer in an interview in 2007, "And it doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine. "

Of course, the iPhone was a pretty good email machine. And more important, with its app store, it turned out to be a whole lot more.

"He's not the technology guru, he really is a manager," says Cusamano.

Cusamano says to be fair, if you look at Microsoft's balance sheet, Ballmer did a good job as a business manager. In the last decade, Microsoft's revenue has tripled and it rung up $18 billion dollars in sales last year.

But there's a growing recognition that being a good businessman doesn't make a good tech CEO. He says, in tech, things move so fast that you really need a visionary who can forsee -- and shape -- the future.

Doubt and reassurance

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:23
BP raises questions over Scotland referendum

Llandow industrial fire was accident

BBC - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:22
A huge blaze at a Vale of Glamorgan industrial estate that burned for more than two weeks started accidentally, investigators say.

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