National / International News

Olympic Photo Of The Day: Speedskater Hug

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-10 10:42

Gold medalist Charles Hamelin of Canada celebrates with his girlfriend and fellow speedskater, Marianne St-Gelais, after winning the men's 1,500-meter short-track speedskating.

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Minister warns on welfare default

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 10:34
Failure to implement welfare changes could cost the Northern Ireland £1bn in fines over five years, Finance Minister Simon Hamilton warns.

Navigating the many firsts of freshman year

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-02-10 10:26

Raven Gribbins sits in trigonometry class, right in the front row, her cell phone buzzing on her desk. As the instructor takes attendance, Raven snaps a quick selfie and sends it off to a guy she’s been texting.

Then she gets down to business.

"For the angle 330 degrees – first of all, what quadrant does that lie in?" the instructor asks the class.

"The fourth," Raven answers.

"And what is the reference angle?"

"It’s 30," Raven says quietly.

Raven, who is studying to be a high school math teacher, has been here before. She took this class last semester. It didn’t go so well. One of the first lessons of college: It’s not high school.

"It’s a lot more homework, a lot more studying and a lot more effort," she says. "It was kind of a shock."

A lot about coming to college was a shock. Raven grew up in a poor and dangerous neighborhood in Cincinnati, called Lower Price Hill. Neither of her parents finished high school. Both struggled with drug addiction.

Raven has just started her second semester at Penn State Greater Allegheny, a small campus near Pittsburgh. This is usually the time when things get real, says Siobhan Brooks, coordinator of the Learning Center, where students like Raven get tutoring and other support services.

"I think that is the wake up time for most," Brooks says. "The first semester is often trial and error, because they’re still trying to figure out how this works. ‘Do I really need to be in every class or can I miss a few and still get it?'"

By the second semester, she says, they catch on.

Raven has tried a lot. She played volleyball. (Her team made it to the playoffs.) She got a new boyfriend. (They broke up.) She got her tongue pierced – something she’s wanted to do for years.

"I couldn’t eat for three days," she says.

And she went through two roommates.

"I don’t get along with females, for real, so I knew I was going to end up with a single by the end of the semester," Raven says.

The price of all that trial and error: a 2.5 grade point average. To get her education degree, she hopes to transfer to the main Penn State campus in State College after her sophomore year. To do that, she’ll need at least a 3.0 GPA.

So Raven has a plan. At the end of a long day of classes, she meets with one of two math tutors she’s been assigned, Justin Guadagni.

"Any specific questions on the ones we went over in class?" he asks as she sits down.

"No," she says.

The tutoring is part of a federally-funded program for first-generation and low-income students. Raven will also take a class on study skills, like how to read textbooks and take notes.

She has a lot of people watching over her. One of them is her volleyball coach, Tracy Gibbs, who meets with Raven every week for study hours.

"I know her dad in high school, when she lived with him, was always on her about homework," Gibbs says. "As it turns out, you know, she needs the same thing still. She needs someone to be the annoying, nagging person to say ‘Did you do x, y and z?’"

But Gibbs says Raven is thriving in other ways.

"She’s always responsible, she’s always on time, she’s always respectful," Gibbs says. “I don’t think I’ve ever even seen her angry."

That might surprise some of her high school teachers. Raven used to get in fights and mouth off in class. But while she was back home in Cincinnati for winter break, she says people noticed a change.

"They say I’m getting brighter and, like, more educated," she says. They told her she was turning into "a nice young lady," she says.

Raven says she didn’t want to come back to college after the break. She misses her dad and her little sister. According to the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, low-income, first-generation college students are far more likely to drop out after the first year than better-off students whose parents went to college. They may be less prepared academically. Many have financial pressures. Or the pull of home is too strong.

"In my case, it was easier for me not to go home," says Teresa Heinz Housel, who was the first in her family to go to college and has since co-edited two books about the first-generation experience.

Breaks can be especially hard, Housel says.

"I have memories of being in a near-empty campus dorm because I chose to stay on campus," she says. "It was just easier for me to do that than to go through the anxiety of trying to get used to a different cultural environment and then coming back."

But Raven did come back. She says dropping out is not an option.

"This is a good opportunity for me," she says. "I’m doing it to better my education so when I get older, I can take care of [my sister] if she needs my help."

And what she’s left behind has also given Raven an edge. For her "Issues in American Education" class, she gets an assignment:  to respond to a passage about the effect of poverty on schools.

There is a “social burden placed on schools by poverty, drug abuse, violence, and hopelessness,” writes Nan Stone in the Harvard Business Review. “Troubled children carry the ills of their homes and neighborhoods into their classrooms every day.”

Poverty, drug abuse, violence and hopelessness. Sounds a lot like Raven’s old neighborhood.

"Yes, it does," Raven says. "I could relate to it because it happened when I was a child, when I was growing up."

The instructor, Anthony Mitchell, says Raven’s experience will help make her a good teacher.

"I’m very happy to have a student that brings her background and brings her perspective," he says. "Many students in this class have not had an experience like Raven."

"It makes me feel stronger," Raven says. "I had to work my way to get here."

She’s quickly learning she’ll have to work just as hard to stay.

What kind of stock photo says "working women"?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-02-10 10:26

In ads, magazines, and marketing campaigns, a few images of women seem to come up again and again:  

Working woman?  Climbing ladders.  Or maybe wearing boxing gloves.

 There's also the woman-laughing-alone-with-salad.  

Most of these stereotypical images come from stock photo collections.  Now, Lean In, a non-profit led by Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and named after her book, aims to correct the problem through a partnership with the biggest distributor of those photos, Getty Images.

Michelle Underwood looks for stock photos all the time, in her job as an art director for Zocalo Group, a marketing firm in Chicago. 

"I want to write a note to stock photographers," she says, "because every woman on every stock-photogaphy website is wearing a spaghetti-strap tank top.  And it drives me crazy."

The Lean In collection at Getty Images has about 2,500 images tagged to correct the problem. Jessica Bennett helped curate it for the Lean In Foundation, which gets ten percent of Getty's revenues from the photos.

"You’ll notice these people look real," says Bennett. "That was one of the biggest things." 

These are not just workplace images.  The first few pictures include a young girl on a skateboard, a mom teaching her daughter how to ride a bike, and a heavy-metal dad with his daughter on his shoulders. 

However, in the world of stock photography, 2,500 images is a very small collection.  

"That’s really nothing," says Lanny Ziering, an investor who has run stock photo companies. Getty’s site alone has tens of millions, and it has competitors. 

Ziering compares the Lean In collection to "what a couple photographers might be able to create in a week."

Which could be part of the point.

Jim Pickerell, a former stock photographer and an expert on the business, says stock-photo websites offer an overwhelming number of choices.

Together, we do a very common search on Getty’s site:  "woman office computer."    About 24,000 images come up.

Pickerell says most people will look through maybe three pages of search results.  At 100 images per page, that’s 300 photos.

"What about all those other images?" says Pickerell.  "Does anybody ever get to see them? And the answer is 'no.'" 

So helping this small number of pictures stand out—and starting a conversation about them—may be the point.  

"Maybe it has a shaming mechanism," says Bennett of Lean In.  "Like, there’s no excuse. This collection exists. No matter how small you think it is, this collection exists."

I suggest to her that getting a few news stories out there today may be the point of the exercise, and she doesn’t disagree.

Neither does Getty's co-founder and chief executive, Jonathan Klein.  "Two-and-a-half thousand images is certainly not going to change the way women are viewed across the world," he says.  "But it's creating the conversation."

It's Monday. Let's talk about stress.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-02-10 10:23

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

In Washington, the Labor Department releases job openings and labor turnover data for December.

Feeling a little stressed? You might have company. The American Psychological Association releases its annual Stress in America survey.

She spent years as a castaway on an uncharted desert isle with no phone, no lights, no motor cars. The “movie star,” Tina Louise turns 80.

The Commerce Department reports on wholesale inventories and sales for December. The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to discuss “Current and Future Worldwide Threats.”

And it’s 'Get Out Your Guitar Day' AND 'Make a Friend Day.' Hmm ... I don’t think you can do both. 

VIDEO: Ski chalet 'looked like bonfire'

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 10:23
A chalet in the popular French ski resort of Val d'Isere had to be evacuated when a fire broke out.

U.S. Citizen May Be Targeted With Drone Strike: Reports

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-10 10:11

Multiple news outlets are reporting being told by U.S. officials that the Obama administration is considering whether to try to kill a U.S. citizen who has allegedly joined al-Qaida overseas. The individual, whose name has not been released, is alleged to be planning attacks against Americans.

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Obama praises gay NFL prospect

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 10:08
American footballer Michael Sam, who aims to become the NFL's first openly gay player, is "an inspiration", says First Lady Michelle Obama.

Nun 'beat girl black and blue'

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 10:06
The first female witness to give evidence to the Historical Abuse Inquiry says she was beaten by a nun until she was black and blue.

No FA action following Toure 'kick'

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:56
Manchester City's Yaya Toure will not face disciplinary action over an incident with Norwich City's Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

Miliband in parent power pledge

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:56
Labour leader Ed Miliband will set out plans to give parents the power to call in "interventions" at failing schools as part of wider public service reforms.

'Lung In A Box' Keeps Organs Breathing Before Transplants

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:49

For decades, doctors have transported donor organs chilled on ice in a plain old cooler. But a company is trying to come up with a better way to carry the lifesaving organs. The experimental machines keep hearts beating and lungs moving outside the body.

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'Lung In A Box' Keeps Organs Breathing Before Transplants

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:49

For decades, doctors have transported donor organs chilled on ice in a plain old cooler. But a company is trying to come up with a better way to carry the life-saving organs. The experimental machines keep hearts beating and lungs moving outside the body.

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Police seize heroin worth millions

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:44
Nine people are charged with drugs supply offences after heroin worth millions of pounds is seized by police.

VIDEO: House of Commons

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:40
Labour accuses Eric Pickles of using the Environment Agency as a "scapegoat".

New Immigration Law Tests Swiss, European Relationship

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:35

The French foreign minister said France would have to "review" its relationship with Switzerland, because the new law violates an agreement that allows Europeans to move freely from country to country.

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Spree killer's accomplices guilty

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:34
Gary Stretch and Leslie Layton are found guilty of helping triple killer Joanna Dennehy during her 12-day spree of violence.

Online abuse teacher redeployed

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:32
A teacher who quit her job at a north Belfast school after being targeted by online sectarian abuse has found a job in another education board area.

Where is it illegal to be gay?

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:23
The 77 countries where being gay is a crime

Why did Copenhagen Zoo kill its giraffe?

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-10 09:23
Why Copenhagen Zoo ignored calls to save a young giraffe

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