National / International News

Return Of Horses A Sign Of Spring On Michigan Island

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:46

Over the next two months, more than 300 draft and riding horses will be transported by ferry to Mackinac Island.

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Mayweather-Pacquiao fight sells out

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:35
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao's fight sells out in minutes and tickets immediately appear on websites for £47,000.

Google profits please investors

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:33
US technology giant Google reports a 4% increase in profits in the first quarter to $3.59bn helped by strong advertising sales.

Petraeus fined over military leak

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:25
David Petraeus, a retired US four-star general and former CIA director, is put on probation and fined for leaking classified materials to his mistress.

Man's death treated as suspicious

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:22
A police investigation is under way into the suspicious death of a 49-year-old man in Perthshire.

Amazon reports a quarterly loss

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:20
Amazon reports a loss of $57m in the first quarter and also said its web services business generated sales of $1.57bn.

Nasdaq closes at record high

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:15
The tech-heavy Nasdaq index closes at a record high, surpassing a level it last reached in 2000 at the height of the dot com bubble.

Two killed in Wrexham collision

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:12
Two people die after a collision between a car and a coach in Wrexham, North Wales Police says.

Adams pulls out after home burgled

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:09
Nicola Adams withdraws from this weekend's England Boxing Elite National Championships after her house was burgled.

15 Years After The Dot-Com Bust, A Nasdaq Record

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:05

The Nasdaq has closed at a new high. It last peaked just before the dot-com crash, and "Nasdaq 5000" soon became code for stock market bubble. Does the record hold any of the same warnings today?

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Toddlers under pressure to pass nursery entrance interviews

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 11:48
The toddlers who have to pass interviews to get into pre-school

#TBT: With Year To Go In White House, First Lady Runs For Senate

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-23 11:20

It was almost unthinkable at the time, but Hillary Clinton wouldn't be where she is today without taking the bold chance on running for a U.S. Senate seat in a state where she never lived.

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How Texas Ranchers Try To Clinch The Perfect Ribeye

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-23 11:16

The ribeye is the best-selling cut of beef in America both at the supermarket and the steakhouse. Once a year, breeders bring their stock into the barn to take a peek at the steak using ultrasound.

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Indian Farmer's Apparent Suicide Sparks Political Backlash

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-23 11:16

Gajendra Singh was found hanging from a tree at a political rally in New Delhi earlier this week. His presumed suicide has become a cause célèbre for the country's disaffected farmers.

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Rhode Island, hard hit by recession, slow to recover

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-23 11:09

When she was younger, Carolyn Rafaelian used to work in her dad’s jewelry factory as punishment if she misbehaved. Now, she and her sister run it.

“I love that factory smell,” she says, walking onto the factory floor. To her left are rows of waist-high cabinets, their drawers filled with beads. Some are yellow and orange like candy corns, others pink as grapefruit. To Rafaelian’s right, women sit at long tables, each working on a different task.

Alex and Ani founder and CEO Carolyn Rafaelian surveys vintage beads in the factory. 

Tracey Samuelson/Marketplace

Her dad started this factory in 1966, when Rhode Island was considered a global capital of jewelry manufacturing. During the 1980s, the state produced an estimated 80 percent of costume jewelry made in the U.S.

Much of that business has now moved overseas, but not Rafaelian. Instead of selling to wholesalers, who’d sell to stores, as her father had, Rafaelian launched her own line of jewelry called Alex and Ani, which specializes in thin metal bangles strung with charms. By 2009, the factory was making Alex and Ani products exclusively. In 2013, annual revenue hit $230 million (the company no longer releases revenue data).

“This is what you can’t find in China or anywhere else in the world, archives of stones,” Rafaelian says. “The sizes the shapes, the settings. They don’t even make this stuff anymore.”

The factory, Cinerama, holds drawers and drawers of vintage beads. 

Tracey Samuelson/Marketplace

Rafaelian insists that she can’t make her products in China — that part of their appeal is their story and their Rhode Island origins.

“There’s machines that would do it automatic, but that would probably take away 15 jobs, 20 jobs,” she says. “I like it this way. Everything’s being touched.”

But where she’s thrived, many other companies have folded. Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector, already struggling before the recession, is one reason economists believe the country’s smallest state has been one of the hardest hit by the economic downtown, as well as one of the slowest to return to pre-recession employment levels.

“Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector has essentially been cut in half in the past couple of decades,” says Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island’s governor. “We lost more than 80,000 manufacturing jobs.”

Governor Raimondo is just a couple months into the gig and very, very aware of the big structural problems her state’s economy faces. Like Rafaelian, Raimondo's dad also worked in the jewelry industry.

“My father made his career at the old Bulova watch factory in Providence,” she says. “At one time, Bulova employed over a thousand people. Those jobs are not coming back. My dad’s manufacturing, that is gone and I don’t see that coming back to America, much less Rhode Island.”

The jewelry and textiles and other labor-intensive products that Rhode Island historically made were more vulnerable to competition from China than other states, says Mary Burke, a senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston who recently published a paper on Rhode Island's recession and recovery.

She says by 2000, “the manufacturing sector was doing very poorly and in a lot of ways, that was hidden by the housing boom because the housing boom was creating jobs in construction and retail, [as well as] boosting spending in a lot of other things.”

As the housing boom turned into a housing bubble, the national economy suffered. Burke says the impact was magnified in Rhode Island because it had larger housing price increases during the boom years and deeper declines during the bust than other states in the region. 

During the recession, the state began earning the wrong kind of superlatives – its job losses were the worst in the region and it’s still 3.4 percent below its pre-recession peak in 2006. It had highest unemployment rate in the country for parts of 2013 and 2014.

But Burke says state’s economy is gradually recovering.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Raimondo says. “The decline has been over decades and it’s going to take time to turn the ship.”

To help make that turn, Raimondo recently proposed wide-ranging jobs plan, including everything from initiatives that seek to streamline the cost of doing business in the state to a new tourism campaign. She also wants manufacturing to play a role in the state’s future, but thinks the state needs to transition into high-tech manufacturing with better-paying jobs, even though she knows Rhode Island residents may not currently have the skills fill those positions. Another feature of her plan? Training programs — both for the jobs the state already has and the ones it hopes to create. 

Events mark WWI Gallipoli centenary

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 11:00
World leaders gather to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, one of the bloodiest of World War One, in which 141,000 soldiers died.

Couples Counseling Catches On With Tech Co-Founders

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-23 10:56

Friction between close business partners is the reason many startups fail. But increasingly in Silicon Valley, co-founders of companies are turning to therapists before things go south.

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Top Gear producer Wilman quits show

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 10:29
Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman has quit the BBC show in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson's departure, the BBC has confirmed.

US Senate confirms Lynch nomination

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 10:22
The US Senate confirms the nomination of Loretta Lynch as the next US Attorney General, making her the first black woman to take up the post.

VIDEO: S Africa rallies against xenophobia

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 10:17
As thousands march in South Africa to protest against xenophobic violence, the BBC's Karen Allen looks at what is fuelling the mistrust of foreigners.