National / International News

VIDEO: Nasa tests enormous rocket booster

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:38
At a site in the Utah desert, in the US, Nasa test-fires the biggest rocket ever made, part of its Space Launch System which is expected to pave the way for manned missions to Mars.

Apple faces online service faults

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:34
Several of Apple's online services stop working after the company is hit by an unspecified fault.

The Boss Can Force You To Buy Company's Health Insurance

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:32

Under the federal health law, employers with 100 or more full-time workers can enroll them in the company plan without their say as long as the coverage is deemed affordable and adequate.

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Japan marks tsunami anniversary

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:23
Ceremonies are held to mark the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as the country's emperor says the situation for survivors remains severe.

VIDEO: Jeremy Clarkson jokes with reporters

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:23
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson faced reporters as he left his flat in Kensington in west London.

MPs back standardised cigarette packs

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:21
MPs have voted in favour of the introduction of standardised packaging for cigarettes in the UK.

Street preacher 'made abusive rants'

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:21
A Christian street preacher targeted Muslims and gay people in "religiously-aggravated" sermons delivered in the middle of a high street, a court has heard.

What next for the 'almighty dollar'?

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:19
The Fed is facing a series of decisions which could affect economies around the globe.

Man jailed over child sex abuse

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:18
A 45-year-old Conwy man is jailed for four years for a string of child sex abuse offences.

Clarkson jokes about BBC suspension

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:14
Jeremy Clarkson makes light of his suspension by the BBC as an online petition for him to be reinstated tops 400,000 signatures.

Dodging Bullets wins Champion Chase

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:09
Dodging Bullets, trained by Paul Nicholls, wins the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Mother charged over toddler's death

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:09
A mother and her partner are charged over the death of her young daughter from a head injury.

Lawes and Brown back for England

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:07
England make two changes for the Six Nations match against Scotland, with Courtney Lawes and Mike Brown returning to the XV.

Why sales of packaged or processed foods are declining

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-03-11 08:00

Packaged food manufacturers are grappling with some big shifts in consumption trends. Sales of some of the top brands at General Mills, Kraft and the Campbell Soup Company have been slumping. 

As Campbell’s chief executive Denise Morrison recently acknowledged at a conference, many Americans are turning away from foods whose ingredients aren't "fresh" or "natural."

“And along with this, as all of you know, comes a mounting distrust of so-called “Big Food”, the large food companies and legacy brands that millions of consumers have relied on for so long,” she told a room full of food industry analysts.

One of the people presenting a challenge for food companies is 23 year-old Nick Neylon. He says the pejorative phrase “Big Food” is part of his vocabulary.

“I would also use a term like evil and the devil and Lucifer,” he says.

I found Neylon stirring a pot of homemade polenta at a Minneapolis event called "Eat for Equity." People raise money for charities while sharing a big, healthy meal. A mushroom and fennel ragout filled the air with a rich, tomatoey scent. Neylon says that's his kind of grub. He avoids packaged and fast foods.

Nick Neylon dresses a salad at a Minneapolis event called “Eat for Equity.” 

Annie Baxter/Marketplace

“If someone else made it, don't eat it,” he says. “Generally you'll be happier if you cook all your food from scratch.”

Neylon's age may have something to do with his eating habits. Food and beverage analyst Darren Seifer with the NPD Group says the millennial generation is making a shift towards fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. Seifer traces the change to the Great Recession — young people ate out less often because they were broke. And instead of cracking open, say, a can of Chef Boyardee, some learned how to cook.

“A lot of it has to do with how millennials got used to their kitchens sooner than we expected them to,” he says.

Food analyst Alexia Howard at Bernstein says women are playing a big role, too.

“Over the last several decades, really since the Second World War, heavily processed or packaged foods — more convenient foods — were embraced by moms-at-home and women wanting to get into the workforce,” she says.

But Howard says a few years ago, sales of products like Jell-O and TV dinners declined noticeably. Her theory: Moms were spending more time on the internet reading about what goes into food and got turned off by additives and preservatives.

Heidi Stark, who's 37, is a case in point.

“When you start reading what's actually in the packages, no one wants it,” she says.

Stark says gut problems prompted her to start eating super healthy over the past year. Now she plans out her menu and buys lots of fresh fruits, veggies and meat. On a recent trip to Lakewinds Food Co-op in Minneapolis, she bought the ingredients for a recipe involving pork chops, apples and shallots.

“That sounds gross!” her seven year-old son Anderson complained.

But his mom says he’ll eat it anyway.

Packaged food companies are trying to woo back consumers like Heidi Stark with some fresh products — like baby carrots from the Campbell Soup Company or protein-packed items, like a Kraft snack pack with meat, cheese and nuts. Some are also appealing to the growing interest in simple, organic ingredients — think General Mills' acquisition of Annie's, which makes organic macaroni and cheese.

Stock analyst Alexia Howard says even if these products sell well, they're still a small part of the companies' overall business.

“The margins on these new products are a lot lower,” she says. “The growth in these new products, rapid though it is, they're starting from a much smaller base than the bigger, established brands.”

While these big food companies struggle to meet the needs of millennials and moms who want fresher foods, Howard says we could see more cost-cutting — and even consolidation.

Your pictures: Castles

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 07:58
Readers' photographs on the theme of castles

Fresh US sanctions over Ukraine

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 07:54
he US has imposed sanctions on 14 Ukrainian separatists and Russians, including the former prime minister of Ukraine.

Regulator 'alert to pension scams'

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 07:51
A regulator has vowed to be on the lookout for fraud and scams when new pension freedoms come into force in April.

Carter demands snooker prize money

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 07:45
Ali Carter wants to claim his Indian Open prize money despite failing to attend the tournament because of a visa issue.

Quiz: How effective are Teach for America teachers?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-03-11 07:45

Mathematica Policy Research examined the effectiveness of Teach for America teachers after the nonprofit received a $50 million federal grant in 2010 to put more of its teachers in classrooms.

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Minecraft ban reports investigated

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-11 07:36
Minecraft owner Microsoft is investigating reports the Turkish government is preparing to ban the game, the BBC understands.