National / International News

VIDEO: Fifty shades of Somerset

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 10:11
As Fifty Shades of Grey geared up to its UK premiere, a writing group from Wellington in Somerset was inspired to write their own erotica.

From Facebook To A Virtual You: Planning Your Digital Afterlife

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 10:00

Whether you appoint a postmortem account manager or opt for "virtual immortality," new online tools help us navigate how we will preserve our digital footprint after death.

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Fitbit says Surge can cause rash

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:54
Fitbit acknowledges that one of its new gadgets, the Surge, can give some people a skin rash.

Greek 'compromise' possible - Merkel

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:51
Germany's Chancellor Merkel says a compromise is possible, amid a stand-off with Greece over the terms of its bailout.

Law to make FGM reporting mandatory

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:49
Professionals who fail to report cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in children could face the sack under a new law for England and Wales.

Congo poll date set after protests

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:38
The Democratic Republic of Congo sets a date for presidential elections following last month's violent protests against a possible delay.

Average Costco customer makes six figures

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:37

American Express CEO Ken Chennault held an unscheduled call with analysts today to warn everybody that AmEx's credit-card partnership with warehouse retailer Costco is going to expire next year.

AmEx shares lost 6.5 percent as a result.

Most interesting factoid of the whole story?

The average Costco customer has an income of $100,000 a year.

This might hurt a bit: The downside of Ukraine's IMF loan

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:37

Two major developments regarding Ukraine were announced Thursday. The first is a fragile ceasefire with the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, and the second is an expanded loan program from the International Monetary Fund. 

"If you asked me which of the two deals are more important, it' s probably the IMF deal, because the IMF deal is more likely to stick," says Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a research and consulting firm.

The package requires difficult reforms to combat corruption, reduce public spending and – most critically – reform the country's energy sector. Many of these conditions will have to be met up front, and approved by Ukrainian legislators, says Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a former economic adviser to Russia and Ukraine.

The most difficult conditions concern reforming the state-owned natural gas company and reducing its generous subsidies. Those subsidies keep gas for residential heating cheap, but also cause the company to lose about $4 billion a year, according to Thierry Bros, senior analyst for European gas and energy markets for Societe Generale. 

Who benefits when Expedia buys the competition?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:37

Expedia announced Thursday that it's acquiring rival travel company Orbitz for $1.6 billion. This comes on the heels of Expedia buying Travelocity a few weeks ago, and leaves Priceline as its only major competitor in online travel booking.

Expedia already has significant bargaining power with airlines and hotels to negotiate things like fees and access to inventory.

“They’ve got a lot of customers at their disposal, a big share of the market, so they can command supplier’s attention in a way that smaller players cannot," says Doug Quinby, vice president of research with research firm Phocuswright.

Thursday's news shouldn’t affect consumers’ travel costs one way or the other, says Rich Maradik, founder of nSight Travel, a market research firm. "In the end this just puts more pressure on hotels, and squeezes their profits,” he says.

Future of Belfast Harbour explored

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:30
The future of Belfast Harbour, including potentially its sale, is being explored by the Northern Ireland Executive, with a panel to advise on a way forward likely to be established shortly.

Nicaragua's New Canal Could Be Environmental Disaster, Report Says

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:29

Scientists believe the project, which is reportedly underway already, could destroy a million acres of rainforest and contaminate Central America's largest source of drinking water.

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Apps Can Speed The Search For Love, But Nothing Beats A Real Date

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:29

Are those hours I spend swiping through Tinder getting me anywhere closer to actual romance? Yes, psychologists say. But chemistry doesn't come in an app, and that's what matters most.

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MPs removed from S Africa parliament

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:28
Security forces remove opposition leader Julius Malema from South Africa's parliament during a state of the nation speech by President Jacob Zuma.

Hospital waiting lists at new high

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:19
The number of patients in Wales waiting longer than they should for hospital treatment reaches 21,000 for the first time, after rising 8% in a month.

Strauss-Kahn grilled on 'love nest'

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:14
Ex-IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn is grilled in court on his use of a "bachelor pad" for orgies and text messages asking for women for sex parties.

Dogs 'can spot happy human faces'

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 09:01
Dogs can tell the difference between happy and angry human facial expressions, a study suggests.

Chelsea and Everton charged by FA

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 08:56
Chelsea and Everton are charged by the Football Association after the clubs' players were involved in an on-pitch incident.

School place cash details announced

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 08:51
Ministers announce how money ring-fenced for new school places will be spent, with Manchester and London deemed in most need of extra funding.

Lambert's loss leaves a Scot-free Premier League

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 08:43
Scotland has provided some of English football's most successful managers and the Premier League has never been without one - until now.

Judge fails in bid to end rape trial

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 08:37
Three men are convicted of raping a woman in a trial the judge tried to stop because of a lack of evidence.