National / International News

Glasgow council confirms Cosla exit

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 06:18
Glasgow City Council follows Aberdeen in confirming it is to leave local government body Cosla to join a rival organisation.

Murray 'unlikely' to play doubles

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:59
Andy Murray says he is "unlikely" to play doubles in Great Britain's Davis Cup tie against the United States in Glasgow.

Ferguson operates police department as a profit center

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:55

In addition to documenting stark racial disparities and shocking incidents in Ferguson, Missouri's law-enforcement system, the Justice Department's report finds that Ferguson operates its police department primarily as a money-making enterprise. But Ferguson is not the only place where law-enforcement practices may be more about money than public safety. 

In Ferguson, the idea that the police department operates as a revenue-maximizing business is the basic thesis of the Justice Department report. The city finance director emails the police chief asking for more ticket revenue. Cops say they get evaluated — and promoted — based on “productivity,” meaning the number of citations they issue. All this comes on page two. 

The report points to documents that show the revenue strategy at work.  In one email, the finance director pushes a traffic-enforcement initiative to, quote, “fill the revenue pipeline.” The clerk of the municipal court also gets emails about revenue targets. In an official report, the finance director boasts to the city council about how much higher fines are in Ferguson than in neighboring towns.

These tactics paid off. The city budgeted for— and realized— huge increases in revenue from tickets and fines. Those revenues more than doubled in the last five years, and in the latest budget they account for almost a quarter of the general fund revenue.

The phenomenon is not limited to Ferguson, although the strategies under which law enforcement collects revenue are not always the same. 

There’s been a lot of reporting on civil forfeiture cases— a mechanism under which cops can seize money and other assets from people who aren’t charged with crimes — and keep the money. The New Yorker and the Washington Post have both done extensive reports — as has HBO's John Oliver.

"There’s no question that civil forfeiture falls most heavily on minorities and low-income folks," says Scott Bullock, an attorney at the Institute for Justice. "And those folks are not only having their property taken, but they don’t have the resources to go about challenging it in court."  

The Washington Post documented billions of dollars seized and spent by police nationwide. Los Angeles police bought a $5 million helicopter. The sheriff’s department in Amarillo, Texas bought a $637 coffee pot.

Other strategies abound, says Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU’s criminal law reform project— and a lot of money gets collected, even if the public doesn't always see "smoking-gun" documents like the ones in the Ferguson report.

"I think you’d have lots of smoking guns if the Department of Justice went around the country doing this," he says.

EU in new pledge to cut red tape

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:52
A top Brussels official in charge of slimming down EU regulations, Frans Timmermans, vows to keep the EU focused on priority areas.

'Primary schoolchildren in gangs'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:52
Nine-year-old used to carry drugs, BBC investigation finds

Armed police changes to be announced

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:40
Police Scotland is to publish changes to its policy on the arming of officers by the end of this month, MSPs are told.

Clever girls, stupid boys?

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:39
An international study challenges stereotypes about the differences between boys and girls at school.

'Wrong body' cremated at MEP funeral

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:39
The body of a man was cremated by mistake at the funeral of an MEP with an almost identical name, the BBC understands.

Winter's Final Punch? Forecasters Say Maybe

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:34

Up to 10 inches of snowfall is possible in some areas of the mid-Atlantic and a slippery "wintry mix" causes the closing of federal government offices.

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Thousands flee battle for Iraqi city

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:23
A military operation to retake the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Islamic State militants has forced about 28,000 people to flee their homes, the UN says.

ECB raises eurozone growth forecast

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:22
The European Central Bank raises this year's growth forecast for the eurozone to 1.5%, up from 1% previously, while keeping interest rates unchanged at 0.05%.

'Grand Bargain' In Workers' Comp Unravels, Harming Injured Workers Further

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:19

Changes to workers' compensation laws mean families and government bear more of the costs that result from injuries on the job.

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Top US circus to end elephant act

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:19
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus said it plans to stop using the animals by 2018.

MPs call for Mumsnet spy recruitment

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:17
UK intelligence services need to recruit more female spies, particularly middle-aged women and mothers, by using websites such as Mumset, MPs say.

Singapore Court Sentences Two Germans To Caning And Jail Over Graffiti

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:16

The pair were tracked down and arrested in Malaysia last November. For spray-painting graffiti on a commuter train car, they are sentenced to nine months in prison and three strokes from a cane.

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Firmus cuts gas bills for some homes

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:12
Firmus Energy, the gas supply company, is to cut prices for customers in the greater Belfast area, but prices will not change for those outside the city.

Tanzania albino killers face death

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:12
Four people, including the victim's husband, are sentenced to death in Tanzania after being found guilty of murdering an albino woman.

Caption Challenge: Big ball of fluff and twigs

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 05:06
It's the Caption Challenge. Oh yes it is.

Ministers to review murder case

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 04:57
The case of a woman murdered by her boyfriend after a 999 delay will be referred to ministers, William Hague tells MPs.

Data roaming to stay, EU proposes

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-05 04:47
MEPs will consider proposals that would maintain data roaming charges and introduce priority internet access for some specialist services.