National / International News

Day in pictures: 29 January 2014

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 05:10
24 hours of news photos: 29 January

Boy told he was 'product of evil'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 05:09
A priest told a former resident of a children's home in Northern Ireland he was the product of an evil and satanic relationship, an inquiry hears.

UK Madeleine detectives in Portugal

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 05:08
British detectives investigating the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann in the Algarve are visiting Portugal, Scotland Yard confirm.

.com gives way to .bike and .singles

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-29 05:07

There is about to be a huge land rush on the internet. Web registries -- companies and organizations that manage and market web addresses -- are unleashing approximately 1,500 new top-level domains, or TLDs, in the next eighteen months. The TLD is the set of letters to the right of the dot -- as in, .com, .org and .biz.

Now, get ready to add .singles, .guru, .bike, .plumbing, .ventures, .holdings and .clothing -- and that’s just this week’s crop. Addresses with those endings are being offered for sale starting today through venture-based domain-name registry Donuts, Inc., which is one of the biggest players in the new TLD space. Specific addresses will be marketed through registrars, such as Godaddy, 1&1.com and eNom, according to Donuts’ website (which gives this explanation of the firm’s name: "We are nuts about domain names. We are donuts.").

JoeBike is a bustling high-end store selling bicycles, accessories and riding gear in Portland, Oregon. The owner is Joe Doebele, and initially, he expressed skepticism that a new web address ending in .bike would do him much good.

“Immediately, who would be looking at .bike?” he asked. “I’m not going to invest in a destination that people don’t even know exists.”

Doebele’s current website is joe-bike.com -- which is pretty good from a marketing perspective. Dot-com addresses are the most popular on the internet, with more than 100 million registered, accounting for more than 75 percent of the total (which also includes .net, .org, .edu and other less popular extensions).

Within a few weeks of the initial launch of new top-level domains (during which prices for individual addresses can be set high by registrars selling them), individual web-addresses will settle at approximately $10 to $40 per year. Doebele thinks that would be affordable, making the url joebike.bike worth obtaining. If he did, he’d have a better chance of staking out his brand, and could use the new address to redirect to his current .com site, or to market to cycling aficionados -- if .bike ever catches on.

When a new TLD is first launched, though, prices can be high. Addresses in the .clothing TLD will start at $12,539.99 today, but decrease daily until they reach $39.99 on Feb. 5. Other hot TLDs with higher prices include .buzz and .luxury -- under which some addresses will cost several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars apiece.

By next year, there will be approximately 1,500 new TLDs, including in foreign scripts, and for major brands, such as .apple and .google.

Not everyone is convinced this vast expansion of internet domain names is worthwhile or wise for companies and organizations that depend on their current urls.

“I don’t think there’s a strong need for the additional extensions,” says Aaron Wall of SEO Book, an expert in search-engine optimization. “I just think it’s an easy way to build a high-margin business, if you’re the person that’s selling them and you’re good at marketing.”

Wall thinks many web-users will be confused by all the new endings, so they’ll keep clicking to the standard .com and .org addresses that they know and trust.

“There are going to be so many extensions at once, they’re all going to be competing for attention,” says Wall. “There are tons of names in .biz, .info; even .net and .org still have lots of great names available.” He cautions that small-business owners may be better off going after them, rather than the new untested TLDs.

Kieren McCarthy worked as general manager of public participation at ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the international nonprofit organization overseeing this massive internet expansion. He now follows internet policy at .nxt. McCarthy is convinced many of the new TLDs will catch on in the next few years, as kinks are worked out and the addresses get more familiar.

And he says these new, more specific TLDs will make it easier for people to connect to their communities and interests, and to find resources online.

“Basically now everyone still thinks .com is the internet or is the most important part of the internet, and from a purely logical, technical point of view, there’s no reason for that to be the case,” says McCarthy. “With all these new extensions, I think the internet will start reflecting our lives more closely.

“So if you run a bike shop or you’re just a bike fanatic you’ll say ‘well, I’ll get .bike’ rather than getting something .com. So it’s going to be a very, very different internet, where what comes after the dot simply reflects what goes on in life.”

McCarthy says new top-level-domains in foreign scripts like Cyrillic and Arabic will expand global use of the internet, and spread a wider sense of international ownership of the internet as well.

VIDEO: Nick Frost finds new partner

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 05:03
Comedian Nick Frost discusses seven hour dance lessons, salsa and his future film plans.

VIDEO: 'Leave them crying out for more'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:55
Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King has been talking about his decision to leave after 10 years as boss saying he hopes he leaves "people crying out for more".

Australia beat England in first T20

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:54
Australia beat England by 13 runs in the first Twenty20 international in Hobart to lead the three-match series.

VIDEO: Congressman Threatens To Throw Reporter Off Balcony

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:51

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., didn't like a reporter's question. With the camera still rolling, he said he would throw the journalist "off this [expletive] balcony." Also, said Grimm, "I'll break you in half."

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Marathon bombing cover magazine row

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:27
A British magazine that copied a cover published in tribute to the Boston marathon bombing victims says it is "truly sorry and embarrassed".

BBC iPlayer requests up a third in 2013

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:24
Top Gear, Doctor Who and Bad Education helped the BBC iPlayer to a record 3 billion requests in 2013, up 33% on the previous year.

VIDEO: Soap stars arrive for Roache trial

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:21
Actors from Coronation Street are expected to be called to the witness box at the trial of fellow star William Roache, who is accused of sexual offences.

VIDEO: Your views on keeping sterling

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:18
People in Edinburgh share their views on the currency that should be used in an independent Scotland.

Court ends Dutch Pirate Bay ban

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:16
A Dutch appeals court allows local internet providers to restore access to file-sharing site after a three-year ban.

Obama Showed A Deft Hand With Speech. Why Not With Congress?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:16

ANALYSIS: The president was brisk and confident during Tuesday night's State of the Union address. He also managed to avoid a remarkable array of issues that could have proved problematic. But he hasn't been nearly as adept at the less-dramatic business of dealing with Congress and the media.

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EU acts to curb banks' risky trading

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:03
Proposals to isolate some of the riskier trading activities by the banking sector are unveiled by the European Commission.

'Rush Hour From Hell' Drags On In Icy Southern Cities

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-29 04:00

In Atlanta, Birmingham and other places, people who got on the roads Tuesday afternoon still weren't home Wednesday. At many schools, students and teachers slept overnight on wrestling mats and classroom carpets. Forecasters got it wrong — the storm hit further north than they expected.

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AUDIO: School shames badly parked parents

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 03:59
A Northampton head teacher has begun naming and shaming parents who illegally park outside her school.

Stem cell 'major discovery' claimed

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 03:52
Stem cells researchers are heralding a "major scientific discovery", with the potential to start a new age of personalised medicine.

Woman jailed for brutal knife murder

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 03:48
A woman who was convicted of murdering a mother-of-two in a frenzied knife attack is jailed for life.

Man 'panicked' over dying girlfriend

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-29 03:37
A man who denies stabbing his girlfriend more than 40 times and leaving her to bleed to death says he did not call for help because he "panicked".

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