National / International News

'We lost our heads' admits Deila

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:52
Celtic manager Ronny Deila says his side lost their heads as they lost 4-1 to Legia Warsaw in Champions League qualifying.

Liberia shuts schools over Ebola

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:50
Liberia's government announced it is closing down all schools across the country and deploying troops to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

VIDEO: The challenge of tackling Ebola

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:50
Scientists have been aware of Ebola since the mid-1970s, but so far no vaccine or cure has been developed.

House Votes To OK Lawsuit Against Obama

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:48

House Republicans say that the president has overstepped the bounds of his executive authority. President Obama dismissed the move as a "political stunt."

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VIDEO: Fire rips through Eastbourne Pier

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:42
A huge fire has ripped through Eastbourne Pier in East Sussex.

Why Your 'Small-Batch' Whiskey Might Taste A Lot Like The Others

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:33

A food blogger says dozens of distilleries are buying rye whiskey from a factory in Indiana and using it in bottles labeled "artisan."

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G7 says Russia faces more sanctions

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:26
The G7 group of economic powers warns President Putin of further sanctions after Russia called new US and EU penalties "destructive and short-sighted".

Australia's head coach suspended

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:24
Head coach of Australian Athletics Eric Hollingsworth has been suspended for publicly criticising the team's star hurdler Sally Pearson.

Kiribati claims historic medal

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:23
Weightlifter David Katoatau earns Kiribati its first ever Games medal with gold in 105kg as Ben Watson wins bronze.

England pair win gymnastics golds

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 14:14
England's Max Whitlock and Claudia Fragapane both win their second gold medals in Glasgow in the all-around competitions.

Job Worries Linger, But The Economy Is Looking Good

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:54

Both the Commerce Department and the Federal Reserve gave the economy good marks after years of slack performance. The Fed still frets about jobs but generally is upbeat, predicting "moderate" growth.

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Amid Confusion, 17 Killed By Shelling At Market In Gaza

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:50

Israel's army declared a humanitarian cease-fire on Wednesday but said it did not apply to all areas. A market that Palestinians had thought was safe was hit, killing 17 and wounding dozens more.

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Flying axe near-miss on US motorway

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:46
A US vehicle passenger is "shaken up" after an axe flew off the back of a lorry on a motorway and crashed midway through a windshield, police say.

Film directors want to give Kodak another artsy moment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:45

Recent years have been tough for the Eastman Kodak Company. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2013 with a focus not on consumer products but on business consumers.

As film has gone digital, the company’s says its sales of motion picture film have declined by 96 percent over the last ten years.

But the company that gave us the “Kodak Moment” is getting some help from friends in Hollywood. Directors like Judd Apatow and Quentin Tarantino are pushing movie studios to commit to buying a certain amount of film from Kodak for the next several years.

The directors want to preserve the option to shoot film in the future, and Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke says in a statement that the company praises the “ingenuity in finding a way to extend the life of film.”

David Reibstein, a professor at The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, says having that option in the long-term will depend on what Kodak does with these sales.

“If you’re just getting more money to continue to do what it is that you were going that wasn’t working, that’s not going to be a successful strategy,” he says.  Reibstein notes that when General Motors invested in saving its ailing but iconic Cadillac brand, it undertook a major redesign and targeted a new demographic of customers.

Propping up a product in the short term can be like a finger in the dike, says Ken Doctor, a media analyst for Newsonomics. He sees a parallel between Kodak’s deal and one pushed by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to help ailing newspapers.

“He had the government fund one year subscriptions to… the students graduating from high school in France as a way to stem the tide,” he explains. “That was a short-lived program.”

But there is still value in Kodak’s brand, because now it has an "artisanal" quality to it, says Douglas Holt, president of the Cultural Strategy Group, a brand consultancy. He says Kodak used to be a symbol of mass culture; now the culture it recalls has become antiquated and cool.

“Pabst Blue Ribbon, Polaroid – a lot of these brands that were mass cultural brands of the [past decades], the '50s, '60s, '70s, have the same possibility to push back against the mass culture of today,” he says.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story failed to say Kodak had emerged from bankruptcy. Further, the story lacked sufficient context concerning the agreement the company and movie studios are pursuing, and it failed to include a comment from Kodak. The text has been amended.

Drones have a new celebrity spokesperson

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:45

The Motion Picture Association of America is a big fan of drones — or, officially, "unmanned aerial systems." The organization asked the Federal Aviation Administration yesterday to make it easier for directors to use drones in filming.

Another big fan of drones? Martha Stewart.

Drones are trending.

— Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) July 30, 2014

She has written a piece for Time, called "Why I Love My Drone."

Someone gave her one last summer as a gift. And, we learn, her mind "started racing" as she "imagined all the different applications" for it.

Stewart and her staff have been taking drone pictures of her beach house in Maine and her farm in New York.

"An aerial shot of the vegetable garden looked very much like my Peter Rabbit marzipan embellished Easter cake," she writies. "Which was designed without the help of a drone."

How the McDonald's ruling impacts the franchise industry

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:45

The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has handed down a decision that could have implications for the millions of Americans who work for franchises.

After investigating claims that some McDonald's restaurants broke labor laws by firing or penalizing workers who took part in pro-labor activities, the NLRB's general counsel said if the owner of a McDonald's fast food franchise commits a labor violation, the McDonald's corporation can be held jointly liable for the franchisee's bad behavior.

For now, the decision affects only the McDonald's corporation and McDonald's franchises. There are 3,000 other brands with franchise operations in the U.S., employing 8.5 million people across a range of industries, according to the International Franchise Association (IFA).

The IFA's Matthew Haller says the decision could destroy the franchise industry. Franchises may bear the names of big companies, he said, but they are owned and run like small businesses. 

"They set the wages, they hire and fire the employees, determine the appropriate benefits for employees and are responsible for all decisions that take place at the employee level," Haller said. 

The NLRB's general counsel said the McDonald's Corporation exercises enough control over how franchises are run to make it a co-employer of the people who work for franchises.

"They do exercise quite a bit of control over their franchisees in order to protect their brand," said Wilma Liebman, a former chair of the NLRB who has been advising the SEIU, a union that is working to organize fast-food workers. 

What McDonald's Corp. controls and what it doesn't is laid out in the terms of its franchise agreement. So even though other franchisees in other industries are watching the decision closely, it's not yet clear how this will affect other companies. McDonald's said in a statement that it plans to contest the NLRB's decision.

Twitter is relying on the Underwear Gnomes Profit Plan

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:45

Twitter released its quarterly results and they were impressive — shares jumped nearly 20 percent today.

The social media giant says they have picked up 16 million users in the last few months, making a grand total of 267 million users on Twitter. On top of that, revenue more than doubled thanks to new types of mobile ads.

Of course, revenue and profit aren’t quite the same thing. Twitter is still losing money.

That might sound surprising, but it’s actually pretty typical for tech companies, which tend to have a business plan that strongly resembles the business model of the Underpants Gnomes from South Park.

South Park Underwear Gnomes Profit Plan (full) from Jane Lu on Vimeo.

"It’s actually a very good business model," says Erich Joachimsthaler, CEO of Vivaldi Partners.

OK, he’s actually not talking about the underpants gnomes, he’s talking about Twitter and other tech companies, which tend to follow a plan that looks something like this:

PHASE 1: Attract millions of users with free services.

PHASE 2: Figure out some way to exploit those users.

PHASE 3: Make millions of dollars.

We’ve seen this work time and again, says Joachimsthaler - think Google and Facebook.

"As habit forms and as millions of people become hooked, Twitter has an opportunity to add advertising [and] some e-commerce functions, basically monetizing the asset," Joachimsthaler says.

But that could be tricky for Twitter. Advertisers love Facebook because it knows so much about its users and there are so many of them, says Ken Wilbur, assistant professor of marketing at UC San Diego's Rady School of Management.

He says they don’t love Twitter quite as much.

"When you put ads into the Twitter feed itself, it lowers the utility of Twitter to its users," Wilbur says. "And they don’t have a great platform for putting ads next to the feed."

Wilbur says it remains to be seen whether Twitter can find a way to fully monetize its users. It could either be the next Facebook or the next Friendster. At one time, Friendster was the biggest social network on the web, with more than 100 million users and now it’s a gaming site based in Malaysia.

Ah, the pitfalls of phase two.

Rutherford wins Commonwealth gold

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:44
Greg Rutherford adds Commonwealth gold to his Olympics long jump title as England move top of the medal table in Glasgow.

Moldova's Winemakers Seize Upon Region's Geopolitical Moment

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:44

The tiny European country of Moldova isn't known for much of anything, and especially not its wine. But its winemakers are trying to find new export markets and overcome their post-Soviet reputation.

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VIDEO: Louvre rat infestation shocks tourists

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 13:40
The Louvre in Paris has called in pest controllers after an infestation of rats was spotted in the gallery's gardens.
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