National / International News

The huge cost of developing drugs

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 23:17
How the cost of developing new drugs is encouraging big drugs companies to merge with each other.

How I got smarter this week (in just 105 minutes)

Marketplace - American Public Media - Sun, 2014-05-11 22:55

I am on a diet to make me smarter. A media diet. I'm trying to add at least one moment of depth per week to a movie habit that tends to play in the shallow end of the pool. This week my diet included "The Lunchbox," a film that I thought was going to be about relationships and sumptuous Indian food. Embedded therein was a fascinating lesson in business and logistics.

Yes, I know that to a fellow with a hammer, every problem is a nail. To a fellow with a business show, every movie has a lesson in business. "The Lunchbox" is a bittersweet comedy with a plot that pivots on an amazing delivery system in Mumbai, India that has been studied by Harvard researchers.

First of all, the movie: I promise, you will walk out of a viewing ravenous for South Asian food.

"The Lunchbox" is about a woman (Nimrat Kaur) who is trying to recapture the attentions of her husband by cooking and sending him fabulous lunches. The lunch gets delivered to the wrong man. The man, who starts getting the food by mistake and becomes entranced by the aromas, is played with subtle elegance by Irrfan Khan, the veteran actor who played the lead character as an older man in the Oscar-winning movie "Life of Pi."

Let's talk about that delivery service. A messenger known as a dabbawala picks up the lunch box, usually contained in a tiffen, an interlocking column of stainless steel bowls, and is surrounded by an insulating pouch. The 124-year old system for delivering the food that's grown up in Mumbai has long fascinated logistics experts. Messengers move the meals tied to bicycles. They are often stacked onto gurneys for insertion into railway carriages to be picked up by porters at the other end of the line. Many of the porters are semi-literate, yet they do interpret an alphanumeric code.

When the wife complains to the dabbawala at the door that her lunch is going to the wrong man, the deliveryman claims that is impossible because "Harvard says" their system never fails. Real-life studies show the system gets it right, on-time, with an astonishing 99.9 percent success rate. In fact, here is a 2010 case study in the Harvard Business Review.

A great meal like "The Lunchbox" in my media diet deserves a fine dessert. I was able to track down some additional short documentaries on the dabbawala delivery system and I commend one of them to you here:

It is a delivery system with a precision that would make the Post Office, FedEx, UPS and your pizza delivery professional blush with embarrassment.

Ukraine rebels claim poll victory

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 22:52
Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region claim a resounding victory in a "self-rule" referendum, saying 89% voted in favour.

VIDEO: 'Operation Osprey' under way in Wales

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 22:35
A pair of rare ospreys are having their nest in Wales monitored by a team of volunteers. Tim Muffett reports.

Bosses see rate rise in early 2015

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 22:33
UK interest rates will rise to 0.75% from 0.5% in the first three months of 2015 as growth picks up, according to a prediction from the CBI.

Washington Monument To Reopen After 3 Years Of Quake Repairs

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 22:09

With more than 150 cracks patched and repaired in its white marble, the Washington Monument is set to reopen for the first time since a 2011 earthquake caused widespread damage.

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Hate crime 'cultural change' needed

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 21:57
Wales needs "cultural changes" in order to tackle hate crimes, the Welsh government claims, as it launches a new helpline and website for victims.

VIDEO: Troops 'in dark place' after Afghan war

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 21:35
There has been a "significant increase" in the number of UK veterans of the Afghanistan conflict seeking mental health treatment, says a charity.

Hamilton will not break me - Rosberg

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 21:35
Nico Rosberg says he will not succumb to the psychological pressure of team-mate Lewis Hamilton's run of wins.

EU negotiations and the 'bearded lady' - the papers

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 21:27
A potentially rough ride for David Cameron as he tries to renegotiate Britain's EU membership terms is covered in the press and there's more on the Eurovision-winning "bearded woman".

Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To?

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 21:17

A survey of data shows a marked drop in teenagers reading for pleasure. Researchers are trying to figure out whether the explosion of e-reading and digital diversions is behind the decline.

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Man, 25, is rescued from flat fire

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 21:16
A 25-year-old man is rescued from the balcony of a fourth floor flat after a fire breaks out.

Few 'will hit social care cost cap'

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 21:04
Pensioners expecting a government cap on the cost of elderly social care in England to help cover their bill are "in for a shock", a report warns.

NI private sector recovery continues

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 20:58
A survey of businesses suggests the recovery of NI's private sector moved up a gear in April.

Thai Senate faces protest call

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 20:51
Thailand's Senate is to hold talks, as protesters call on it to replace the current government of ousted leader Yingluck Shinawatra.

VIDEO: Final day of Indian voting

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 20:33
Voting has begun in the battleground of Varanasi as India votes in the final phase of its mammoth general election.

Glenn Greenwald: NSA Believes It Should Be Able To Monitor All Communication

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 20:03

The journalist, who received a cache of highly classified documents, says no one disputes that the security agency should be reading emails from al-Qaida, but the system has become too powerful.

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WW1 'digital memorial' goes live

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 19:53
An online archive remembering the millions of people from Britain and the Commonwealth who served in World War One goes live.

Reliance and BP in India arbitration

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 19:46
India's Reliance Industries, UK oil giant BP and Canada's Niko file an arbitration notice against the Indian government over gas prices.

Death discussions 'taboo' for many

BBC - Sun, 2014-05-11 19:16
Discussing dying and making end of life plans remain taboo for many Britons, a survey finds.
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