National / International News

Some new credit cards are more secure than others

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-06 02:00

Come October, stores and restaurants must install new credit card readers that accept secure credit cards with smart chips, or the store will be held responsible for any fraud that occurs. U.S. card issuers are scrambling to send members new chip-enabled cards, but not all of them will work the same way.

Some will require customers to sign a receipt like today. Others will use a more secure PIN code, like at an ATM, but most banks are choosing convenience and familiarity over security.

Click the media player above to hear more.

Schools go to court for more funding

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-06 02:00

Just before the new year, a three-judge panel in Kansas ruled that public schools are so under-funded as to violate the state’s constitution. Lawsuits like the one in Kansas have become a popular tactic to try to win more money for public schools. Thirteen states, from Texas to Pennsylvania, are facing active litigation.

In Hutchinson, Kansas, funding shortages have caused class sizes to increase, says Shelly Kiblinger, superintendent of public schools. Staff have also been let go. While the district once had three school resource officers, it now struggles to keep one. Five years ago, the district joined others in suing the state.

“Students were not receiving adequate funding,” Kiblinger says. “We were not able to provide them with a suitable public education, which is required under the constitution of the state of Kansas.”

The ruling in Kansas means the legislature could have to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars for public schools. More money isn’t on the way yet. The state is expected to appeal. An earlier case in Kansas led the state legislature to increase funding for schools, only to cut it back during the recent recession.

“Even when the rulings are in favor of the school districts, you don’t necessarily see the changes that most people would anticipate,” says Michael Griffith, a school finance consultant with the Education Commission of the States, a nonpartisan policy group.

He points to Ohio, where he says a series of court victories hasn’t led to significant changes in funding. 

Often it comes down to a battle between the courts and state lawmakers. The Supreme Court in Washington state has threatened to shut down the public schools or fine legislators if they don’t come up with increased funding.

In Kansas, Griffith says, the state doesn’t have the money, and the only way to increase education spending would be to raise taxes.

“I think there would be a huge reluctance in the state of Kansas to do that,” he says.

Then there’s the question of whether more money leads to better schools. After its own court battles, Wyoming now spends more on education per student than any other state, but student achievement still lags. Money alone doesn’t fix schools, says Michael Rebell with the Campaign for Educational Equity.

“Money does matter if it’s used well,” he says. “Without it, you can’t make progress, especially when we’re talking about kids from low-income, high-poverty backgrounds.”

With schools enrolling more kids than ever with special needs, he says the cost of educating them is just getting higher.

VIDEO: Neeson surprised to be an action hero

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:59
Actor Liam Neeson tells the BBC's Louise Minchin about his surprise at finding himself playing the part of an action hero at the age of 55.

Man on rape and child cruelty charges

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:55
A 74-year-old man appears in court charged with 25 offences including rape and child cruelty.

UKIP investigates website problems

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:53
UKIP is investigating after its official website disappeared - with the address linking through to a domain hosting page.

In pictures: Harbin ice festival

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:51
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China

VIDEO: How Ebola 'spikes' are controlled

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:50
Winnie Romeril from the World Health Organization speaks to Tulip Mazumdar about controlling 'spikes' in the virus in Sierra Leone.

Hedge fund chief murder: Son charged

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:47
The son of Thomas Gilbert Sr, the hedge fund founder who was found shot dead in his New York home, is charged with his murder.

Hollande 'revenge' book to be filmed

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:34
A film adaptation of a bestselling book by France's former First Lady about her six-year relationship with president Francois Hollande is in development, its producer says.

Scots cancer cases at 'record high'

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:34
The number of people with cancer in Scotland rises by 18% in five years, according to new figures from Macmillan Cancer Support.

'Major incidents' at six hospitals

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:33
Major incidents remain in place at six hospitals in England as staff struggle to cope with the number of patients.

Police drop rape inquiry against MP

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:31
An investigation into rape claims against Conservative MP Mark Pritchard has been dropped, the Metropolitan Police say.

A particularly fresh-faced Congress

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:30
13 senators

That's the number of new senators being sworn in on Tuesday. As the WSJ reports, they join 33 others who have served less than one six-year term, marking a change from what was once viewed as an institution governed by seniority.

$3.5 billion

AOL's approximate market value. Verizon has reportedly approached the company for a potential acquisition or joint venture, Bloomberg reports. People close to the talks said Verizon is seeking expertise in advertising, content and video.

13 states

That's how many states are currently facing active litigation concerning funding to the public school system. Kansas, the latest to join the ranks, saw a three-judge panel rule that public schools are so under-funded as to violate the state’s constitution.

1.5 meters

The maximum distance at which the new LG G Flex2 will recognize a special gesture to take timed selfies. That should come in handy coupled with your new five-foot selfie stick, but it's far from the only "bleeding-edge selfie tech" being shown off at the Consumer Electronics show this year. Quartz has a round-up.


That's the price oil traded below on Monday. With the Republican-controlled congress taking hold on Tuesday, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is at the top of the agenda. But the pipeline was proposed back in 2008 under different conditions, which leads some to wonder what is the energy rationale for and against the project in a period of cheap oil.


The number of breweries operating in the U.S. as of this summer, the most since the 19th century. But the explosion of craft beer means brewers are starting to run out of names for themselves and their many varieties of pale ale, NPR reported, and it's leading to some legal battles.

Judge accepts trainers as bail bond

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:27
A man has avoided jail after a judge in the US state of Massachusetts accepted a pair of $85 Nike trainers as a bail bond

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Awaits Sentencing

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:19

McDonnell and his wife, former first lady Maureen, were convicted in September on several charges of corruption while he was in office.

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UK services sector loses momentum

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:15
The UK services sector lost momentum at the end of the year, growing at its slowest rate for a year-and-a-half, an influential survey suggests.

Why some people are so upset over #blackbrunch

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:05
Protesters interrupt diners during #blackbrunch

Pride director defends US marketing

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:04
Pride director Matthew Warchus says he "understands" why gay references were removed from the film's US DVD cover.

VIDEO: 'Autism for me is a painful gift'

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:01
Chris Goodchild was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of 42. He spoke to the BBC about how it affects his life.

Bath sign Priestland from Scarlets

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-06 01:01
Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland is to join Premiership side Bath when his contract with Scarlets ends in the summer.