National / International News

VIDEO: Centrica boss defends gas prices

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 02:49
Centrica's Chief Executive Sam Laidlaw has told the BBC gas use is down as result of warmer weather, but has batted off criticism that bills could be reduced further because of lower wholesale prices.

Mexico migrants' train deal reached

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 02:43
The US, Mexico and Guatemala will establish more checkpoints along the route of a freight train to prevent migrants from boarding it, Guatemala says.

Experts call for new Scottish towns

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 02:26
Scotland may need up to eight new towns to help avert a potential housing crisis, a special commission says.

London mayor raises Palestinian flag

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 02:24
The mayor of Tower Hamlets is criticised for raising the Palestinian flag at the town hall, in east London.

Council chief punished over n-word

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 02:15
The deputy leader of Powys Council is "severely reprimanded" for using racially offensive language.

India plays chicken with the W.T.O.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-31 02:00

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits India on Thursday, just as India has thrown the world economy a curve ball by refusing to sign a World Trade Organization agreement at the last moment.

“They believe progress on discussing food security is not moving as quickly as it should, and so they want to use what they see as leverage,” says Alyssa Ayres, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

That leverage is the Thursday deadline for the WTO deal to cut the red tape on international trade, specifically targeting the bureaucracy around customs.

Boosters say the deal would result in one trillion dollars worth of economic stimulus and create as many as 21 million new jobs worldwide.

“I don’t know how many jobs it’s going to create, and I think the numbers are exaggerated. But I think that it’s critical that this agreement happens so that we have this system of international rules under the WTO,” says Kimberly Elliott, a senior fellow with the Center for Global Development.

She says the WTO helps protect small, developing countries which – unlike India – would otherwise be at the mercy of their more powerful trading partners.

Sony streams PlayStation games online

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-31 02:00

Sony is experimenting with streaming some of its classic PlayStation games over the internet. The company says it will open up the market and increase its audience.

The PlayStation Now streaming service will allow gamers access to classics like Saints Row 4, Metal Gear Solid, and Ratchet and Clank.

Janelle Bonanno is Editor-in-Chief of the online gaming magazine, GameFront.com.  

“It kind of widens the field up for those who, let’s say, don’t have a $599 PlayStation 4,” she says.  

But you’ll need a Sony Bravia television or a tablet.

Sony says the plan is to introduce PlayStation to more customers on devices they use every day.

But analyst Michael Pachter with Wedbush Securities is skeptical. He remembers the problems with OnLive’s streaming service.

“So the only thing you are going to see from Sony is really old stuff with really low value," says Pachter. "And they’re not paying much for it, and because it has low value, they’re not going to attract a lot of subscribers.” 

Sony hasn’t released its full pricing list yet, but says most games will rent for between $2.99 and $19.99.

On Twitter, addition by gender subtraction

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-31 02:00

Earlier this week, Twitter surpassed investor expectations on both revenue and user growth.

However, for frequent users, one of its challenges is that depending on whom you follow, the conversation can feel repetitive. Katie Notopoulos, senior editor at Buzzfeed, decided to solve the problem by unfollowing men on Twitter. 

Notopoulos drew much of her inspiration from a similar social experiment of only retweeting women for a year

While she started the unfollowing six months ago as part of a stunt, she says she stuck with it because it markedly improved her Twitter experience. 

"It turns out it's really nice," Katie says.

She says a major reason this has turned out so well is that being forced to follow a new set of people exposed her to a whole new set of voices and perspectives. 

How to make ambulances safer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-31 02:00

The professional lives of emergency medical services workers are often intense and dramatic. But dangerous?

It is dangerous — EMS workers have on-the-job fatality rates that are nearly three times the national average of other professions. That’s prompted many in the industry to call for better, safer ambulances.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s science and technology division has taken up that challenge, drafting new rules and recommendations for ambulance safety, including new standards for crash testing. 

Ambulances are long overdue for a redesign, says Skip Kirkwood, a director and chief paramedic at Durham County Emergency Medical Services in North Carolina.

“Today’s ambulance design is essentially unchanged since about 1974,” he explains.

Prior to the mid '70s, Kirkwood says ambulances were often adapted from a Cadillac hearse design. They then moved to the truck or van chassis we often still see today.

“Essentially, those ambulances have been boxes built by ambulance manufacturers, many of whom had their original heritage as motor home or Winnebago or travel trailer builders,” he says.

The body style means that accidents can be dangerous for EMS workers and the patients they are transporting.

“Let’s say the ambulance rolls on its side, the stretcher is now hanging up in the air and will fall out of [its] mount,” says Kirkwood. “If the ambulance decelerates quickly, that mount comes loose from the floor and the patient may fly forward like a torpedo.”

The emergency medical technician or paramedic might not be properly restrained either, says Jim Grove, a senior advisor in DHS’s interagency office of science and technology and a former EMS worker.

“When I would ride in the back of an ambulance, it was not uncommon to stand up and be doing chest compressions on somebody and having someone be holding on to my bunker pants and going down the road at 35, 40, 50 miles per hour even,” he recalls.

Based on DHS research, Grove says future ambulances might feature pivoting chairs that slide along a track, so EMS workers can treat a patient and reach their gear while properly restrained. DHS is also working on crash-test standards for ambulances going 30 miles per hour.

“I can’t answer for why it’s taken this long to get to this point,” Grove says. “There has been crash testing done, but not to level [Homeland Security’s science and technology division] has been doing, and especially with crash testing dummies.”

One potential hurdle could be cost. Grove says early estimates say these new features could add $10,000 to $15,000 to the price of an ambulance. 

It will eventually be up to individual states to adopt any new safety requirements and take on those costs.

VIDEO: Australian diver lands flat on back

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:58
Australian diver Grant Nel scores zero after slipping on the springboard and landing in the pool flat on his back in the men's 3m preliminary round.

VIDEO: Daylight reveals gutted Eastbourne pier

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:57
Fire crews have saved two thirds of Eastbourne Pier after fire destroyed part of the structure, leaving a metal skeleton.

The very public NHS privatisation debate

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:51
Is privatisation of the NHS in England on the agenda?

Israel Calls Up 16,000 Reserves Amid Intensive Gaza Fighting

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:46

The new call-up follows another day of intensive fighting, in which tank shells struck a U.N. school where Palestinians were sheltering and an airstrike tore through a crowded Gaza shopping area.

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Cadbury manor blaze was arson attack

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:41
The former home of the Cadbury family in Birmingham has been destroyed in an arson attack.

UK border staff 'not ready' for Ebola

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:23
Immigration and customs staff feel unprepared to deal with people arriving in the UK with suspected cases of the Ebola virus, a union leader warns.

VIDEO: Is it a 'good' summer for insect bites?

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:16
An increasing number of people are falling prey to creatures like ticks, horseflies, midges and mosquitoes as warm, wet weather creates perfect breeding conditions for insects.

What Somebody's Mummy Can Teach You About Heart Disease

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:12

Mummies from Ancient Egypt, Peru and the U.S. all show signs of hardened arteries. But why? Researchers say bad hygiene, open hearths and maybe some deeply ingrained genetic factors were to blame.

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With Congress Set To Adjourn, Border Crisis Remains Unresolved

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

Votes are set Thursday in both the GOP-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate on bills addressing the young migrants seeking refuge. But the competing bills have little chance of being reconciled.

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Water, Electricity And Other Needs In Short Supply In Gaza

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

In Gaza, the price of drinking water has soared, there's little electricity — and another shortage is beginning: people displaced by the fighting are waiting in long lines to get food.

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