National / International News

From Blue Bleach To Hazmat Hacks, Students Take On Ebola Challenges

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-05 10:39

College students excel at thinking creatively under pressure. Now they're designing tools to confront the challenges of Ebola, including friendlier-looking protective gear and diagnostic aids.

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Have You Broken A Wrist? Men Are At Risk Of Osteoporosis, Too

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-05 10:30

A broken wrist may not seem like much, but it can be the first sign that you're headed for a broken hip or spinal fracture. Men often don't realize they are at risk of osteoporosis as they age.

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Egypt rights record under fire at UN

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 10:22
Egypt is strongly criticised by Western countries and right groups during a regular review of member states at the UN Human Rights Council.

Brazil: The Land Of Many Lawyers And Very Slow Justice

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-05 10:15

Brazil has more law schools the rest of the world combined and more lawyers per capita than the U.S. But there's a huge legal backlog: One department of five judges is now handling 1.6 million cases.

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The numbers for November 5, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-05 10:14

Midterm elections aren't quite over yet, thanks to a runoff in Louisiana, but the Republican victory was decisive nonetheless. The GOP gained at least seven seats to take control of the Senate, and further cemented its control of the House. Even in some races that were supposed to be close, NPR called the night "a derecho" — an intense, destructive storm — for Democrats.

For his part, President Barack Obama said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that he won't be "mopey," and will compromise with the legislature on some issues, without backing down on others.

In an exhaustive report, the Washington Post detailed exactly how we got here. As the Democrats were preoccupied by in-fighting and discontent with the White House, Republicans were shrewdly picking candidates, avoiding gaffes and working to tie opponents to Obama.

Stocks and oil are both on the rise after the Republican victory. Here are some other numbers we're watching Tuesday:


One more election note: that's the new minimum wage in Alaska at 2016, approved overwhelmingly by voters Tuesday. They also legalized marijuana, as did Oregon and Washington DC. South Dakota, Arkansas and Nebraska voters OK'd minimum wage hikes too, Forbes reported. Several ballot measures not typically associated with the GOP were surprises in an election that otherwise represented a rightward shift.


That's how much Uber is saying it will save its drivers on car payments with car loans facilitated by the car service, but financed through third parties. Uber says the arrangement is mutually beneficial, adding drivers to its network and connecting people with cars who might have bad credit or no credit. But others aren't so sure. Gawker's Valleywag blog has poked holes in Uber's claims and recent press coverage, citing drivers' reports of unpredictable wages and pointing to the recent surge in sub-prime auto loans.


The very first Guy Fawkes Day, when a plot to blow up Parliament was exposed over 400 years ago. The BBC has a fun explainer about the history of the holiday and its continued notoriety, thanks in no small part to "V for Vendetta."

Paralympian Etherington, 23, retires

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 09:29
British skier Jade Etherington, who won four medals at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, announces her retirement at the age of 23.

Children dead in new Ukraine violence

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 09:24
Two teenagers were killed and four hurt while playing football at a school in eastern Ukraine, amid fears that a fragile ceasefire is falling apart.

VIDEO: Ebola sick urged to stay at new centre

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 09:23
A British-run facility to treat people with Ebola near the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown has opened.

Limb cells 'can turn into genitals'

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 09:02
A new study offers insights into the genetic changes that allowed land-dwelling animals to develop sex organs.

Cured Ebola nurse recounts ordeal

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 08:45
The first person known to have contracted Ebola outside West Africa in the latest outbreak tearfully recounts her ordeal as she leaves a Madrid hospital.

Unlawful killing in sore neck case

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 08:21
A verdict of unlawful killing is recorded in the case of a businessman who died after receiving treatment from a practitioner for a sore neck.

VIDEO: No videos allowed on giant screen

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 07:30
Plymouth University has been criticised for spending nearly £300,000 on a giant video screen which will not be able to display video.

Elton inspired by Gove Blackadder quote

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 07:23
Writer and comedian Ben Elton says his new novel was partially inspired by former education secretary Michael Gove's criticism of Blackadder Goes Forth.

Rosetta mission: Can you land on a comet?

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 07:13
Will you touch down or crash in our interactive game?

VIDEO: Driver hits commuters in Jerusalem

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 07:00
A Palestinian driver has rammed a car into several pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing one person, hours after clashes erupted at the city's holiest site.

The labor force participation rate is at a low point

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-05 07:00

The monthly employment report from the Department of Labor will likely show the economy added approximately 240,000 jobs in October, and unemployment held steady at 5.9 percent, after falling below 6.0 percent in September for the first time since mid-2008.

Economists can point to steady improvement over the past several years in those two statistics—job creation, and the unemployment rate (which was 7.2 percent in September 2013, and 9 percent two years earlier).

Yet, this ‘official’ unemployment rate doesn’t accurately characterize many aspects of the labor market right now—in particular, how hard it still is to land a middle-income job; how easy it is for employers to find qualified candidates; and how little those employers have to compete with each other over wage and benefit offers, in order to hire the workers they want.

The ‘official’ unemployment rate—called the U-3 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics—only counts how many people are actively unemployed. They’re looking for work and actually applied for a job in the past four weeks.

But right now, the number of people who are not working, but would like to work, is unprecedentedly high. These people have given up looking—possibly because they don’t think any jobs are available for them, or perhaps to attend school and upgrade their skills, or to go into semi-retirement. They’ve pushed down the labor force participation rate to its lowest level (62.7 percent in September) since the late 1970s.

Combine these discouraged and marginally attached workers with the ‘underemployed’—people who would like to find better-paying full-time jobs but can only find part-time jobs—and total unemployment (the U-6 rate), as measured by the BLS, is averaging well over 12 percent in 2014 (it was 11.8 percent in September).

Economists have anticipated that some attrition in the labor market would occur when the Baby Boomers began retiring earlier this decade. But in fact, after the recession, older workers have stayed on the job longer than was predicted, on average. With retirement savings and home equity depleted by the recession, older Americans are holding on to jobs if they can.

“Where we’re seeing large declines in labor force participation is actually among prime-age workers,” explains University of California-Berkeley economist Jesse Rothstein, “especially among people in their early twenties. It’s hard for me to believe that there’s this enormous group of people in their early twenties who have decided that they’re never going to work.”

Rothstein and many other economists believe the economy hasn’t changed structurally so that fewer people want to work or feel the financial need to work. Rather, they think the labor market is simply too weak, and demand in the economy too anemic, to employ all the potential workers who want and need jobs. They believe if the economy strengthens significantly, many of those potential workers will come out of the woodwork and begin job-hunting again.

Absent such improvement, the labor market is likely to remain slack, even if the official unemployment rate continues to decline steadily and eventually dips below the Federal Reserve’s target of 5.5 percent. Fed policymakers, led by chair Janet Yellen, have said they are looking at other labor market indicators in addition to the unemployment rate, to make sure they don’t withdraw economic stimulus and kill the nascent recovery before it’s helped the hard-core and long-term unemployed, the underemployed, and discouraged workers.

Rising wages are now considered a key harbinger of labor-market tightening by market participants and Fed policymakers, explains economist John Canally at LPL Financial.

“I think that’s the ultimate indicator—to get wage growth back to normal, back to the 3.5-percent-to-4.5-percent gains we saw prior to the Great Recession,” said Canally. “Then I think there’ll be confidence that businesses are finding it more and more difficult to fill jobs.”

In recent years, average hourly earnings have been rising in the 2-percent-per-year range, just keeping pace with inflation.

Another indicator of a tightening labor market would be a reverse in recent declines in labor force participation, especially among prime-age workers. If more people who have dropped out of the workforce, or never entered it after high school or college,  started looking for work again, that might raise the unemployment rate temporarily. But it would be another sign the economy is truly on the mend.

VIDEO: Court is shown 'damning' Dewani CCTV

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 06:53
CCTV footage of Shrien Dewani meeting Zola Tongo, the man convicted of arranging the murder of Anni Dewani, has been shown in court.

VIDEO: Curran 'can challenge' Lamont reports

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 05:59
Margaret Curran says she can "easily challenge" press reports about her relations with Johann Lamont.

The ruminations of a 100-year-old M&S lifer

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 05:46
Violet Butler looks back on 80 years working and shopping at Marks and Spencer.

VIDEO: 152 pupils sent home in uniform row

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-05 05:26
An academy in Bradford has sent home 152 pupils for arriving at the school gates without meeting its dress code.