National / International News

Noriega fails to sue Call of Duty

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:19
The former dictator of Panama, Manuel Noriega, fails in his attempt to sue Activision after a character based on him appeared in a Call of Duty game.

Giant tortoise 'miraculous' recovery

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:16
A new study confirms that giant tortoise numbers on one of the Galapagos Islands have bounced back thanks to captive breeding.

Day in pictures: 28 October

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:03
24 hours of news images: 28 October

Should Twitter have to measure up to Facebook?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:00

If "A Tale of Two Cities"were written today and Charles Dickens chose social networkers, instead of cities, as his subject, the opening line might go a little something like this:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of metrics.

“If you are a social network, the two most important metrics for you are your user base and the level of engagement of the users,” says Shaym Patil, Vice President of equity research at Wedbush.

The value that Wall Street places on a social network like Twitter or Facebook is primarily based on its MAU’s, or  monthly active users--the more active users, the more potential for ad revenue.  This is why when Twitter announced its third quarter earnings  Monday, its stock took a hit.  

Investors are worried that Twitter’s user base isn't growing fast enough. It’s not anywhere near the gold standard of social media companies, Facebook. Twitter’s active user base is about one fifth of Facebook’s

But Nathan Eagle,  CEO of Jana, a mobile marketing platform, is skeptical of the one metric fits all approach. “Twitter and Facebook have different models and they are going after different things,” says Eagle.

Twitter, for example, doesn't just sell ads. It has a whole suite of developer tools it sells to companies like Jana. It offers tools for detecting crashes and monetizing, for example.

These are parts of Twitter’s business model that aren't reflected in the MAU numbers. As a result, Nathan Eagle thinks Twitter should have its own more sophisticated metric for assessing its value.  “MAU’s are at least a proxy for success,”  But says Eagle, “I do think that we will come up with more nuanced metrics.”

Until that more nuanced metric arrives, the almighty MAU will likely reign supreme. Or, as Dickens said, Twitter and Facebook will continue to live, “for good or evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”




VIDEO: How British troops help Afghan dogs

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:00
Fergal Keane follows Tony Lewis as he visits a centre that is helping Afghan dogs - including one that his son adopted before he was killed in action in Helmand in 2011

CNN takes the Empire State Building

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:00

CNN announced its election night plans Tuesday: the network will take over the Empire State Building to display U.S. Senate vote results.

As results come in, a vertical LED-illuminated "meter" atop the spire of the building will ascend in either red or blue.

Once a meter reaches the top of the spire, that party will take control of the Senate.

Who will win? Apparently CNN will decide.



What the end of Quantitative Easing will and won't mean

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:00

Quantitative easing – it’s fun and accessible and all the cool kids are talking about it, right?

“Believe it or not, I tend to try not to talk about Quantitative Easing at cocktail parties,” says Ann Owen, an economics professor at Hamilton College. “But just a real brief explanation is that it’s a way for the [Federal Reserve] to increase the money supply by buying bonds.”

The Fed generally has two focus areas: employment and inflation. Historically, a main tool to keep each in check has been setting interest rates through its Federal Funds Rate. But back in 2008, the Fed decided it needed something more and QE was born.

Six years later, the Fed is widely expected to announce the end of QE after its Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meetings Tuesday and Wednesday.

Owen says while ending QE may sound like a giant leap, it's actually a relatively small step because the Fed now has a balance sheet worth over $4 trillion.

“That’s money that in the banking system and will hopefully finds its way into the economy, says Michelle Girard is the chief U.S. economist with RBS. “As long as those reserves aren’t taken back out, through asset sales or other methods of shrinking the balance sheet, then the reserves that have already been created are still able to boost economic growth.”

Think of the Fed as a jogger who’s not slowing down or speeding up, but keeping the same pace – and there’s still a long road ahead.

The economy is clearly in a better place than it was when QE started.

But Morris Davis, a professor at Rutgers University and a former economist at the Federal Reserve Board, says he’s skeptical about how much of that is due to the bond-buying program.

“We can debate its effectiveness and we should debate its effectiveness,” he says. “But going forward, we’re going to see a lot more of this, actually, by Central Banks all around the world and I think we’ll point back to this episode as having led the pack.”

After QE, the Fed still has its more traditional tool – interest rates. Davis says it’ll probably be a while before the Fed feels comfortable enough to start raising its Federal Funds Rate in any meaningful way. 

As Great Barrier Reef Ails, Australia Scrambles To Save It

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:55

One Australian report estimated the reef had lost more than half its coral since 1985. The government is considering a new 35-year plan to rescue the reef, but some say it falls short.

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Caption competition: CERN seeks help

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:44
The scientists have an archive of around 250,000 pictures taken between 1955 to 1985 they want to identify - and they want the public's help.

Italy 'to continue' migrant rescues

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:38
The Italian navy says it will continue search and rescue missions for migrants in the Mediterranean, amid concern about EU budget cuts hitting rescues.

Australia's Ebola visa ban condemned

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:27
Australia's decision to suspend entry visas for people from Ebola-affected West African countries is condemned as "counterproductive" and "discriminatory".

Why Does Saudi Arabia Seem So Comfortable With Falling Oil Prices?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:15

Normally, the "central banker of oil" would slow production to push up prices. Not so now. Some say it's a geopolitical tactic aimed at Russia and Iran; others say it's just protecting market share.

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£872m budget cut planned for NI

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:04
Northern Ireland Finance Minister Simon Hamilton proposes cuts of up to £872m in his draft budget paper, the BBC learns.

American Volunteers In Liberia Are Anti-Quarantine

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:03

They fear that the threat of isolating a returning health worker for 21 days will cause a drop in the number of volunteers at a time when more medical staff is needed to quash the outbreak.

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Digital hearing aids 'distort music'

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 10:03
Wearers of digital hearing aids struggle to listen to recorded music because of the way the devices process sound, research suggests.

Accident traps Turkish coal miners

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 09:59
At least 18 workers have been trapped hundreds of metres underground after a coal mining accident in southern Turkey, officials say.

Sepsis death man's severe bed sores

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 09:54
A man with Down's Syndrome had the worst pressure sores some medical staff had ever seen when he was admitted to Wrexham Maelor Hospital in August 2011, an inquest hears

S Africa photos show Meyiwa suspects

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 09:53
Police in South Africa release images of two men suspected of killing footballer Senso Meyiwa, shot after intruders entered his girlfriend's home.

Thieves Tunnel Into Indian Bank Vault — From Across The Street

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 09:47

When a bank in northern India opened for business Monday, its staff was surprised to find its strong room breached from underground. Local media say the crime resembles a movie plot.

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VIDEO: Migrants who risk a perilous crossing

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 09:47
The BBC's Orla Guerin investigates the growing number of migrants who are starting their journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe from Alexandria