National / International News

Who's controlling Sumner Redstone's media empire?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-28 11:00

If you were to ask Sumner Redstone about what happens to his media empire when he’s no longer with us, his answer would be simple: he doesn’t plan on leaving. Sumner Redstone intends to live forever.

The story of how Redstone came to take the helm of two media giants, Viacom and CBS, is about as unfathomable as the man himself; he took his father’s movie business and turned it into one of the largest chains in the country. He bought CBS, and then turned around and bought Viacom as well. Now, at 92 years old, Redstone seems to be slowing down.

“Sumner is the chairman of both companies,” says Vanity Fair contributor Bill Cohen, who penned the story “Endless Sumner," about Redstone's succession plan. “I think you’re starting to see signs of real and material deterioration."

He says that rumors abound that Redstone may soon be headed for that great boardroom in the sky. Redstone's staff at Viacom, meanwhile, say he’s still “sharp as a tack.” So what becomes of CBS and Viacom without Redstone? Cohen says this about Redstone's plans: “[He] has put his ownership stakes at both Viacom and CBS into an irrevocable trust that kicks in when he dies… I think it is probably a good bet that Shari [Redstone] is likely to become the chairman of both Viacom and CBS.” 

Listen to Kai Ryssdal's interview with Redstone from 2006 below:

Bangladeshi boat migrants doomed from the start

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 11:00
The BBC's Justin Rowlatt discovers some migrants are so desperate to leave Bangladesh that they knowingly board ships destined for prison camps.

Man dead and girl hurt in 'incident'

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 10:48
A man has died and a young girl is airlifted to hospital after police were called to an incident in Cornwall.

One thing you can't accuse Google of: thinking small

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-28 10:35

One thing you can't accuse Google of: thinking small.

Its Google I/O developers conference keynote today featured at least a thousand attendees by my casual count, ran well over two hours, and was held in a room encased in giant wraparound screens. At one point, a giant animated whale "swam" through the room complete with whale song. 

Molly Wood/Marketplace

The keynote itself touched on everything from mobile phones to wearables to the developing world, virtual reality classrooms, photo storage, the Internet of Things family-friendly app searches, driverless cars, floating Internet balloons and some truly amazing contextual technology that will let your phone use all the stuff it knows about you to predict anything you'll want to do, at any time or place. 

You know, no big deal.

The biggest tech headline is that contextual stuff. Maybe you're familiar with Google Now, which is Google's current contextual assistant. If you turn it on on your Android phone, it can learn, say, your commute to work and start telling you every day how traffic is along that route. It can learn the sports scores you look up most often and deliver them without you asking. And it uses your location and the phone's GPS to tell you where you parked your car. 

Google Now on Tap is a new element of Google Now that'll be available only in the next version of Android (currently called Android M). It brings Google Now predictions and language recognition to apps. So if you're listening to a song, you can tap (get it?) the Google Now button and ask a question about the song or the artist. Google knows what app you're using and what you're listening to -- the context -- so you should be able to say something like, "What's his real name?," and Google will know just what you mean to search for. 

Another demo showed a forgetful husband (those guys always get such a bad rap) confessing he forgot to pick up dry cleaning. Now on Tap will actually create a reminder for you to pick up the dry cleaning, after "reading" your messages. 

Walking close to the creepy line? Maybe. Contextual and predictive apps rely on a LOT of personal information but if you're willing to give in to the sharing, they can be pretty helpful — and Now on Tap looks amazing, technologically speaking.

Google announced a host of other improvements to the new version of Android, like an Android Pay feature that looks and acts almost exactly like Apple Pay, some improved app permission controls (like telling a random app that it can't access your phone's camera or location data), and better battery life. But it's worth noting that Android M won't be out until at least August, according to rumors, and many Android phones haven't even gotten the last update--Lollipop. 

Other headlines of note: 

* Google announced a new service called Google Photos, available today on Android, iOS and Web that uploads and automatically categorizes all your photos. It includes unlimited storage of photos up to a certain size (16MB ) and videos. 

* Family-friendly searching and labeling is coming to apps on Google Play. A star system will let you know if an app is approved for kids, and you can even search by age. 

* Google hopes to build an operating system for the Internet of Things and announced a new communication language called Weave that it hopes will be a universal way for connected devices to communicate. 

* The company updated its Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer to support iPhones, and also announced a program to use Cardboard and phones in schools to provide virtual field trips called Expeditions. It also announced a new virtual reality content creation program that includes all-new 360-degree cameras, software to make 360-degree footage into realistic images, and virtual reality video on YouTube. 

No movement on welfare bill - Foster

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 09:19
The finance minister says she cannot move the budget bill forward because of the inability of the Stormont parties to resolve the deadlock over welfare reform.

Google gives first peek at Android M

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 09:17
Google reveals easier-to-control privacy permissions, greater support for fingerprint sensors and longer battery life in the next version of Android.

VIDEO: Coming up: Cameron news briefing

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 09:10
UK Prime Minister David Cameron gives a news conference with French President Francois Hollande, as he attempts to convince European leaders of his proposed EU reforms.

Murray tested but into third round

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 09:00
Andy Murray beats Portugal's Joao Sousa in four sets to secure his place in the French Open third round.

EU withdraws Burundi poll observers

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:51
The European Union suspends its election monitoring mission in Burundi amid political unrest over the president's third-term bid.

Swiss cheese hole origins solved

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:47
Scientists say they have discovered why Swiss cheese has holes in it: apparently, it is all down to how dirty buckets are when the milk is collected.

VIDEO: Lighting the sun 10 billion times

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:46
Scottish scientists are working at Diamond, the UK's synchrotron light source, with light that is 10 billion times brighter than the sun.

Frenchwoman jailed for man's torture

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:45
A 43-year-old woman who enslaved and abused her ex-boyfriend in her Paris flat for more than a year is jailed for 18 months.

VIDEO: Nevin: Cazorla is Arsenal danger man

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:44
BBC football expert Pat Nevin analyses Arsenal's chances in Saturday's FA Cup final against Aston Villa at Wembley.

Durkan was 'coerced' over BMAP

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:34
Attempts were allegedly made to 'coerce' the environment minister into ignoring his legal duties over a planning policy for greater Belfast, the High Court has heard.

US charges Chinese in testing scam

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:32
The US Department of Justice has charged 15 Chinese nationals with developing a scheme to have imposters take university entrance exams.

Not Your Mother's Catholic Frescoes: Radiant Portraits Of Queer People Of Color

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:23

Inspired by Mexican religious art, photographer Gabriel Garcia Roman portrays queer people of color as saints and warriors.

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'Trigger Mortis': New Bond Novel Brings Back Pussy Galore

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:18

For author Anthony Horowitz, the book is a return to the "true" James Bond. This means an unpublished scene from Ian Fleming himself — and a long-delayed reunion with a franchise favorite.

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Galloway to run for London mayor

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:17
Controversial former MP George Galloway says he will seek election as the next mayor of London.

Zuma not liable for home upgrades

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:16
South African President Jacob Zuma will not have to repay state money spent to upgrade his private home in Nkandla, the police minister says.

Cook wants win to welcome Bayliss

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-28 08:06
Alastair Cook wants to mark the appointment of "outstanding" new England coach Trevor Bayliss with a second-Test win over New Zealand.