National / International News

US firm withdraws Mothercare offer

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 11:04
US retailer Destination Maternity withdraws a takeover offer for Mothercare, saying it was clear shareholders wanted a "significant increase" in the offer.

Eleanor Bron joins The Archers cast

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:49
Actress Eleanor Bron becomes the latest cast member of Radio 4's rural drama series The Archers, playing a character who first appeared in it 60 years ago.

Are Opponents Of The Death Penalty Contributing To Its Problems?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:38

It's become an article of faith among supporters of capital punishment that abolitionists are doing everything they can to undermine executions, putting up hurdles and then complaining about delays.

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'Ace' Greenberg and the rise (and fall) of Bear Stearns

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:21

Alan “Ace” Greenberg, who rose from a Bear Stearns clerk in 1949 to become the firm’s CEO in 1978, died Friday at 86. The cause was complications from cancer.

When he joined the investment bank, it was a little, scrappy company. It rose to become one of the industry’s biggest, but never lost its outsider image, until it nearly collapsed in 2008. JPMorganChase acquired the company at a bargain basement price, in one of the first moves of the impending financial crisis. 

Ace Greenberg came from another era of Wall Streeters. He had no Ivy League degree. He was born in Kansas, and he grew up in Oklahoma. 

“He liked to gamble, he liked magic, he liked bridge, and, of course, the only way to legally gamble at that time was to go to Wall Street,” says William D. Cohan, author of “House of Cards, A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street,” a book that chronicles the fall of Bear Stearns.

During his career, Greenberg’s trades made a lot of money, and by 1978, he was the boss, instilling in the company a culture both of risk taking and frugality, reusing envelopes and giving new employees welcome packets with a note and some supplies. 

As former Bear Stearns trader Lee Munson remembers it, the note said, “You have 50 rubber bands and a box of paper clips, and use them wisely throughout your career at Bear Stearns because you’re not going to get any more.”

Greenberg stepped aside as CEO in 1993, making way for his successor, James Cayne. He had first met Cayne playing bridge.

“Bridgeplaying was the Facebook of their time,” says Cohan. 

As Bear Stearns was starting to unravel in 2007, Cohan says Cayne was in communicado at a bridge tournament. And, he says Greenberg developed a grudge against his former friend and successor for driving the firm into the ground.

“That, of course, ignores Ace’s role in it because Ace was part of the firm’s DNA,” Cohan says. 

Greenberg was on the executive committee when the firm was sold to JPMorganChase. Greenberg told host Kai Ryssdal on this program in 2010 that he didn’t have much influence by that point. 

“I did what I could. I tried as hard as I could. Kai, you have to understand that I was a very very small shareholder of Bear Stearns during this period,” Greenberg said. 

He told “Marketplace” that what he regretted most were all the Bear Stearns workers who lost their jobs in 2008.

VIDEO: Liverpool welcomes WW1 giant puppets

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:12
Thousands of people have lined Liverpool's streets to welcome three giant marionettes, which will tell the story of the city during World War One.

Sen. John McCain Calls Lengthy Execution In Arizona 'Torture'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:11

The Arizona senator said he believes in the death penalty, but that was not "an acceptable way of carrying it out."

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Banned Williams 'always anti-drugs'

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:05
Sprinter Christian Malcolm defends banned 400m hurdler Rhys Williams and says Welsh athletics does not have a drugs problem.

S Leone hunts seized Ebola patient

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:04
A hunt is launched in Sierra Leone's capital for a woman with Ebola who was forcibly removed from hospital, as Nigeria registers its first case.

VIDEO: Gaza baby delivered from dead mother

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:02
A premature baby has been delivered from a woman killed in a Israeli airstrike on Gaza.

CEOs get paid a ton, Mary Poppins makes almost none

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:00

As the song goes, "Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!" That is, unless you're getting paid the federal minimum wage like Mary Poppins.

Or, rather, Kristen Bell as Mary Poppins in a Funny or Die video poking fun at how difficult it is to live on $7.25 an hour:

Mary Poppins Quits with Kristen Bell from Funny Or Die

Aside from lamenting that she has to buy her own birds (from Mexico, apparently), Poppins points out the irony of CEOs' growing paychecks, while she can't even live above the poverty line. Our own Paddy Hirsch has a video on this phenomenon. He doesn't sing:

Can't this British nanny catch a break? Or at least get a new umbrella?

Clark secures gold for Scotland

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:53
Sarah Clark secures another Commonwealth Games judo gold medal for Scotland in the under-63kg division.

Secret Cinema cancels weekend shows

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:52
Thousands of ticket-holders are left disappointed as "immersive" outdoor screenings of Back To The Future are cancelled by organiser Secret Cinema.

Ex-DJ Dave Lee Travis facing retrial

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:47
Ex-Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis faces a retrial in September over sexual abuse allegations and a new count of indecent assault.

Judge raises Coulson prison concerns

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:45
A judge is to write to Belmarsh Prison's governor over concerns that Andy Coulson remains at the high-security jail three weeks after the ex-editor was jailed for hacking.

Coach firm collapse affects hundreds

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:45
A travel company goes into administration with the loss of 89 jobs and a knock-on effect on hundreds of customer bookings.

US manhunt for tuberculosis patient

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:44
Authorities in California search for a fugitive homeless man who has refused treatment for tuberculosis and may be contagious.

VIDEO: Film Review - the week's new films

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:32
Film critic Mark Kermode reviews the week's film releases, including Joe, Hercules and Earth to Echo.

Ed Miliband: No more photo ops?

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:28
Why is Ed Miliband drawing attention to his public image?

RBS shares surge on surprise profit

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:23
Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland have jumped 11% after it said it expects pre-tax profits to double to £2.65bn for the first half of the year.

Brazil frees up $13bn for economy

BBC - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:14
In a bid to stimulate the sluggish economy, the Brazilian central bank announces plans to reduce the amount commercial banks have to keep in reserve.
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