National / International News

Cave-Dwelling In Spain Offers A Welcome Inconvenience

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 03:48

In the province of Granada in Southern Spain, thousands of people live completely unplugged in caverns. The caves have been a place of refuge for centuries. Now they provide a new kind of escape.

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VIDEO: 'We are apes in denial' over religion

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 03:46
Religion has "far too strong and subtle control" over society, says James singer Tim Booth, in a personal film.

AUDIO: Missing girl hoaxer 'will be back'

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 03:44
A father, who was harassed by a woman pretending to be his missing daughter, fears she will return after jail.

'Extreme concern' over biker deaths

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 03:34
A spike in motorcycle road deaths among mainly middle-aged men is of extreme concern, says the Dyfed-Powys Police commissioner.

Bergdahl's Hometown Cancels Celebration Of His Return

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 03:29

Organizers of a rally held in Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's honor while he was a prisoner say they're canceling this year's event, citing backlash over the prisoner swap that freed him.

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Caption Challenge: Plastic Goethes

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 03:19
It's the Caption Challenge. Oh yes it is.

Trial for Venezuela opposition leader

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 03:13
Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez must go on trial on charges related to mass anti-government protests, a judge rules.

Book News: Experimental Debut Novel Wins Prestigious Baileys Prize

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 03:05

Also: A book at one of Harvard's libraries is "without a doubt bound in human skin"; J.K. Rowling has released an excerpt of her new novel.

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Bank keeps UK rates on hold at 0.5%

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 03:00
UK interest rates are kept on hold at the record low of 0.5% for another month by the Bank of England.

The Clippers' price tag could catch on

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:59

The world of business has been abuzz about the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer, and for good reason -- $2 billion is nearly quadruple the previous record for an NBA team (last month's $550 million price tag for the Milwaukee Bucks).

"I think this sets a new bar for pricing," says Matt Powell analyst with SportsOneSource. "It’s like the real estate market, right? What’s your comparable? And I think this is always going to be thrown up in people’s faces about what a team is worth."

$2 billion might not be as crazy as it sounds when you consider a couple of factors, like "the size of the LA market and the fact that there’s a big pending TV contract coming up and quite a few interested bidders," says David Carter, director of USC’s Sports Business Institute. "The number on the surface seems a little bit high, but when you peel it back, ultimately, it might make sense."

The Clippers brought in an estimated $128 million dollars in revenue last year, according to Forbes. That's a far cry from $2 billion, but sports teams tend to be reliable earners. "Franchise values are going to continue to climb," says Carter. "We’ve seen nothing short of a real appetite for sports content and fans consuming it so many different ways."

Carter also points out that a team like the Clippers actually coming up for sale is a rare window of opportunity.

 

The Clippers' price tag could catch on

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:59

The world of business has been abuzz about the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer, and for good reason -- $2 billion is nearly quadruple the previous record for an NBA team (last month's $550 million price tag for the Milwaukee Bucks).

"I think this sets a new bar for pricing," says Matt Powell analyst with SportsOneSource. "It’s like the real estate market, right? What’s your comparable? And I think this is always going to be thrown up in people’s faces about what a team is worth."

$2 billion might not be as crazy as it sounds when you consider a couple of factors, like "the size of the LA market and the fact that there’s a big pending TV contract coming up and quite a few interested bidders," says David Carter, director of USC’s Sports Business Institute. "The number on the surface seems a little bit high, but when you peel it back, ultimately, it might make sense."

The Clippers brought in an estimated $128 million dollars in revenue last year, according to Forbes. That's a far cry from $2 billion, but sports teams tend to be reliable earners. "Franchise values are going to continue to climb," says Carter. "We’ve seen nothing short of a real appetite for sports content and fans consuming it so many different ways."

Carter also points out that a team like the Clippers actually coming up for sale is a rare window of opportunity.

 

Burwell's highest priority: get more Latinos insured

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:59

The Senate votes today on the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell for Health and Human Services Secretary. And it’s a pretty good bet that high on her priority list will be enrolling Latinos in the Affordable Care Act. 

Latinos have the highest uninsured rates compared to other ethnic groups. They're also a younger segment of the overall population, and The White House has said enrolling young, healthy people is one of the keys to the success of the ACA.

So how to go about enrolling more Latinos in the ACA? Take Houston, Texas, for example, where nearly half the population is Latino, and where Benjamin Hernandez is assistant director of Health and Human Services.  He says one thing the new Secretary could do to help him boost Latino enrollment would be to give him access to real time data on who is signing up and where they live.

“That is very helpful to us because we shift resources and people into those communities that aren’t getting the message,” says Hernandez.

Targeting those who aren’t getting the message is also the mission of Anne Filipic. She is president of Enroll America, which has collected data from the first enrollment period and is studying it to determine what got people to sign up for healthcare. “Specifically for Latinos, we do see that the in-person assistance, the presence in communities goes along way,” says Filipic.

Enroll America found that people who had personal assistance were about twice as likely to enroll, compared to people who just went online.  And Latinos and African-Americans were 43 percent more likely to seek that assistance than their white counterparts. 

Filipic says it’s also important for the new secretary of Health and Human Services to provide resources for on-the-ground workers in underserved communities, “and to make sure that they have the bilingual tools to reach consumers.”

Burwell's highest priority: get more Latinos insured

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:59

The Senate votes today on the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell for Health and Human Services Secretary. And it’s a pretty good bet that high on her priority list will be enrolling Latinos in the Affordable Care Act. 

Latinos have the highest uninsured rates compared to other ethnic groups. They're also a younger segment of the overall population, and The White House has said enrolling young, healthy people is one of the keys to the success of the ACA.

So how to go about enrolling more Latinos in the ACA? Take Houston, Texas, for example, where nearly half the population is Latino, and where Benjamin Hernandez is assistant director of Health and Human Services.  He says one thing the new Secretary could do to help him boost Latino enrollment would be to give him access to real time data on who is signing up and where they live.

“That is very helpful to us because we shift resources and people into those communities that aren’t getting the message,” says Hernandez.

Targeting those who aren’t getting the message is also the mission of Anne Filipic. She is president of Enroll America, which has collected data from the first enrollment period and is studying it to determine what got people to sign up for healthcare. “Specifically for Latinos, we do see that the in-person assistance, the presence in communities goes along way,” says Filipic.

Enroll America found that people who had personal assistance were about twice as likely to enroll, compared to people who just went online.  And Latinos and African-Americans were 43 percent more likely to seek that assistance than their white counterparts. 

Filipic says it’s also important for the new secretary of Health and Human Services to provide resources for on-the-ground workers in underserved communities, “and to make sure that they have the bilingual tools to reach consumers.”

China criticises Windows 8 security

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:58
Microsoft's Windows 8 is branded a threat to China's cybersecurity in a state-backed news report.

Pirlo could destroy England - Scholes

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:55
Paul Scholes says England cannot afford to underestimate Andrea Pirlo again when they take on Italy in their World Cup opener.

AUDIO: Baby poisoning bug 'hard to treat'

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:54
Biomedical scientist Dr Ron Cutler says a bug which killed one baby and poisoned 14 others is 'difficult to treat'.

G7 warns Russia of fresh sanctions

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:47
Leaders of the G7 industrial nations warn Russia of further sanctions over its actions in Ukraine, as they meet at a Brussels summit.

How I learned to stop worrying and love 'Silicon Valley'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:44

Every week when we start our Marketplace Tech game of Silicon Tally, I say something like: "I've got a number for you." And this week, ahead of that game, I do. The number is one. There's a song about it, and even some discussion about it on the Interwebs this week. That's because one is the number of lead female characters in the new HBO show "Silicon Valley." 

The tech industry has a women problem, and "Silicon Valley," which is about the tech industry, also has a women problem. Amanda Crew, who plays billionaire Peter Gregory's assistant Monica on the show, is the only recurring female character in all of the first season. Some feel that this is proof that the show displays "oblivious sexism." Others think the show's depiction of real world problems involving gender lacks nuance. While I cringed at one reviewer's admission that he keeps forgetting the name of Crew's character, I don't really buy these arguments. Not yet, anyway.

I think the show is good enough to get better. When the show premiered, I asked executive producer Alec Berg about the criticisms that it didn't have enough strong women characters. His response: "do we want to do the sort of perfect satirical riff on women in tech? Of course we do, and that's our intention. If we haven't gotten to it yet, it's definitely one of the things--I mean just the fact that that is one of the hot button issues that everybody brings up, that to me means we owe it to the show to lean into that."

So OK, sure, the show isn't Sheryl Sandberg-ing just yet. But it's also far from "Entourage." "Silicon Valley" is truly funny-sometimes even hilarious. In fact, its funniest jokes don't involve the male anatomy, but jargon and self-driving cars. A show with a sense of humor beyond male anatomy jokes is a show that can grow, even if it was made by the creator of "Beavis and Butthead." Here's one of my favorite clips from the first season, featuring Martin Star from "Freaks and Geeks" and "Party Down" fame (WARNING: some strong language in there). 

I hope that in its second season, "Silicon Valley" will grow. The big question right now is whether the show will be allowed to by the network and the critics. Remember when "Girls" was criticized for not having enough diversity in the cast? That show has been allowed to exist and evolve despite that criticism--maybe "Silicon Valley" can, too.

But there's already a lot of things working against it: the focus of the show and its commitment to depicting real shop talk and happenings in the tech industry, despite the fact that most of us don't give a damn what a hash table is, or care about going to Tech Crunch Disrupt. The show isn't about a chemistry teacher or ad executive's spiral into evil or despair. But it is a show about a part of our economy, our society and our world that is a big deal these days. That in and of itself should be a strong argument for at least a few more seasons. 

Before we write it off or leave it for dead (at least until season two), let's look at another few "Silicon Valley" numbers. The last episode had 1.7 million viewers. I asked a friend who studies ratings, and he says for HBO, that appears to be pretty solid--even if the show benefits greatly from airing right after a massively successful hit like "Game of Thrones." He also points out that "Silicon Valley" is currently ranked 4th out of the network's 23 series, and that it looks like it has a good playback rating too. That means part of the show's audience isn't watching it because it comes after the thing they just watched, instead choosing to stream it online at a later date. That suggests the beginnings of a loyal audience. As long as that audience exists and builds, "Silicon Valley" will have the chance to lampoon the good and the "bro" of the tech industry. Maybe even add some more consistent female characters to the mix.

Just like the world it depicts, the show's survival and improvement probably depends on it. 

How I learned to stop worrying and love 'Silicon Valley'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:44

Every week when we start our Marketplace Tech game of Silicon Tally, I say something like: "I've got a number for you." And this week, ahead of that game, I do. The number is one. There's a song about it, and even some discussion about it on the Interwebs this week. That's because one is the number of lead female characters in the new HBO show "Silicon Valley." 

The tech industry has a women problem, and "Silicon Valley," which is about the tech industry, also has a women problem. Amanda Crew, who plays billionaire Peter Gregory's assistant Monica on the show, is the only recurring female character in all of the first season. Some feel that this is proof that the show displays "oblivious sexism." Others think the show's depiction of real world problems involving gender lacks nuance. While I cringed at one reviewer's admission that he keeps forgetting the name of Crew's character, I don't really buy these arguments. Not yet, anyway.

I think the show is good enough to get better. When the show premiered, I asked executive producer Alec Berg about the criticisms that it didn't have enough strong women characters. His response: "do we want to do the sort of perfect satirical riff on women in tech? Of course we do, and that's our intention. If we haven't gotten to it yet, it's definitely one of the things--I mean just the fact that that is one of the hot button issues that everybody brings up, that to me means we owe it to the show to lean into that."

So OK, sure, the show isn't Sheryl Sandberg-ing just yet. But it's also far from "Entourage." "Silicon Valley" is truly funny-sometimes even hilarious. In fact, its funniest jokes don't involve the male anatomy, but jargon and self-driving cars. A show with a sense of humor beyond male anatomy jokes is a show that can grow, even if it was made by the creator of "Beavis and Butthead." Here's one of my favorite clips from the first season, featuring Martin Star from "Freaks and Geeks" and "Party Down" fame (WARNING: some strong language in there). 

I hope that in its second season, "Silicon Valley" will grow. The big question right now is whether the show will be allowed to by the network and the critics. Remember when "Girls" was criticized for not having enough diversity in the cast? That show has been allowed to exist and evolve despite that criticism--maybe "Silicon Valley" can, too.

But there's already a lot of things working against it: the focus of the show and its commitment to depicting real shop talk and happenings in the tech industry, despite the fact that most of us don't give a damn what a hash table is, or care about going to Tech Crunch Disrupt. The show isn't about a chemistry teacher or ad executive's spiral into evil or despair. But it is a show about a part of our economy, our society and our world that is a big deal these days. That in and of itself should be a strong argument for at least a few more seasons. 

Before we write it off or leave it for dead (at least until season two), let's look at another few "Silicon Valley" numbers. The last episode had 1.7 million viewers. I asked a friend who studies ratings, and he says for HBO, that appears to be pretty solid--even if the show benefits greatly from airing right after a massively successful hit like "Game of Thrones." He also points out that "Silicon Valley" is currently ranked 4th out of the network's 23 series, and that it looks like it has a good playback rating too. That means part of the show's audience isn't watching it because it comes after the thing they just watched, instead choosing to stream it online at a later date. That suggests the beginnings of a loyal audience. As long as that audience exists and builds, "Silicon Valley" will have the chance to lampoon the good and the "bro" of the tech industry. Maybe even add some more consistent female characters to the mix.

Just like the world it depicts, the show's survival and improvement probably depends on it. 

Manhunt as police shot in Canada

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:41
A manhunt is under way in the Canadian city of Moncton, New Brunswick, after a gunman kills three police officers and wounds two more.
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