National / International News

Peat Bog The Size Of England Discovered In Congo Republic

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 12:06

The previously undiscovered expanse of ancient, partially decayed vegetation, could cover as much as 80,000 square miles.

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Paleo For Dogs? Vets Say Trendy Diet Could Make Humans Sick

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:58

Some dog owners favor a raw food diet because they believe it's how their pets' ancestors ate in the wild. But vets worry that people could be exposed to pathogens if pets are eating raw meat.

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Egypt election to run for extra day

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:56
Egypt's presidential election is extended into a third day amid reports of a low turnout, with ex-army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi poised to win.

US to keep 9,800 Afghanistan troops

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:53
The US will keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after the US concludes its combat mission at the end of this year, President Barack Obama says.

Smugglers Thrive On Syria's Chaos, Looting Cultural Treasures

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:15

The country's spectacular antiquities are being plundered by rebels, organized criminal groups and desperate civilians. Many items go across the border to Lebanon.

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The next big challenge in Afghanistan is payroll

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:14

President Obama said that the U.S. plans to leave about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after formal combat operations end in December. That’s down from the 100,000 U.S. troops that were in the country during the war’s peak.

It may seem like we’re packing up and pulling out. But Jenine Davidson, Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council for Foreign Relations, says what Afghanistan needs now is a different kind of aid.

“For us to be able to leave Afghanistan... we may be able to take the troops out but they will continue to need economic assistance.”

Davidson says that the Afghanistan security forces are largely capable.

“The issue going forward is their institutional capacity to maintain their forces. Mundane things like payroll and training.”

Even though active duty troop numbers are shrinking, Davidson says the Pentagon should stay prepared.

“You never know what the future holds. Nobody thought we would be at war in Afghanistan in the year 2000. Nobody thought we would be in Iraq... That’s why the military needs to be organized trained and ready. Though not necessarily deployed.”

Cameroon boosts Nigeria border forces

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:12
Cameroon deploys about 1,000 troops to its border with Nigeria to fight the growing threat of the Islamist group Boko Haram.

Carney calls for ethics in banking

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 11:08
Bankers need to recognise their social responsibility, and see their profession as a vocation, says the governor of the Bank of England.

Discovering the original Disneyland

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:48

When Walt Disney first proposed the idea of Disneyland, he planned to have a much more ambitious shopping catalog than the park does today.

BoingBoing co-editor Cory Doctorow recently unearthed the original 1953 prospectus for Disneyland, which was a pitch for more than just a theme park. It was slated to become, as Disney first called it, a hub for "merchantainment"--or, in other words, the precursor to the modern shopping mall.

"He wanted to make a place where you could get the kind of things that you had to be a very sophisticated person indeed to get in 1953 post-war America," Doctorow said. "It wasn't just that he wanted to sell you tropical fish and even tropical birds; he wanted to sell you miniature ponies."

The prospectus includes an illustrated map of the original plans for Disneyland--which looks remarkably similar to the park we know today. For this reason, Doctorow says, if Walt Disney himself were to walk through the park gates today, he'd be pleased with what he'd see.

"There's no way you can justify to investors putting on that little bit of gold plating, that little bit of 'plussing up,' as Walt used to say," Doctorow said, "and I think the only description you can make for things that people do because they're aesthetically pleasing even though there's no rational return on the investment is art. And I think the park is still the domain of people who think of themselves as artists, and of the park as a work of art."

World's Richest People Meet, Muse On How To Spread The Wealth

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:38

Attendees at an inclusive capitalism conference in London control $30 trillion in assets. But it's unclear what, if any, financial commitments will come from the conclave on income inequality.

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Focused Cipriani eyes England chance

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:32
Fly-half Danny Cipriani claims his focus is greater than ever before as he bids to win his first England cap in six years.

Spotify latest to be hit by hack

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:21
Music-streaming service Spotify becomes the latest high-profile technology company to be hit by a security breach.

Large crowds welcome baton relay

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:21
The Queen's Baton Relay has seen its biggest crowds so far on its journey around Wales as thousands of people welcomed it to Carmarthenshire.

The house call makes a comeback

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:16

Back in the day, doctors made house calls and actually got to know their patients. But as times and technology changed, a home visit from your doctor became a luxury for the 1 percent. Dissatisfied doctors and frustrated patients have forced the industry to adjust, and house call doctors are making a comeback. But are they for everyone?

Patients want that personal relationship as well. People who grew up with house call doctor visits remember them fondly.

Dr. Michael Farzam is CEO of House Call Doctor Los Angeles. He's been seeing patients in their homes for 13 years, and almost never has to make a referral. Part of the reason is he speaks with patients on the phone before making the trek in LA traffic to their home, but also, he says, "I can do everything in the home, essentially, a doctor's office or a typical urgent care can do. So, we do x-rays and ultrasounds, we administer IV fluids."

And there are advantages to seeing patients in their homes. Some cases can only be solved by a home visit, like the time he diagnosed a whole family with carbon monoxide poisoning from an old furnace.

"It's just something you had to see visually in the home to be able to make that diagnosis. You know, if they had been in the house one more night, they probably all would have died. And that was a nice day. That makes the job very worthwhile."

During our interview, Dr. Farzam took several calls from patients on his cell phone. It's this personal care and the access his patients have that make them so satisfied. But this kind of service must be for the super-wealthy. Right? At around $400 a visit, Dr. Farzam says he does see the 1 percent here in LA – corporate executives and celebrities who want the privacy and convenience. 

However: "But I'd say 95 percent of my patients are middle income people, who hold average jobs, and any way you look at it, our fee is less expensive than an emergency room visit, even if you have good insurance."

The tech startup Medicast uses a house call model they call "Uber for healthcare". Patients can hail a doctor 24/7 from a mobile app.

"It's really as simple as just clicking a button when you're not feeling well,” CEO Sam Zebarjadi says, “and we find a nearby on-call doctor who will come to your home, your office or hotel in under two hours."

Patients can also summon a doctor from their website or by calling in to the call center. Medicast has been up and running in Miami and South Florida for almost a year and it launches in Los Angeles and Orange Counties in the beginning of June.

Of course, there was a reason house calls all but disappeared in the middle of last century. Medicine became more expensive, having medical insurance became necessary, and dealing with that ate into doctors' profits.

"About 60 to 70 percent of the costs of healthcare are really in the overhead that come with traditional practices," Zebarjadi says -- and to make up for all that overhead, doctors might have to see 30 patients a day. "They spend about 6-8 minutes per patient…so it's a very stressful experience."

The Medicast model is a twist on a relatively new trend. It's called private medicine and it's growing by 25 percent a year. The idea is to eliminate some of the costs associated with billing insurance. That way, doctors can afford to spend more time with patients. These house call practices are a cash business – they don't take insurance. They also don't need nurses, receptionists… they don't even need the office.

But still, these are doctors driving to your homes. How do the non-millionaire patients afford that? Zebarjadi says people are saving money on insurance by choosing policies with high deductibles.

"A lot of people are using healthcare for catastrophic events and actually looking elsewhere to services like ours for basic wellness and urgent care needs."

So when you go to sleep with a high deductible insurance plan and wake up in the middle of the night with an alarming fever, you're faced with a choice: a potential $3,000 in the Emergency Room, or $400 or so for a home visit. That house call might just be the frugal choice, as well as a lot more restful.

House call doctors make a comeback

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:16

Back in the day, doctors made house calls and actually got to know their patients. But as times and technology changed, a home visit from your doctor became a luxury for the 1 percent. Dissatisfied doctors and frustrated patients have forced the industry to adjust, and house call doctors are making a comeback. But are they for everyone?

Patients want that personal relationship as well. People who grew up with house call doctor visits remember them fondly.

Dr. Michael Farzam is CEO of House Call Doctor Los Angeles. He's been seeing patients in their homes for 13 years, and almost never has to make a referral. Part of the reason is he speaks with patients on the phone before making the trek in LA traffic to their home, but also, he says, "I can do everything in the home, essentially, a doctor's office or a typical urgent care can do. So, we do x-rays and ultrasounds, we administer IV fluids."

And there are advantages to seeing patients in their homes. Some cases can only be solved by a home visit, like the time he diagnosed a whole family with carbon monoxide poisoning from an old furnace.

"It's just something you had to see visually in the home to be able to make that diagnosis. You know, if they had been in the house one more night, they probably all would have died. And that was a nice day. That makes the job very worthwhile."

During our interview, Dr. Farzam took several calls from patients on his cell phone. It's this personal care and the access his patients have that make them so satisfied. But this kind of service must be for the super-wealthy. Right? At around $400 a visit, Dr. Farzam says he does see the 1 percent here in LA – corporate executives and celebrities who want the privacy and convenience. 

However: "But I'd say 95 percent of my patients are middle income people, who hold average jobs, and any way you look at it, our fee is less expensive than an emergency room visit, even if you have good insurance."

The tech startup Medicast uses a house call model they call "Uber for healthcare". Patients can hail a doctor 24/7 from a mobile app.

"It's really as simple as just clicking a button when you're not feeling well,” CEO Sam Zebarjadi says, “and we find a nearby on-call doctor who will come to your home, your office or hotel in under two hours."

Patients can also summon a doctor from their website or by calling in to the call center. Medicast has been up and running in Miami and South Florida for almost a year and it launches in Los Angeles and Orange Counties in the beginning of June.

Of course, there was a reason house calls all but disappeared in the middle of last century. Medicine became more expensive, having medical insurance became necessary, and dealing with that ate into doctors' profits.

"About 60 to 70 percent of the costs of healthcare are really in the overhead that come with traditional practices," Zebarjadi says -- and to make up for all that overhead, doctors might have to see 30 patients a day. "They spend about 6-8 minutes per patient…so it's a very stressful experience."

The Medicast model is a twist on a relatively new trend. It's called private medicine and it's growing by 25 percent a year. The idea is to eliminate some of the costs associated with billing insurance. That way, doctors can afford to spend more time with patients. These house call practices are a cash business – they don't take insurance. They also don't need nurses, receptionists… they don't even need the office.

But still, these are doctors driving to your homes. How do the non-millionaire patients afford that? Zebarjadi says people are saving money on insurance by choosing policies with high deductibles.

"A lot of people are using healthcare for catastrophic events and actually looking elsewhere to services like ours for basic wellness and urgent care needs."

So when you go to sleep with a high deductible insurance plan and wake up in the middle of the night with an alarming fever, you're faced with a choice: a potential $3,000 in the Emergency Room, or $400 or so for a home visit. That house call might just be the frugal choice, as well as a lot more restful.

Pakistani Woman Stoned To Death By Family Outside Courtroom

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:14

The 25-year-old woman, who was three months pregnant, was bludgeoned to death with bricks after she married someone against her family's will.

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Tunisia’s rubbish selfie trend

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:04
The battle of the bins causing a stink in Tunisia

Financial help available in church

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 10:01
The Church of England is launching a new scheme to promote responsible lending, which will see people being given financial advice in church.

LG unveils laser-focus smartphone

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 09:58
LG unveils the first smartphone to use a laser beam to help it focus in dim light conditions and to lock onto fast-moving objects.

VIDEO: Rolf Harris gives evidence in court

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-27 09:49
TV entertainer Rolf Harris has denied a string of allegations that he indecently assaulted four girls, including a friend of his daughter.
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