National / International News

Cadbury manor blaze was arson attack

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:41
The former home of the Cadbury family in Birmingham has been destroyed in an arson attack.

UK border staff 'not ready' for Ebola

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:23
Immigration and customs staff feel unprepared to deal with people arriving in the UK with suspected cases of the Ebola virus, a union leader warns.

VIDEO: Is it a 'good' summer for insect bites?

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:16
An increasing number of people are falling prey to creatures like ticks, horseflies, midges and mosquitoes as warm, wet weather creates perfect breeding conditions for insects.

What Somebody's Mummy Can Teach You About Heart Disease

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:12

Mummies from Ancient Egypt, Peru and the U.S. all show signs of hardened arteries. But why? Researchers say bad hygiene, open hearths and maybe some deeply ingrained genetic factors were to blame.

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With Congress Set To Adjourn, Border Crisis Remains Unresolved

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

Votes are set Thursday in both the GOP-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate on bills addressing the young migrants seeking refuge. But the competing bills have little chance of being reconciled.

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Water, Electricity And Other Needs In Short Supply In Gaza

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

In Gaza, the price of drinking water has soared, there's little electricity — and another shortage is beginning: people displaced by the fighting are waiting in long lines to get food.

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Fighting Continues To Block Investigators From MH17 Wreckage

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

Financial Times reporter Guy Chazan tells Linda Wertheimer that while the world is focused on the crash site of MH17, civilians are dying in battles between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia rebels.

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Groundwater Is Drying Up Fast Under Western States, Study Finds

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

The Colorado River Basin, which supplies irrigation and groundwater for most of the West, is drying up faster than expected. Part of the problem is a drought-driven over-reliance on groundwater.

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As Volunteerism Explodes In Popularity, Who's It Helping Most?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

More young adults and teens are swapping sun tanning and sightseeing on vacations for working in orphanages, building schools and teaching English abroad.

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In Kansas City, Obama Brushes Off House GOP's Vote To Sue Him

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

Congress leaves some significant business unfinished as it goes on break. But the talk of Washington and beyond is Wednesday's vote by House republicans to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama.

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New Bill Aims To Hold Colleges Accountable For Campus Sex Crimes

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

Under new bipartisan legislation, colleges and universities could face strong new penalties for mishandling cases of sexual assault on campus. Critics question whether they can be implemented.

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Argentina Is In Default. What Does That Actually Mean?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

Talks between Argentina and holdout bondholders collapsed Wednesday. With no additional talks scheduled, it appears Argentina has defaulted for the second time in about 12 years.

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Why Hamas Is A Bigger Challenge For Israel Now Than In The Past

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

Christian Science Monitor reporter Christa Case Bryant tells Renee Montagne why the Israeli army is finding Hamas a more formidable foe now than during the 2009 war.

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This headline was plagiarized, please don't Google it

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:00

As the Public Editor of the New York Times says, journalistic plagiarism is in the news.

(I didn't steal that idea, I attributed it, which is a key difference between plagiarizing and not plagiarizing.)

Some of the people in the news for committing journalistic plagiarism have the same name as me. Don't get confused: I am not Benny Johnson.

I did not work for a paragon of modern journalism called The Blaze before being hired to cover politics in inventive ways at Buzzfeed in 2012. I did not plagiarize parts of 41 stories I wrote at Buzzfeed, before being admirably fired by Buzzfeed.

By the way, I do like Buzzfeed. A lot. Even when Buzzfeed doesn't like me. I just talked to one of the site's senior editors about why she stopped following people like me (read: dudes) on Twitter. 

But even though I go by Ben instead of Benny, I have been thinking a lot about plagiarism this week. It's one of the things journalists are most scared of, and for good reason. Even if it's a mistake, it's rarely an honest one. Unlike in the world of fiction, journalistic plagiarism is a scarlet letter -- a final judgement. Plagiarism is the thing you do that almost immediately undermines all of the other work you've ever done.

What's interesting is that media in the Internet age spins ever closer to regular idea theft. Rewriting or re-contextualizing the hard reporting work of others is its own kind of job, and hard-working people are doing it all the time. I was just talking with a Marketplace reporter yesterday who was excited about an idea -- an angle, really -- but was worried she was actually plagiarizing her own work from a few years back. She was Googling like mad to try and avoid it. 

That's what's also strange about the Internet age. It is at once easier than ever to plagiarize and easier than ever to catch plagiarizers. The number of sources you could steal from has increased tenfold, but the nature of how those sources are organized online makes it easy to catch people. Yet another problem solved by big data.

That's how Benny Johnson got caught. Ironically, he was shaming another website for plagiarizing his work. And then some bloggers took a closer look at his work. It soon became clear, as Slate's David Weigel noted: "Anyone with a working Google machine can compare Johnson's text, which typically consists of captions below photos or gifs, to existing content on Wikipedia or Yahoo -- the sleuthing has turned up more short phrases and sentences that look cloned."

Maybe some day writers of all kinds will work in software that is constantly Googling each sentence we write to see if it's been written elsewhere. And maybe that's good news. Today I'm just glad that on the searchable Internet, I go by Ben, not Benny. 

Israel calls up 16,000 reservists

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:50
Israel calls up 16,000 extra reserve soldiers as conflict in Gaza continues, amid criticism over a strike that killed 16 at a UN-run school.

Giant wind farm plan is scrapped

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:48
A massive wind farm planned for the Irish Sea - covering an area the size of Anglesey - has been scrapped.

Invictus Games a struggle, says Harry

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:32
Prince Harry says organising a Paralympic-style sporting competition for injured members of the armed forces has been a "real struggle".

DUP and Sinn Féin 'make budget deal'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:28
The DUP and Sinn Féin reach agreement over Stormont's quarterly budget after weeks of deadlock, the BBC understands.

Bathers drown off Karachi coast

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:22
At least 20 bathers celebrating the Muslim Eid festival drown in rough seas off the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, officials say.

'Abuse' pilot 'took his own life'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:01
A British Airways pilot accused of sexually abusing children in Africa took his own life, a coroner rules.
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