National / International News

Breastfeed discreetly, urges Farage

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 03:10
UKIP's Nigel Farage says women should not breastfeed in an "ostentatious" way in public to avoid embarrassing others.

ICC drops Uhuru Kenyatta charges

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 03:10
Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague say they are withdrawing charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Misconduct charge over Ebrahimi death

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 03:06
Three PCs and a PCSO are to face misconduct charges after the murder of a Bristol man by a neighbour who wrongly believed him to be a paedophile.

13 towns 'could lose bus services'

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 03:05
Local bus services in cities and towns across Northern Ireland could be cut drastically if draft budget proposals are agreed.

New Jersey Legislature Clears Gov. Chris Christie In Bridge Scheme

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-05 03:04

The report, however, found that two former aides acted with "perceived impunity" when they ordered the shutdown of some lanes of the George Washington Bridge last year.

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GCHQ 'does not breach human rights'

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 03:03
The current system of UK intelligence collection does not currently breach the European Convention of Human Rights, a panel of judges has ruled.

PODCAST: Adjusting for exclusivity

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-05 03:00

The Labor Department released its jobs report this morning for the month of November. And the headline number is a big one. Plus, in honor of Marketplace's 25th anniversary, we're looking at some of the surprising ways prices have changed over the last quarter century. A little inflation can be good for an economy, a lot can be dire. So what happens when the price of retail goods goes up faster than inflation? We're taking a look at what's happened to the price of Chanel bags over the last two-and-a-half decades.

Apple music abuse trial may collapse

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:49
A technicality about whether iPods at the centre of Apple's anti-competition trial were valid could cause the decade-long case to collapse.

VIDEO: Breastfeeding: 'Perhaps sit in corner'

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:41
The UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said that women could, "perhaps sit in a corner" while breastfeeding in public.

Mixed reaction to German far-left triumph

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:39
A party with roots in the old communist East Germany is to govern a German state for the first time since 1989, but the reaction on the streets of Thuringia's capital Erfurt is very mixed, the BBC's Jenny Hill reports.

Day in pictures: 5 December 2014

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:29
24 hours of news images: 5 December

Germany jails Islamic State jihadist

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:26
A German man is jailed for three years and nine months for joining Islamic State (IS) militants, in the first trial of its kind in Germany.

Road safety donkey killed by car

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:20
A donkey foal which was used to educate young motorists to drive more safely in the New Forest is killed by a car on a road.

SA marks Mandela death anniversary

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:12
Events are being held in South Africa to mark one year since the death of Nelson Mandela, including a wreath-laying ceremony and a cricket match.

Prison book ban ruled unlawful

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:07
The government's ban on sending books to prisoners in England and Wales is unlawful, the High Court declares.

Nigerian medics join Ebola response

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:05
About 100 Nigerian medical workers are expected to arrive in Sierra Leone to help with the response to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

Wilko dreams of Dylan collaboration

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:00
Wilko Johnson says he has found it "difficult" coming to terms with still being alive after being told he had terminal cancer.

Wilt Chamberlain postage stamp signals a shift

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:00

When you think of stamps, you might picture paintings of ducks, and dead, nearly forgotten presidents. But Friday in Philadelphia, two new stamps will be released, the first to feature a pro basketball player.

You could say he’s the basketball equivalent of Madonna or Elvis because the new stamps dispense with his last name and only say “Wilt,” stretched out as if to emphasize his 7-foot-1 stature.

“Wilt is the greatest player to ever play,” said Donald Hunt, a Phildelphia Tribune sportswriter who headed the effort to get Chamberlain his own stamp. “He scored 100 points in a game, averaged 50 points in a game ... at one point in his career he grabbed 55 rebounds in a game.”

But Chamberlain is also well known for other things, including claiming that he slept with 20,000 women. The NBA star joins recent postal honorees like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, who died of drug overdoses. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve stamps, according to Chad Snee, editor of the weekly Linn’s Stamp News.

“If the committee had to weigh personal imperfections when determining whether or not someone could be honored with a postage stamp … we wouldn’t see too many people on our stamps anymore,” he said.

Christmas comes early, via the November jobs report

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:00

That's how many jobs were added in November, according to the Labor Department's report on job creation and unemployment for last month. Economists have also been predicting a strong hiring season for seasonal retail jobs.


The number of geotagged tweets in this stunning map, created by Eric Fischer, a developer at Mapbox. Fischer tracked tweets over three and a half years, and by the end about 10 million were coming in each day.


The cost of the Chanel Classic Flap bag has increased 240% since 1994 (from $1762.32 to $6000, when you adjust for inflation). But there's more to blame than inflation. Think of it as an exclusivity tax.


The number of upscale coffee shops Starbucks has planned, with the first opening in Seattle, the New York Times reported. The concept, Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, will eschew the green mermaid branding and sell single-origin beverages at $4-$7, in a bid to compete with boutique roasters like Stumptown, Blue Bottle and Intelligentsia.

50 percent

That's the American divorce rate tossed around frequently in the media, but lately there have been efforts to debunk it. Divorce has, as far as anyone can tell, actually been on the decline. But as Quartz reports, divorce rates are extremely difficult to measure, making the conventional wisdom around marriage malleable.

50 percent

Speaking of divorce, it was recently reported that the messaging service WhatsApp is cited in nearly 50 percent of Italian divorce cases. But you already knew that, didn't you. So head over to Silicon Tally, our weekly quiz on the week in tech news, and prove how smart you really are.

Think of it as an exclusivity tax

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-05 02:00

On the upper east side of Manhattan in a very elegant apartment, just a few blocks away from the Chanel boutique, Jean Shafiroff is a fan of the brand. 

"Styles come and go and brands come and go but it seems to me that Chanel remains," she says. 

Shafiroff is wearing a forest green wool jacket (Chanel) and she's taken out a few of her Chanel bags to show to a reporter some of the classics. They have the signature quilted flap and interwoven metal and leather chain shoulder strap. She says, "If I’m willing to use a bag that I bought over twenty years ago, I think it’s pretty much a classic, don’t you?"

Philanthropist Jean Shafiroff with a classic Chanel bag and a biography of the designer.

Sally Herships

But this is about more than just fashion — Shafiroff sees her choices as investments. "Like buying a piece of art," she says. 

A philanthropist on the board of seven charities, Shafiroff hosts a lot of fundraising events, and she bought her first Chanel bag, the classic one —  with the quilted flap and the leather and metal chain — in the 80’s. She still carries it.

"It's more chic now than it was then, because it’s vintage," she says.

But there’s nothing vintage about the price. In the mid-eighties, a classic Chanel bag was under a thousand dollars. Adjusted for inflation, the price today should be about double. But a similar purse now costs north of $4,000 dollars, way past the rate of inflation. The cost of labor is up, not to mention leather. Then there’s the euro versus the dollar — But, says Paul Swinand, an analyst with Morningstar, there’s another big reason the prices for Chanel bags have climbed so high.

"There are more rich people in emerging markets, and they’re getting richer faster than we are," he says.  

Says Swinand, in markets like Asia, wealthy consumers have an enormous appetite for western goods: "They want Cognac. They want LVMH bags. They want Swiss watches."

And they want Chanel purses, but they don’t want everybody else to have them too.


A sequined Chanel bag owned by Jean Shafiroff 

Sally Herships

"Think about it. You wouldn’t want everybody to have a Tiffany ring. You wouldn’t  want everybody to have an Hermes bag," says Swinand. "The allure of a Patek Philippe watch or a special signature Chanel bag is to walk in and say, 'Oh my gosh, those are hard to get, you must have paid a lot of money for that.' Maybe you don’t say that explicitly but that’s the allure."

And Chanel knows it. So it keeps raising prices. Think of it as an exclusivity tax.

"This is not inflation increases, this is something that is really extraordinary, and replicates the index of living extremely well," says Thomai Serdari, a professor of  marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

She adds, "it is a manufactured, namely, an artificial market that keeps going up, as long as there are people who are wiling to spend."

And Chanel isn’t the only brand to have taken this approach. Think Ferrari. Even Nike, says Serdari, used pricing to set its sneakers apart. Burberry famously raised its prices after its trademarked plaid started becoming too popular.  

From a business point of view, Jean Shafiroff can appreciate the exclusivity strategy — After all, she has an MBA.  

“They’re making it less accessible and I think that’s a very smart business technique,” she says. But from a personal point of view, Shafiroff says she doesn’t have plans to buy a new Chanel bag anytime soon.

Just stop by Chanel's Madison Ave boutique and you can see the brand's strategy at work. To reinforce how precious they are, purses are presented on pedestals, one by one. 

"Displayed the way objects would be displayed in a museum," says Sedari. “It is intimidating. It is done on purpose, it should intimidate you. You shouldn’t feel like anybody can participate in that world.”