National / International News

VIDEO: Justin Bieber wins charity award

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 02:09
Justin Bieber won an award for his work with Make-A-Wish Foundation at the 2014 Young Hollywood Awards on Sunday night.

America's coal heads overseas

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-29 02:00

America is in a slow transition to cleaner energy, which means carbon-spewing coal power plants are high on the hit list. But we still mine lots of coal in America. Energy reporter Dina Cappiello has been looking into what happens to all that coal we're not burning here.

Click the media player above to hear reporter Dina Cappiello in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report guest host Mark Garrison.

A start-up incubator for veterans

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-29 02:00

Veterans often face unique challenges getting conventional employment when returning from military service; challenges which can be compounded when trying to found or staff their own business.

The Bunker, an incubator in Chicago opening later this year, looks to close that gap. Joseph Kopser is the CEO of RideScout, a company that has been selected to join.

“The first thing they have to do is learn the language,” he said. In fact, one of the chief benefits of an incubator that is veteran-focused is that it teaches participants the language of the business world, which becomes important when pitching the venture to others.

Additionally, he advised veterans reach out to former colleagues in the military who can vouch for their character. 

Click the media player above to hear Joseph Kosper in conversation with Marketplace Tech guest host Noel King.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Joseph Kopser. The text has been corrected.

IPOs - why the frenzy ?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-29 02:00

The 20-plus companies that are looking to go public this week hope to collectively raise about $6.7 billion dollars, with about half of it for General Electric’s consumer lending firm Synchrony Financial.

"That's going to be a $3 billion IPO, the biggest we've seen since the May, 2012 IPO of Facebook," says Kathleen Smith, a principal with the IPO fund manager Renaissance Capital.  She labels Mobileye another one of this week’s "shiny objects." The company makes the technology that tells you when your car might hit the one in front of you. "It has about a 50 percent share of that market, very high growth and very profitable, so all investors are looking at that." 

Smith cautions that this week’s batch of potential IPOs is a big one for the market to digest.  

It’s also the right kind of market, says John E. Fitzgibbon, Jr. of  

"You’ve got to have the bull running down the street and you’ve got to have the wind at its back," he says.  

Fitzgibbon thinks this year might even be the biggest one for IPOs since the dot-com bubble, but he points out that a lot of the offerings are fetching discounted prices. This week's IPO frenzy is an "End of Summer sale" that he predicts is just getting started.

"It’s like Macy’s department store; if it doesn’t sell, mark it down and drop it to the basement."  

Who are all these companies, anyway? We rounded up the most notable IPOs from this record-breaking week and grouped the companies up according to their business.

Consumer finance
Synchrony Financial's IPO is not only the biggest offering of the week by far, but at about $3 billion it's poised to raise more than any IPO this year. Synchrony is GE's consumer finance arm, facilitating store-brand credit cards and financing programs for big-name retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart.

Of the this week's huge group of IPOs, more than half are for biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms. The biggest player is Catalent, a multi-armed drug development and delivery company that's expected to offer 42.5 million shares at $19-$22 a share, according to Renaissance Capital. Catalent's nearly $1 billion deal dwarfs about a dozen other companies focused on everything from gene therapy to medical imaging to epilepsy treatment.

Mobileye is certainly a "shiny object" this week as it looks to raise half a billion dollars. The Israeli firm is the leading supplier of sensors that detect a potential collision. Investors are keeping a special eye on the company amid rumors of a potential partnership with Tesla to build self-driving cars.

Mobile gaming
It's no secret mobile gaming is big business, and developer IDreamSky has become a leader by adapting existing titles like "Fruit Ninja" and "Temple Run" for Chinese markets. That model has earned IDreamSky 100 million active users and $65 million in the year ending last March. They are looking to raise a little more than $100 million this week.

There are a handful of energy companies up for offering next week, but the largest is another big spin-off. Transocean Partners, LLC is a small portion of oil rig giant Transocean, which hopes to sell $350 million in shares. Spinning off Transocean Partner's three rigs in the Gulf of Mexico will reportedly offer Transocean more financial flexibility, but the Wall Street Journal notes this practice can be a tax dodge

Graphic by Shea Huffman/Marketplace

The latest acquisition for tech companies? Lobbyists

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-29 02:00

Tech companies are growing up. And, like a lot of teenagers, they want more control over how they’re treated. Now, those companies are taking steps to make sure they’re heard.

Last month, drivers for ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft flooded the California Capitol building. They were there to protest a bill that would toughen regulations on their industry. Senator Alex Padilla noted the discussion was one that wouldn’t have happened a few years ago.

“The wonderful challenge that we have on complex issues like this is, in large part, driven by technology and innovation and things that 50 years ago people wouldn’t have imagined, forcing important public policy questions,” Padilla said.

Now tech companies want to influence how these questions are answered.

Robert Callahan is the Executive Director of the California branch of the Internet Association. That’s a relatively new lobbying group that represents many large tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Twitter, Yahoo, Yelp, Uber and Lyft.   

The Association also lobbies on issues at the federal level. Callahan said there’s plenty to work on, like net neutrality and patent reform.

“But also just issues that you would never have thought about,” he said. “Like, what are the decedent rights to a social media account after the account holder passes away?”

But as tech companies start to pay expensive lobbyists, some are asking what that will ultimately cost their customers.

Timothy Karr is with Free Press, a group that works for what it calls a “free and open Internet.”  

“You know, in general, I don’t think corporate lobbyists are serving the interest of consumers,” Karr said.

He’s especially concerned with how media use is being regulated.

“People are listening to music, they are sharing video files. And because it’s become much more prominent in the way people use, share, and consume media, it also has a much higher profile in policy discussions,” he said.

And the growing clout of tech companies means they’ll likely have a larger role in future legislative discussions.

VIDEO: Making money out of social media

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:59
Samira Hussain reports from New York on the opportunities opened up by technology that did not even exist a few years ago.

Gherkin skyscraper put up for sale

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:56
London's Gherkin skyscraper is put up for sale, with interest expected from Chinese, other Asian, and US buyers.

New student loan model discussed

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:55
Ministers and officials have been researching an idea that could bring major changes to England's student loan system, BBC Newsnight learns.

Italy to 'help douse' Libya fire

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:53
Italy offers to help extinguish a huge blaze that has engulfed the biggest fuel storage facility in the Libyan capital, Libya's government says.

More arrests after man found shot

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:36
Two more people are arrested after a man was shot dead in a car in a country lane in Warwickshire.

Moeen warned by ICC over wristbands

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:33
England batsman Moeen Ali is warned by the match referee not to wear pro-Gaza wristbands again in the third Test against India.

AUDIO: Fifty shades of red face: Is it a 'date' film?

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:13
Diana Mather and Rosamund Urwin discuss who it is appropriate to invite to the cinema to watch Fifty Shades of Grey.

VIDEO: British dancer returns from Russia

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:02
A dancer from Hull who became the first British dancer to be employed by the Mariinsky Ballet in Russia returns to the UK to perform with the company at Covent Garden.

Boys in Collymore racist abuse probe

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:02
Four teenage boys are spoken to by police for sending racist and abusive tweets to the ex-footballer Stan Collymore.

TSA crowdsources crowd problems

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:00

There’s a contest underway you may not know about. The Transportation Security Administration is offering $15,000 in prize money to anyone who can help it come up with a faster check-in system.

Some 1.8 million passengers fly daily across the U.S., and as the TSA knows all too well, many of them complain about long security lines and time-consuming pat-downs.

So, for three weeks, anyone can submit a proposal to help solve expected problems with TSA’s fast lane or “PreCheck” program, which the TSA "allows low-risk travelers to experience expedited, more efficient security screening." It seems to be doing well so far at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, says spokesman Andrew Sawyer.

“We’ve noticed that since PreCheck came to RDU a little over a year ago, we do see a lot of our customers using it,” said Sawyer.

As more people register for the pre-check system, it’s bound to get as clogged as the regular one that leaves travelers with no shoes and open laptops. 

Duke University Professor David Schanzer is director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. He says getting ideas from the public could be a winning strategy.

“While $15,000 seems like a lot to win in a contest, in the scheme of federal contracting if you come up with some really good ideas and solutions, it could be a bargain,” said Schanzer.

It’s a bargain for the federal government which, by the way, charges $85 just to apply for that pre check-in program.

This isn't the TSA's first time reaching out online. While airport security might be crowded and brusque, the TSA's web presence is affable, helpful, and surprisingly self-aware.

Their blog (yes, they have a blog) features tips for any kind of traveler imaginable.

Pregnant? Transporting gun parts? Got bear repellent in your carry-on? All three? They have a guide for you. There's also a kids section, wherein an adorable dog family shows youngsters how to go through a checkpoint — or at least gives them a picture of a checkpoint to color while mom and dad put their shoes, belts and jackets back on.

But the best thing about the TSA's online footprint, by far, is its Instagram account. There, under the hashtag #TSACatch, the organization documents the strangest confiscated items. Each photo contains a detailed and sometimes irreverent explanation for the confiscation and how you can avoid having your own lipstick taser taken away. Ditto for grenades, two (2!) different sets of Batarangs, novelty alarm clocks that look like bombs, and more.

All the photos are culled from the TSA's comprehensive week-in-review blog posts, which are interesting reads themselves. The TSA also realizes the importance of pets on Instagram, and regularly features its K-9 unit. Check out some of our favorite posts below:

[<a href="//" target="_blank">View the story "The TSA's amazing Instagram" on Storify</a>]

VIDEO: Immigration plan 'about message not money'

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 00:59
Norman Smith explains the politics of David Cameron's announcement of benefit rules changes for some EU migrants.

Goldfinch novel set for big screen

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 00:57
Donna Tartt's best-selling novel The Goldfinch is to be turned into a film, with Rush Hour director Brett Ratner among its producers.

AUDIO: Why is shoplifting on the rise?

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-29 00:55
Hywel Griffith reports on the growth of shoplifting offences in North Wales.

Crews Are Containing Western Wildfires, But More Bad Weather's Ahead

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-29 00:55

Firefighters are making good progress on a number of destructive wildfires burning in the West. In Washington, fire crews are hoping to contain the largest fire in that state's history within the next week.

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Ruling Against D.C.'s Gun Law Sends Local Officials Scrambling

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-29 00:55

A federal judge struck down the city's ban on carrying handguns in public. The latest ruling follows a Supreme Court decision in 2008 that overturned the city's blanket ban on handgun ownership.

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