National / International News

'Good Samaritans' caught bank robber

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 12:29
A criminal caught by an unusual group including a roofer, a bank manager and an ice cream vendor pleads guilty to attempted armed robbery.

Reports Of New Video Showing U.S. Soldier Held In Afghanistan

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 12:19

U.S. officials have reportedly received a new "proof-of-life" video of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the first to emerge in years.

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HS2 bill debate set to be delayed

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 12:07
MPs are unlikely to hold their first debate on legislation authorising the HS2 rail link for another two months because of problems with the consultation process.

How to quit a job without talking to your boss

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-15 12:03

This final note, in which I am not, repeat not, quitting my job. (I got in a whole mess of trouble the last time I joked about that.)

But if I were, boy have I found a good way to do it.

It's called the Quit Your Job app.

You decide why you want to quit, it sends an appropriate text to your boss.

Also available from the same company?

The BreakUp text app.

U.S. Official: Afghanistan Could Become 'Narco-Criminal State'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 12:00

Despite a $7 billion effort to rid the country of opium production, more land than ever before is being used for the illicit trade, says John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

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Egyptians vote on new constitution

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:52
Egyptians vote in the second and final day of a referendum on a constitution newly drafted since the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

VIDEO: Travis 'assaulted 'on air' presenter'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:51
A radio announcer has described the moment Dave Lee Travis grabbed her breasts when she was broadcasting live on BBC Radio 4, his trial has heard.

Southampton chairman Cortese resigns

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:50
Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese resigns, with owner Katharina Liebherr installing herself as his replacement.

5 Years Ago Sully Landed On The Hudson And Twitter Took Off

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:49

On Jan. 19, 2009, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his crew successfully ditched their crippled U.S. Airways jet in the river off Manhattan. The 155 people on board were saved. A photo of the floating plane went up minutes later on Twitter. That "changed everything" for the social media site.

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What's America's Problem? 1 In 5 Says It's The Government

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:48

In a monthly Gallup poll of American attitudes, dissatisfaction with the political leadership topped all other issues among Democrats, Republicans and Independents. But dissatisfaction with the government was down from a peak of 33 percent last October.

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Blood Pressure Ruckus Reveals Big Secret In Medicine

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:46

Although it may be uncomfortable for patients to learn that there are profound disagreements among doctors about medicine, these differences of opinion are common. What is rare is to have these differences explicitly acknowledged, as is happening now with treatment guidelines for high blood pressure.

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VIDEO: Birds' V formation finally explained

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:40
Lead researcher Steven Portugal explains new findings that reveal why birds fly in a V formation.

The US town that foiled a neo-Nazi takeover

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:31
How a US town thwarted a white supremacist takeover

Labour wants bank competition probe

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:07
A Labour government would tell regulators to investigate whether there is adequate competition between High Street banks, the BBC understands.

'Half of Syrians' in urgent need

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 11:02
Western and Arab Gulf states pledge $2.4bn (£1.5bn) to Syria, as the UN warns half the population is in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

VIDEO: Boy, aged 10, calls in the Marines

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 10:59
A 10-year-old boy has called in the Royal Marines to rescue cars stranded in a Cornish village.

Teen killed in 'row over drink'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 10:57
A teenager was stabbed to death in a "tragic taking of a young life" after a row over a drink at a party, a court hears.

How Virtual Currency Could Make It Easier To Move Money

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 10:41

It isn't just Bitcoin. You can now choose from more than 70 virtual currencies, and people are using them partly because it could be a free way of transferring money online. Given more time and widespread use, that could change the playing field for companies like Western Union and banks.

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Explainer: Why can't we cap CEO pay?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-15 10:30

Income inequality is one of the phrases of the month in Washington, following the President's December speech on the issue.

President Obama threw his support behind a proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 from $7.25, and to provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. This week, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) discussed the issue with Council of Econmic Affairs chairman Jason Furman.

On the face of it, raising the minimum wage appears to have a lot of support.

A group of 75 economists came out in support of the proposal, including seven Nobel laureates and several former Obama and Clinton administration economists. A poll by Hart Research found that 80 percent of Americans support the proposal, including 80 percent of political independents, and 62 percent of Republicans.

But despite the swell of support, the proposal seems unlikely to make it through the House. A similiar measure failed in March of last year, with every Republican and six Democrats voting against raising the minimum wage. Republicans in Congress tend to argue against raising the minimum wage, arguing employers who are forced to pay workers more would hire fewer people or cut those workers' hours.

Moreover, the argument goes, employers might handle the added expense of paying workers more by passing costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices.  

So if there's such a strong reaction to the idea of using the minimum wage as a weapon in the war against income inequality, what about an alternative approach? Pay caps, for example.

Switzerland recently toyed with the idea of capping CEO pay at 12 times the amount of the lowest-paid worker. But a referendum on that issue voted the idea down.

And it's pretty easy to see why that idea is unlikely to fly here in the U.S. For one thing, it puts a ceiling on the American Dream, or at least that part of it that has Americans aspiring to huge mansions and private jets. But on a more practical note, it rewards certain industries disproportionately.

For instance, the lowest paid worker - or even the average worker - in a software company or law firm is almost certainly going to earn more than the worker on the bottom run at a hotel company. Which means hotel company executives are liable to be rewarded a lot less for their work, even if their businesses employ many more workers (and are that much more valuable to society) than the law firm. It also means the CEO will likely get paid less -- potentially a lot less -- than other workers in the firm. 

No way that idea flies here.

Roache 'urged girl to write to him'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 10:29
Coronation Street actor William Roache wrote to a girl he allegedly indecently assaulted saying "write to me when you start school again," a court hears.

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