National / International News

VIDEO: Redford philosophical on Oscar snub

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 03:07
Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford says he is "not disturbed" after being overlooked for an Oscar nomination for his performance in All Is Lost.

Villa sign Chelsea's Bertrand on loan

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 03:05
Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand joins fellow Premier League side Aston Villa on loan for the rest of the season.

Manipulating the markets, right from the online chat room

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-17 03:01

Today, we kick off a series on Wall Street technology. We start with something pretty low-tech: chat rooms.

Banks and traders are now under investigation, accused of meeting in chat rooms to hatch schemes to manipulate markets.

Robert Friedman, Editor-at-Large at Bloomberg News, joins Marketplace's Mark Garrison to discuss. 

UK 'complacent' over spying leaks

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:57
British politicians have shown "complacency" about revelations of mass surveillance by the security services, the editor of the Guardian says.

VIDEO: Diabetes 'smart lens' tested by Google

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:57
Google is testing a smart contact lens that could help people with diabetes monitor their glucose levels

Can we really know the Lost Generation?

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:53
The WW1 casualties who were destined for great things

Oscar nominees attend Critics' Awards

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:46
Oscar nominees attend the Critics' Choice Awards in Los Angeles, which saw Gravity win a record seven prizes.

Spending protest grips Spanish city

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:43
Protesters gather in Burgos, northern Spain, amid spreading unrest over costly plans to redevelop a street at a time of cuts.

Two million 'may need weight op'

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:27
Up to two million people in England could be eligible for weight loss surgery, such as the fitting of gastric bands, experts believe.

Pension fees cap 'is delayed'

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:25
A government plan to cap the management fees charged by pension providers has been delayed, according to reports.

VIDEO: How much peat in a peat bog?

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:24
Alasdair Brock, from Natural England, is working to restore Wedholme Flow near Carlisle, a peat bog which was badly damaged by years of peat extraction. But as he showed the BBC, some parts still contain lots of peat.

Row over 'agonising' US execution

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:17
US lawyers are to challenge the drugs used in executions in Ohio after a murderer took 25 minutes to die from a new lethal cocktail.

VIDEO: Musketeers cast injured in training

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:16
Two of the cast of BBC One's new drama say they came home from boot camp with quite a few scrapes and bruises.

Man Utd's Anderson set for Fiorentina

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:09
Manchester United midfielder Anderson is having a medical at Fiorentina ahead of a move to the Italian Serie A club.

Stop and searches 'more common'

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:05
Police in Scotland carry out four times more stop and searches than their colleagues in England and Wales, a new report shows.

Hollande 'affair predates election'

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 02:05
The French gossip magazine Closer publishes claims Francois Hollande has been having a secret romance with actress Julie Gayet for two years.

Cameron's stand-up routine at dinner

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 01:56
The BBC's Vicki Young was in the audience for David Cameron's comedy turn at the Westminster correspondents dinner.

Banks aim for diversity at the top. Can they do more?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-17 01:39

The NAACP has issued a report card on diversity in the retail banking industry, and it doesn’t look good. The report is focused on the lack of minority suppliers as well as the lack of diversity in upper management positions in banking, and the highest grade, a C+, was scored both by Citibank and Bank of America. The lowest grade, a D+, was given to US Bank. While banks do have a lot of diversity programs, like recruitment and training, the NAACP says minorities don't stick around. 

If you want to fix a problem like lack of diversity in the banking industry,  Dedrick Muhammad, senior director of the Economic Department at the NAACP says just being not racist is not enough.  

"If someone starts off with greater wealth in their families, with greater access to educational opportunities, have family members that are in a much broader array of well paying jobs, they’re starting off ahead," he says, adding that a lack of prejudice today doesn’t do enough to make up for bias of the past.

"The kind of more passive approach of 'we’ll just bring people in through the teller jobs or maybe  through mid to lower management and they’ll just work their way up' --  they’re not working their way up," says Muhammad.

JP Morgan Chase had no comment on the study. The other banks cited in the study did release statements: Wells Fargo and Bank of America acknowledged they have work to do; USBank said it is disappointed in the results and is working to improve; Citibank notes diversity is a major 

Fabiola Dieudonne, a senior associate with the Center for Talent Innovation, which consults with banks to help them work on issues of diversity, says a big problem is that minority workers don’t get the honest feedback they need. Their supervisors, she says, say they’re afraid they’ll be misunderstood.

"Are you going to think that I’m being prejudiced?" she says they ask themselves. "Are you going to think I’m treating you differently than the next person?"

Dieudonne says supervisors "don't want anyone that you’re providing feedback to to go away feeling that way, so people just tend to avoid it altogether,” she says.

In addition, Dieudonne says, minority workers don’t get enough sponsors. (A sponsor is like a mentor but much more aggressive on your behalf.)

“They’re not getting as many sponsors because the sponsors that are sponsoring others, are sponsoring people that may look like them," says Dieudonne, adding that this isn’t racism. We’re much more comfortable, she says, on a subconscious level, with people like ourselves.

Dieudonne says these are the kinds of problems which prevent minority workers from getting the support they need to develop executive presence  -- the "it factor" that can carry them to the C-Suite.

Eveyln Tressitt, President of Grey Pearl Advisors, LLC , has that "it factor". She’s now a corporate consultant, but she used to work for big banks in human resources and as a COO. Banks, she says, need to get better at anticipating openings -- "and look at where you can build a pipeline for that opening. So it might mean you have to hire people in advance of when that opening is available."

Tressitt says that for diversity in banking to become a reality, it has to hit the top of the agenda everyday. In the meantime, Dieudonne says both corporations and multicultural workers continue to lose out.

"People see that you have the capability," she says. But something is missing. "You’ve spent  all this time making sure you’re part of this culture, you’ve conformed to what we see, a white male standard at leadership, you’ve conformed to that. So when you get to the point where you can reach over this hump and get there, you’ve lost a little bit of yourself."

When Sally contacted the banks cited in the study, here's how five of them responded:

Wells Fargo

 

“We welcome the opportunity to receive feedback on our progress, and acknowledge that we have areas of opportunity for us to improve on our diversity and inclusion efforts. We have a strategic plan with measurable goals in place that intentionally focuses on these areas, and we are monitoring and measuring our progress.”

JPMorgan Chase

 

declined to comment

Bank of America

 

"Retaining top diverse talent has been and will continue to be a key priority for us. We are proud to have a culture that prioritizes diversity and inclusion at all levels, and while we’ve made significant progress in several areas, we understand there is more work to do. We will continue our efforts through targeted recruiting and internal programs to support and advance top diverse talent throughout our organization."

 

Citibank

 

"At Citibank, fostering a dynamic and diverse workforce is a major priority. Having talent that reflects the diversity of our customer base is one of the keys to our success as a business, and we take active steps to recruit, train and promote accordingly. We take seriously and participate in numerous external reports and reviews, including the NAACP Opportunity and Diversity Report Card study, to benchmark our work and help identify opportunities for further strengthening our practices. We take pride in the gains achieved through our diversity initiatives, and we remain committed to prioritizing this important issue. 

Further background: Priority workforce diverse objectives are defined annually and implemented through the Citi diversity operating committee, comprised of diversity and human resources professionals, as well as local business and regional diversity councils. The Citi Board of Directors reviews progress. Programs and initiatives are in place across our businesses to support and foster Citi’s diversity strategy. These include, among others, leadership development programs, employee networks and diversity-focused recruitment programs.  Since 1999, we have communicated our progress through our Diversity Annual Report.

Citi has been widely recognized by external organizations and publications for its diversity initiatives. Calvert Investments which recognized Citi as the most inclusive company in the S&P 100 for women and minorities, and Working Mother Magazine, has named Citi to their “100 Best Companies” for 23 consecutive years and “Best Companies for Multicultural Women.”  Diversity MBA Magazine recognized Citi as one of the Top 50 Best Places for Diverse Managers & Women and Exelon recognized Citi as one of the Top Banks, for Diversity and Inclusiveness.  Citi was named the number one Diversified Financial Industry Sustainability Leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). Citi has been on the DJSI North America Index and DJSI World Index since 2001."

U.S. Bank

 

"We take the NAACP’s findings seriously. While we are pleased to have received the organization’s highest scores for our board diversity and our branch locations in African-American neighborhoods, we are disappointed in the overall result and are working to improve our performance. We have made significant progress in several areas since 2011, which was the timeframe when the data that was analyzed. 

U.S. Bank strongly believes in the power of diversity – for our bank and in the communities we are proud to serve. We will study the recommendations from the NAACP, and we have committed to partnering with them on ways we can improve."

 

Report card time: Who do YOU think cares the most about diversity?

Can Phoenix un-suburbanize?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-17 01:29

There’s a movement afoot to bring new money into urban areas all over the country, and surprisingly, Phoenix, is part of that movement.

The city has long been famous for its suburban sprawl. But now, plans are moving ahead to link high-rise downtown with a neighboring Latino barrio that wealthy developers have mostly ignored for the better part of 100 years. Not a shovel of dirt has moved, though neighbors already have expectations and fears.

With a good arm, you could probably pick up one of the empty beer bottles on 14.6 acres of land set aside for the proposed development, give it a good chuck, and clear the railroad tracks that separate Grant Park from the polished office buildings of downtown Phoenix. Feliciano Vera is the developer who intends to bridge this divide between rich and poor. “This is a condition that predates statehood,” he said.

In Grant Park, trees and good sidewalks are scarce. Decades of industrial use have polluted the soil. In 2012, median income – at about $19,000 a year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – was less than half what of it was citywide.

“For our community to go over the railroad tracks and for the downtown people to come on this side of the railroad tracks, it’s like going to China,” said Eva Olivas, CEO of the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, a group that works to improve the local neighborhoods.

But Olivas said the area is also rich with Latino history. In the 1970s, the now famous saying “si se puede” – Yes, we can – was coined just a few blocks from here when Cesar Chavez embarked on his historic fast for farmworker rights.  “We have been waiting and learning and preparing for this moment,” Olivas said. “This community wants to support something.”

That "something" could be up to 800 new apartments and townhouses – a third of them set aside for low-income residents. There’s room, right under an airport flight path, for about another 300,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

But with such long a history of disinvestment in this area, what makes the developer think he can pull it off? “The timing,” said Vera. Indeed, from Las Vegas to Detroit, American inner cities are revitalizing. “On the macro level, nationally we are going through this period of intense urbanization,” Vera said.

To gauge the community’s support, Vera is hosting a series of meetings for residents. At a recent gathering inside the Grant Park gym, Vangie Muller and Nenette Parra fantasized about this idea of urbanization. For both women, something as simple as a grocery store would be a huge improvement. But Parra also worried developers will put the community as she knows it at risk. It wouldn’t be the first time in Arizona that working-class Latinos got pushed out of their neighborhoods. Developers “cater to those that are more educated, that are able to speak up,” she said. “Everything that our neighborhood isn't -- that's what they cater to. That's what we don't want.”

The feeling is echoed at El Portal, a Mexican restaurant across the street from Grant Park. “There’s really not an embracing of the Mexican-American culture,” said owner Earl Wilcox. “It’s more the cowboy stuff, the Old West stuff.”

Wilcox’s family is well connected politically, and he’s used that clout to complain that the wrong development will threaten small businesses like his. Wilcox said competition from a big chain could wipe him out and spoil the atmosphere of the entire place.

“If they just come in, historically and traditionally the way they do things – build it and worry about all these things later – then there’s going to be a lot of problems,” he said. But if the developer recognizes Grant Park’s Latino culture, he said “it could be something really beautiful.”

The Chinese children denied an identity

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-17 01:16
The children shut out by China's one-child policy

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