National / International News

Quiz of the week's news

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 15:32
Rat, ferret, chinchilla - which pet is now legal in NYC?

Clippers sold to former Microsoft CEO for $2 billion

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-29 15:31

Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has reportedly won the bidding for the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise, with a $2 billion offer. As Marketplace has reported, less successful teams in smaller markets have sold for just a fraction of that figure.

According to the Los Angeles Times, this sale would be the biggest in NBA history:

Ballmer, who was chief executive of Microsoft for 14 years, was chosen over competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations said the Geffen group bid $1.6 billion and Ressler at $1.2 billion.

Any sale would still need to be approved by league owners, who shot down Ballmer's earlier bid for the Sacramento Kings.

Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling has chosen to sell the team five days ahead of an NBA hearing to take the team out of her family's hands. Her husband and former co-owner, billionaire Donald Sterling, bought the team for $12 million 30 years ago.

Thus, the man banned, chastised and fined for racist comments -- could be looking at a pay day of billions of dollars.

Read Marketplace's past coverage of the Clippers' regime change:

Clippers reportedly sold to former Microsoft CEO

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-29 15:31

Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has reportedly won the bidding for the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise, with a $2 billion offer. As Marketplace has reported, less successful teams in smaller markets have sold for just a fraction of that figure.

According to the Los Angeles Times, this sale would be the biggest in NBA history:

Ballmer, who was chief executive of Microsoft for 14 years, was chosen over competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations said the Geffen group bid $1.6 billion and Ressler at $1.2 billion.

Any sale would still need to be approved by league owners, who shot down Ballmer's earlier bid for the Sacramento Kings.

Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling has chosen to sell the team five days ahead of an NBA hearing to take the team out of her family's hands. Her husband and former co-owner, billionaire Donald Sterling, bought the team for $12 million 30 years ago.

Thus, the man banned, chastised and fined for racist comments -- could be looking at a pay day of billions of dollars.

Read Marketplace's past coverage of the Clippers' regime change

UK taught Brazil interrogation techniques

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 15:27
How the UK taught interrogation to Brazil's dictators

No Hunch Here: Richard III Suffered From Scoliosis Instead

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-29 15:20

Shakespeare described the 15th century British king as "deformed, unfinish'd," and a hunchback. A 3-D model of his spine reveals that Richard had developed severe curvature of the spine as a teen.

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Team rebuilds 'most famous spine'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 15:18
Richard III's bent spine would have left him inches shorter, but able to live a normal life, researchers find.

Rise in child emotional abuse calls

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 15:16
The number of child emotional abuse cases referred to police and children's services from the NSPCC's UK helpline has risen by 47%, the charity says.

VIDEO: Suit ages wearer 60 years in 20 mins

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 15:12
The AgeLab at MIT has developed a suit that they say simulates the ageing process to give younger people a better idea of the physical challenges that older people face. Rajini Vaidyanathan tried it on.

'No Evidence' Snowden Raised Concerns While At NSA

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-29 15:04

The National Security Agency says it has only one email exchange between the former contractor and the NSA's legal branch — concerning a technical issue.

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Deputy suspended for phoney texts

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 14:29
The deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council is suspended after sending text messages to BBC Radio Stoke pretending to be different people.

NI Muslim leaders 'accept apology'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 14:13
Muslim community leaders accept NI First Minister Peter Robinson's apology for his controversial comments about followers of their faith.

VIDEO: Rennard apologises to activists

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 14:10
Former Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard apologises for his behaviour towards female party members.

VIDEO: The plight of Niger's child brides

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 14:06
The BBC has been to Niger, which has the highest rate of child marriage in the world with nearly 80% of girls there married by the age of 18.

How campus safety could affect college choices

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-29 14:05

Campus safety is on the minds of many college-age women these days. Female students were among the targets in the deadly attacks last week near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

But even before then, sexual harassment and assault on college campuses were making headlines.

In the past couple months, the U.S Department of Education has published the names of about 60 schools its Office for Civil Rights is investigating for their handling of Title IX offenses, which involve sexual violence (see the full list here).

And the women's advocacy group UltraViolet has launched ad campaigns against Harvard, Dartmouth and other universities over their handling of campus assaults.

“Where we're coming from is just a place of acknowledging that many colleges have completely failed their students on this issue,” says UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas.

Thomas believes her group has helped steer prospective student away from Dartmouth. But the school points out that the UltraViolet campaign was launched after the applications deadline this year and had no bearing on a 14 percent decline in applications, which it attributes instead to a host of factors, including demographic changes

Application and enrollment levels rise and fall for all sorts of reasons, according to Peter Lake, director of the Center for Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law. Lake, an expert on campus safety, says it would be difficult to single out the role campus safety is playing.

“Everyone is watching to see just how sensitive consumers of higher education are to safety issues,” says Lake.

Liya Tessima, a high school student in St. Paul, Minnesota, says safety didn’t influence her choice of schools. She’s headed to St. Olaf College this fall. The school is located in a rural part of Minnesota, and Tessima says she thinks she will feel safe there. But that didn’t lead her to choose St. Olaf’s over more urban schools, where crime is more prevalent.

"I never really considered it that way," she says. Tessima notes that St. Olaf’s biology department was its greatest selling point for her.

Annie Baxter

Tessima’s friend Kweh-ley Paw will go to a big urban school, the University of Minnesota. Paw is nervous about campus safety. She says her parents are, too.

“So they're going to let me come home whenever I feel like it,” she says.

Nevertheless, Paw says she hasn't checked out the university's reputation for handling assaults.

Several groups are pressuring college ranking services like the Princeton Review to factor campus safety into their rankings. The Princeton Review says not all that information is public and there would be no uniform way to report it.

Correction: An earlier version of this story failed to note that the UltraViolet campaign began after Dartmouth’s application deadline. The text has been corrected.

The fight for Hillshire, as measured in hot dogs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-29 13:52

Everyone wants a bite of the hot dog.

On Tuesday, chicken producer Pilgrim's Pride began the bidding war for Hillshire Brands with an offer equivalent to $6.4 billion. Hillshire is a brand best-known for their Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. Tyson Foods, another meatpacking distributor, relished the opportunity to beat them on Thursday with their own offering of $6.1 billion.

What I wanted to know: What are they offering in... meat? How many hot dogs and whole chickens could Tyson foods buy with that $6.1 billion?

Approx. number of Ballpark Hot Dogs:

9,779,559,118

 

BallParkBrand.com

Approx. number of Tyson Family Roaster Chickens: 

985,460,420

 

www.Tyson.com

Tyson's going to need to purchase another 300 million hot dogs if they want to match the Pilgrim's Pride deal. 

Arrests over hanged Indian girls

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 13:42
At least three men, including a police officer, are arrested after two teenage girls are gang raped and hanged from a tree in northern India.

Condiment Detente: Sriracha Plant To Stay In California City

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-29 13:35

After a contentious half-year, Irwindale's City Council and Sriracha-maker David Tran have come to an agreement: His factory stays put and the spicy scent stays in the bottle.

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High-end designers turn to 'alpha-sizing'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-29 13:33

There's a new trend called "alpha sizing," in which designers are doing away with numerical sizes in favor of "small," "medium," "large," "extra large," and the rest.

The reason, according to the Wall Street Journal: Alpha sizing makes manufacturing easier, and it also makes things easier for those of us who shop online.

Consumers won't buy two sizes, then return one of them. It's the athletic apparel approach to designer fashion. 

Recent data suggests men seem to prefer it as well.

Why does everyone want Hillshire these days?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-29 13:30

There is a bidding war afoot for Hillshire Brands Co., which you may know as the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. Meat processor Tyson Foods swept in with a bid of $50 a share Thursday, topping a recent offer from rival Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.

Which has us wondering: Why does Hillshire suddenly seem to be King of the Prom?

1) Diversification. Turns out, meat processors like Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride have one thing on their minds. “The main driver of all these offers that are being made to purchase Hillshire right now is the increasing price for beef, pork, chicken,” says analyst Hester Jeon with IBISWorld. These protein companies are heavily commoditized, with low margins, and historic volatility, according to senior analyst Robert Moskow of Credit Suisse, which has investments in this sector.

2) Moving up the value chain. Hillshire, with its portfolio of value-added prepared foods (like Jimmy Dean Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Croissant Sandwiches) offers a range of products with higher profit margins.

3) Pressure to move fast. Hillshire was planning to acquire packaged-foods company Pinnacle Foods Inc. Its suitors probably want to intervene before that happens, as Pinnacle isn’t an attractive investment for them.

4) Taxes? Hillshire is approaching the two-year anniversary of becoming a new company (it grew out of the old Sara Lee). Long story short, two years after a spinoff there’s less of a threat of tax penalties should the new company be bought.

Economic Upswing Has Fewer Americans Receiving Food Stamps

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-29 13:30

Last year, about 1 in 7 people in the U.S. were getting food stamps, or SNAP benefits. But the numbers have started to drop as more people find work and better-paying jobs, analysts say.

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