National / International News

VIDEO: Bristol gang guilty of child sex crimes

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 11:57
Thirteen men have been convicted of child sex crimes, involving the abuse, rape and prostitution of teenage girls in Bristol.

WTO Members Approve Historic Trade Deal

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-27 11:51

The World Trade Organization's 160 members unanimously approved a first-ever multilateral trade deal which the group believes will boost global commerce by $1 trillion annually.

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Sun, Sand And Offshore Drilling In Spain's Famed Canary Islands

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-27 11:45

Highly reliant on oil imports, Spain's government is encouraging oil exploration off the coast of the Canary Islands. But locals say the drilling threatens the natural attractions that draw tourists.

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Suspended Tesco boss leaves company

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 11:34
The BBC has learned one of the Tesco executives suspended by the company over the £260m profit misstatement has left the company.

VfL Wolfsburg 0-2 Everton

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 11:24
Everton progress to the Europa League knockout stage after securing top spot in Group H with a 2-0 victory at Wolfsburg.

Explosion in Nigeria 'kills dozens'

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 11:08
At least 35 people are killed in an explosion in north-eastern Nigeria, close to the Cameroonian border, reports say.

The annual Turkey pardon, demystified

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-27 10:54

Every year at this time, the president of the United States, leader of the free world, participates in a truly bizarre political ritual: the pardon of a turkey. President Obama stood before a 50-pound bird Wednesday, made the sign of the cross over him and pardoned him for what, exactly? Comedian John Oliver has a theory: "Every single turkey is guilty, specifically, guilty of having delicious bird parts that should be serving time in the prison of my mouth,” he said in a recent YouTube video.

Mac and Cheese, this year’s turkeys, were born in July on a farm in Ohio. Cheese received the official pardon, but there are always two birds selected – just in case.

“Miss America has a runner up, the president has a vice president, an actor has an understudy,” says Keith Williams with the National Turkey Federation, the official supplier of the pardoned birds.

Williams says Mac and Cheese were chosen for their white fluffy feathering and charming personalities.

“[We] look for is a bird that will be easily handled, in that it can be picked up and put on that little table there where the president can see it,” he says.

The origin of this “treasured” tradition is a bit murky, though the National Turkey Federation, a lobbying group, has given a bird to the White House since the 1940s. Abraham Lincoln spared a turkey after his son Tad argued the bird “had as good a right to live as anybody;” President Harry Truman pardoned a turkey in 1947. But George H. W. Bush was the first president to make it a formal pardon.

“Even though this isn’t a big thing, there is something to note that a lobbying group is even behind this,” says Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University. “That is Washington in a nutshell these days.”

But while turkey pardon may feel silly, Zelizer says politicians see value in it. “We are in an age where the character of the president matters very much,” he says. “People care about who someone is, not just what policies they’re going to fight for. These kinds of rituals are part of how presidential handlers try to package a person.”

But what happens to these turkeys after the cameras are gone?

Well, past birds have gone to Disneyland and George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. Mac and Cheese are now headed to a newly renovated roost at Morven Park in Virginia, joining last year’s birds, Popcorn and Caramel. Well, actually just Caramel. “Popcorn’s not there,” explains Keith Williams. “Popcorn, you know -- turkeys do not live a long time. They are bred for Thanksgiving.” 

Over the last twenty years or so, turkeys have be bred to grow bigger, faster, and with more white meat, says Michael Hulet, a professor at Penn State, focusing on meat bird production. That’s, in part, a reflection of American appetites.

“Part of the selection for larger birds and more breast meat puts a lot more demand on the supply organs of the bird, such as the heart, and the liver, lungs,” says Hulet.

Therefore, in the end, the presidential pardon is maybe more like a temporary stay. Popcorn died during a heat wave last summer.

Man released over McConville case

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 10:48
The well-known republican Bobby Storey, who was arrested as part of the overall investigation into the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972, is released.

Indian Investigators Deny Village Girls Were Raped, Murdered

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-27 10:47

Villagers said the two "untouchable" caste girls were gang-raped and then hanged from a tree in May, but the country's equivalent of the FBI now says there was no rape and that they hanged themselves.

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Builder held over double murder

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 10:28
Lithuanian builder Viktoras Bruzas arrested by police investigating double murder in Surrey

Mexican president to overhaul police

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 10:22
Mexico's president announces plans for a massive overhaul of police, in the wake of the disappearance of 43 students in September.

Predictions: Lawro v Henning Wehn

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 09:49
BBC Sport football expert Mark Lawrenson takes on German comedian Henning Wehn for this weekend's Premier League fixtures.

The underdog of contrived shopping holidays

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-27 09:38

Thanksgiving is, of course, a holiday about family and food and being thankful for what you have. It is also, however, a holiday that is increasingly about commerce, retail commerce especially. 

This year more than any shoppers are going out on Thanksgiving itself, online and even in person. Then there is tomorrow, Black Friday, followed by a lesser known shopping holiday, Small Business Saturday. 

Kyle Huntoon* is a fourth-generation woodworker from Jackson, Michigan. He moved from his hometown to Detroit open his woodworking business Hunt & Noyer. “I guess I have the underdog spirit in me," says Huntoon. “I’ve always thought of Michigan as kind of an underdog state, and I like that aspect of living in Detroit.”

This weekend, Huntoon will participate in what’s known nationally as Small Business Saturday, which hopes to lure shoppers away from big box retailers. It’s sort of the underdog of contrived shopping holidays.

“I think it’s in its maybe first three years,” says Huntoon who first found out about Small Business Saturdays about a year ago on social media. You may have seen the hashtag #shopsmall or come across this this commercial.

The irony here, is that this commercial was made by a giant company, American Express. That is not lost on analyst Marshal Cohen.

“Without a national sponsor it was kind of floundering around out there, says Cohen. “It really wasn’t gaining any traction.”

This year, Cohen expects Small Business Saturday to gain some traction. So on this Thanksgiving day, as the whole family of fake shopping holidays gather for dinner, this could be the first year that Small Business Saturdays is not seated at the kids table, though it may have to sit next to Uncle Cyber Monday, who always smells like spam.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Kyle Huntoon. The text has been corrected.

'Dog on accelerator' driver jailed

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 09:27
A driver who claimed his excessive speed during a police chase was due to his dog sitting on the accelerator pedal is jailed.

VIDEO: Care home boss guilty of sex charges

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 09:13
A man who ran children's homes in north Wales is found guilty of sexually assaulting youngsters in a campaign of abuse spanning decades.

Rail and bus fares could increase

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 09:10
Rail and bus fare increases above the 3% rate of inflation "cannot be ruled out" as a result of proposed budget cuts at the Department for Regional Development (DRD).

Double points scrapped next season

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 09:07
Formula 1 bosses agree to ditch the controversial double points scheme for next season.

MP denies Twitter porn favourite

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 08:44
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney denies "favouriting" a pornographic image on Twitter, blaming the site's lack of security.

SA ventriloquist beats gagging order

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 08:42
A South African ventriloquist appears in court with his dummy to successfully challenge a gagging order.

How easy is it to push a plane?

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-27 08:39
Airline passengers in Siberia had to get out and push.

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