National / International News

VIDEO: Life on board USS Carl Vinson

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 15:28
USS Carl Vinson is an aircraft carrier at the centre of air operations against IS militants in Syria and Iraq.

NFL player charged with rape

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 15:24
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Josh McNary, 26, faces charges of rape and battery resulting in bodily injury, prosecutors say.

BP to announce North Sea job cuts

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 15:23
Staff in BP's North Sea operation, which employs 4,000 people, are to be briefed on potential job losses in response to falling oil prices.

Supply of homes near 'historic low'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 15:06
The number of properties for sale are close to historic lows, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

VIDEO: Talking Movies: A Most Violent Year

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 15:03
A Latin American immigrant businessman tries play it straight in the crime-ridden 1980s New York of A Most Violent Year.

Firms failing minimum wage pay named

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 15:02
Retail giant H&M and service station operator Welcome Break are among 37 firms "named and shamed" for failing to pay the minimum wage.

Terror fight, 'groomed' teacher, and the 'supertramp'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 14:58
Amid headlines about the fight against terror, Thursday's papers also spotlight a case in which a judge said a pupil "groomed" a teacher for sex, and the Sun meets Britain's "most professional beggar"

Wanyama 'could be out for weeks'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 14:43
Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama is set to be sidelined for up to five weeks with a hamstring injury.

We Lie About What We Eat, And It's Messing Up Science

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 14:34

Humans are notoriously bad at remembering exactly how much we eat and exercise, yet researchers often ask. A new paper says self-reported data have skewed hundreds of studies and must be discontinued.

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VIDEO: Deadly floods in south-east Africa

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 14:33
Severe flooding in Malawi and Mozambique kills at least 42 people and leaves thousands homeless.

Dollar's Rise Is Good News For The U.S., For Now

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 14:31

The dollar's value keeps climbing. That's a sign of a healthy economy, especially compared to some of America's biggest trading partners — but it also has the potential to slow U.S. economic growth.

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Mayweather & Pacquiao fight closer

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 14:22
Talks over a long-awaited fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have moved "in a positive direction", agent says.

Hollande hails 'reborn' magazine

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 14:21
French President Francois Hollande insists satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will grow stronger after the new edition sold out in hours.

US House votes to block migrant plan

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 14:08
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives votes to torpedo President Obama's immigration plan aimed at shielding four million undocumented people from deportation.

Suspected Ebola case at UK hospital

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 14:02
Northampton General Hospital confirms it is treating a woman who is suspected of having Ebola.

Wells responds to operations concern

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-14 13:51
The health minister Jim Wells says he believes there was no need for political interference during the recent hospital pressures in Northern Ireland.

Control, Eliminate, Eradicate A Disease: What's The Difference?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 13:43

We've eradicated smallpox. But we can only hope to control malaria. A new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History explains how disease fighters set and pursue their goals.

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Ohio Man Is Arrested For Allegedly Plotting Attack On U.S. Capitol

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 13:40

The FBI says Christopher Lee Cornell of Cincinnati bought weapons to carry out an attack. Agents also say he used Twitter to express support for the violent extremist group Islamic State.

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With oil prices down, small companies feel the squeeze

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 13:33

We’ve been hearing a lot about crashing oil prices lately. Crude oil is selling for $46 barrel today compared to over $90 a year ago. The price drop is great news for consumers and terrible for oil companies. But not all oil companies -- or oil fields -- are created equal. When oil prices drop, size and location matters.

McAndrew Rudisill knows this. He's the CEO of Emerald Oil, a small, Denver-based oil and gas company that only operates in the Bakken shale of North Dakota. He's got about 50 wells -- minuscule compared to giant oil companies like Continental Resources, with 1000 wells in the Bakken alone and more in places like Colorado and Oklahoma.

Small companies like Emerald are likely to feel the impact of dropping oil prices first, says Niles Hushka, CEO of KLJ, an engineering firm in Bismarck. It is harder for smaller firms to quickly get loans and additional financing. With fewer wells, they also have less money coming in to ride out tough times. Companies in the Bakken need a lot of money to keep drilling. New wells can cost up to $10 million each.

Another factor that makes smaller companies more vulnerable is a lack of geographic diversity. Larger companies, Hushka says, "will have resources that are spread throughout a number of oil plays and therefore they’re much better protected" than small companies who may only have wells in the Bakken.

North Dakota oil companies have to pay much higher transportation costs than companies in Texas or Oklahoma because they are farther from Gulf Coast refineries and must transport much of their oil by train, which is costlier than pipelines. The price per barrel doesn't reflect that cost, so when you hear that oil has dropped to $50 per barrel, oil companies in North Dakota are only getting about $37.

Geography within the Bakken matters, too, says Niles Hushka: "If you're in one of North Dakota’s hot spots, you’ve got a great big smile on your face."

That's because in the heart of the Bakken, like McKenzie or Dunn Counties, it's possible to drill new wells and still break even with prices in the low $30s. In fact, that’s where most of the drilling rigs have moved in recent months. But in the more marginal areas, like Divide County, where operating costs are higher and wells don't produce as much oil, it's harder to justify the cost of drilling a new well.

As a small company, Emerald Oil can't afford to drill a ton of new wells next year. That's because a lot of oil gets produced in a well's first two to six months, so Emerald needs that peak production to come when prices are higher, at least over $85 per barrel.

But they'll still drill a few new wells in order to hang onto their mineral leases In North Dakota, companies have three years to drill a well before their mineral lease expires, assuming their lease is with a private mineral rights owner and not the government.

But other small companies are stopping entirely. Butch Butler is president of a Colorado-based oil company called Resource Drilling that is even smaller than Emerald. Butler jokes that he is the company's landman, geologist, drilling engineer, operations engineer and whatever else needs to be done.

Butler has just one well in North Dakota, and a few months ago, the plan was to drill another two. When prices dropped, Butler put that plan on hold.

Butler's been in the business long enough to have acquired a gallows humor about oil prices. Both times I talked to him in the past two months, he joked that things were bad, but he wasn’t quote “slitting his wrists” yet.

"I’ve been in this business 38 years," he says, "and truly most of that time has been not so good."

He's come to expect dramatic swings and slides, so he doesn't seem too fazed by the recent price drop. It's a good attitude for an oilman to have.

This story was produced by Inside Energy, a public media collaboration focused on America's energy issues.

Homeland Security Secretary Defends Executive Actions On Immigration

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 13:26

Audie Cornish talks to Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

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