National / International News

Villiers would discuss inquiry call

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 13:34
The NI secretary says she is willing to meet unionist and Orange Order leaders, to discuss their call for a commission of inquiry into the issue of parades.

Obama's Request For Immigration Funds Meets Pushback On The Hill

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-10 13:19

President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to address the influx of immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Senate Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing about the request.

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VIDEO: Egyptian statue sells for nearly £16m

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 13:05
A 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue has been sold for £15.76m at an auction in London.

Brooks matinee plan 'not feasible'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:59
A deal proposing to stage two Garth Brooks concerts in Dublin as matinees has been described as "not feasible".

Jayden's killer: 'I deserve to die'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:50
A man who strangled his pregnant ex-girlfriend and buried her in his uncle's grave tells a court he "deserves a death sentence".

VIDEO: Victim: 'Butler-Sloss the wrong person'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:49
A man abused by a paedophile priest in Sussex says Baroness Butler-Sloss is the wrong person to lead an inquiry into how public bodies dealt with allegations of child abuse.

How a 19-year-old started the Rollerblade revolution

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:45

There’s a large plot of land tucked in the woods of Waconia, Minnesota that has been home to some very interesting inventions.

It’s the birthplace of a giant, outdoor version of ping pong called Kong Pong; a bike that can be rowed instead of peddled (dubbed, fittingly, Rowbike); a globe-enclosed bed made for sleeping under the stars named LunarBed, plastic penguin lawn ornaments that waddle in the wind, and hundreds of feet of suspended track that can send you peddling or rowing through the air in a device called Skyride.

The brain behind all of these products is Scott Olson. He lives in a barn on this playground property that he converted into a house, with no air conditioning and one small heater. It’s a quiet lifestyle for a man who has been forging inventions for 30 years. His first? One that would make him wealthy and go down in history as one of the top 100 products of the 21st century according to Time Magazine: Rollerblades.

But Olson is quick to point out that he didn’t invent inline skates, or even the concept.

“The inline skate started back before roller skates were even invented, back in the early 1800s,” Olson says.

Olson was just 19 when he stumbled across a pair of inline skates in a catalog while playing junior hockey in Canada. He dreamed of being an NHL goalie, and thought they would be a great way to train in the summer. When he got home to his Minneapolis suburb, his brother had picked up a pair and was skating all over the driveway.

Olson tried them on and knew right away they would be a huge hit. But they hadn’t been so far - SSS had been producing the skates for years, and the guy who ran the local sporting goods shop said the few pairs he had in stock had been collecting dust for years. No one was buying them.

So Olson began tinkering. He made the wheels softer and faster, and put them on a track that could be attached to hockey skates. When he got nowhere peddling his new product at local sporting goods stores, he started approaching hockey players and coaches directly. He offered them a money back guarantee, and soon players all over the Minneapolis suburbs were zipping around on Olson’s creation.

Olson bought a patent off of a Chicago company and eventually crafted a more comfortable and sturdy boot. In 1981, he formed a company and named it Rollerblade, an obvious nod to the hybrid between roller and hockey skates.

“A lot of people thought Rollerblades must’ve started in Southern California,” Olson says. “But in reality, it started in Minneapolis, Minnesota, hockey capital of the world.”

Olson wore his creation everywhere, and when people saw how fast and effortless the skates were, Rollerblades sold themselves, first in the hockey community and then rippling outward.

Olson hired his friends to work for him, and one of them ended up embezzling from him. He was on the brink of losing the company altogether when two investors made him a deal. They would keep the brand alive and give him a tiny percent. Olson says he made enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life.   

He now spends his time dreaming up new inventions like the ones that are strewn about his Waconia farm.

Rollerblade sales shot up to $10 million in 1988 and the industry peaked at nearly half a billion dollars in the 1990s. But by the early 2000s, popularity slumped, and sales have waned steadily since.

Olson says even though he doesn’t have a stake in the company anymore, he’s still frustrated that you don’t see as many of them as you used to.

“I haven’t figured it out, but I think like a lot of product,s they kind of go in cycles,” Olson says. “Skateboards and roller skates in their day would climb and drop off and climb again. What we need right now is a hit in one a movie out in (Hollywood). We need somebody taking those blades out and using them like they’re meant to be used.”

Olson may be waiting for the American Rollerblade resurgence, but the skates are still popular in some places. In fact the people of France have been described as “obsessed.”

Signs Emerge Of A Compromise On Obama's $3.7B Immmigration Request

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:45

The president wants the money to deal with the thousands of minors from Central America who have crossed into the U.S. Republicans said they want some policy changes; Democrats aren't opposed.

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HIV re-emerges in 'cured' US girl

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:44
A child born in the US with HIV and believed cured after very early treatment has now been found to still harbour the virus, doctors say.

'Bending down to put my shoe on left me disabled'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:44
Following a freak, debilitating back injury, Anne Dickins' chance meeting at London 2012 could give her a shot at her own Olympic legacy.

Alcohol Test: Does Eating Yeast Keep You From Getting Drunk?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:33

When we read about a way to stave off intoxication in Esquire, we were dubious. So we bought a Breathalyzer and a few IPAs and tested out the kooky theory.

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UN chief in Gaza ceasefire appeal

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:31
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appeals for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Doctors Face Ethical Issues In Benching Kids With Concussions

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:31

There's plenty of evidence that playing with a concussion increases the risk of long-term problems. But athletes, coaches and parents can be reluctant to call a halt. Then how can doctors do no harm?

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Travellers' tale wins literary prize

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:22
Infinite Sky, a story about travellers and prejudice, is awarded the Branford Boase prize for debut children's writers.

No Charges For Police Who Killed Woman After D.C. Chase

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:18

Miriam Carey, 34, was fatally shot by two police officers last fall after she led them on a high-speed pursuit from the White House to the U.S. Capitol.

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Cook’s wheel of fortune at rock bottom – Agnew

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:15
Everything that can go wrong for England captain Alastair Cook is doing so, says cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew.

A New Device Lets You Track Your Preschooler ... And Listen In

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:08

LG's KizON wristband lets you keep tabs on your child. But some experts say such devices send the wrong message about the world we live in. And the gadgets raise questions about kids' privacy rights.

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Maasai Warriors: Caught Between Spears and Cellphones

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:02

One of Kenya's oldest tribes has held on to a traditional lifestyle but it's not uncommon to see members holding a cellphone in one hand while wearing their cultural robes, or shukas.

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Justice Dept. Declines To Step Into Dispute Between CIA And Senators

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:02

The Justice Department has declined to bring criminal charges against anyone at the CIA or the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a dispute over access to sensitive materials on enhanced interrogations. The power struggle relates to a long-running Senate probe over the mistreatment of detainees after Sept. 11.

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Amid Eroding Trust, Germany Expels America's Top Spy In Berlin

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-10 12:02

Germany has asked the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country. This comes as two Germans are under investigation for spying for the U.S. in Germany. While tensions between the allies are high, both countries are trying not to strain relations too far.

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