National / International News

Giggs to play for 'Class of 92' side

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-09 00:00
Ryan Giggs is to play in a game alongside Manchester United 'Class of 92' team-mates Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Nevilles.

An insider's look into Alibaba and its quirky founder

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:55

In 1995, Alibaba founder Jack Ma was an English teacher. He was visiting Seattle when a friend introduced him to the internet. Ma quickly typed "China" into the search engine. The result? "No data found" appeared on the screen.

Weeks later, Ma was in Beijing, on a Quixotic quest to convince China's government to create the country's first internet site.

The film "Crocodile in the Yangtze" shows grainy footage of a floppy-haired Ma delivering his pitch to a skeptical bureaucrat: "Nowadays, foreigners can use computers from any desktop to find products from around the world," says Ma to a confused-looking senior level official. "They can order directly from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore. But they can't order anything from China, because right now there's nothing from China on the Internet."

The official politely asked Ma to take a hike. The film's director Porter Erisman says none of the officials Ma visited on that trip had even heard about the Internet. "You can just see in the footage, the people who are looking at him, they just think he's crazy."

Erisman got the footage from a reporter for state-run television, who thought it'd be funny to follow Ma around as he got kicked out of one government office after another. "The reason the woman was filming Jack was because she thought here's this crazy guy who's clearly not going to go anywhere -- we should record this as an example of how not to behave."

Five years later, Ma started Alibaba, which would become the world's largest online marketplace, and Porter Erisman was hired as the company's first American employee.

At the time, eBay set its sights on China – and Erisman said Jack Ma used his background as a student of martial arts to engage the Western giant.

"One of the key principles in martial arts is you can use an opponents strength against them," says Erisman. "So when we looked at eBay with their big advertising campaign, we realized we could use that campaign to help promote Taobao."

Taobao, Alibaba's shopping site, was launched to fend off eBay.

Alibaba embarked on an aggressive media campaign, attacking eBay and questioning which company was better for China. The strategy worked -- every time eBay ran a local ad, it got people thinking about this new Chinese shopping site Taobao. eBay eventually pulled out of China, and Taobao -- with its hundreds of millions of users -- is a big reason Alibaba is expected to raise billions from investors when it goes public.

That's despite Jack Ma's attitude towards Wall Street, which he shared with Alibaba empoyees at a company gala in Porter Erisman's film.

"Let the Wall Street investors curse us if they want," Ma shouts from a stage in front of thousands of employees, "We will still follow the principle of customers first, employees second, and investors third."

When Lyrics Get Posted Online, Who Gets Paid?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:52

There are about 5 million searches for lyrics every day on Google. Who gets paid when people look up lyrics online?

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Books With Gay Themes Put S.C. Colleges' Funding At Risk

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:43

Students in South Carolina state colleges are rallying against what they see as a conservative attack on academic freedom.

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Saying Goodbye To A Friend Who's 'Ready To Go Home'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:35

Eddie Lanier was homeless when David Wright brought him home years ago for a shower and a meal. Today, Eddie is terminally ill and in hospice care — but he's not afraid to die, he tells his friend.

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Former Commando Turns Conservationist To Save Elephants Of Dzanga Bai

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:34

Nir Kalron was once an Israeli commando, then private security consultant to African leaders, and a dealer of legal arms. Today he's working with African locals to hunt ivory poachers via satellite.

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For Moms In Congress, Votes Mix With Diapers And School Pickup

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:32

There are just nine women who have given birth while serving in Congress. In some ways, they're like all working moms who can't find enough time in the day. But there are also significant differences.

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Self-healing plastic mimics blood

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:26
A new polymer that patches holes in itself has been designed, meaning your cracked phone screen could heal its own wounds.

Well Into Spring, 'Frozen' Soundtrack Keeps The Charts Cool

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:23

The soundtrack to Disney's Frozen has been the biggest-selling album of 2014, topping the Billboard album chart for 13 weeks.

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AUDIO: Kim Jong-il's poet laureate

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:18
The BBC's Mishal Husain meets Jang Jin-sung, the former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's poet laureate and propagandist.

In the pink

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:15
Northern Ireland welcomes the world's second-largest cycle race

Ad firms call off $35bn merger deal

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:03
Publicis and Omnicom, two of the world's biggest ad firms, scrap plans to create the world's biggest advertising company.

VIDEO: Giro d'Italia begins in Belfast

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 23:01
It is one of Italy's biggest sporting events and this Friday, the Giro d'Italia cycle race gets under way in Northern Ireland.

Eurovision: The evolution of Eurovision

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 22:37
The evolution of the Eurovision Song Contest

VIDEO: Visitors brave tilting platform

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 22:36
A tilting viewing platform is offering visitors to a Chicago skyscraper an unusual view of the city's famous skyline.

Mansell's words incredible - Hamilton

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 22:34
In his latest column for BBC Sport, Lewis Hamilton talks striving for perfection, driving his AC Cobra and Spanish F1 fans.

NFL Draft: Texans Pick Clowney; Manziel To Browns

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 22:20

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney went No. 1 in the NFL draft to the Houston Texans. Johnny Manziel lasted until the 22nd pick when he was taken by the Cleveland Browns.

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Report: Apple On Verge Of Buying Beats For $3.2 Billion

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 22:10

Apple is trying to acquire Beats Electronics, the headphone maker and music streaming distributor founded by hip-hop star Dr. Dre and record producer Jimmy Iovine, according to a published report.

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Australia fines billionaire in brawl

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 22:07
Australian police fine a gambling tycoon and a TV executive following a public brawl in Bondi Beach that sparked a tabloid frenzy.

A&E waiting time targets improve

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 21:54
Hospital accident and emergency department waiting time targets to see patients within four hours improve on the previous year, figures show.
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