National / International News

Why A Blockbuster Of A Trade Deal With Asia Matters

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:19

Congress is giving President Obama new powers to help seal the deal on an ambitious Asia-Pacific free trade agreement, a move which angers many Democrats and unions.

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Zebras roam free in Brussels

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:12
Zebras running through the streets of Brussels is only the latest "animals at large" story to hit the headlines.

Three Republican 'colonels' plot their coup

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:04
What do Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio have in common? They're young, hungry and ready to be president - never mind the party establishment's wishes.

U.N., Oxfam Report At Least 120,000 Displaced In Yemen Fighting

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:04

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says estimates for the number of internally displaced persons ranges from 120,000 to 150,000. Separately, Oxfam puts the figure at 121,000.

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Why markets freaked when Bloomberg crashed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:00

Service from the financial data giant Bloomberg cut out Friday morning, just as trading got underway in London, staying out of commission for more than two hours. Bloomberg terminals — which cost $20,000 a year — are a lifeline for workers in the financial industry. Trading in some markets nearly stopped, and the U.K. government actually postponed the sale of a series of bonds.  

In addition to an array of market data and news, many traders use Bloomberg's built-in chat system as a kind of virtual trading pit.

"That messaging system has become a critical lifeline for many people in the industry," says Douglas B. Taylor, a consultant to financial-data companies, including Bloomberg and competitors like Thompson Reuters.

The "network effect" — the fact that so many traders already use Bloomberg this way — is one reason the company has outgrown those competitors, and why it is likely to remain dominant, according to Matt Turck, a partner at First Mark, a venture capital firm.

For traders who use Bloomberg's chat system this way, an outage would be like trying to organize 20 people to go out to dinner, and finding that your phone has stopped working. 

"It’s like being shut out of the rest of the world," Turck says. "Suddenly, there’s no information coming in, and you have nobody to call."  

So during the outage today, a lot of traders just sat around. Some sought solace on Twitter:

[<a href="//storify.com/danweissmann/bloomberg-goes-down-traders-freak-out" target="_blank">View the story "Bloomberg goes down, traders freak out and make jokes" on Storify</a>]

Boston parents say no death penalty

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 10:49
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should spend life in prison without parole, write the parents of the youngest victim of Boston marathon attack

VIDEO: Natalie Bennett on debate 'worm'

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 10:47
The BBC debate worm has often turned when Natalie Bennett has spoken at the election leaders' debates. And yet her Green Party still seems to be flat-lining in wider polls. What does Ms Bennett make of the worm?

Hundreds attend Karen Buckley vigil

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 10:30
Hundreds of people attend a candelit vigil in Glasgow for murdered student Karen Buckley, her parents among them.

Syria conflict: Fighting for a future for Yarmouk

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 10:28
Syria's Palestinian refugee camp, which grew into the liveliest of neighbourhoods, is now crumbling into the deadliest of quarters, finds Lyse Doucet.

10 things we didn't know last week

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 10:14
When did the New York Times first explain pizza to its readers, and other news nuggets.

Can Top Slugger Joining Cubs End 106 Years of Sadness?

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 10:11

Top prospect Kris Bryant is set to bat fourth against the Padres Friday in his major league debut, bringing with him hope Chicago may someday soon win another championship.

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Two 'most wanted' fugitives arrested

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 10:01
Two suspected drug traffickers, who featured on the UK's most wanted list of fugitives, are captured within 24 hours of each other.

VIDEO: Amateur footage of Oxford hotel blaze

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 09:36
Firefighters have been battling the flames at The Randolph, a grand gothic hotel in the centre of Oxford.

Yes, You Can Help The World And Make Money At The Same Time

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-17 09:35

Entrepreneurs are figuring out ways to make the world better without relying on charity. It's called social entrepreneurship, and its rising stars showed us how it works at a conference in Oxford.

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VW boss to stay despite divisions

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 09:34
The chief executive of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, wins the backing of the company's top bosses, following a clash with the chairman.

VIDEO: Spending the day queuing in Venezuela

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 09:25
Venezuela has the biggest oil reserves in the world, yet its economy is in crisis.

Body of hillwalker found in search

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 09:18
The body of missing hillwalker Kyle Knox is found by a Royal Navy helicopter conducting a search of the Glen Nevis area.

Thousands show interest in pay-offs

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 09:16
Over 7,200 civil servants register for a new voluntary redundancy scheme aimed at saving £90m annually

Brothers have jail terms increased

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-17 09:14
Two brothers from Enniskillen received unduly lenient sentences for beating a man unconscious in a bar in 2013, the Lord Chief Justice rules.

How to catch a flash sale before it's over

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-17 09:01

Whether it's a coupon arriving in your inbox, a time-limited Groupon offer or a tweet alerting you to a right-in-the-moment quickie deal, we've entered an era of instant retail. In other words, flash sales.

Valerie Folkes, marketing professor at USC's Marshall School of Business, says although it may seem counter-intuitive, flash sales can make sense for merchants. Advertising is changing as retailers adapt to new media and younger consumers migrate away from more traditional outlets like TV, commercial radio and newspapers.

A flash sale can entice consumers, make a brand or a restaurant seem exclusive and crowded, or force a potential buyer to stop procrastinating and spend. Take the Groupon example: as the clock ticks down on a deal, the number of buyers climbs. With limited time and limited number of offers, a deal might seem more exclusive. A restaurant might begin to look more popular, and the influx of customers can do a business good.

Folkes notes this short-term satisfaction might not lead to a lasting relationship, but done well, a flash deal can help with brand loyalty. She cites JetBlue, which posts deals that may seem like obvious losses: $32 tickets out of New York City (a deal that only lasted 32 minutes, while it was 32 degrees out) and 90 percent-off sales (on 90 degree days). These sales force customers to act fast, and even though JetBlue might be losing money on some tickets, overall, the sale works as an ad.

"It's kind of a fun idea. It gets people thinking about JetBlue because it reminds people: JetBlue offers all these great deals, I really need to pay attention to Jet Blue, because who knows what they'll next," Folkes says. "What they're really doing here is buying great publicity. They're getting people talking about their airline, and about travel, and if you miss out on this, if you don't actually get on their airplane, you are now thinking about going someplace, and you're thinking about going someplace that JetBlue flies."

But businesses have to be careful not to foster the idea that you should never pay full price. Timing is important, and people buying during a sale should feel that they got lucky. And many people do, especially when they score a great deal that seems like a secret.

George Hobica, head of AirFareWatchdog.com, specializes in secret deals. His company mines flight searchers for the lowest possible fares: the advertised on-sale tickets, the unadvertised super-sale tickets and the blooper fares — mistakes that make flights way, way cheaper than they ever should be.

Getting in on the sweetest deals requires a lot of focus, patience and luck. There are frequently very few seats available and very little time to book. And if you do find out about a deal in time to make a big purchase?

"You really have to jump on it very, very quickly," Hobica says. "What I tell people is put it on a 24 hour hold ... and then talk to your spouses and your friends and get the hotels and get all your ducks in line."

Hobica recommends keeping a vigilant eye on social media and signing up for alerts from sites like AirFareWatchdog, Hopper and Kayak. Even then, it's a little bit like playing musical chairs — except when the music stops, a million people want to sit down.

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