National / International News

Police Federation faces bullying row

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 01:29
The Police Federation is meeting for its annual conference amid renewed claims of bullying in the organisation.

VIDEO: 'Best loudspeaker' goes on display

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 01:24
The 27ft loudspeaker is to go on display at London's Science Museum as part of a new art installation by Aleksander Kolkowski.

Pastor jailed over faked Hirst art

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 01:24
A pastor in Florida is sentenced to six months in jail after trying to sell fake Damien Hirst artworks to an undercover policeman.

Handbag thief must pay back £117,171

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 01:23
A woman jailed for stealing 905 designer handbags is ordered to pay back the £117,171 she made selling them on eBay.

China denounces cyber-theft charges

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 01:20
China denies it has conducted cyber espionage, saying the US is guilty of "double standards" for spying and conducting cyber thefts on other countries.

Malawians voting in tight race

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 01:20
Malawians are voting in what is expected to be one of the tightest elections in the country's history, with Joyce Banda facing three strong challengers.

Video gaming as a spectator sport

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-20 01:10

According to Variety, Google is in talks to buy Twitch, a live video game streaming service, for close to $1 billion.

According to the tech news site Re/code, "When Twitch started up in June 2011, it claimed five million users a month. In 2012, it was up to 20 million. By the end of last year, that number had jumped to 45 million. Broadband service provider Sandvine says Twitch now accounts for 1.35 percent of Internet traffic during peak hours in North America. That’s more than HBO Go’s 1.24 percent."

But how much can streaming video game play actually be worth?

"Streaming is essentially broadcasting yourself and your gameplay online in the gaming world," says former professional gamer Mike Rufail. "We have what is a growing sport, and there's a lot of interaction between the person who is streaming and the viewer."

Here's a live stream here:

TSM_WildTurtle !function(a){var b="embedly-platform",c="script";if(!a.getElementById(b)){var d=a.createElement(c);d.id=b,d.src=("https:"===document.location.protocol?"https":"http")+"://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/platform.js";var e=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];e.parentNode.insertBefore(d,e)}}(document);

"Google would be interested in this from a pure investment standpoint," says Rufail. "It's grown to a point now where the advertising revenue generated from these online broadcasts rival major television networks and surpass many of them as well. So I think, a lot of people, are cutting off their televisions and taking in the things on the web."

Unwell McCartney cancels Japan dates

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 01:01
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney cancels a tour of Japan due to an illness, organisers say.

Clegg: I'll fight EU 'chauvinism'

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 00:28
The UK must continue to fight for its values in the EU or "hand the keys" to France and Germany, Nick Clegg says.

'A different president' for Spain?

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 00:16
Spaniards swoon over a president - but not their own

Defender Cole set to leave Chelsea

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 00:16
Former England left-back Ashley Cole says he is likely to leave Chelsea when his contract expires this summer.

Second day release prisoner charged

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 00:07
A second man is charged with being unlawfully at large having been on day release from prison, police say.

Man Utd players set for 'culture shock'

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 00:05
Manchester United's players can expect life to be tough under "strict" disciplinarian Louis van Gaal, says Ronald De Boer.

In London, food banks feel the strain

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-19 23:56

At the Tower Hamlets Food Bank in East London, staff make up bags of groceries for the dozens of people who attend the center daily because they can’t afford to feed themselves. The food bank is just a few minutes away from the wealth of London’s Canary Wharf financial hub, yet Tower Hamlets is one of the poorest boroughs in Britain.

Those who use the food bank are referred by their doctor or local social services department. One man – unwilling to give his name - said he’d recently lost his job, and that he didn’t want to be at the food bank.

“I just never thought I would end up here,” he said.

 In the last year alone, there’s been a 160 percent increase in people using food banks, according to the Trussell Trust, a Christian charity that runs almost 40 percent of the UK’s food banks.

Amy Kimbangi, project coordinator at the Tower Hamlets food bank, says it now feeds about 200 people a month. She rejects accusations in some newspapers here that some who go there are just freeloaders abusing the system.

“The majority of people who come here do not want to be at the food bank," she says. "People who come here feel ashamed, feel embarrassed.”

She says a system is in place to ensure that the people helped are those who really need it.

Some say the surge in poverty and the resultant increase in the numbers of people using food banks is the result of sweeping government cuts in welfare benefits. They say people shouldn’t have to rely on food banks in a relatively rich country.

Others disagree. John O’Connell of the Taxpayers Alliance, a campaign group that backs the government cuts, say the greater use of food banks is a good thing.

“The answer isn’t always government hand-outs. It’s endemic of the growth of the benefits system which engenders a culture of dependency in the UK.”  

“The government,” O’Connell says, “can’t take care of everyone.”

Faarea Masud/BBC

 

Opportunity cost and the home

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-19 23:40

I met someone recently who bragged that she and her husband had saved hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years because they did all the work around their house themselves. That means yardwork, maintenance, the whole nine.

But did they really save money? What if they ran the numbers on that opportunity cost equation and found they actually lost money?

I'm thinking a lot about this right now, because I bought a new house recently, and there's plenty of maintenance to be done. In fact, right now, there's a guy out back fixing a busted pipe in my sprinkler system. And I’m feeling a bit guilty: Should I be out there fixing that thing? It doesn't look that difficult – all it really amounts to is replacing a piece of broken plastic piping.

The case for outsourcing

  1. I know nothing about sprinkler systems. Nada. Zip.
  2. I have no specialized equipment, or materials, so I’ll have to find out what I need to buy and then go buy it. And then get distracted in the grilling section of the hardware store. And end up spending way more than I really should.
  3. I’ll probably make a mess of it the first time and have to do it over. Plus there’s that vital part that I didn’t get at the store, so I have to make another trip.
  4. It’s what time? Where did the day go?
  5. I didn’t even start writing this blog, and now I might get fired.
  6. My sprinkler guy will take 30 minutes and charge me $50. Boom.

The case for DIY

  1. I’m gaining valuable experience. Once you’ve done something once, whether its stucco, or concreting or sanding a painting a deck, you know what to do, what equipment to buy or lease and how much time it takes. And that investment could mean that every time my sprinklers go kablooey, I have the confidence, know-how and gear to fix them myself in short order, and for next to nothing.
  2. I’m not making any money during the time that the sprinkler guy is fixing my stuff: I’m an exempt employee and I don’t’ get paid overtime.
  3. I get huge satisfaction out of fixing stuff myself. I feel like a provider, a fixer, someone who can be relied on to get things done when things break down. I feel like Magyver. I feel … like a man!
  4. Fixing stuff is fun. Plus you have bragging rights. 

If opportunity cost is "the road not traveled," then the cost of outsourcing is the improvement in my expertise and sense of satisfaction. The cost of DIY, on the other hand is all the time (and maybe money) that I could otherwise spend either making money or relaxing (hey, it's the weekend).

Which means that the opportunity cost calculation of whether or not to outsource household chores becomes a very personal one. People calculate it when they decide whether or not to get groceries delivered, to have a gardener come to work on their yard, or to have their house cleaned by someone else. And a big factor in the decision is how much you enjoy doing those chores yourself. If you really, really hate it, and it takes forever, and you'd enjoy that time so much more doing something else productive or fulfilling or rewarding, then go ahead and outsource.

For a lot of people, of course, there is no question of doing an opportunity cost calculation: they simply don't make enough money to even consider paying someone else to do something for them, so they have to do it themselves. Which means that if you're in a position where you find yourself wondering about opportunity cost, it means you're lucky. Even if it does mean doing some math.

Pope To Travel To Holy Land With Rabbi And Muslim Leader

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-19 23:33

Pope Francis will head to the Middle East this week to preach peace and has asked two friends from Argentina to accompany him, Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Islamic studies professor Omar Abboud.

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Oklahoma's Latino Community Prepares For The Next Tornado

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-19 23:31

A devastating series of tornadoes struck Oklahoma a year ago. Hispanics were among the hardest hit by the storms due a lack of preparedness and information available in Spanish.

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VIDEO: Coverage of Oscar Pistorius trial

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 23:21
Coverage of the trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who denies the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013.

Ashes whitewash appalling - ECB boss

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 23:09
Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, calls England's 5-0 Ashes loss "appalling and unacceptable".

Poll suggests fracking support down

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 23:05
A new survey indicates that support for fracking shale gas in the UK has fallen below 50% for the first time since 2012.
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