National / International News

Unionists call for marching inquiry

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:53
Unionist leaders call on the secretary of state to set up a legal inquiry into marching issues in north Belfast.

Why is Chuck Norris trending in Argentina?

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:46
Why is action star Chuck Norris trending in Argentina?

Evra asks Man Utd for Juventus move

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:38
Patrice Evra asks to leave Manchester United but stops short of handing in a transfer request amid interest from Juventus.

Why Coe is set to win BBC race

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:38
Why Coe is likely to win race for BBC top job

Thousands of workers staging strike

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:32
Thousands of public sector workers take strike action in protest at a range of issues including pay and pensions.

AUDIO: How May has made it as Home Secretary

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:30
Danny Shaw looks at Theresa May's record as she becomes the longest-serving Home Secretary for 50 years.

Two men gored in Spanish bull run

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:30
Two Spaniards have been gored and several other people have been hurt on the fourth day of the traditional running of the bulls festival in Pamplona.

EU court rejects new cannabis claim

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:27
The EU's top court says designer drugs that mimic cannabis, which are already illegal in many countries, cannot be classed as medicinal.

Insurers to provide clearer quotes

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:21
Insurance companies are to be forced to provide clearer information on annual renewal quotations, after coming under pressure from consumer groups.

Burundi law to limit church numbers

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:21
Burundi's parliament passes a bill to curb the "proliferation of churches" in a country where there are more than 500 practising denominations.

AUDIO: Iraqi mortuaries 'struggling to cope'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:20
Jeremy Bowen visits Baghdad's main morgue, hearing how it is unable to cope as the city's death toll rises.

VIDEO: World Cup fans killed in Gaza air strike

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:06
Yolande Knell reports from Gaza where up to 20 people have been killed overnight as Israel carries out air strikes - militants in the area have continued to fire rockets into Israel.

VIDEO: Japan typhoon creates fatal landslide

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:02
A 12-year-old boy is the latest victim of Japan's Typhoon Neoguri as a landslide crashes through the town of Nagiso destroying buildings in its path.

The long road to doing better business in India

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:00

India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined his first budget for the country today. Following his landslide election in May, expectations are high for Mr. Modi's plans to help revive India’s economy and jumpstart development.

But can he do enough to make India a more attractive place for foreign companies and investors? Case in point: remember when those floor-vacuuming robots came out back in 2002? Scott Miller led iRobot’s R&D in India, where he says he navigated bad roads, corruption, and time-consuming piles of paperwork.

"Working in the consumer electronics industry, schedule is everything," Miller explains. "If you miss the main holiday season you have to wait another year and that can have a profound impact on your revenue."

Now, Miller is CEO of Dragon Innovation, which guides hardware companies from prototype to high-volume manufacturing. He says he’d love to go back to India if it gets easier to make things there.

"Having as many people as India does, it could be a very credible alternative to China," he says.

Many analysts are optimistic the Modi government will be able to attract more foreign investment.  

"We’ve definitely seen the financial markets react very positively to his election," says  John Derrick, Director of Research at U.S. Global Investors. "So I think we’re just waiting to see if he can, you know, walk the walk as well as talk the talk."  

Derrick adds that for Prime Minister Modi, it could be a long walk.

 

How much are social media followers worth?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:00

Tamara Peterson stands on a Manhattan street, peering into the screen of her iPhone as she waits for a woman carrying a “I love New York” bag to pass in front of a Brownstone.

“These shadows are beautiful,” she says, composing the shot.

Later, she posts it to her Instagram feed, where hundreds of people like it within just a few minutes. Her photos of New York cityscapes have attracted roughly 70,000 followers.

Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are increasingly placing ads in users’ feeds – and so, too, are the people who have built large followings on those sites. YouTube’s top star has reportedly earned over $4 million dollars from ad sales. But companies are also interested in more modest followings.

Peterson earns between $500 and $1,000 per sponsored post from big companies like Home Depot, as well as smaller ones like Blue Apron, a subscription meal delivery service. She’s represented by two companies that help her broker deals with advertisers: Niche and Mobile Media Lab.

But Peterson maintains that Instagram is just a hobby and she doesn’t want to leave her full-time job as a professional organizer.

“I’m picky about the jobs I take because I want my feed to look a certain way,” she says, nixing alcohol brands and visible logos.

She’ll often take down sponsored posts if the company doesn’t require her to leave them up.

On the other hand, Sara Hopkins, aka SayHop, could imagine social media eventually becoming a full time gig. She also uses Niche to book ads and has a bigger following – roughly 350,000 followers across a handful of different social networks. Her posts range from selfies (half goofy, half glam) to videos featuring an eerily accurate dolphin voice.

Hopkins is a local TV reporter, but she doubles her salary by posting ads to her followers, whether it’s a six-second video on Vine or a photo on Instagram.

“For Coke, I’m doing two Vines and I think one Instagram post, and it’s about $2,800,” she says. “And for Old Navy, I did one Vine and one Tweet for $2,000.”

So what do her followers say?

 “It varies between people saying, you know, ‘if you’re going to make money off of it, cool,’” she says. “As long as you don’t do it every day, all the time.”

 On one of her recent paid posts, only one person commented that he was unfollowing her because of the ad, but the rest of the nearly 40 comments defended her right to post it.

Thousands of disability claims in limbo at the VA

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:00

The Veterans Affairs Administration is being pounded over scandalous delays for veterans seeking health care.

Now comes a new concern about tens of thousands of veterans' disability claims that are going nowhere; possibly the result of the agency shifting its claims process online.

About a year and a half ago, the VA launched a web portal for submitting disability claims. Since then, vets have initiated nearly 450,000 claims electronically. But about 300,000 claims have sat idle. Some have even expired.

Once applicants start a claim, they have a year to wrap it up.

"What we worry about is that some of these people, having started a claim, may be thinking they've submitted something to the VA, and the VA is just taking their time to take action on it, when in fact they haven't completed the application process," says Gerald Manar, ‎Deputy Director of the National Veterans Service with the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Disability payments can range from about $100 a month to several thousand dollars a month.

Robert Reynolds directs the benefits assistance service with the VA. He says the agency made a big push to move the whole claims system online. Vets may be confused about the process.

"This is a huge transformational business change," Reynolds says.

Reynolds says the VA is meeting with veterans service organizations to figure out who opened disability claims online and needs help finishing them.

Shhh! It's time for Formula E!

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-10 02:00

The new international championship for fully-electric racing cars just held its first major test session at the Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire, England.

The series kicks off with a race through the streets of Beijing in September. It will include events in 10 cities, concluding with an "E-prix" around London's Battersea Park next June.

Organizers hope it will transform the way we think about electric cars, as well as providing a test-bed for new technologies, which can help to improve their performance.

The Donington test marks the first time the cars have run in anger - and the first time members of the public have been able to see how they compare to more traditional racing machines.

The BBC's Theo Leggett went to see how the new cars look - and sound. Watch his report above.

Text and video courtesy of the BBC.

Boy, 3, found in swimming pool dies

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 01:43
A three-year-old who was found "unresponsive" in a swimming pool in Wiltshire dies.

More BBC TV 'may be made externally'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 01:32
BBC director general Lord Hall sets out proposals to introduce an open market for programme-making at the corporation.

Cooling babies 'halts brain damage'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-10 01:28
Cooling babies deprived of oxygen at birth improves their chances of growing up without disabilities such as cerebral palsy, research suggests.
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