National / International News

Scrutiny call on council borrowing

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:13
Better scrutiny is needed of council borrowing, according to a report from the public spending watchdog.

VIDEO: Breaking Bad star: End disability stigma

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:03
Breaking Bad's Walt Jr on ending stigma around disability

Sunshine Budget? - front pages

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:02
Front pages offer a variety of reactions to Chancellor George Osborne's last Budget before May's general election.

Where does the word 'budget' come from?

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:02
The history of the word budget has echoes of fat cats, leather bottles, and bags of tricks.

Is Titan submarine the most daring space mission yet?

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:00
Is this the most daring space mission yet?

Pensions set for another overhaul

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:00
Big changes to pensions have been announced previously by Chancellor George Osborne, and it was no different this time. So what does this mean for you?

Britain's painful savings revolution

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:00
George Osborne's Budget is designed to make us squirrel away our earnings - but we may not be ready to turn into a nation of savers

Dark web spurs spying 'arms race'

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:00
Terrorists are turning to the dark web making it harder to track and tap their communications, says Frank Gardner

Does Cadbury chocolate taste different in different countries?

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 15:59
Does Cadbury chocolate taste different in different countries?

The lion hugger

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 15:57
The lioness that leaps into a man's arms and embraces him

Pellegrini's time is up - Savage

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 15:48
Robbie Savage says Manuel Pellegrini will be sacked at the end of the season after his side's Champions League exit.

VIDEO: Nicaragua canal 'to link east and west'

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 15:45
The BBC's China Editor Carrie Gracie has a rare interview with Chinese billionaire Wang Jing, who intends to build a shipping canal through Nicaragua connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.

Tunisia in 'war against terror'

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:59
Tunisia's president vows to fight terrorists "without mercy", following a gun attack on the Bardo Museum in the capital Tunis that killed 19 people.

VIDEO: 'Security fears' seal Netanyahu win

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:58
Lyse Doucet reports that 'security fears' delivered Benjamin Netanyahu's unexpectedly comfortable victory in parliamentary elections.

Three children 'killed by neighbour'

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:54
Three brothers aged one, five and 12 are dead after a neighbour attacked them with a knife in their North Carolina home, say police.

Want to run the Iditarod? You'll need a lot of scratch

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:37

Before musher Lance Mackey leaves a checkpoint in a race, he greets every dog on his team, with a scratch behind the ears, or a nuzzle. Mackey is the winningest musher in Alaska’s long-distance sled dog racing history, but he’s certainly not the richest.

Lance Mackey leaves a race checkpoint, driving a sled bedecked with the logos of sponsors that help finance his mushing career.

Emily Schwing/Marketplace

“Oh man, the cost is ridiculous,” he says. 

It can take between $70,000 and $100,000 to keep a kennel full of racing dogs running year-round.

“[It’s] the price of fuel, price of dog food, entry fees all that stuff isn’t normally justifiable by racing for first place of $25,000,” says Mackey.

This year’s first place Iditarod finisher wins 70-thousand dollars and a brand new pickup truck. The first prize in Alaska’s ‘other’ 1000-mile sled dog race, the Yukon Quest, is less than half that, and there’s no truck. Mackey says prize money barely covers the cost of the race and expenses throughout the season, so he relies heavily on sponsorships to get his team to the start line.

“I have a new dog food company from Italy of all places," says Mackey.

That sponsor’s logo is sewn on his sled bag and all the coats his dogs wear. Some mushers are sponsored by major international companies. Others make deals with small local businesses, but Mackey knows those relationships are often short-lived.

“Sponsors are not only hard to come by they are hard to keep,” he says.

That’s why some mushers, like Rob Cooke, also work a second job. He runs boisterous Siberian huskies. They’re also a slower breed, unlikely to win any big races. So, when Cooke isn’t training them, he works as a qualified aircraft engineer in the Canadian Yukon. “There’s that old quote that ‘It’s as expensive as cocaine, but a lot more addictive,’” says Cooke.

“I think that’s the truth. It’s so much fun, and it has to be worth it if you sit and think about how much money we do spend on this,” he says.

So how much money does Cooke spend?

“The meat costs for the race season was about $5,000. A new sled was about $3000, so yeah, I don’t want to think about it,” he laughs.

Four-time Iditarod Champion Jeff King used to own more than 100 dogs. Now he works with 35. “The dogs need to eat and be cared for every day: Vet bills, vaccinations and equipment … anything that is remotely disposable about our income goes into dogs,” says King.

Thirty years ago, a bag of dog food used to cost about nine dollars. These days, high-quality kibble can cost up to $60 a bag and it only lasts for two days.

This may be the last season of competitive long distance mushing for French Canadian Normand Casavant, known as the singing musher. And while he may be singing, he’s also broke.  “I don’t know how I did that, but now it’s time to change.  The thing is I need to bring money in now with my dogs,” says Casavant.

He wants to replace his tourism business with a mushing school, where he’ll start training the next generation of long-distance mushers, but it’s not clear if he’ll include a class on how to finance a dog team.

Wang Jing: The man behind the Nicaragua canal project

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:32
The Chinese tycoon behind the Nicaragua canal project

Borussia Dortmund 0-3 Juventus (1-5 agg)

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:25
Carlos Tevez is influential as Juventus beat Dortmund to seal their progress to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Is this the most hated job in the US?

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:18
The appointment of a new US attorney general is being held up, but the position has long been controversial - and the reasons are mostly political.

Controversial French Comedian Convicted Of Condoning Terrorism

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 14:17

A Paris court gave Dieudonne a two-month suspended sentence for his Facebook post in January after the deadly attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

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