National / International News

UConn Women Win, Making School Center Of College Hoops World

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-09 03:55

Both the men's and women's teams are Division I basketball champions this year. Only once before has a school done that in the same year: UConn, in 2004.

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Priest's Hallelujah wows wedding

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 03:54
A priest stuns wedding guests at the end of a ceremony with a pitch-perfect version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

Javid handed cabinet culture post

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 03:53
Sajid Javid succeeds Maria Miller as culture secretary, becoming the first Asian male Conservative cabinet minister.

Ayckbourn play 'holds up' 27 years on

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 03:51
Veteran playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn says he is "delighted" a play he wrote about greedy entrepreneurs during the Thatcher era still "holds up" on stage.

12 treated after chemical incident

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 03:46
Two people are taken to hospital and 10 are treated following a chemical incident in Flintshire.

Doreen Lawrence 'most powerful woman'

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 03:33
The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence is ranked the most powerful woman in the country in a BBC Woman's Hour "power list".

VIDEO: Anger 'very raw and needs to be acted on'

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 03:26
Asked about Maria Miller, David Cameron says the anger over expenses was "very raw and needs to be acted on".

VIDEO: Pistorius court shown gun video

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 03:00
During cross-examination, South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been shown a Sky News video of himself at a shooting range.

New Pings Have Head Of Search Optimistic Jet Will Soon Be Found

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-09 03:00

But searchers aren't declaring success just yet. And if what they're hearing aren't signals from the plane's black boxes, they may not get a second chance. The boxes' batteries are due to run out.

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Israel PM curbs Palestinian contact

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 02:49
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu tells ministers to stop high-level meetings with Palestinians, who he accuses of breaching a peace talks deal.

School governor denies 'Islam plot'

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 02:39
A governor at Birmingham's Park View School says claims of an "Islamist takeover plot" are unfounded.

When England walked away from coal

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-09 02:26

Former mining communities around Britain have been marking what is for them a grim anniversary: it has been 30 years since the start of a national miners strike that convulsed the U.K. and its coal industry. The year-long strike over mine closures failed. After the strike, scores of mines were mothballed and a work force that once comprised more than a million men dwindled to a few thousand. Today, only three deep mines remain in operation in the U.K., and two of them are marked for closure.

Why did Britain decide to stop digging 30 years ago? Was this solely about coal, or was it political?

Ex-miner Mike Clark has no doubts. "It was political," he says firmly. Margaret Thatcher – the Conservative Prime Minister at the time – "she would do everything she could to break the working class of Great Britain. That's why she decided to close the pits. Don't forget that at the time, the coal mines were publicly-owned. It was a nationalized industry."

The miners believed Thatcher targeted them for reasons of political revenge. The National Union of Mineworkers had humbled a previous Conservative government in the 1970s by going on strike and triggering a general election which that government lost. But Thatcher may have had a more practical motivation for taking on the miners in 1984: They were Britain's most powerful and militant workers, the shock troops of a labor movement that Thatcher was determined to weaken.

"She wanted to redress the balance back in favor of capitalism," argues Christine Rawson, who grew up in a mining village in south Yorkshire. "Thatcher was determined that the unions would not gain strength, and would lose strength."

Quite right, too, says Dieter Helm, a professor of energy at Oxford University Dieter Helm. When Thatcher came to power, British labor relations were in chaos; the country was crippled by more than 2,000 strikes a year. "There was a general consensus that union power had reached a level where the British economy could no longer really function," says Helm. "And there was a very good economic case for closing the pits as well because of the high cost of deep pit mining. The contraction of the U.K. coal industry was economically correct. It had to happen. It was going to happen. It would have happened anyway."

Britain's deep mines could no longer compete on price with cheap imports of high quality coal from open cast mines in South Africa, Australia, and the United States. And, furthermore, the Thatcher government believed that those imports improved the country's energy security. Margaret Thatcher claimed that it was safer to rely on foreign coal than on the output of British miners. During the strike she called them: "The Enemy Within."

In focus: A merged Comcast-Time Warner

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-09 02:10

Some mergers have relevance to people’s lives says antitrust attorney Allen Grunes, and the proposed Time Warner-Comcast deal is one of them. Grunes, with the firm GeyerGorey, says the internet will be a focal point as the combined company would have at least 40 percent, and as much as 50 percent, of the fastest high-speed internet service market.

There are concerns the deal would make it harder for the next Netflix or Hulu to stream content, because it would have to pay the combined company more. But there are also concerns about what the deal will mean to individual access to the internet.

"We need to make sure these companies are more accountable to consumers around other things as opposed to the future of the internet," says Nicol Turner-Lee, with the Minority Media and Telecom Council.

Comcast, in a filing ahead of the federal review, says as part of the deal it would expand its program to provide more access to low-income communities.

The dangers of Big Data in health care

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-09 02:03

Imagine you had access to your doctors' vital statistics.  For example, how much they charged Medicare for a certain procedure -- kind of like statistics on baseball players. Such data was recently released by the federal government

Jean Mitchell, who teaches public policy at Georgetown, says for many doctors, "Their patients will be quite surprised by how much money they’re making, and the volume of procedures performed." Mitchell also says the new data could spotlight conflicts of interest, like when a doctor who owns an MRI machine orders lots of MRIs. 

But some doctors worry the new information will be taken out of context -- and they point out that Medicare patients need lots of tests: 

"Sixty percent of all Medicare patients actually have three or more medical conditions. Our patients are extremely complex" Dr. Reid Blackwelder,  president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Goalscorer Ba backs Chelsea strikers

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 02:01
Chelsea's Demba Ba defends the club's strikers after they were criticised recently by manager Jose Mourinho.

Single-serve coffeemaker market heats up

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-09 02:00

Coffee is the single-most popular food item — solid or liquid — that Americans consume at breakfast, according to the NPD Group. And although American coffee consumption has been more or less flat since the 1980s (and has fallen since peaking in the 1940s), one category is booming: single serve.

The dominant player in the domestic market is Green Mountain’s Keurig machines and their K-cup pods — with 72 percent market-share, according to a recent report from Euromonitor. Switzerland-based Nestle and its Nespresso machines have just 3 percent of the U.S. market.

But Nespresso — which is dominant in Europe — is trying to muscle in with a new offering called the VertuoLine. Nespresso's original line of machines — which has seen double-digit growth in recent years in the U.S. — is designed to reproduce a "European" coffee experience, says Nespresso CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin.

"The objective was to be able to create concentrated strong espresso coffee especially as drunk in Italy, France, Switzerland," Duvoisin says. In other words, a strong short shot of espresso with froth, or crema, on top.

But Duvoisin acknowledges that the market for this style and size of coffee drink is limited in the U.S. So the company's new VertuoLine — with a new coffee-making technology that swirls the hot water through the pod in a centrifuge motion — delivers what the company thinks many more Americans want, says Duvoisin, "the long mug of coffee." 

It's an eight-ounce cup, similar to what rival Keurig machines deliver.

Harry Balzer, who researches American eating and drinking habits at the NPD Group, says Nespresso’s move to a bigger drink is probably wise.

"Look at the sandwiches we have, look at the drinks we have," says Balzer. "We tend to prefer things bigger. Feel like we're getting a good deal, a good value."

But Americans may not feel like they're getting such good value from Nespresso, says Jim Hertel at retail consultancy Willard Bishop. It's not the price of the machines — at around $300 they're in the same price-range ballpark as the competition.

It’s "the price of the pods themselves," says Hertel. He says one can find K-cups for Keurig machines online or at discount groceries for just over $0.30 apiece. Nespresso's pods cost twice that, and they have to be ordered from Nespresso.

"It's going to start off being elite," Hertel says of Nespresso's expanding footprint in the U.S. market, "and then it's going to move its way down. It may never get down to the mid-market."

Right now, Nespresso machines are available in Nespresso's own branded stores — just a handful in upscale markets like Beverly Hills, New York and Miami. The company also has store-within-a-store displays — where customers can sample Nespresso coffee free — in stores like Bloomingdale's and Sur La Table. And the company plans to introduce its new VertuoLine at Target later this year.

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

 

SOME RULES OF OFFICE COFFEE ETIQUETTE:

1. If you drink the last cup, make a new pot!
2. Re-read Rule No. 1 — it's that important.
3. Never leave a dirty cup in the single-serve coffeemaker. Empty the used pod, or pod reservoir if it's full.
4. If there are multiple flavors of single-serve coffee in a rack at work, don't pick a co-worker's favorite if it's the last one left.
5. If there are free snacks in the office kitchen, eat the whole cookie — or donut or Danish. It's okay to count calories, but no one wants a pastry you've already torn apart with your grubby fingers.
6. Chip in to the office coffee pool if there is one — no one likes a freeloader (and eventually you'll probably be found out.)

18 reasons why we love the Masters

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 02:00
Oak trees, green jackets, champions, caddies, curses, rules and roars - 18 things to love about golf's unique event

EU proposes new executive pay rules

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 02:00
The European Commission proposes new rules to boost shareholder power and control executive pay, in the latest Brussels move over remuneration.

UK trade deficit narrows in February

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 01:59
The UK's goods trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed in February by more than expected, helped by a fall in imports, official data shows.

Prince George appears on royal tour

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 01:47
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take their son to meet his contemporaries on their tour of New Zealand.
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