National / International News

Israel hits Gaza as truce bid fails

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 11:05
Israel says it has resumed bombardment of Gaza, after earlier accepting a truce proposal, as Hamas militants continued firing rockets.

What bright lights can tell you about a nation's economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-15 10:52

The pale blue dot aglow with millions of little lights. It's an image that never ceases to fascinate. But those lights might tell us more than you think.

A new study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics says that cities and regions that are the birthplaces of a country's leader recieve perferential political and economic treatment in some nations, evidenced by how bright they appear from space after the leader comes into power.

From Wired Magazine:

Paul Raschky from the Monash Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability at Monash University in Australia compared the night-time light intensity of 38,427 subnational regions between 1992 and 2009 with the birthplaces of political leaders of 126 countries.

"Our results suggest that being the leader's birthplace increases night-time light intensity and regional GDP by around four and one per cent respectively," Raschky said, citing previous research that confirms the connection between economic activity and light generated at night.

Here's a look at some of the cities that the study examined, and other images from orbit that show how different economic conditions can change the view from space:

Gbadolite, Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo)

A screenshot from NASA's "Blue Marble" application showing the city of Gbadolite. (Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory)

This small town in the Democractic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) was emphazised by the study for the lavish economic favoritism bestowed upon it by the country's authoritarian president, Mobutu Sese Seko, who was born near Gbadolite.

"Mobuto built a huge palace complex costing millions of dollars, luxury guesthouses, an airport capable of handling Concords, and had the country's best supply of water, electricity and medical services," says study researcher Paul Raschky.

Hambantota, Sri Lanka

A screenshot from NASA's "Blue Marble" application showing the region of Hambantota, on the southern tip of Sri Lanka. (Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory)

Another region identified in the study for receiving preferential treatment from Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was born in the district. The largest city in the area, Hambantota has a population of 11,000, has seen the construction of a 35,000-seat cricket stadium, and has plans to build a large port.

North Korea and South Korea

An image taken from the International Space Station on Jan. 30, 2014, shows South Korea (lower right) and China (upper left) with North Korea in the center. (Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory) 

A photograph from space perfectly illustrates differences in economic development between North and South Korea — a brightly illuminated South, and an eerily dark North.

The Nile River

(Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory)

The Nile River with its valleys and delta make up less than five percent of Egypt’s land area, but more than 90 percent of its population lives there. The string of lights illuminating the river's path through the country at night highlights the societal importance of the Nile in Egypt.

North Dakota's fracking fields

Illustration by NPR/NASA

An NPR science writer was looking through NASA's images of Earth at night, and noticed an unusual glow coming from the normally fairly dark North Dakota, one that revealed how the light across the U.S. is still subject to economic changes.

Their explanation:

What we have here is an immense and startlingly new oil and gas field — nighttime evidence of an oil boom created by a technology called fracking. Those lights are rigs, hundreds of them, lit at night, or fiery flares of natural gas. One hundred fifty oil companies, big ones, little ones, wildcatters, have flooded this region, drilling up to eight new wells every day on what is called the Bakken formation.

What was previously wheat and corn fields has quickly become a blazing energy business that has made North Dakota the second largest gas-producing state in the country.

Two Former State Attorneys General Arrested In Utah

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 10:49

The former chief law enforcement officers face 23 counts of bribery, obstruction of justice and other charges. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert calls it "a black eye" for the state.

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VIDEO: Pupils 'unprotected from extremism'

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 10:43
A school is not protecting its pupils from the possible risks of extremism and should go into special measures, an Ofsted report has said.

Cameron chooses Tory peer for EU job

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 10:43
David Cameron nominates Lord Hill, the leader of the House of Lords, to be the UK's next European Commissioner.

Welsh spaceport site on shortlist

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 10:28
A site in Gwynedd has been selected as possible location for a UK spaceport base.

Embassies fail to pay £82m road bill

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 10:05
Foreign embassies in London have failed to pay more than £82m in congestion charge over the past decade, figures reveal.

VIDEO: House of Commons

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 10:02
MPs approve the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill at second reading.

Odin's Beard! Marvel Announces A New Thor — And She's A Woman

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 10:02

The comic book publisher said the new character will be the Thor of the Marvel Universe.

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Why A Village Leader Ordered The Rape Of A 14-Year-Old In India

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 10:00

Rape is illegal in India. But history and tradition make it hard to enforce the law. And in remote parts, rape of a female relative is still considered fair punishment for a man's crimes.

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Crash on Moscow metro kills 21

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 09:57
A rush-hour train derails on the Moscow metro, killing 21 people, the Russian authorities say, with scores more injured.

Bomb is found behind wheel of car

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 09:43
A bomb is found behind the back wheel of a car in the Enagh area of Londonderry.

Rosetta's target is 'double' comet

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 09:35
Europe's Rosetta probe acquires some sensational new images of its comet quarry, showing what appears to be two distinct parts in contact with each other.

Nigeria acrimony over abducted girls

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 09:33
Nigeria's president accuses activists of "playing politics" after his meeting with parents of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls is called off.

VIDEO: Electric plane at Farnborough Airshow

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 09:19
Nigel Cassidy looks at the E-fan, an experimental electric plane from Airbus, on display at the Farnborough International Airshow

Lee Rigby killer allowed appeal

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 09:05
Michael Adebowale, who was given a 45-year prison sentence for the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, is given permission to appeal against his sentence, the High Court rules.

In Response To Dwindling Applications, Peace Corps Makes Big Changes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-15 09:01

The Peace Corps has announced that it's streamlining its application process so volunteers won't have to spend hours doing paperwork or wait a year to find out if they're being sent abroad.

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The good, the bad and the quirky: World Cup in stats

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 09:00
A look at the best statistics from the 2014 Fifa World Cup, featuring the impressive and the downright dismal.

BBC staff to strike over pay

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 08:48
BBC staff are to take industrial action on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games next Wednesday, it is announced.

Concrete tomb killer jailed for life

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-15 08:48
A man convicted of murdering his friend by bludgeoning him to death with a hammer and burying him in a concrete tomb is jailed for life.
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