National / International News

VIDEO: Scheme targets benefit overpayment

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 06:07
Benefit claimants are being warned to advise the authorities of changes in their circumstances or face a fine or criminal prosecution.

Woman jailed for £450,000 iPad scam

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 06:02
A woman who defrauded hundreds of customers in an iPad scam worth £450,000 is jailed.

VIDEO: Carrie Gracie leaves BBC News Channel

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:58
After six years as a BBC News channel co-presenter, Carrie Gracie has left to take up a new post as the corporation's first China editor.

One Of The Rescue Ships In Antarctic May Now Be Stuck, Too

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:56

A Chinese icebreaker that helped rescue 52 adventurers from another ship says it may not be able to get back to open waters. An Australian icebreaker — to which the adventurers were evacuated — i staying nearby in case its assistance is needed. So the

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Obamacare backlog: Walgreen's offers month of drugs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:53

With the new year come millions of people who will be newly insured under the Affordable Care Act, and pharmacies are among the many companies competing for their business.

This week several drugstore chains offered temporary supplies of medications for those still sorting out their coverage. Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and Kroger are among the retailers offering to fill prescriptions for people who enrolled in new health plans but don’t have ID numbers yet. They’ll settle the bill later.

“The key is to drive traffic by any means possible,” says analyst Ross Muken with research firm ISI Group.

Once those customers are in the door, drugstores hope to sell them not only pantyhose and bubble gum, but other health care services, Muken says -- like flu shots and even physicals.

“They want to be the place that you think of first when you think of health care,” says Robert Field, a professor of law and public policy at Drexel University. “If they can be friendly for a 30-day bridge period, it’s a small investment to make in terms of that long-term relationship.”

How long-term? Field says customer loyalty isn’t what it was in the days of the corner drugstore. People tend to go to the closest pharmacy their insurance plan allows.

The allure of abandoned Tube stations

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:49
The New Year's Day episode of Sherlock included a plot line about abandoned Tube stations. The eerie empty platforms and booking offices have enthralled photographers.

Stop diving in football - Martinez

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:47
Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes everyone in football has a responsibility to help rid the game of diving.

Is the World Bank a victim of its own success?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:43

Twenty years ago, if you calculated what fraction of the world’s poor lived where, 90 percent lived in the poorest countries. But today, three quarters of the world’s poor live in countries that have graduated to middle income status -- like India and China. This has complicated things for aid agencies, like the World Bank, which provide billions of dollars of loans meant to help the poor.
 
Every three years it’s graduation time at the World Bank and this year is one of them. That means this is the time when countries find out if the bank is going to move them up from poor to middle income. If residents are living on an average of less than a $1.25 a day, the country is considered poor, but if residents have more -- the country moves up to middle income.  And that’s when the World Bank cuts off the cheapest aid -- like zero interest loans.
 
India just graduated to the rank of middle income, but it still has about 300 million poor residents, which Ravi Kanbur, a professor of economics at Cornell, says could pose a problem.  

“Take two groups of poor who are equally poor. But one group happens to live in a country which is above this cutoff. And another group which happens to live in a country which is just below this cut off. At least from my perspective, I can’t see how we can make a sharp  differentiation between those two groups of poor,” he says.  
 
“The poor,” he says, “are still poor… The poor of course, haven’t moved, it’s just the classification of the countries, in which they live has changed.”
 
According to the World Bank’s current rules Kanbur says hundreds of millions of poor could be cut off from the cheapest aid. India got a reprieve, but  Ghana, Vietnam and Nigeria are heading towards graduation.
 
Laurence Chandy, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, says the rise of these countries are success stories. The poor living in middle income countries, he says, do have some advantages.
 
“They’re living in economies that are moving fast. So even if the poor are poor today, there’s probably fairly good prospects that they won’t be poor in five to ten years time, or their children won’t be poor.”
 
That’s something, Chandy notes, we can’t say about the world’s poorest countries.
 
“Secondly,” he says, “they’re in countries either are able to access commercial markets for finance, or have large domestic resources already. Or maybe both.”

“The problem however, is not so simple,” says Federico Bonaglia, head of policy dialogue for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. A newly-labeled middle country may not have the fiscal resources to take care of its poor.  

“Taxation in many of these countries is very low,” he said, “it’s not easy to reform the taxation system.”

Joachim von Amsberg, vice president of concessional finance and global partnerships at the World Bank, notes that the World Bank continues to provide assistance for countries in the middle income rank.   “It is just a different type of support that’s most useful for those countries,” he says.
 
The funding the bank provides to middle income countries, says von Amsberg, is a “catalyst” for aid from other sources. And he says the criteria that rank a country’s financial status are working well. “We plan to continue using those criteria,” he says, as the rules are “fair and efficient.”
 
Laurence Chandy agrees. “What appears to be the problem,” he says, “is that aid won’t go to those people greatest in need, right?” 

The unstable climates, says Chandy, political or environmental, in countries like Haiti or the Democratic Republic of Congo, can mean lenders are reluctant to make any loans at all. So he says, while middle income countries may pay more interest that means more aid freed up for the poor in the most fragile states of all.

Tanzania seizes ivory at port

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:40
Two people are being held by police in Tanzania after the seizure of a consignment of illegal ivory at Dar es Salaam port, officials say.

Agency to cut flood defence jobs

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:36
The Environment Agency confirms that it is cutting around 1,500 jobs, including some in flood protection work, as part of a major restructuring.

Boeing's Washington workers vote on contract for 777X. Again.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:29

More than 30,000 machinists could vote today on Boeing’s latest contract proposal. At stake is production of the 777X aircraft, which Boeing threatened to move out of Washington State when machinists rejected the initial labor contract. And while it might sound crazy to potentially vote yourself out of a job, the stakes are high all around.

Under the revised deal, machinists would get an extra bonus and a few other concessions. But Professor Leon Grunberg of the University of Puget Sound says their biggest concern remains: “Losing the guaranteed pension that they had,” he says. “One of the few last remaining blue collar workers in the private sector that have these guaranteed pensions.”

In fact, the local union didn’t push for today’s vote; the union’s international leadership did. It doesn’t want to risk losing thousands of union jobs to a “right-to-work” state.

Aviation industry consultant Scott Hamilton says that’s a definite possibility, though moving is risky for Boeing too. He says that, in its request for proposals, Boeing asked competing sites to basically replicate its Washington facilities, to the tune of ten billion dollars.

“I don’t see any state in the union that has the ability to go out and write ten billion dollars worth of checks to build buildings,” Hamilton says.

There’s also the risk of delay. Boeing wants to bring the 777X to market in 2020, which might not happen if it has to start from scratch.

Indian girl's parents seek justice

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:28
The parents of a 16-year-old Indian girl who died after being gang-raped and burnt in Calcutta tell BBC News they will fight for justice.

Kanye-inspired currency 'to launch'

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:27
A new Bitcoin-like virtual currency inspired by rapper Kanye West is set to be launched, and has been dubbed "Coinye West".

VIDEO: MakerBot anticipates CES launches

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:18
Bre Pettis, chief executive of MakerBot, talks to the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones about the rise and rise of 3D printing.

VIDEO: While Canada freezes Australia melts

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:17
The mercury has dropped to -42C (-44F) in Canada while in Australia it has hit 54C (129F) and extreme weather is experienced in different parts of the world.

Overweight People In Developing World Outnumber Those In Rich Countries

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:15

One-third of adults worldwide are overweight. Globalization has made high-calorie foods readily available at low cost almost everywhere. In 1980, less than 40 percent of Mexican women were overweight. By 2008, almost 70 percent were.

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Overweight People In Developing World Outnumber Those In Rich Countries

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:15

One-third of adults worldwide are overweight. Globalization has made high-calorie foods readily available at low cost almost everywhere. In 1980, less than 40 percent of Mexican women were overweight. By 2008, almost 70 percent were.

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Storm surge heads up coast of Wales

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:11
A storm surge is causing flooding along the Wales coastline as high winds coincide with spring tides closing roads and trapping people in their homes.

French comic 'must pay racism fines'

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:07
The French interior minister vows to make the comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala pay big fines over his convictions for racist abuse.

VIDEO: Video glasses tested ahead of CES

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 05:03
Ben Walsh of UK company SunnyCam glasses shows BBC technology correspondent Mark Gregory how the firm's glasses work.

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