National / International News

Kentucky fried prom corsages

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:16

Prom season is almost upon us.   Sadly, any conceivable connection to reality ends there. A florist in Louisville, Kentucky is offering a Kentucky Fried Chicken corsage. $20 plus shipping. It has Baby's breath and the whole nine yards of a regular floral corsage, plus you get a $5 KFC gift certificate. You can customize it with Original Recipe or Extra Crispy.   There are only 100 available... so kids, act now.  

The India where skyscrapers overlook farms

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:13
The new India where skyscrapers overlook marigold farms

A 13-year-old eagle huntress in Mongolia

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:12
A 13-year-old catching foxes with her golden eagle

Building collapse leaves man dead

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:06
A man working on a construction site in central London is killed when the building partially collapses.

John Boehner Foe Targets 'Electile' Dysfunction

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:58

A high school French teacher who is challenging House Speaker John Boehner has come up with a novel campaign approach: an ad spoofing virility drug commercials.

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Swimming Superstar Michael Phelps Emerges From Retirement

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:56

Phelps, who has won 22 Olympic medals, including 18 gold, plans to compete in Arizona later this month.

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In pictures: Chile fire rages on

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:41
Huge fire in the Chilean city of Valparaiso

Nazi memorabilia auction cancelled

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:39
A Paris auction house cancels the sale of objects that belonged to Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering after objection from Jewish groups.

After Deaths, Renewed Focus On Leaky Gas Pipelines

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:27

The effort to replace thousands of miles of aging, corroded pipes — which could take decades and cost billions — is receiving fresh attention after an explosion last month in New York killed eight.

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Sandwich Monday: The Passover Sandwich

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:11

For this week's Sandwich Monday, our non-Jewish colleagues get an introduction to the wonders of the Passover lunch. Manischewitz rules this meal.

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Carlin sets world-leading 800m time

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:07
Jazz Carlin sets the fastest 800m freestyle time in the world this year at the British Swimming Championships in Glasgow.

Nevada Ranch Dispute Ends As Feds Back Down — For Now

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:01

A Wild West-style dispute between a Nevada rancher and the Bureau of Land Management has subsided — at least for the moment. Saying Cliven Bundy owed substantial back fees for allowing cattle to graze on federal land, the BLM had begun rounding up his cattle. But following protests from Bundy and hundreds of others, some armed, the BLM backed down, for now.

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Suspected Kansas Shooter Had Ties To KKK

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:01

The man suspected of killing three people at a Jewish community center and retirement home is a white supremacist formerly of the Ku Klux Klan. As Frank Morris of KCUR reports, 73-year-old Frazier Glen Cross once ran a paramilitary camp in North Carolina. Cross may have been planning the shooting for months.

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Defiant Of Deadline, Pro-Moscow Occupiers Persist

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:01

Pro-Moscow militants have taken over more government buildings in eastern Ukraine, ignoring a government deadline for them to lay down their weapons. The Ukrainian army may enter to retake the region.

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Evans urges rethink on abuse cases

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:59
MP Nigel Evans, cleared last week of rape and sexual assault charges, calls for an investigation into when prosecutors can pursue historical cases.

Restaurants: The Modern-Day Lab For Our Smartphone-Obsessed Ways

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:57

Servers and bartenders say those addictive glowing screens are changing restaurant experiences, and not for the better. "This is just sort of the new norm," psychology professor Thomas Plante says.

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VIDEO: Anger as fare dodger 'buys silence'

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:52
There was anger from a rail workers' union after an apparently wealthy fare dodger manages to avoid court action after repaying £40,000.

When the IRS 'likes' your Facebook update

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:43

Taxes are due tomorrow, which means that today is the last minute scramble. Really, we're all just trying to get through this time of year without losing our shirts and —of course--without getting audited. The IRS is kicking into high gear, too. Their goals are a bit different than ours, though. The agency is hoping to catch tax dodgers. It loses an estimated $300 billion a year to tax evasion, and getting that money isn’t getting easier. Because of budget cuts, the IRS will have fewer auditing agents than at any time since the 1980s.

Enter robots. After all, the IRS may not have a whole lot of money or manpower, but it has a gold mine of data on you. A lot of it from... well... you.

"It’s hard to believe that anybody who puts anything on Facebook has any legitimate expectation of privacy," says Edward Zelinsky, a professor of tax law at the Cordozo School of Law.

Those fancy vacation photos you posted on Instagram? The Facebook status update about your new car? The tweets about your wildly successful side business?

All fair game for the IRS.

Not that the IRS is perusing everyone’s Facebook photos. It’s probably only looking at your Facebook photos if it suspects you might be a tax dodger. How does it get suspicious? Data, of course.

"It appears from its public statements and some other reports, that it’s using data to piece together likely profiles or likely candidates for closer review," says Behnam Dayanim, co-chair of the privacy and data practice at Paul Hastings.

The IRS is notoriously secretive about its methods; it didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment. But recent private sector hires and off-the-record sources indicate the IRS is seriously gearing up its data mining, using tools like online activity trackers to enhance the vast cache of information it’s already privy to: your social security number, your health records, your banking transactions.

The result? A pretty sophisticated data profile.

"It seems they may be using predictive analytics," says Joseph Turow, professor at University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communication. "That takes a huge amount of data and puts it together in a big pot to see if they can predict which individuals don’t pay their taxes."

Creating profiles based on that data could be problematic, says Turow. "Once you begin giving people scores like that, you’ve given them reputations that might stay with them over years, and might be used by the IRS and other agencies in really incorrect ways."

Of course, these days everyone from Google to Nike is cobbling our data together to create profiles of us.

Still, it’s different when the IRS does it. "If Nike is analyzing my information, the worst consequence is that they market stuff to me that I don’t want and it’s annoying," says  Dayanim. "If the government does it, the worst consequence is there could be legal ramifications, whether it’s fines, penalties or imprisonment."

If you don’t want the IRS in your online business, Dyanim suggests ratcheting up the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts. And never posting anything that you wouldn’t want the agency to see. You could also try a charm offensive. The IRS has 24,000 Facebook fans and 52,000 Twitter followers.

Police ‘not listening’, teachers told

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:35
The father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence claims police are "still not listening" about how to build bridges with the black community.

Hate crime seen in Kansas shooting

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:33
Authorities say they will pursue hate crime charges against the suspect in Sunday's deadly shootings at Jewish community sites in Kansas.
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