National / International News

Jordan Strikes At ISIS; Obama Said To Be Preparing To Request War Powers

NPR News - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:50

Repeated air strikes on the self-described Islamic State are "the beginning of our retaliation" for the extremist group's brutal killing of a captured pilot, Jordan's foreign minister says.

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VIDEO: If Six Nations was Game of Thrones

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:47
BBC Sport celebrates the start of the Six Nations 2015 with an epic Game of Thrones-style tournament opener.

Afcon semi-final crowd trouble

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:47
Violent scenes at Africa Cup of Nations semi-final

Women journalists threatened online

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:35
Women journalists are facing a "dangerous new trend" of online threats, the European security body OSCE warns.

Megrahi campaigners 'disgraceful'

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:33
US families of Lockerbie bombing victims accuse some UK relatives of pursuing a "disgraceful" campaign to clear the man convicted of the atrocity.

UK trade deficit widest since 2010

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:28
The UK's trade deficit last year widened to £34.8bn, the biggest deficit since 2010 according to the Office for National Statistics.

Wilshere is not a smoker - Wenger

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:27
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says Jack Wilshere "has to master his own life" after the midfielder was photographed holding a shisha pipe.

Lucky no-one died - Ghana FA

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:25
The Ghana FA says fans could have died as crowd trouble marred the Africa Cup of Nations semi with Equatorial Guinea.

VIDEO: Boy sucked into Brazil storm drain

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:24
A boy and his uncle have survived being sucked into a storm drain in Brazil.

China rejects health hack accusation

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:19
China has rejected accusations it was behind a hack that stole huge amounts of data from health insurer Anthem.

Doctor saved nurse in ward attack

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:17
A doctor saved the life of a nurse who was being strangled at a hospital unit by her jealous husband, Newport Crown Court hears.

Baz Luhrmann to make Netflix musical

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:12
Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann is to make a 13-part musical series for streaming service Netflix.

Hunt attacked over nun comment

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:10
Labour's Tristram Hunt is branded "arrogant and ignorant" after appearing to suggest nuns do not make good teachers.

Glasgow Games '£35m under budget'

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:05
The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year was delivered £35.5m under budget, according to the latest estimate.

GCHQ intelligence sharing 'unlawful'

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:05
The sharing of intelligence by UK agency GCHQ prior to December was unlawful, a tribunal rules.

Action films restricted in Paris

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:03
The filming of action sequences has been restricted by authorities in Paris following last month's attacks in the French capital.

'Dress like Savile' night pulled

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:01
A bar that advertised a night encouraging people to dress like Jimmy Savile is criticised by the NSPCC for making light of the serial sex offender's crimes.

App sales plateau in the age of 'freemium'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:00

App sales are today a multibillion dollar industry, but a new forecast from eMarketer says that sales of apps have plateaued.

Part of the reason is the growth of so-called "freemium" apps, which are free to download but have items for sale inside the app. The freemium business model is tantalizing for developers.

Click the media player above to hear more.

Tech heads to the Bronx

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:00

Hoping to take advantage of a growing trend to bring IT jobs back to the U.S., a technology consulting firm is setting up shop in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country, hoping to create a viable business and serve a philanthropic purpose at the same time.

That neighborhood is the South Bronx of New York, where within a two-mile radius there are five large housing projects and where 38 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the 2010 Census. It is the poorest congressional district in America.

The company trying to inject tech jobs and spending power into the neighborhood is Doran Jones. Keith Klain is the company's co-CEO. Klain spent more than 20 years setting up IT operations overseas. Now, he's trying to bring some of those jobs back to the U.S. and into the South Bronx.

He joined Doran Jones from Barclays, where, until February of 2014, he ran their Global Testing Center. Now, he's building a 45,000 sq. ft. facility in a nondescript building just across the river from Manhattan — the U.S. financial capital where a wealth of finance firms and other businesses are potential clients for the IT quality testing business he is starting up.

"This is a viable business. We'll transform this neighborhood with real tech jobs," says Klain.

The most important element of his plan, and what sets it apart from some of the other tech start-ups and incubators who have moved into the Bronx area to take advantage of one of the few areas of New York with relatively cheap rent, is a partnership with Per Scholas.

Per Scholas is a non-profit workforce training center. Klain set up a courses at the center specifically tailored to teach the kinds of skills he needs from entry-level workers. He has an agreement in which Doran Jones funds the free courses, and promises to staff 80 percent of its workforce with Per Scholas graduates.

Per Scholas also gets 25 percent of future Doran Jones profits. They even share a building.

Angie Kamath, executive director of Per Scholas, says the unique arrangement is an opportunity to change the dynamic in the South Bronx neighborhood.

"It's going to, I believe, really kickstart and show other firms that they can, too, locate in what are traditionally underserved areas," Kamath says.

"Part of this program is to give people an entry into a career that they wouldn't ordinarily have gotten," says Klain, "There is an overlooked population here that is a very rich source of tech talent."

One of Klain's most recent hires is Cochrane Williams, 37, who used to be a photographer with sporadic income. "I needed a career change. I needed something stable. I have a daughter. So I needed to also think about that," Williams says.

Just as other entry-level workers who will be hired by Doran Jones through its partnership with Per Scholas, Williams' starting salary is $35,000 with benefits. While that income does not go far in one of the most expensive cities in the country, entry-level Doran Jones employees will get an automatic raise to $45,000 in a year, and to $55,000 in two years.

"For a lot of our folks who are coming in and their last wages were $15,000, this is pretty life changing," says Kamath. Many in the neighborhood hold minimum wage, or close to minimum wage jobs, she says, such as security guards or retail workers.

Williams says his starting salary was not his only consideration in deciding to join Doran Jones. He sees it as an investment in his future. "This is basically getting in on the ground floor. And you get to grow with the company. There is nothing more solid than that, in terms of trying to establish a career," says Williams.

Doran Jones and Per Scholas are also hoping to get in on the ground floor. For them, that ground floor is a growing movement to bring IT jobs back to the U.S.

A number of firms have sprung up across the country to lure lucrative IT contracts away from foreign firms. Their pitch: that for certain IT jobs, being located near a business's time zone, for instance, could be beneficial. They also can point to inefficiencies in the current outsourcing model: the need for lots of travel, or the hiring and relocation of middle managers to supervise far away employees.

Ron Hira has been studying the trend of IT 'onshoring." He is a professor of public policy at Howard Unviersity and author of the book Outsourcing America. There are a number of small companies around the country, most with a few hundred workers, he says, that are trying to win away IT contracts from foreign firms (which can have workforces in the hundreds of thousands).

"I'd say this is a small blip right now. But it has the opportunity to become a serious market niche, as much as 15 to 20 percent at some point," Hira says.

The key will be for U.S. companies to grow beyond employing hundreds, says Hira. That goal faces hurdles such as tax incentives that unintentionally favor 'offshoring' by allowing companies to retain their profits untaxed overseas, he says.

"I've been approached by multiple other cities in the country that are looking at this as a kind of a case study: can this be done?," says Klain.

Klain will open the doors of his new Bronx technology center in March. He has 15 clients lined up, and hopes to initially hire 150 people — and eventually, 450. Also, he says start-ups have already approached him about leasing space in his new center. A small sign that his hoped-for urban renewal of the South Bronx just might come to fruition.

Kraft aims at discount shoppers with Velveeta

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-06 02:00

The food business is in transition, with mega-brands such as Kraft, General Mills, and Campbell Soup struggling to hold on to market share at mainstream grocery stores. Shoppers are increasingly gravitating up-market to gourmet 'fresh-format' stores, and down-market to booming discount chains such as Dollar Tree and Dollar General.

It’s in the latter category that these companies see the most potential for growth as low-income, immigrant and young shoppers look for deep bargains in the post-recession economy.

For instance, Kraft’s Velveeta individual cheese-sauce servings haven't been selling well in traditional groceries. But the company decided not to pull them from the market because they do extremely well in discount dollar-stores because of their low price-point.

“The growth in the industry is really in dollar- and limited-assortment stores,” says Jim Hertel at grocery consultancy Willard Bishop. "And it's in more upscale types of food retailers, like Whole Foods."

Kraft's flagship brands—like Oscar Mayer, Kool Aid, Maxwell House, and Velveeta—aren't likely to be taken up by upscale consumers. But Michael Stern, co-author of the books about American vernacular cuisine, who also appears as a regular commentator on public radio's ‘The Splendid Table,” says Velveeta is perfect for penetrating the discount food market.

“It’s cheap, and it’s very easy," Stern says. "I always have Velveeta in my refrigerator. A cheeseburger is not a cheeseburger without Velveeta. It’s so glossy, so smooth."

'Cheap’ and ‘easy’ are two attributes that Jim Hertel says consumers put at a premium when filling their shopping carts at discount stores.