National / International News

Uncertainty ahead for India's economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-03 14:29

Manmohan Singh announced he will step down as India’s Prime Minister after elections in the spring. Singh has been in power for a decade and was the country’s Finance Minister for ten years before that. His policies helped India’s economy grow at a rapid rate -- though in the past few years, inflation and corruption scandals have tarnished Singh’s administration.

“How big a shift this is going to be will really depend on whether his successor is capable of grabbing the reins as it were and pushing ahead with the next phase of reforms which are politically very difficult things to deal with” says Andrew Walker, economics correspondent with the BBC.

Under Singh’s influence, India’s economy opened up more to foreign investment.    

India’s growth slowed in part because of the global recession. But the country’s crumbling infrastructure – including poorly maintained roads and an unstable power grid – has probably stifled investment.

 “I think history will see Manmohan Singh as being the one who started the transformation,” says Walker, “taking India away from this heavily government-dominated economy to a market oriented system that has grown strongly and is capable of doing so for a lot longer under the right kind of leadership.”

Pope surprises nuns with phone call

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 14:22
An answerphone message from Pope Francis on New Year's Eve surprises nuns in a convent near Cordoba in Spain.

CES 2014: Vegas tech show preview

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 14:21
What to expect from Las Vegas' giant tech show, CES

This Week's Massive Winter Storm, Seen From Space

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 14:19

On Friday, NASA tweeted a composite image of the storm that has covered large areas of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. with a blanket of snow.

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House GOP Puts Another 'Target' On Obamacare

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 14:08

House Republicans plan to start the year with a vote on legislation to better safeguard the personal data that collects. Democrats see it as yet another attempt to undermine the health law, but they also see political risk in voting against more security for sensitive consumer data.

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Schumacher helmet camera 'examined'

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:57
Investigators are examining a camera fixed to the ski helmet of injured Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, French media report.

2014 Resolutions: Nina

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:56

Happy New Year! In 2014, Marketplace Money will follow a few listeners from around the country who’ve resolved to make over their personal finance lives. We’ll be checking up on their financial New Year’s resolutions periodically throughout the year and see if they're achieving their goals!

Name: Nina, 49
Family: Daughter, 18, in college
Location: Oakland, Calif.
Resolutions: “First and foremost, is to be financially set for retirement which isn’t too far off, so I have to figure out what to do to build my nest-egg a little stronger. At a minimum, I would need a million dollars. I’m no where near a million dollars” Nina says she has about $350,000 saved, is planning to retire around age 65, and she’s interested in retiring abroad where living costs could be cheaper.

She has about $50,000 left on her mortgage to pay off, which she’s been trying to pay down aggressively … perhaps too aggressively. Nina has been dipping into her emergency savings to get it paid off.

“My second resolution is, finding out how to find greater tax-shelters, to make sure that I’m not giving Uncle Sam too much of my hard-earned money.”

Carmen Says: “Number two may not be possible, because you can only max out your tax-shelter so much. But number one, we can absolutely get you there. Really focus on saving up money for your retirement. Please protect that emergency fund, at least have a years worth in there. And then any additional funds … you can split between bulking up your retirement and traveling, so you can see where you want to go.”

Carmen also suggested to not completely pay off her mortgage in lieu of properly saving up for retirement and emergencies. “You can’t take the house to the grocery store, the house won’t pay your bills.”

And one last tip, “Learn some spanish, so you can do your travel and enjoy retirement in the sun!”

Northampton 23-9 Harlequins

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:56
George North's try helps Northampton Saints go top of the Premiership with victory over Harlequins.

Big Cities See Violent Crime Rates Fall In 2013

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:54

Cities across the country saw sharp drops in violent crime rates in 2013. For some big cities, murder rates reached historic lows. The numbers reflect a decades-long decline, which shows that plenty of neighborhoods in urban areas are safe while some remain troubled by violent crime.

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Seafront evacuations over high tides

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:47
Homes along the coast around Aberystwyth are evacuated with severe flood warnings at high tide.

Will the big profits of 2013 continue this year?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:46

Marketplace's Lizzie O'Leary, Leigh Gallagher of Fortune Magazine, and Felix Salmon of Reuters looked back on the huge gains in the stock markets and corporate profits in 2013 and whether we can look forward to workers -- as well as corporations -- sharing in the good fortune this year.

Gallagher says most analysts predict stock prices to continue to rise for at least part of 2014, but it won't all be smooth sailing:

"One thing that has been totally absent in this past year has been volatility. We forgot what it's like to be jerked around so much. Three percent gains, three percent drops -- it was just gone this year, so I think we'll see a little bit more of that."

Salmon agrees that profits will probably continue to rise, but wonders whether the rest of us will see some benefit as well:

"A much bigger proportion of the total economy is corporate profits than we've ever seen before, and so the big question for 2014 is, 'are workers going to get back some of those profits, in which case earnings are going to go down and the stock market will probabaly go down too, or are companies going to continue to make these insane profits?' In which case the stock market is looking perfectly well-placed right now."

UK calls for Libya 'murder' probe

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:39
The UK government calls on Libyan authorities to conduct an investigation into the "murder" of a British man and New Zealand woman found dead on a beach in western Libya.

The NSA's Quantum Code-Breaking Research Is No Secret

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:37

So the world's most clandestine spy agency is working on something called a quantum computer. It's based on rules Einstein himself described as "spooky," and it can crack almost any code. That's got to be top-secret stuff, right? Guess again.

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'Playboy' Gets Pranked: Group Flips The Script On Sex

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:29

A Baltimore-based group is working to change the messages companies are sending about sex. So far, it has created convincing, fake websites pretending to be Playboy and Victoria's Secret — but putting an emphasis on consent.

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Pair charged with ex-boxer's murder

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:28
Two men are charged with murdering a former amateur boxer who was attacked at a New Year's Eve party in Hartlepool.

Obama proposes gun control measures

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:16
US President Barack Obama's administration announces measures aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous mentally ill people.

Let Them Eat Sandwiches: USDA Eases School Lunch Restrictions

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:16

Participation in the school lunch program suffered after USDA restricted the amount of grains and protein that could be served to kids at lunchtime. Now school food directors are applauding the decision to allow more of them back on lunch menus.

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California County Pushes Drugmakers To Pay For Pill Waste

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:16

An Alameda County ordinance puts the responsibility for drug disposal squarely on the companies that made the medicines. States and the federal government have considered similar measures, but none has passed.

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Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:10

Students at Rice University in Houston are finding low-cost solutions to big global health problems. The women running the program are hoping to get these young engineers hooked on helping. One particularly successful device that helps infants breathe has already been tested in Malawi and will be distributed to hospitals around the country.

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Obama Administration Moves To Alter Gun-Buying Rules

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-03 13:06

Federal agencies are proposing new rules for handling gun buyers' background checks, in changes the White House says will "keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands." The changes include a clarification of rules barring firearm possession due to mental health problems.

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