National / International News

Ballerina Misty Copeland counts herself lucky

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2016-06-30 11:20

Update: Misty Copeland was promoted Tuesday, June 30 to principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater. She's the first-ever African-American woman to hold that title.


Age starting dance: 13

Height: 5 feet 2 inches

Bust: "Bigger than most"

At least, that's how ballerina Misty Copeland describes her numbers-defying career in dance. A soloist with the American Ballet Theater in New York, Copeland recently explained how she doesn't really fit into the traditional model for ballet, but still made it work.

“All of those numbers, they just don’t add up to create a classical dancer,” she says. "No matter what, I'm going to be who I am."

Listen to the full conversation from our live show in New York City in the audio player above.

Tesla is disrupting more than just the car business

Marketplace - American Public Media - Sat, 2016-02-06 16:01

Tesla Motors is building the world's biggest battery factory just outside of Reno, Nevada. The company is calling it the “gigafactory,” and when it’s up and running in 2016 it’s expected to make Tesla’s electric cars much more affordable. 

“In a single factory we're doubling the worldwide capacity to manufacture lithium-ion batteries,” says J.B. Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer. 

That's significant enough. But the company also plans to develop batteries for use with solar-power generation – giving Tesla a shot at challenging public utilities as an energy source, Straubel says.

“At the price points that we're expecting to achieve with the gigafactory ... we see a market that is well in excess of the production capability of the factory,” says Straubel.

The market for batteries is an offshoot of the booming business for solar panels, particularly in states such as California, where solar is becoming commonplace.

“We sign up approximately one new customer every minute of the workday," says Will Craven, director of public affairs at California-based SolarCity.

Much of the excess energy harnessed by solar panels is returned to the power grid, Cravens says. This means homeowners and businesses may earn a credit from their power companies, but have no say over when and how that energy is used.

The partnership with SolarCity will use rooftop solar panels fitted with Tesla’s battery packs to allow customers to keep that energy in-house. That means they can use it however, and whenever, they want. The concept puts Tesla in direct competition with utility companies.

“Stationary storage, or backup storage, is really being considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of renewable electricity generation,” says Ben Kallo, an analyst with the Robert W. Baird financial services firm.

Kallo points out that the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources makes them less reliable because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.  But with the ability to store that energy, renewable energy sources can compete head-to-head with utility companies for customers.

“There are still many utilities out there who kind of have their head stuck in the sand and just hope that this goes away. What we're seeing is really building momentum,” Kallo says.

Forward-minded utilities might look at Tesla’s business model as an opportunity, he says.  Energy-storage technology could be used to build capacity in their existing grids, and also build new infrastructure for battery-powered cars and homes.


Heath investigated by abuse police

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The Met Police are investigating late ex-PM Ted Heath as part of their inquiry into historical child sex abuse claims, the BBC understands.

Malema corruption case thrown out

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A court in South Africa throws out fraud and corruption charges against left-wing opposition leader Julius Malema.

London culture tops Google searches

BBC - 1 hour 4 min ago
London is named the most googled city in the world for its art galleries, performing arts and innovative design, with the Science Museum is the most searched-for museum.

Man jailed for brother-in-law murder

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A man who murdered his brother-in-law with a sledgehammer and axe is jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years in prison.

'Fraud' led to retail firm's failure

BBC - 1 hour 19 min ago
A well-known Belfast retailer that closed this year says an alleged fraud contributed to the company's failure.

Bin Laden jet four 'killed by fire'

BBC - 1 hour 24 min ago
Three members of Osama Bin Laden's family and a pilot died from the "effects of fire" when a jet plane crashed, preliminary post-mortem tests find.

Kosovo approves war crimes court

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Kosovo's parliament votes to set up a special court to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Kosovo Albanian rebels in the war in the 1990s.

Corbyn: I'll reindustrialise the North

BBC - 1 hour 40 min ago
Jeremy Corbyn is calling for the "re-industrialisation" of northern England through higher spending on transport, housing and broadband while Andy Burnham pledges help for part-time workers.

China Olympic song: Frozen rip off?

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Internet users spot a striking similarity between China's Winter Olympics theme tune a hit song from the Disney musical Frozen.

Moriarty set to make Wales debut

BBC - 1 hour 43 min ago
Ross Moriarty, Tyler Morgan, Eli Walker and Dominic Day will win their first Wales caps in Saturday's World Cup warm-up match against Ireland.

Slight fall in police officer total

BBC - 1 hour 51 min ago
The number of police officers in Scotland dips slightly but still meets a 2007 "extra officers" pledge.

Van der Burgh sets new world record

BBC - 1 hour 57 min ago
South African Cameron van der Burgh sets a new world record for the men's 50m breaststroke at the World Swimming Championships.

New Power Plant Rules Likely To Start Slow-Burning Debate, Legal Action

NPR News - 1 hour 57 min ago

A huge legal battle is coming over the White House plan to address climate change with additional power plant regulations. The coal industry has the most to lose, and plans to take the EPA to court.

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Here's The Buzz On America's Forgotten Native 'Tea' Plant

NPR News - 1 hour 57 min ago

It's called yaupon. Native Americans once made a brew from its caffeinated leaves and traded them widely. With several companies now selling yaupon, it may be poised for a comeback.

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Berlin's New Airport: Still In A Holding Pattern

NPR News - 1 hour 57 min ago

Berlin is one of Europe's premiere cities, yet it lacks an airport befitting its status due to years of delays and cost overruns. The new airport was supposed open in 2012. Now the target is 2017.

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How New Jersey Tamed The Wild Blueberry For Global Production

NPR News - 1 hour 57 min ago

In the past 10 years, the global blueberry crop has tripled. Yet the big, round commercial blueberry is a fairly recent innovation. It was created by breeders exactly 100 years ago, in New Jersey.

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The U.S. Declared War On Veteran Homelessness — And It Actually Could Win

NPR News - 1 hour 57 min ago

In 2009, then-Veterans Affairs head Eric Shinseki declared that all homeless veterans would have housing by the end of 2015. New Orleans has made big strides, but in Los Angeles, the problem persists.

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Michael Sheen calls for people power

BBC - 2 hours 1 min ago
Actor Michael Sheen says people have become "alienated by career politicians" and should have more of a say in their own communities.