National / International News

Will the latest oil-train fire make people rethink anything?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2013-12-31 07:48

A train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in North Dakota on Monday.

“This is just one in a string of legitimate concerns about the movement of crude oil by rail,” says Sandy Fielden, an energy analyst at RBN Energy.

In July, a train carrying oil exploded in Canada, killing 47 people. Last month, in Alabama, an oil-carrying train caught fire when it derailed.

Depending on the investigation, says Fielden, there may be pressure to make some regulatory changes. But don’t expect anything too dramatic: North Dakota is the second largest oil producing state. By some estimates, trains will move 90 percent of North Dakota’s crude next year.

“There’s no question, this oil is going to get to the market,” says Robert Bryce from the conservative Manhattan Institute. He supports the Keystone Pipeline project — as an alternative to moving oil by train. But, he says, it’s going to get to market one way or another.

It’s too early to know exactly what happened in North Dakota. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. There are questions about the tracks, the trains, the tankers that were moving the oil. 

Holly Arthur, with the Association of American Railroads, says rail is safe. Rail has been used to move crude oil since the early days of the industry. Business has picked up dramatically since 2009 and the rise of fracking.

“Today 99.997 percent of all hazmat moved by rail reaches its destination without a release caused by an accident,” says Arthur.

99.997 percent is a reassuring number. But people who live along these lines know there are also more trains hauling oil.

From Pandas To Health Care: The 13 Numbers Of 2013

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 07:40

NPR has been taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of 2013. These 13 reflect the highs and lows of the year, from deadly wildfires and the war in Syria, to football stadiums and same-sex marriage.

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Rival South Sudan Factions Agree To Talks, Cease-Fire

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 07:37

The conflict pits the country's president against his former vice president, who is accused of plotting a coup. But the violence in the oil-rich nation also has tribal and ethnic dimensions that threaten the world's newest country.

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US hails Guantanamo 'milestone'

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 07:32
The US hails the release of the last three Chinese Muslim Uighurs from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay as a "significant milestone".

Has Tim Tebow Found His Right Place At ESPN?

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 07:25

The quarterback won fans across the nation a few years back, but hasn't been able to build a solid NFL career. He'll be a college football analyst on TV. Does that sound like the right move for him?

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Child deaths Briton takes own life

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 06:53
Briton Julian Stevenson, accused of killing his two children in Lyon, hangs himself in French jail, officials tell the BBC.

Record New Year's Honours for women

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 06:52
Actresses Angela Lansbury and Penelope Keith become dames in the New Year's Honours, which feature more women than men for the first time.

Putin vows to 'destroy terrorists'

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 06:42
Russian President Vladimir Putin vows to "complete annihilate" terrorists, following two suicide attacks on the city of Volgograd.

Shop vouchers after Gatwick chaos

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 06:23
Passengers whose flights were cancelled at Gatwick Airport after it was flooded on Christmas Eve are to be offered £100 of shopping vouchers.

Syria chemical deadline 'missed'

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 06:19
A UN deadline for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons stockpile looks certain to be missed after the European ships due to collect them turn back.

Katherine Jenkins 'humbled' by OBE

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 06:15
Singer Katherine Jenkins says she is "incredibly humbled" with her OBE in the New Year Honours, while Welsh assembly Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler is made a dame and actress Ruth Jones becomes an MBE.

EU probe into Liberty Stadium deal

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 06:13
A deal allowing Swansea City FC and the Ospreys rugby region to play at the Liberty Stadium is being investigated by the European Commission.

Happy New Year! The Celebrations Are Underway

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 06:00

The new year has arrived in Australia, New Zealand and other places in the Pacific. As 2014 begins around the world, we'll watch for highlights of the celebrations. Among the things to watch for: Dubai's bid to set a new world record for biggest fireworks display.

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Fulham v West Ham United

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 05:55
Preview followed by live coverage of Wednesday's Premier League game between Fulham and West Ham United.

Who still uses the Shipping Forecast?

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 05:50
Who still actually uses the Shipping Forecast?

Barclays: Winning trust to take years

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 05:45
Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays, says he expects it to take five to 10 years to restore the public's trust in the bank, as the Archbishop of Canterbury says it'll take a "generation."

Man accused of wife and son murders

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 05:45
A 32-year-old man appears in court charged with the murder of his wife and two-year-old son in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian.

Giant rubber duck bursts in Taiwan

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 05:36
A giant yellow inflatable duck on display in a Taiwanese port bursts in unexplained circumstances.

Investors wary despite stock market gains

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2013-12-31 05:15

Institutional investors have been buying stocks by the bushel over the course of 2013.  The S&P 500 is on track to end the year with an increase of more than 30 percent and the Nasdaq up nearly 40 percent.  But not all investors have bought into the logic of easy money provided by the Federal Reserve trickling into corporate profits and from there boosting share prices.

Scott Colyer, CEO and Chief Investment Officer at Advisors Asset Management, says:

I don't blame them. In fact, I believe that is one of the major reasons that you don't have the individual investor back in this game. And many of them just said, "never again."

Heather Brilliant, head of equity and credit research at Morningstar said that while the bond market might seem like a safe alternative for cautious investors, now is probably not the right time:

We really see a very difficult environment. We think rates are going to go up more, which means that people holding bonds are going to be stuck holding a potentially very dangerous portfolio.

Stephen Biggar, global director of equity research at S&P Capital IQ, says that while the stock market's gains look to continue, concerns over "corrections," -- a reversal of some of those gains -- do have some merit:

The market rarely goes in a single direction for a long as it has. We think we'll continue the momentum early in the year and then have a bit of a pull-back and finish five percent higher.

'Twerk' And 'Selfie' Top Latest List Of Words That Need To Go

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 05:15

What words are you sick of hearing? The wags at Lake Superior State University are out with their annual nominees. Others include "hashtag" and "twittersphere."

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