National / International News

MoD accused of leak in soldier row

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 12:15
The Ministry of Defence is accused of leaking information to "damage" the Welsh government in a row over NHS treatment for soldiers.

Storms halt Masters practice day

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 12:12
Players and spectators are forced to leave Augusta National as thunderstorms cause the first practice day to be abandoned.

USAID Says Building Of 'Cuban Twitter' Was Part Of Public Record

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-07 12:08

Congress, the development agency says, specifically earmarked money for a program to break the "information blockade" in Cuba.

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Deep-Sea Ping May Lead To Malaysian Jet — But Time's Running Out

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-07 12:03

Australia and China both claim to hear underwater pings from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel explains the pings, why they're tough to verify and what might happen next.

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Oscar Pistorius Takes The Stand, Opening With Apology

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-07 12:03

In court Monday, Olympian Oscar Pistorius spoke publicly for the first time of the night he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. David Smith, the Africa correspondent for The Guardian, offers more detail.

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In NCAA Finals, Two Recent Champions On Unlikely Rides

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-07 12:03

The Kentucky Wildcats and the Connecticut Huskies take the court in Monday's NCAA men's college basketball final. NPR's Tom Goldman talks to Melissa Block about what to watch for in the game.

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In New Exhibit, Running Shoes Are Potent Symbol Of Boston Bombing

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-07 12:03

Mourners left more than 600 pairs of sneakers at the site, shoes that held deeply personal meanings for runners before the race.

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Pixar: From 'Toy Story' to today

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-07 11:56

In 1995, a relatively unknown company called Pixar released the first animated movie made entirely on a computer. The movie was called "Toy Story" and one of the guys at the head of that company was Ed Catmull.

But Catmull downplays the importance of the computer in "Toy Story's" success.

“It’s not about the technology,” he says.  “We use the technology, we develop it, we love it, [but] it’s about the story.”

Catmull’s new book, “Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” takes a look at the company’s history and their creative process.

The key, says Catmull, is being prepared to deviate from the plan: "Every one of our films, when we start off, they suck... our job is to take it from something that sucks to something that doesn’t suck. That’s the hard part.”

Sometimes, those "deviations" are more like "overhauls": “Almost half our movies have gone through complete restarts.”

He cites "Ratatouille" as an example where of a dramtic reboot. The original version follows a rat who wants to be a chef -- and it also followed the rat’s mentor, a French chef whose star has faded in the culinary world. The Pixar team found themselves stuck. Who was the story really about? The rat or the chef? They brought in Brad Bird of “The Incredibles” who killed the chef. Literally. Catmull credits Bird with saving the film.

“The trick is, in everything we do, there are things we love. And sometimes the things we love get us stuck. And it’s only if we let go of some of those things that we free the movie up to become greater.”

External forces also helped make Pixar successful – including Steve Jobs and the sale of Pixar to Disney, their longtime partner.

“As we developed, we needed to have other resources,” says Catmull, about how Disney got involved. Jobs at this point knew he had cancer, and was trying to set Pixar up for long term success.

Jobs already had a good relationship with Disney’s Bob Iger. Catmull says he felt Iger “was the right guy to go with” after Disney and Apple made a groundbreaking deal to release episodes of "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" on iTunes, back when most people felt uneasy about putting their content on the web. Catmull says he realized Iger was someone who could take risks – something he values at Pixar.

When asked to summarize Pixar's theory on innovation, Catmull says: “Everything’s interconnected. That’s the way life is.”

We believe we can progress - Mourinho

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 11:55
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says his side can overturn a two-goal deficit against Paris St-Germain in the Champions League.

After Voting, Afghans Must Now Wait For A Winner

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-07 11:53

Counting ballots in the presidential election is a painfully slow affair. The voting took place Saturday, but results are still weeks away. And a runoff election is widely expected in June.

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Police Federation leaders to quit

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 11:46
The chairman and general secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales both announce their retirements after a "turbulent" period.

VIDEO: 'India's Banksy' wants to provoke voters

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 11:29
Daku is India's answer to Banksy - a graffiti artist and political activist who operates unseen and anonymously.

Barclays settles mis-selling case

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 11:08
Barclays settles a case accusing it of mis-selling a Libor-linked financial product to the owner of Guardian Care Homes.

No new inquiry into pub bombings

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 11:05
There is to be no new investigation into the Birmingham Pub bombings, police say.

Delayed foreclosures: drawing out the agony?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-07 10:56

The townhouse where Robert Witherspoon and his eight-year-old son live is in a quiet cul-de-sac in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Witherspoon greets me as I drive up, telling me he’s lived here for 10 years. 

The brick townhouse is solidly built, like Witherspoon, a 52-year-old Navy veteran who now manages a small IT company and works from home.

This house is lived in, but it was sold in a foreclosure auction last September. Witherspoon says his bank bought the house, and that he hasn’t paid his mortgage in a couple of years. 

Witherspoon first fell behind on his mortgage payments when he was laid off in 2009. Now, he’s squatting – not so unusual in Maryland, which has the second-highest foreclosure rate in the country, the forefront of a second wave of foreclosures across the U.S.

Approximately one out of every 540 homes is in foreclosure in Maryland, says Marceline White, the executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition. 

She says it’s not that unusual for people to keep living in foreclosed homes, since the foreclosure process takes so long. On a recent afternoon in Prince George’s County, she pointed to one example.

“It’s clearly occupied,” she said, pointing out a jet ski. “There are cars in the driveway.“

At one point, while banks were negotiating a national settlement, they stopped foreclosing in some states. And still, the average foreclosure in Maryland takes almost two years. That’s because Maryland requires foreclosures to be approved by a judge. And new laws slowed things down even more by allowing things like mediation.

Opinions vary on whether that's helpful for homeowners.

“The longer process has definitely helped,” says Lisa Butler-McDougal, executive director of Sowing Empowerment and Economic Development, a group that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Butler-McDougal says foreclosures in Maryland used to be rushed.

“Some people’s homes were being foreclosed in 15 days, 30 days," she says. "Where before they could even understand the notice of intent to foreclose, they were receiving notice of a sheriff’s sale.”

But there's a flip side.

“There’s so many people that come in here that have medical issues as a result of the stress of trying to hold onto a house, that isn’t worth it,” says Manny Montero, an attorney who represents homeowners in foreclosures.

Montero says many homeowners don’t realize that living rent-free in a foreclosed house could eventually cost them, because it makes it much tougher for them to file for bankruptcy and wipe out their debts. 

The pace of foreclosure proceedings in Maryland appears to be picking up, says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. 

“I would guess sometime this year Maryland would turn the corner and we’d see the numbers go back down,”

Back in his townhouse, Robert Witherspoon says he doesn’t want to file for bankruptcy, and he says he’s tried to start making mortgage payments again. He couldn’t because the bank wanted a lump sum up front, which he didn’t have. Witherspoon’s bank, JP Morgan Chase, wouldn’t comment other than to say it made several attempts to reach out to him. Now, Witherspoon is afraid he’ll get an eviction notice.

Witherspoon says he plans to move after the end of the school year, but he’s hoping to avoid being evicted – something that happened to him as a teenager.

“When you’re in high school and you come home and you see your bed outside the house and not in the house – I was totally embarrassed by that,” he says.

Of course, Witherspoon says his current situation is embarrassing, too. But even after the pain of foreclosure, he still wants to – someday – buy again.

Disease Detectives Are Solving Fewer Foodborne Illness Cases

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-07 10:42

The government has reported 42 percent fewer foodborne illness cases in the past decade and solved less than half of them, a report finds. But that doesn't necessarily mean the food supply is safer.

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VIDEO: Rwanda: How life has changed

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 10:41
Commemorations have been taking place across Rwanda to mark 20 years since the 1994 genocide.

Sex with pupil teacher spared jail

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 10:30
A 26-year-old drama teacher who admitted having a sexual relationship with a teenage pupil is spared a prison sentence.

NY train crash driver had sleep woes

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 10:28
The driver of a New York commuter train that derailed in December, killing four, suffers from a serious sleep disorder, investigators reveal.

UN concerned over Kenya mass arrests

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-07 10:21
The UN's refugee agency says it is concerned over the mass arrests of Somalis and others in Kenya amid an operation against militant Islamists.
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