National / International News

US company to create 1,000 new jobs

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 04:30
US company Concentrix is to create around 1,000 new jobs in Belfast.

Why London Marathon will be Farah's toughest test

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 04:10
Fans used to seeing Mo Farah's many triumphs need to temper expectations of what he will achieve on his marathon debut

'Super jumbo' arrives in Glasgow

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 04:10
Thousands of spectators watch the world's largest passenger aircraft, the A380 Airbus, land in Scotland for the first time.

Ukraine offer to pro-Russian rebels

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 04:07
Ukraine says it will not prosecute pro-Russian activists occupying official buildings in two eastern cities if they surrender their weapons.

'Stay With Me, Bud,' Mom Told Baby After Mudslide Trapped Them

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 04:00

Amanda Skorjanc's home in Oso, Wash., was among those engulfed in mud and debris on March 22. But she managed to hold on to her 6-month-old son, Duke. "I thought I was losing him," she says.

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Road reopens after lorry gets stuck

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:58
A road reopens after a large lorry earlier became stuck under a railway bridge in Powys forcing the cancellation of trains.

Bank keeps UK interest rates on hold

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:50
UK interest rates have been kept on hold at 0.5% again by the Bank of England, with most analysts not expecting rates to rise until next year.

Kenyan bullet-hit boy discharged

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:40
A Kenyan toddler is discharged from hospital after recuperating from surgery to remove a bullet lodged in his brain during a shooting at a church.

M&S clothing sales recover

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:33
Marks & Spencer reveals sales of its clothing range have risen but sales across its wider general merchandise division have fallen for the 11th quarter in a row.

Lung cancer 'still biggest killer'

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:30
Lung cancer continues to kill more people in Wales than any other type of cancer with almost 1,900 people dying of the disease in 2012, new figures show.

Caption Challenge: Seven days to file

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:24
It's the Caption Challenge.

Possible new signal in plane search

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:20
A plane searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has detected a possible new signal in the southern Indian Ocean, Australian officials say.

Co-op: A very public power struggle

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:09
Lord Myners’ resignation is about future of UK’s biggest mutual

Could work emails be banned after 6pm?

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:01
Should work emails be banned after 6pm?

School Stabbing Suspect Was 'Nice Young Boy,' Attorney Says

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-10 03:00

Until Wednesday, the Pennsylvania teen was a well-liked student with no known mental health problems, his lawyer says. Now the 16-year-old is charged in a stabbing attack that injured more than 20.

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In U.K., a case for re-opening coal mines?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-10 02:59

Thirty years ago, the country that started the Industrial Revolution - and fueled it with coal - scaled back its coal mining industry. The UK announced  it was closing many of its deep mines. Today only three remain, and two of those are facing closure.

But have the Brits blundered? Is there a case for  the UK re-opening its deep coal mines… and digging a little deeper?

Bob Fitzpatrick  certainly believes so. But then, he would. He’s one of  the UK’s  few remaining deep pit coal miners. 

“The coal’s here and you can get it,” says Fitzpatrick, who works at the Hatfield coal mine in Yorkshire, in the north of England. “If the mines are mined properly and managed properly they are viable.”

Then there’s the issue of energy security. The UK may have shut down most of its mines, but it still  generates 40 percent of its electricity from coal, importing the bulk of it from the U.S., Colombia and Russia.

The Russians supply the largest amount of that imported coal, and after the annexation of Crimea, that  has got some people worried. “The gas supplies and the coal supplies from Russia are now pretty doubtful,” says local Yorkshire politician Jane Hamilton. “President Putin has got his own agenda. I think we should be very careful and look to re-opening mines, because we don’t know where our energy is going to come from.”  

The case for UK coal  began to look even better last week. Geologists revealed that the country could have vast reserves of the fuel, as much as 20 trillion tons of it, lying under the sea bed off its eastern coast -- enough to keep the lights on in the UK for centuries. But the  problem with deep pit mining, let alone with burrowing under the sea for coal, is that it is horrendously expensive. And, says importer Nigel Yaxley, it’s now much cheaper for the Brits to bring in foreign coal. “At the moment prices are depressed, partly because of surplus coal in the U.S. thrown up by the shale gas revolution," he says, "and partly because of the slowdown in growth in China.”

The future of British coal seems to depend on much higher world prices and much improved technology  making it easier to mine, and cleaner to burn. The case for UK coal? Not yet proven.   

Why the Ally IPO is good news for taxpayers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-10 02:57

Ally Financial is trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, under the ticker symbol ALLY. The company, you might remember, had to be bailed out by the government in 2008, as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP, to the tune of $17.2 billion.

The government sold 95 million shares in the company through the initial public offering, raising about $2.4 billion dollars.  Add that to the $15.3 billion Ally had already paid back, and U.S. taxpayers have made about half a billion dollars more than they invested in the company.

The stock sale puts the government a step closer to sloughing off what remains of the financial crisis bailouts.

According to the New York Times:

The firm, once General Motors’ financing arm, is the government’s last remaining holding from its enormous bailouts of the financial and auto industries.

The U.S. Department of Treasury said the Ally stock sale brings its total returns on TARP investments to $438.3 billion.  The government has handed out about $423.4 billion.  With a little math, we’re talking taxpayer profit from TARP in the neighborhood of $15 billion.

 

 

But, we're not in the clear yet.  TARP will likely still cost taxpayers. This, from the U.S. Treasury:

"Treasury's latest quarterly estimate of TARP's lifetime cost as reflected in the February 2014 Monthly Report to Congress, developed in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget, is $39.02 billion, which is largely attributable to our efforts to help struggling homeowners deal with the housing crisis. Unlike TARP's investment programs, the funds committed for TARP's housing programs were not intended to be recovered." 

 

Teens now spending as much on food as clothes

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-10 02:46

Teenagers are now spending as much, if not more, on food as on clothing, according to Piper Jaffray’s semi-annual report on teen spending, out this week. And teenage's new favorite place to spend money? Starbucks

“Food of course is the one category that isn’t e-commerce-able,” says senior research analyst Stephanie Wissink of Piper Jaffray. “When they indicate they’re spending more on food that most likely means they’re also frequenting food locations more regularly.”

Wissink says it’s a misconception that teens want to be alone with their phones. Looks like they want to be together – with their phones – in places like Starbucks.

"Starbucks probably has the most widely-used app at the point of sale system," says Morningstar analyst RJ Hottovy. "So when people are making purchases, their app is used for one in every five purchases at this point."

Why automakers are getting into healthcare

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-10 02:44

A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers highlights growing opportunity in the healthcare sector. 

In fact, the report lays out that almost half of the Fortune 50 companies – firms that previously did not have anything to do with healthcare – are getting into the game.

“The money is starting to move differently,” says the report’s author, Ceci Connolly, the head of the Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "More and more of us are having to spend our own dollars, and make our own health care decisions."

Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans have health insurance, technology is changing, and we have seen “the rise of the consumer.”

The report highlight's Ford's work on a system that would help drivers with chronic conditions.

"These sorts of pushes toward more consumer-directed health care might be a good thing," says Zack Cooper, a health policy professor at Yale. He says access to data and access to information means we're not as reliant on experts.

Porn images teacher's classroom ban

BBC - Thu, 2014-04-10 02:42
A primary teacher who transferred his porn collection onto a school computer is banned from teaching.
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