National / International News

VIDEO: Unwell Serena struggles to serve

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 09:02
Serena Williams is forced to retire from the doubles event through illness during her match with sister Venus against Stefanie Voegele and Kristina Barrois.

What happened to Rolf Harris's portrait of the Queen?

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:57
Painting thought to be in his personal collection.

KKK flag removed after local talks

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:52
A Ku Klux Klan flag was removed from a lamp-post in east Belfast following discussions with local residents and representatives, police say.

Officer 'mistakenly' shot woman

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:50
A police inspector tells an inquest of his shock at mistakenly shooting a woman during a raid that sparked the 1985 Brixton riots.

Hotel site in 'appalling' data leak

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:48
A hotel booking website that was leaking customer information is being investigated by the UK data privacy watchdog.

Deep-diving devil rays solve mystery

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:47
New tracking data shows that Chilean devil rays dive down nearly 2km below the ocean surface.

Musicians protest movie studios recording overseas

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:45

Hollywood has been dealing with the problem of runaway production for years.  A growing number of film and television productions are being lured away from Los Angeles by tax credits.

One group of show business employees is speaking out about it. The American Federation of Musicians recently held a protest outside the Los Angeles offices of Lionsgate, the studio responsible for, among other blockbusters, "The Hunger Games".  The musicians work in film scoring. They’re upset with Lionsgate for accepting millions in tax credits to film in the U.S., but then score those films overseas.

Marc Sazer is a violinist and a member of the American Federation of Musicians. He’s worked for decades in film and television. “The major studios have longstanding relationships with the American Federation of Musicians,” said Sazer. “Fox, Universal, Columbia, Paramount and Disney, when they produce domestically, they score their films with us.”

Lionsgate is not considered a major studio. Technically, it’s a mini-major studio. But Sazer and the other members of the musicians' union argue that Lionsgate is at the same level as the major studios. Last year it generated $2.7 billion in revenue, millions of which came in the form of tax credits.

“We’re trying to bring attention to the fact that companies are taking our tax dollars and then taking our jobs overseas, which depletes our social compact," Sazer said. "It also depletes our cultural equity, because it undermines the livelihoods and the sustainability of our musical culture.” Lionsgate did not respond to a request for an interview.

In an outdoor amphitheater in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Pasadena Symphony is tuning up for a rehearsal. Hundreds of empty chairs face the stage. Peacocks outnumber audience members.

“We have about half of the orchestra on stage, some early birds, some will whisk in at the last minute,” said trombonist Andy Malloy. He’s worked in film and television since he got his first gig on "Laverne and Shirley".

Film and TV gigs used to make up 75 to 80 percent of Malloy’s income. “My guess, if there are 60 musicians here, easily 40 to 50 people do recording work as well," he said.

According to the union, total earnings of its members have fallen by half since 2007. During a recent protest, Malloy and his colleagues delivered a petition to Lionsgate headquarters. At the time, they singled out one film in particular, "Draft Day" starring Kevin Costner.

The score to "Draft Day" was recorded at a studio in Macedonia called F.A.M.E.’S. Laurent Koppitz, the founder of F.A.M.E.’S, is a musician himself, originally from France. He was working at a classical music record label in Paris when he visited Macedonia for the first time. “I discovered a country that was really interested in attracting investors and doing business,” said Koppitz.

Koppitz was able to get a loan, fix up a recording studio and audition more than 100 classical musicians. That was six years ago. Nearly all the jobs he gets are low-budget productions, accompaniment on pop albums, Bollywood films and video game music.

“Ninety-nine percent of what we do is independent projects,” Koppitz said. Some of them turn famous. 

Koppitz was surprised when he came across news reports that F.A.M.E.’S was taking jobs from American musicians. He says he can’t compete with the quality of studios in Los Angeles. And that was not his intention. Kopitz started F.A.M.E.’S to make live orchestras affordable to those with small budgets, who might otherwise use pre-recorded or electronic music.

So when a low-budget production hires his musicians, that, he says, is an example of the good aspect of globalization: more musicians get work and more productions have live music.

But if large studios hire him simply because he’s cheaper, then he says they are coming to Macedonia for the wrong reason. “When you go for the wrong reason, like 'Oh, it’s cheap,' it’s not very nice for anybody because it takes the job here which is a problem,” he said

That problem Koppitz said, is the bad aspect of globalization. 

Ex-youth worker jailed for abuse

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:42
A former youth worker is jailed for six years after admitting child sex offences against the son a couple who gave him support after his dismissal.

Knox gives me alibi, says Sollecito

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:39
Raffaele Sollecito, the ex-boyfriend of Amanda Knox, insists he is innocent and says the American's evidence provides him with an alibi.

Putin accuses Ukraine over ceasefire

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:28
Russian President Vladimir Putin condemns Ukraine for ending a truce with separatists as fighting in eastern Ukraine leaves at least four people dead.

Older Adults Are Fatter Than Ever, Increasing Their Risk Of Illness

NPR News - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:25

There's good news and bad news about aging boomers, a Census Bureau report finds. They're drinking less and voting more, but they're also heavier, which could mean less independence later.

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VIDEO: UKIP MEPs protest during EU anthem

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:20
Nigel Farage has led his fellow UKIP MEPs in a protest against the European Parliament at the opening of its new session in Strasbourg.

VIDEO: Wearing Google Glass to the cinema

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:14
Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones finds out what happens if you wear Google Glass to watch a film in the UK.

Bacon and Derbyshire to leave 5 live

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:10
Richard Bacon and Victoria Derbyshire, two of the biggest names on 5 live, are to leave the station later this year.

More abuse claims against Harris

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:02
The Crown Prosecution Service says it will work with the police to see if there is enough evidence to bring further charges against Rolf Harris.

ENO cut in arts funding shake-up

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:02
The English National Opera has its funding cut by 29%, Arts Council England reveals, as it announces its annual distribution of money for arts organisations.

EU dominated by German politics

BBC - Tue, 2014-07-01 08:01
EU dominated by German power play
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