National / International News

Tasting French Fries For A Living Can Be A Pain In The Mouth

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-04 08:04

Food industry "sensory panelists" spend hours chewing, swishing and analyzing food, sometimes to the point of pain. These tests ensure mass-produced products like frozen french fries hit the spot.

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VIDEO: Aliens and monsters 'invade' bus stop

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 08:01
LJ Rich reports on an advertising campaign that uses a camera and special effects to entertain commuters.

Foreign reporters shot in Afghanistan

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 07:59
An Afghan police officer kills a veteran Associated Press photographer and wounds her colleague a day before presidential polls.

Underwater search begins for MH370

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 07:58
The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean moves into a new phase - with a locator searching for flight recorder signals.

Boston Bob wins Melling Chase

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 07:35
Boston Bob wins the Melling Chase in the main race on day two of the Grand National meeting at Aintree.

'Islam plot' started '20 years ago'

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 07:34
An ex-teacher at a Birmingham school alleged to be the target of a 'Islamist takeover' claims it began 20 years ago.

VIDEO: Violent clashes at Brussels protest

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 07:23
Protesters clash with police in Brussels during an anti-austerity rally in the city.

US economy gains 192,000 jobs

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 07:20
The US economy created 192,000 jobs in March, down slightly from a revised 197,000 figure for February, and the unemployment rate held at 6.7%.

VIDEO: Why is it hard to build a kangaroo?

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 07:14
A German technology firm have developed a digital marsupial, a robotic kangaroo that can leap and land with precision.

Robinson 'crossed line': McGuinness

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 07:05
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness says Peter Robinson "has crossed the line" by saying they had reached agreement on welfare reform.

Friday's gossip column

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 07:01
Mourinho faces up to selling Oscar, Man City want Falcao, Konoplyanka to Liverpool back on, plus more.

Mali on alert over Ebola fears

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:58
Mali is on alert over the deadly Ebola virus after three suspected cases were reported near the border with Guinea, where 86 people have died.

Two Brave Journalists In Afghanistan

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:58

The two Associated Press journalists shot in Afghanistan shared a gift for finding the humanity in war zones. Photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed, and reporter Kathy Gannon was wounded.

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PODCAST: March jobs report

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:56

Employers hired 192,000 people in March. That's a strong showing, but not quite as high as economists had expected. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7 percent. 
Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, joined us to discuss.

Also, it appears the jobs market is improving, slowly but surely. But are things really getting better on the ground? We put that question to Ron Martinez, who owns a sports bar in Los Angeles and says he's been hiring.

Meanwhile, take-out is the theme of the day on Wall Street. GrubHub starts trading on the New York Stock Exchange today. In addition to operating its own food delivery app, GrubHub owns online food delivery site, Seamless. Grubhub shares are priced at $26 a piece -- valuing the company at about $2 billion. Why is Grubhub such an attractive investment? Marketplace's Jeff Tyler takes a look.

PODCAST: March jobs report

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:56

Employers hired 192,000 people in March. That's a strong showing, but not quite as high as economists had expected. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7 percent. 
Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, joined us to discuss.

Also, it appears the jobs market is improving, slowly but surely. But are things really getting better on the ground? We put that question to Ron Martinez, who owns a sports bar in Los Angeles and says he's been hiring.

Meanwhile, take-out is the theme of the day on Wall Street. GrubHub starts trading on the New York Stock Exchange today. In addition to operating its own food delivery app, GrubHub owns online food delivery site, Seamless. Grubhub shares are priced at $26 a piece -- valuing the company at about $2 billion. Why is Grubhub such an attractive investment? Marketplace's Jeff Tyler takes a look.

High pollution levels 'begin to ease'

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:56
Air pollution over most parts of the UK is beginning to ease as forecasters predict it could be blown away by "clean Atlantic air".

Towns' EU regeneration funds on hold

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:51
EU funding for a scheme to refurbish shops and business premises in two Pembrokeshire towns is suspended.

House of Fraser set for China sale

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:51
Department store chain House of Fraser is poised to be sold to Chinese company Sanpower, the BBC understands.

Walking through the latest jobs numbers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:39

The good news:  The U.S. added 192K jobs in March and the unemployment rate is 6.7%!

The bad news:  The U.S. added only 192K jobs in March and the unemployment rate is still 6.7%. 

More jobs, but fewer than expected

“We were looking for a higher number, maybe 230k,” says ITG chief economist Steve Blitz.  “It’s a spin your wheels economy; it is expanding and that’s better than contracting, but we’re not seeing anything to suggest the economy is going to accelerate to a faster pace of growth beyond 2, 2.5%.”

The new jobs don’t pay a lot

The new jobs include a lot of temp positions (29,000),  in sectors that don’t necessarily pay super well:  Restaurants (30,000), ambulatory health care (20,000) including home nursing, Construction (19,000). 

“It’s a great thing that people are finding employment,” says Blitz, “but they’re not the kind of high wage jobs that are going to generate the kind of spending that many are anticipating.”  Including, he says, people at the Federal Reserve.  

Some nice things

The number of long term unemployed (people out of work for 27 weeks and over) is down over the month, and the year. In March of 2013 there were 4.576 million long term unemployed people, in March of 2014 there were 3.739 million.  In February of 2014 we were at 3.849 million.

The long term unemployed are also making up a smaller percentage of all unemployed people.  (35.8% this March compared with 39.1% last March, and 37% in February)

Some major revisions

The Bureau of Labor Statistics adjusted some of its previous estimates.  In January the economy added 144,000 jobs (not 113,000 as originally estimated), and in February the economy added 197,000 jobs (not the 129,000 the BLS originally reported).

A milestone and a mile off

By one measure, we have now surpassed the number of private sector jobs we had at the pre-recession peak in January 2008.  Back then, the private sector was employing 115.977 million people.  In March the private sector employed 116.087 million people. 

But that misses some major points. 

If you look at ALL employment throughout the entire economy - including the public sector - there’s not nearly as much to celebrate.  The pre-recession peak for TOTAL non-farm payroll employment was 138.365 million people back in January of 2008.  In March of 2014, we were tentatively at 137.928 million people with fulltime jobs. So we have 437,000 more to go.

Slow to catch up.  

Nor should we be happy with reaching the number of jobs we had in 2008.  We’ve had lots of new people join the workforce since then. The Hamilton Project (affiliated with the Brookings Institution) keeps track of the “jobs gap,” which is the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month.  Their estimate for when we'll truly catch up to where we would've been? 2020.

Was it the weather after all?

Remember December and January weren’t so hot... neither in temperature nor in jobs.  Whereas in November we added 274,000 jobs,  in December we added 84,000 and in January we added 113,000 144,000.  February wasn’t great either at 129,000 197,000 jobs created.   (Strikethroughs represent the original BLS estimates, they revised their numbers in the March jobs report).   When those initial numbers came out, a lot of people suspected/hoped the weather was behind the drop in new hires. 

Well, after the revisions, it looks like Old Man Winter didn’t slam job growth as much as it looked like at the time.  Weather was certainly a part of the dip, but looking at the overall trend it would appear that the economy was growing at a very lukewarm pace to begin with.   For the foreseeable future, that's what we're going to be stuck with: 2-2.5% growth, estimates Blitz.

Nama NI portfolio is sold for £1bn

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:33
Nama, the Republic of Ireland's state-controlled "bad bank", sells its entire Northern Ireland loan portfolio for around £1bn.
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