National / International News

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles: No Decision Yet On Wilson's Job

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:49

Saying an internal affairs investigation into the August incident in which officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown is continuing, Mayor James Knowles says Wilson remains on leave.

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Ferguson Documents: The Physical Evidence

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:46

Officer Darren Wilson fired a total of 12 shots during his Aug. 9 encounter with 18-year-old Michael Brown. Of those, at least six hit Brown, killing him, evidence released Monday showed.

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Florida Woman In 'Stand Your Ground' Case Accepts Plea Deal

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:42

Marissa Alexander had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing what she said was a warning shot at her husband and his two children in 2010. Under the plea deal, she will serve 65 more days.

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Amid Violence, Iraq Fractures Again Along Religious Lines

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:28

Nearly a decade ago, Iraq's war drove millions from their homes and divided the country along sectarian lines. It's happening again in response to the latest brutality by the Islamic State.

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FA 'will not boycott World Cup'

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:16
The Football Association rules out boycotting the 2018 and 2022 World Cups over allegations of corruption in the bidding process.

Masked man in acid 'revenge attack'

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:15
A woman whose 80-year-old former lover is accused of a revenge attack against her tells a court a masked attacker threw acid in her face.

A new high-tech shopping helper: Dressing room mirrors

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:07

You can learn a lot by taking a long, hard look in the mirror. But here's a question: What can a mirror learn about you? If it's the right mirror, the answer is quite a bit.

Rebecca Minkoff, a fashion designer, is opening a new “connected” boutique in San Francisco. It has big mirror touch screens customers can use to browse products and request a dressing room. If you enter your phone number, the system can communicate with you via text messages. It can tell you when your dressing room is ready, or help you download the store's app.

When you walk back into the dressing room, what looks like an average mirror suddenly lights up with text and pictures. It knows what items you brought in because a hidden antenna scanned the tags when you came into the room. 

Tracking what you try on is a valuable data point retailers have traditionally failed to capture, says Healey Cypher, head of retail innovation at eBay, which developed the mirror. The mirror can tell stores about your preferences and buying habits.

He says  there is more data to collect through brick-and-mortar shopping than there is online. “Where online is a very binary kind of black and white,” he says “the physical world is all the beautiful shades of gray that are truly useful information.”

It becomes even more beautiful for retailers if they can connect what a customer looks at online with what they buy and try on in a store – which is what happens if you download and use the Rebecca Minkoff app. The data helps the company advertise, display items in its stores and make customized recommendations.

There's a major push in retail to connect online activity to offline activity. Companies like Macy's and American Eagle are tracking your smartphone as you move through their stores, so they can see where you go and what you look at. Sinan Aral, a professor at MIT, says the touchscreens and apps of a “connected store” are currently expensive, but he expects that to change soon.

“In the near future,” he says, stores “are going to get quite smart quite fast.”

For now, most dressing room mirrors don't know who you are or what you might like to wear. They will only show you what you look like. 

That mirror in the dressing room knows a lot about you

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:07

You can learn a lot by taking a long, hard look in the mirror. But here's a question: What can a mirror learn about you? If it's the right mirror, the answer is quite a bit.

Rebecca Minkoff, a fashion designer, is opening a new “connected” boutique in San Francisco. It has big mirror touch screens customers can use to browse products and request a dressing room. If you enter your phone number, the system can communicate with you via text messages. It can tell you when your dressing room is ready, or help you download the store's app.

When you walk back into the dressing room, what looks like a normal mirror suddenly lights up with text and pictures. It knows what items you brought in because a hidden antenna scanned the tags when you came into the room. 

Healey Cypher is the head of retail innovation at eBay, which developed the mirror.  He says tracking what you try on is a valuable data point retailers have traditionally failed to capture. It can tell stores about your preferences and buying habits.

He says  there is more data to collect in the real life than there is online. “Where online is a very binary kind of black and white,” he says “the physical world is all the beautiful shades of gray that are truly useful information.”

It gets even more beautiful for retailers if they can connect what a customer looks at online with what they buy and try on in a store—which is what happens if you download and use the Rebecca Minkoff app. It makes a rich profile of everything you've tried on in the store and browsed online.  The data helps the company advertise, display items in its stores, and make personally tailored recommendations.

There's a major push now in retail to connect online activity to offline activity. Companies like Macy's and American Eagle are tracking your smartphone as you move through their stores, so they can see where you go and what you look at. Sinan Aral, a professor at MIT, says the touch screens and apps of a “connected store” are currently expensive, but he expects that to change soon.

“In the near future,” he says, stores “are going to get quite smart quite fast.”

For now, most dressing room mirrors don't know who you are or what you might like to wear. They will only show you what you look like. 

VIDEO: Cat survives shotgun attack

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:05
A cat suffered two broken legs and was blasted at least twice with a shotgun, a veterinary practice in Cornwall says.

How restaurants calculate calorie counts

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:01

When you go into a convenience store, you might find hot dogs spinning on a roller grill or an egg salad sandwich in a cold case. Just how many calories do those items have?

For some of us, ignorance is bliss, but not the Food and Drug Administration. It's out with new rules today on posting calorie counts. It’ll affect anything from chain restaurants and vending machines with more than 20 locations to prepared foods at the grocery store. Some places, like Starbucks and New York City are already posting this information. But for everyone else, how do you actually count a calorie?

Lyle Beckwith, with the National Association of Convenience Stores, isn’t yet sure how to answer that question.

“We’ve not been in this business before,” he says. “I’m assuming there are labs that we’ll have to send various products out for testing. The cost and time to be determined."

In fact, there are private companies that do this work. James McKnight works at one of them, QC Laboratories in Pennsylvania.

“All they have to do is pretty much send us a sample, you know, via UPS, FedEx, give us a serving size and off we go,” says McKnight.

The FDA estimates these new rules will cost the restaurant industry $85 million over 20 years. QC Laboratories charges $700 per sample for full nutritional information or $150-$200 if it's simply using a database of ingredients to calculate the tally.

Most companies do use the database method, says Jim Painter, a professor at Eastern Illinois University.

For a slice of pizza, Painter says “you’d have the flour, you have a little bit of sugar, you have the salt, tomato sauce. You have whatever ingredients you put on the top and you’d add up all those, you’d divide it by what a portion would be, and then that is the calories for that slice of pizza.”

It’s generally pretty easy, according to Painter, unless the items change frequently or involve a great deal of customization.

However, he notes that because the databases are built on averages, they’re not entirely accurate.

“But at least it gives you a comparison when you’re looking at one food compared to the other,” he says.

That way customers can compare that slice of pizza to a hot dog, or the egg salad. Or maybe opt for an apple instead.

Flight school: JetBlue to offer educational videos

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:00

Good news for frequent flyers looking for another excuse not to talk to the person sitting next to them.

JetBlue and Coursera, one of the companies developing massive open online courses, are partnering up to offer educational videos in the sky. It gives new meaning to higher education.

Content will come from the University of Edinburgh, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Berklee School of Music. The videos will be available on all JetBlue flights by the end of the year, so get ready to learn.

Or, come to think of it, you could just read a book.

Flight school: Jet Blue to offer educational videos

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:00

Good news for frequent flyers looking for another excuse not to talk to the person sitting next to them.

JetBlue and Coursera, one of the companies developing massive open online courses, are partnering up to offer educational videos in the sky. It gives new meaning to higher education.

Content will come from the University of Edinburgh, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Berklee School of Music. The videos will be available on all JetBlue flights by the end of the year, so get ready to learn.

Or, come to think of it, you could just read a book.

On-the-ground coverage from protests in Ferguson

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 10:54

Marketplace's Adam Allington is in Ferguson, Missouri reporting on the grand jury decision Monday not to charge officer Darren Wilson in the death of teenager Michael Brown. Here is his live coverage of the protests that followed.

[<a href="//storify.com/Marketplace/on-the-ground-coverage-in-ferguson" target="_blank">View the story "On-the-ground coverage in Ferguson" on Storify</a>]

Drugged Marshmallows Can Keep Urban Raccoons From Spreading Disease

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 10:50

Raccoons, as cute as they are, carry parasites that can be dangerous to humans. Mixing medicine with yummy treats reduced the disease risk for animals and humans in parks in Chicago.

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Hungary police 'blame rape victims'

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-25 10:47
Police in Hungary are accused of blaming victims of sexual assault after releasing advice that warns young women of the risks of flirting.

China's smoking ban distracts from a larger issue

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 10:45

There are approximately 300 million smokers in China, roughly the population of the United States. Smoking also kills about a million Chinese each year. Now Beijing is considering a ban on smoking in public places and tobacco advertising. 

On the face of it, the ban is an effort by the government to control healthcare costs. But Stanford University anthropologist Matthew Kohrman, who has written extensively about smoking in China, sees the ban as a distraction from a bigger issue.

"It's a sideshow," Kohrman says.

This ban would target consumers, like advocacy efforts by other governments and the World Health Organization do. Kohrman is more concerned about the supply and production of tobacco. 

"Most people would think that cigarette production has gone down worldwide over the last two or three decades. In fact, cigarette production has tripled since the 1960s," he says. "China has become the world's cigarette superpower." 

The places a Westerner might be surprised to find smoking today? Taxis, schools and even hospitals. Even so, consumer habits are changing. Public buses and high-end department stores are smoke-free. Airplanes, too, for the most part. 

"For years now I've been flying on Chinese airlines," Kohrman says. "Shortly after the flight takes off, I've almost on every flight smelled cigarette smoke. I always figured someone in the back has a fierce nicotine habit."

Turns out, the passengers obeyed the signs and flight attendants' instructions. The smoke was coming from the cockpit. 

 

Dairy industry in 'desperate state'

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-25 10:26
The dairy industry is in a desperate state, a government committee hears.

PM warns net firms after Rigby murder

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-25 09:36
David Cameron says internet companies must act on terrorist material, after it emerges one of Lee Rigby's killers spoke on Facebook about wanting to murder a soldier.

How many more Fergusons are there?

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-25 09:35
How many other towns and cities across America have exactly the same cocktail of problems that one spark could ignite, the BBC's Jon Sopel asks.

AUDIO: Tesco writes apology poem to students

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-25 09:30
Two students who wrote a poem complaining to Tesco say they were "very impressed" to receive a reply - in verse.

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