National / International News

Chris Christie Says Port Authority Chairman Has Resigned

NPR News - Fri, 2014-03-28 11:07

David Samson's resignation is the latest shoe to drop in an ongoing scandal that involves the politically charged closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge.

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Are billboards effective advertising?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-28 10:38

Billboards may be old-fashioned, but they’re still big business for advertisers.

That may seem odd, considering how hard it is to measure the effectiveness of billboard ads.

Walking on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, Christopher Taylor didn’t notice the 50-foot billboard for a TV show. The ad didn’t even register.

Even though there isn’t an easy way to calculate the return on advertisers’ investment, S&P Capital IQ equity analyst Tuna Amobi says, “There is little question that it is effective. The question is, to what degree or what magnitude.”

Some costs of billboard ads are not born by advertisers.

Condo-owner David Korkis has his windows blocked by a giant ad.

“I had one of the best views in LA. Then, because of that billboard and the sloppy job they do putting up the billboard, it’s dark in there. It’s depressing,” says Korkis. He complained to the management, but he says “they make about $50,000 to $80,000 on the thing. So no matter how I complain, it’s not going to change.”

Studies have shown that a nearby billboard can reduce property values by up to 30 percent.

Diego Luna on Chavez film and getting American backing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-28 10:37

The new film Cesar Chavez chronicles the life of the historic labor leader who fought for better wages and working conditions for farm workers. Chavez is the founder of the United Farm Workers Union and is known for his nonviolent approach toward bringing national attention to the plight of farm workers.

While Chavez’s life is well known, getting a film about a union leader to the silver screen is a challenge all in its own. Diego Luna, the director of the film, said the project got most its funding from supporters in Mexico. Luna said this is mainly because Hollywood doesn’t like to take risks at the box office; and a movie about a Latino labor leader isn’t always a surefire money maker.

“I heard many things like ‘How can this be told from the angle of a white American?’ said Luna, “I said ‘the problem is that his name is Cesar Chavez.' You want to do a film about a reporter who goes and meets Cesar Chavez? No.”

He explained that before his film on Chavez there had never been a motion picture biography done about a Latino figure who was not an entertainer.

“It’s quite ridiculous if you think about this community that grows and grows and grows, but it’s not represented in entertainment,” said Luna, “At least not with respect and the complexity, diversity, and cultural richness that it has.”

The film Cesar Chavez: History is made one step at time will be in theaters Friday, March 28.

Rebekah Brooks 'relieved' to resign

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 10:21
Charlie Brooks tells the phone-hacking trial that his wife, Rebekah, was relieved when she was asked to resign as chief executive of News International.

SA captain banned for England match

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 10:04
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis is banned for the crucial World Twenty20 game against England in Chittagong on Saturday.

Undercover operation 'foiled attack'

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 10:03
An undercover surveillance operation is believed to have led to the seizure of an improvised mortar bomb in Belfast.

Mine rescuers 'saw water up to roof'

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:54
A blast in a Swansea Valley mine caused 650,000 gallons of water to sweep through a section where miners were working leaving flooding up to the roof, Swansea Crown Court is told.

England women thrash Bangladesh

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:50
England seal a comprehensive 79-run victory over Bangladesh to move closer to a semi-final place at the Women's World Twenty20.

Poll shows what voters really think

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:50
New poll reveals attitudes to four UK party leaders

Doctor's new order: no limes, no coconuts

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:37

If the doctor in Harry Nilsson's most famous song is reading this, we admonish you to change your recommendations immediately. On Thursday, we explained why lime prices are rising and threatening favorite beverages, condiments and foods, including mojitos, salsa and even soups like pho.

Now there's news that the price of coconuts are climbing, too: both prices for copra – the white meat of a coconut – and coconut oil rose in March.

Copra prices rose 60 percent since February of 2013 (graph and data via Index Mundi)... 

... and a 50 percent rise for coconut oil prices over a year:

Read: do not put limes in coconuts. Do not pass go. 

The Hindu reports that Bharat N.Khona, former Board Member of the Cochin Oil Merchants Association (COMA), says drought conditions are hurting shipments of copra. In addition, Super Typhoon Yolanda reportedly destroyed 10 percent of coconut trees in the past winter in the Philippines. That country is the main supplier of coconuts to the United States, according to GMA News. In fact, the deadly typhoon resulted in a 13 percent drop in copra supply.

The demand for tender coconuts during the upcoming summer is also contributing to the copra shortage.  

How long until prices level out? It takes six-to-seven years to grow new trees to the point where they bear new fruit.

Other top growers of coconuts include Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Thailand, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. But the fact remains that the Philippines is the second-largest global producer behind Indonesia, which means we may not see prices lower any time soon. 

Taken all together, what shall we call this lime-coconut catastrophe? We've got limes and coconuts. We've got copras.We've got COMAs.

A coco-catasrophe? A coconut coma? A lime coma? A loma? A Point Loma? (Shout out to San Diego). A copratastrophe? A copracabra? (Shout out to chupacabras.)

Whatever we call it, get ready to shell out extra bucks at your Harry Nilsson party. 

Belfast writer Sam McAughtry dies

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:33
The writer and broadcaster Sam McAughtry has died after a long illness.

VIDEO: Saudi's 'first kiss'

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:28
Parodies of the latest viral hit include a very Bedouin version

McGregor's red card overturned

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:28
Hull City goalkeeper Allan McGregor has the red card he was shown in the 2-1 defeat at West Ham overturned on appeal.

India reach World T20 semi-finals

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:19
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli score half-centuries as India beat Bangladesh and qualify for the World T20 semi-finals.

Huw Edwards' top 10 tips for being a news presenter

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:17
Huw Edwards' top 10 tips for being a news presenter

The Loop: Rainbow mash

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:16
Welcome to the Loop, the Magazine's weekly letters column, including the best of your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.

10 things we didn't know last week

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:13
The North Pole has hosted three cricket matches, and other nuggets

VIDEO: Baa-rnstorming sheep enter Louvre

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:13
A dozen sheep - herded by a sheepdog - surprised tourists and passers-by by pounding their way into the Louvre Museum in Paris.

VIDEO: Executive cars to be sold on eBay

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 09:10
Italy's government is selling off hundreds of executive cars used by government officials, in an online auction on eBay.

Hospital campaigner picks up CBE

BBC - Fri, 2014-03-28 08:57
NHS campaigner Julie Bailey, who helped expose failings at Stafford Hospital, describes being made a CBE as "recognition" for all health whistleblowers.

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