National / International News

Is it illegal to display an IS flag?

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 03:17
Is it illegal to display an IS flag?

NME magazine to be given away free

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 03:15
Music magazine NME is to be given away free later this year in a bid to boost its circulation.

BBC bows to pressure over Wimbledon show

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 03:12
The BBC changes the format of the Wimbledon highlights programme hosted by Clare Balding after mounting criticism of the format.

Latest On Greek Crisis: Finance Minister Resigns, As EU Leaders Meet

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-06 03:06

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said his resignation could help the prime minister negotiate a better deal with the EU. However, he said, he will wear the "loathing" of Greek creditors "with pride."

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News of World reporter sentenced

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 03:03
News of the World features editor Jules Stenson receives a four-month suspended sentence at the Old Bailey for his part in the phone-hacking trial.

VIDEO: Is Rihanna's latest video too grim?

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 03:01
Rihanna's latest video has sparked a debate about whether it is too violent, too sexist, too misogynistic and just too grim.

PODCAST: The recycling economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-06 03:00

It's a new day in Greece after voters say no to deeper austerity. More on the latest in the ongoing financial crisis. Plus, if you've ever wondered why Styrofoam isn't recycled very often, it's because the economics don't work — Recycling needs markets for recycled materials. And as we find out, the global economy is putting stress on the markets that make recycling possible. 

Minecraft convention comes to London

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:49
London's Docklands was home to Minecon this weekend - the global gathering for fans of the block-building video game.

Prince meets Ashes teams in Cardiff

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:37
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall begin their week-long summer visit to Wales on Monday.

Swingers festival 'was too loud'

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:35
A swingers festival fails to click with nearby villagers who complain of nocturnal noise nuisance from three nights of "incredibly loud music".

Sturgeon memo leak complaint upheld

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:30
The press regulator upholds a complaint against the Daily Telegraph over a story about a leaked memo involving First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

McIlroy sustains major ankle injury

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:07
Rory McIlroy totally ruptures a ligament in his ankle and looks set to miss the Open, which begins in nine days' time at St Andrews.

'Multiple injuries' in city bus crash

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:05
Two double-decker buses crash into each other in Brighton city centre, resulting in "multiple injuries".

Armed police at Aberdare incident

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:03
Armed police have been sent to Aberdare as officers deal with an incident reported to involve threats being made with a firearm.

VIDEO: 'Take cash for entire Greek holiday'

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:02
More than a million British holidaymakers will be heading to Greece this summer, and as the debt crisis unfolds many will naturally be feeling nervous about how it could affect them.

Chicago schools face $200 million in cuts

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:00

The city of Chicago is cutting its public school budget by $200 million, after making a major payment into its teachers' pension system.

The move comes just a couple of years after the city closed almost 50 elementary schools, in what was at the time a historic number of public school closures.

Still, the school district's budget problems persist.

"Chicago Public Schools faces a significant budget crisis," says Sarah Wetmore of the Chicago-based Civic Federation, a government watchdog group. Wetmore says the city's schools have had deficits that won't go away.

"The structural deficit has been in existence for some time, and it's been papered over by ... accounting gimmicks to balance the budget," she says.

The Chicago Public Schools' cash crunch got worse last week when the city had to make a pension payment of more than $600 million. The budget cuts followed a day after, including layoffs in mostly administrative positions.

"This could be the tip of the iceberg," says Jackson Porter of the Chicago Teachers Union. "The city hasn't laid down its hand to exactly spell out: is this the first of a wave of cuts?"

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is asking state lawmakers to change the pension system to relieve some of the city's burden. Emanuel is also floating the idea of a property tax hike to increase school funding.

The fate of those initiatives may decide whether there are further school budget cuts in the Fall.

Reduce, reuse ... rethink?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:00

Plastic foam is perfectly recyclable. There are machines the size of a refrigerator which can melt it down into blocks that can then be shipped to China and used to make patio furniture. Manufacturers who deal with large amounts of the stuff do recycle it, but in general, consumers don’t.

Why not? The economics just don’t work.   

Its density is low, it’s often dirty and the price one can get for those blocks shipped off to China is not lucrative enough to motivate cities or recyclers to collect and recycle it.

Recycling could not be what it is today without the good will and conscientiousness of people all over the world. But recycling is made possible in the first place by markets. Aluminum, glass and plastic from recycling plants are sold by the ton as a raw material just like steel or wheat. 

“This industry is based on creating markets for those recyclables — today's plastic bottle can become tomorrow’s carpeting,” says Sharon Kneiss, CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Association. Aluminum cans can go from recycling bin to new cans full of soda on store shelves in about 40 days. 

But recyclers don’t set the prices at which they sell their materials. Those prices are set by the global market, and they have fallen drastically over the past year. 

“On a lot of recyclables, the economics are starting to challenge it,” Kneiss says. “We have heard that from our industry over the past year plus. That because it is a commodity market, and the commodities are significantly challenged right now, the economics of recycling are also challenged.”

Robert Anderson, a regional business development manager for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions for ReCommunity Recycling, says he’s been in the waste industry for 30 years. “The current market environment has been the most difficult of my career,” he says.

He offers up a litany of price shocks to make the point: “We’ve seen highs in aluminum at $2,000 per ton. Until recently it was $1,800 per ton, and today we’re less than $900 per ton. Corrugated cardboard has gone from $200 per ton to $80 per ton. PET, the plastic water bottles, were $699 per ton, now $250.”

Anderson says the current downturn is different from previous ones — the recession saw similar price falls. “In the past they were brief, and we were able to sustain it and work our way through it and wait till commodity markets return,” he says. But he now worries this could be the new normal, “which means we need to rethink our business.”

There are other phenomena undermining recycling’s profitability — and even viability in some circumstances.

Many companies have made significant progress in reducing the amount of material used to make packaging, a practice called lightweighting. 

“Today’s PET water bottle is 30 to 40 percent lighter than its brothers and sisters from even five or 10 years ago,” Anderson says. It’s a boon for resource conservation, but another burden for recyclers. “It takes 11,000 more aluminum cans to make a bale today due to lightweigthting than it did five or 10 years ago.”           

Lightweighting has meant that the makeup of the stream of recyclable content has become less lucrative. More and more of it, by mass, is made of glass these days — one of the least remunerative recyclables. 

The combined pressures have contributed to several recycler bankruptcies and plant closures. 

Those pressures have also started to change the cost-benefit analysis of recycling versus old fashioned throwing away. In urban areas, recycling has long been cheaper than landfill dumping, which has its own fees associated with it, because the value of the material subsidizes the costs of disposal, and landfill fees are high (as much as $150 per ton). New York, for example, saves 20 percent on recycled waste versus non-recycled waste that goes to landfills or incinerators.   

As recyclable materials have lost their value, landfills look more cost competitive, particularly in regions where landfill fees are cheaper, such as the Midwest. Landfill fees there can be as low as $20 per ton, according to Anderson.

In some instances, it has also contributed to commodities that have long been staples of recycling starting to go the way of plastic foam. The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is among several municipalities that have stopped recycling glass altogether. 

If prices stay low, towns and cities will have to pay more to recycle or recycle less.   

Greek Finance Minister resigns amid fallout from vote

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:00

The fallout from Greece's vote on Sunday has continued into Monday morning, with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis stepping down from his position. Here's an update on the situation in Greece:

-On Sunday, Greeks took to the polls to vote on a bailout deal, deciding against European austerity. As the New York Times reports, although the results may mean an even tougher road ahead for negotiations, it certainly solidifies Greeks' confidence in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

-Monday morning, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis announced his resignation, citing reports that the Eurogroup had expressed they would prefer not to negotiate with him any longer. As the Wall Street Journal reports, Varoufakis became known for a confrontational style that did not win him many allies in negotiations.

-Banks in Greece remain closed Monday. "The banks are the first fire that has to be put out. They're absolutely depleted of cash. They do not have a source of liquidity," says reporter John Psaropoulos of The New Athenian.

-The BBC reports that eurozone leaders have called an emergency meeting for Tuesday.

-TL;DR: Is Greece solvent yet? Nope.

Click the media player above to hear reporter John Psaropoulos' update on the situation in Greece from Athens.

Reduce, reuse...rethink?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:00

Styrofoam is perfectly recyclable. There are machines the size of a refrigerator which can melt it down into blocks that can then be shipped to China and used to make patio furniture. Manufacturers who deal with large amounts of the stuff do recycle it, but in general, consumers don’t.

Why not? The economics just don’t work.   

Its density is so low, it’s often dirty, and the price one can get for those blocks shipped off to China is not particularly lucrative to motivate cities or recyclers to collect and recycle it.

Recycling could not be what it is today without the good will and conscientiousness of people all over the world. But recycling is made possible in the first place by markets. Aluminum, glass, and plastic from recycling plants are sold by the ton as a raw material just like steel or wheat. 

“This industry is based on creating markets for those recyclables — today's plastic bottle can become tomorrow’s carpeting,” says Sharon Kneiss, CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Association. Aluminum cans can go from recycling bin to new cans full of soda on store shelves in about forty days. 

But recyclers don’t set the prices at which they sell their materials. Those prices are set by the global market, and they have fallen drastically over the past year. 

“On a lot of recyclables, the economics are starting to challenge it,” says Kneiss. “We have heard that from our industry over the past year plus. That because it is a commodity market, and the commodities are significantly challenged right now, the economics of recycling are also challenged.”

Robert Anderson is regional business development manager for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions for ReCommunity Recycling. He’s been in the waste industry for 30 years. “The current market environment has been the most difficult of my career,” he says.

He offers up a litany of price shocks to make the point: “We’ve seen highs in aluminum at $2,000 per ton until recently it was $1,800 per ton, and today we’re less than $900 per ton. Corrugated cardboard has gone from $200 per ton to $80 per ton. PET, the plastic water bottles, were $699 per ton, now $250.”

Anderson says the current downturn is different from previous ones — the recession saw similar price falls. “In the past they were brief and we were able to sustain it and work our way through it and wait till commodity markets return,” he says. But he now worries this could be the new normal, “which means we need to rethink our business.”

There are other phenomena undermining recycling’s profitability — and even viability in some circumstances.

Many companies have made significant progress in reducing the amount of material used to make packaging, a practice called lightweighting. 

“Today’s PET water bottle is 30-40 percent lighter than its brothers and sisters from even five or ten years ago,” says Anderson. It’s a boon for resource conservation, but another burden for recyclers. “It takes 11,000 more aluminum cans to make a bale today due to lightweigthting than it did five or ten years ago.”           

Lightweighting has meant that the makeup of the stream of recyclable content has become less lucrative. More and more of it, by mass, is made of glass these days — one of the least remunerative recyclables. 

The combined pressures have contributed to several recycler bankruptcies and plant closures. 

Those pressures have also started to change the cost-benefit analysis of recycling versus old fashioned throwing away. In urban areas, recycling has long been cheaper than landfill dumping (which has its own fees associated with it) because the value of the material subsidizes the costs of disposal and landfill fees are high (as much as $150/ton). New York, for example, saves 20 percent on recycled waste versus non-recycled waste that goes to landfills or incinerators.   

As recyclable materials have lost their value, landfills look more cost competitive, particularly in regions of the country where landfill fees are cheaper, such as in the Midwest where landfill fees can be as low as $20 per ton according to Anderson.

In some instances, it has also contributed to commodities that have long been staples of recycling starting to go the way of styrofoam. The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is among several municipalities that have stopped recycling glass altogether. 

If prices stay low, towns and cities will have to pay more to recycle, or recycle less.   

48 hours to keep Greece in euro

BBC - Mon, 2015-07-06 01:54
Greece's economy minister tells me, in an exclusive interview, how the Syriza government hopes to keep his country in the euro, after the "no" vote.

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