National / International News

Can The Meat Industry Help Protect Wildlife? Some Say Yes

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 08:06

One environmental group argues that to save wildlife, we should replace the meat in our diets with plants. But others counter that it's not so simple: Many livestock producers help conserve wildlife.

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AUDIO: Tour gives Yorkshire boost 'already'

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 07:59
Organisers for the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France says the event is already boosting tourism in the area.

Primary school tests to be toughened

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 07:52
Primary pupils are to face a baseline assessment in reception and tougher tests when they leave, a minster says.

Thursday's gossip column

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 07:45
Real Madrid want Shaw, Chelsea seek Costa deal, Maradona claims Messi could leave Barcelona, plus more.

PODCAST: College football to get unions?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-27 07:37

The government revised upward its assessment of the economy; gross domestic product for October to December increased from a 2.4 percent annualized rate of growth to 2.6 percent. We consult Diane Swonk, chief finacial officer at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, for some perspective.

And, in his ruling, Peter Ohr, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board wrote that there is abundant evidence student athletes are treated as employees. He cited the long hours (over 40 per week) spent training, wrote that athletes are paid, in the form of scholarships, and noted that Northwestern rakes in big bucks and prestige when the football team wins.

Even with a large research university and seaside real estate, it's hard for Santa Cruz to compete with Silicon Valley's pull on engineers and entrepreneurs. Every morning, more than 20,000 people leave Santa Cruz county and commute to work in the Valley. Sick of the commute, Santa Cruz tries own tech hub.

The Review Show on BBC Four axed

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 07:28
This Sunday's edition of The Review Show will be its last after more than 20 years on air, following last year's move from BBC Two to BBC Four.

Commissioner for under-fire council

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 07:27
Birmingham's under-fire Children's Services, rated inadequate for the last four years, is to get an independent commissioner to oversee the unit.

German Man To Return Paintings From Cache Of Stolen Nazi Art

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 07:24

A lawyer for Cornelius Gurlitt, whose father was an art dealer in the Third Reich, says his client will begin with returning a valuable Matisse to the descendants of the Jewish owner.

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Obama Lays Out His Plan To Have Telecoms Store Call Data

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 07:07

The president is asking Congress to work with him on a plan to have communications companies hold "metadata." He wants government investigators to have access to the information with court approval.

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Latinos still reluctant to sign up for Obamacare

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:54

Visits to healthcare.gov are surging in these last days before the Affordable Care Act enrollment deadline. But government officials are worried that they aren’t getting enough of the right people to sign up. Latinos in particular are sorely needed to balance insurance pools. They tend to be younger and healthier than the general population. But states with the largest concentration of Latinos - like California - have been struggling to win them over.

“The news gives a lot of information, [but] it confuses people. They don’t know what is the truth,” says Larissa Bobadilla, a health outreach worker in Los Angeles.

Many Latinos are afraid that if they sign up for health insurance, their undocumented family members will get discovered, and deported. Others aren't convinced it's worth the money. 

People like Bobadilla are out trying convince them that it's okay. 

“They trust me,” she says.

They trust her because she's been on the streets of LA for 16 years working as a promotora, a health educator. Now the kids of people she helped years ago are coming to her to find out what's really going on with Obamacare.

This is exactly what California officials want - trusted members of the Latino community explaining health plans to potential customers in Spanish. 

The trouble is, the state is short thousands of these insurance counselors. 

Political wrangling at the federal level is partly to blame. That delayed the roll out of programs for training counselors. And that left no time to approve a Spanish training curriculum or a Spanish certification test. Bobadilla was lucky. She had enough English to get by. 

“I don't know, I feeling so nervous, feeling so-- frustration,” she says

But other promotoras in her community didn't pass the test, and they can't help anybody until they do. 

This shortage of people power isn't just limited to the streets. 

The state insurance exchange, Covered California, underestimated how many counselors it would need to staff its call centers. Many people who asked to speak to someone in Spanish got transferred to English-speaking agents. When there are too many calls, the system hangs up. 

Similar problems have plagued the website. 

“I visited it, with my brother’s help, and we tried to enroll. But it didn’t work,” says Maria Aurelia, a teacher from San Pablo, east of San Francisco. “I would much rather sign up – face to face. There’s more communication.”

These disasters in customer service are one of the main reasons Latino enrollment has been so far below expectations. 

So far, just 8 percent of people who enrolled in a health plan through California’s exchange by the end of last year speak Spanish as their first language. The state had been aiming for something closer to the representation of Spanish speakers in the state population — nearly 30 percent. (The federal government has not released demographic data on enrollees.)

California officials are worried about this shortfall because the economics of the new health care system depend on Latinos. Because Latinos tend to be younger and healthier than the population as whole, their premiums subsidize care for older, sicker people, which helps keep costs down for everyone else. That’s why officials have been been scrambling in recent weeks to hire more Spanish speaking customer service agents and make improvements to the system. 

But even that will do nothing to overcome another serious obstacle: Cost. Many plans run two, three hundred dollars a month. Sometimes more.

“Good price? Hundred dollars a month,” says construction worker Jose Rodriguez.

Maria Aurelia also says she would prefer a monthly payment of one hundred dollars for her family.

Research shows that only a quarter of Latinos are willing to pay more than $100 a month for health insurance, according to Hispanic market research group Santiago Solutions. Carlos Santiago, the group’s founder, says many Latino families have never had insurance, making it difficult to see the value in it at such a high cost.

“You kind of go wait a minute, am I really going to use this right away?” he says. “How much do I need that security right now, this year when I have all these other realities in my life.” 

The deadline to sign up is March 31 - though people who encounter technical problems with the website can get an extra two weeks to finish their application.

More institutions face Savile claims

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:52
Claims the late DJ Jimmy Savile abused children at 21 institutions in England must be investigated by local authorities, the government says.

NLRB rules Northwestern football players can unionize

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:44

In his ruling, Peter Ohr, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board wrote that there is abundant evidence student athletes are treated as employees. He cited the long hours (over 40 per week) spent training, wrote that athletes are paid, in the form of scholarships, and noted that Northwestern rakes in big bucks and prestige when the football team wins.

Ohr also highlighted the control that coaches have over athletes. Among the examples included in the ruling, are a number of restrictions placed on football players. 

  • Only upperclassmen are permitted to live off campus, and even then, they are required to submit a lease to their coach for his approval.
  • Athletes have to diclose detailed information to coaches about what they drive.
  • Travel policies restrict players from leaving campus in the 48 hours before finals.
  • Finally, they must abide by a social media policy that restricts what they can post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In fact, Ohr writes, "the players are prohibited from denying a coach's 'friend' request."

A Booming Economy Doesn't Save Children From Malnutrition

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:41

It seems to make sense that economic growth automatically leads to better nutrition for children, and better health. But an analysis of 36 countries finds that's not true.

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Hollande affair actress wins damages

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:40
A French court orders Closer magazine to pay actress Julie Gayet damages for breach of privacy over an affair with President Francois Hollande.

'Do It For Denmark' Video Urges Danes To Go All The Way

NPR News - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:39

Need a break from the day's serious news? A humorous campaign from a travel company is urging couples to boost Denmark's population growth by, well, getting busy.

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Clifford sex claims 'a load of lies'

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:37
Max Clifford tells his trial claims he sexually assaulted a teenage girl in his car in the 1970s are "a load of lies".

Finance figures clash over Yes vote

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:17
Senior figures in the Scottish financial services industry clash over how independence would affect business.

VIDEO: Willie Rennie answers your questions

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:12
BBC Scotland's political editor Brian Taylor puts your questions to Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie ahead of the party's conference.

Emotional farewell to Tony Benn

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:08
Politicians from all parties joined crowds of well-wishers to pay their last respects to Tony Benn at his funeral in the shadow of Westminster Abbey.

IMF close to deal on Ukraine aid

BBC - Thu, 2014-03-27 06:05
The International Monetary Fund agrees assistance worth $14-18bn over the next two years, with the package linked to an economic reform programme.

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