National / International News

Yellow powder sparks security alerts

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 10:04
Envelopes containing an unknown yellow powder have been sent to five consulates in the Turkish city of Istanbul, officials say.

We're looking for the fullest inbox in America

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-24 10:00

As Amy Scott reported, we send billions of emails every day.

The thing is, email is terrible. At least that's the conclusion among Marketplace's digital audience: between unnecessary "reply all," vague subject lines and passive-aggressive cc'ing, the inbox can be a place of pain.

It can also be crowded. We asked:

How many emails do you have in your inbox? Tell the truth. #numberslove — Marketplace (@Marketplace) October 23, 2014

 So far, we've seen a few inbox zero fanatics. We salute them:

@marketplace 0 unread emails everyday. — Jules Botero (@jules_MIA) October 24, 2014

0 emails! 32 READ! :) I dislike having unread email haha @Marketplace — Diali (@DialiAvila) October 24, 2014

We've also seen... way more than zero:

@Marketplace 16,695 in main inbox folder, an additional 5,000,000+ in saved folders — Blaine Bershad (@BlaineBershad) October 23, 2014

@Marketplace 192,397 emails.

— Mike Brown (@xenoxaos) October 23, 2014

@Marketplace 218,543 and that's just one of 7 email accounts... — Sara Phalen (@SaraPhalen) October 23, 2014

The question now: Can you beat them? We want to find the fullest inbox in America. Tweet us @Marketplace. Bonus points for a screenshot. 

'Freakish' Sunspot Wows Astronomers

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:58

AR 2192, the largest sunspot seen since the beginning of the current 11-year cycle that started in 2008, is producing strong solar flares.

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Caterham 'allowed' to miss two GPs

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:51
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone will allow Caterham to miss the next two Formula 1 grands prix to focus on finding a buyer.

Jade coroner calls for dog licences

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:48
A coroner criticises dangerous dog laws and calls for dog licences to be reintroduced after 14-year-old Jade Anderson was savaged to death.

Man injured in west Belfast shooting

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:43
Police are investigating a shooting incident in west Belfast.

Hailo says Uber blocked investors

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:41
After pulling out of the US, taxi app Hailo complains that rival Uber is blocking potential investors from offering funding.

PM: I won't meet £1.7bn EU demand

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:39
David Cameron insists the UK will not pay £1.7bn demanded by the EU - but Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso says the bill should not have come as a surprise.

Egypt: Sinai 'bomb' kills 25 troops

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:31
A suspected jihadist car bomb attack kills at least 25 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, Egyptian officials say, in one of deadliest incidents there.

Ebola nurse Nina Pham free of virus

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:22
A Dallas nurse infected with Ebola while treating a patient is declared free of the deadly virus, a day after the first infection in New York.

10 things we didn't know last week

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:17
Walk on the Wild Side's bass line cost £17, and other nuggets

Military rents to rise, says minister

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:12
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announces "major reforms" to funding for military accommodation will increase rents.

Man charged over couple's deaths

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:11
A man has been charged in connection with the discovery of the bodies of an elderly couple in County Donegal, police say.

VIDEO: US air strike 'hits IS command'

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:08
New video footage show a US air strike hitting an Islamic State position on a hill near the embattled Syrian town of Kobane.

Dolce & Gabbana cleared in tax case

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:06
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, founders of the Dolce & Gabbana fashion house, are cleared by an Italian court of tax evasion.

Tunis 'militant hideout' stormed

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 09:00
Tunisian security forces storm a house in a Tunis suburb to end a stand-off with armed militants, killing six people, officials say.

US to check IS 'chemical weapon' use

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:55
The United States will investigate "extremely serious allegations" that militant group Islamic State used chlorine gas against Iraqi police officers.

Hen party death lorry driver cleared

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:49
A lorry driver is cleared of causing the death by dangerous driving of a woman on a hen party in West Yorkshire.

Vocational high schools: Where job skills are the goal

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:46

.chart div{background-color:#0E477F;text-align:right;padding:3px;margin:1px;color:#fff}.chart-text{font-size:1em;font-family:sans-serif}@media screen and (max-width:480px){.chart-text{font-size:.8em}} This story originally appeared on "American RadioWorks" as part of their hour-long documentary "Ready to Work: Reviving Vocational Ed." 

If there’s one message today’s high school students hear over and over again, it’s this: Go to college.

But Liz King, who grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, has known since middle school that college was not for her.

“I’m not a book person,” she says. “You know you are or you’re not.”

So, when the time came, King asked to go to Minuteman, a vocational high school near by. She wanted to become a hairdresser.

“I wasn’t having any of that,” says King’s mom, Jeanette Chapman. Years earlier, her son had asked if he could go to Minuteman to study plumbing. She said no to him too.

“I just had the impression that going to vocational school, he would miss out on something, a profession where you could make more money,” Chapman says. “I think it was all to do with making more money.”

Chapman, like most parents, wanted her kids to go to college. Surveys show more than 90 percent of Americans believe a college education is important.

More than 90 percent of Americans believe a college education is important, but only 32 percent of people over the age of 24 have a bachelor’s degree.

“You’ve got a paradigm that’s embraced by almost everybody, but the reality is that by the time they get to their late 20s, only 30 percent of young people have actually gotten a four-year degree,” says Bill Symonds, director of the Global Pathways Institute and author of a 2011 report for the Harvard Graduate School of Education called Pathways to Prosperity. The report argues the U.S. is failing to prepare millions of young people to lead successful lives because high schools focus too narrowly on an academic, college-prep approach to education.

Symonds says there are millions of good jobs that don’t require a Bachelor’s degree. Many of those jobs are in so-called “middle-skill” occupations, like construction manager and computer technician. These jobs tend to require professional licenses and certificates, but not college.  According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, the median certificate holder out-earns more than a quarter of people who have Bachelor’s degrees.

Straight to college — or not

Thirty-four percent of 2013 high school graduates were not enrolled in college as of Oct. 2013

Enrolled1.96 million Not enrolled1.01 million Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Minuteman

Minuteman Regional High school, a vocational school outside of Boston, offers the kind of education in which, Symonds says, the nation should invest more. Students spend half their time in academic classes and half in a career major. They can choose high tech fields like robotics and computer programming or traditional trades like plumbing and carpentry.

Steve Hurley, a graduate of the electrical wiring program, says he chose Minuteman because he “didn’t want to get out of high school and not know what I was going to do with my life.”

Hurley graduated in 2014 with a certificate that helped him get started as an electrician’s apprentice. If he becomes a certified electrician, he can expect to make about  $40,000 a year to start. That’s higher than the median wage for all workers in the United States.

Michelle Roche, director of career and technical education at Minuteman, says lots of kids who might otherwise drop out of high school end up thriving in vocational school.

“The students who have not felt success when they’re in a traditional academic school, where they've got to sit, the teacher’s talking at them, they’ve got to regurgitate this information, they've got to memorize and study. They’ll come here and they’re standing on their feet, they’re working with their hands, they figure out a problem,” she says. “And success breeds success.”

Graduation rates at regional vocational high schools in Massachusetts are actually higher than at traditional high schools.

'If I went to college, I would waste a crap-load of money'

Liz King, the aspiring hairdresser, convinced her mother to let her go to Minuteman, by promising to take all the college prep classes, in case she changed her mind about going to college.

But King says she knew college wasn’t for her.

“I thought that if I went to college, I would waste a crapload of money,” she says. “I knew I wasn’t good at studying. I was a procrastinator. And if someone was like, ‘Hey Liz, let’s go party, hey Liz, let’s go NOT study,’ I would’ve been like. ‘OK!’ I’m not self-motivated like that.”

But she is motivated about her career in cosmetology.

King graduated from Minuteman in 2004. By then, she had completed enough training hours in school to take the exam for her cosmetology license. She took the test days after she finished her high school classes and had her license by the time she walked across the stage to get her Minuteman diploma.

“My thing was having my certification before I walked,” she says. “That was more important to me than my diploma.”

King is now 28. She’s married, has a baby, and is doing what she loves.  She and a business partner recently opened their own hair salon. It’s called J&L Studio, in Arlington, Massachusetts.

King won’t say how well it’s doing, but she says her family is “good, we’re comfortable, we’re paying our bills.”

She also says that when it’s time for her daughter to look at high schools, she plans to take her to Minuteman.

“Who knows, she might be book smart and want to be a doctor and then I don’t know if Minuteman would be the right choice for her. Maybe she would need like a Harvard-type high school. But, says King, “I want her to know that it’s not one way or no way.”

What you learn, what you earn

Average earnings of U.S. workforce by education

Graduate degree$76,000 Bachelor's degree$54,300 Associate's degree$42,088 Certificate$34,946 Some college, no degree$34,624 High school graduate$29,202 High school dropout$20,480 Source: Georgetown University

What do I love to do?

Ed Bouquillon, the superintendent of the school district where Minuteman is located, says when students graduate from Minuteman he wants them to be able to answer two questions: What do I do well? And what do I love to do?

“And we’ll connect the answers to occupations or college majors,” he says.

When he meets with parents, he asks them if they know the answers to those two questions.

“Some say ‘yeah,” he says. “And some say, ‘Boy, I wish someone had asked me that in high school.’”

Should love be symbolised by a lock?

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:46
Why the padlocks of Paris are a poor symbol of romance

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