National / International News

McGuinness' mother found IRA beret

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 15:15
Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness describes how his mother was traumatised to discover he was in the IRA after he left a beret in the house in the 1970s.

'Unspeakable abuse' of Uzbek inmates

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 15:14
Political prisoners in Uzbekistan suffer "unspeakable abuses" including torture and abysmal jail conditions, Human Rights Watch says.

VIDEO: The life of an emergency poet

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 15:14
The writer who wants to cure you with words

IRA violence 'did work' says Prior

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 15:07
A former Northern Ireland secretary who served under Margaret Thatcher says the IRA's violence did work and that Mrs Thatcher never really understood what the problem was.

Curry spice 'helps brain self-heal'

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 15:07
An early study in rats suggests the spice turmeric may help boost the brain's ability to repair and regenerate itself.

VIDEO: British jihadist 'was normal lad'

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:41
A British jihadist who knew Ibrahim Kamara, the 19-year-old from Brighton believed to have been killed in a US airstrike on Aleppo earlier this week, speaks about their time in Syria.

One Sculptor's Answer To WWI Wounds: Plaster, Copper And Paint

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:27

World War I left many soldiers with disfiguring scars. For those whose faces were no longer recognizable, an American artist, Anna Coleman Ladd, sculpted masks to cover their injuries.

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VIDEO: Is UK's public spending gap fair?

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:10
Robert Peston visits the north-east of England to hear the views of people there about the system that sees people in Scotland receive more public spending per head than those in England and Wales.

US Attorney General Holder resigns

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:59
US Attorney General Eric Holder announces he is stepping down, as President Barack Obama praises him as "the people's lawyer".

No Lampard talks over Man City loan

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:41
Frank Lampard says he has not held any discussions with Manchester City about extending his loan spell.

Castleford 14-30 Warrington

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:40
Warrington Wolves reach the Super League play-off semi-finals for the fourth straight year with victory at Castleford.

Ian Paisley memorial plan announced

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:30
The Paisley family confirms details of a memorial service for the former first minister of Northern Ireland, which will be held in Belfast next month.

No iPads for Clippers, says new owner Steve Ballmer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:28

We learn once again that when you're writing the paychecks, you get to set the rules.

Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft and new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. He spent $2 billion to buy 'em, and he's remaking the team culture to his liking.

Just as Ballmer's family isn't allowed to own any iPhones, he told Reuters that the Clippers are getting rid of their iPads in the offseason. He's keeping track of which coaches use Windows, too.

VIDEO: Syria refugees stranded in no man's land

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:23
There has been renewed fighting around the Syrian town of Kobane - intensifying the surge of refugees trying to cross into Turkey.

When employees are given 'unlimited' vacation time

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:16

Billionaire businessman Richard Branson is telling some of his Virgin Group employees to take as much vacation time as they want.

They don’t have to ask permission first and no one will be keeping track, according to a company announcement, as long as they’re caught up on all projects and “their absence will not in any way damage the business — or, for that matter, their careers."

It may sound like a dream, but Scott Francis, and engineer, says an unlimited vacation policy wasn’t the perk he thought it would be.

“It sounded really cool to me until I started working at a company that had one,” he said. “The two problems that I had were not feeling like I had necessarily earned vacation because it wasn’t accruing, and also feeling like it was going to reflect negatively on me if I took vacation that wasn’t owed to me.”

Now, he’s changed jobs to a position which offers a set amount of vacation time, which he likes better. When his kids had the day off from school recently, he took a vacation day so they could spend it together, encouraged to do so because it would expire in a few months if he didn’t use it.

“It’s sometimes easier to accept something given to you, even if you don’t like it, than to be the one to decide how to extend this time off from work,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She says Americans have a particularly strong work ethic and fear they’ll look lazy if they take too much vacation.

A survey of vacation time by the travel company Expedia found the average American has 14 vacation days, but only uses ten. Meanwhile, the French take all 30 days they’re allotted.

“The U.S. is more of a rat race that way,” says Robert Frank, an economist at Cornell University.

Despite the fact that many companies don’t offer much vacation time, employees feel reluctant to use their entire allotment for fear they’ll seem like slackers.

“You see the same problem in the decision of how long the workweek is at very competitive firms,” Frank says. “The investment bankers and the consultants work 65- or 80-hour workweeks, not because there’s that much to do, but because promotion chances are limited and the ones who are seen to be working the hardest are the most likely to get them.”

In terms of building trust between management and workers, a benefit of the unlimited vacation policy can be shifting workplace priorities from time spent at work to the amount of work accomplished, says Lotte Bailyn, an emeritus professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

But in practice, “without any guidelines, people are going to be quite nervous,” she says. “And we know in some companies, actually people have not been taking very much.”

One solution might be for management and executives to lead by example, she says, and dash off to Hawaii for a couple of weeks – living the dream.

$1.5m for US woman punched by police

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:13
A Los Angeles woman repeatedly punched in the head by a police officer at the side of the road will receive $1.5m (£0.9m) in compensation.

New York Mayor Says There Is No 'Specific, Credible' Threat Against City

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:11

Earlier, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country had uncovered a plot against New York City's subway system. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said there was no evidence of a plot.

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FAA approves drones in Hollywood

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:09

You've heard how drones are being used in all kinds of industries, from real estate to agriculture to the movies. It turns out that in the U.S., most of those drones have been flying illegally. With a few exceptions, the Federal Aviation Administration has long banned the use of drones for commercial purposes, but it loosened those restrictions on Thursday.

Phil Finnegan, an aviation analyst with the Teal Group, said while the U.S. has led the world in developing the technology behind drones, it’s fallen far behind when it comes to letting them fly legally.

“Countries like Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom — a lot of European countries — are going after this market,” he says.

It’ll take the FAA several years to finalize regulations for all drones, Finnegan says, but he believes this initial move will make the American motion picture industry more competitive on the world stage.

The FAA announced six filming permits today. Ziv Marom is with ZM Interactive, which used drones to provide aerial shots in this summer's "The Expendables 3," and he applauded the FAA’s decision. But the process is moving slowly, he says, and we shouldn't expect a critical mass of movie drones anytime soon.

“It will take some time before people will actually get the permits,” Marom says.

Drone pilots will also have to follow strict regulations, Marom says, including rules for training and equipment.

But how will this affect the helicopter and airplane industry that has effectively cornered this market so far? Star Helicopters owner Keith Harter says he isn’t too worried that drones will cut into his business.

“There’s room for both types,” he says. And if that's not the case, Harter says most helicopter companies have diversified their business enough so that they don’t rely on the film industry as a sole source of revenue.

Aid worker's daughter condemns IS

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:09
The daughter of David Haines, who was killed by Islamist militants, says the Islamic State (IS) group should be "eradicated".
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