National / International News

Duke of Kent suffers hip injury

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 13:46
The Duke of Kent - the Queen's cousin - is in hospital with a hip injury, Buckingham Palace confirms.

Calls to exhume DR Congo burial site

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 13:40
The DR Congo government is urged to investigate more than 400 bodies found in an unmarked burial ground in the capital Kinshasa.

VIDEO: Yemen: Evacuees arrive in Djibouti

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 13:36
Thousands of people are fleeing the conflict in Yemen between Houthi rebels and government forces, with many of them arriving in neighbouring Djibouti.

Gertrude Weaver, World's Oldest Woman, Dies At 116

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-06 13:12

She had assumed the title last week. The cause of death was complications from pneumonia. The world's oldest person is now Jeralean Talley, who lives in the Detroit area and was born May 23, 1899.

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Artists In Residence Give High-Tech Projects A Human Touch

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-06 13:04

A 3-D printing software company hands artists high-tech tools to craft human-centered projects. But it isn't the first program to pair the imaginative with the practical to inform great innovation.

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Obama: 'Misjudgment' To Make Iran Deal Contingent On Recognizing Israel

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-06 13:01

In an interview with NPR, the president dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand that Iran recognize Israel as part of a nuclear deal.

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'Visibly Pregnant' Girls Are Banned From School In Sierra Leone

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-06 13:00

The theory is that they could influence "innocent girls," says the minister of education. That's a belief that's held around the globe. Researchers have another idea.

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Crystal Palace 2-1 Manchester City

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 12:58
Manchester City's hopes of retaining the Premier League title suffer another blow with a 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace.

Who might win Master's Green Jacket?

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 12:37
Who might deny Rory McIlroy Augusta's Green Jacket? Iain Carter rates the young guns, the old guard and players in their prime.

UN demands access to Damascus camp

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 12:30
The UN demands humanitarian access to "desperate" Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk camp in Damascus, amid an assault by Islamic State.

Go Ahead, Little Goat, Eat Some Poison Ivy. It Won't Hurt A Bit

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-06 12:08

Amazon's getting into the rent-a-goat business (for weed chomping). After all, goats are great at wiping out unwanted plants — even poison ivy. How do they do it?

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Will A Transplanted Hand Feel Like His Own? Surgery Raises Questions

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-06 12:01

A 20-year-old man born without fingers on one hand hopes a transplanted hand will give him more confidence. He knows the risks of such a visible transplant, but says, "It's something I always wanted."

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Woman dies following house fire

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 11:57
A woman in her 50s dies following a fire at a house in Antrim.

Will 'golden' California turn brown?

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 11:55
How will California enforce its strict water rules?

A Lesser-Known Human Trafficking Problem: Teenage Basketball Players

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-06 11:46

There is a lot of money to be made in bringing underage kids to the U.S. and trying to make them the next Kobe. But what happens to the rest of them?

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Reds 'must spend more to win league'

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 11:45
Liverpool need to break their wage structure if they are to win the league, according to former player Ray Houghton.

VIDEO: 'I found my son's name in the mortuary'

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-06 11:21
The BBC's Emmanuel Igunza reports from Nairobi in Kenya on the anguish and anger of relatives trying to trace their loved ones following the al-Shabab killings which left 148 people dead at Garissa University last week.

Rise of digital medial records leads to data theft

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-06 11:17

Consumers know to be careful about identity theft, but the growth of digital medical records has led to a rise in the theft of medical records.

Dwayne Melancon, chief technology officer at TripWire, says that back in the day, hackers would just keep doing what they usually did: look for credit card and bank information inside medical records.

"But we've seen it evolve to target personal data much more heavily, and that's made medical records a much more attractive target," he says.

And then, they sit on it.

"Someone might have had their information stolen and sold to the highest bidder, and they won't know it's being used for another year, or two years, or three years," says Peter Robichau, an expert on health care information and security and author of "Healthcare Information Privacy and Security: Regulatory Compliance and Data Security in the Age of Electronic Health Records."

That's in contrast to what happens when a credit card number is stolen and used, since you often find out within seconds. Then there's the dark side of the whole question of medical data privacy concerning predictive consumer scores.

Frank Pasquale, a law professor at the University of Maryland, says data collected by devices and apps — and perhaps data stolen and resold — could end up in these scores, which, like credit scores, predict things companies might want to know about you.

"Their proclivity to commit fraud, their medication adherence score, their likely spend on healthcare score," Pasquale says.

These companies don't disclose how they calculate the score in this largely unregulated industry, Pasquale says, because they say it's a trade secret.

"They can say, 'look, we're not gonna tell anybody what's in there,'" he says.

How Do You Like Los Angeles' New Parking Signs?

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-06 11:11

Over the weekend, the city rolled out a parking-sign template as part of a pilot program to try to simplify what can often be a very confusing parking process.

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Getting married can cost you at tax time

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-06 11:09

When Adena DeMonte first met her boyfriend Dan, he put one thing out on the table: one day, he wanted to get married. His own parents had never tied the knot, and he'd grown up wanting to have marriage in his life.

“So from day one of our relationship, we literally had this conversation,” DeMonte says. “I basically committed to him that not then, but one day, I would get married.”

Fast forward nine years, they've got good careers in the tech industry, an apartment together in Mountain View, California and DeMonte's starting to feel ready to make good on that marriage promise.

There's one thing you should know about her: she's a total finance nut. So much so, that she thought she'd broach the marriage conversation with Dan by talking about tax savings.

“Kind of to tease him a little bit,” she says. “'If we were married, we would save x number of dollars this year and next year.'"

But, when DeMonte looked up that number of dollars online, she discovered that if she and Dan got married this year, they'd actually pay about $1,000 more in taxes than they would as single people. If they both make more money down the line, they could get an even higher tax penalty for being married.

The idea that marriage might cost her tens of thousands of dollars some day, when those dollars might sustain her if she lost her job or wanted to stay home with kids, suddenly didn't seem very responsible — which was pretty tough news to break to Dan.

“We both said, 'Wow that's crazy that the government is actually saying that if you are two people making the same amount of money married, versus two people making the same amount of money separate, you're actually going to end up paying more,'” she says.

The marriage penalty comes from an attempt to make taxes fairer. Up until the 1940s, couples would file as individuals, but around World War II, when the top income tax rate was very high, some rich couples were figuring out a trick. Say one spouse made a $100,000 a year and the other made nothing. If they split it, report that each spouse made $50,000, they'd dodge the highest tax bracket. A good deal for them, but unfair to less-savvy tax filers.

“So the result in 1948 was actually just to accept that benefit, and give it to every married couple,"says Stephanie McMahon of the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

The government decided to let every married couple file jointly.

“Every married couple could shift income from one spouse and split it between both spouses,” McMahon says.

But single people started complaining about the fairness of filing jointly, questioning why married people got to save money on taxes. In 1969, McMahon says, single individuals managed to get a reduced tax bracket compared to joint filers.

This created the little-known singles bonus. But there's a problem, if someone is in a marriage where both people make a similar amount of money, they don't get any benefit from shifting their income between spouses. So, they pay more taxes than everyone else.

The cutoffs for certain tax benefits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, are lower for two married people than they are for two single people. So lower-income married couples can get penalized too.

James Alm, an economist at Tulane University, found a small, but significant, impact of the marriage penalty on people's marriage decisions.

"A 10 percent increase in the marriage penalty decreases the likelihood of your getting married by one or two percent," he says.

But it's more about the principle of the thing to him.

“The main factor in regards to the marriage penalty is just kind of the notion of fairness,” he says. “Is it appropriate that people's taxes should change, positively or negatively, simply because they're getting married?”

Alm would prefer to return to a system where everyone files as an individual, a trend he sees in other countries right now.

Meanwhile, Adena DeMonte is still weighing her options.

“If anyone out there can convince me that I should get married, please do, because I want to get married. But it just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense right now," she says.

She says if Dan proposed today, she'd say yes. But instead of actually getting married, she'd ask to have a lawyer write up a marriage-like commitment agreement for them — which she admits, sounds terribly unromantic.

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