National / International News

VIDEO: Ineos to invest £640m in shale gas

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:48
The chemicals giant Ineos is expected to announce plans to invest more than £6m in UK shale gas production.

Mackay hiring 'a mockery of inquiry'

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:43
Leroy Rosenior feels Malky Mackay's appointment as Wigan manager "makes a mockery" of an ongoing FA inquiry.

VIDEO: Cosby's 'no comment' on assault claims

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:38
US comedian Bill Cosby has once again refused to comment when asked about sexual assault allegations that have been made against him.

Eritreans 'flee conscription drive'

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:36
A renewed conscription drive in Eritrea has led to a sharp increase in the number of youths fleeing to Ethiopia, the UN refugee agency tells the BBC.

VIDEO: EU rejects UK bank bonus challenge

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:35
The Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice has rejected the UK's challenge to its cap on bankers' bonuses.

Police officer's speed fine 'cheat'

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:30
A South Wales Police officer tried to cheat his way out of a speeding ticket by changing his car number plates, a court hears.

Falling oil won't mean huge savings on home heating

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:30

Temperatures plunged to the freezing point or below in all 50 states this week, and home heating costs are expected to be somewhat lower this year, thanks to cheaper oil prices. But don’t look for a windfall of savings just yet.

The unseasonably cold weather has raised the specter of last year’s polar vortex, when a surge in demand for heating oil and propane upset household budgets and kept consumers out of restaurants and stores.

“It’s a little unnerving when you have 15-degree weather in mid-November,” says Mark Griffin, President of the Michigan Petroleum Association. Despite the temperatures outside, Griffin says it’s still too early to call this a vortex 2.0.

“Our fingers are crossed that we’ve done everything we can to meet the needs of the marketplace, and there won’t be any supply disruptions going forward," he says.

The cheaper price of crude oil (currently about $75/barrel) is expected to put some downward pressure on energy costs, but Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics for forecaster IHS Global Insight, notes that oil isn’t necessarily the primary driver of heating costs.

“What we should expect is relatively the same type of costs, maybe a bit lower, and they have been lowering, but it all depends on demand,” says Christopher.

In terms of consumer psychology, Christopher says the cost of gasoline at the pump plays a much bigger role in juicing the economy.

PM: Barnett reform 'not on horizon'

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:20
David Cameron tells MPs there are no plans to change the funding formula used to decide spending in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

AUDIO: David Hockney: 'Bohemia has gone'

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:13
Artist David Hockney, 77, has told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he is working harder than ever from his home in Los Angeles.

In pictures: Scarcity and Waste

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:11
Finalists of Syngenta Photography Award

UK retail sales rise 0.8% in October

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:08
UK retail sales rise 0.8% October compared with September, and is 4.3% up on October 2013, according to official figures.

Predicting Apple's next big move

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:00
870 miles

That's how many miles of railway China has agreed to build along the coast of Nigeria. Not for nothing, though. The two countries signed a deal worth $11.97 billion.

1.51 percent

That's Visa's credit card processing fee, charged to merchants with every purchase. It's a key number in the surprise rivalry brewing between Apple Pay and mobile payment system CurrentC. The latter is backed by a consortium of retailers including Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid Target and CVS, which all shut down Apple's system in their stores on launch day. Venture capitalist Jean-Louis Gassée breaks down both sides in his Quartz column, cutting through the PR to conclude CurrentC is all about saving merchants the card processing fee, while Apple Pay is more user-focused.

110,000

That's how many people subscribe to the Beats Music streaming, but that could change with Apple's recent acquisition. The Financial Times reported Apple will bundle Beats Music on all iOS devices early next year, possibly with the launch of Apple Watch. Insiders said the details are still being hammered out, but insiders told the New York Times a subscription would cost $5 to $10. The plans are likely to make Spotify sweat; as we learned during the U2 debacle, Apple has 800 million iTunes accounts.

50 states

All 50 U.S. states experienced freezing or below temperatures on Tuesday. Good news: cheaper oil prices mean home heating costs are expected to be lower. Bad news: don't expect a windfall of savings any time soon.

$11.9 billion

That's how much in outstanding student loans is currently held by Wells Fargo & Co. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the lender announced that this month, for the first time, it will lower interest rates for eligible borrowers. 

$4 billion

That's how much the Disney Princess line makes on merchandising in a year, which doesn't include the mind-boggling numbers "Frozen" has made on licensing. A recent New York Times column looks at last year's surprise mega-hit as a case study for children's movie licensing as a whole. Turns out spending on "Frozen"-branded toothpaste, food, dresses, toys, etc. bucks trends in most other industries. This might be because one party (parents) are almost always buying for someone else (children), making the business of Elsa dresses surprisingly similar to the pharmaceutical industry. 

With low gas prices, Thanksgiving travel hits the road

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-20 02:00

AAA releases its holiday travel forecast on Thursday. The big takeaway: lots more people will be hitting the road this Thanksgiving, due in no small part to plummeting gas prices. Drivers aren't alone with their lower fuel expenses—The airline industry saved $1.6 billion in fuel costs this past year; meanwhile, airfares have gone up. 

During the holiday season, the vast majority of people will travel by car. "Usually accounting for about 85 to 90 percent of all travelers," says AAA spokesperson Heather Hunter.

For people taking incredibly long trips, or very short trips, the choice to fly or drive is clear. "But it is the medium length trips, say between 200 and 1,000 miles, where it gets more complicated," says Jon Lal is the CEO of befrugal.com and the creator of Fly or Drive calculator, which takes into account lots of factors. For example: Will you need a rental car if you fly? Are you checking bags? What are current gas prices and how much wear and tear will the trip put on your car?

Dan Sniadoski lives in Seattle. He’s been invited to Thanksgiving dinners at his mom’s place in Montana and at a friend’s house in Portland. "And I still haven't made up my mind if I’m going to travel, and if I do, where am I going to go," he says. Flying is out of the question; he can’t afford last minute airfare. So at this point, his decision comes down to whether to spend the holidays with friends or family. 

 

How much is everything in the UK worth?

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 01:58
The Office for National Statistics has announced the market value of the UK.

VIDEO: Green Climate Fund cash pledge

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 01:57
Wealthy countries are set to meet in Berlin to pledge cash to smooth the way for a global climate change deal.

Islamic State video draws attention to Syrian victims

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 01:57
What do we know about the Syrians beheaded in IS video?

Taylor Swift scores US chart first

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 01:32
Taylor Swift becomes the first female singer to succeed herself at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 song chart.

Citi creates 600 jobs in Belfast

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 01:31
The global financial services company Citi is creating 600 new jobs in Belfast, in an investment worth £54m.

VIDEO: Jagger on Brown and losing L'Wren

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 01:21
Sir Mick Jagger has told the BBC about his new biopic on music legend James Brown, and how going on tour helped the Rolling Stones singer get over the loss of his partner L'Wren Scott.

UK climate change spending defended

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-20 01:11
Ministers defend plans to spend more than £600m on climate change in poor countries - as some MPs argue the cash would be better spent at home.

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