National / International News

China throws weight behind HK leader

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:56
China's state media strongly back Hong Kong's embattled leader CY Leung, while condemning democracy protests as "chaos".

In pictures: Lynsey de Paul

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:54
Life of singer songwriter Lynsey de Paul

Hong Kong protests: Echoes of Tiananmen

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:51
Two pro-democracy protests, 25 years apart, same outcome?

Curtain falls on Kate Bush comeback

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:43
Singer Kate Bush performs the last of a series of 22 comeback concerts in London, suggesting it will be "a while" before she appears on stage again.

When is a woman not woman enough?

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:42
When is a sportswoman not woman enough?

Man Utd's Shaw in England U21 squad

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:40
Manchester United's Luke Shaw is named in the England Under-21 squad to face Croatia in the Euro 2015 play-off.

NFL rocked by fresh assault probe

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:18
American football player CJ Spillman is being investigated over an alleged sexual assault, police say, the latest such case to rock the NFL.

Singer Lynsey de Paul dies aged 64

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:17
Singer and songwriter Lynsey de Paul has died at the age of 64, following a suspected brain haemorrhage.

VIDEO: Mackenzie Crook on detectors and directing

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:06
Mackenzie Crook speaks about his new series, Detectorists, which he says is "an affectionate study of people and their pastimes".

BBC launches dance contest

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:01
Dance stars of the future are being sought in a UK competition backed by Sadler's Wells and the BBC to be shown on BBC Four and BBC Two.

PODCAST: Nosy apps

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:00

By tomorrow, we'll know the government's official count of people with and without jobs for the month just finished, September. We talk about what we can expect from the Jobs Report for September. Plus, Bank of America's CEO Brian Moynihan is getting another title: chairman of the board. The bank announced the promotion while praising Moynihan for simplifying the company. And now to the campaign to push customers away from websites and into the more circumscribed universe of apps. Among the reasons we are often begged to use the app instead: The app lets companies get far more info about you.

Why companies really want you to use an app for that

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:00

There's an app for that. So stop using the website.

This is the message companies are trying to drum into users. Mobile is, as we know, convenient and personalized—but there is more to it than that. Apps let companies mine far more of your personal data than websites. That is a major incentive to get you to make the switch from web to mobile.

If you try to use the real estate website Zillow on your phone, you are bound to run into a full-screen ad for one of its many apps.

“Now,” says Jeremy Wacksman, who leads mobile strategy for the company, “Zillow can be present in your pocket when you're touring open houses, when you're driving around the neighborhood, when you're laying in bed at night checking something.”

With all its apps, Zillow can keep you company day and night. Wacksman says two-thirds of Zillow's traffic is now on phones. The company has also partnered with Google Now, an app that gathers information from places like a user's web browser, phone GPS and other Google products. Zillow wants to use that data to show people ads for houses before they even know they want them.

Mobile data opens up all kinds of possibilities for companies. For instance, your contact list can help Instagram connect more user accounts; LinkedIn can learn about your social network from your calendar. And, of course, advertisers will pay a pretty penny for that kind of data.

Every year Appthority releases a report rating the security and privacy of top apps. Company co-founder Domingo Guerra says there is so much more information on mobile than web.

“You have the GPS location, so exact coordinates maybe 24-7,” he says. “And then there is access to cameras, microphones, calendars, address books, even vibration of the device.” That is powerful data he says can be sold or leaked to third parties.

Even if your data is not distributed, Domingo says it is uncertain what companies will do with it all. Many of those companies don't know themselves.

“The more data they collect now,” he says, “the more uses they can find for it later.”

If you do switch from a website to its mobile app counterpart, it may not be obvious what information about yourself you are giving up.

"It's not standardized and it's not regulated," says Susan Grant from the Consumer Federation of America. "So the only way you can tell is by looking at the privacy policy. If it's not clear to you what information is being collected, then don't use that app.” Often, she says, it's not clear.

In any case, some companies do not leave consumers much of a choice. On Facebook, for example, mobile users can only send messages by downloading its new messenger app, which, by the way, has been criticized for gathering all sorts of personal data. 

CEO tries to reset General Motors' brand

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:00

General Motors CEO Mary Barra is trying to change the conversation. This year’s ignition switch recall, and the hearings and lawsuits that followed, have weighed heavily on the automaker. Barra is now focusing on a new strategy, pledging to boost profit margins, cut costs and grow the company. She’s aiming to achieve pretax profit margins of 10 percent in North America by 2016.

GM’s plan includes new factories in China and streamlining global production. It also focuses on what customers want: new, quieter vehicles, broadband and even a hands-free driving option called "Super Cruise."

Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst at the car-shopping site, says the strategy is an opportunity for Barra to reinvent the GM brand. “She’s allowed to repaint GM as a new, customer-focused brand, whereas before, it just kind of looked like the old GM that was so interested in driving profits.”

Of course, strong profits are exactly what Barra ultimately wants to achieve. “Our strategic plan,” says Barra,“ is a pathway to earn customers for life and create significant shareholder value in the process.”


How the president might tout the economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-10-02 02:00

President Barack Obama is set to deliver remarks on the economy on Thursday at Northwestern University in Illinois. While unemployment has fallen to 6.1 percent, many people still feel uneasy about the recovery.

So we asked a couple of economic thinkers: What could the president say to tout the economy?

“In particular, you would want to point to the labor market,” says Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. He says job gains have been steady for months.

“I think there’s this misconception that we need to see 300 or 400 or 500,000 jobs created every month,” he says. “In the context of where the economy currently is, the numbers we’re getting, which are around 200-and-change-thousand a month, are pretty good.”

Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner says things don’t seem better because of the quality of jobs being added, many of them part-time or in low-wage professions. Take New York City, for example.

“There are more than a quarter million more jobs in New York City today than there were prior to the financial crisis,” Vitner says. “But the total amount of income earned from working in New York City is less today than it was prior to the financial crisis.”

Vitner says the lack of improvement in income growth is the driving factor behind the country’s economic worry.

Universal credit delay call rejected

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 01:35
The UK government rejects a call by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to halt the introduction of universal credit in Scotland.

VIDEO: 'A new low': Clegg's angry response to Tory claims

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 01:29
The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, has described a "new low point in coalition relations" after the Conservative Home Secretary, Theresa May, attacked his party for thwarting attempts to introduce new data monitoring powers.

UK universities slip down rankings

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 01:20
Three UK universities lose their place in the top 200 of a global higher education league table while elite universities hold their ground.

Drink-drive arrests for children, 13

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 01:08
Children as young as 13 have been caught drinking and driving in Wales, new police figures show.

In Mideast Chaos, Netanyahu Sees Opportunity

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-02 01:02

In an interview with NPR, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Arab countries "no longer view Israel as an enemy, but a potential partner."

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Care home diets malnourish residents

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-02 00:58
Some care home residents are becoming malnourished because not enough thought is going into the food they are given, says Wales' older people's commissioner.
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