National / International News

PODCAST: Maybe don't hit the gym

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 03:00

First up, a look at the great foreign currency shift of 2015. Plus, the children of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. have been criticized for overly protecting his speeches and writings but also commercializing them for profit. One result: you can watch the “I Have a Dream” speech on YouTube, with a Doritos commercial. And January is the busiest month for health clubs to sign up new members, as people resolve once and for all to get fit in the new year. But many people don't go to the gym often enough to justify the expense. Economists have some theories about why that's the case.

VIDEO: Nationalists in Kiev torch-lit rally

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:56
An estimated 2,500 turned out for a Ukrainian nationalist march on Thursday to mark the 106th birthday of the World War Two anti-Soviet leader Stepan Bandera.

Spartans have outside chance - Wade

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:52
Manager Tom Wade says Blyth have an "outside chance" of continuing their giant-killing run against Birmingham.

'Drink-driver' hits police station

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:51
A suspected drunken driver makes the job of catching him an easy one - by crashing his car into a police station.

Anger at India website blocking

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:44
A government block on more than 30 high-profile websites - including Vimeo and Github - has caused anger across India.

Florida man decapitates mother

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:41
A man in Florida has been charged with first-degree murder after beheading his mother on New Year's Eve.

WATCH: Mario Cuomo's Speech At The 1984 Democratic Convention

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:39

The speech catapulted Cuomo onto the national scene and cemented the three-time New York governor as one of the last avatars for New Deal liberalism.

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Villa's Bent poised for Derby loan

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:37
Championship promotion hopefuls Derby are set to sign Aston Villa's Darren Bent on loan for the rest of the season.

Apple sued over 'shrinking' storage

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:36
Apple is facing a lawsuit for not telling users about the amount of memory required by an upgrade its flagship operating system.

Police investigate body on beach

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:33
Police are investigating after a man's body was found at a beach in the Vale of Glamorgan.

HMRC defends 'tweet us' suggestion

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:21
HM Revenue and Customs defends asking people to tweet their tax inquiries after revealing an increase in waiting times on its helplines.

VIDEO: AirAsia 'black box' search continues

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:12
Search teams trying to find the main part of AirAsia flight QZ8501 say they have still not detected any signal from the plane's "black box" flight recorders.

Constipated goldfish operated on

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:10
A goldfish lover pays a North Walsham vet £300 to operate on his constipated pet.

'I Have a Dream,' served with tortilla chips

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:10

When the movie "Selma" comes out in wide release Jan. 9, the speeches given by Martin Luther King Jr. will not be historically accurate. The studio didn't have the rights to use King's actual words. The King Estate, which controls his intellectual property, is known for aggressively pursuing those who use his speeches without permission. But not always. When someone posted the entire "I Have a Dream" speech on YouTube, it stayed online, preceded by a Doritos ad.

Jennifer Jenkins, a copyright expert, says that's probably YouTube's Content ID system at work. Under that system, the holder of a copyright can block an unauthorized video, or collect the ad revenue from it.

Click the media player above to hear more.

 

 

"I Have a Dream," served with taco chips

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:10

When the movie "Selma" comes out in wide release Jan. 9, the speeches given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will not be historically accurate. The studio didn't have the rights to use King's actual words. The King Estate, which controls Dr. King's intellectual property, is known for aggressively pursuing those who use his speeches without permission. But not always. When someone posted the entire "I Have a Dream" speech on YouTube, it stayed online, preceded by a Doritos ad.

Jennifer Jenkins, a copyright expert, says that's probably YouTube's Content ID system at work. Under that system, the holder of a copyright can block an unauthorized video, or collect the ad revenue from it.

Click the media player above to hear more.

 

 

Pinterest opens a door to advertisers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:00

2015 is the year that Pinterest users out there might notice more “promoted pins." The social media site has launched a way for more retailers to get their products pinned and shared.

But will users be happy when Pinterest takes a turn toward online mall?

Click the media player above to hear more.

 

 

 

Gym plans in the New Year? Economists think otherwise

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:00

January is the busiest month for health clubs to sign up new members, as people try to make good on their New Year’s resolutions. But few show up often enough to justify the expense. 

Economists have some theories about why that's the case. 

“The cost of getting out of bed, driving to the gym, and so forth, weighs more heavily than the long-term health benefits,” says Dan Acland, a behavioral economist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Acland says when people consider whether to hit the gym, the payoff might seem too remote. Instead they focus on the immediate barriers, a tendency called “present bias.” (A yet fancier term, “quasi hyperbolic discounting,” describes the tendency through a mathematical model).

Acland says when folks plunk down money on new gym memberships to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, they're often overly optimistic that the current barriers to working out will go away. 

“We say that they are naive with respect to their future self control problems,” Acland says. 

The result is that about half the people with health club memberships are no-shows, according to Justin Sydnor, an economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He says a lot of people think the money they spend on gym memberships will push them to exercise more. But Sydnor says the gym might be part of the problem. 

“Is the gym the easiest place, is it the place that you're not going to struggle as much on a daily basis to go to?” he asks. 

That’s a question that Jenel Farrell of St. Paul, Minn. has been facing as she considers a gym membership at her local YWCA. Farrell has cancelled a membership at a yoga center across town because she couldn’t drag herself there often enough to get her money’s worth. But she hopes to hit the Y more regularly and meet one of her recurring New Year’s goals. 

“It's always fitness,” she says. “And the other thing is chew my food slower.”

 

Silicon Tally: Hello, 911? My PlayStation doesn't work

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week, we're joined by science and technology reporter, Rose Eveleth.

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Illinois faces sudden drop in state tax

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 02:00

The new year brings profound budget challenges for the state of Illinois, which has the worst credit rating of any state in the U.S. and is dealing with the expiration of temporary tax increases.

Illlinois also has a divided government: a newly-elected Republican governor Bruce Rauner who campaigned against making the state's temporary income tax increase permanent, an unfunded pension liabilities of about $100 billion (or possibly more), and a solidly Democratic state legislature.

The state has a flat income tax. Everyone pays the same rate regardless of income. Lawmakers had hiked that rate in 2011 from 3.75 percent to 5 percent to deal with the effects of the recession, promising that the hike would be temporary and would expire in 2015. But they spent the money on the state's pension obligations instead of helping local municipalities deal with the recession, says Laurence Msall of the Chicago Civic Federation, a non-partisan budget watchdog group.

"There has been a willingness to ignore longterm financial repurcussions of short-term politically-attractive answers," says Msall, whose group earlier in 2014 had proposed fixing the state's budget woes by gradually reducing the income tax rate down to 4 percent while also consolidating various branches of state government to cut spending.

Msall's organization also proposed taxing retiree income, at least to some extent. Illinois is one of only three states — out of 41 that impose income taxes — that doesn't tax pension income, the Chicago Civic Federation said in a report.

Instead, before Rauner's election, Illinois' Democratic Governor Pat Quinn proposed making the temporary tax hike permanent — a plan Msall says would not have solved all of the state's fiscal woes anyway.

Rauner ran a successful campaign that criticized Quinn's proposal. And now, the Democratic-controlled legislature is waiting on the new governor to propose how to close the budget gap while accounting for about $2 billion in tax revenues that will disappear in the current fiscal year, and another $4 billion revenue reduction in the fiscal year starting in June 2015.

"There is no plan right now," says Msall. "The budget that they've passed is going to run up the unpaid bills ... The state is borrowing from its own resources and it's relying on accounting gimmicks"

Richard Kaplan, an expert in tax law at the University of Illinois, says there are other revenue sources the state could draw upon outside of the state income tax.

"There are a variety of these excise taxes on gasoline, telephone service, alcohol and tobacco products," says Kaplan, who adds that the state could also expand its sales tax to apply not only to goods purchased but also services such as hair cuts, medical care and others.

If such taxes are enacted, it could mean Illinois tax payers who see additional money in their paychecks now, may soon end up paying higher prices for daily expenses in the near future.

Young 'vulnerable to bank scams'

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-02 01:53
Young adults under the age of 25 could be more vulnerable to money transfer scams than other age groups, a banking trade body says.

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