National / International News

Scientists debate sea-ice trends

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 12:14
Researchers meet in London to discuss sea-ice trends, as the Arctic reaches its summer low extent and the Antarctic pushes on to another record high.

There goes the neighborhood: The college students next door

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-22 12:08

On a busy road in Baltimore, Valerie Sirani walks up to a shabby beige house with three mailboxes and Christmas lights lining the windows. She knocks on the door. After a few minutes, a dozen or so young men in shorts and T-shirts gather on the front lawn, looking a bit wary.

They’re all students at Loyola University Maryland, living in a row of big houses off campus. Sirani hasn’t come alone. She’s brought with her representatives from the university and City Hall, as well as a uniformed police officer.

“My name is Val,” she tells the group. “I’m the community association president. Does everyone know what community you’re living in?”

They throw out a few guesses, but it’s clear they don’t.

“It’s Lake Walker,” Sirani tells them.

Lake Walker is a small, middle-class neighborhood in North Baltimore. With Towson University, Goucher College and Loyola all just a few miles away, Sirani has counted at least 20 houses rented by college students, out of about 700 homes. Today’s meeting is part welcome wagon, part warning.

“You’re part of our community and we want you to have fun,” Sirani says, “but we want you to be safe.”

So maybe don’t come home from a day of drinking and set out lawn chairs on your slanted roof to watch traffic, like Sirani recently saw some kids on this block doing. She stopped and took a picture.

“The kids obviously saw what I was doing and came down,” she says. “They were very polite, but extremely intoxicated.”

The minute school starts back up each year, so do the off-campus parties—and the complaints from neighbors about noise, fights, and people urinating in the bushes. Baltimore City police officer Doug Gibson shows the students a folder full of reports just from the past few weekends. If a house gets written up as a “neighborhood nuisance,” the landlord and tenants can be hit with hundreds of dollars in fines.

“Some of the reports already from this block are in that process right now,” he says. “There are going to be, most likely, some $500 citations issued already this year.”

Afterward, Loyola senior Bryan Pricoli admits the chat was a little intimidating. He also admits that having people over is one reason he wanted to live off campus.

“Obviously within normal human behavior,” he says. “This is just six good guys living together, and just having a good time our senior year.”

And they don’t have that much choice about where to live. Decades ago Loyola made an unusual agreement with several neighborhoods in its backyard that its students wouldn’t live there.

Studies have shown that the presence of a college, with its cultural activities and open spaces, raises property values. That doesn’t mean people want students living next door. Joan Flynn, senior vice president for administration at Loyola, warns the students that their behavior reflects on the college.

“You need to understand that you’re living here for one year; these folks are living here essentially for a lifetime,” she says. “The goal here is to be viewed as a contributing member of this community and not an element that diminishes the quality of life in this community.”

Efforts to smooth neighborhood relations are catching on at other colleges, says Beth Bagwell, president of the International Town-Gown Association. When students know their neighbors, it’s “harder to ignore the fact that Ms. Smith next door has a baby and she has to get up at 7 o’clock in the morning,” she says.

At the University of Colorado Boulder, some students living off campus are required to attend an orientation before they can collect their keys. They learn about the local nuisance law and hear about the community from a neighbor. Among the houses that have participated, Bagwell says citations for things like noise and property damage have dropped by half.

“So they were able to quantify the fact that this was a very successful program, and they’re still doing this,” she says.

Lake Walker’s Valerie Sirani isn’t sure. After a meet-and-greet with students from Towson University the week before, she was inundated with emails from neighbors complaining about a Saturday night party.

Whistleblower gets biggest US payout

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 11:55
The US Securities and Exchange Commission reveals it has awarded a record $30m payout to an anonymous whistleblower who lives outside the US.

US student killed by black bear

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 11:49
A New Jersey university student was killed after being mauled by a black bear, in what official called an extremely rare attack on a human.

VIDEO: Paralysed father 'walks' at wedding

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 11:42
A wheelchair user was able to stand up to deliver his speech at his daughter's wedding celebration thanks to a special robotic suit.

AUDIO: Pink Floyd unveil new album cover

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 11:13
As the artwork for the new Pink Floyd album is unveiled, the band's creative director Aubrey Po speaks to BBC 6 Music about finding the right cover.

UN plea over Turkey refugee crisis

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 11:12
The UN says Turkey urgently needs help to care for 130,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed the border fleeing Islamist militants.

Phones 4U to shed almost 1,700 jobs

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 11:06
Almost 1,700 jobs are to go at the failed mobile phone retailer Phones 4U, after the firm's administrators confirmed that 362 stores will close.

Fifa report may prompt charges - MP

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 11:01
A report into alleged corruption at Fifa, football's world governing body, could lead to criminal charges, an MP believes.

VIDEO: 83-metre goal sets Bundesliga record

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 10:41
Paderborn midfielder Moritz Stoppelkamp scores a wonder goal from 83 metres - the edge of his own box - against Hannover.

A big week to come in climate change policy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-22 10:14

It's going to be a big week in New York for the policy of climate change. 

Just a day after 300,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan to bring more attention to the need for climate change action, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced it was divesting from fossil fuel investments.

"What's clear is that this is a symbolic announcement," says Marketplace's Scott Tong. "But the amount of selling off would pale in comparison to the size of most of these big companies."

The reality, Tong says, is that we're in a planet that is supposed to keep global warming to just two degrees Celsius, but is currently on track to double that figure. But one of the other realities, he says, is that accountants could change the world of climate change.

"[The bankers] are everywhere talking about the opportunities of a low-carbon economy," he said. "Solar and wind energy, they say, are worth investing in, because in many places they can compete against coal and gas. There are tens of billions of dollars going towards bonds that invest in low-carbon technologies — not because of polar bears but because the return on investment is good. This is the kind of reality they're trying to send to national capitals."

Sierra Leone hails Ebola lockdown

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 10:11
Authorities in Sierra Leone say a three-day curfew aimed at containing the Ebola outbreak has been a success and will not be extended.

In California, Less Water Means More West Nile Virus

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-22 09:54

You'd think that mosquitoes wouldn't like drought, but that's not what's happening in California, where stagnant water breeds more mosquitoes. Cases of West Nile virus have doubled since last year.

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Labour vow to boost NHS spending

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 09:46
Labour would boost NHS spending via a so-called "mansion tax" on the most expensive homes, the BBC understands.

Hospital 'sorry' over doctor letters

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 09:44
A hospital apologises after being attacked for failing to contact all the families whose children could have been abused by a paedophile doctor.

Shot girl 'cruelly taken away'

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 09:44
The mother of a "caring and lively" girl shot in the head by her abusive husband recalls the horror that destroyed "an ordinary day".

Ghani praises Afghan vote deal

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 09:41
Afghanistan's President-elect Ashraf Ghani hails the "first democratic transfer of power" as a "big victory" that may secure peace.

Calm follows Yemeni peace deal

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 09:38
The Yemeni capital, Sanaa, is reported to be calm one day after the government signed a deal with Shia Houthi rebels to end days of fighting.

Missing Afghans found at US border

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-22 09:31
Three Afghan soldiers who went missing after a military exercise have been found, US media reports

Your Wallet: Redesigning student financial aid

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-22 09:18

According to the Federal Reserve, total student loan debt in the country has recently surpassed $1 billion:

The effects of student loans pop up throughout the economy: housing is out of reach for many, and even social security can be affected.

So, how would YOU re-create financial aid, if you could? Would you require work-study programs to bring down the cost of college while in school? A greater number of programs that cover student debt after you graduate?

Let us know on Twitter or email us, we'd love to hear your ideas.

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