National / International News

VIDEO: Close-up with defaced Banksy work

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 02:16
Campaigners who were trying to keep a Banksy mural in situ on a wall in Cheltenham are now in "race against time" to save the work after it was defaced with graffiti.

Ambulance stuck in lane for hours

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 02:12
An ambulance carrying a patient to hospital became stuck in a "precarious position" in a back lane in Neath for four hours before it was hauled free.

New York to 'develop' Man City players

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 02:10
Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano says the club could send youngsters to their new US franchise in New York.

Suing soldiers for their debt

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 02:00

ProPublica recently co-published a report with The Washington Post about a company called USA Discounters that offers easy credit to military service members. The catch? If a service member falls behind, the company aggressively goes after them by suing them in courts near its Virginia headquarters, making it incredibly difficult for service members to show up in their own defense.

Click the media player above to hear ProPublica Senior Editor Tracy Weber in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report guest host Mark Garrison.

 

Silicon Tally: Gameboy becomes a Gameman

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 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 Nilay Patel, Editor-in-chief of The Verge.

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What the Concur partnership means for Uber and Airbnb

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 02:00

It used to be that business travelers would roll into town, hop in a taxi, and spend the night at a hotel. Now, some are using Uber to hire drivers, and to search Airbnb to stay in the apartments of strangers.

Both companies are part of the so-called “sharing economy,” and that non-traditional status has helped prevent them from being taxed and regulated in the same way as their traditional competitors. At the same time, both companies are now taking steps to become regular fixtures of corporate travel.

Airbnb just launched a new web portal for business travelers. On the front page is a picture of a loft with brick walls, high ceilings, and what looks to be a nice stereo system. This is not your everyday workingman's motel.

“Sometimes it's nice to come home to a place that feels a little more like yours," says Lex Bayer, head of global payments and business development at Airbnb.

Last year, Bayer says 8 percent of the travel done through Airbnb was for business. That, he says, lead it to partner with Concur, a logistics service that manages employee travel for 70 percent of all Fortune 1000 companies.

If employees want to stay at Airbnb properties, Concur helps smooth out the process so it conforms with corporate travel procedures. Tim MacDonald, Concur's executive vice president of platform and data services, says use of Airbnb by employees has increased: "We've seen 27 times growth in expense reports with Airbnb listed." 

MacDonald says alternative business models like Airbnb have grown too big to ignore. Concur also works with Uber — a “rideshare service” with cars operated by regular people. It too escapes regulation by falling into the "sharing economy" gray zone. The exemption of these companies irks established players in the lodging and transportation fields.

“If you are going to look like a hotel and act like a hotel, you should be treated like a hotel," says Vanessa Sinders, senior vice president for governmental affairs at the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Right now, she perceives a double standard. “Hotels have to abide by so many different safety, security, health code, accessibility requirements, and we think that that should be applied fairly and equally across the board.”

So far, over 30 companies have partnered with Airbnb to make it an official travel option for employees. Many of those happen to be start-ups themselves.

As housing recovers, a shortage of skilled workers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 02:00

The housing crash sent many construction workers fleeing to other industries. Now that housing is recovering, builders are struggling with a shortage of skilled workers. That’s delaying housing starts and driving up home prices.

The housing market continues to recover along with the overall economy, but the construction workers who left the industry in droves during the recession aren’t exactly flocking back. Meanwhile, a shortage of skilled workers is getting worse. But can you blame them for leaving in the first place?  

The National Association of Home Builders reports that unemployment among construction workers peaked at 22 percent during the recession.  

No wonder so many found jobs in other industries, says the group’s chief economist, David Crowe, adding that housing still seems too unstable for them to come back.

"More than half of builders are now telling us that they’re having trouble finding construction workers – carpenters, brick masons, painters and so forth," Crowe explains.  

60 percent of builders the group surveyed say the shortage forced them to delay projects in the last six months, or raise home prices.

That’s not putting much of a drag on the housing market yet, says Kermit Baker, with Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies: "But with growth coming down the road in all likelihood, certainly we’re going to have serious problems in the future if we don’t train and attract more workers in the construction industry."

Baker adds that builders need to revive some of the training programs they scrapped during the long downturn, and get their “muscle memory” back for growing their workforce.  

Russia bans Polish fruit and veg

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:52
Russia imposes a sweeping ban on imports of fruit and vegetables from Poland, as EU sanctions on Russia over Ukraine start to bite.

Minnesota's Minimum-Wage Workers Get 75-Cent Increase

NPR News - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:48

Workers and advocacy groups praise the hard-fought change, from $7.25 to $8, but opponents warn it will wreak havoc on business balance sheets.

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Gaza ceasefire collapses quickly

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:46
The Israeli military tells people in Gaza it is resuming operations, as a planned 72-hour ceasefire with Hamas crumbles just hours after it began.

Tax workers holding one-day strike

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:34
Tax workers in Northern Ireland are staging a one-day strike on Friday in an ongoing dispute over job cuts.

'Lost' Dr Seuss tales to go on sale

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:33
Four stories by children's author Dr Seuss, including early incarnations of Horton and The Grinch, are to be published 60 years after last being seen.

VIDEO: Dinosaur videobombs Frank Skinner

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:30
The 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe has officially begun with more than 3,000 shows. The BBC's John Maguire met up with some of the performers including comedian Frank Skinner who had a close encounter with a dinosaur.

VIDEO: New York's 21st Century artisans

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:20
Members of the "millennial generation" are finding ways build businesses selling items that are handmade.

UK manufacturing recovery slows

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:14
The UK's manufacturing sector continued to expand strongly in July, but the pace of growth slowed, a survey suggests.

Summit to launch urgent Ebola plan

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:13
The World Health Organization and presidents of West African nations affected by the Ebola outbreak meet in Guinea to announce a new $100m response plan.

Witness help plea in neglect inquiry

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:11
Families who think loved ones were neglected in care homes in south Wales are urged to give evidence to an independent review.

AUDIO: BA boss Willie Walsh on airspace safety

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:04
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh says it would be "unsafe" for a central body to decide which airspaces firms are allowed to fly over.

Port Glasgow body find 'suspicious'

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-01 01:01
The death of a person whose body was found in Inverclyde is being treated as suspicious, police say.
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