National / International News

He Fixed South Africa's AIDS Policy, Now He's Out To Fight Salt

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-24 08:14

Health Minister Aaron Motsolaedi faced an HIV/AIDS crisis when he took office in 2009. He's made great progress on that front. His new campaign: Convincing South Africans to live healthier lives.

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Mother and son killed by train named

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 08:11
A mother and her 10-year-old son who were killed when they were hit by a train in Slough, Berkshire, are named.

VIDEO: Is it a plane, is it a scooter?

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 08:10
Japan's Air Self Defence Force has marked the 60th anniversary of its founding with a display using plane-shaped scooters.

Tech pumps cash into DC, for what?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-09-24 08:08

For years, tech companies ignored Washington. But Washington wasn’t about to ignore them. 

A few years ago Congress debated some big bills on internet policy, and Silicon Valley wasn’t at the table.

So tech companies opened D.C. headquarters, and started lobbying. 

Two years ago web giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook joined forces to create a new trade group, The Internet Association.

Michael Beckerman is the association’s president and CEO. 

He showed me around their sleek, new Washington office and explained why he’s here.

“That’s my job," he says. "To help build relationships and bridge the gap between our industry and Congress.”

That gap makes it hard for tech to gain traction in Washington. 

Part of the problem? It takes time to build relationships on Capitol Hill, and tech is new to the K Street lobby game. 

Also, the tech industry wants quick movement on huge issues, like immigration and patent reform.

Back in Silicon Valley, they can’t understand what’s taking so long.

“In the Internet world and Silicon Valley, people see a problem and they find a way to solve it but that’s not always how Washington works,” Beckerman says.

No, it’s not. So Beckerman and his chief lobbyist, Gina Woodworth make regular trips to Capitol Hill. 

The day I meet up with them, they’re off to Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) office.

Of course, we take an Uber SUV to Capitol Hill.

They're going to Ryan's office to talk about trade legislation.    

“The last time they drafted a trade bill was in 2002," says Gina Woodworth. "In 2002 a lot of our companies weren’t even created and we weren’t really an active stakeholder at that time. But now we are.”

And they have the cash to prove it.

“Spending by the tech sector has more than tripled since 1998,” says Sheila Krumholz,  executive director at the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbyists' spending in Washington.

Krumholz says the tech lobby budget went from $40 million in the late 90s, to more than $140 million last year. 

And she says Silicon Valley is on track to spend at least that much this year.  

Today, tech is the fourth biggest spender on lobbying in Washington.

“What they get for all this lobbying is not clear,” says Anthony Corrado, a professor of  government at Colby College. “Even on a very narrow issue like immigration reform and a modification of visa policy to allow more engineers in, for example, they can’t get any action.”

What’s worse, Corrado says, sometimes tech companies lobby on different sides of an issue, like net neutrality. 

Which pits the companies that built the pipes of the internet against the users of those pipes.

Corrado says there’s a clear winner here. And it’s not the tech lobby.

“Members of Congress are more than happy to have tech industry lobbying on both sides of an issue because it makes it much easier for them to solicit campaign contributions,” he says.

Corrado calls it a fundraising bonanza. Welcome to Washington, Silicon Valley.

VIDEO: Tears at 91-year-old's NHS plea

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 08:02
A 91-year-old gives a passionate plea for the NHS as he recalls harsh times growing up and the death of his sister.

After The NIH Funding 'Euphoria' Comes The 'Hangover'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:54

The way the National Institutes of Health doles out research grants accentuates booms and busts in the financing of scientific research. More variety in the length of grants could help.

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Stunned shoppers film jewellers raid

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:42
Four masked people armed with hammers attempt to rob several jewellers in Glasgow's Argyll Arcade.

Brother defends Alice Gross suspect

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:36
The brother of Arnis Zalkalns, the prime suspect in the case of missing schoolgirl Alice Gross, defends him saying he has been portrayed unfairly.

French lament 'jihadi' arrest fiasco

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:32
A French minister criticises Turkey after plans to arrest suspected jihadis returning from Syria collapse when they are put on the wrong flight.

Why do politicians give noteless speeches?

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:30
Why politicians are keen on delivering speeches without notes

Snowden wins 'alternative Nobel'

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:30
Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is one of the winners of an award dubbed Sweden's "alternative Nobel".

Fire still rages in steely Watson

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:20
He may be 65 and sound like a retired airline pilot, but Europe should beware Tom Watson's hard edge, says Tom Fordyce.

Obama At U.N.: World Risks Being Caught In 'Undertow Of Instability'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:15

The president, in an address to the General Assembly, says nations are at a crossroads and that the international system must meet challenges ranging from terrorism to disease.

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Nato sees Russia pullback in Ukraine

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:08
Nato says it has observed a "significant" withdrawal of Russian troops from eastern Ukraine, but adds that some forces still remain there.

Cook to captain England at World Cup

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 07:02
Alastair Cook will captain England at the World Cup, while Ravi Bopara and James Taylor are recalled to tour Sri Lanka.

Your pictures: Lighting

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 06:58
Readers' photos on the theme of "lighting"

Ex-pilot 'blindfolded boy with sock'

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 06:50
The trial of a former British Airways pilot accused of 25 sex offences hears that he blindfolded a boy with a sock before assaulting him.

Air strikes on IS in Iraq and Syria

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 06:37
The US military says its warplanes have hit more Islamic State (IS) vehicles and arms dumps in Iraq and Syria.

Wiggins wins world time trial title

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 06:34
Great Britain's Sir Bradley Wiggins clinches his first road world title with a thrilling time trial victory at the World Championships in Spain.

Trinity Mirror in phone-hack payout

BBC - Wed, 2014-09-24 06:23
Trinity Mirror admits for the first time that some of its journalists were involved in phone hacking as it agrees to pay compensation to four people.

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