National / International News

Google and Uber may become rivals

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 03:18
Uber announces plans to research driverless cars while a report claims Google is considering launching a lift-hailing service

Web rallies around walking commuter

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 03:11
Donations flood in for a Detroit, Michigan, man who walks 21 miles as part of his daily commute after a newspaper tells his story.

Britain Set To Vote On '3-Parent Baby' Law Tuesday

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-03 03:10

While the technique is often referred to by the shorthand "three-parent baby," the controversial process uses nuclear DNA from two parents and the mitochondrial DNA of a third donor.

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PODCAST: When BP earnings seem like BS

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-02-03 03:00

This morning, the oil company BP reported no profits, but instead a loss of nearly $1 billion. Yet BP's stock price in London went up 2 percent. That's because while BP lost money, it didn't lose more money. Which brings up the question, are earnings reports just Rorschach tests? Also, there's a new study today saying we are now paying 15 percent of our medical bills out of pocket. More on that. And when the topic is children and money, the focus is often on consumption. But Ron Lieber, personal finance columnist for the New York Times says when teaching about money, don't forget the giving-it-away option.

Drug-delivery engineer wins £1m prize

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:59
A pioneer of medical technologies that have benefited millions of people is the latest winner of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

Lost chunk of historic computer found

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:59
Efforts to recreate one of the earliest computers are aided by the recovery of a part of the original machine, which had been bought to create bookshelves.

President requests $18.5bn for Nasa

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:52
US President Obama seeks to raise funding for Nasa in the Federal Year 2016 to $18.5bn (£12.3bn).

Bad hospital report 'had 300 errors'

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:47
A damming report of a privately-run hospital that is due to be returned to the NHS contained 300 factual errors, its chief executive says.

Outrage at French 'no Jews' job ad

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:45
An advert for a job in graphic design in France is withdrawn after complaints about a clause stipulating "not Jewish".

French police arrest terror suspects

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:35
Terror raids in Paris and Lyon lead to the arrest of eight men suspected of recruiting fighters for Islamist militants in Syria.

HS2 Bill tackles the nitty-gritty

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:31
Members of the public put their concerns over HS2 to MPs

VIDEO: Footage exposes abattoir cruelty

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:31
One man has been sacked and three others have had their operating licences suspended after hidden cameras filmed alleged mistreatment of animals at a North Yorkshire slaughterhouse.

Litvinenko 'did not poison himself'

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:24
Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko did not accidentally kill himself after handling nuclear material, his widow tells the inquiry into his death.

Too much jogging is 'unhealthy'

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:20
Too much jogging may be as bad for you as not putting on your running shoes at all, a report in the journal of the American College of Cardiology says.

Uni a 'disaster' for many youngsters

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:11
Sending young people to university is a "disaster" for those who are more suited to apprenticeships, Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb says.

In pictures: UK snow 3 February 2015

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:07
Parts of UK wake up to blanket of snow

Amazon heads to college

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:00

Amazon has struck deals with three major universities to create online university stores, which will sell course textbooks and other university-branded goods.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which is one of the institutions along with Purdue and University of California, Davis, estimates that its students will save about $380 a year in textbook costs, because of lower prices through Amazon.

"This is something that students have already started to do," says Ed Blaguszewski, a spokesperson for UMass Amherst. "Online sales of books have been increasing."

The online retailer will establish an on-campus distribution system at the three universities to deliver textbook orders within one day. It will also offer deliveries of other goods in one day for students who purchase a discounted Prime plan at $49—Amazon's customer loyalty program, which also includes access to its streaming video service.

Blaguszewski says the deal with Amazon will take over an expiring contract with Follett, one of the retailers that are licensed to operate many university bookstores. Another such retailer in the $10 billion college bookstore market is Barnes & Noble.

"Definitely, this continues to put pressure on Barnes and Noble," says Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. "This is yet again another example of how Amazon is gaining share."

"When any entity of that size comes into the marketplace ... that is going to be a formidable competitor, " says Todd Summer, who runs a university-owned bookstore at San Diego State and is the president of the National Association of College Stores board of trustees.

Summer says his store can compete with Amazon: "We've got a very dedicated staff that's tied into the campus."

NACS says there are some 4,500 college and university bookstores in the United State, and a majority are owned by the schools. Still, that leaves hundreds, at least, that are operated by Follett, Barnes and Noble, and others. They are likely targets for Amazon once existing contracts with schools expire.

And while Mulpuru says three stores do not market disruption make, she sees Amazon's move as one of building habits: getting young people used to its online services, which could yield dividends well after students graduate.

Right now, it's an interesting experiment, she says. And where better to launch an experiment than America's college campuses.

Out-of-pocket healthcare costs soar

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:00

Healthcare costs keep climbing, and so does our share of them.

Adults with insurance through work paid almost 7 percent more out-of-pocket in 2013 than in 2012, according to a new study  from the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit funded partly by insurance companies.

“There’s more high deductible health plans and cost sharing, so the co-pays change,” says Eric Barrette, a senior researcher at the Institute.

The co-pays are going up, of course. High out-of-pocket spending could lead consumers to shop around more. Obviously you don’t want to just look for a bargain. You want a good doctor. But healthcare costs could fall if consumers were a bit more price-sensitive.

“If you’ve got more skin in the game, then you’re going to care much more about where you’re going to,” says Vivian Ho, a health economist at Rice University. 

But Ho says it’s hard to get consumers interested in shopping around. It’s tedious.

“And then you’re on the phone with all these people and you get transferred from one place to another,” she says.

Even when you do reach the right person, information can still be really hard to get, and inconsistent. Healthcare prices can vary, in the same state or even city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major retailers' herbal pills called into question

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:00

The New York Attorney General’s Office is asking four big retailers to pull some of their private label herbal supplements from store shelves due to what it says is fraudulent labeling. The office focused on GNC, Walmart, Target and Walgreens.

The AG's researchers went to a few of those retailers’ stores in new York state, rounded up a couple of their popular store-brand supplements, and then did some fancy DNA testing to see if the ingredients matched the labels.

Supplements at Walmart, which were supposed to contain ginkgo biloba, thought to be a memory booster, did not appear to have any of the plant’s material, but instead contained fillers like powdered radish and wheat—a potential issue for people allergic to gluten.

Tests on the other retailers’ private label supplements yielded similar results for other herbs such as St. John’s wort and valerian root.

The findings may resonate with health experts who’ve sounded alarms about weak federal oversight of the health supplement industry. Herbal supplements, unlike prescription medications, do not require premarketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The New York Attorney General’s office is asking the retailers to stop selling the products in question and provide information on the products’ manufacturers, along with any relevant quality control testing results.

Walmart says it wants customers “to have complete trust in the products they buy from our stores.” The company will reach out to its suppliers and “take appropriate action.” But it has no plans to pull the products at this time.

GNC says it will cooperate with the Attorney general’s office but that it stands behind the quality of its private label products and that it does test them.

Target says it has not yet seen the full report and “can't comment other than to reiterate that Target is committed to providing high quality and safe products to our guests.”

Walgreens could not be reached for comment. It told the New York Times it would pull the supplements from store shelves nationwide.

Amazon heads to college

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-02-03 02:00

Amazon has struck deals with three major universities to create online university stores, which will sell course textbooks and other university-branded goods.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which is one of the institutions along with Purdue and University of California, Davis, estimates that its students will save about $380 a year in textbook costs, because of lower prices through Amazon.

"This is something that students have already started to do," says Ed Blaguszewski, a spokesperson for UMass Amherst. "Online sales of books have been increasing."

The online retailer will establish an on-campus distribution system at the three universities to deliver textbook orders within one day. It will also offer deliveries of other goods in one day for students who purchase a discounted Prime plan at $49—Amazon's customer loyalty program, which also includes access to its streaming video service.

Blaguszewski says the deal with Amazon will take over an expiring contract with Follett, one of the retailers that are licensed to operate many university bookstores. Another such retailer in the $10 billion college bookstore market is Barnes & Noble.

"Definitely, this continues to put pressure on Barnes and Noble," says Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. "This is yet again another example of how Amazon is gaining share."

"When any entity of that size comes into the marketplace ... that is going to be a formidable competitor, " says Todd Summer, who runs a university-owned bookstore at San Diego State and is the president of the National Association of College Stores board of trustees.

Summer says his store can compete with Amazon: "We've got a very dedicated staff that's tied into the campus."

NACS says there are some 4,500 college and university bookstores in the United State, and a majority are owned by the schools. Still, that leaves hundreds, at least, that are operated by Follett, Barnes and Noble, and others. They are likely targets for Amazon once existing contracts with schools expire.

And while Mulpuru says three stores do not market disruption make, she sees Amazon's move as one of building habits: getting young people used to its online services, which could yield dividends well after students graduate.

Right now, it's an interesting experiment, she says. And where better to launch an experiment than America's college campuses.

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