National / International News

Argentina Is In Default. What Does That Actually Mean?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

Talks between Argentina and holdout bondholders collapsed Wednesday. With no additional talks scheduled, it appears Argentina has defaulted for the second time in about 12 years.

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Why Hamas Is A Bigger Challenge For Israel Now Than In The Past

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:07

Christian Science Monitor reporter Christa Case Bryant tells Renee Montagne why the Israeli army is finding Hamas a more formidable foe now than during the 2009 war.

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This headline was plagiarized, please don't Google it

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-31 01:00

As the Public Editor of the New York Times says, journalistic plagiarism is in the news.

(I didn't steal that idea, I attributed it, which is a key difference between plagiarizing and not plagiarizing.)

Some of the people in the news for committing journalistic plagiarism have the same name as me. Don't get confused: I am not Benny Johnson.

I did not work for a paragon of modern journalism called The Blaze before being hired to cover politics in inventive ways at Buzzfeed in 2012. I did not plagiarize parts of 41 stories I wrote at Buzzfeed, before being admirably fired by Buzzfeed.

By the way, I do like Buzzfeed. A lot. Even when Buzzfeed doesn't like me. I just talked to one of the site's senior editors about why she stopped following people like me (read: dudes) on Twitter. 

But even though I go by Ben instead of Benny, I have been thinking a lot about plagiarism this week. It's one of the things journalists are most scared of, and for good reason. Even if it's a mistake, it's rarely an honest one. Unlike in the world of fiction, journalistic plagiarism is a scarlet letter -- a final judgement. Plagiarism is the thing you do that almost immediately undermines all of the other work you've ever done.

What's interesting is that media in the Internet age spins ever closer to regular idea theft. Rewriting or re-contextualizing the hard reporting work of others is its own kind of job, and hard-working people are doing it all the time. I was just talking with a Marketplace reporter yesterday who was excited about an idea -- an angle, really -- but was worried she was actually plagiarizing her own work from a few years back. She was Googling like mad to try and avoid it. 

That's what's also strange about the Internet age. It is at once easier than ever to plagiarize and easier than ever to catch plagiarizers. The number of sources you could steal from has increased tenfold, but the nature of how those sources are organized online makes it easy to catch people. Yet another problem solved by big data.

That's how Benny Johnson got caught. Ironically, he was shaming another website for plagiarizing his work. And then some bloggers took a closer look at his work. It soon became clear, as Slate's David Weigel noted: "Anyone with a working Google machine can compare Johnson's text, which typically consists of captions below photos or gifs, to existing content on Wikipedia or Yahoo -- the sleuthing has turned up more short phrases and sentences that look cloned."

Maybe some day writers of all kinds will work in software that is constantly Googling each sentence we write to see if it's been written elsewhere. And maybe that's good news. Today I'm just glad that on the searchable Internet, I go by Ben, not Benny. 

Israel calls up 16,000 reservists

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:50
Israel calls up 16,000 extra reserve soldiers as conflict in Gaza continues, amid criticism over a strike that killed 16 at a UN-run school.

Giant wind farm plan is scrapped

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:48
A massive wind farm planned for the Irish Sea - covering an area the size of Anglesey - has been scrapped.

Invictus Games a struggle, says Harry

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:32
Prince Harry says organising a Paralympic-style sporting competition for injured members of the armed forces has been a "real struggle".

DUP and Sinn Féin 'make budget deal'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:28
The DUP and Sinn Féin reach agreement over Stormont's quarterly budget after weeks of deadlock, the BBC understands.

Bathers drown off Karachi coast

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:22
At least 20 bathers celebrating the Muslim Eid festival drown in rough seas off the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, officials say.

'Abuse' pilot 'took his own life'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-31 00:01
A British Airways pilot accused of sexually abusing children in Africa took his own life, a coroner rules.

Nato 'unprepared for Russia threat'

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 23:53
Nato is poorly prepared for an attack on a member state by Russia, a group of MPs warns in a report.

Walker dies after fall on Snowdon

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 23:25
A man has died after falling at least 200ft (60m) while walking just below the summit of Snowdon.

School infants 'obese' warnings

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 23:25
Over a quarter of Welsh children starting primary school are overweight - with more than one-in-10 classed as obese, say public health officials.

Argentina in denial over debt dispute

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 23:15
Call it something else, says Argentina's president

Argentina defaults for second time

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 23:01
Argentina has defaulted on its debt - for the second time in 13 years - after last-minute talks in New York with a group of bond-holders end in failure.

VIDEO: Is your big tummy a diabetes warning ?

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 22:46
Health officials in England are urging people to measure and monitor their waistlines, to help avoid type 2 diabetes.

VIDEO: Mysterious miracle? Crop circle draws crowds

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 22:33
A giant crop circle which apparently appeared out of nowhere, has drawn crowds of people to a farmer's field in Bavaria, southern Germany.

Estate agency to be sold for £16.5m

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 22:19
Wales' biggest building society, the Principality, is selling its estate agency business, Peter Alan, for almost £16.5 million.

VIDEO: Gaza families 'can't outrun this war'

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 22:09
The BBC's Martin Patience reports from Gaza, where Palestinians continue to seek shelter in a UN-run school despite a shelling which killed 16 people.

Peace Corps Evacuates Hundreds Of Volunteers Amid Ebola Outbreak

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 21:47

A State Department official said two volunteers were under isolation after having contact with a person who later died of the virus. Ebola has killed more than 670 people in West Africa.

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Assault charge for duke's ex-aide

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 21:45
A former personal assistant to the Duke of Edinburgh is accused of sexually abusing a girl in the early 1970s.
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