National / International News

Ukraine rebels to get self-rule

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:54
Ukrainian MPs adopt a law granting special status to parts of eastern regions held by pro-Russian rebels and an amnesty for rebel fighters.

Would-be school gunman sentenced

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:50
A man persuaded by an Atlanta-area school worker to surrender rather than go on a shooting rampage is sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Dempsey Says If Needed He Would Recommend Ground Forces In Iraq

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:46

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a Senate panel he supports the president's plan to combat Islamic State militants but that if it proved necessary, he would recommend U.S. ground forces.

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Bosses and cash vanish at shoe firm

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:45
Chinese footwear firm Ultrasonic has announced the disappearance of its chief executive and chief operating officer, along with most of its cash.

'Bloodshed threat' before gas siege

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:39
A worker at a gas plant where British hostages were killed by militants allegedly threatened "bloodshed" the night beforehand, an inquest hears.

The numbers for September 16, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:33

About 45.3 million people were living at or below the poverty line last year, according to new census data released Tuesday. That's about 14.5 percent of the population, and a slight drop from last year's 15 percent. Median household income also crept up to $51,939, only about $180 more than last year.

Here's what we're reading — and other numbers we're watching — Tuesday morning.

$105

That's the base price of Android One, a series of affordable smartphones Google announced in India Monday. It's a bid to capture the country's emerging smartphone market, the New York Times reported, which is expected to double by 2018. Google is also testing drones designed to bring Internet to remote areas.

$70 million

The cost for Russian rockets to ferry one American astronaut to the International Space Station has climbed since the space shuttle was retired three years ago, and NASA is looking for a new solution. They're expected to contract out so-called "space taxis," the Wall Street Journal reported, and Boeing is the favorite over Elon Musk's SpaceX.

$340 million

Money was contracted to private companies to clean Chicago's public schools in February as a cost saving move. Now principals are pushing back, the Washington Post reported, saying their schools are filthy, grappling with waste and bug problems they didn't have before.

Sport autobiographies - best quotes

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:31
Memorable quotes from sporting autobiographies

Passport delay victims 'need refund'

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:24
Passport applicants who paid £30 extra to avoid missing travel because of processing delays should get refunds, MPs say.

Health Law Tempers States' Insurance Mandates

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:20

Parts of the Affordable Care Act seek to curb states from setting their own mandates requiring insurers to cover specific care. But many state legislators are trying to work around the restrictions.

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Tardy ex-minister chased off plane

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:11
Irate passengers prevent a senior Pakistani politician from boarding a flight, after they were kept on board for two hours until he arrived.

UK inflation rate falls to 1.5%

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:10
Cheaper food and fuel prices helped to push down the UK consumer price inflation rate to 1.5% in August, official figures show.

A Scientist's Journey From Beer To Microbiology To Bourbon-Making

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:08

When his home-brew tasted bad, a college student decided to pursue microbiology. After more than a decade as a scientist, he's going back to brewing — but this time, he's moving up to bourbon.

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Pistorius judge 'threats concern'

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:06
Some legal groups in South Africa express concern over threats directed at the judge who found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide and not murder.

Marriott's New Envelope For Room Tips Stirs Debate

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:03

An initiative launched with Maria Shriver's input is raising questions over how the hotel company pays its staff — and whether guests should be expected to tip.

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Giant sensor for Panasonic phone

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:02
Panasonic unveils a hybrid smartphone-camera, at the Photokina trade show in Cologne.

Calpers ditches pension funds

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-16 07:00

The California Public Employee’s Retirement System, better known as Calpers, is the country’s largest public pension fund with $300 billion in assets. So when it acts, investors take notice.

Calpers is going to completely shed its $4 billion dollars of hedge fund investments because it says they’re too complex and costly.

Calpers made 7.1 percent in returns on its hedge fund investments for its last fiscal year, but it also paid $135 million in fees. The pension fund has a goal for its investments of 7.5 percent returns and, as a whole, earned over 18 percent last year.

Still, it’s surprising that Calpers is getting out of hedge funds entirely, says Olivia Mitchell, the executive director of the Pension Research Council at The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

“The idea of hedge funds is they’re supposed to be protective of market downturns,” Mitchell explains. “One of the costs of that is that they don’t necessarily give the whole upside when markets rise.”

But she also said that hedge funds tend to be relatively opaque in their investments–which, combined with high fees, might prompt more pension funds to follow Calpers.

“Calpers has always been a leader in the public pension space,” says Mitchell. “Certainly others will take a good look at their hedge fund portfolios. My sense is that other cities in California are already taking a bit of a hard look…and Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are debating this issue as well.”

Nato troops killed in Kabul bombing

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 06:43
A Taliban suicide car bomber attacks a foreign military convoy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing three Nato personnel and injuring at least 16 civilians.

Labour to 'address under-funding'

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 06:42
Labour will address "under-funding" of the Welsh government if it wins next year's general election, First Minister Carwyn Jones assures AMs.

'Waiting in dark for killers to come'

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-16 06:40
Hiding in the dark during Algerian gas plant attack

Homeless Vets: They're Not Just Single Men Anymore

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-16 06:38

Overall, there are fewer homeless veterans these days. But that good news is tempered by the growing number of homeless vets with families, including many women.

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