National / International News

FA set to charge Liverpool's Skrtel

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 09:18
The Football Association will charge Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel for an incident involving David De Gea at Anfield on Sunday.

If You're Going To Die Soon, Do You Really Need Statins?

NPR News - Mon, 2015-03-23 09:17

Many older people are taking a lot of meds, and some drugs may not be doing them much good. When terminally ill people went off statins, they said they felt better. And it didn't increase their risk.

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Medics 'had humanitarian motives'

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 09:11
Nine British-Sudanese medical students and doctors who have travelled to Syria were motivated by humanitarian concerns, their parents say.

Saudis threaten Yemen 'measures'

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 09:09
Gulf States will take "necessary measures" over deteriorating security in Yemen if a peaceful solution cannot be found, Saudi Arabia says.

UK 'risks economic blow' outside EU

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:57
Leaving the EU could cost the UK economy 2.2% of total output (GDP) by 2030, a study by the think-tank Open Europe says.

You Think Your City Is Full Of Trash? Ha!

NPR News - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:56

Welcome to Kathmandu — or as some call it, Trashmandu. Even in the best of times, rubbish piles up everywhere. Now things have gotten worse.

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If animal feed were organic, could we afford eggs?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:50

The World Health Organization now says the weed-killer glyphosate, better known as Roundup, probably causes cancer. Most corn and soybeans produced in the U.S. are treated with glyphosate.

But, Americans don't eat much corn — not unless you live on Fritos, or maybe Coca-Cola, which is sweetened with corn syrup. We instead eat animals that eat corn: cows, pigs, chickens. Maybe we’re consuming glyphosate when we eat a nice, juicy steak or an Egg McMuffin.

If we ended up switching away from chemicals like the Monsanto-marketed Roundup — say, if all our animal feed were organically grown — how much would our eggs and milk cost? 

To start with: Organic corn costs more. From $11 a bushel to almost $14, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with conventional corn selling for less than $4

But animal feed is a relatively tiny part of the cost of our food. You know how many eggs you get from a bushel of corn? More than 200 eggs, which is less than two cents worth of corn per egg. Triple that cost, by using organic corn to feed the chickens, and you're only at six cents.

Higher feed prices do not tend to push up grocery bills, says Bruce Babcock, an economist at Iowa State University who studies corn.

"We did run this experiment where we doubled the price of corn," he says, and he’s not talking about an experiment in the lab, this was in the real world. The price of corn goes up and down, and you can see what grocery prices do.

"It wasn’t so long ago that we had $8 corn, not $4 corn," he says, "and people hardly noticed at the supermarket."

So, why did I pay almost five bucks for a dozen organic eggs yesterday? I asked David Bruce, who runs the egg program at the Organic Valley co-op. His members sold $50 million worth of eggs last year.

He says, organic producers do have other costs — and the distributor and the store both take a cut of my $5. But basically, he says, I paid that much because I wanted them — and so did a lot of other people.

"Demand is outstripping supply," he says. "You know, we’re filling orders at 60 percent," meaning, if a distributor asks for a 100 cases, a farmer can only send 60.

If the whole world went organic, there would be more supply — more organic corn, more organic chickens — and price would probably come down.

Double killer jail release criticised

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:43
Freeing a double killer from an open prison on day release, allowing him to murder a Good Samaritan, has been branded a "catastrophic failure" in a report

Sexism on trial in Silicon Valley

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:42
A judge has ruled that a woman may seek punitive damages from a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley on the grounds of sexual discrimination.

Quitting the Bakken: one oil worker walks away

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:38

In the past few years, workers from all over America have flocked to North Dakota for jobs in the booming oil industry. For a lot of people struggling through their own hard times, it’s been an opportunity for a second chance. And for some, it was their last resort. But since summer 2014, oil prices have dropped by half. Some 75,000 oil workers nationwide have lost their jobs, and more have had their hours cut.

Apryl Boyce is one of those workers. She's 42, tall, tough-looking and pretty, with long blond hair tucked beneath a crocheted beanie. She came to the Bakken last fall and has spent months driving a one-ton truck all over the oil field, at all hours of the day, as a hot shot, a driver who hauls equipment from one job site to another. Recently, things have slowed down a lot.

"It used to be you’d get called out at four in the morning and be doing runs until 10 at night," she said.

Now, she waits by the phone most of the day. There are 80 fewer drilling rigs here in North Dakota than there were six months ago. That means less to haul around.

At the office of Badlands Service Group, the small oil field company Apryl works for, owner Jim Levasseur said his work force is 40 percent smaller than it was a few weeks ago. He's been cutting people's hours — and then a lot of them have quit.

"They’re wanting 60 to 80 hours a week, and if they’re only going to get 40 hours a week, they’re going to go home," he said. "It may not be as much money, but at least they’re home every night and not sacrificing."

Given how dangerous the oil field is, Jim said, he doesn't blame them for leaving. "People get killed up here on a weekly basis. These are the worst conditions I’ve ever seen for working."

Safety is only part of why Apryl is leaving. Her unpleasant housing situation is another major contributor. A week ago, Jim combined employee housing to cut costs. He asked Apryl to move in with 11 young men in a tired old ranch house on what used to be the outskirts of Williston, which is now hemmed in by new apartment buildings.

"I try to wear bulky pajamas and heavy sweatshirts and try to be as unattractive as possible," she said. "Because I don’t want to provoke any unwanted comments."

Apryl looked for other places to live, but an average one bedroom here still runs over $2,000. Her ad on Craigslist seeking housing didn’t work, either: She received a bunch of offers of free rent in exchange for sexual favors.

"There weren't any legit, comfortable offers," she said.

But there's another reason, a deeper reason, why she decided to leave. Ten years ago, her mother died. At that time Apryl sold everything she owned (except a storage unit full of her mother's cookbooks) and began bouncing from job to job: oil field trucker in Colorado, cattle ranch cook in Wyoming. She was running, she said, from anything she used to do, anything that made her feel like herself — until she got to the Bakken.

"It took the absolute grungiest, dingiest, darkest part of life to make me realize you can stop running," she said.

The oil field slowdown has given her a chance to pause. To think about what brought her to the Bakken, and what no longer keeps her there.

"I lost myself in the oil fields," Apryl said. "I lost myself chasing money for all the wrong reasons, and I’m not going to let it happen again."

Two days later, Apryl left Williston for a mountain town in Colorado she had talked about a lot. She’s running again, but this time to a place that feels like home.

Quitting the Bakken: one oil worker walks away

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:38

In the past few years, workers from all over America have flocked to North Dakota for jobs in the booming oil industry. For a lot of people struggling through their own hard times, it’s been an opportunity for a second chance. And for some, it was their last resort. But since summer 2014, oil prices have dropped by half. Some 75,000 oil workers nationwide have lost their jobs, and more have had their hours cut.

Apryl Boyce is one of those workers. She's 42, tall, tough-looking and pretty, with long blond hair tucked beneath a crocheted beanie. She came to the Bakken last fall and has spent months driving a one-ton truck all over the oilfield, at all hours of the day, as a hot shot, a driver who hauls equipment from one job site to another. Recently, things have slowed down a lot.

"It used to be you’d get called out at four in the morning and be doing runs until 10 at night," she said.

Now, she waits by the phone most of the day. There are 80 fewer drilling rigs here in North Dakota than there were six months ago. That means less to haul around.

At the office of Badlands Service Group, the small oil field company Apryl works for, owner Jim Levasseur said his work force is 40 percent smaller than it was a few weeks ago. He's been cutting people's hours — and then a lot of them have quit.

"They’re wanting 60 to 80 hours a week, and if they’re only going to get 40 hours a week, they’re going to go home," he said. "It may not be as much money, but at least they’re home every night and not sacrificing."

Given how dangerous the oilfield is, Jim said, he doesn't blame them for leaving. "People get killed up here on a weekly basis. These are the worst conditions I’ve ever seen for working."

Safety is only part of why Apryl is leaving. Her unpleasant housing situation is another major contributor. A week ago, Jim combined employee housing to cut costs. He asked Apryl to move in with 11 young men in a tired old ranch house on what used to be the outskirts of Williston, which is now hemmed in by new apartment buildings.

"I try to wear bulky pajamas and heavy sweatshirts and try to be as unattractive as possible," she said. "Because I don’t want to provoke any unwanted comments."

Apryl looked for other places to live, but an average one bedroom here still runs over $2,000. Her ad on Craigslist seeking housing didn’t work, either: She received a bunch of offers of free rent in exchange for sexual favors.

"There weren't any legit, comfortable offers," she said.

But there's another reason, a deeper reason, why she decided to leave. Ten years ago, her mother died. At that time Apryl sold everything she owned (except a storage unit full of her mother's cookbooks) and began bouncing from job to job: oilfield trucker in Colorado, cattle ranch cook in Wyoming. She was running, she said, from anything she used to do, anything that made her feel like herself — until she got to the Bakken.

"It took the absolute grungiest, dingiest, darkest part of life to make me realize you can stop running," she said.

The oilfield slowdown has given her a chance to pause. To think about what brought her to the Bakken, and what no longer keeps her there.

"I lost myself in the oilfields," Apryl said. "I lost myself chasing money for all the wrong reasons, and I’m not going to let it happen again."

Two days later, Apryl left Williston for a mountain town in Colorado she had talked about a lot. She’s running again, but this time to a place that feels like home.

Why RadioShack's bankruptcy ended in an auction

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:36

A bankruptcy auction began for RadioShack Monday. One bidder is Standard General, a hedge fund that is also a major RadioShack shareholder and creditor. It wants to keep approximately half RadioShack's stores open through a deal with Sprint. But other bidders are expected to be liquidators, looking to simply sell off all RadioShack's assets. 

The bankruptcy auction is a different approach than the restructuring and relaunching that characterized, for example, American Airlines' bankruptcy. But Peter Gilhuly, co-chair of the insolvency practice at Latham and Watkins, says it's actually more common, especially for retailers. 

"Auctions are wonderful mechanisms for determining a price and allocating a resource," says Bob Hansen, professor of business administration at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

But bankruptcy auctions legally can optimize only that price, looking for the "highest and best offer" to pay back creditors — even though the different plans will have vastly different outcomes for the business. Standard General says its plan will save 9,000 jobs.

"That's what makes this news," says Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities. "We just don't know. And people's jobs are in the balance."

Big changes on the way to the NFL

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:30

Forget basketball and the NCAA tournament for a minute here. Let's talk football.

The NFL is having its annual owners meeting this week in Phoenix, out of which have come two things of note:

One: the NFL's gonna suspend its longstanding and much-hated blackout rule for this coming season. That's the rule that had kept home games off television in local markets unless they're sold out 72 hours before kickoff.

And two: the league will broadcast the October 25 Jacksonville vs. Buffalo game online via Facebook or YouTube.

When you consider that the NFL signed $27 billion worth of television contracts just a couple of years ago, it's an interesting first step.

Afzal Amin resigns as Tory candidate

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:29
Afzal Amin has resigned as Conservative candidate in Dudley North over claims he plotted with the English Defence League, a Tory spokesman confirms.

VIDEO: Lee's legacy: Singapore in numbers

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:25
Following the death of Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew, BBC News considers his legacy with a look at some key facts and figures.

VIDEO: Could cannabis oil cure cancer?

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:24
Growing evidence suggests cannabis could cure serious diseases like cancer, but opinions are divided.

Singapore Mourns Founding Leader Lee Kuan Yew

NPR News - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:22

The city state began seven days of national mourning after Lee's death today at age 91. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was "grieved beyond words" at Lee's death.

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VIDEO: Video shows attack on UK synagogue

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:18
The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in the UK have increased and are being blamed on a rise in extremist sentiment.

Yemen crisis: Who is fighting whom?

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:12
A look at some of the key issues surrounding the worsening situation in Yemen, which the UN says is on the brink of a protracted civil war.

Natzler appointed next Commons Clerk

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-23 08:12
David Natzler is named as the next Clerk of the Commons, ending a controversial process which pitted Speaker John Bercow against some MPs.

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