National / International News

Head Of U.N. Climate Change Panel Resigns Amid Harassment Allegations

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-24 07:09

Rajendra K. Pachauri's departure from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a big embarrassment for the group, which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with former Vice President Al Gore.

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VIDEO: A Winter World Cup - in 60 seconds

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:57
BBC News looks at why FIFA is recommending that the 2022 World Cup should be held in winter - and why many clubs disagree.

Terror suspect 'had Blair address'

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:54
A man accused of planning a Mumbai-style terror attack in the UK had the address of a property owned by Tony Blair, a court hears.

The housing market is still struggling

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:52

The price of an existing home grew 4.46 percent last year, according to the Case Shiller Home Price Index. Sales of existing homes, while not at pre-recession peaks, were up, but new home sales and construction were still weak. 

New home sales are a particularly key figure to focus on. While existing home sales are important, an existing home doesn’t help GDP the same way a brand new home does, and a lot of new homes aren’t being built — because people aren’t buying them.

“The housing recovery is faltering. While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home sales remain weak. Before the current business cycle, any time housing starts were at their current level of about one million at annual rates, the economy was in a recession ... The softness in housing is despite favorable conditions elsewhere in the economy: strong job growth, a declining unemployment rate, continued low interest rates and positive consumer confidence,” says David Blitzer in a statement, manager of the S&P Dow Jones Index Committee, who oversees the Case Shiller Home Price Index.

Why does housing remain sluggish? Why does it still seem haunted by the recession while other economic indicators are improving?

1.“It’s exceedingly expensive and I don’t have the financial capability to do that”: Those are the words of Phil Litman, a random person on the street. Random, but also typical. “I mean if I had an unlimited source of financing, I’d rather buy, yes, but in my current situation right now, I’d rather rent.” It’s basically that, in the words of Mark Willis, executive director of NYU’s Furman Center, a lot of people just don’t have a lot of money. “There are parts of the market ... having to deal with relatively stagnant incomes,” he says. 
2. Millennials: Young people, the would be first-time homebuyers, face financial instability. Chris Mayer teaches Real Estate at Columbia Business School, and says there are signs of this in demographic data. “People are getting married later, and having kids later and settling down later.”
3. The rise of renting: Connected, perhaps, to prolonged financial instability for millennials, is the shift towards renting. “Renter construction rate still up and up pretty dramatically – 20% over the year,” says Susan Wachter, professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School.
4. Credit, still tight: People are renting, not just because buying is expensive, but because borrowing is still hard. “The uneven recovery in construction is fundamentally reflective of tight credit conditions,” says Wachter. Interest rates may be low, but that doesn’t guarantee someone will qualify for a loan.    
5. Something else entirely: As much as we like to pin our dismal housing sector on the recession that just won’t die, the reality is there were changes in housing happening way before it. “Homeownership actually peaked in 2004, before the recession, in fact, before the clear boom in housing peaked,” says S&P Dow Jones’ David Blitzer. He says the recession may have just accelerated a larger trend that was happening anyway.

Dozens hurt in California train crash

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:51
A commuter train and a lorry have collided, causing three carriages to derail northwest of Los Angeles, with multiple injuries reported.

Yellen says Fed flexible on rates

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:43
Janet Yellen, in her semi-annual testimony in Congress, says the Federal Reserve can be flexible in determining when to raise interest rates, which have been near zero since 2008.

VIDEO: Los Angeles commuter train derails

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:39
A commuter train has derailed after hitting a truck near Oxnard, north of Los Angeles.

'Blank faces' for MI5 spy sketches

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:38
Court sketches of costumed MI5 agents giving evidence in the trial of Abid Nasser must be made with "blank faces" and "generic hair", a judge has ruled.

19 Stuck Manatees Rescued From Florida Storm Drain

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:37

The manatees swam into the warm waters of the drainpipe after a recent cold snap, but were unable to turn around to get out.

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The Courage And Ingenuity Of Freedom-Seeking Slaves In America

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:33

Did daring stories of fugitive slaves perhaps move the national political needle toward abolition?

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Oscar Pistorius in appeal challenge

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:25
Lawyers for jailed South African athlete Oscar Pistorius launch a legal bid to prevent prosecutors from appealing against his acquittal on murder charges.

Dog breeder jailed for dog fighting

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:23
A dog breeder, thought by the RSPCA to be a major figure in British dog fighting, is jailed and banned from keeping animals.

FIFA Panel Backs Winter World Cup In Qatar In 2022

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:08

Soccer's World Cup is typically played over the summer, but temperatures in Qatar during that season can exceed 110 degrees. But a winter tournament would coincide with the European club season.

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Pebble crowdfunds new smart watch

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 06:01
Pebble is returning to crowdfunding to release its second smartwatch - which it claims will have colour e-paper display and seven day battery life

Eurozone backs Greece reform plans

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 05:59
Eurozone finance ministers have approved reform proposals submitted by Greece in order to gain an extension of its bailout, officials say.

Shooting in Czech town 'kills eight'

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 05:58
At least eight people die when a gunman opens fire inside a restaurant in the Czech Republic town of Uhersky Brod, local reports say.

Lithuania to bring back conscription

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 05:56
Lithuania to reintroduce military conscription over concerns for "the geopolitical environment" in the Baltic states, President Dalia Grybauskaite says.

VA Secretary Apologizes For Making Special Forces Claim

NPR News - Tue, 2015-02-24 05:54

The story drew attention late Monday, weeks after McDonald, an Army veteran and West Point graduate, made the claim during a conversation with a homeless veteran.

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Nottingham Forest v Bournemouth

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 05:47
Preview followed by live coverage of Wednesday's Championship game between Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth.

Robbed OAP 'too scared' to speak

BBC - Tue, 2015-02-24 05:44
A pensioner was tied up, threatened into silence and robbed of just £15 by a burglar, Cardiff Crown Court hears.