National / International News

Friday's gossip column

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 15:46
Chelsea target Raphael Varane, Jose Mourinho to be offered new deal, Van Gaal to be replaced by Ancelotti, plus more.

People not talking to each other

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 15:43
Does being glued to our phones prevent conversation?

Quiz of the week's news

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 15:37
Which Disney character is getting a live-action makeover?

VIDEO: Inside the FBI's massive gun vault

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 15:36
The FBI's vault of historic and rare guns features weapons used by John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and other famous gangsters. It also holds is a key component in solving crimes

VIDEO: Warning over UK's defence future

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 15:30
The former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander of Nato, General Sir Richard Shirreff, has warned that it is "questionable" whether the UK could still defend itself - and may not meet its commitments under the Nato treaty - as a result of cuts to defence spending.

Time 'right' for Indian Wells return

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 15:27
World number one Serena Williams says she never believed she would end her Indian Wells boycott after crowd abuse in 2001.

IS 'accepts' Boko Haram's allegiance

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 14:51
Islamic State accepts a pledge of allegiance from Nigeria's militant group Boko Haram, according to an audio message purportedly from IS.

'England progression not sole focus'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 14:31
England 2015 chief Debbie Jevans wants the hosts to reach the World Cup knockout phase but says it's not essential for the event.

How The Iran Letter Is Playing In The 2016 Campaign

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-12 14:27

Republican presidential contenders are backing the letter 47 GOP senators wrote to Iran.

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Everton 2-1 Dynamo Kiev

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 14:23
A late Romelu Lukaku penalty gives Everton victory over Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.

Taxpayers say they plan to spend refunds responsibly

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-12 14:20

Forthwith, some tax-time number-crunching.

The average 2014 federal tax refund is $3,120, according to IRS data as of February 20, and 83 percent of taxpayers – more than 40 million people – are getting them.

A recent survey of by finds that, of those who anticipate a refund, more would pay down debt and less would splurge on vacations or shopping than in years past. tax analyst Kay Bell says the survey shows taxpayers "are doing some pretty responsible things with these funds."

"Whether it's because they are finally recovering from the recession and finally getting a job, or getting a little more money from employers," Bell says, "I think people have realized the need to be more prepared."

Bell acknowledges Bankrate’s survey doesn't follow up to ascertain whether respondents follow through on their pre-refund financial plans.

“Like the IRS, we trust what they say,” she says.

Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow at Golden Gate University, author of "Decoding the New Consumer Mind," is not convinced that a majority of taxpayers will act as responsibly as they intend.

“In surveys, people answer according to what they hope they’ll do, as much as what they actually will do,” Yarrow says. In her own consumer-survey research, she finds that many people’s plans to use a tax refund to pay off debt, save, or invest, are aspirational.

"After the fact, this is what I hear: 'I’ve spent some of it on clothing,’ or ‘I’ve spent it on an evening out, it felt like a windfall.’"

Yarrow says some taxpayers use excessive withholding from their paychecks combined with an anticipated refund, as a strategy to pay for holiday gifts and entertainment. They spend it up on credit during the holidays, then pay off as much of that debt as they can once their tax refund arrives.

Some more key stats from Bankrate's survey:

  • 38 percent of taxpayers prefer to receive a big refund. Typically, this means allowing the IRS to withhold more money than is likely necessary from one’s paycheck.
  • 43 percent of millennials would accept higher taxes in exchange for free college tuition for all students. A fifth of other adults would agree to that.
  • 22 percent of Americans would accept higher taxes to provide free health care to all who need it.

Dodds sets out the DUP's demands

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 14:16
The Westminster leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party says an Ed Miliband government would have to offer a European referendum in exchange for the support of his in the event of a hung parliament.

Huddersfield 22-0 Castleford

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 14:14
Huddersfield Giants recorded their second win of the season as they impressively saw off in-form Castleford Tigers.

Trio of historical piers up for sale

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 14:08
Three well known English and Welsh piers are put up for sale for a collective price of £12.6m.

UKIP tries to broaden its appeal

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 13:56
UKIP, which once seemed bomb proof, appears to have reached a plateau in the polls and is trying to broaden its appeal.

Armitstead's Olympic and road ambition

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 13:56
Britain's Lizzie Armitstead says the road world title is her main aim this season, with the Rio Olympics firmly in her sights too.

Destiny shocks at Bafta games awards

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 13:55
Bungie's Destiny takes the top prize at 2015's British Academy Game Awards, despite failing to win other categories it was nominated in.

The View From A Muddy Field In China: Women's Rights, In 1995 And Now

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-12 13:47

Anne Marie Goetz was one of 47,000 who attended the landmark Beijing conference. Twenty years later, she thinks it might be risky to hold an event like that today.

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VIDEO: Nasa films biggest solar flare of 2015

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 13:37
Nasa cameras have captured images an X-class flare, the strongest category of Sun storm possible, and they are the first of its size in 2015.

Obese dachshund drops 44lb on diet

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-12 13:35
A miniature dachshund from Ohio loses more than 75% of his body weight after being put on a diet-and-fitness regime by his new owner.