National / International News

Bland 'left voicemail from jail'

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 02:05
A US network says it has obtained a voicemail from Sandra Bland recorded shortly before her death in custody, and expressing shock at her arrest.

Robson wins first match since 2013

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 02:01
Former British number one Laura Robson claims her first win in almost two years at a Challenger tournament in Canada.

CSE report recommends taxi review

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 02:00
A report into child sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire recommends greater regulation for taxi drivers in the county.

New app aims to improve cycling in Portland

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-23 02:00

The city of Portland, Oregon, is known for its enthusiast support of cycling. With 345 miles of bikeways snaking around and through its urban core, Portland has more cyclists per capita than any other town.

 

Now a new project between the tech industry and city officials aims to make biking in Portland even easier.

 

Tech entrepreneur and cyclist William Henderson has created an app called Ride, which asks cyclists to collect data as they cruise around Portland. That data will then help the city to plan better cycling infrastructure, like signals, lanes, safer routes and where to avoid traffic.

 

Currently, 6 percent of Portland’s population cycles to work. But that number leaps to 25 percent in the inner city, which is well above the national average of less than 1 percent.

 

“Right now, we have some great infrastructure for biking and walking and transit in Portland,” Henderson says. “But we’re really not going to get any more space for our roads as the city grows, so we have to make more efficient use of it.”

 

Software developer Chris Jones is using the app during this pilot phase. Jones says he likes it because it automatically starts tracking his route as soon as he starts pedaling.

 

“It’s nice to not have to open the app and say, ‘OK, here we go, I’m starting my commute now.’ I want to just get on my bike and go where I’m going,” says Jones.

 

The goal is to have between 5,000 to 10,000 cyclists using Ride by the end of the summer.

 

In addition to the app, Henderson is installing wireless bike-counting sensors around the city to count cyclists. The idea is to replace Portland’s old methods, which includes volunteers on street corners making pen-and-paper tallies.

 

For Margi Bradway, active transportation manager at the Portland Bureau of Transportation, this new technology offers exciting possibilities.

 

“One of the reasons I’m really interested in this data is to understand cyclist types and cyclist behaviors. So when is someone willing to go on a busier street for a more direct route, versus a local street that’s further away?” Bradway says. “When we get this data, we’ll start to see patterns to help us shape the future for cycling.”

New app to improve cycling in Portland

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-23 02:00

The city of Portland, Oregon is known for its enthusiast support of cycling. With 345 miles of bikeways snaking around and through its urban core, Portland has more cyclists per capita than any other town.

Now, a new project between the tech industry and city officials is hoping to make biking in Portland even easier.

Tech entrepreneur and cyclist William Henderson has created an app called Ride, which asks cyclists to collect data as they ride around Portland. That data will then help the city to plan better cycling infrastructure, like signals, lanes, safer routes and where to avoid traffic.

Currently, 6 percent of Portland’s population cycles to work. But that number leaps to 25 percent in the inner city, which is well above the national average of less than 1 percent.

“Right now, we have some great infrastructure for biking and walking and transit in Portland,” says Henderson. “But we’re really not going to get any more space for our roads as the city grows, so we have to make more efficient use of it.”

Software developer Chris Jones is using the app during this pilot phase. Jones says he likes it because it automatically starts tracking his route as soon as he starts pedaling.

“It’s nice to not have to open the app and say, ‘Okay, here we go, I’m starting my commute now.’ I want to just get on my bike and go where I’m going,” says Jones.

The goal is to have between five to ten thousand cyclists using Ride by the end of the summer.

In addition to the app, Henderson is installing wireless bike-counting sensors around the city to count cyclists. The idea is to replace Portland’s old methods, which includes volunteers on street corners making pen-and-paper tallies.

For Margi Bradway, active transportation manager at the Portland Bureau of Transportation, this new technology offers exciting possibilities.

“One of the reasons I’m really interested in this data is to understand cyclist types and cyclist behaviors — so when is someone willing to go on a busier street for a more direct route, versus a local street that’s further away,” says Bradway. “When we get this data we’ll start to see patterns to help us shape the future for cycling.”

Pearson nears deal to sell the Financial Times

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-23 02:00

The London-based Financial Times newspaper is reportedly close to being sold to a rival media company — Among potential buyers are German media company Axel Springer, as well as Bloomberg. The seller is Pearson, which in addition to publishing is big in the education field.

Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of education and history at New York University. He joins us to talk about why Pearson might be interested in selling the FT, and what the rise of standardized testing may have to do with the decision.

Click the media player to hear more.

UPDATE: The Financial Times newspaper reports that Axel Springer is in advanced talks to purchase the paper from Pearson.

Brash new competitor challenges Amazon

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-23 02:00

Amazon is set to release earnings on Thursday. And now they’ve got more competition in the retail game. This week, Jet.com launched, boasting plans to lure you away from Amazon with the lowest prices on the internet. Founder Marc Lore seems to relish competing with Amazon. In 2010 Amazon bought his startup Quidsi for half a billion dollars.

Charla Mathwick, a marketing professor at Portland State, says it may seem crazy for Jet.com to boast that they'll take over the online retail market from Amazon. "But it all depends on what their goal is," she says. "Acquiring customers is going to be a big challenge for a company like this if the goal is to try to really take on Amazon. But I don't know if that's what they're doing. If the goal is to demonstrate a superior pricing algorithm, you may not need huge numbers of customers, you just need enough to demonstrate that the algorithm works."

Mathwick says Jet.com is looking for the impulse buying that has fallen off as customers stop going to malls and grocery stores.

Jet's business model is something akin to a combination of Amazon Prime and Costco. A $50 membership fee will get you free shipping and those low prices. Mike Maughan is with Qualtrics, an online data company. He says in the end it will boil down to customer experience. Jet has to make you feel like you’re getting more than just a good deal.

“I think it's incumbent upon Jet.com to demonstrate and provide an incredible customer experience," Maughan says. "Price isn’t everything. If it’s all that someone’s got, it won’t last and I don’t think it’s sustainable."

Maughan says the question is, "Is there an appetite for a competitor to Amazon? Amazon is very popular and a lot of people use it but it is not used ubiquitously. Still only about 10 percent of retail shopping happens online."

Jet.com is only two days old, so it might take a few more hours to determine if this business model is going to eventually work. But analysts say the first measure of its success might be how many customers it’s actually taking from Amazon. 

The nuts and bolts of robot soccer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:53
255,000

That's how many jobless claims came in last week, the lowest number in four decades. As Bloomberg reports, economists are saying part of the reason is that employers are holding on workers to keep up with an uptick in demand. 

345

That's how many miles of bike ways snake their way through the streets of Portland, Oregon. Now a new app called Ride is hoping to make biking in the city even easier. It asks users to share cycling data collected through the app, which can then be used to improve biking infrastructure in and around Portland.

$50

That's the cost of a membership to Jet.com, a company that aims to compete with Amazon for the lowest prices on the internet. Think of it as a cross between Amazon Prime and Costco, with a flat fee for free shipping and  low prices. Analysts say that if the site has any hope of competing with some of the giants already in the market, they'll have to offer more than just low prices. Customer experience, in this case, may be the key.

1-0

That was the final score of the RoboCup World Championships, in which Japan bested China in the "child-sized humanoid football final." As the BBC reports, this year's games added new challenges, including replacing the easier-to-spot red ball with a white one, and installing a kind of artificial turf that gave some of the robots stability issues.

U.S. Defense Secretary Makes Unannounced Visit To Iraq

NPR News - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:49

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter makes a surprise visit to Iraq, where U.S. and Iraqi forces have been preparing to launch an offensive against Islamic State forces.

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Iran execution toll 'staggering'

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:46
An “unprecedented spike” in executions in Iran has seen nearly 700 people believed put to death there this year, Amnesty International says.

UK relaxes Ebola screening measures

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:44
The screening measures put into place to prevent Ebola arriving in the UK are being relaxed at some airports and rail terminals.

Crewman recalls 'terror' of crash

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:39
A crewman of the bin lorry that killed six people in Glasgow tells a fatal accident inquiry he was terrified as the vehicle hit pedestrians.

Boy, 15, admits Anzac Day terror plot

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:39
A 15-year-old boy from Blackburn admits involvement in a terror plot to attack an Anzac Day parade in Melbourne, Australia.

David Cameron at Royal Welsh Show

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:35
David Cameron visits the Royal Welsh Show after announcing a £390m deal for armoured vehicles to be produced in south Wales.

'No cuts' to ferries workforce

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:33
A union involved in a dispute with CalMac says the agreement reached has ended a potential threat of job cuts.

Sony Pictures to make emoji movie

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:31
Sony Animation Pictures buys the rights to turn emojis into a film.

Italy jails two for 1974 bombing

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:27
A Milan court gives life sentences to two former far-right militants who killed eight people in a 1974 bombing in Brescia.

Police apology over decomposed body

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:26
West Mercia Police apologise after a family were denied saying a final farewell to a suspected Hereford murder victim because of a mistake at a Coventry mortuary.

Rate change text alert for savers

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:25
Savers will receive a text message alert when their bonus introductory interest rate has expired, under proposals from the UK finance regulator.

More pupils try 'vaping' than smoking

BBC - Thu, 2015-07-23 01:19
More pupils in England aged between 11 and 15 have tried electronic cigarettes than have smoked a cigarette, according to official figures.

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