National / International News

Call for action on wildlife crime

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:46
Scotland's reputation is at risk because of the country's failure to investigate and prosecute wildlife crime effectively, it is claimed.

Scots Tories 'parent power' call

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:41
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is to call for a "parent power" shake-up of education in a speech to her party conference.

Crews tackle car showroom blaze

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:33
A large fire breaks out at a car showroom on the A370 in Somerset.

Confessions of a 'boring imperialist'

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:30
The men in dark glasses who called me a 'British imperialist'

The secrets of Oscar limo drivers

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:30
Going behind the scenes with the Oscar drivers

RAF and Russia 'clash' - front pages

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:17
Tensions between the UK and Russia are the subject of several front pages after RAF fighter jets respond to the presence of Russian bombers off the Cornish coast.

Resistant-malaria 'enormous threat'

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:15
Drug-resistant malaria has spread in Myanmar and has now reached the border with India, scientists report.

Evolution 'favours big sea beasts'

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:02
A major survey finds that marine animals have been getting bigger, on average, since the Cambrian period - and not by chance.

VIDEO: Rediscovering a lost typeface

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:02
One man's obsession with rescuing a lost typeface from the Thames

Cybersecurity: The insider threat

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:01
How firms combat insider fraud and theft

Nigeria's five-to-nine work ethic

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:01
Why working five-to-nine is key for many in Nigeria

Many private parking fines 'illegal'

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 15:01
Millions of pounds of private parking fines could have been charged illegally, according to a report published by the RAC Foundation.

Football and racism: Nine fans, nine stories

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 14:52
In the wake of the incident involving Chelsea fans on the Paris metro, nine fans from minority backgrounds tell us their experiences.

Gerrard: Balotelli showed disrespect

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 14:51
Steven Gerrard says Balotelli showed 'disrespect' to Jordan Henderson by taking Liverpool's penalty against Besiktas.

How a humble stray dog helped launch Instagram

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 14:49

The first Instagram photograph ever was of a stray dog near a taco stand in Mexico, and is now immortalized on a table in the company's headquarters. 

The company was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger back in 2010, and just before they launched, the pair tested their creation on a trip.

"We were on vacation in Mexico and I decided I wanted to learn how to make filters and we took a picture of a dog at a taco stand," Systrom says. "Had I known it was going to be the first photo on Instagram I would've tried a little harder."

Instagram now has more than 300 million worldwide users who now log on to share photos and videos, but that wasn't initially the app's purpose.

"Someone once described entrepreneurship to me as a series of happy accidents," Systrom says. "Initially we wanted to create a game where you checked in at places and shared where you were. You happened to be able to share a photo, but it turns out all people did was share photos. So like any good entrepreneur we spotted an opportunity and as soon as we wrapped our head around that we realized it could be a really powerful platform for expressing yourself or expressing something about a product or a moment.”

Instagram photos have a unique look, not just because of the filters but because of the shape. How did the company arrive at its now-iconic square shape?

“The pictures are square because they were inspired by medium format photography,” Systrom says. “Back in the day I actually studied photography in Florence for a few months and my photography teacher took away my digital camera and said, ‘no, use this, it’s analog and it’s square.’ It was a Holga camera, a very cheap $3 or $4 plastic camera. And that’s what inspired Instagram.”

So what filter does the founder and CEO of Instagram use more than any other?

“Ludwig, it’s one of the new ones we just added and it’s very subtle and beautiful,” he says. “But the real trick is that I use the creative tools. They’re a little more advanced, but I promise you that if you use them your photos will come out better."

VIDEO: Inside Iraqi ghost town destroyed by IS

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 14:49
The BBC's John Simpson reports from the village of Mansouriya, 100km north of Baghdad in Iraq, to see the effects of the Islamic State (IS) occupation.

Without casting directors, there are no "Best Actors"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 14:45

Actors are usually the ones in the spotlight, but it’s someone’s job to put them in their roles.

Terri Taylor cast the Oscar-nominated “Whiplash,” which is up for five awards. As a casting director, Taylor is ineligible for an Academy Award but she was nominated for the Artios Award from the Casting Society of America.

Taylor starts the casting process by reading the script and consulting with the director. After that, she goes into a casting workshop and starts thinking about actors. She says, “I have a lot of ideas of actors I’ve met in the past that I know very well. I’m incredibly familiar with their work, which is a gigantic part of my job… to educate myself on actors and what work they’re doing.” She also speaks with talent agents and auditions actors for each role.

The budget that a film has will greatly affect the casting process. Whiplash was a low-budget film.

“We made it for $3 million dollars, and it absolutely affects the casting process. I think the truth is that we are limited because of our financial resources when you’re making a low budget movie. Not everybody is interested or can work for what we pay,” says Taylor. “So I think it affects our casting process 100 percent.”

Even though she was working with a small budget, Taylor is proud of how the casting of the film turned out.

“I knew going in that it was a special project… not only was the film making wonderful but the acting across the board was so good, even down to the smallest parts,” says Taylor. “It was just pride. Not only for the work that we had done in our craft in assembling people in every role that could get the job done but for all of those actors, I feel a little bit of a kind of maternal feeling for everybody that we assembled and I was just really really proud.”

Whiplash is nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Writing Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

Without casting directors, there are no "Best Actors"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 14:45

Actors are usually the ones in the spotlight, but it’s someone’s job to put them in their roles.

Terri Taylor cast the Oscar-nominated “Whiplash,” which is up for five awards. As a casting director, Taylor is ineligible for an Academy Award but she was nominated for the Artios Award from the Casting Society of America.

Taylor starts the casting process by reading the script and consulting with the director. After that, she goes into a casting workshop and starts thinking about actors. She says, “I have a lot of ideas of actors I’ve met in the past that I know very well. I’m incredibly familiar with their work, which is a gigantic part of my job… to educate myself on actors and what work they’re doing.” She also speaks with talent agents and auditions actors for each role.

The budget that a film has will greatly affect the casting process. Whiplash was a low-budget film.

“We made it for $3 million dollars, and it absolutely affects the casting process. I think the truth is that we are limited because of our financial resources when you’re making a low budget movie. Not everybody is interested or can work for what we pay,” says Taylor. “So I think it affects our casting process 100 percent.”

Even though she was working with a small budget, Taylor is proud of how the casting of the film turned out.

“I knew going in that it was a special project… not only was the film making wonderful but the acting across the board was so good, even down to the smallest parts,” says Taylor. “It was just pride. Not only for the work that we had done in our craft in assembling people in every role that could get the job done but for all of those actors, I feel a little bit of a kind of maternal feeling for everybody that we assembled and I was just really really proud.”

Whiplash is nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Writing Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

Same-Sex Couple Gets Married In Texas, After Judge Defies Gay Marriage Ban

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-19 14:23

The couple acted quickly on the judge's order, getting a license, and having a ceremony, but the Texas attorney general said the marriage was "void."

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Iraq-Kurdish force 'to retake Mosul'

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 14:14
An Iraqi-Kurdish force of up to 25,000 is preparing to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State in April or May, a US official says.

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