National / International News

Firefighters tackle steading blaze

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 02:56
Firefighters are called out to tackle a major farm blaze in Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, overnight.

VIDEO: Key moments of the Indyref campaign

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 02:37
Adam Fleming visits a tapestry recalling Scottish history to look back at key moments in the independence campaign.

AUDIO: What do gambling measures mean?

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 02:18
Four of Britain's biggest bookmakers announce a series of voluntary measures aimed at addressing public concerns about gambling.

Man in court over New Forest murder

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 02:06
A man appears in court over the murder of Penelope Davis, who was found stabbed to death in the New Forest.

Covering Up With The Hijab May Aid Women's Body Image

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 02:04

A few studies have found that modest clothing is connected with a healthier body image. So a British psychologist looked at whether the hijab protected women against the pressure to be thin.

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HBO 'seriously considering' selling online access

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-15 02:00

HBO, with its hit shows like "True Detective" and "Game of Thrones," made $1.8 billion in operating profits in 2013. But it made that money from cable subscribers — not Internet viewers.

There is no stand-alone Internet subscription to watch new episodes of HBO's shows. CEO Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner, which owns HBO, recently said directly selling online streaming access, and competing more directly with Netflix and Amazon, was "becoming more viable, more interesting."

HBO might seem to have a lot of negotiating clout in this battle, because its content is very desirable and, as the cliché goes on the Internet, content is king.

"That's the gambit, right," says Dan Porter, head of digital at William Morris Endeavor. "The gambit is that content is king and while you might alienate the cable people you have the leverage. You could certainly say that that is true for professional sports."

Porter believes the NFL can afford to sell access to its games online, because the cable industry can't survive without it.

"I don't know if HBO is there," he says. HBO also isn't an independent company. "It's part of Time Warner," says IDC analyst Greg Ireland. "Time Warner has other pay TV channel properties."

Those channels may be harder to sell when they don't come with an exclusive pass to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

Some numbers behind HBO:

6.8 million

Average number of same-night viewers of Game of Thrones' last season.

13

Consecutive years in which HBO has won more primetime Emmys than any other network.

1.8 billion

Operating profits for HBO in 2013.

4%

HBO revenue growth in 2013.

21%

Netflix revenue growth in 2013.

15%

HBO subscriber growth over the last year.

16%

Netflix subscriber growth over the last year.

On pins and needles for the next words from the Fed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-15 02:00

Federal Reserve watchers are obsessed with two words right now: “considerable time.” 

That’s how long the Fed says it'll hold interest rates near zero after next month, when it stops pumping money into the economy by buying bonds.    

The Fed holds a meeting this week. Now, everybody's wondering, what’s next? An immediate increase in interest rates?

“No,” says Jonathan Lewis, chief investment officer of Samson Capital Advisors. “I would say the economy has strengthened and so therefore that’s why they might change their language. They’ve got good reason to change the language. But not good reason to act.”

OK, so what does the Fed say after its meeting? It has to pick its words carefully. 

“So, this is the trick that they really have to pull off," says Kevin Logan, chief US economist at HSBC Bank. "How to change their language without creating the impression that they’re likely to raise rates sooner.”

Because no one expects an interest rate hike until the middle of next year.

Any words to the contrary from the Fed would spook the financial markets, and nobody wants that. 

Covering Up With The Hijab May Aid Women's Body Image

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 02:00

A few studies have found that modest clothing is connected with a healthier body image. So a British psychologist looked at whether the hijab protected women against the pressure to be thin.

» E-Mail This

Vinyl record sales have jumped to 6 million

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-15 02:00

If you think the debate over digital or analog has long been answered, then you probably have not stepped into an independent record store such as Dusty Groove in Chicago. 

It is one of the nation’s top independent sellers of vinyl records, which have experienced a sales boom in the last seven years — going from 1 million to 6 million sales in 2013. This year, vinyl is likely to surpass last year’s total. 

 

Nova Safo

Of course, vinyl sales are still dwarfed by digital downloads. Nielsen SoundScan, which measures point-of-sale of recorded music product, says there were almost 50 billion video and audio streaming downloads in 2013. But vinyl’s resurgence has been dramatic enough in an industry of dwindling sales that record companies have begun to pay attention and, for the first time since the invention of the CD, to increase the number of titles they release on vinyl. 

“What’s great about the vinyl revival is seeing a generation that I think the music industry had written off 10 years ago as people that were only going to download and maybe only steal, seeing these people become very active, aggressive consumers of a physical item,” says Rick Wojcik, the owner of Dusty Groove. 

Wojcik has been in the vinyl business for almost 20 years, having opened his store first as an online operation and then adding a physical store to appease customers who would show up at his address only to be disappointed by the lack of a physical retail space. 

And that, Wojcik says, is the story of Chicago, a place where vinyl never lost its appeal and where more than 30 record stores cater to vinyl enthusiasts. 

“Our vinyl sales were always high, and they haven’t spiked, because we cared about vinyl,” Wojcik says. “What has happened in recent years is that this sort of activity is now taking place on a playing field that’s being recognized in the larger business community, by the record industry itself.”

Even outside of the music industry, there is now a jumping on board of the vinyl bandwagon. Urban Outfitters is now one of the nation’s largest vinyl record stores. Even the supermarket company Whole Foods has begun carrying vinyl records is certain markets. 

Wojcik is cautiously optimistic, but he says there is a danger in the recent vinyl book for the smaller independent stores that had up to this point differentiated themselves (and stayed in business) thanks to their vinyl offerings. 

Nova Safo

“I know that a lot of stores that are small and struggling, like most record stores are always kinda dancing on a razor’s edge of finances, are really worried that they’re going to be overstuffed with vinyl, because the amount of production has just expanded greatly in 2014,” Wojcik says. 

Much of the sales boom has been driven by people like Lindon McCarty, 27, who was shopping for a record at Dusty Groove. For him and his group of friends, the appeal of vinyl is obvious. 

“It sounds clearer to me. It sounds like, close your eyes, and you’re in the actual room that it was recorded in,” McCarty says, adding that he is a musician and his friends are all “music snobs.” 

Wojcik says in addition to the sound and the large album covers that CDs and MP3s can’t duplicate, vinyl — when holding original prints — offers a chance to have a piece of history. 

“It’s like reading a hardcover book versus a paperback book, or an ebook” Wojcik says. 

Yes, but does vinyl actually sound better? Wojcik gave a comparison demonstration to prove that it does. The results are in the web-extra audio clip on this page. 

I’ll give you a hint: I went into the demonstration thinking one thing, and left thinking another. 

Heineken rejects SABMiller offer

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:54
Dutch brewing giant Heineken has rejected a takeover offer from SABMiller saying the proposal is "non-actionable".

VIDEO: Prince Harry marks 30th birthday

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:37
Prince Harry has a two-fold celebration on Monday - his 30th birthday, and the success of the Invictus Games for wounded servicemen and women, which have ended in London.

Norman 'should make full recovery'

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:36
Two-time Open champion Greg Norman is expected "to make a full recovery" after he injured his arm in a chainsaw accident.

VIDEO: Are you on board the pension bus?

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:29
Half of all adults between the age of 18 and 60 still do not have a pension, with millions saying they simply can not afford it.

Books donated to fire-hit art school

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:26
Glasgow School of Art replaces 22% of its most popular books that were lost in a fire at its Mackintosh building in June.

Ashya proton beam sessions begin

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:24
Brain tumour patient Ashya King is undergoing his first proton beam treatment at a Czech clinic.

Music lesson boom sees guitar soar

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:24
The electric guitar has overtaken the violin in the list of most popular musical instruments for children to play, says a music exam board.

Rosetta comet landing site chosen

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:14
Europe's Rosetta mission, which aims to land on a 4km-wide comet later this year, identifies what it thinks is the safest place to touch down.

VIDEO: Furchester Hotel: Behind-the-scenes

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-15 00:59
Elmo and the Cookie Monster are two of Sesame Streets most famous muppets, now they have made the trip across the Atlantic for a new show, about to make it's debut on the Cbeebies channel.

The Streets Are Empty As The Shells Keep Falling In Eastern Ukraine

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 00:52

The precarious cease-fire is in danger of collapse after repeated violations by both sides. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley traveled through Donetsk as the shelling spread through residential neighborhoods.

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Hillary Clinton Keeps Iowa Crowd Guessing About Her Presidential Plans

NPR News - Mon, 2014-09-15 00:52

Clinton, who says she hasn't yet decided on a 2016 presidential run, was in Iowa Sunday for the first time since she lost the 2008 caucuses to Barack Obama. She attended Sen. Tom Harkin's steak fry.

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