National / International News

Tory 'head bangers' have won - Clegg

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 01:43
Nick Clegg attacks David Cameron's plans to limit the power of the European Court of Human Rights saying "extremists"' and "head bangers" now held sway in the Conservative Party.

Putin says sanctions will backfire

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 01:18
Russian President Vladimir Putin denounces the latest US sanctions against his country, saying they will damage American interests too.

Kabul airport Taliban attack over

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 01:13
An attack by Taliban militants near Kabul international airport is brought under control hours after it began, Afghan officials say.

Ballance escapes ECB punishment

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 01:06
England cricketers are "reminded of their responsibilities" after batman Gary Ballance is pictured shirtless in a Nottingham bar.

Uganda police 'abuse street kids'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 01:03
Street children in Uganda are facing constant abuse from police and other government officials, Human Rights Watch says.

PM sets sights on human rights court

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 01:03
PM sets sights on human rights court

That perfect 'Seinfeld' episode about cable companies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-17 01:00

Even though I got it, I never really got the "Seinfeld" Plaza Cable gag fully until I moved to New York City.

In my first apartment, I remember that even getting the cable installed and trying to start to pay the cable guy real money every month felt like an epic right of passage. That 1996 episode of television -- airing a decade before I even came to the city -- became, like so many "Seinfeld" depictions, a chrystalized experience in an ever-changing city. Watching it now nearly ten more years later, it remains pitch perfect. Just watch this and tell me you can't relate. I dare you. 


The weird 4-hour appointments, the long hold times on the phone, the grumpy dude in the van -- it's all there. Kramer as the everyman is exactly as he should be: Incredulous at a seemingly arbitrary and faceless organization, righteous in his indignation, and happy to "stick it to the man," even when the man is of course a real person with real feelings.

It is actually really elegant how the roles are flipped. The cable guy becomes the powerless person waiting around as his blood is brought slowly to boil. Kramer is what we percieve the cable company to be: Snickering behind a peephole and messing with us while taking advantage because there's really not much we can do about it.

This has been an interesting week for media and cable companies. Rupert Murdoch's $80 billion bid for Time Warner is almost just a rumble behind the awkward sound of that customer service call between an Engagdget editor and a Comcast customer service agent. In a veritable monster mix of smash hits, it's the latest and greatest viral example proving the cable company is pretty much the worst at dealing with its customers.

Comcast is currently on a full court press for its unprecedented merger with Time Warner Cable -- Which, by the way, just sent me the most rediculous letter congratulating me on my newly-reduced-but-still-more-than-I've-been-paying rate. And at the same time from Reddit to The New Yorker, the company is also this week's modern stand-in for Seinfeld's Plaza Cable. 

The fact that the jokes are still relevant is what's really disturbing. In "Seinfeld," the cable guy apologizes through the door, and Kramer, moved, rolls back the deadbolt. They hug. What could be better? A truce between customer and company, a promise to do better, and a regonition of the humanity and hardships on both sides.

I think I prefer the TV show to real life. "Seinfeld," at least, has a happy ending.

Israel, Hamas Begin Humanitarian Cease-Fire

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-17 00:36

The two sides agreed to the pause following a request by the United Nations so that supplies could be delivered to Gaza. The latest round of fighting is in its 10th day.

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EU summit fails to fill two top jobs

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 00:33
EU leaders fail to agree on who should fill two top EU jobs, foreign policy chief and European Council president, and will meet again on 30 August.

Palestinian-American Teen Beaten In Mideast Returns Home To Florida

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-17 00:26

Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, who relatives say was beaten by Israeli authorities, returned home to Florida late Wednesday. He says he will never think of freedom in the same way again.

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VIDEO: 'I'm too nosy to want to die'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 00:22
The Assisted Dying Bill is due to receive a second reading in the House of Lords on Friday and for some people it is not a simple argument about choice.

Five-hour Gaza ceasefire begins

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 00:13
A five-hour truce between Palestinian militants and Israel begins in Gaza to allow residents to stock up on supplies, after nine days of fighting.

Concerns over late night discharges

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 23:58
Nearly 20,000 patients have been discharged from Welsh hospitals late at night over the last two years, research by the Liberal Democrats shows.

Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 23:34

It's not a plot from a Bond film: Zapping diamonds could tell researchers more about the insides of giant planets.

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Amid A 'Shimmering' Tension, A Walk Through Israel And The West Bank

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 23:32

Journalist Paul Salopek's journey from Africa to South America takes him to Israel and the West Bank, where he notes the physical beauty of the landscape stands in stark contrast with violence there.

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Skimping On Sleep Can Stress Body And Brain

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 23:31

Too stressed to get seven hours of solid shut-eye tonight? Prepare to be even less resilient tomorrow. Stress disrupts sleep, which feeds depression, anxiety — and more stress, scientists say.

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Warm seas bring in exotic species

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 23:07
Scientists predict that increasing numbers of exotic species such as bluefin tuna will appear off the Cornish coast amid warmer sea temperatures.

Thursday's gossip column

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 22:37
QPR want Vlaar, Arsenal on verge of signing Debuchy, Chelsea continue Khedira chase, Ozil pays for operations, plus more.

Cave criticises triathlon selectors

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 22:10
Leanda Cave says Wales' selection policy for the triathlon could cost them a medal in the event at Glasgow 2014.

VIDEO: The houses where young and old mix

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 22:02
Do Germany's multi-generational houses hold the key to solving loneliness among the elderly?
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