National / International News

VIDEO: Archbishop of Canterbury: 'I doubt'

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 10:04
In an interview with BBC Bristol presenter Lucy Tegg, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, admits he sometimes has doubts about God.

VIDEO: Assange on his 'difficult situation'

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:56
The BBC's John Simpson speaks to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on his new book and his continued refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Nearly half of American households are financially insecure

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:52

Financial insecurity is on the rise in American urban areas, even as the economy slowly recovers from the Great Recession, as unemployment falls, as foreclosures dwindle and as home prices rise again in many markets.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen highlighted the problem in an address, delivered by video, to the nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development’s 2014 Assets Learning Conference in Washington, D.C. 

“The financial crisis and the Great Recession demonstrated in a dramatic and unmistakable manner how extraordinarily vulnerable are the large share of American families with very few assets to fall back on,” Yellen said. “We have come far from the worst moments of the crisis, and the economy continues to improve. But the effects of the recession are still being felt by many families, particularly those that had very little in savings and other assets beforehand.” 

This week, the Corporation for Enterprise Development released new analysis of financial insecurity nationwide, drilling down on data at the state, regional and local levels. The group found that nearly 45 percent of households in cities with population of 200,000 or more, are “liquid-asset poor.” That means they don’t have enough in savings, or in assets that can be easily liquidated (such as stocks, bank accounts or retirement accounts), to cover their basic living expenses for three months. The threshold is set for a family of four living at the poverty level, which would need $6,000 to live.

Andrea Levere, president of Corporation for Enterprise Development, pointed out that this financial insecurity doesn’t just affect the poor, it affects those who are unemployed or working at minimum-wage jobs, too..

“Twenty five percent of American families in the fourth quintile of income — which is roughly $50,000 to $90,000 — are in liquid asset poverty,” said Levere.

Randy Albelda, an economist at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, isn’t surprised by the findings. Or, that levels of financial insecurity have risen during and after the recession.

“Given the very slow recovery for most people, given the last 20 years of very slow income growth for the bottom 50 percent, people have depleted their savings,” Albelda said.

Albelda thinks improvement in the situation would require lower costs for basic necessities such as rent, energy and food, and/or higher wages for a wide range of jobs (from low- to high-skilled), to allow more people to save and build a cushion against financial emergencies. She said a more comprehensive publicly funded social safety net would also help, one that delivered longer-term income support and food assistance for the poor and unemployed.

Levere said financial insecurity would also be less prevalent if mainstream consumer banking services were more readily available to the working poor. People have more financial resilience where there are more banks, and where working people use them. Highly “unbanked” cities, such as Newark, N.J.; Cleveland, Ohio and San Bernardino, California, also have high levels of liquid asset poverty.

“On average, an unbanked person spends $1,000 per year on financial services—getting their checks cashed because they don’t have a bank account, going to payday lenders, or rent-to-own,” said Levere.

Bottom line: It’s expensive to be poor.

View Estimates of Household Wealth and Financial Access in a full screen map

Malta rejects ship over Ebola fears

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:49
Malta turns away a ship travelling from Guinea over fears one person on board may be infected with the Ebola virus.

Who will combat Islamic State?

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:43
Jeremy Bowen asks who will fight IS on the ground

VIDEO: Survivor on Lagos hostel collapse

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:36
A man who was in the church hostel in Lagos which collapsed has credited a table with saving his life.

R&A votes to accept women members

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:34
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club votes in favour of allowing women members for the first time in its 260-year history.

Hillsborough crowd 'downed horse'

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:26
The first mounted police officer to give evidence at the Hillsborough inquests says his horse fell to its knees as officers lost control of the crowd outside the ground.

School hit by sickness bug outbreak

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:08
A high school is hit by an outbreak of a sickness bug in Gwynedd with officials asking pupils and staff with symptoms to stay away.

Murder accused 'meant business'

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:08
A man who claims he accidentally killed his ex-girlfriend was described as a "violent madman" on the day of the shooting in 2011, a court hears.

France to launch air strikes in Iraq

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:04
France's President Hollande says he is ready to launch air strikes to help Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State group.

VIDEO: Technology helps India's farmers

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 09:00
The BBC's Shilpa Kannan meets Indian farmers to find out how they are changing the way they work, and to see the technology helping them cope with climate change.

VIDEO: TV forecaster breaks endurance record

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 08:47
Eli Kari Gjengedal has broken the world record for continuous weather presenting, with 33 hours on screen.

Struggling Fulham sack boss Magath

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 08:45
Fulham sack boss Felix Magath following their poor start to the season and appoint Kit Symons as caretaker manager.

VIDEO: NFL sponsors face online pressure

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 08:38
Will fan pressure on sponsors force the NFL to change its domestic violence policies?

Musician's accuser in witness box

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 08:35
A girl who claims she was abused by the well-known folk musician Francis McPeake appears in the witness box for a second day at Belfast Crown Court.

Killing Comes Naturally To Chimps, Scientists Say

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-18 08:22

A new study bolsters the theory that chimpanzees kill rivals as an adaptation to their natural environment and not as a result of human impact.

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Life sentence for Craigslist killers

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 08:18
A newlywed couple who killed a man after luring him with an advert on the website Craigslist are sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Apple: iOS 8 Prevents Cooperation With Police Unlocking Requests

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-18 08:16

In the rollout of its new mobile operating system, Apple says it has made it technically impossible for the company to unlock phone data, even in response to a law enforcement warrant.

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SA team helps Nigeria church rescue

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-18 08:01
A South African rescue team flies to Nigeria to help locate missing South Africans believed to have been inside a church hostel when it collapsed.
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