National / International News

Michael Dunn Found Guilty In Florida 'Loud Music' Shooting

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 13:33

The case, which ended in a mistrial earlier this year, drew national attention because of its racial overtones. Dunn, a white man, said he shot a black teen because he felt threatened.

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VIDEO: Texas children 'monitored for Ebola'

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 13:31
More information has come to light about the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States.

Basel 1-0 Liverpool

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 13:20
Liverpool stutter to defeat in the Champions League as Basel's Marco Streller scores the only goal of their Group B clash.

Arsenal 4-1 Galatasaray

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 13:08
Danny Welbeck scores his first senior hat-trick as 10-man Arsenal beat Galatasaray 4-1 in the Champions League.

Long-Term Birth Control Works Best For Teens, Pediatricians Say

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 13:08

When given their choice of contraceptives for free, almost three-quarters of sexually active teenage girls chose long-acting options like the IUD or hormonal implants, a study finds.

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First Glastonbury tickets go in 14 minutes

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 13:07
Today 15,000 coach and ticket packages have been snapped up twice as fast as last year, but don't worry the rest go on sale this Sunday.

When Can A Big Storm Or Drought Be Blamed On Climate Change?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 13:07

Scientists wince when people blame every big tropical cyclone, heat wave or drought on a shifting climate. But now some are trying to figure out just what the evidence for such a link would be.

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Facebook Apologizes For Name Policy That Affected LGBT Community

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:56

The social networking site will not change its requirement for people to use "real" names on their profiles, but it will adjust how alleged violations are reported and enforced.

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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich on 'silicon leadership'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:42

Intel has been around for a long time: 

 

Intel's chips are still inside PCs, the guts of tablets, wearables, and increasingly, smart cars and refrigerators. They're not the shiny Gorilla glass or sleek brushed aluminum on the outside, but rather, the stuff that makes our stuff run. 

 

When you talk to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, head of a tech company that's older than Larry Page, his tone is less flashy pitchman with a slide deck and more the engineer's precise graphs. Not least because Intel feels a kind of looming responsibility toward Moore's Law—the notion that chip capacity will double every 18 months—coined by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. Krzanich mentions Moore's Law at least three times during our interview. It's on his mind. A lot. 

 

He also uses the phrase "silicon leadership" to describe Intel's role in the industry. We asked him what it means, and he said: "When you're the first guy to put out the piece of silicon that's half as expensive, or twice as powerful, you bring a capability to the market that nobody else does, or can." 

 

In addition to measuring out the nanometers and nodes that allow chips to continue to shrink in size and cost, Intel has given itself the challenge of removing conflict minerals from its supply chain by 2016. Smart phones, chips, and other gadgets rely on metals like tungsten and gold, which are often mined in countries with persistent civil conflicts, like the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

Before becoming CEO last May, Krzanich ran the supply chain for Intel, when the company removed conflict minerals from its microprocessors.  

 

"Back then we'd didn't even know how to do it, what the process was, or whether it could be done. We've done that," he said. 

 

When it comes to removing conflict minerals from every other product, Krzanich insists it will get done by 2016. 

 

"We have now a fairly long list of everything that needs to become conflict-free. We're simply mapping its supply chain, knowing where each metal comes from, and yes, we'll get there. But it'll be close."

 

When asked to describe Intel in five words or fewer, Krzanich said, "We make everything connected and smart."

BNP expels ex-leader Nick Griffin

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:41
The British National Party says it has expelled its former leader Nick Griffin, accusing him of trying to "destabilise" the party.

VIDEO: Girl gets 3D-printed prosthetic hand

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:41
A five year-old girl from Inverness who was born without any fingers on one hand has become the first in the UK to be fitted with a bionic limb made using a 3D printer

Caterham to race on despite bailiffs

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:33
Formula 1 team Caterham pledge to compete in this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix despite bailiffs visiting their base.

Hong Kong Protests Offer A Revelation To Mainland Chinese

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:21

Chinese mainlanders visiting Hong Kong have expressed amazement, even jealousy at the polite, civic-spirited and considerate crowds of protesters. But some on the mainland see activists as traitors.

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Proton Center Closure Doesn't Slow New Construction

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:21

A proton beam therapy center in Indiana is closing, and insurers are reluctant to cover the treatment for common cancers. But plans for three new proton therapy centers for the D.C. area are still on.

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How A Law From The Civil War Fights Modern-Day Fraud

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:21

A Civil War-era law that encourages whistleblowers to turn in their employers has been successful at exposing corporate fraud.

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VIDEO: Explosions as coalition strikes IS

BBC - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:20
The Syrian town of Kobane is still under siege, two weeks after Islamic State fighters began their assault.

The White House Could Be Made A Fortress, But Should It?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:16

It turns out the Secret Service isn't too good at protecting the White House. Maybe one reason is that we don't want it to be.

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Smaller cable companies are in a tight corner

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:02

Viacom, the giant media company that produces channels including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, has been dropped from the TV menu of one of the nation’s smaller cable companies.

Suddenlink Communications, based in St. Louis, says Viacom’s stations cost too much, and that it can’t pass that cost on to its cable customers.

Industry watchers say this is evidence of a growing trend. Smaller cable providers are opting out of expensive carriage deals with major content providers and risking the ire of customers deprived of popular channels. Some small cable companies are getting out of the TV business altogether and offering only broadband internet and phone services.

Suddenlink serves approximately 1.2 million customers in North Carolina, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana and other Southern states. Company spokesman Pete Abel says Viacom was demanding nearly 50 percent more in carriage fees in their renewal contract this fall. Abel says Suddenlink came back with a counterproposal: The company would "un-bundle" Viacom’s channels “which our customers could then pick, choose and pay for, at their discretion."

"So far, neither Viacom nor any of the companies we have made that suggestion to have agreed to do that,” Abel says.

Viacom sent a written statement to Marketplace:

“After five months of negotiations, Suddenlink abruptly stopped negotiating with Viacom one week ago.”

Viacom says it accepted Suddenlink’s final contract proposal for one year, but Suddenlink walked away from that offer.

Whoever is to blame for the blackout of Viacom channels on Suddenlink, the phenomenon of small cable companies changing or dropping programming represents a paradigm shift in the industry, says entertainment equity analyst Tuna Amobi at S&P Capital IQ.

“We’ve always said that something has to give, given the escalation in programming costs, which is translating into cable bills outpacing inflation by orders of magnitude,” Amobi said.

Amobi predicts more consumers will "cut the cord" in the future.

Last year, the pay-TV industry lost customers for the first time ever, shedding 167,000 subscribers, according to research by MoffettNathanson cited in the Wall Street Journal. Media analysts say this trend is partly driven by the big media companies themselves—whether content providers like Viacom, or cable service providers like Comcast—which insist on bundling big packages of preselected channels to consumers, and then increasing bills to cover the cost.

“Across the entire U.S., the advent of over-the-top services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon is where the paradigm shift of cord-cutting is occurring,” said Amobi. “This trend is going to continue and ultimately exert even more pressure, in terms of consumers dropping the high-priced cable bundles in favor of cheaper alternatives.”

Why there is no Ebola vaccine

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:01

The first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States reveals a truth people in developing countries know all too well: There is little incentive for drug manufacturers to develop vaccines and drugs for diseases that affect the poor.

The simple reality is that drug manufacturers want to make money. To that end, Columbia economist Frank Lichtenberg says companies want to know two things: the number of potential customers and their ability to pay.

“If there are a million consumers and each of them would be willing to pay $1,000 for a drug, that translates into a billion-dollar potential market,” he says.

That is in no way the Ebola market.

“The total number of cases of Ebola in the world between 1976 and 2013 were less than 2,000,” says Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which last month committed $50 million to address Ebola.

What the Ebola outbreak reminds us all is that millions of lives are potentially at risk and there are few incentives for private industry to treat or prevent diseases like Ebola and malaria. That has left funding vaccines and medicines to philanthropies, federal governments and entities like the World Health Organization.

Desmond-Hellmann says the spread of Ebola forces people to ask whether that system is adequate.

“This epidemic is showing us how important it is for the world to have at the ready a response for such an epidemic,” she says.

The U.S. government has invested millions on Ebola over several decades, but it could take years—and quite a bit more money—to develop effective therapies.

So how do you get more money into research and development for these diseases and other public health concerns? USC health economist Joel Hay shares one idea that's being kicked around: “If you just had a tax on every pharmaceutical product sold, that money could be used for some more of these socially desirable goals,” he says.

The thing to remember is that this is a tricky market to regulate. And it’s trickier still for our government, which has a duty to keep people safe, but must find the right incentives to keep the drug industry in the game.

Reddit raises $50 million and wants to share with users

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-10-01 12:00

Reddit is a digital bulletin board of sorts, the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet,” where gazillions of users post, share and read about almost any topic area, or "subreddit," that you can conceive of and many that you honestly couldn't (or perhaps shouldn't).

“The content is 95 percent of the time relevant and interesting, which is really cool,” says user Colin Grussing, of his favorite subreddits, which mostly include entrepreneurship. “I don’t know if there’s any other site on the Internet that does that so well.”

Reddit has just announced that it raised $50 million from a series of investors, including top tech venture capitalists and stars like Jared Leto and Snoop Dogg.

The company will use the money to:

"... hire more staff for product development, expand our community management team, build out better moderation and community tools, work more closely with third party developers to expand our mobile offerings (try our new AMA app), improve our self-serve ad product, build out redditgifts marketplace, pay for our growing technical infrastructure, and all the many other things it takes to support a huge and growing global internet community.”

“I grew up with a computer, and many of my friends were people I met online,” says Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator and the lead investor in this round of funding. “I think one of the most fundamental societal transitions in the last 20 years is this idea that people connect to some of the closest people in their lives and have some of these important parts of their personalities get developed in online communities.”

But he also thinks Reddit’s passionate, highly engaged users will make the site a good long-term investment.

Like other large community sites, he says Reddit could make money in three ways.

“One, obviously, is with ads,” he explains. “Two is with charging users for premium features, and three is some version of commerce. That’s more in the experimentation phase, but where you let people basically spend money on the site and take part of that transaction.”

Altman and his fellow investors want to give 10 percent of their shares back to the community, because users have helped build the site, and, as he says, people treat a car they own better than a rental.

It’s a relatively simple idea, but one that’s very difficult to execute legally, says Lance Kimmel, a securities lawyer.

“I think Reddit really has their work cut out for themselves,” he says. “This stuff is really, really complicated.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission has shut down other companies' attempts to do something similar, says Kimmel.

In announcing the idea, Reddit admitted that it has been interested in a similar move in the past, but hasn't found the right legal avenue.

Its CEO recently floated the idea of giving users a cryptocurrency backed by shares, though Kimmel is skeptical about the legality of that approach as well. 

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