National / International News

The pros can wait, says London 2012 champion Adams

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:15
Olympic history making boxer Nicola Adams wants a Commonwealth Games gold to complete her medal set, writes BBC Sport's Ben Dirs.

VIDEO: Queen laughs off Glasgow baton hitch

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:09
Prince Imran of Malaysia, the Commonwealth Games Federation president, struggles to open the Commonwealth baton before the 2014 Glasgow Games are officially opened by The Queen.

Warning over NHS trust finances

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:04
Nineteen NHS trusts have been referred to ministers after auditors raised concerns about their financial health.

Democrats Make New Bid To Require Donor Transparency

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:04

The latest version of the DISCLOSE Act, which would force donor disclosure on outside organizations that engage in election politics, is facing now-familiar opposition from Republican lawmakers.

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Illegal bottom injections on rise in US

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:02
The deadly danger of illegal backstreet buttock injections

VIDEO: Who was that man on the moon?

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:01
Why one year after Apollo 11, most Americans couldn't name Neil Armstrong as the first man on the moon. We spoke to Matthew Tribbe, author of No Requiem for the Space Age.

Scottish coastal waters see 39 deaths

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:00
A total of 39 people died in accidents around Scotland's coast last year, RNLI Scotland reveals.

VIDEO: How to build and fly your own drone

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:00
Personal aerial drones that take pictures could soon become a lot more common, thanks to a new invention.

The rise of solo dining

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:00
The restaurants that love solo diners

'Risk of debt peril' when rates rise

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 15:00
A "relatively benign" rise in interest rates still has the potential to double the number of households facing debt problems, a think tank has said.

Campaign Finance Transparency Bill Gets Chilly Reception In Senate

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 14:56

The legislation would require any politically active group that spends more than $10,000 to list its donors.

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US 'around the world' flier crashes

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 14:55
A US teenager and his father who crashed their plane during an attempt to fly around the world knew the risks, a relative says.

Jamieson and Wiggins eye early golds

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 14:50
Scotland's Michael Jamieson and England's Sir Bradley Wiggins are chasing gold medals on day one of the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

Venezuela opposition leader on trial

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 14:43
The trial begins of one of Venezuela's main opposition leaders, Leopoldo Lopez, accused of inciting violence during anti-government protests in February.

Facebook reports surge in profits

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 14:21
Social networking firm, Facebook has reported that profits more than doubled in its second quarter on a jump in advertising revenue.

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 14:14

A new book claims the organic label can't be trusted, especially on food that's imported. Yet there is a global system for verifying the authenticity of organic food, and it mostly seems to work.

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Assault MP speaks of 'deep regret'

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 13:58
The Conservative Party is discussing the future of MP David Ruffley, who was cautioned by police for assaulting his ex-partner.

GM recall numbers keep going up, up, up

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 13:47

Not to pick on GM, but it does bear a mention that the company issued another recall today. More than 700,000 vehicles.

That brings the total number of cars and trucks General Motors wants back — just for this year — to 28.77 million.

To put that in perspective, GM alone is close to breaking the record 30.8 million vehicles recalled industry-wide in 2004.

This being capitalism, GM shares are off a percent today.

Target attracts new customers by downsizing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 13:47

Target, the big box retailing giant, keeps trying to wedge its offerings into smaller and smaller stores.  The company has already made a play for urban customers with its scaled down CityTarget stores. But even those will be five times as big as the new TargetExpress store that opened on Wednesday, in a Minneapolis neighborhood called Dinkytown.

TargetExpress offers some of the same items like electronics, baby bibs and groceries that are for sale in the larger Target stores. But there's just a lot less of them—about 1/5 as many items.

The clothing options include basics like socks and underwear.

"You have no quarters for laundry, here you go,” says Target spokeswoman Erika Winkels.

The TargetExpress in Dinkytown will cater to college students from the nearby University of Minnesota and other urbanites who need to do convenience shopping.

“It's these fill-in trips, trips in between the big stock-up trips; that is the biggest opportunity in retail right now,” says Carol Spieckerman, president and CEO of newmarketbuilders, a retail strategy firm.

Graphic by Gina Martinez & Shea Huffman/Marketplace

Spieckerman says Target and Wal-Mart, which are both trying out small formats, can use the mini stores to connect shoppers to inventory not available in-store. A tablet in the TargetExpress lets shoppers search for products and buy them online.

But for customer Josh Egge, the TargetExpress's value is its location. He manages a rental property near the new store and wants to tell potential tenants there are grocery options nearby.

“In the past, I've had to tell them walk five blocks and take a bus an extra two miles. So this will be really nice,” he says.

Target says it plans to open four more TargetExpress stores next year.

 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the table included listed the incorrect number of Super Targets. The graphic has been corrected.

Why high earnings aren't translating into jobs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 13:47

Cash, assets, money.  Businesses in the U.S. have a lot of it these days. 

$16.4 trillion of it, in fact. 

"The ratio of assets to GDP is almost 100 percent," says Joel Prakken, co-founder of Macroeconomic Advisers.  "That’s very, very high."

To translate: every dollar spent in the U.S. economy in a year, businesses are holding in cash or securities. 

It’s a lot of money, but it’s not necessarily a reflection of a healthy economy.  Not all of it was earned here in the U.S., a lot was earned abroad.

“We’ve had very modest economic growth over the last four years and I don’t expect that to change any time soon,” says Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.  

And those gargantuan levels of cash and assets aren’t being spent creating corresponding levels of jobs.  In previous recoveries, monthly job creation has averaged up to 500,000 positions, but the current recovery is mustering a mere 200,000 consistently.      

One reason is the enduring hangover from the Great Recession. 

“A lot of businesses felt like the U.S. economy was ready to roll over into another recession,” says Wren.  Caution and fear do not promote hiring.  Things like business sentiment are improving, but it’s unlikely the country will see consistent economic growth above 3 percent until after 2016. 

But that's only part of the story.  It turns out businesses are trying to hire a little bit.  “There were 4.6 million open jobs in May of this year,” points out Matt Slaughter, Dean of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. That’s an increase of 700,000 over the past year. 

But firms are running into trouble filling those open positions. They’re so desperate that yearly quotas for hiring high-skilled immigrants filled up in four days with a record number of applications, says Slaughter.  “Companies are not finding the right kind of technical or other skills they need to fill some of the jobs they are looking to hire for.”

But maybe there is a bigger explanation, one that many economists including Slaughter, Prakken, and Larry Summers are talking about.  Maybe higher corporate profits and lower employment are the new normal.

It’s possible that “the nature of capital investments is gradually changing,” says Prakken.

For many years, a new technology or capital investment might destroy some jobs, but create many new ones.   The computer, for example, reduced clerical positions initially, but resulted in an explosion of other jobs over time.

Perhaps, though, we are entering a new era of capital investment, “one which destroys the demand for labor without creating parallel opportunities for displaced workers,” says Prakken.  

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