National / International News

Day in pictures: 19 February 2015

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:56
Images from around the world: 19 February

Egyptian bronze cat sold for £52,000

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:31
A bronze cat that was nearly thrown in a skip sells at auction for £52,000.

Lenovo in row over hidden spyware

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:30
Hidden adware pre-installed on Lenovo laptops and PCs popped up adverts without permission and could have compromised user data.

Tories top latest donation figures

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:28
The Conservatives received the most in donations in the final three months of 2014, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission.

Rabbi tried in 'divorce kidnap' case

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:18
A New York rabbi goes on trial accused of plotting to abduct and beat Jewish men who refuse to grant their wives a divorce.

Labour warning to rebel councillors

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:17
Cardiff Labour councillors thinking of rebelling against cuts are warned they could damage the party's general election prospects.

Baby death probe CCTV photo issued

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:10
A photo is issued of a woman police want to speak to in connection with an inquiry into the death of a baby boy in London.

Greece Seeks To Extend Eurozone Loans, As Deadline Looms

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:06

With the bailout package that has kept Greece's economy afloat set to expire in just over a week, the country has formally asked Eurozone members for a six-month extension.

» E-Mail This

PODCAST: Finding diversity in sports leadership

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:00

With the deadline closing in, Greece asks for an extension, but Germany is not interested. More on that. Plus, while Europe and the wider financial system have been doing some planning in case Greece were forced off the euro, its the kind of uncertainty that could upset global market. This is among the factors that U.S. policy makers have to consider when deciding when to raise interest rates. We'll also talk about combating racism and promoting diversity in the world of sports with Ken Shropshire, author of “Sport Matters: Leadership, Power, and the Quest for Respect in Sports.”

Germany says no to a six month extension for Greece

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:00

Today, Greece put on the table a proposal that embraced its debt obligations, but asked European partners for a six months extension. But in the last few minutes, Germany said no. The German Finance Ministry's quote: "The letter from Athens is not a proposal that leads to a substantial solution."

We were on the line from Brussels with Economist Elena Panaritis, who is advising the Greek government in these negotiations, when the news came from Germany's finance ministry. 

Click on the media player above to hear more.

Just before that statement hit the financial wires, Panaritis talked about Greece's hopes for a resolution that would avoid a default, keep Greece in the Euro, and prevent a wave of global financial uncertainty.

Fed minutes still vague on rate-hike timing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 03:00

On February 18, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee released minutes from its meeting January 27-28, 2015. A major topic of discussion was how current economic conditions bear on the Fed’s long-awaited plan to begin raising short-term interest rates. The benchmark federal funds rate has hovered near-0-percent since December 2008, as part of the Fed’s broader effort to stimulate the economy by encouraging more consumer spending, business investment and hiring.

Market analysts trying to glean any hard-and-fast intelligence on when the Fed plans to begin hiking interest rates will be disappointed. Fed officials (who are not named in the minutes) are carefully non-committal on the precise timing of anticipated monetary tightening, signaling they want maximum flexibility to respond to emerging economic developments. The widespread expectation among economists is that rates will start rising in June or September of 2015.

The minutes from January (released three weeks after the meeting) show Fed officials are worried that core price inflation (excluding volatile food and energy) and wage inflation are too low right now, the global economy is stumbling, and the strong U.S. dollar is hurting U.S. exports. But they see a steadily improving job market.

“Job growth has been very good, the unemployment rate has come down,” says Gary Thayer, head of global macro-strategy at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “I think businesses are probably at the point where if they want to expand further they will need to hire more workers, and I think that will make consumers feel better. When the Fed gets around to raising interest rates, the impact probably won’t hurt the economy that much.”

Fed officials are concerned that if they raise rates to soon to keep the economy from overheating and inflation from getting out of control, they’ll squash job growth. The danger is that growth will slow down before it can benefit the underemployed and long-term unemployed, who haven’t seen quick improvement in their job prospects during the six-year post-recession economic recovery.

'Revenge porn' mogul pleads guilty

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 02:56
Hunter Moore, who ran IsAnyoneUp.com, admits hacking and identity theft and faces between two and seven year in prison.

Payment probe prison officers bailed

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 02:47
Two ex-prison officers who were arrested over alleged corrupt payments have been bailed until June, the Metropolitan Police says.

Colombia rules on same-sex adoption

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 02:38
A court in Colombia rules that same-sex couples can adopt children, but only if the child is the offspring of one of the partners.

French inflation turns negative

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 02:33
Inflation in France, the eurozone's second-biggest economy, turned negative in January, adding to worries over deflation in the eurozone.

Mortgage lending dips in January

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 02:25
Mortgage lending across the UK continued to fall in January, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

VIDEO: Childcare charity urges costs review

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 02:20
The cost of childcare is rising so quickly that for many families "it simply does not pay to work," a leading charity has said.

Can YouTube replace the movie theater?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 02:00

So far on our From the Hills to the Valley series, we've talked about how technology is represented by Hollywood, spoken with a producer and actor who has successful projects on both HBO and YouTube, and an MPAA executive who believes Silicon Valley isn't doing enough to beat piracy online.

Today, we have someone from a purely tech background who is meddling with a distinctly Hollywood craft: writing a screenplay. Charles Forman always loved video games, but after selling OMGPOP, the gaming company he co-founded, he decided to try something new. The result: Storyboard Fountain. It’s an app that allows people to literally visualize screenplays and stories as they are being scripted or narrated.

“It’s a computer program that allows you to create a new frame, draw on that frame, and it’s sort of tethered to the script, so you’re sort of drawing a story,” says Forman. “I want somebody to be able to make a movie in their underwear in their apartment."

And when he says “movie,” he doesn’t necessarily mean a movie in a theatre. It could be a project that’s distributed on YouTube or picked up by Netflix. Forman thinks that’s where the future is headed: people creating, distributing and consuming content via the internet—Not a movie hall where strangers gather to watch a big screen.

Froman doesn't think so much about Hollywood versus Silicon Valley as much as he does about the way we measure success itself. Success, he says, won’t necessarily be ruled by the box office. In the future, according to Forman, the most successful distribution model might not include releasing a movie in theaters.

“Ten years from now, if people are still going to see movies, and that’s a thing, I’ll eat my shirt,” says Forman.

 

Can YouTube replace the Movie Theatre?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 02:00

So far on our From the Hills to the Valley series, we've talked about how technology is represented by Hollywood, spoken with a producer and actor who has successful projects on both HBO and YouTube, and an MPAA executive who believes Silicon Valley isn't doing enough to beat piracy online.

Today, we have someone from a purely tech background who is meddling with a distinctly Hollywood craft: writing a screenplay. Charles Forman always loved video games, but after selling OMGPOP, the gaming company he co-founded, he decided to try something new. The result: Storyboard Fountain. It’s an app that allows people to literally visualize screenplays and stories as they are being scripted or narrated.

“It’s a computer program that allows you to create a new frame, draw on that frame, and it’s sort of tethered to the script, so you’re sort of drawing a story,” says Forman. “I want somebody to be able to make a movie in their underwear in their apartment."

And when he says “movie,” he doesn’t necessarily mean a movie in a theatre. It could be a project that’s distributed on YouTube or picked up by Netflix. Forman thinks that’s where the future is headed: people creating, distributing and consuming content via the internet—Not a movie hall where strangers gather to watch a big screen.

Froman doesn't think so much about Hollywood versus Silicon Valley as much as he does about the way we measure success itself. Success, he says, won’t necessarily be ruled by the box office. In the future, according to Forman, the most successful distribution model might not include releasing a movie in theaters.

“Ten years from now, if people are still going to see movies, and that’s a thing, I’ll eat my shirt,” says Forman.

 

In the fight for water, it's North versus South

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 02:00

You’ve heard that quote, “Whiskey’s for drinkin’, water’s for fightin”? That’s been true in California for well over a century and the current drought has only intensified conflict over who should get how much water and from where. The latest conflict pits farmers in the California Delta, east of San Francisco Bay, against water users further south.

Delta farmers and environmentalists are fighting a proposal to build two 35-mile long water diversion tunnels upstream. They fear the diversion will ruin the Delta’s water quality. Farmer worry it will make agriculture in the Delta untenable. 

Unlike much of California’s farmland, the Delta is surrounded by water. The Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers meet there and it's the largest estuary on the West coast. It's also a key part of the state plumbing that delivers northern California’s water to points further south. The “twin tunnels” plan, backed by Governor Jerry Brown, is partly aimed at making sure farms and cities in central and southern California will have a reliable water supply if the Delta’s aging levees collapse in an earthquake. 30 percent of southern California’s water supply flows through the Delta

Rudy Mussi, 62, is among those who oppose the tunnel plan. He and his brother farm 4,500 acres in the Delta. They grow wheat, chardonnay grapes, almonds and other crops.

“Building tunnels isn’t creating more water,” says Mussi. “You’re just stealing water from one area and giving it to somebody else.”

Mussi worries the diversion will take too much freshwater out of the Delta, leaving the water supply there too salty for farming. He wants the state to strengthen the levees instead of building tunnels. “We’re gonna fight … because if we don’t, it’s our demise," he says.

Jason Peltier, deputy general manager of Westlands Water District, based in Fresno, insists the Delta won’t “turn into an inland sea” if the tunnels are built. Westland growers, some of them agribusiness giants, would benefit from the massive water project. Peltier says the fear that once the tunnels are built, farms and cities to the south will take more and more water, is unfounded.

“We have the capacity to take about 12 million acre feet a year,” he says. "The most we’ve ever taken is six. I can’t imagine us taking more than that.”

Peltier says there’s strong “genetic code” in California - the belief that southern California’s thirst will eventually destroy the north. That code runs deep and colors much of the debate over water in the state. Historian Phil Garone, California State University, Stanislaus, says it was the same in 1960 when Californians split over funding the famous California Aqueduct.

“Northern Californians and residents of the Delta felt, perhaps rightly so, that once this infrastructure was put into place that ever more water would be transported to southern California,” says Garone.

The 1960 bond measure barely passed. The margin of victory was only 173,944 votes out of 5.8 million ballots cast.

Pages