National / International News

Judy Murray on Strictly Come Dancing

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 03:37
Judy Murray has confirmed she will be taking part in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

VIDEO: Cheesed-off Russia turns to Switzerland

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 03:17
Non EU member Switzerland has not imposed sanctions on Russia - a situation that does not please its biggest trading partner, the European Union.

VIDEO: Australian fans go goo goo for Gaga

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 03:12
Australian fans queued for hours to see Lady Gaga as she started her tour of Australia

WikiLeaks' Assange Says He'll Leave Embassy In London

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-18 03:10

Citing health concerns, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he'll leave Ecuador's embassy, where he has lived for more than two years. He faces potential criminal charges in Sweden and the U.S.

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Fracking protesters glued to doors

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 03:09
Anti-fracking campaigners claim to have super-glued themselves to the doors of a government building in orchestrated protests around the UK.

Shipbuilding ends in Portsmouth

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 03:04
Shipbuilding in Portsmouth is brought to an end after the yard's final project - a giant section of the navy's new aircraft carrier - is completed.

Two base jumpers killed in Alps

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 03:01
Two men from Australia and France die in separate accidents in the French Alps whilst taking part in the extreme sport of "base-jumping".

PODCAST: Freeing franchises from their companies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-18 03:00

The Grand Tetons are self-evidently majestic. But there are other reasons that anyone connected to economic policy around the world will keep an eye on Jackson Hole, Wyoming later this week. The top brass at the Federal Reserve will be there, along with their central banking counterparts from across the globe. Plus, Franchises -- everything from fast-food restaurants to plumbing companies -- are getting a lot of attention from lawmakers in California right now. A bill that would make it harder for parent companies to sever agreements with their franchisees, just passed in the state assembly and could soon pass the state senate. More on what the bill could mean for franchise owners, and the workers they employ. Also happening today, Steve Ballmer of Microsoft fame and the new owner of the LA Clippers, is hosting a rally. The first 2,500 fans to arrive at the arena will receive a free Clipper Nation t-shirt. Beyond little free shirts, what does the 2 billion dollar purchase price, a record for a basketball team, mean?

Labour: Oversized classes up 200%

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:56
The number of infant pupils taught in oversized classes has "spiralled by 200%" since 2010, says Labour.

Blaze at empty hotel under control

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:53
A blaze at an empty hotel at Spittal of Glenshee has been brought under control according to the fire service.

Froome leads Team Sky in Vuelta

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:46
Britain's Chris Froome is back from injury to lead Team Sky in the Vuelta a Espana after crashing out of the Tour de France.

AUDIO: Jupiter and Venus light up morning sky

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:38
The two brightest planets, Jupiter and Venus, are currently aligned in the sky, forming a spectacular "double star" in their closest conjunction since 2000.

VIDEO: Timelapse shows 'Big Ben' clock cleaning

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:34
Cleaners have been working on the clock face on the Elizabeth Tower for the first time in since 2010.

Donegal cliff fall victim is named

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:32
The man who died after falling from a cliff into the sea in County Donegal is named locally as 58-year-old John McCourt from Antrim.

Pope urges Korean reconciliation

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:09
The Pope has called for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, as the US and South Korea begin major military exercises.

Pill 'reduces hair-loss' in alopecia

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:05
Scientists say three people with the hair-loss condition alopecia areata have seen their hair completely re-grow after taking a pill for five months.

School tribute to party death girl

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:00
A school has paid tribute to a teenage girl who died after possibly taking an "ecstasy-type drug" at a house party in South Lanarkshire.

Owners of franchises may get more control

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:00

Franchises, from fast-food restaurants to plumbing chains, are getting a lot of attention from lawmakers in California right now. A bill that would make it harder for parent companies to sever agreements with their franchisees passed in the state Assembly last week. It is headed to the state Senate next, where it is also expected to pass.

Keith Miller, who owns three Subway sandwich shops in northern California, supports the bill. He bristles at the power his parent company has over his business under current California law, which allows a franchisor to terminate a contract if franchisees stray from even the tiniest details.

“Fingerprints on the window — that’s in the operations manual that you must have windows and a front door that are clean and fingerprint free,” Miller says.

The bill moving through the California legislature right now, SB 610, would allow contracts to be severed only for “substantial and material breaches."

Miller, who is chairman of the Coalition of Franchisee Associations, says he hopes the bill will give franchisees like him a little more power in the franchisee-franchisor relationship.

That hope is shared by one of the nation's big labor unions, the Service Employees International Union, which has been paying for radio ads and digital media campaigns supporting the bill. As Christopher Calhoun, spokesman for SEIU California, told the Huffington Post: "Increasingly we are seeing franchisees and workers facing a similar challenge. Fundamental power imbalance enables multinational corporations to haul down billions at the expense of both workers and franchise owners."

But the bill could do damage to corporate brands and the franchisees who profit from those brands, argues Matt Haller with the International Franchise Association, an industry group that represents both corporate franchisors and franchisees.

“If franchisors can't maintain that brand integrity across their system,” Haller says, “then that's really going to be detrimental to the overall growth of franchising.”

The first smartphone turns 20

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:00

20 years ago this past Saturday, IBM's Simon Personal Communicator went on sale. It had a screen, calendar, and could send email, making it by some measures the world's first smartphone. The phone was not exceptionally well received when it was released. BBC Tech Reporter Claire Brennan joined us to explain exactly what it was.

“It looked and felt very different from the modern iPhones and Androids we are used to,” Brennan said.

It got its name from the game Simon says, a marketing attempt to emphasize the apparent usefulness of the device.

The phone was rather large and heavy, weighing half a kilogram, and was priced at the extreme high end of the market, costing $899 at launch.

The model, which was only sold in the US, was not commercially successful, a victim of its size, expense, and a lack of the digital infrastructure taken for granted today, such as wi-fi hotspots and cellular data.

A big day for the Clippers and the NBA

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:00

The $2 billion deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers is a record price for a basketball team. It also makes for a happy story because the sale of the Clippers means there are a lot of winners:

“Well, certainly, Donald and Rochelle Sterling,” the team’s original owners who bought the Clippers decades ago for $12 million dollars, says Andy Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College. He says the team and the NBA are also winners.

“Because having a retrograde embarrassing owner who won’t spend money on the team is not good for the whole league either,” he says.

Kevin Zanni, a manager with Willamette Management Associates, a valuation firm, notes that even the NBA commissioner comes out looking good. 

“Because he gets rid of Sterling without having to force him out through the legal means to do it,” he says.

Finally, there’s the team’s new owner, Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer, another winner, says Smith's Andy Zimbalist: “If Mr. Ballmer didn’t have $20 billion of net worth, I would say that this is an awful purchase for him.“

But he does. He doesn’t have to worry about getting a return on this investment.  #Win.

 

 

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