National / International News

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.

Your pictures: Black and white

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:57
Readers' photographs on the theme of black and white

Hamilton out of testing with illness

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:56
World champion Lewis Hamilton withdraws from the first day of the second pre-season test in Spain due to illness.

Dylan's boathouse turbine quashed

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:56
Plans to build a wind turbine opposite Dylan Thomas's Boathouse in Laugharne are quashed at the High Court.

The rich people who say they are happy to pay their taxes

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:37
The rich people who say they are happy to pay the full 45%

Top art galleries lose UK visitors

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:34
Two of London's most prestigious fine art galleries have seen UK visitor numbers fall significantly over the last five years, official figures show.

Man dies and two hurt in crash

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:30
Police appeal for witnesses after a man dies and two others are taken to hospital following a two-car crash near Newburgh in Fife.

Don't forget to tip...especially if you spend $300,000

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:30
$1.61

That's how much WalMart reported pulled in per share in the fourth quarter – higher than the predicted $1.53. And while earnings fell short, the company might be more concerned with its poor performance on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, where it fell below Target and Family Dollar. It leads some to wonder if a company can be too big to improve.

35 miles

That's the length of two proposed long water diversion tunnels that would pull water from the California Delta further south. The conflict between North and South is nothing new for California water. This latest battle has farmers worried that siphoning water from the Delta will hurt their crop, and will ruin the water quality. But others claim fears that the South will drain the North are unfounded.

$19 billion

Snapchat's rumored value after its most recent round of fundraising. That would mean the self-destructing message service has nearly doubled in value in a year, and it would be one of the top venture-backed firms in the world, behind just Xiaomi and Uber. Quartz points out other companies publicly traded at that same value seem to make much more money than Snapchat, however. 

1,070

The median calaries in a meal from Chipotle, according to an analysis of 3,000 sample meals by The New York Times' Upshot. Their research into the chain's own nutritional info and data from GrubHub shows just how hard it is to craft a more modest meal and the surprising calorie and sodium content in some benign offerings like fresh tomato salsa and tortillas.

$11 billion

That's how much income goes undeclared and untaxed in the U.S. each year, mostly due to cash tips, the Atlantic reported. The magazine's analysis of several different sets of data shows tipping varies wildly state-to-state – generally areas with more resorts see higher tips, as do wait staff and bartenders, compared to chefs and cooks.

$300,000

Speaking of tipping your waiter, $300,000 is how much Vice Media CEO Shane Smith reportedly dropped on a single dinner at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. During an MGM Resorts International earnings call, MGM CEO James Murren accidentally let slip the details of said dinner. As reported by Quartz, it didn't take long for reporters to connect the dots on who he was talking about. With the guest list only estimated at 12 to 30 people, some speculate that there must have been some pretty expensive alcohol served with the steak.

BBC campaign urges UK to get creative

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:29
A campaign to challenge people to get creative is launched, backed by stars including Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Vegas.

Suicide in men 'highest since 2001'

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:26
The number of men taking their own lives in the UK reached its highest level for more than a decade, official figures show.

Greece asks for loan extension

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:24
Greece has formally asked the eurozone for a loan extension after weeks of wrangling over its international bailout.

Ulster Bank creates 350 Belfast jobs

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:23
Ulster Bank has said it is creating 350 jobs at its Belfast call centre.

VIDEO: Riffs and reunions: Page on Led Zep

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-19 01:21
Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page talks to Gavin Esler about the 40th anniversary rerelease of Physical Graffiti.

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