National / International News

The road to obscurity

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 04:36
Is the rate of obsolescence getting faster?

Why so much hangs on the Fed's choice of words

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-03-18 04:30

It’s that time again, the Federal Reserve is meeting later today, and once again many will spend their time parsing the Fed’s words for any hint that an interest rate is coming.

If rates go up, some economists think there will be a land rush to scoop up homes to lock in low interest rates.

The only problem says with that theory says Sterne Agee Chief Economist Lindsey Piegza is that even with today’s sweet rates, prices are too high for too many.

“If we don’t see the wage and income growth needed to fuel the demand, then we will continue to see a sluggish housing market,” she says.

Even though higher interest rates would mean more homes are out of reach. Zillow economist Stan Humphries says he’d welcome higher rates.

“Home buyers for too long have been looking at the home market through this distorted lens at very low rates which is leading them to bid up prices in a lot of metros and instead they should be looking at home prices through a clearer lens so they get an accurate read on how expensive homes are,” he says.

Humphries says new rates would suggest the Fed sees a strengthening economy.

One where more people have money in their pocket, which Humphries says is what the housing market really needs.

Do today's veterans really have trouble getting jobs?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-03-18 04:30

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases annual figures on employment for veterans every March. There’s a familiar story that veterans from the post-9/11 era have had an especially hard time finding work. However, the numbers supporting that premise turn out to be elusive. 

There is this striking graph from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University:

This chart from Syracuse University shows that veterans ages 20-24 have higher unemployment rates than older veterans, and than the general population. But other data isn't broken out.

Courtesy:Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Affairs

"If you look back to about ten years or so you start seeing a real spike," says Nicholas Armstrong, the Institute's research director. "A gap in terms of unemployment being higher for vets that are ages 20 to 24."

However, that’s a small group — small enough that the gap isn't always statistically significant, according to Jim Walker, an economist who tracks veteran-employment numbers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "That group, there's very few of them," he says. "It has a very high error rate."

The Syracuse chart also leaves out other numbers that seem like they would make a useful comparison, For instance: What about 25 year-old vets? What happens when those younger vets turn 25? Armstrong’s group hasn't tracked those stats over time.

It’s not that the data undercut the familiar narrative. Only that I haven’t seen an analysis that demonstrates that story.

Neither has Kate Kidder, a researcher who looks at veterans issues at the Center for a New American Security. She says veterans groups, lobbying for resources, do push stories about out-of-work veterans. 

"Individual stories are compelling," she says. "And it’s also — a number of these folks were coming back as the economy was tanking."

Serbia Arrests 8 Accused Of Direct Roles In Srebrenica Massacre

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 04:30

War crimes prosecutors ordered the arrests, believed to be the first that are directly linked to the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

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VIDEO: Frankfurt fires target new ECB HQ

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 04:02
Violence has erupted ahead of the inauguration of the European Central Bank's news headquarters in Frankfurt.

Man dies after two-vehicle crash

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 04:02
A man dies following a two-vehicle road crash on the A4 (Belfast Road) at Brookeborough, County Fermanagh.

Google wants self-drive cars by 2020

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 04:02
Google's head of its self-drive car project reveals the real reason he wants self-drive cars standard on roads in five years.

'Shots fired' at Tunisian parliament

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:56
Shots have been fired around the Tunisian parliament and there are reports of casualties, state media says.

Oliviers honour for dancer Guillem

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:55
Dancer Sylvie Guillem is to be honoured for her extraordinary career at the Olivier Awards next month.

Annual tax returns to be scrapped

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:47
End-of-year tax returns will be scrapped in favour of "real-time" online accounts by 2020, the chancellor will announce.

Trott recalled to England Test squad

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:45
Jonathan Trott is recalled to the England squad for the three-Test series against West Indies in April and May.

VIDEO: Are your groceries shrinking?

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:27
The consumer group Which? has found that while the size of some products has been decreasing, the cost has not necessarily followed suit, as Graham Satchell reports.

Germany finds its feet as EU leader

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:24
Germany's Angela Merkel is the EU's undisputed queen, a reluctant role for a country not keen on taking on the crown.

Family plea for death row Pakistani

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:16
The family of a Pakistani man convicted of manslaughter as a minor and facing execution on Thursday makes a last-minute appeal for mercy.

De Villiers happy with 'chokers' tag

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:15
South Africa "like being called chokers" as long as they keep winning World Cup matches, captain AB de Villiers says.

Common Core Means Three Tests In Three Years For Michigan Kids

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:08

Partisan bickering and lots of stress for kids and teachers as Common Core exams begin.

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VIDEO: How fashion survived WW2 rationing

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:04
Fashion on the Ration, a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London, tells the story of how people managed to keep themselves looking smart despite the shortages.

Vokes recalled for Wales' Euro bid

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:04
Striker Sam Vokes returns for Wales, but they are without James Chester for the Euro qualifier in Israel on 28 March.

French crash victims to be flown home

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-18 03:01
The bodies of eight French nationals, including three sports stars, who died in a helicopter crash in Argentina are to be repatriated.

Letter To White House Tested Positive For Cyanide, Secret Service Says

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 02:57

The envelope arrived Monday; the agency did not announce to whom the letter was addressed. Further tests are being conducted to confirm the results.

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