National / International News

Militants attack Somalia AU base

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 03:39
Al-Shabab militants launch an attack on the main African Union military base near Mogadishu airport in Somalia.

'The Interview' Gets Nationwide Theatrical Release

NPR News - Thu, 2014-12-25 03:36

Nearly 300 independent theaters are showing the comedy, which Sony Pictures had originally pulled following threats. The studio is also showing the movie on streaming services.

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Workman killed in crash named

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 03:30
Fraser Gibbon of Cuminestown is named by police as the 20-year-old killed in a crash on the B9170 road on Wednesday.

Nigeria girl tells of suicide attack

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 03:19
A 13-year-old Nigerian girl says her parents gave her to Boko Haram to take part in a suicide bomb attack in the city of Kano.

Olympic cyclists announce engagement

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 03:10
Laura Trott announces her engagement to fellow British Olympic cycling star Jason Kenny on Twitter.

Ebola Survivor: "You Feel Like ... Maybe ... A Ghost"

NPR News - Thu, 2014-12-25 03:03

Outside St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital in Liberia, Dr. Senga Omeonga muses over the weeks he spent at an Ebola ward — not as a doctor, but as a patient. He says the experience was life-changing.

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Your views: The Interview released by Sony

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 03:01
What do you think of controversial comedy The Interview?

In pictures: Christmas around the world

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 02:51
How Christmas is being celebrated around the world

Pope condemns religious persecution

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 02:36
Pope Francis delivers his traditional Christmas Day address, denouncing violence against religious and ethnic minorities - notably in Syria and Iraq.

VIDEO: Kabul: A precarious life after Nato

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 02:30
Nato forces will complete their pullout from Afghanistan after 13 years of conflict in days leaving the city to adjust to a precarious way of life.

Would you like a cat with your cappuccino?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-25 02:30

It’s 10:00 AM and Sara Pritchard is at a cafe in Oakland. But instead of tapping at a computer or chatting with a friend, she’s stalking the room looking for the perfect cat to snuggle. She's at the new Cat Town Cafe, the first Cat Cafe in America.

There are cats sleeping under cat murals, cats pouncing on feather toys, there are even cats climbing on a miniature downtown Oakland. These coffee shops filled with cats are starting to open around the country. They’ve been a phenomenon in Japan, have spread across Europe, and have recently invaded Denver and Manhattan.

But if you think there will be a Siamese lounging on the biscotti, think again. The Cat Zone is separated from the coffee shop by a small hallway; an air lock, or as they call it, a “hairlock.” Staff from the food area can’t enter the Cat Zone during their shift and vice-versa. But patrons are welcome to bring their food in — that is the point after all.

But Cat Town is not a cafe that has cats, it’s an adoption center that lures in humans with its coffee shop.

“For me, this is cat rescue first and foremost. And the measure for me is how many cats are getting adopted,” says Cat Town Cafe founder Ann Dunn.

Cat Town makes it its mission to find homes for cats that aren’t doing well at the shelter. Dunn and her staff were at it for over three years before they opened the cafe. “This, hopefully, will become a model: cage free. Put them in an environment where they’ll thrive, and they’ll get adopted more quickly,” says Dunn.

It’s like the rebranding of cat adoption — and it’s working. A brown tabby named Anchor had been at the shelter for  four months, but once he arrived, Anchor found a home within 2 hours. Before the cafe opened, Cat Town adopted out about a dozen felines a month. After two months here, that number is up to 59.

Actually, make that 60.

“We're getting a cat!” Sarah Pritchard just made a friend: Guthrie. “There in the little bed right now, with the yellow eyes,” Pritchard says.

So the next time you grab a latte, you might leave with a new family member.

Lorry crash hospital girl 'improving'

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 02:07
The condition of a 14-year-old girl badly hurt in the Glasgow bin lorry crash improves, as four people remain in hospital.

New minimum wage laws bring Walmart pay raises

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-25 02:00

Walmart is raising wages. The country’s largest private retailer says it’s doing so in order to stay in compliance with 21 states raising their minimum wages in the new year. But, while it might seem counter-intuitive, paying higher wages could mean a better bottom line, not just for workers, but also for Walmart.

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Oil prices shoot sky-high. Olive oil, that is.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-25 02:00

Most olive oil comes from Europe — where producers have had one of the worst growing seasons in 20 years — for a number of reasons.

First, last year was a bumper crop, and apparently the trees tend to get tired the following year. More importantly, the weather was lousy for olives, and great for insects like the olive fly. It lays eggs inside the fruit, the maggots dig their way out, and ... yuck. There were other bugs too, and a fungus; they all had a great year. The International Olive Council projects that production will be down 27 percent worldwide. The world’s biggest producer is Spain, and production is down more than 50 percent there.

And while supplies are low, demand has grown in the past two decades. Global consumption is about 50 percent higher than in the early 1990s.

That means high prices, and a higher likelihood that more olive oil will be fake.

What gets sold as Italian extra-virgin olive oil often isn't. It may not be Italian, may not be extra-virgin, and may not be 100 percent olive oil. A lot of oil that’s bottled in Italy actually gets imported from elsewhere, and others have reported that some bottlers adulterate the product.

Tom Mueller — who wrote an exposé on the whole setup for the New Yorker, and then a book called “Extra Virginity” — told the L.A. Times recently that anything priced under 12 bucks a liter almost certainly wouldn't be extra-virgin Italian olive oil from this year’s harvest.

On the other hand, production doubled in Greece this year. And it almost tripled in Tunisia. So a bottle that says it came from one of those two countries is more likely to be the real thing.

Detroit real estate on the rise

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-25 02:00

After suffering through some of the very worst of the Great Recession and housing crisis, property values and rents in Detroit are headed back up again. Developer Richard Baron is the CEO of St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar, which is building 400 new rental units.

“The market has firmed up very nicely, certainly for apartments in downtown, around the core, and we think that it will continue to grow,” says Baron.

Even the long-stalled market for single-family houses is beginning to approach pre-recession levels.  

“If anything, our biggest challenge is that I have way more buyers than I do quality houses that are move-in ready,” says Ryan Cooley, an agent for O’Connor Real Estate. Despite the good news for downtown, Cooley says many outlying neighborhoods are not seeing the same turnaround.

'Christmas Story' house a major award for Cleveland

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-25 02:00

Ten years ago, San Diego entrepreneur Brian Jones bought a ramshackle house in Cleveland. 

But don’t write this off as your standard fixer-upper yarn, as that rickety heap was used in the filming of the 1983 holiday classic, “A Christmas Story”.  You know, the one with little Ralphie wishing for a Red Ryder BB Gun, but forever warned he’ll “shoot his eye out.”

 Jones took a brave shot himself at saving the house, which he has turned into one of Cleveland's biggest tourist attractions. 

Coming in from the cold, the day’s first tour — about 20 people — squeeze into “A Christmas Story” House. They’re greeted by tour guide Jeff Woodard. 

“Come on in, welcome to Ralphie and Randy’s,” he smiles.

The visitors play with a Red Ryder BB gun or pose with the infamous leg lamp by the window. There are also elf hats and other novelty head wear, though the “pink nightmare” bunny pajamas are across the street in the gift shop.

Woodward explains how this house was used during the filming of “A Christmas Story” in 1983.

“Basic rule of thumb is, if you can see a shot through a window or through a doorway into outdoor ambient light, that shot was filmed in this house,” he says.

But after filming wrapped up, 3159 West 11th Street became just another address in hardscrabble Cleveland. Nature, via economic downturn, took its course.

Then in 2004, Brian Jones — a fan of the movie who had also launched a thriving leg lamp enterprise the year before — learned that the home was listed on eBay for $99,000.

“Never mind that the houses in this area are $25,000 and $30,000 homes,” says Woodward. “(Jones) doesn’t know that, he doesn’t care. He calls the two brothers who own the house, and he says, 'Make you a deal. You take this off of eBay today, I will write you a check for $150,000.'”

The visitors gasp.

Flash forward to today.  Jones, who lives in Florida now but drops in every now and then on business, reflects on the time and money spent restoring the house to its cinematic grandeur, inside and outside.

“You’re looking at about one and a half million dollars invested over the past decade,” says Jones.

The house now sees visitors from all over the world.

“There was guy from South Africa," says Jones. "He was crawling under the sink, just like Randy: "'Daddy’s gonna kill Ralphie.'"

And last year, Jones launched the Christmas Story House Foundation, which helps fix up other homes in the immediate neighborhood. Last year it raised $60,000. 

Rich Weiss was a beneficiary. He applied for funding and got approved this past year. “A completely painted house exterior, and a completely replaced porch, that isn’t inexpensive,” Weiss says.

While the operators of “A Christmas Story” House and Museum wouldn’t disclose annual revenues, it’s safe to say, with most of its 50,000 annual visitors paying the adult admission rate of ten dollars, that its profits are cozier than a set of pink bunny pajamas.  



VIDEO: 1914 Christmas Truce remembered

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 01:45
Football Focus remembers Christmas Day, 1914, when British and German soldiers stopped fighting and played football.

PODCAST: Cat cafe

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-25 01:45

As oil prices plummet, what is the effect on the alternative energy sector. We find out. Plus, a surge in jobs has brought people back to downtown Detroit, making apartments scarce and prompting a building boom. And Oakland cat-lovers Adam Myatt and Ana Dunn opened Cat Town Cafe - the country's first feline filled coffee shop - and they have been so busy that they are taking reservations. The main product isn’t the hip local coffee and bagels, it is the cats themselves.

VIDEO: Murray Walker's Christmas message

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 01:13
Formula 1 commentary legend Murray Walker looks back on an uplifting and tragic 2014 and looks forward to what could be another great year for the sport in 2015.

VIDEO: UK Ebola workers on Christmas plans

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-25 01:07
Two healthcare workers tell the BBC about their work fighting Ebola in West Africa and what Christmas means to them.