National / International News

Maths helps find climate-proof crops

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 16:36
Researchers are developing mathematical models to help identify genetic material that could improve food crops' resilience to climate change.

Paying for life's basics by Bitcoin

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 16:36
The newsagent bringing the virtual currency back to basics

Magpies 'don't steal shiny objects'

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 16:35
Science dispels the popular myth that magpies like to steal shiny objects for their nests.

Venues 'must do more' for disabled

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 16:20
Tourist attractions in the UK are urged to provide better access for disabled visitors by the minister for disabled people.

The village 'washed on to the map'

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 16:10
Why villagers think Boscastle floods were a good thing

Grand Jury Indicts Texas Gov. Rick Perry On Charges Of Abusing Power

NPR News - Fri, 2014-08-15 16:01

A grand jury in Austin, Texas, has indicted Gov. Rick Perry on charges of abusing his official powers. For more on the indictment, Robert Siegel talks with NPR's Wade Goodwyn.

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Dying man denied free care again

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 15:58
A terminally ill man who was told he wasn't close enough to death to qualify for free personal care is refused support for a second time.

The lawyer who shot himself proving his case

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 15:35
Author Jeremy Clay tells the strange story of the 19th Century lawyer who accidentally shot himself while demonstrating the innocence of a defendant in a murder trial.

How much gold can we get from mobile phones?

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 15:34
How much of the gold we need can we get by recycling used phones?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Indicted On Abuse-Of-Power Charges

NPR News - Fri, 2014-08-15 15:15

An ethics complaint was opened last year after the governor vetoed funding for state public corruption prosecutors. Perry had said he would carry out the veto unless a district attorney resigned.

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Russia assures US on Ukraine convoy

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 15:01
Russia's defence secretary gives a guarantee to his US counterpart there are no military personnel in its aid convoy for Ukraine, the US says.

Savage on how Costa gives Chelsea the finishing touch

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 15:01
Summer signing Diego Costa is the missing piece in Jose Mourinho's title jigsaw, says Robbie Savage in his first BBC Sport column of the season.

VIDEO: How many million for an old car?

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 14:37
A rare 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO once owned by famed racing driver and Olympic gold medallist has sold for $34.65m.

Driver killed in rally crash named

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 14:23
A 20-year-old rally driver from Enniskillen dies in a crash at the Ulster Rally in County Fermanagh and his Welsh co-driver is injured.

Kick-off has come too soon - Wenger

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 14:21
Arsene Wenger says his World Cup winners needed another week to recover from the World Cup.

My money story: Synthpop band Future Islands

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-15 13:52

Everybody has one, a moment or a story where money changes your life. This week, the band Future Islands and the unexpected financial side of making it. 

“I think a big turning point was when we got picked up by a booking agent," says band member William Cashion. "That was the first allegiance in the music industry. We always felt like we were kind of on the outside. I booked our shows for about seven years, and we all just did everything, especially the first five or six years. We were going to Kinko's, making black and white Xerox copies and cutting them out in the van and burning CDRs."

"As soon as we brought on a booking agent it was like somebody waved a magic wand and we were just getting guarantees everywhere we went," Cashion says. "Which wasn’t a lot of money but it was like a door deal, it was like a pre-arranged amount of what we would get paid which totally changed the game for us as far as the kind of money we were making.”

But even when the band started making more money on the road, there were other unexpected financial problems.

“We were pretty far in the red at the end of last year," says Samuel Herring. We pretty much sunk everything into the music as well as getting hit with 2012 taxes in the middle of producing the album and we were just like, 'Oh, we forgot about that.' We got hit really hard with taxes last year. Our accountant called us in one day and [said], ‘Umm … well first off you guys have very high taxes, because you made a lot of money last year, a lot more than I expected. And because you’re an LLC you’re in the highest tax bracket.’ I was kind of looking at the guys, ' Should we high five? We made it! Highest tax bracket!' And we got destroyed. We got destroyed by the US Government. Maybe they’ll come after us.”

But with the band's recent success, Future Islands is learning to balance their DIY upbringing. 

“We’ve always worked solely out of necessity with what we could do, and I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve survived," says Herring. "It’s funny because now it’s at the point where we’re realizing we do need these certain crew members. And I’m fiercely shacking my head like, no, like I don’t want to do that! Even though it is time to give the reigns over because it’s too much for us now.”

Future Islands' latest album is "Singles." They're touring the U.S. this summer and fall.

Ebola 'to last at least six months'

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 13:47
The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa will take at least six months to bring under control, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres says.

VIDEO: Russia denies Ukraine incursion

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 13:45
While the Russian humanitarian aid convoy travelling to Ukraine comes to halt, Russia is accused of military action on the Ukraine border.

Negative Ebola test for detainee

BBC - Fri, 2014-08-15 13:44
A female detainee who took ill at Dungavel Detention Centre in South Lanarkshire tests negative for the Ebola virus.

Celebrities get out of the prepaid card business

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-15 13:39

When it comes to celebrity endorsements, there are plenty of success stories. Michael Jordan’s name brought in more than $2 billion for Nike last year, and back in May, Apple paid $3 billion to snap up rapper Dr. Dre’s Beats

But there are some things a famous name just can’t seem to sell.  Case in point: prepaid debit cards.

Magic Johnson and financial adviser Suze Orman pulled their prepaid cards about a month ago. Lil Wayne appears to be the latest celebrity to bow out. Try applying online for the Young Money card he endorsed, and you get an error page.

"This was sort of low-hanging fruit," says Matt Britton, CEO of the marketing agency MRY.  "Prepaid cards is a growing phenomenon, so I think celebrities initially saw this as a great opportunity for 'me to be able to leverage my fan base.'"

Consumer spending with prepaid cards jumped 6 percent last year to more than $118 billion, according to the Nilson Report. The cards are increasingly popular with people who don’t want traditional checking accounts - and those who can't get them.

"A lot of these - particularly newer prepaid card offerings that have more transparent fee structures - make a pretty compelling option for them," says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.

Hidden fees helped tank the Kardashian family’s attempt at a prepaid card a few years ago, and more cards now disclose their costs.  

"The lack of regulation is the downside," says Susan Weinstock, director of consumer banking for the Pew Charitable Trusts.  "These cards do not have any protection should you lose the card or it gets stolen."

Weinstock says federal regulators plan to weigh in on prepaid cards this summer. As for whether celebrities should keep endorsing them, Britton says it takes a star with a "pristine brand" and a broad enough fan base to make it work.  

"LeBron James, maybe, especially since his move to Cleveland," she says. 

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