National / International News

Virtual Bagel, Virtual Cat - who 'likes' you?

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:41
Why there are still plenty of questions over 'likers'

Waltons star Ralph Waite dies at 85

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:40
Actor Ralph Waite, best known for playing John Walton Sr - Papa Walton - in the long-running US television series, has died at the age of 85.

Why the Comcast-Time Warner deal would mean layoffs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:31

The proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced this week has a lot of people wondering about customers' cable bills. But what about the two companies' thousands of employees? In typical corporate speak, Comcast says the deal will create about $1.5 billion in "operating efficiencies." Translation: layoffs are coming.

The companies will still need drivers and installers and sales reps in most of the same places. As Comcast CEO Brian Roberts put it, the companies don’t even operate in the same zip codes. Instead, a lot of the cuts will come at the top, says industry analyst Jeff Kagan.

"You only need one CEO, you only need one CFO, you only need one of all of the different heads of departments," Kagan says. "So there’s plenty of room for them to cut."

That doesn't mean layoffs aren't coming further down the chain, though. More and more people are cutting the cord and watching their TV on Netflix or online.

“I can’t imagine that there won’t be some cuts even at those lower levels, because we are talking about an industry that is under some threat,” says Batia Wiesenfeld, professor of management and organizations at NYU's Stern School of Business.

Wiesenfeld says the merger – if it goes through – may just speed things up, as management makes sure the new company is as lean as it needs to be, given shrinking customer demand.

VIDEO: Facebook to increase gender options

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:27
The social network Facebook has announced that its English language users will now be able to select a custom gender for their profile page.

VIDEO: 'Celebrity' callers review political week

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:25
BBC Radio 5 live's Victoria Derbyshire hears from a few 'celebrity callers' in a special Valentine's programme, as she reviews the week's political news.

Power cuts continue as storm awaited

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:22
Hundreds of homes in Shropshire remain without power following storms, despite 1,100 engineers working day and night.

Thai police clear some protest sites

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:18
Police deploy in the Thai capital to clear some of the sites occupied by protesters since they kicked off their anti-government campaign.

AUDIO: 'World attentive' to London Fashion

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:13
Designer Caroline Charles speaks to the Today programme ahead of London Fashion Week.

Penguin India defends recall of book

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:10
Penguin India defends its decision to recall and destroy copies of a book on Hinduism by a top US scholar, saying it had to respect the laws of the land.

You said you wanted your chocolate to be rich ...

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-14 01:02

At the Jacques Torres chocolate shop in Manhattan, Torres watches as a box of Valentine's Day chocolates is wrapped in cellophane. 

"It’s Valentine's and you can see the store packed with hearts," says Torres.

Torres says 15 percent of his revenue for the year comes from Valentine's Day, but it's gotten a little less profitable, largely because of the commodities market.

"The price of cocoa has risen significantly," Torres adds. "The forecast is that in less than 10 years, we will have a shortage of cocoa."

Cocoa prices jumped about 25 percent last year because demand for chocolate is up.  

"We're seeing emerging markets like China, the Middle East, all of these regions that traditionally haven't consumed chocolate are beginning to purchase chocolate," says Hester Jeon, research analyst with IBISworld. Jeon says the issue pushing demand is that Americans have gone gourmet. "People are eating a lot more dark chocolate and that has a heavier cocoa content, which is also driving up the demand for cocoa."

Torres says most of the chocolate he sells is now dark chocolate, which marks a big difference from 10 years ago.

"So we will have to increase our price a little bit… hopefully, we will stay very reasonable," he says.

Torres is doing several things to keep prices low and quality high. He's offering more "inclusion chocolate" — that's chocolate with nuts or coffee in it — which uses less cocoa; he is working directly with farmers and he's growing some of his own cocoa.

"I'm going to be very honest with my customer and show what’s going on in the world and if I have a raise in price, explain why," Torres says.

Still, Torres says he can't increase prices in line with costs. Even on Valentine's Day, customers are very price sensitive these days and he doesn't want his sweets to leave a bitter taste in their mouths.

A valentine for a time capsule

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-14 00:51

It's time for Silicon Tally. How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

We have a special guest on Silicon Tally this week. Brendan Francis Newnam is a host of our sister culture show The Dinner Party Download.

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'Harried Mom' Becomes Dynamic Woman In These Stock Images

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-14 00:46

Getty's new "Lean In" collection steers clear of familiar stereotypes, such as women in stilettos stepping on men. Because women are the primary users of social media, the company's visual trends director says, it's time for a different kind of representation in media and advertising.

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Iran's Hope Is Sanctions Relief, But Reality Is Struggling Economy

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-14 00:44

Most Iranians back President Hassan Rouhani's efforts to reach out to the world, but so far there's been very little tangible improvement in an economy that's been hurting for years.

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Mobile Match Apps Are 'Dating On Steroids'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-14 00:43

Matchmaking apps like Tinder can help people find potential dates quickly, but sometimes efficiency isn't the best way to find true love.

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VIDEO: Bacon work breaks Christie's record

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 00:11
A masterpiece by the British painter Francis Bacon has become the most valuable piece of artwork ever sold by Christie's auction house in Europe.

VIDEO: More snow hits US north-east

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 00:07
A giant winter storm is unleashing a second wave of heavy snowfall on the US north-east.

VIDEO: Octopus wrestles with US cameraman

BBC - Thu, 2014-02-13 23:51
Octopus wrestles with underwater cameraman in Bluefish Cove, California.

More Scots starting up businesses

BBC - Thu, 2014-02-13 23:38
New figures show that more people in Scotland are choosing to be their own boss and starting up their own businesses.

North Korea tops Kerry China agenda

BBC - Thu, 2014-02-13 23:27
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets China's President Xi Jinping, in a visit expected to focus on North Korea and territorial tensions.

Boris bikes 'good for users' health'

BBC - Thu, 2014-02-13 23:23
London's cycle hire scheme has had a positive effect on the health of its users, suggests a study in the British Medical Journal.

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