National / International News

VIDEO: Riot police guard Paris synagogues

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 22:44
French Jews say they are feeling the impact of events in Gaza, with a disturbing rise in anti-semitism.

Tour buses collide near Egypt resort

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 22:29
Two tourist buses collide near Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, leaving 33 people dead and 41 injured, officials say.

Recycling rates for waste rise again

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 22:28
More rubbish is being recycled in Wales than last year with figures showing a 2% rise to 54%.

VIDEO: MOTD at 50: John Motson tribute

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 22:09
Celebrity Match of the Day fans including Russell Brand and Sue Johnston pay tribute to legendary commentator John Motson.

VIDEO: Lib Dems want safe standing return

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 22:06
The Liberal Democrats have put forward plans for Premier League and Championship clubs to introduce safe standing at stadiums.

Briton Ward one match from US Open

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 22:03
British number two James Ward is one match away from the US Open main draw after a 6-4 6-4 win over Vincent Millot.

'Jihadi John' and fears for Gazza

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 22:01
Most papers focus on efforts to identify the British jihadist in the video of reporter James Foley's beheading, while others raise fears over ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne's health.

Victim's family backs knife amnesty

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 21:59
The family of a man who was stabbed to death in a Wrexham pub are backing a knife surrender campaign.

Activist Irom Sharmila re-arrested

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 21:50
Indian activist Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been on a hunger strike for 14 years, is re-arrested two days after she was freed on a court order.

VIDEO: Obama refuses ice bucket challenge

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 21:48
Barack Obama has said he will not be taking part in the ice bucket challenge, a fundraising stunt which involves people drenching themselves with cold water.

'Nico and I will be racing flat out'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 21:38
In his latest BBC column, Lewis Hamilton talks about the title race, and says he is glad he did not rush into an F1 drive when he was too young.

VIDEO: Gibraltar banishes troublesome monkeys

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 21:19
Gibraltar is planning to banish some of its Barbary macaque population which have become too cheeky or aggressive

India's Kerala to ban alcohol sales

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 20:57
Authorities in the southern Indian state of Kerala outline plans to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol to tackle the state's drink problem.

GAO: Bergdahl Exchange Violated Law

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 20:57

Congressional investigators say the Pentagon broke the law when it swapped Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, for five Taliban leaders.

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Can algorithms tell you hate beheading videos?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-21 19:26

To look at media coverage this summer is to witness a season of violence in the real world. A plane shot down in Ukraine, the suicide of Robin Williams, the Ebola outbreak that is now an International Public Health Emergency, everything that's happening in Ferguson, Missouri and the rise of ISIS are just a few of the stories on the list. Even for those of us who see news events blend together in a seemingly endless daily grind, it's tough to watch. A friend and news junkie told me this week he had "no stomach" for the story of beheaded photojournalist James Foley. Yesterday I was reading statements from Foley's family saying how proud they were of him and the work he did, and I started to cry. That is not something I do very often. 

It is cliche at this point to say that "the 24-hour news cycle" and "the age of the Internet" contribute to our perception about the volume and intensity of this violence, but it is also true. Just this week I interviewed David Carr on how tweets about Ferguson influenced coverage of the events there in a big way. Twitter is an especially compelling tool for the news media, in part because of its chronological design--something Zach Seward at Quartz just used to compare it to regular television. But culling social media for news is tricky, because news is filtered and social media is not. After family members had to beg users to stop sharing James Foley's beheading video, and following Zelda Williams quitting Twitter because of people assaulting her with violent imagery following her dad's death, the social network has announced this week that it will respect takedown requests on a case-by-case basis

Twitter and other companies might need to do more than that. For Thursday's show we spoke with USC Professor Karen North about an interesting problem: how algorithms can reward the content we don't want to like, upvote, or even share. U.S.-born tech companies like Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook have unique challenges when it comes to takedown requests, because they don't want to censor content that should be allowed to exist. But an algorithm used to measure and organize the stuff that comes in can give points for all kinds of engagement. If you're giving a YouTube video a thumbs down, you're still engaging with the content, which might improve that content's standing. Watching it all the way through might help, too.

It's important to note that this depends a lot on the company you're talking about and the algorithm you're talking about. Algorithms, like Google's mysterious search algorithm, are being changed all the time, too. But as Jon Lee Anderson writes in The New Yorker, "there is no longer any doubt that the Internet, with its power of contagion and usefulness for recruiting, has become a preferred, particular tool of terrorists." When you put that next to the possibility that our online behavior, even when we don't want it to, might be rewarding the content of terrorists, you don't feel so good about the Internet's impact on world events. As users, we should be thinking about how our online behavior, however passive, can have an impact. Tech companies should also keep thinking about the impact of not just their takedown policies, but the tools they use to comb through and curate the content they're hosting. 

Fresh talks due in firefighters' row

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 19:23
Efforts to break a deadlock in a long-running row over firefighters' pensions are being ramped up with fresh talks later.

Foreign visits 'rose fastest in SW'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 19:21
The number of overseas tourists visiting the South West in 2013 grew at a faster rate than anywhere else in Britain, according to VisitBritain.

London 'Europe's dearest culture hub'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 18:56
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities, with Warsaw the cheapest, a survey suggests.

India blocks Gandhi murder film

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 18:31
India blocks the release of a film on the assassination of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, after complaints it glorifies her killers.

Quiz of the week's news

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 16:05
Why was this man refused entry to Dubai?
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