National / International News

VIDEO: Cameron: UK Iraq plans 'flexible'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 02:17
Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the UK's plans for delivering aid to displaced Iraqis must be "flexible enough to respond" to what is a developing situation.

Woman dies in M4 slip road crash

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 02:03
A woman pedestrian dies following a collision with a lorry on a slip road off the M4 at Swansea.

End of the reel for old-school movie film?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-14 02:00

Film snakes around the projection booth of the Parkway Discount Cinema in Warner Robins, Georgia. Theater manager Alicia Bowers is in the booth. She has a love/hate relationship with film these days.

“Run too fast and it will throw the film to the ground,” Bowers says, “or if they’re moving it from one platter to another – if they drop it, it’s a big pile of mess.”

By contrast, a digital blockbuster is delivered on a six-inch by four-inch hard drive. When you drop it, there’s a thud, but no mess.

The Parkway’s run is coming to an end this summer. It’s closing, rather than converting to digital.

Bill Stembler, CEO of the Georgia Theater Company, says the reason is pretty simple: “It’s questionable whether you could recover your investment. It’s something like $50,000 to $70,000 a screen to convert to digital.”

Stembler says when you do the math for a 16-screen multiplex, you get the picture.

Luckily, the movie studios have a solution. They offer theaters a subsidy called Virtual Print Fees. Every time you buy a ticket at the multiplex at what the studios call full price, the studios pay to help retire a piece of the theater’s digital debt.

“The film companies are basically paying for about 80 to 85 percent of our cost to be digital,” Stembler says.

But this equation doesn’t work for discount screens. The studios take about a 60 percent cut out of every ticket sold. At full ticket price, that adds up. It doesn’t work at the dollar theater.

“They don’t care about the discount theaters,” Stembler says.

So how do Virtual Print Fees work at your local arthouse theater? Sara Beresford is a board member at Ciné, an independent theater in Athens, GA. She says the arthouse is a different beast.

“I think for a lot of the arthouse cinema operators there were too many strings attached to that agreement,” Stembler says.

Remember, Virtual Print Fees come with studio demands about which movies will be shown. Arthouse operators like their independence.

Back at the Parkway Discount Cinema, Alicia Bowers has reset the film for the next show.

“You know, it’s rewarding to get it up on the screen and seeing it play... it’s definitely a nostalgic feeling. It moves, it bounces,” Bowers says.

But film lovers only have a little time left to indulge that nostalgia. One studio, Paramount, no longer distributes film prints at all.

Is Wal-Mart rethinking its business approach?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-14 02:00

Thursday is a busy day for Wal-Mart. The retail giant is playing host to this year's U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Denver, and the company reports its second quarter earnings. Between slower store traffic and dwindling sales, analysts aren't optimistic. But the company has a plan.  

When you think of social responsibility in the corporate world, Wal-Mart is not the first company that comes to mind. The company is working on initiatives from cutting the amount of water in detergent to partnering with women-owned businesses.

"I think certainly PR's gotta be part of it, right? I mean, I don't think it's all altruism," says Peter Mueller, an analyst at Forrester Research. "So if they pull it off, it will look good for them, right?" 

And after years of bad press over employee relations, that could be a smart move, says Steven Brown, who teaches marketing at the University of Houston.

"It's kind of in tune with the zeitgeist in corporate America where corporations increasingly realize that their employees need to identify with a good employer who does good for them as employees and also for their community at large," Brown says.

The challenge, he says, is doing good while continuing to make a profit. And, Brown says, getting the skeptics to buy it.   

Web cookies to track apps

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-14 02:00

Google is busy rolling out a new kind of web tracking cookie to give the company an even deeper insight into individual online browsing habits. So what's so special about how this cookie crumbles?

“Google is introducing a way to track you on your mobile apps,” says Will Oremus of Slate.

The company is already adept at tracking users on the open web, but more and more web browsing is done through apps on their phone, which are not subject to Google’s web tracking cookies. This makes it harder for it to deploy targeted advertisements.

With this new technology, Google is trying to is link the cookies on the web with the anonymous trackers that already log activity through apps.

Why that backache could really be all in your head

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-14 02:00

Ever take a day off from work and tell your boss you needed a sick day, when what you really needed was a mental health day?

Deborah Jacobs, an HR professional who sits on the advisory council of the Disability Management Employer Coalition, says you're not alone.

"We had a lot of employees that have physical disabilities, but we find out as we're looking into their cases that they also have a mental behavioral health issue going on at the same time," she says.

"Behavioral health” – essentially a mash-up of mental and physical health – is getting more attention in the workplace, Jacobs says.

A report from Employers Health says that workers miss more days of work and are less productive due to mental illness than chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and even back pain.

Pamela Warren is doctor of psychology and a University of Illinois faculty member. She says depression, for instance, may cause physical ailments that can result in disability or employee absence.

"Over time and actually pretty early in my practice, what I started seeing were individuals who they focused on the reported work issues, but found they couldn't or wouldn't go to work," she says.

According to some estimates, this is costing employers upwards of $100 billion dollars.

 

 

Mother parking car kills daughter

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:54
A six-year-old girl dies after she is struck by a car being driven by her mother near a Tube station in west London.

Footballer collapses during match

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:54
The former Derry Gaelic football captain Kevin McCloy is being treated in intensive care in hospital after he collapsed on the pitch during a club match.

Fourth activist held in Azerbaijan

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:45
A court in Azerbaijan upholds the pre-trial detention of a top human rights lawyer, after similar charges are brought against other activists.

Suarez to find out bite appeal result

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:40
The outcome of Luis Suarez's appeal against a four-month ban from football for biting will be announced at 14:00 BST on Thursday.

AUDIO: 'Most of us know very little about mental illness'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:37
Adrian Strain talks about his son, Martin, who recently took his own life.

Two cars submerged by incoming tide

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:36
Two cars are swamped by the incoming tide off Teesside within 90 minutes, the local lifeboat crew has said.

Russian convoy heads to Ukraine

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:34
More than 100 lorries with Russian aid head towards conflict areas in eastern Ukraine, as the Red Cross seeks urgent talks in Kiev and Moscow.

AUDIO: The great heels vs flats debate

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:33
Fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes and fashion journalist Hannah Rochell debate the best type of shoe to wear.

VIDEO: Workers carry out repairs on US tower

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:26
Workers carry out maintenance on the transmitter towers of the 1,127ft (344m) John Hancock Center in Chicago.

Star Trek Spock bride dies at 78

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:26
Actress Arlene Martel, who was best known for playing the prospective bride of Mr Spock in Star Trek, has died aged 78.

AUDIO: Pilot's arm 'came off while landing'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:12
A pilot lost control of a passenger plane after his artificial arm became detached as he was coming in to land, an accident report has said. Steven Robinson, a pilot with a prosthetic limb, speaks to the Today programme.

NI students top in A-level results

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:10
Northern Ireland students outperform their counterparts in England and Wales in A-level A* and A grades.

Failing GPs: A Pandora's Box?

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 01:05
Nick Triggle on why tackling failing GPs may prove difficult
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