National / International News

US rebuked over Afghan death probes

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 04:00
The US is accused by a new Amnesty International report of failing to properly investigate the deaths of Afghan civilians blamed on their forces.

VIDEO: Stuck rollercoaster evacuated mid-ride

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:58
Fire-fighters have rescued more than 20 people who were stuck for hours on a rollercoaster in the US state of Maryland.

VIDEO: NASCAR star 'shaken' over death

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:44
NASCAR racing star Tony Stewart is left 'visibly shaken' after being involved in a fatal collision during a race in New York state.

St. Louis-Area Rally For Teen Killed By Police Turns Violent

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:43

Police and witnesses agree the teen did not have a gun and that a third person was also involved; beyond that, the details of Michael Brown's death are in dispute.

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Israel, Hamas Agree To More Talks As Truce Appears To Hold

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:42

But the two sides appeared no closer to a settlement to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip that has left nearly 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, mostly soldiers, dead.

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Gallery removes Chapmans sculpture

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:35
A sculpture by Jake and Dinos Chapman is removed from display at a Rome art gallery after complaints that the work is "paedo-pornographic".

Fresh Gaza talks begin in Egypt

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:32
Indirect talks between Israelis and Palestinians get under way in Cairo, Egyptian media say, as a ceasefire continues to hold in Gaza.

VIDEO: Sinead on hair, music and being bossy

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:29
Sinead O'Connor talks to BBC Breakfast about her new music and why she doesn't care what people think of her.

Israeli flag councillor quit call

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:22
Almost 2,000 people sign a petition calling for the resignation of a Glasgow councillor who waved an Israeli flag.

Software smoothes shaky video clips

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:08
Help is at hand for anyone who has shot a shaky video while cycling, climbing, kayaking or engaging in any other high-speed sport.

Golden boy McIlroy 'owns his era'

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:04
In Rory McIlroy's loping stride, all self-belief and attitude, you can see the same authority Tiger Woods once exuded.

PODCAST: Money in the meteorites

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:00

Amazon has taken on a new opponent: Captain America. Try to pre-order a DVD or Blu-Ray of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," and you'll come up empty. More on why the movie is the latest casualty in a pricing dispute between Amazon and Disney. Plus, Brussels, home to the European Parliament, is seeing lots of lobbyists from the U.S. tech industry. They've descended to advocate against new online privacy legislation. And right now, the perseid meteor shower is going on -- The spectacle of shooting stars has long brought a sense of wonder to those who stay up to watch it. It's also brought cash...Sort of.

Six things you might not know about meteorites

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:00

The Perseid meteorite showers return on Monday and you may not have realized it, but there are business links with these rocks from the sky.

Here's six things you might not have known about meteorites.

They brought us (some) gold.

Left to its own devices, Earth wouldn't have much of any iron-loving precious metals – gold, platinum, rare earth elements – at its surface. In fact, just about all of earth's original gold and platinum are all locked up in the earth's core, where they sank when the earth was first forming. The only reason we have much precious metal on the earth's surface is because meteorites deposited it from space.

They are different from meteors.

A meteor is the light given off by a piece of space rock as it travels through the Earth's atmosphere. A meteoroid is the actual space rock if it's less than a meter in size. If the space rock is bigger than a meter, it's an asteroid. A meteorite is a space rock that isn't completely burned up on entry and actually makes it to the ground. Read more here.

They are super expensive.

Fragments of the Chelyabinsk meteorite that exploded over western Russia last year sell online for $30 a gram (As of now, gold sells for $40 a gram). Other meteorites can sell for $1,500 a gram.

They can come from other planets.

If a comet or asteroid slams into another planet, it can knock chunks of that planet off and back into space. Sometimes those chunks can fall to Earth, becoming meteorites. That's why we have meteorites from the moon and Mars.

They may hold the key to space mining.

"The Holy Grail of asteroid science is if you can can relate a particular type of meteorite to a parent asteroid in space," says Donald Yeomans, who runs NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

If you can understand what types of meteorites contain what types of elements — whether metals or hydrated minerals — and you can figure out their signature, you can use that as a key to understand what an asteroid contains from a distance. That way you can figure out what of value is in an asteroid you're thinking about mining without having to visit it.

They have organic material in them. 

Meteorites can even have several percent by weight of organic material — Amino acids, nucleic acids, carboxylic acids.

"How that organic material formed is a big question," says Conel Alexander, a cosmochemist at the Carnegie Institution for Science. "Some people think it formed in interstellar space before the solar system formed. Others think it was created in the disc of gas and dust from which the planets were forming. It raises the intriguing possibility that all solar systems would be seeded with prebiotic soup from which life emerged."

Amazon takes on Captain America

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-11 03:00

As of Monday, a search for DVD or Blu-Ray editions of the recent hit “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” for pre-order on amazon.com comes up empty. The superhero’s disappearance appears to be part of a pricing dispute between the online retailer and Disney, which produced the movie. 

This isn't full-on war; more of a limited skirmish at this point. Captain America is available for pre-order through Amazon’s Instant Video service. Other Disney titles, like Malificent and Muppets Most Wanted, do show up in a search, but they’re not available for pre-order.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s separate, ongoing war with book publisher Hachette has gotten more intense. For months, Amazon has been declining pre-orders on Hachette books, raising prices, and withholding fast shipping. A group of 900 authors took out a two-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times asking Amazon to cut it out. Amazon pre-sponded on Saturday with an online letter of its own, making a case for itself.

Amazon also had a quick spat with Warner Bros. in May and June. For a few weeks, "The Lego Movie" and other Warner titles were not available for pre-order while the two companies worked out a contract.

Colin Sebastian, an analyst with RW Baird, says Amazon’s aggressive tactics suggest that the company is exploring a big question: Who owns the customer? The creators and distributors, or the retailer?  

“The media companies and the book publishers and Disney are perhaps afraid of the answer to that,” he says.

He thinks Amazon is following a playbook that Wal-Mart created. “As a supplier, if you don’t negotiate with Wal-Mart, they will not stock your products,” says Sebastian.

Another analyst, Neil Doshi, with CRT Capital, wonders if the Disney negotiations are more complicated than just DVDs: Right now, Netflix has an exclusive deal with Disney for subscription-based streaming of its movies.

Maybe, Doshi says, what Amazon really wants is leverage in a negotiation for that kind of content.

“They are pushing very aggressively on the digital front,” says Doshi. “Digital provides much higher margins than physical goods."

Which could bring the story full circle: Maybe this is why the Captain America movie is still available from Amazon as a download? Incidentally, a Blu-ray of Captain America can be found on Amazon by those who look hard — a Chinese-subtitled Hong Kong edition, available now, not just on pre-order.

The trade publication Home Media Magazine was the first to report the Disney/Amazon story.

This article was updated at 12:37 P.M. on Aug. 11, 2014

Norwich investigates 'racist chants'

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 02:54
Norwich City investigates claims that some of its fans made racist chants during Sunday's match at Wolves.

VIDEO: Meet the UK doctors heading to Gaza

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 02:49
Britain is sending a team of doctors to Gaza, to help people wounded in the violence.

Petrol stations follow refinery sale

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 02:44
The firm which is selling the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven announces that it all of its UK petrol stations will also be sold.

Bolivia deports 'Dirty War' officer

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 02:25
Bolivia captures and extradites an Argentine ex-army officer accused of torturing and murdering opponents during Argentina's military rule.

Priest steps aside over complaint

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 02:18
A Catholic priest has stepped aside while an "historical complaint" is investigated, says the Bishop of Dromore.

VIDEO: Online shopping, 20 years on

BBC - Mon, 2014-08-11 02:18
Twenty years after the first online transaction, Ben Thompson visits the John Lewis online distribution centre in Milton Keynes to look how the internet has changed the way we shop.
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