National / International News

NI GCSE grades show improvement

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 02:19
GCSE pupils in Northern Ireland show improvements in English, Maths and Science, while the overall number achieving A* to C grades increases by 1.5% to 78%.

Who will win the F1 championship?

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 02:08
Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg? Former F1 champions Nigel Mansell and Jody Scheckter fail to agree on this year's winner.

VIDEO: India's user-generated advertising

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 02:06
A new advertising trend has sprung up in India recently, with brands encouraging customers not just to buy products - but be involved in promotional campaigns too.

VIDEO: Police take wrong-way driver head on

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 02:03
Two traffic officers have been praised for their bravery after stopping a wrong-way driver on the M6 toll.

Retail sales rise less than expected

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 02:00
UK retail sales rise by 2.6% in July, up just 0.1% from June, figures from Office for National Statistics show.

Building a better news feed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-21 02:00

Twitter recently announced that it was changing its policy related to violent images and videos within its platform. 

The move comes as the loved ones of kidnapped American photojournalist James Foley have been asking people not to share images or video of his beheading at the hands of extremists. Last week, Zelda Williams quit Twitter after people harassed her with offensive images of her father Robin Williams following his death.

YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and many more of the places we live online have dealt with similar challenges. But there's an interesting layer to this.

Even if we don't share images of violence, we sometimes still promote them in the view of the algorithms that measure our engagement.

Karen North, professor of social media and psychology at USC Annenberg, thinks a lot about how content spreads on the web.

Click the media player above to hear Karen North in conversation with Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson.

Interpol building raided five times

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:59
Thieves make off with laptops and cameras after five burglaries in three weeks.

VIDEO: Ferguson vigil: 'We stand strong'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:50
Rajini Vaidyanathan speaks to people at a vigil in Ferguson, Missouri, for Michael Brown - the black teenager killed by police last week.

Russian aid convoy gets instructions

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:49
The Red Cross instructs Russian lorry drivers at Ukraine's border so that they can deliver much-needed aid to civilians.

Belgian PM's laptop stolen from car

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:46
A thief breaks into the car of outgoing Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo, stealing his laptop, but officials deny state secrets were taken.

Mackay not in line for Palace job

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:41
Malky Mackay will not succeed Tony Pulis as Crystal Palace boss as former club Cardiff complain about him to the FA.

The web has a violent news problem

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:30

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. 

Osborne under fire over Co-op deal

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:29
MPs demand details from Chancellor about possible political pressure over failed Co-op plan to buy 623 Lloyds branches.

Australian is oldest Channel swimmer

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:15
A 70-tear-old Australian man has set the record for the world's oldest person to swim the English Channel.

VIDEO: One Briton a fortnight helped to die

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:01
A study in Switzerland says that on average, one British person a fortnight travels to the city of Zurich for help to end their lives.

Prabowo supporters rally at court

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 01:00
Indonesian police fire tear gas at supporters of former presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto ahead of a verdict on his challenge to the results of July's poll.

How unhealthy is two years indoors?

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 00:49
Julian Assange says he will leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London "soon".

Could the cravat make a comeback?

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 00:48
Noted cravat-wearer Nicholas Parsons has lamented the neckwear's retreat from front-line fashion.

Emma Stone to make Broadway debut

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 00:47
Hollywood actress Emma Stone is to make her Broadway debut in the current revival of Cabaret, replacing Michelle Williams in the role of Sally Bowles.

The man who helped bring yoga to the West

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 00:42
The man who helped bring yoga to the West
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