National / International News

Afghan Schools: Is The Success Story Exaggerated?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-18 03:12

Afghan officials reportedly inflated the number of students to make the education system appear more successful that it has been, according to the U.S. inspector for Afghanistan's reconstruction.

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#TBT: White House Hopefuls Be Jammin'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-18 03:03

The country may have serious problems, but we apparently do not want a president who takes himself (or herself) too seriously.

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When Should Surgeons Stop Operating?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-18 03:03

A quarter of U.S. physicians are older than 65 and there are no national guidelines for assessing late-career skills. Some say the lack of oversight, especially for surgeons, is cause for concern.

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PODCAST: The new face of the $10 bill

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-06-18 03:00

First up, we'll talk about what the Fed makes of your shopping habits — What we're earning and how we're spending it factors into what the Fed plans to do with interest rates. And with the announcement that a new $10 bill will feature a woman in 2020, we'll take a look at why Hamilton's face, and not Jackson's, is being replaced. And construction of an 18-story optical-infrared telescope was set to begin on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, but native Hawaiian activists protested the telescope would harm the environment and desecrate a sacred mountain. We'll talk about the controversy surrounding the $1.4 billion project.

VIDEO: Breast milk 'for infants, not adults'

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:59
One of the authors of a report into the risks of buying unregulated breast milk online, Dr Sarah Steele, says claims it boosts the adult immune system are misleading.

Police Search For Man Suspected Of Killing 9 At S.C. Church

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:32

Police in Charleston, S.C., released a photograph of a man with sandy blonde hair, who they suspect opened fire on one of the city's oldest historically black churches.

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Field gets work and pensions role

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:28
The new chairs of the Commons select committees have been announced, with Labour's Frank Field to take on the work and pensions brief.

Mexican police remove gang cameras

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:26
Police in the Mexican border city of Reynosa dismantle dozens of surveillance cameras set up by a gang to monitor the security forces.

Tommy Chong treated for cancer

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:22
Tommy Chong - one half of the 1970s comedy duo Cheech and Chong - reveals he has rectal cancer.

Pope calls for end to fossil fuels

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:22
Pope Francis issues an encyclical on the environment in which he says fossil fuels should be "progressively replaced without delay".

RBS criticised for payments failure

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:21
Banks have "creaking" computer systems but the payments failure at RBS was "unacceptable", says the head of the UK banking body.

Chad bombs Boko Haram in Nigeria

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:19
Chad's military carries out airstrikes against suspected militant positions in neighbouring Nigeria, in response to Monday's twin suicide bombings.

Rochelle Humes gets Xtra Factor role

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:18
Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes is to present The X Factor spin-off show The Xtra Factor, alongside Kiss FM DJ Melvin Odoom.

Pope aims for action on climate change

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:11
Pope Francis wants to achieve real change in the way humanity goes about life, reports Caroline Wyatt.

Record 'fake drugs' haul by UK agency

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:08
Dangerous counterfeit and unlicensed medicines worth nearly £16m have been seized in a record haul by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Puberty age 'affects many diseases'

BBC - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:03
The age young people start puberty can affect the risk of developing a wide range of diseases from cancer to diabetes, according to a UK study.

So you want to fund a film festival

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:00

Have you noticed lately how every city seems to have its own film festival — And we’re not talking Sundance or Cannes. Most are small affairs, unencumbered by Hollywood royalty and studio execs writing big checks for small movies.  

How do all those festivals stay in business?

Putting on a film festival takes money. And funding is as all-over-the-map as the film festivals themselves.

In some places, like Toronto, the city pitches in $1 million a year.

"Towns and cities are highly aware of the potential tourism dollars it might bring," says Tamara Falicov, an associate professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of Kansas.

A lot of smaller festivals don’t have that kind of backing. "I recently read a survey that many, many festivals are barely surviving and they depend a lot on filmmaker submission fees," says Falicov.

Those fees range from $10 to $100-plus, and they are becoming more and more contentious.

Josh Welsh, the president of Film Independent, which puts on the LA Film Festival, says the non-profit spends a lot of the year raising money to put on the fest. It gets cash from philanthropic donors. It sell tickets. And, his organization, like many festivals, depends on corporate sponsorship, "that's a very significant piece of it." 

Companies see the film festival goers as an audience they want for themselves. 

Why egg prices have been climbing while chicken prices are falling

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:00

Avian flu has had a huge effect on the nation's turkey and egg operations; shrinking supplies and lifting prices for egg products, in particular. But farms that raise chickens for their meat — known as broilers — have largely been spared from avian flu.

And the latest monthly report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service says broiler prices are actually ticking down. The supply of broilers appears to be exceeding demand.

“You have two factors contributing to more domestic supply: increased production and a decreased amount of markets that can be exported to,” says Alex Melton, a poultry economist with the USDA.

A number of countries are spooked about avian flu and are limiting imports of U.S. poultry products. China and South Korea have enacted total bans.

“So broiler meat is impacted even if broilers have not been found to catch the virus,” Melton says.

It's still not clear why farms that raise the chickens we eat have mostly dodged the avian flu. Some experts speculate it could have to do with the producers’ biosecurity measures.

Carol Cardona, an avian flu expert at the University of Minnesota, says the short lifespan of broiler chickens could also play a role. She says they only live for about six weeks, compared to hens that lay eggs, which live about a year. Cardona says a lot of biosecurity mistakes can happen over that longer period.

“What you have with the layers being hit versus the broilers is an odds game,” she says.

The broiler price declines play out at the wholesale level first — grocery store chains and fast food companies see prices drop before we do.

But Bruce Babcock, an economist at Iowa State University, expects the declines will trickle down to consumers.

“I bet we'll see some reduction in the retail price of chicken in the next six months,” he says.

Babcock says that could steer more consumers to chicken, and away from pricier meats, like beef.


Why the $10 bill, not $20, will get a woman's portrait

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:00

The Treasury Department is asking for public input to help decide which historically-significant woman will appear on the $10 bill. The agency announced that it will unveil the new paper currency design with a portrait of a woman by 2020.

The move comes after a popular online campaign to put a woman on the $20 bill. The $10 bill won out, instead, because it has already been scheduled for a refresh, as of 2013.

"I like to think of our paper money as pocket monuments," says Susan Ades Stone, executive director of the Women On 20s campaign. "By putting women on our paper money, it's a way of showing the world that we are committed to gender equality."

Click the media player above to hear more.

Many Marin workers can't afford to live in Marin

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:00

Commutes can be long for people who have jobs in expensive real estate markets like Marin County, a suburban enclave just north of San Francisco. And there are economic forces driving the long drives.

Consider the commute of Phillip Thomas, a communications technician for the County of Marin. His department maintains things like jail security cameras and radio equipment for fire departments. On a recent foggy morning, his drive to work took 55 minutes. “I was pleased about that,” he says.

“Pleased” because, even though 55 minutes is twice the national average for a one-way commute, Thomas's trips often take even longer — up to 80 minutes. Thomas lives in Solano County, some 30 miles from where he works in Marin. He says he'd love to live closer to his job, but when he's looked for homes in Marin “the housing prices are just too high.”

Thomas earns more than $80,000 a year. In Marin, where the median price for a single family home is around $1 million, he wouldn't qualify for most home loans. So he drives in from somewhere else, just like most of his coworkers.

Depending on which Census survey you look at, between about 40 and 60 percent of the workforce in Marin commutes in from another county. Thomas says for him, that means more time on the road and increased frustration. “I hate traffic,” he says. “But most of all it is a few hours out of the day that I don't get to spend with my family. And I like my family.”

Beyond those personal costs, long commutes might also have impacts on the communities that workers like Thomas drive into each day to serve, says Thomas Peters, president of the Marin Community Foundation, which funds and advocates for more affordable housing in Marin County.

“You've got people that are making absolutely critical contributions to the life and quality of life for individuals and families in Marin,” Peters says.

He argues that expensive places like Marin can benefit from having more of the pre-school teachers, the home health care workers, the MRI technicians that work in the county, able to live and raise their families there too.

“It’s true at a cellular level and its true at a social level — there's a real payoff for diversity,” Peters says.

On a more practical level, Peters warns that ultimately workers who can't afford to live in Marin may get so fed up with their commutes that they find jobs elsewhere, closer to home, leaving critical middle and low-income service jobs difficult to fill.