National / International News

May 'will not return to Top Gear'

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 03:14
Top Gear presenter James May has said he will not return to the BBC show without co-host Jeremy Clarkson, who was dropped from the show last month.

VIDEO: Rare diary of Armenian mass killings

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 03:13
Iranian author Mohammed Ali Jamalzadeh recalls the "brutal and shocking" atrocities he witnessed by the Ottomans against the Armenians during World War One.

BP sells North Sea asset for £324m

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 03:11
BP agrees to sell its interest in a central North Sea gas pipeline system to a private equity firm for £324m.

Saudi Airstrikes Target Houthi Forces In Yemen, Despite Talks Of Peace

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-23 03:04

It's now very unclear when peace talks that were mentioned earlier this week might occur. Warplanes have been hitting areas under Houthi control Thursday.

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Ukraine troops shelled by rebels

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 03:02
Pro-Russian rebels shell Ukrainian army positions near Mariupol moments after a team of international monitors departs, the BBC witnesses.

PODCAST: A huge quarterly loss for Brazilian oil company

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-23 03:00

Gas is cheap, but what about the cost of putting a roof over your head? We look at the trend towards skyrocketing rent. Plus, Petrobras, the government-run oil company in Brazil today posted the worse quarterly loss in its history. We'll talk to the BBC's South America business correspondent Daniel Gallas from Sao Paolo, Brazil, to find out why. And by one estimate, the buying power of U.S. Latinos is three times what it was in the year 2000: that's $1.5 trillion. Big retailers are trying to keep pace. Target says Hispanic millennials are now their core demographic. And now, they've got an ad campaign to go with the shift.

 

Cow 'eats sheep' on Kenyan farm

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:54
A Kenyan farmer says one of his cows has developed a taste for meat and eaten two sheep.

VIDEO: Misdiagnosis cost family £100,000

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:47
A research project is being launched today as scientists try to find out more about ticks.

Harlequins keen to recruit Roberts

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:42
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea says signing Wales centre Jamie Roberts would be a "big statement" by the club.

Michael Brown's Family Will Sue Ferguson Over Police Shooting Death

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:38

The lawsuit will be filed at the St. Louis County Courthouse Thursday morning. It's not yet known whether it will include Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, 18.

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India 'racist' jewellery ad dropped

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:36
An Indian jewellery advertisement with Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is withdrawn after criticism that it is racist and promotes child slavery.

Samsung S5 fingerprint flaw exposed

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:36
Attackers can take copies of fingerprints used to unlock the Samsung S5 phone, claim security researchers.

VIDEO: How Hubble opened up the universe

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:33
As Nasa prepares to unveil a new image to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, the BBC's Jane McCubbin reports on how it has enhanced our appreciation of the universe.

VIDEO: Facebook keeps getting bigger

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:26
Facebook has announced another big jump in revenue - and more people are using the site than ever before.

Will Togo vote end family dynasty?

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:23
President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo seeks to prolong his family's 48-year rule in elections on Saturday.

Sainsbury's cuts 800 supermarket jobs

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:05
Supermarket Sainsbury's is cutting about 800 jobs as part of a restructuring at its stores.

Parking charges challenge dismissed

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:02
A chip shop owner loses his Court of Appeal challenge over what he claimed were "unfair, unlawful and disproportionate" parking charges.

In a sharing economy, labor laws fall short

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:01

When it comes to the future of the growing “sharing economy,” things are far from clear. Two California juries are set to decide cases that could have wide-ranging implications on the industry that has grown up around Uber, Lyft, and other car-hire services.

Plaintiffs allege that the companies treat drivers as independent contractors even though they should be considered full employees, which would require Uber to provide sick days, health insurance and other benefits. Judge Vince Chhabria, who is presiding over the Lyft case, wrote that the jurors “will be handed a square peg and asked to choose between two round holes.”

Chhabria wrote that because he believes the labor laws, which employ legal tests to determine whether a worker is a contractor or an employee, are outdated.

For some workers, it’s clear.

Drew Bathe drives for Uber in Richmond, Virginia. He’s an EMT, and he’s usually in his car. “Uber was just a perfect opportunity to continue to use my car,” Bathe says. He says he can “sign on when I want and sign off when I want.”

He usually drives around during periods of high demand, in what's known as “surge pricing.” Bathe says he can make about $40 an hour. But other workers use Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit and Mechanical Turk much more frequently, and they more closely resemble full time workers.

Wilma Liebman, former chair of the National Labor Relations Board, says that’s because “we now have work opportunities that no one would have thought of a few years ago.”

“Back when the labor laws were enacted,” Liebman says, “what we generally saw were large, vertically integrated corporations that did all aspects of the work.” Think Standard Oil and U.S. Steel.

Applying the employee/contractor test back then would yield clear results. The person who paints your house is an independent contractor. They have control over the tools, the means to do the job, how the complete the job. Employees are subject to employer-imposed restriction dress, appearance, tools and so on.

In recent years, some corporations have been accused of deliberately miscategorizing their workers as independent contractors in order to avoid the costs of hiring an employee, such as social security and payroll taxes, as well as health benefits. Fedex is appealing a Kansas supreme court ruling that said its drivers are actually employees.

Robert Reich, who was Labor Secretary during the Clinton Administration, says it’s a trend that's been going on for years.

“As I looked on a case-by-case basis, it was clear to me that some employers were doing it purely to save money and they were doing it as a way of circumventing all of these labor laws,” Reich says.

But what’s going on with sharing economy companies is a bit different, according to Elizabeth Kennedy, a professor of law at Loyola University Maryland.

She agrees with the statement by Judge Edward M. Chen, who is presiding over the Uber case, that it “strains credulity” for Uber to argue it is a tech company and not a car company. But, Kennedy says, it’s important to remember that apps like Uber started out small.

“How do we find this middle ground that recognizes the economic reality of the worker performing the service and also recognizes these businesses can scale up and reach a point where that relationship perhaps changes over time,” she says.

But there might be another way. Back in 2005, Kennedy wrote about how other countries had dealt with this pool of workers who fall between clear-cut employees and independent contractors: a third way, called “dependent contractor.”

 

In a sharing economy, labor laws fall short

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:01

When it comes to the future of the growing “sharing economy,” things are far from clear. Two California juries are set to decide cases that could have wide-ranging implications on the industry that has grown up around Uber, Lyft, and other car-hire services.

Plaintiffs allege that the companies treat drivers as independent contractors even though they should be considered full employees, which would require Uber to provide sick days, health insurance and other benefits. Judge Vince Chhabria, who is presiding over the Lyft case, wrote that the jurors “will be handed a square peg and asked to choose between two round holes.”

Chhabria wrote that because he believes the labor laws, which employ legal tests to determine whether a worker is a contractor or an employee, are outdated.

For some workers, it’s clear.

Drew Bathe drives for Uber in Richmond, Virginia. He’s an EMT, and he’s usually in his car. “Uber was just a perfect opportunity to continue to use my car,” Bathe says. He says he can “sign on when I want and sign off when I want.”

He usually drives around during periods of high demand, in what's known as “surge pricing.” Bathe says he can make about $40 an hour. But other workers use Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit and Mechanical Turk much more frequently, and they more closely resemble full time workers.

Wilma Liebman, former chair of the National Labor Relations Board, says that’s because “we now have work opportunities that no one would have thought of a few years ago.”

“Back when the labor laws were enacted,” Liebman says, “what we generally saw were large, vertically integrated corporations that did all aspects of the work.” Think Standard Oil and U.S. Steel.

Applying the employee/contractor test back then would yield clear results. The person who paints your house is an independent contractor. They have control over the tools, the means to do the job, how the complete the job. Employees are subject to employer-imposed restriction dress, appearance, tools and so on.

In recent years, some corporations have been accused of deliberately miscategorizing their workers as independent contractors in order to avoid the costs of hiring an employee, such as social security and payroll taxes, as well as health benefits. Fedex is appealing a Kansas supreme court ruling that said its drivers are actually employees.

Robert Reich, who was Labor Secretary during the Clinton Administration, says it’s a trend that's been going on for years.

“As I looked on a case-by-case basis, it was clear to me that some employers were doing it purely to save money and they were doing it as a way of circumventing all of these labor laws,” Reich says.

But what’s going on with sharing economy companies is a bit different, according to Elizabeth Kennedy, a professor of law at Loyola University Maryland.

She agrees with the statement by Judge Edward M. Chen, who is presiding over the Uber case, that it “strains credulity” for Uber to argue it is a tech company and not a car company. But, Kennedy says, it’s important to remember that apps like Uber started out small.

“How do we find this middle ground that recognizes the economic reality of the worker performing the service and also recognizes these businesses can scale up and reach a point where that relationship perhaps changes over time,” she says.

But there might be another way. Back in 2005, Kennedy wrote about how other countries had dealt with this pool of workers who fall between clear-cut employees and independent contractors: a third way, called “dependent contractor.”

 

Coke and Pepsi face headwinds

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-23 02:00

Despite the fact that consumers are consuming sodas less frequently after lots of headlines about sugary drinks and the obesity epidemic, Coca-Cola managed to post better-than-expected earnings on Wednesday. 

But the celebration may be short-lived if Coke and its main rival Pepsi focus heavily on promoting their namesake soda brands. 

Consumer analyst Nik Modi of RBC Capital Markets says soda sales have been declining industry-wide, and among the reasons why is "the mom veto."

"Mothers are not buying these products for their kids, like the prior generation," says Modi, adding that consumers are not only paying more attention to the number of calories in the products they consume, but also to the number of ingredients and kinds of ingredients. 

He says one way Coca-Cola has combated this trend is by selling smaller cans of its sodas. "If you give a child an 8-ounce can of coke, that's much more tolerable than a 12-ounce can or a 20-ounce can," says Modi.

Coke has also raised prices and cut costs by doing things like laying off 1,800 employees. But industry consultant Tom Pirko is pessimistic about the future for both Coca-Cola and Pepsi, because the majority of sales for both companies come from foreign countries.

"Brazil, the rest of Latin America, Europe, Russia: the economies are in trouble and this is all directly affecting Coca-Cola," says Pirko, adding that both Coke and Pepsi should focus more on promoting and selling their non-soda brands.

Coca-Cola recently even got into the milk business.

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