National / International News

Rolling Stones play surprise show

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 03:15
The Rolling Stones play a surprise gig in Los Angeles during which they perform the entire Sticky Fingers album.

Runaway train ran for more than mile

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 03:13
An unmanned train ran for over a mile before crashing into coaches on a heritage railway in Leicester, according to a Rail Accident Investigation Branch report.

US Army makes blast-proof wallpaper

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 03:12
Wallpaper that can protect soldiers from explosions is being developed by the US Army.

Fitzgerald's Gatsby home for sale

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 03:10
The suburban home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby goes on sale.

PODCAST: New York as a lesson in economics

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-21 03:00

A new report from the OECD shows income inequality in many parts of the world including the U.S. The data shows the gap between the rich and poor is seven times larger than it was in the '80s. Plus, our senior economics contributor Chris Farrell talks about the economic lessons learned and taught by New York City.

Froch could fight Golovkin - Hearn

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:55
Carl Froch could fight middleweight king Gennady Golovkin rather than retire, says Froch's promoter Eddie Hearn.

In quotes: Irish same-sex marriage debate

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:55
Ireland's same sex marriage debate in quotes

Sen. Rand Paul Stages 'Filibuster' To Protest Patriot Act

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:52

The Kentucky senator and presidential candidate opposes the collection of bulk telephone data and other surveillance measures that the government says are needed to combat terrorism.

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Third US health insurer hit by hack

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:45
A third US health insurance company is hacked, with over one million customer records stolen

More strike-hit rail services cancelled

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:39
Rail companies are starting to cancel bank holiday weekend services, as talks continue to try to avert a planned strike by Network Rail workers.

Hacked billboard shows obscene image

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:39
Hackers manage to make a huge video billboard in Atlanta show an obscene image favoured by internet pranksters.

Salman Khan 'confirmed' for Dubai

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:26
Convicted Bollywood star Salman Khan is to appear at a Dubai awards show, organisers say, despite awaiting court permission to travel.

Jail for Beijing supercar crash pair

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:14
Two drivers are jailed after crashing a Lamborghini and Ferrari during a "Fast & Furious" style race through central Beijing.

Invigilator dies after exam illness

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:13
An invigilator dies after taking ill and going to hospital during a school exam in Aberdeen's Harlaw Academy.

Hanergy defends financial position

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:13
The parent of Chinese solar panel manufacturer Hanergy Thin Film Power says the firm is in good financial condition despite its shares falling nearly 50%.

#MotorCityDrive: Is Detroit's Economic Engine Roaring Back To Life?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:03

Michel Martin heads to Detroit for a live conversation with some of the creative forces fueling the Motor City's economy. She'll ask what's driving Detroit's future now?

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How the Disney 'ecosystem' works

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:00

Disneyland in California turns 60 this summer, and it's kicking off festivities with a big party this weekend. Revelers can stay overnight at Disney's theme parks in California and Florida.

But Disney, the media company, has more than a birthday to celebrate. A couple of weeks ago it reported second quarter profits that beat expectations—led by its theme parks and the film Frozen.

How can a film from two years ago still be a profit maker for the company?

"We're a company with a very long tail," explained Disney CFO Jay Rasulo at a media industry conference last week.

That long tail refers to the various merchandizing, theme park attractions, and other efforts that can generate cash from popular films and Disney characters long after they last appeared on the big screen.

Disney's consumer product sales brought in almost a billion dollars last quarter.

"We really look at every aspect of our uniquely linked-together ecosystem," Rasulo said at the conference.

This is the Disney way of doing things, according to Marty Sklar, a longtime company executive who worked with Walt Disney when the first theme park opened.

"It really goes back to things that Walt did in merchandizing Mickey Mouse ... as early as the '30s," says Sklar. "So that is a pattern that was long ago established."

Sklar says even Disneyland attractions like Tomorrowland and Frontierland were prompted from content out of Disney's studio.

Parent Gap Inc. benefits as Old Navy gets stylish

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:00

Clothing retailer Gap Inc. reports first-quarter results on Thursday. Revenue in 2014 totaled $16.2 billion, up 3.2 percent from the previous year. For the last four quarters, profit has gone up year-over-year by an average of 4 percent. But there's an interesting fragmentation within parent company Gap Inc. Last fiscal year, store sales fell 5 percent at Gap stores; Banana Republic's sales were also unimpressive. But at Old Navy, sales went up 5 percent.

Old Navy started out as a place where the whole family could pick up cheap fleece jackets and tank tops.

"They really weren't known very much for being fashion forward," says Jane Thomas, marketing professor at Winthrop University.

Other retailers, like H&M and Forever 21, started grabbing young shoppers. But then Gap Inc. hired the executive who led H&M's expansion into the U.S., Stefan Larsson, and asked him to revamp Old Navy.

"It's brilliant strategy," Thomas says.

Now, plain T-shirts and khakis are bold prints and crinkle-gauze tops. Mark Cohen, head of retail studies at Columbia University's business school, says Old Navy is making its merchandise more interesting and attractive. But the Gap has an identity crisis.

"Is it trading into the teen segment with American Eagle, Abercrombie and Aeropostale, or is it trying to move up market to an older customer? I'm not sure they get it," Cohen says.

If the Gap does get it, he says, it's not making it clear.

An egg-cellent shortage of eggs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:58
$12.7 billion

That's how much CVS Health Corp will reportedly pay to acquire Omnicare Inc, a pharmaceuticals provider. As Bloomberg reports, pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to consolidate to take full advantage of the rising demand for pharmacy services.

87 percent

That’s the percentage of afflicted chickens in the recent avian flu outbreak that are egg-laying hens, according to the New York Times. And that potentially means big business for a company like Hampton Creek, which sells an egg substitute product. The chief executive of Hampton Creek says eight companies, including General Mills, have been in contact about purchasing supplies. It seems that without planning for the inevitable shortage of the real stuff, these companies might really lay an egg.

5 percent

That's how much sales for Old Navy increased last fiscal year. In an effort to shed its reputation as a store for cheap basics, Old Navy hired Stefan Larsson, who helped oversee H&M's expansion stateside. And the numbers show the style makeover has worked. That's good news for parent company Gap Inc., but leaves its sister franchise, The Gap, with an identity crisis—The Gap saw sales fall 5 percent in the same amount of time. 

60

That's how old Disney will turn this summer. We take a look at how the economic ecosystem of the company works—from parlaying the success of films into merchandising, as well as attractions in one of many theme parks. Frozen, for example, was released two years ago, and the company is still reaping the benefits—its recent second quarter earnings report showed stronger-than-expected numbers.

$100 million

That's how much the city of Baltimore was given 20 years ago as part of a program called The Empowerment Zone. Delivered in the form of a block grant and a package of tax credits for businesses and employers, the award went to six cities, with some wiggle room for each to choose how the money could be used. Baltimore chose to focus on job creation in its poorest neighborhoods. Marketplace's Noel King recently took a trip to Baltimore to answer the question: How many jobs does $100 million get you?

LHC smashes collision energy record

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:55
The Large Hadron Collider is smashing protons at the highest energy ever attempted - but they are only test collisions, as the LHC continues to gear up its second run.

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