National / International News

Online poker could get a second chance in U.S.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 13:01

Amaya Gaming, a Canadian company, is buying Oldford Group, the parent of popular sites like PokerStars. Amaya is the smaller of the two, but it’s the acquirer. And, one of the biggest selling points for the $4.9 billion deal is that many top officials from Oldford will be leaving the combined company completely. 

This could bring sites like PokerStars back to the U.S., and bring back memories of the era from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, when online poker was a free for all, and sites like PokerStars were making players like Chris Carlson rich. 

“I started making so much money from playing online that I left my really paying, secure job to play professionally. And, I played most of my hands at PokerStars,” he says. 

But in 2006, the Justice Department said a 1960s era law banned many online gaming transactions. Sites like PokerStars started operated in a kind of gray market. And, started crossing some lines, such as, “incorrectly coding the transactions so they were not obvious to the credit card issuers as gambling transactions,” says Mark Hichar, chairman of the gaming law practice group at Hinckley Allen.

PokerStars allegedly labeled some as golf purchases. There’s another way to put this, he says, “Fraud and money-laundering.” 

That was the accusation against top officials at PokerStars and other sites on a day in 2011 that became known as Black Friday. PokerStars quickly left the U.S. Popularity in online poker plummeted. 

Later that year, the Justice Department ruled that states can legalize online gambling, after all. New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada did, but kept PokerStars out, while its officials remain indicted or under suspicion. That’s why it’s a big deal they’re leaving the combined company.

“Given that this deal basically results in the removal of all those entities from PokerStars as a corporate entity, it seems as if New Jersey regulators won’t have any objection to PokerStars now entering the market,” says Christopher Grove, editor of Online Poker Report, who adds this deal could be the start of a new era of online poker in the U.S.

4 Takeaways From Hillary Clinton's 'Fresh Air' Interview

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:58

Rare is the politician who has publicly admitted to holding or changing a position out of political expedience. In that respect, Clinton was no different in her interview with Terry Gross.

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Cliffhanger: Authorities Set Fire To House Teetering On The Brink

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:55

The ground under a $700,000 home overlooking Lake Whitney, Texas, began giving way last year. Officials decided the best thing to do was burn it down.

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VIDEO: Dangling house burns down

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:43
Officials in Texas have set fire to a luxury Texas lakeside home that was dangling over the edge of a cliff.

Harris wins Walter Scott book prize

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:42
English author and former BBC journalist Robert Harris wins the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

Jolie: War rape key diplomatic issue

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:41
Angelina Jolie says sexual violence in conflict is now "firmly on the top table of international diplomacy", as a global summit on the issue ends.

Fido, your big day at the office is here

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:34

Here's an extended look at the Marketplace Datebook for the week of Jun 16:

We begin with Monday, everyone's favorite day of the week. In Washington, the Federal Reserve reports on industrial production for May.

The State Department hosts a two-day "Our Ocean" conference on protecting the vast bodies of water that cover almost three quarters of our planet.

And in Michigan on June 16th, 1903, Ford Motor Company was incorporated.

Start thinking about broccoli, beets and carrots. Tuesday is Eat Your Vegetables Day. Don't argue with me.

The Commerce Department tells us how many new homes were built in May.

On Wednesday, a Senate Committee holds a hearing on "Aggressive E-Cigarette Marketing and Potential Consequences for Youth."

The Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day meeting on interest rates and the economy.

Then we slow down on Thursday ... maybe wear something fetching for World Sauntering Day.

Just in time to ruin your summer fun, "Jaws" was released to movie-going audiences June 20, 1975.

And finally, Friday is Take Your Dog to Work Day. Yeah, do that. (And don't go into the water.)

Chicago 'Heroin Highway' Bust Shows A 'New Face Of Organized Crime'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:22

Chicago has seen spikes in shootings as gangs have splintered and rival factions battle. But authorities say they've also seen a recent trend of gangs aligning to form new drug-dealing factions.

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Cantor's Defeat Brings An End To Prickly Relationship With Obama

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:11

As the dust settles on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary defeat, some have begun to reflect on his relationship with President Obama. From the very start, it was a prickly one, with divisions only deepening throughout Obama's time in office.

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Even Amid Onslaught, Hints That Violence In Iraq Could Escalate

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:11

NPR's Alice Fordham speaks to Melissa Block about the extremist militant onslaught in Iraq, as well as the possibility of escalating violence there.

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As Bergdahl Touches Down In Texas, Reintegration Begins

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:11

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is back in the U.S. The former Taliban prisoner is now undergoing treatment at an Army hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

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Obama Rules Out Ground Troops; What Else Can U.S. Do In Iraq?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:11

President Obama said that he will help the Iraqi military break the momentum of the militants on the march to Baghdad. The Pentagon said that one possible option could include airstrikes. But the president said that any military help must include political solutions from the Iraqi government, which has helped fuel the unrest by failing to reach out to its Sunni minority.

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"Ivory Tower" and the crippling cost of college

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:10

College tuition is more expensive than ever. In fact, the cost of tuition has risen 1,120 percent since 1978. That's higher than any other good or service during that time. Nevertheless, just under 70 percent of 2013 high school graduates started attending some form of college this past fall.  

Andrew Rossi is the director and producer of a new documentary called "Ivory Tower" that examines the cost of higher education in America. He says the reason college is so popular even though the sticker price keeps rising is that for now, it's keeping its financial promise.

"Higher education is still an engine of social mobility, even as it has grown so expensive. Those who have a college degree actually make in their median lifetime earnings about a million dollars more than those who just have a high school diploma. And that's a really powerful statistic that helps drive the continued demand."

But the average student now graduates with more than $25,000 in loans to pay off, and the nation's graduates owe a cumulative $1.2 trillion. Rossi says the cost is unsustainable, and its a symptom of the corporatization of higher education.

"In an effort to compensate for a reduction in state funding, in an effort to bring students and their student loan dollars to their campuses, many institutions are behaving like big businesses rather than treating their students as pupils. " 

Many of the subjects in Rossi's film argue that the system is unsustainable and headed for a crash, and it could bring down much more than colleges. 

"One of the most devastating consequences would be a sort of macroeconomic one. When young people are saddled with that kind of burden they decide not to form a family, not to buy a house, not to buy a car. It's not just about the constriction of life choices in terms of career and happiness, but it has broader macroeconomic effects on the country."

To hear the full, unedited interview, visit Marketplace's education page "Learning Curve."

Man dies at Great North Swim event

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:07
A man dies after taking part in the Great North Swim on Windermere in the Lake District.

An Opera Remembers The Tragedy Of An Asian-American Soldier

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 12:02

Army Pvt. Danny Chen fatally shot himself in Afghanistan in 2011. The real-life tragedy has inspired a new production by Washington National Opera with a libretto by playwright David Henry Hwang.

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Tract Issued By Theologians Takes On Money In Politics

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 11:55

A group of 11 theologians has offered up a faith-based analysis of money's role in politics, pitting voices of the pulpit against the courtroom.

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ISIS: An Islamist Group Too Extreme Even For Al-Qaida

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 11:46

Al-Qaida said in February that it has no links with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. But since then, ISIS has only gained ground — and members. It's now making inroads across Iraq.

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Root & Jordan hint at bright England future - Agnew

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-13 11:32
BBC Cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew watches two young England players shine on an exciting second day of the first Test at Lord's.

Fifa bans Beckenbauer for 90 days

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-13 11:17
Fifa provisionally bans World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer from all footballing activities for 90 days.

Iraq cleric issues Shia call to arms

BBC - Fri, 2014-06-13 11:00
Iraq's most senior Shia cleric urges people to take up arms against Sunni-led insurgents sweeping across towns killing hundreds, the UN says.
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