National / International News

Authors' income 'at breaking point'

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 03:09
Almost half of the money made by professional authors is earned by just 5% of writers, according to a study of authors' earnings in the UK.

VIDEO: No drugs or power: In Yemen hospital

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 03:04
BBC News has had rare access to the Yemeni city of Aden which has been virtually cut off since the country's conflict escalated in March.

This Morning cleared over bondage

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 03:04
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom clears This Morning over an item about bondage equipment and sex toys.

PODCAST: Basketball heads to Cuba

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-20 03:00

Today, China used a central tenet of banking to bring new vigor to the economy there. More on that. And later this week, the International Basketball Federation and the NBA are holding a development camp in Havana. We'll talk about what is considered the first big foray into Cuba by big name sports. Plus, as we've been hearing this morning, just two dozen bodies have been recovered after a ship carrying hundreds of migrants bound for Europe sank off of Libya on Saturday. Estimates of the number of those aboard range from 700 to perhaps 1,000 people. We talk to Mattheo de Bellis, who focuses on Europe for the human rights group Amnesty International.

PODCAST: Basketball heads to Cuba

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-20 03:00

Today, China used a central tenet of banking to bring new vigor to the economy there. More on that. And later this week, the International Basketball Federation and the NBA are holding a development camp in Havana. We'll talk about what is considered the first big foray into Cuba by big name sports. Plus, as we've been hearing this morning, just two dozen bodies have been recovered after a ship carrying hundreds of migrants bound for Europe sank off of Libya on Saturday. Estimates of the number of those aboard range from 700 to perhaps 1,000 people. We talk to Mattheo de Bellis, who focuses on Europe for the human rights group Amnesty International.

PODCAST: Basketball heads to Cuba

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-20 03:00

Today, China used a central tenet of banking to bring new vigor to the economy there. More on that. And later this week, the International Basketball Federation and the NBA are holding a development camp in Havana. We'll talk about what is considered the first big foray into Cuba by big name sports. Plus, as we've been hearing this morning, just two dozen bodies have been recovered after a ship carrying hundreds of migrants bound for Europe sank off of Libya on Saturday. Estimates of the number of those aboard range from 700 to perhaps 1,000 people. We talk to Mattheo de Bellis, who focuses on Europe for the human rights group Amnesty International.

Pilot arrested over knives find

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:58
An airline pilot due to fly more than 260 passengers from London to Hong Kong is arrested for allegedly possessing knives.

Faldo to play last Open in July

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:58
Six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo will play in his last Open at St Andrews, 25 years after winning the title there.

Timeline: Australia's terror threat

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:52
Concern has been growing in Australian over the effect on domestic security of Australian nationals fighting with Islamist militant groups in Iraq and Syria. The BBC looks at how events have developed.

Actor Topol to be given Israel honour

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:50
Actor Chaim Topol - known to his fans as Topol - is honoured with the prestigious Israel Award for lifetime achievement.

Grandfather 'did not squeeze' baby

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:44
The grandfather of a baby girl from Cwmbran tells a murder trial jury he did not squeeze or pull the child.

Mortgage rates 'getting cheaper'

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:30
Competition among mortgage lenders has intensified, brokers say, with a greater willingness to lend to those without huge savings.

Yemen rebel head vows to defy Saudis

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:24
The leader of Yemen's Houthi rebels vows to resist a Saudi-led bombing campaign that has been targeting his forces since late March.

Norway in Arctic dispute with Russia

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:20
Norway summons the Russian ambassador after a top Russian official defied a travel ban by visiting Svalbard in the Arctic.

VIDEO: Upper vortex circles UK

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:15
High pressure dominates the current weather pattern, so why did some of us see rain over the weekend? John Hammond explains

Hasbro's new princesses, and growth strategy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:14

Hasbro has long been known for brands like Nerf and G.I. Joe.  But last year it snatched a contract from the hands of rival Mattel: the Disney princess contract.

Jaime Katz, an analyst for Morningstar who tracks Hasbro, says that contract is worth around $300 million per year. And of course, it includes the famous princess sisters Elsa and Anna from the hit film Frozen.

But licensing isn't the only growth strategy for Hasbro. It still sends reps to game inventor shows and develops relationships with the people whose ideas become hit card games, according to Mary Couzens, founder and CEO of the Chicago Toy and Game Group. 

Click the media player above to hear more.

Motorway closed after major crash

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:00
A crash, involving at least five cars and a lorry, closes the westbound M8 motorway in central Glasgow.

This store sold $5 million in lottery tickets last year

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:00

Years ago, under another name, the shop at 2900 West 87th Street, on Chicago’s South Side, was a convenience store, which happened to sell lottery tickets. Then, Mr. Chan Park took over and turned it into Lucky Mart— a kind of Lottery Tickets ‘R’ Us. Park sold more than $5 million worth of tickets last year. 

Lucky Mart's tellers sit behind thick glass at the ticket windows. There are still Honey Buns and chips on the shelves, but nobody buys any—at least, not in the hour-and-change I spend here. The ticket machines, however, never stop ringing and buzzing.

Chan Park came to the U.S. from South Korea in 2001 and bought a laundromat. A few years later, he took over this store. 

However, with three big discount supermarkets right nearby, he knew he needed to reinvent the business. "I thought, I don’t have any competitive power for that kind of grocery," he says.

Not for groceries. But he knew the store had sold a $28 million lottery ticket, and that seemed worth building on. He re-branded as Lucky Mart. Park says he believes there’s something lucky about the location.

He doesn’t mention it, but the location has another advantage: This is a primarily African-American neighborhood. Research shows African-Americans play the lottery a lot more than other groups.

About ten minutes into our conversation, we’re interrupted by a visit from Park's sales rep from the Illinois lottery accompanied by three regional officials.

They say they had no idea a reporter was coming. They're here for what's become an annual ritual: Awarding Park a plaque commemorating his success as the operator of the state lottery's top-grossing location. 

The officials agree that the store’s focus— and location — explain that success.

Also, customer service — in particular a clerk named Becky Reidy, who has been selling lottery tickets here since before Mr. Park took over.

Frank Taylor, the Chicago area’s sales director, calls her the best he’s ever seen. "She’s super with the players," he says. "She knows all of our games, she knows all of our promotions. And she’s, like, really into the lottery."

To Reidy, I admit: I’ve never played the lottery.

"Don’t start," she says. "Bad habit!" 

She smiles— and laughs, a little nervously —but she seems to mean it. She says she doesn’t play anymore.

I ask her if she feels a little funny about selling it.

"Oh sure," she says. "I know the economy sucks. Money could go elsewhere."

One economist found that, when people buy lottery tickets, they’re often using money they would have spent on household necessities—like food.

"I could never work in a casino," Reidy says.

But here’s the thing: Casinos are arguably less of a rip-off than the lottery. 

In Illinois, and around the country, about 60 percent of what lottery customers spend on tickets comes back as prize money. At slot machines, where casinos make the most money, it’s often more like 90 percent.

VIDEO: Live: Cameron speech in Cheshire

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:00
David Cameron is giving a speech in Cheshire in which he is expected to raise concerns about the impact of SNP policies on the rest of the UK.

Insurance companies get FAA approval to use drones

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-20 02:00

More drones could be coming to a neighborhood near you, and they’ll be from your insurance company.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently approved several insurers to use drones to assess property damage.

Soon our blue skies might be dotted with hundreds of little drones.

Sound like science fiction? It’s not.

“In light of the proposed new regulations from the FAA that came out a few weeks ago, there [are] going to be a lot more commercial agencies using drones for all kinds of things from insurance assessments to agriculture to fire rescue,” says Matt Sloane, president of Atlanta Drone Consultants.

Part of that, Sloane says, is because they’re so useful.

“What drones really offer is the ability to get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on, so that doesn’t help in every industry,” he says. "But certainly for things like insurance assessments where you fly something like this just a hundred feet over, over a damage scene to do an assessment, you really get a different view of what’s going on.”

During natural disasters helicopters are typically used to assess damage, but they can cost $1,000 an hour and put people’s lives in jeopardy, Sloane said.

That’s why insurance companies like State Farm are so interested in drones.

The insurer was the first to get FAA approval to use unmanned aircrafts for damage assessment.

"If we can send a drone to look over at our customer’s house and determine, 'Okay they have significant damage there,'” says Justin Tomczak, the Georgia spokesperson for State Farm. “That information could be relayed to their agent  and we can call [our client] and say I noticed your house has significant damage, we’re cutting you a check right now to cover your immediate expenses that you may have.”

If you’re worried about all those little devices recording you, Matt Sloane says you might just have to get used it.

“Although I will say most of them don’t have cameras with the ability to zoom so it’s not going to be a sort of satellite situation from a 1,000 feet you could zoom in and see every little detail,” says Sloane. “You really need to get a lot closer with a drone to be able to see a detailed image.”

The FAA currently has a public comment period open to address concerns; it ends on April 24.

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