National / International News

South African gold miners trapped

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 04:05
Rescue workers in South Africa trying to nine miners still trapped underground following a fire at a gold mine west of Johannesburg.

Irish bankers on trial for financial collapse

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:59

In the US, there's a persistent criticism is that no high-level Wall Street executives went to jail for their role in the 2008 financial collapse. That may not, in the end, be the case in Ireland.

The former chairman and CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean FitzPatrick, and two deputies go on trial today in Dublin for allegedly trying to pump up the bank's share price.  The trial is described as one of the most complex in Ireland's history.  There's intense public interest because the Irish government's fateful decision to bail out banks like Anglo Irish five years ago essentially bankrupted the country.

The BBC's Diamaid Fleming joined us from Dublin to give some perspective. Click play above to hear the interview.

VIDEO: Hotel woe for Sochi journalists

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:57
Journalists covering the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games have been sharing photos of their unfinished hotel rooms online.

Libya school attacked at playtime

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:56
At least six children have been injured in a grenade attack at a school in the Libyan city of Benghazi, officials say.

Vatican Let Abuse Of Kids Go On For Decades, U.N. Panel Says

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:55

In what's being called an "unprecedented and scathing report," the U.N.'s Committee on the Rights of the Child says the Catholic Church's hierarchy adopted policies that let tens of thousands of children be sexually molested for decades. The Vatican says it isn't responsible for abusive priests.

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Adobe issues emergency Flash fix

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:46
Adobe is urging computer users to install a new version of Flash Player after being warned of a flaw that could allow PCs to be hijacked.

VIDEO: Is it news Parliament is full of rodents?

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:37
The Houses of Parliament are so infested with mice that some MPs are demanding the Commons' authorities get a new cat to deal with them.

Talks break down in Panama Canal row

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:30
Talks between the Panama Canal Authority and a multi-national consortium working on the canal's expansion break down in a continued row over costs.

Overdose death doctor struck off

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:26
A doctor is struck off for failing to provide good clinical care to a patient who died of a drug overdose at a clinic in the Scottish Borders.

UK shops cut prices at 'record' rate

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:22
Retailers in the UK cut their prices during the January sales at the fastest rate since at least 2006, says the British Retail Consortium.

What story will Twitter's first earnings report tell?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:21

Twitter is announcing its first ever earnings figures later today. But for the social media company, revenue is hardly the only number that matters.

Sure, earnings do matter in an earnings report. But people who follow Twitter -- the stock — are going to be looking other places for clues, too.

Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer, says, "I'm going to be watching for any information about how big their user base is getting."

How many more people are using Twitter is important.

"They do trail behind Facebook by a wide margin," she says, "and there have been some concerns that while they are growing substantially, Twitter is still a hard service to use."

Williamson will be looking for any sign Twitter might try to simplify. Nate Elliott, who follows Twitter for Forrester Research, says, "I'm most looking forward to hearing what the management has to say about their plans for marketing and advertising offerings."

Of course, all these indicators --  how many users, how many ads -- add up to the question investors want an answer to: how much revenue?

 

VIDEO: Clacton: Ten injured in house gas blast

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:16
At least five people are hurt in a gas explosion and fire at a residential street in Clacton, Essex.

Man Utd back anti-homophobia campaign

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:12
Manchester United and Chelsea join leading an anti-homophobia campaign for the first time as the group seeks ongoing support.

Amid Texas drought, this rain man bottles water

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:10

Drive west on U.S. 290* about 20 miles from Austin, Texas, and turn directly into Richard Heinichen’s driveway. A sign overhead reads, “Tank Town: World Headquarters, rainwater stuff.”

From this 10-acre plant in Dripping Springs, Heinichin installs home rainwater-collection systems for his neighbors in the Hill Country, and sells “bottled cloud juice” to cafes and hotels in Austin.  

Collecting rainwatwer may seem like an unorthodox proposal to address the record water shortages that have gripped the drought-gripped state. Heinichin says it's no problem. "You got enough square footage"— on a rooftop—"you got it covered."  

He's got the square footage at Tank Town. Two barns have 20,000 square feet of rooftop that rain can run off of. Instead of downspouts, the gutters run to across-spouts, like aqueducts, to 17 above-ground tanks.

Those tanks hold a quarter-million gallons, and they’re full up, even though Heinichin bottles about 37,000 gallons a year.

That’s not enough to keep up with the rainfall, even in a drought.

"It rained 11 inches on Halloween," he says.  "Over 100,000 gallons went out on the highway out there."   

Heinechin says it’s not just the quantity of rainwater that makes it compelling. It’s the quality.

"I didn’t realize rainwater was so good," he says, "till I drilled a well."

That was in the early 1990s, when he moved to the Texas Hill Country. At first, well water— hard and salty-- was the only option.

"Took a bath in it— I smelled like rotten eggs," he recalls. "Almost threw up in the shower. And you try to go to the shower to get clean!"

His clothes stood up by themselves. His coffee tasted awful.

So he decided to give rainwater a try. As a trained blacksmith, and a tinkerer, Heinichin did the work himself, installing the gutters, the aqueducts, and the first tanks.

He liked the result, but he didn’t think of it as a line of work. That came to him.

"My neighbor comes over and says, 'What’s the deal with your dishes? They’re so clear!'" he says.  "And I say, 'I know!' Because before they were foggy and looked like hell.  And he came over and just noticed it, and says, 'I want— I have to have that, too.'"

That neighbor told others, and a business was born.  "Tank Town just grew by itself," says Heinichin, "Bbcause there was such demand for what I did."

The cost — around $15,000 — is comparable to having a well dug.

"People say, ‘When is this damn thing gonna pay me back?’ And I say, ‘First shower.’"  

Heinichin says he does about 30 home systems a year — and he doesn’t want more customers.

"We weed ‘em out," he says. "If we do their system, then they become a Tank Town citizen — one of our people — and we have to take care of them. And some of these — you don’t want to take care of everybody."

However, to start the bottling business, he did need to do some convincing. Just not to customers.

"Government said, 'You can’t do that, because government’s not approved as a source for water,'" he says. "I say, 'OK, where do you get your water?'  They keep thinking, and I get ‘em up to the highland lakes.  ‘OK, so what fills that?’"

The Texas Commision on Environmental Quality eventually certified Tank Town as an approved public source of water.

*CORRECTION: The original version of this story misidentified the highway leading to Richard Heinichen’s home. It is U.S. 290. The text has been corrected.

 

VIDEO: Crow defends tube strike action

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:08
Bob Crow says he accepts that London Underground needs to modernise, but objects to the way changes are being implemented.

Koreas agree to family reunions

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:05
North and South Korea agree to hold reunions for families separated after the Korean War, in what could be the first such meetings since 2010.

VIDEO: Move to decriminalise marijuana in DC

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 02:58
Washington DC has taken a first step towards decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, joining a growing number of states that have already done so

UK warns of bank cyber-attack risk

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 02:55
Vince Cable warns of the vulnerability of Britain's banks and other critical infrastructure to cyber-attack at the first summit of industry regulators and spy chiefs.

AUDIO: Sci-fi films 'lack new ideas'

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 02:37
Louis Savy and Paul Cornell discuss how science fiction films have to keep up with new technologies and visions of the future.

Jaguar to build XJ model in India

BBC - Wed, 2014-02-05 02:29
Jaguar says it will build its XJ saloon car in India, but the company's chief executive tells the BBC he is "absolutely committed" to manufacturing cars in Britain.

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