National / International News

Man charged in 'slavery' inquiry

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:36
Police charge a man with false imprisonment, rape and child cruelty in a suspected slavery case in London.

VIDEO: Public Accounts Committee

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:33
MPs take evidence for their inquiry into the progress of Universal Credit.

Labour remembers the deficit

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:32
Ed Miliband has unveiled Labour's first pledge for the next Parliament: to "cut the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS" and not to initiate any policies that require "additional borrowing".

Zuma's son blamed for road death

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:26
A South African inquest rules that President Jacob Zuma's son was negligent in a car accident which caused the death of a woman.

Council exec loan cars cost £115k

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:25
A lease hire car scheme for more than 20 managers costs a west Wales authority more than £115,000, it admits.

Russia raises interest rates to 10.5%

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:21
Russia's central bank raises interest rates to 10.5% from 9.5%, the second hike in six weeks, as it seeks to combat inflation.

Lightning causes more power cuts

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:05
Thousands of customers are without power in north west Scotland as lightning strikes continue to cause disruption to the electricity network.

Your pictures: Night time

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:04
Readers' photos on the theme of "night time"

Google News to shut down in Spain

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:00
3.5 million visitors

That's how many visitors Google News in Spain receives per month. Google announced it would be shutting down Google News in Spain in response to a new law that would charge the news service every time content from Spanish newspapers and publishers appeared.

252

The total mentions of waterboarding, and other interrogation methods involving water or temperature in the Senate's long-anticipated CIA torture report. The Washington Post published a graphic letting users explore all instances of "enhanced interrogation" described in the report. Or, if you'd prefer, here's a visualization of the report's redactions.

$4.5 billion

That's how much Lending Club, the leading online-lending-marketplace, could be valued at after its IPO on Thursday. It will be the first among several fast-growing financial start-ups expected to go public in the peer-to-peer lending industry.

300 million users

Instagram passed that benchmark Wednesday, edging out Twitter and getting that much closer to Mark Zuckerberg's billion-user gold standard. Comparing social networks isn't a perfect science, but Re/Code has a look at how active users compare across services. 

Re/code

42.9 million

That's how many Americans have unpaid medical bills according to the findings of a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That's nearly 20 percent of consumers.

$634 million

Universal's cash flow for the first nine months of 2014, putting the studio on track for its most profitable year ever. What's notable is that Universal did it without a big summer tent pole, Forbes reported. The studio's film slate, which is nearly complete, was full of projects with modest budgets. There weren't any earth-shattering successes or flops, but lots of return on investment.

Drug cartels find new ways to make money

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:00

Mexican and Colombian drug cartels are diversifying their sources of income, according to a new investigative report from Univision News. The report, “Los Nuevos Narcotesoros” (New Narcotreasures), details how illegal mining of gold and iron ore is fast becoming a profit center rivaling that of drug trafficking.

Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio speaks with Gerardo Reyes, director of Univision’s investigative news unit, about the business and violence behind illegal mining.

Click on the audio player above to hear more.

Spanish speakers can learn more on Twitter via @UniNoticias.

An illegal mining site in Peru.

Univision

Miner vs Miner: A different kind of mineral conflict

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:00

Biyamungu Ngalikyana, in his mid twenties, sports shiny white rubber boots and a mining helmet as he walks down a dirt road in the mining town of Luhwindja in South Kivu, DRC. A former Mai Mai rebel fighter, he now digs for gold hundreds of feet beneath the surface. He’s what’s known as an ‘artisinal miner,' which means he’s just a regular person with hand tools, as opposed to a mechanized industrial outfit.

Mining in Eastern DRC has, over the past two decades, become an important source of revenue for individuals and towns during periods of insecurity and war. There are an estimated half million artisanal miners in Congo. At Luhwindja, 6,000 people in this town depend on the gold in the hills.

Perhaps not for much longer.

“Banro comes and tells us to leave fairly regularly,” says Ngalikyana. 

Banro is an industrial mining company that has held concession rights to this land for decades. 

“These miners are a handicap,” says Maitre Crispin Mutwedu, in charge of stakeholder relations for Banro. “The law that says no [outside] miner is allowed to work inside these areas covered by the concession, and yet every time we show up at a place, we find we were beat to it by several years by artisanal miners.” 

The Democratic Republic of Congo has granted thousands of mining concessions to industrial mining companies over the years. Industrial mines, when they can operate in conflict free areas, can prevent minerals from seeping into the black market or funding armed groups. They also provide tax revenue or infrastructure construction services. 

They do not, however, come close to providing the kind of employment that less efficient hand-mining provides to communities. And in regions that have been courting war for decades, unemployment can have dire consequences.

“I’m not leaving,” says Ngalikyana. “There’s nowhere else to go, there’s no work. If I end up in the street, I”ll go back to the bush and start robbing people again, and maybe I’ll rob Banro.”

These risks are not lost on Mr. Mutwedu with Banro.

“These people who are here, these are people who we have to take seriously. Because if you don’t, and if they’re out of work, you will be too,” he says.

More than most mining companies, Banro has engaged with communities to determine compensation packages or the possibility of relocating to ‘artisinal zones’ set aside elsewhere. 

Valentin Lubala, president of the miners association at a mine called Mukwunge (also in the Banro concession), is frank about the reality: “We understand the site belongs to them. We negotiated, and Banro said they’d give us some time, and the government could help us relocate.”

“The problem comes from the regional government,” he says. 

Technically, it’s not legal to share a concession with artisanal miners, and the regional minister of mines, Adalbert Murhi, has refused to sign off on their agreement. 

A group of NGO’s in South Kivu has accused him of mismanagement and corruption, charges which he firmly denies. 

Meanwhile, groups are trying to convince the government to alter the law or be more flexible. For the moment, it’s easier to find gold than solutions.

Google News shuts down in Spain

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:00
3.5 million visitors

That's how many visitors Google News in Spain receives per month. Google announced it would be shutting down Google News in Spain in response to a new law that would charge the news service every time content from Spanish newspapers and publishers appeared.

252

The total mentions of waterboarding, and other interrogation methods involving water or temperature in the Senate's long-anticipated CIA torture report. The Washington Post published a graphic letting users explore all instances of "enhanced interrogation" described in the report. Or, if you'd prefer, here's a visualization of the report's redactions.

$4.5 billion

That's how much Lending Club, the leading online-lending-marketplace, could be valued at after its IPO on Thursday. It will be the first among several fast-growing financial startups expected to go public in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry.

300 million users

Instagram passed that benchmark Wednesday, edging out Twitter getting that much closer to Mark Zuckerberg's billion-user gold standard. Comparing social networks isn't a perfect science, but Re/Code has a look at how active users compare across services. 

A graph of Active Users on the top social networks.

Re/code 42.9 million

That's how many Americans have unpaid medical bills according to the findings of a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That's nearly 20% of consumers.

$634 million

Universal's cash flow for the first nine months of 2014, putting the studio on track for its most profitable year ever. What's notable is that Universal did it without a big summer tent pole, Forbes reported. Their film slate, which is nearly complete, was full of projects with modest budgets. There weren't any earth-shattering successes or flops, but lots of return on investment.

Lending Club goes public

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-11 02:00

Lending Club—the leading online-lending-marketplace, based in San Francisco—goes public on Thursday. The IPO will be the first among several fast-growing financial startups expected to go public in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry, and could raise $800 million or more for the company, giving it a total market value of in the range of $4.5 billion.

Lending Club matches individuals and businesses that want to borrow with lenders—mostly hedge funds, wealth managers and institutional investors. Borrowers pay interest rates ranging from 7.6 percent to 24.9 percent, based on their credit-worthiness, according to Lending Club’s website. Lenders on the site, meanwhile, can realize attractive net returns, in the 7 percent to 9 percent range.

Loan applications and underwriting are done online, cutting some of the cost and hassle of borrowing from a regular bank. That could help P2P lenders disrupt the established banking business and grab market share.

Russian Baltic moves 'unprecedented'

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 01:59
Poland complains of "unprecedented" Russian military activity in the Baltic Sea region, saying Nato is being tested but is not at risk of attack.

Rogen 'objected to Kim Jong-Un edit'

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 01:58
Film-maker Seth Rogen objected to making changes to his new film The Interview, about an attempted assassination on Kim Jong-Un, "to make North Koreans happy", leaked emails reveal.

MP seeks debate on new porn laws

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 01:50
New restrictions on online British porn content shown in the UK should be debated by Parliament, says Lib Dem Julian Huppert.

Ex-DJ Ray Teret jailed for rapes

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 01:37
Former DJ Ray Teret is jailed for 25 years for a series of rapes and indecent assaults in the 1960s and 1970s on girls as young as 12.

Ebola dead piled up in hospital

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 01:36
Health officials in Sierra Leone discover scores of bodies in a remote diamond-mining area, raising fears that the scale of the Ebola outbreak may be underreported.

Up to 100 vehicles stranded in snow

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 01:34
Up to 100 vehicles are stranded after snow blocks a section of the A68 on the England-Scotland border.

McLaren confirm Button and Alonso

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-11 01:33
Former world champions Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso will drive for McLaren in 2015.

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