National / International News

VIDEO: The Indian village famous for its bouncers

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-05 13:03
Famous for its wrestlers, it now supplies bouncers for Delhi clubs

Yeezy Or The Bard: Who's The Best Wordsmith In Hip-Hop?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 13:01

A data scientist pitted rappers against Shakespeare to see who had the more extensive vocabulary. But he says he isn't trying to make some sweeping statement about the lyrical prowess of hip-hop.

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How the VIX index tracks investor fear

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:52

Let’s talk about the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index -- luckily it’s also known as "the VIX".

"Basically it’s just a fancy name for what the market views in terms of risk, going forward,” says Eric Augustyn, head of options strategy group for Wells Fargo Private Bank.

So when markets are going down, the VIX is going up.

"The VIX,  well I sometimes look at it a little bit as a temperature," says Augustyn.

That would be the temperature of fear.  When things are uncertain -- like when U.S. credit was downgrading, the whole debt ceiling debacle, or when Russia was becoming a presence in Ukraine --  the VIX jumps. It’s a measurement of the price of calls and puts, a complicated way investors try to hedge their bets. This week, it’s around 13, but in 2008, during the financial crisis Augustyn notes "the VIX went from 14 to 80.”

So the VIX looks at the price of the insurance that investors are buying.

To understand why that matters just think back to the beginning of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy's house, with her in it, gets picked up by a tornado and blown away. The VIX is like a weather report, and Chris Geczy, Academic director of the Wharton Wealth Management initiative and adjunct associate professor of finance at Wharton, says if Auntie Em or Uncle Henry had been able to check it, they might have known tornado season was coming up.

“If you think about the situation with Dorothy," says Geczy, "Dorothy really cares about insurance when the wind is blowing. And the VIX gives us a picture, and a forecast, for how the wind is going to blow.”

Remember, says Geczy, the VIX is forward looking. Most methods of measuring the markets use data from the past.  So if Auntie Em and Uncle Henry had know the twister was coming they could have bought insurance on their house?
“That’s a possibility," says Geczy, though "they’d have to work very fast though, because the weather was coming in.”

Which means last minute insurance would be a lot more expensive. But Geczy says, if Dorothy had been watching the VIX, she would have known what the weather was going to do. And at least she would have had some options.

Failure Of Steel D-Ring May Have Caused Circus Accident

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:49

Eleven people, including nine acrobats, were injured on Sunday in Providence, R.I., when support equipment failed and the performers fell to the ground.

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VIDEO: Fry eulogises about Crucible aura

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:38
Snooker fan Stephen Fry explains why he thinks Sheffield's Crucible is such a great sporting venue, calling the theatre "the very centre of all things snooker".

VIDEO: Intense battle for S Sudan town

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:37
South Sudan troops attempting to recapture the oil rich town of Bentiu from rebels have been forced back amid heavy gunfire.

VIDEO: 'Skull Cracker' absconds from prison

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:30
A violent armed robber, known as "the Skull Cracker", has gone missing after being allowed out of an open prison.

Sinn Fein Leader's Questioning Dredges Memories Of 'Troubles'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:25

Gerry Adams, a leader of Sinn Fein, was questioned in Northern Ireland in connection with an infamous murder 42 years ago. The investigation threatens to impact the fragile peace agreement there.

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Max Planck Goes To Florida, Invites Brain Scientists To Join

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:25

Germany's famous Max Planck Society has opened a brain research institute in Jupiter, Fla. It's another move in the international competition to attract the best brain researchers.

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US rescues injured Chinese sailors

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:24
US rescuers parachute into the middle of the Pacific Ocean to provide medical aid to two badly burned Chinese sailors after their boat sank.

Three-day Tube strike suspended

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:09
A three-day strike by London Underground workers due to start on Monday evening is suspended, the RMT union says.

Boats Carrying Migrants Capsize Off Greece; At Least 22 Dead

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:05

The two boats, one a 6-foot dinghy, were carrying dozens of illegal migrants hoping to reach the Greek coast. Four of the dead are children.

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In Venezuela Protests, Report Condemns Police's 'Pattern Of Abuse'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:02

A Human Rights Watch report documents brutal force used by Venezuelan security forces against peaceful demonstrators — including beatings, shootings and, in some cases, torture. The report also shows how security forces work in cahoots with pro-government armed gangs, calling the abuses the worst they have seen in years.

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Remembering Economist Gary Becker, Who Described 'Marriage Market'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:02

The University of Chicago economist won the Nobel Prize in 1992 for broadening the horizons of economics, using economic analysis to explore social issues. Becker died Saturday at the age of 83.

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To Fight Polio Outbreaks, WHO Lays Down New Rules

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:02

The World Health Organization is warning that recent outbreaks of polio in the Middle East, Africa and Asia mark a setback to the decades-long effort to eradicate the disease. In response, the WHO has declared a world health emergency. It's asking Syria, Pakistan and Cameroon — current polio hotspots — to require all travelers leaving those countries to show proof of vaccination.

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A Narrow High Court Win For Prayer Before Government Meetings

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:02

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the government can use Christian prayers to start town meetings, so long as legislators don't discriminate against non-Christians. It's a new chapter in the long-running fight over prayer in public places and on public occasions. NPR's Carrie Johnson explains what happened in the town of Greece, New York.

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Target's Top Executive Steps Down, Brought Low By Data Breach

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:02

Target is ousting its CEO, months after a massive data breach and amid some other business issues.

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The Intra-Party Landscape, Seen From The Edge Of Primary Season

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:02

Three states go to the polls Tuesday, starting what will be an eight-week stretch of primaries in the U.S. For a look at the intra-party political landscape, NPR's Charlie Mahtesian has this overview.

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Extremist Group Claims Credit For Mass Kidnapping In Nigeria

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:02

Nigerian Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram claimed credit for abducting more than 200 schoolgirls. The girls remain missing, and parents are pressing the government to find and bring them home.

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Drone Journalism Can't Fully Take Flight Until Regulators Act

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-05 12:02

Unmanned aircraft offer spectacular bird's-eye views, and news organizations are eager to deploy them to get that perspective. But U.S. regulators currently prohibit drone use for commercial purposes.

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