National / International News

Is Facebook really losing members?

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 15:58
What does the next decade have in store?

Christie On Bridge Closure: 'The Answer Is Still The Same'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-03 15:43

The comments are Christie's first since the Jan. 9 news conference in which said he was "embarrassed and humiliated" that his aides punished the mayor of Fort Lee by closing lanes that lead to the George Washington Bridge. Christie reiterated that he knew nothing about the lane closures.

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Chelsea not title contenders - Mourinho

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 15:41
Chelsea are not contenders to win the Premier League this season, says Jose Mourinho after his side beat Manchester City.

Tech Companies Release Details On Surveillance Data

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-03 15:35

Google, Yahoo and others said they received thousands of secret-court-approved government requests for their users' content. The companies said only a small percentage of their users were affected by the requests.

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Kinnear resigns from Newcastle post

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 15:14
Joe Kinnear resigns as Newcastle's director of football after less than eight months in the role.

Google must move San Francisco barge

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 15:13
Google has been ordered to move a huge barge it moored mysteriously off San Francisco Bay, due to improper permits.

Super Bowl draws record TV audience

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 15:02
The US football Super Bowl is the most-watched TV event in US history, with 111.5m viewers, the Fox TV network says.

Kercher judge under investigation

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 15:00
The judge who reinstated the murder convictions of Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito could face disciplinary action for talking to the Italian press.

Do businesses profit from inequality?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-02-03 14:51

How do businesses cope with the ever-expanding gap between rich and poor?

In today's New York Times, Nelson Schwartz writes that companies are finding more success catering either to the upper or lower ends of the market -- in what he calls a stark contrast to national debate on the subject.

"I feel like whenever the topic of inequality comes up, it's so heated politically and ideologically between left and right," he says. "But when you talk to business people, they're not really interested in the politics. They're interested in making money and growing their business... and they see close up what a lot of the politicians and pundits are still arguing about."

As an example, he points to Darden, a Florida company that owns several well-known restaurant chains. Some are on the cheaper end, like Olive Garden and Red Lobster. On the swanky side, Darden owns Capitol Grille, where people spend on average five times as much as they do at Olive Garden. In other industries -- hotels, gambling, you name it -- he found the same thing: The Dollar Trees of the world are doing great; the JC Penneys, on the other hand, are not.

Why is this the case? Schwartz explains that since the recovery began, the growth in spending has been concentrated in the wealthiest 20 percent of the country -- especially the top 5 percent overall.

"So let's say you're a business, and you want to gain new customers," he says. "You're gonna appeal to the people who are spending more. I mean, it's as simple as that."

Schwartz says that spells short-term gains for those companies -- but long-term it's a bad formula for the economy as a whole. Lower- and middle-class consumers tend to spend much more of their income.

"It's not even a question of fairness or left or right. Put that aside. We want the economy to grow."

Outdoor Show Reopens Under New Management: The NRA

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-03 14:48

The show was canceled last year in the wake of the killings in Newtown, Conn. Now, the Great American Outdoor Show is back on in Pennsylvania this week, and it's bigger than ever.

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Coffee prices are down, but your latte's still expensive. Here's why.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-02-03 14:43

I get coffee pretty much every morning on the way to work. This morning ritual costs around $4.

The price of coffee is near record lows right now, less than half of what it cost two years ago. Two years ago when my latte cost… about $4.

This got me wondering. It seems like when a commodity like coffee or chocolate or bread gets more expensive, the price at the store goes up (like when Starbucks jacked prices up a couple years ago) but when commodities get cheaper, the retail price never seems to go down. It feels a little like Murphy’s law of economics.

"I’m not sure that it’s necessarily Murphy’s law," counters Andrew Burns, economist at the World Bank. "In a country like the U.S., when you go to the store and you buy a loaf of bread, the cost of the wheat in that bread is relatively small."

Burns says that's because workers get paid a lot here (relatively), and rent is expensive. Burns says in countries where labor and rent are cheaper, the price of the commodity makes up a much bigger percentage of the price at the store. 

"In developing countries, when commodity prices are fluctuating, it’s felt much more directly in the pocket book of individuals," Burns says.

Here in the U.S., the coffee beans in a latte, for example, only account for about 10 percent of the price--40 cents of the $4--the rest of what I’m paying for is rent and labor.

Still, 10 percent of a company’s cost isn’t nothing, so shouldn’t I see at least a little savings?

Turns out, that depends on which kind of coffee we’re talking about

"This is Wall Street Dark Roast. One of our favorites."

At his office in Midtown Manhattan, HiLine Coffee CEO Gene Kakaulin samples one of his roasts. HiLine makes single serve coffee pods and the beans he uses are high quality beans.

"The interesting thing about the coffee market is that the commodity coffee market and the specialty coffee market have a significant disparity in price," says Kakaulin. "What you see on the exchange, the commodity price, is significantly lower than what we pay for coffee."

The beans Kakaulin uses and the beans in my latte are specialty beans. The beans sold by the ton on commodities exchanges are used to make the coffee you might get at diner or at the grocery store. Prices have gone down a little there.

But it turns out, in the specialty coffee market, there is something of a Murphy's law situation going on. 

Matt Banbury is a roaster and manager for Joe Coffee—a chain of cafes.

"The level of quality that we’re buying... floats in its own sort of category. Though, if the commodity price rises too high and there’s a scarcity in commodity coffee, they will dip into specialty coffee. Which makes things more expensive."

In other words, when commodity grade beans get cheaper, the price of specialty beans won’t necessarily drop, but when commodity beans get more expensive, all beans get more expensive...

And my latte gets more expensive.

Or maybe not. Cafes can’t crank up the cost of a latte every week, even if bean prices are rising. Consumers are very sensitive to price hikes.

Especially before they’ve had their coffee.


Obese people to get council texts

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 14:40
Obese people in Stoke-on-Trent are to be sent text messages to encourage them to lose weight as part of a £10,000 project, the city council says.

Hoffman 'had 70 bags of heroin'

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 14:26
New York City police have found up to 70 bags of suspected heroin in actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's home, a day after his death, US media say.

Stocks Head Lower; Investors Wonder What's Next

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-03 14:21

The Dow had its seventh triple-digit drop so far this year. Is it a short term pullback, or a sign of a tough year to come?

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Glacier Blamed For Berg That Sank Titanic Is Pushing More Ice Into Ocean

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-03 14:03

According to a study, Jakobshavn is now by far the fastest moving major glacier in the world, surging forward at the rate of 150 feet per day.

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Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 13:53
Branislav Ivanovic's first-half strike helps Chelsea to a deserved victory over Manchester City at Etihad Stadium.

Wall Street Market Report

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 13:52
Wall Street Market Report

Florida trial for 'loud music' death

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 13:38
A man accused of shooting an unarmed black teenager who refused to turn down his loud music goes on trial in the US state of Florida.

HPV Vaccine Doesn't Promote Riskier Sexual Behavior In Teens

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-03 13:27

The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys when they are 11 or 12. The idea is to get preteens vaccinated so that if they do become sexually active as teens, they will be protected against a virus that can cause cervical cancer.

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Thompson 'sorry' for project failure

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-03 13:25
Former BBC director general Mark Thompson says sorry in front of a committee of MPs over the £100m failure of the BBC's Digital Media Initiative (DMI).

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