National / International News

VIDEO: Deselection call over Muhammad cartoon

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 06:04
A Liberal Democrat candidate who tweeted a cartoon featuring Jesus and Muhammad receives death threats and faces calls to be deselected from contesting the 2015 general election.

Thai court says polls can be delayed

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 06:01
Thailand's Constitutional Court rules that polls scheduled for 2 February can be legally postponed, but only in consultation with the prime minister.

VIDEO: Syria regime threat to quit peace talks

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:58
Syrian government officials threaten to quit peace talks if serious discussions do not begin in Geneva by Saturday.

At Least 3 People Killed In 40-Vehicle Pileup In Indiana

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:58

More than 20 others were injured in the massive accident along a snowy stretch of Interstate 94 about 60 miles east of Chicago.

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Day in pictures: 24 January 2014

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:57
24 hours of news photos: 24 January

Missing Nida's family video appeal

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:55
The family of teenager Nida Naseer make an emotional video appeal for her to get in touch on the day before her 19th birthday.

Railroads' earnings -- and their freight -- show where the economy's heading

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:51

When you think of the 21st century American economy, your mind no doubt flips to things digital and mobile. But corporate earnings out this week were a good reminder that an industry that sounds more 19th century is key to the modern economy as well -- railroads.   

For years now, railroads have been smartly and quietly upgrading infrastructure and increasing market share. The days when trains carried grain and coal aren’t over, but they carry a lot more now, too. “They carry just about everything that’s in your house to the materials that built your house,” says Anthony Hatch, head of ABH Consulting in New York. 

For that reason, railroad freight can provide a window on the overall economy. Take Union Pacific’s latest quarterly report. It reported its coal carloads dropped 10 percent, a dip that reflects a broader trend in the economy -- the slow but steady shift to natural gas.   

But the railroad companies are carrying more cars, lumber and piping, which hints at recent growth in auto sales, home construction and fracking. Lee Klaskow, a Bloomberg Industries transportation and logistics analyst, says railroads are playing a key role in the shale boom, “whether they’re hauling crude out or hauling chemicals and sand and water and piping into the places where they’re doing hydraulic fracturing.”

Anthony Hatch says all that hydraulic fracturing will make for more products made from the natural gas they’re drilling in the fracking fields -- plastic wrap and anti-freeze, just to name a couple. Those products will ultimately fill rail cars, too.

 

VIDEO: #BBCtrending: Your social media tips

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:50
#BBCtrending collates your top trending tips from around the world

Happy Birthday, Apple Macintosh, on your 30th

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:40

Apple celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh computer on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Cupertino, California. The unveiling of the Mac to the world by Steve Jobs on Jan. 24, 1984 -- also in Cupertino -- was Apple’s most successful product launch to date, as Apple took on IBM’s domination of the fast-growing market for personal computers.

After the Mac was launched, Apple did well, then not so well in the ‘90s (Steve Jobs had been ousted from the company in 1985). Then he came back in 1996, when Apple bought his company, NeXT, and by the early 2000s Apple was doing well again, revolutionizing the personal computing world with the iTunes store, and iPods, and eventually iPhones and iPads.

Apple’s public pre-launch of the Mac came during SuperBowl XVIII on January 22, 1984 (the L.A. Raiders trounced the Washington Redskins, 38 to 9). A dramatic ad directed by Ridley Scott for the Macintosh ran during the game.

An army of grey robot-men march through prison-like corridors to an assembly area, as a Big Brother figure drones at them from a huge screen about conformity and power. Enter a female runner -- in color, representing Apple -- pursued by helmeted riot police. She runs before them, past the oblivious robot-men, turns once, twice, three times, and hurls a sledgehammer into the screen, smashing Big Brother, unleashing air and light, waking the robots from their authoritarian trance, and ushering in the Age of Macintosh.

“That day the earth’s axis shifted a little bit,” says Guy Kawasaki with a small laugh. At the time, Kawasaki was the Apple Macintosh division’s software evangelist. He was there two days after the Superbowl ad aired, when Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh.

“It represented an entirely new way of interacting with computers and accessing information,” says Kawasaki. “This was your computer, and you could do what you wanted with it.”

Technology writer John Battelle was an early adopter and covered Apple for MacWeek; he went on to cofound Wired and The Industry Standard (he’s now CEO of Federated Media). He says Mac’s graphical user interface -- clicking and dragging the mouse across screen displays -- made the personal computer something everyone could use.

“Simply put—you saw yourself mirrored in that machine,” says Battelle. “What you did was directly reflected in the interface of that machine. When you moved your hand, something moved on the machine. The WYSIWYG -- ‘what you see is what you get’ -- interface was magical, and it began a journey of our society into becoming digital and understanding what it means to be data.”

That first post-apocalyptic Mac ad ended with an announcer saying these words as they scrolled down the screen: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’”

The beige Macintosh personal computer that Steve Jobs described as being ‘for the rest of us’ -- the one that he believed would unseat IBM’s dominance of the market, and change the world -- had arrived.

Listen to an extended interview with Guy Kawasaki here:

What other technology was "born" in 1984? According to this timeline:
  • The Olivetti PC
  • Flash memory
  • 3D printing
  • The first portable computer (weighing in at 30 lbs)
  • The first desktop laser printer
  • Tetris!

Argentina eases currency controls

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:29
Argentina eases strict foreign exchange controls, a day after the peso suffered its steepest daily decline in 12 years.

VIDEO: Grayson dresses down for Palace date

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:27
Artist Grayson Perry is handed his CBE by Prince Charles at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

Great Wall of Wyoming? This week's Silicon Tally

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:22

It's time for Silicon Tally. How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week, Kara Swisher, formerly of All Things D, currently co-executive editor with Walt Mossberg of the new tech news and reviews website Re/Code, takes on the tech gauntlet in our weekly Silicon Tally quiz. Play along at home, below.

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Red-hot battle for consumer votes

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:17
The battle to be seen as the consumer champion

'Oppy' celebrates 10 years on Mars

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:15
Nasa celebrates 10 years on Mars

30 Elderly Residents Still Missing After Fire In Quebec

NPR News - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:13

The blaze at a complex that housed the elderly quickly engulfed much of the building. Investigators were having a hard time searching for victims because water used to fight the flames had frozen over the scene. A key question: Why was the complex only partially fitted with sprinklers?

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Hollande meets Pope Francis in Rome

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:11
French President Francois Hollande meets Pope Francis on his first foreign trip since reports of his alleged affair with an actress.

Strutting in style at the Grammys doesn't come cheap

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-01-24 05:05

Singer, actress, and model Colette Falla moved to Los Angeles five years ago, and is used to the ups and downs that accompany life as an emerging artist in a city chock-full of emerging artists.  She’s also used to the expense that her career incurs. 

“When I was a kid I had singing lessons and piano lessons,” Falla said. “I did summer workshops for acting. Then, I went to university and and a course which was theater studies and English.” There was also private vocal coaching and music school in LA. These days, she shells out for studio time, PR, and U-Haul vans to get her to gigs.

So while being invited to an awards show is an honor, it’s not necessarily an excuse to splurge. Falla gets her hair styled at the popular but inexpensive Blow Dry Bar, opts for makeovers at the MAC store (free with a purchase) and even tries to save money on clothes.

“I can wear something simple like a little black dress,” Falla said. “Every girl has one in her closet.” Asked if she ever feels intimidated at events where A-list stars are wearing one-of-a-kind gowns, Falla, always good-natured, laughs.

“I think I get a secret boost out of being like, ‘my dress is from Forever 21,’” she said.

Colette’s wardrobe stylist Catherine Joubert is living her own kind of Hollywood dream. After years working for big movie studios, she struck out on her own, following her passion for fashion. Joubert says the competition in LA can be fierce, but she stays focused and has no trouble making a living. She admits that every stylist dreams of taking on a young client who becomes a superstar. That’s why she’s sometimes willing to reduce her hundred-dollar-per-hour fee.

“In LA, anything can happen,” Joubert said. “You can be working with a fresh, new, young face. And they might land a big role on a TV series and all of a sudden, they take you with them.”

Joubert’s philosophy is that no matter how broke the struggling artist, there is no excuse to look like anything other than a million bucks. For clients with more aspirations than cash, she’ll search department stores for something stunning and, hopefully, on sale.

“A singer’s going to take singing lessons,” Joubert said. “Actors will take workshops. It’s important to think about investing in your image as much as the other parts of your career.”

Days before the Grammys Colette Falla was still hoping to snag an invitation.

“’Im in a relationship with a really successful songwriter/producer,” she said. “He might get an invite and I could be his plus one, which would be great for me.”

She paused a second, apparently realizing how such a statement could be interpreted in a land of vaulting ambition. “I’m not in it for that,” she said with a laugh. “He’s my boyfriend. I love him.”

Agency childminders' Ofsted opt-out

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 04:55
Childminders registering with the government's flagship new agencies would not have to undergo Ofsted inspections, it is proposed.

IAEA: Long way to go on Iran accord

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 04:34
The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog says the interim deal with Iran is an important step forward, but that there is still "a long way to go".

Court orders probe into tribal rape

BBC - Fri, 2014-01-24 04:33
India's Supreme Court orders a judge to investigate the gang rape of a tribal woman, allegedly on orders of village elders who objected to her relationship with a man.

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