National / International News

Lawsuit Opens A Long Round Of Political Pingpong

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 12:00

Republicans in the House are holding a floor vote to allow Speaker Boehner to sue President Obama. They believe he's overstepped his constitutional authority; specifically, the resolution would authorize a federal lawsuit for Obama's handling of the Affordable Care Act.

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Late Rally From Argentina Fails To Delay Default

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 12:00

Earlier in the day it looked like a resolution was possible, but ultimately talks between the country and a group of creditors broke down in New York. The first time the country defaulted was in 2002.

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Fast Growth Does Little To Budge Fed's Caution — For Now

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 12:00

Federal Reserve policymakers are announcing that the Fed plans to leave short-term interest rates at a level near zero. This, despite an economy that grew at a surprisingly strong 4 percent annual rate in the most recent quarter.

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VIDEO: Star Wars comes to County Kerry

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:59
Residents and tourists in Portmagee, County Kerry, are getting a taste of Hollywood as scenes for the new Star Wars film are shot on nearby island Skellig Michael.

Kylie to headline Games closing show

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:56
Kylie Minogue will perform at the closing ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, organisers confirm.

Anger mounts as Gaza toll rises

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:52
The US and UN condemn the shelling of a UN school housing civilians in Gaza, as Palestinians say Israeli attacks kill more than 100 in the day.

Dozens trapped by Indian landslide

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:42
At least 20 people are killed after a landslide buries more than 40 houses and leaves up to 200 people trapped in a village in western India.

Time for 'You've got mail' to get on OKCupid?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:37

These days, box office hits include explosions, aliens and robots - characters most romantic comedies do not contain.

Megan Garber, staff writer for The Atlantic, says the romantic comedy has been dying a slow death, as studios fail to recognize the evolution of romance itself. Rom-coms are not portraying the reality of dating for people in the digital age.

"The world of Tinder, eHarmony and Match.com is not really well reflected in Hollywood at this point," says Garber. "Right now, there isn’t much on the screen that would sort of tell us how to behave in this crazy world of online dating."

Listen to the full conversation in the audio player above.

Foxconn's newest product: a college degree

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:36

There are a lot of lines at a typical Foxconn factory in China. There’s the assembly line, where thousands of young people – typically high school dropouts – put together each and every part of an iPad. It’s tedious, mind-numbing work, and that’s why assembly line workers usually don’t stick around very long. They quit, and that necessitates another line: The hiring line outside a Foxconn factory is, at any given time, hundreds of applicants long, migrants from the countryside who arrive each day to replace workers who’ve quit. When you consider the manufacturer has a million workers – it’s China’s largest private employer – this labor cycle isn’t surprising.

But it is costly.

“The turnover rate is pretty high and it’s impossible to retain all our workers," says Li Yong Zhong, a manager at Foxconn's Chengdu plant, "But we’d like every employee to be able to develop and improve their knowledge, skills and income so that they’ll want to stay here.”

That’s the rationale behind what the company calls Foxconn University, a company-wide accredited university system that offers employees a chance at earning a high school diploma, a bachelor’s, a master’s or a PhD without leaving the factory campus.

Inside the classroom one afternoon, a professor teaches a computer animation class to students at Foxconn’s plant in Chengdu, a factory devoted to making iPads. Instead of assembling Apple products, each one of these workers is using an Apple computer to follow the professor’s instructions. Thirty-six year-old Ai Guo, an assembly line worker who spends his days inspecting iPads for flaws, sits in front of the class.

“I dropped out of school when I was 16," says Ai during a class break. "My family was very poor, and they needed me to help out on the farm.”

It's a typical story for the hundreds of millions of young rural Chinese who drop out of school to farm or find work at factories like Foxconn. Ai hopes to spend the next six years of his time away from work studying toward the equivalent of a high school diploma and then a bacehlor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. “With that, I’d like to get a promotion to start working on industrial automation and, of course, raise my salary," he says.

Foxconn’s university system offers 25 majors – most of them in engineering. The company has an agreement with more than 50 Chinese universities and colleges that send their professors each day to teach classes at its factories across China.

But it's not only Foxconn – in-house university systems are becoming a trend among China’s state-owned companies, says Richard Brubaker, founder of Collective Responsibility, an organization that trains companies in corporate social responsibility. Brubaker says he’s encouraged by Foxconn University – he says it shows the company sees its line workers as more than machines with 5-year shelf lives. “Many of these individuals could, if they were invested into, come into the organization at a much higher level, and much like a UPS driver becomes a CEO, they could become the future management and executives of the company and who know the company so intimately that they’re the ones who can look at risk, look at decisions very differently than an outsider could,” Brubaker says.

The development of an in-house university system comes at a pivotal moment for Foxconn. CEO Terry Gou is 63, and he’s thinking about his legacy. He’s moving the company away from making products for others and toward developing Foxconn’s own products.

“We want our employees to become more innovative and creative, more entrepreneurial,” says Foxconn’s Li Yong Zhong.

But so far, participation in Foxconn University is low: just 3 percent of Foxconn’s one million Chinese workers. Li assures me that will change. "Someday, every one of our employees will study at Foxconn University – we’ll no longer call them workers," he says. "We’ll call them students."

Foxconn's newest product: a college degree

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:36

There are a lot of lines at a typical Foxconn factory in China. There’s the assembly line, where thousands of young people – typically high school dropouts – put together each and every part of an iPad. It’s tedious, mind-numbing work, and that’s why assembly line workers usually don’t stick around very long. They quit, and that necessitates another line: The hiring line outside a Foxconn factory is, at any given time, hundreds of applicants long, migrants from the countryside who arrive each day to replace workers who’ve quit. When you consider the manufacturer has a million workers – it’s China’s largest private employer – this labor cycle isn’t surprising.

But it is costly.

“The turnover rate is pretty high and it’s impossible to retain all our workers," says Li Yong Zhong, a manager at Foxconn's Chengdu plant, "But we’d like every employee to be able to develop and improve their knowledge, skills and income so that they’ll want to stay here.”

That’s the rationale behind what the company calls Foxconn University, a company-wide accredited university system that offers employees a chance at earning a high school diploma, a bachelor’s, a master’s or a PhD without leaving the factory campus.

Inside the classroom one afternoon, a professor teaches a computer animation class to students at Foxconn’s plant in Chengdu, a factory devoted to making iPads. Instead of assembling Apple products, each one of these workers is using an Apple computer to follow the professor’s instructions. Thirty-six year-old Ai Guo, an assembly line worker who spends his days inspecting iPads for flaws, sits in front of the class.

“I dropped out of school when I was 16," says Ai during a class break. "My family was very poor, and they needed me to help out on the farm.”

It's a typical story for the hundreds of millions of young rural Chinese who drop out of school to farm or find work at factories like Foxconn. Ai hopes to spend the next six years of his time away from work studying toward the equivalent of a high school diploma and then a bacehlor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. “With that, I’d like to get a promotion to start working on industrial automation and, of course, raise my salary," he says.

Foxconn’s university system offers 25 majors – most of them in engineering. The company has an agreement with more than 50 Chinese universities and colleges that send their professors each day to teach classes at its factories across China.

But it's not only Foxconn – in-house university systems are becoming a trend among China’s state-owned companies, says Richard Brubaker, founder of Collective Responsibility, an organization that trains companies in corporate social responsibility. Brubaker says he’s encouraged by Foxconn University – he says it shows the company sees its line workers as more than machines with 5-year shelf lives. “Many of these individuals could, if they were invested into, come into the organization at a much higher level, and much like a UPS driver becomes a CEO, they could become the future management and executives of the company and who know the company so intimately that they’re the ones who can look at risk, look at decisions very differently than an outsider could,” Brubaker says.

The development of an in-house university system comes at a pivotal moment for Foxconn. CEO Terry Gou is 63, and he’s thinking about his legacy. He’s moving the company away from making products for others and toward developing Foxconn’s own products.

“We want our employees to become more innovative and creative, more entrepreneurial,” says Foxconn’s Li Yong Zhong.

But so far, participation in Foxconn University is low: just 3 percent of Foxconn’s one million Chinese workers. Li assures me that will change. "Someday, every one of our employees will study at Foxconn University – we’ll no longer call them workers," he says. "We’ll call them students."

One more hurdle for long-awaited win - Agnew

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:35
England have been in strong positions all summer, but the third Test against India is the best yet, says Jonathan Agnew.

Argentina's football president dies

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:29
Julio Grondona, president of the Argentine Football Association, dies in Buenos Aires at the age of 82.

Masked gang jailed for family attack

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 11:15
A masked gang beat and stabbed an innocent family after targeting the wrong home in a scene from a horror film, a court hears.

Senators in campus sex assault push

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 10:49
A cross-party group of US senators introduce a bill aimed at reducing sexual assault on university campuses.

Fed Continues To Scale Back Economic Stimulus

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 10:38

The Fed announced modest cuts in its bond-buying program and noted that inflation is becoming an issue. But with room to grow in the labor market, the bank is not ready to raise interest rates.

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US economic growth surges by 4%

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 10:37
The US economy grew by 4% in the second quarter, according to a preliminary reading by the US Department of Commerce, beating expectations.

Six dead in Nigeria college blast

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 10:08
At least six people have been killed in a suicide bombing at a college in northern Nigeria's biggest city, Kano, witnesses say.

Broody octopus keeps four-year vigil

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 10:01
A deep-sea octopus is observed nursing her eggs for more than four years - the longest brooding time seen in any animal.

Women Defy Turkey's Deputy PM, Who Said Women Shouldn't Laugh In Public

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 09:57

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç was expounding on what an ideal chaste woman should be. Women around the world reacted by taking pictures of themselves laughing.

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Strike on Gaza market 'kills 17'

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 09:54
At least 17 people are killed and 160 hurt as an Israeli strike hits a market crowded with shoppers near Gaza City, Palestinian officials say.
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