National / International News

Actor loses voice during King Lear

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 11:02
Simon Russell Beale has admitted he had no idea what was happening in a preview of Sam Mendes' King Lear, when one of the actors lost his voice mid speech.

Coalition wives dish out job advice

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 10:58
Samantha Cameron and Miriam Gonzalez spark girls' ambitions

Hey, what a great idea! Chocolate peanut butter cups!

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-22 10:30

Coming to a candy store near you – the battle of the chocolate peanut butter cups. Nestle has come out with a new peanut butter cup called Butterfinger Cups, based on the famously crispy-crunchy Butterfinger bar. It takes some chutzpah to challenge an iconic brand like Reese’s, which pretty much owns the peanut butter cup category. (People in the candy business assure us there is such a thing).

Nestle's already attracting attention for its new product by putting out some racy online "teaser ads" leading up to a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl. One features "Mr. and Mrs. Buttercup" – aka Peanut Butter and Chocolate – seeking couples therapy to spice things up a bit. "Don’t you think it'd be nice to try something new?" Mrs. Buttercup asks Mr. Buttercup while they wait for an "Edible Couples Counseling" session. Heavy breathing and the phrase "hurt me" follow, leading some critics to label that particular marketing effort as "raunchy."

A tamer ad is expected during the Super Bowl.Robert Passikoff, founder of Brand Keys, says Nestle is subtly setting up a taste-off with ads that imply a peanut butter cup could be made better. So consumers will either say, "'No it isn’t, but I have to try it to be able to say no it isn’t.' Or people are going to say, "'Wow, it’s something different,'" says Passikoff.

Georgetown marketing professor Ron Goodstein, for one, tastes trouble ahead for Butterfinger. He says it’s like the time Burger King tried to out-French fry McDonald’s.

"Everybody who walked into Burger King to try them had decided they weren't going to like them before they ever tasted it," says Goodstein. "Because the one thing you cannot screw with, with McDonald's, is their French fries."

Marketing expert Jonathan Salem Baskin suggests Nestle's move may be more about corporate strategy than selling tasty morsels of peanut butter and chocolate. "Could this in fact be something from a corporate level and in fact, what Nestle is trying to do is get Hershey’s to spend more money protecting its turf, or its peanut butter cups, which then takes away resources and attention from the categories in which Nestle wants to compete and gain market share?"

But Butterfinger brand manager Jeremy Vandervoet says it’s "almost the opposite... Reese’s is the number one brand in the category, and they are going to do just fine. And I think together we will all sell more chocolate and peanut butter cups," he says.

The new product certainly attracts more attention to that tasty combination. Vandervoet says peanut butter is the most popular flavor to add to milk chocolate and Nestle sees room for growth in the category. He says consumers already use Butterfinger bars in a variety of ways, like crumbling them up and using them as a vanilla ice cream topping: "So it got us thinking, wow, what could we do beyond our traditional candy bar, with Butterfinger?"

And that got us thinking about other food turf wars... remember these?

  • Hershey’s Swoops, a.k.a. Hershey’s trying to get in on the Pringles market.
  • Bit O’Honey's Bit O'Licorice, trying to get in on... the black licorice market?
  • Reese’s Pieces with peanuts… like Peanut M&Ms but… Reese's.
  • Jell-O's salad gelatin. Presented without comment:

Jell-o once ventured into the green salad industry. Apparently, it didn't go so well.



Jason Liebig of wrote in with some additions to the list:

None exist today. The cutthroat candy market: Not so sweet on knock-offs?

MP Hancock suspended by Lib Dems

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 10:23
MP Mike Hancock is suspended by the Liberal Democrats after a report into claims of sexual misconduct towards a female constituent is leaked.

NI police chief to step down

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 10:23
Northern Ireland's Chief Constable Matt Baggott announces he is to retire from the post, paying tribute to the "courage and commitment" of his officers.

'Pay people' to aid problem families

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 10:07
"Good" neighbours should be given financial incentives to help troubled families in their neighbourhood, the head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, suggests.

Biggest asteroid vents water vapour

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 10:03
Observations of the Solar System's biggest asteroid suggest it is spewing plumes of water vapour into space.

No ban for driver with 29 points

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:41
A takeaway driver with 29 penalty points on his licence is still allowed to drive, a court rules.

The rise of the teenage coder

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:40
Rise of the teenagers learning to programme computers

Pickles in ministerial biscuit 'ban'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:38
Ministers have been banned from eating taxpayer-funded biscuits at official events, says Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

UK unemployment rate drops to 7.1%

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:29
The unemployment rate drops sharply to 7.1%, approaching the point at which the Bank of England has said it will consider raising interest rates.

Collymore accuses Twitter over abuse

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:21
Former footballer Stan Collymore accuses Twitter of not doing enough to combat abusive messages after he was targeted by internet trolls.

Row over rabbit in Mandela statue

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:05
South Africa's government orders sculptors to remove a bronze rabbit they hid in the ear of the statue of Nelson Mandela unveiled after his death, a spokesman tells the BBC.

Roache 'shocked by rape arrest'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:04
A jury hears Coronation Street star William Roache told police he was "absolutely surprised" and "amazed" when he was first arrested.

Ethiopia joins Somalia AU force

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:59
More than 4,000 Ethiopian troops are formally absorbed into the African Union force in Somalia, where it is fighting al-Qaeda-aligned militants.

How fixed-term Parliaments have changed politics

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:52
How fixed-term parliaments have changed British politics

'Plebgate' PC's resignation rejected

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:39
The police officer who admitted misconduct in the "plebgate" affair has his offer to resign refused by Scotland Yard.

PODCAST: Optimism at Davos

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:34

The World Economic Forum, the winter gathering of the powerful, kicks off today in the Alpine town of Davos, Switzerland. A Bloomberg survey finds that 59 percent of international investors think the global economy's improving. That's the highest level of optimism in five years, and the mood is up strikingly from the previous survey in November.

College courses with a 95 percent dropout rate would trigger alarm bells at most universities, but researchers at Harvard University and MIT says that’s potentially fine, at least in the case of some massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

A recent study shows one in 10 job applicants have been rejected because something turned up in their credit history. And last month Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill that would, among other things, bar the use of credit reports in hiring. 

Girl 'raped every week by father'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:34
A young girl was raped every time she stayed at her father's house, a court in County Londonderry is told.

Seized Brooks computers 'not in use'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:20
Computers recovered by police from Rebekah Brooks' house were not in use when she quit News International, a jury hears.

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