National / International News

Strike 'may lead to 999 delays'

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-05 15:00
Wednesday's 24-hour strike by some ambulance staff may lead to delays in responding to 999 calls, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service warns.

Pacquiao Sued For Failing To Disclose Injury Before 'Fight Of The Century'

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-05 14:57

The two plaintiffs are suing under laws meant to protect consumers. Pacquiao lost the highest-grossing boxing match in history to Floyd Mayweather Jr. It was later revealed he had a shoulder injury.

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VIDEO: How stage managed are party campaigns?

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-05 14:21
Political correspondent Chris Mason has been considering how this campaign has differed from previous ones.

US approves Cuba-Florida ferry

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-05 14:08
Ferries are set to run between Florida and Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years after the US government approved new services.

Justice Dept. Criticizes Punishments For Agents Linked To Student's Detention

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-05 14:05

In 2012, Daniel Chong spent more than four days in a cell without food and water because agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration forgot about him. The agents were suspended for up to seven days.

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'Texas invasion' rumours derided

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:55
The exercises, called Jade Helm 15, are drawing concerns that the federal government could implement martial law or confiscate citizens' guns.

Tea Tuesdays: Butter Up That Tea, Tibetan-Style

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:55

Yak butter tea is often referred to as the national drink of Tibet. It's been consumed in the Himalayas for centuries and helped inspire the Bulletproof Coffee craze in the U.S.

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Disputed NY award for Charlie Hebdo

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:51
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is to receive a controversial freedom of speech award in New York, but six writers boycott the ceremony.

VIDEO: Abducted girl safe after Boko Haram ordeal

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:47
A 15-year-old girl abducted by Boko Haram six months ago, has been reunited with her family following a dramatic rescue by Nigerian forces.

Family 'distressed' after death

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:39
Relatives of a man who died after being detained by police in Fife are said to be "extremely distressed" by his death.

Clinton 'War Room' Pushback And The 'Invent Your Own' Media Campaign

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:30

The Clinton campaign went into overdrive Tuesday trying to minimize the damage from a new book that delves into Clinton Foundation fundraising — and it's not using the typical channels to do so.

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Eight of top 13 to play at Queen's

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:02
The Aegon Championships at Queen's Club next month will feature eight of the world's top 13 players.

In Baltimore, CVS plans to reopen its damaged stores

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:00

Most afternoons, Shauntria Davis sits on this street corner in front of a CVS in West Baltimore, waiting for the bus so she can pick up her kids at daycare. Today is no different, though the drugstore behind her is still boarded up and covered with fresh graffiti. If it weren’t, she’d probably stop in and buy something.

“I use this CVS just about every day,” Davis says.

By the latest tally, more than 250 businesses were damaged during the riots in Baltimore last week, which broke out amid protests following the death of Freddie Gray. But this CVS drugstore, which was looted and then set on fire, became something of a symbol of the turmoil in the city — and now, maybe, of its renewal.

City officials have confirmed that the store on North and Pennsylvania avenues will reopen, along with four others damaged in the violence. The pharmacy chain says it has a “long history” of serving inner city neighborhoods.

The area surrounding Pennsylvania and North is known as a food desert, a poor neighborhood without easy access to a lot of fresh produce and healthy food. Davis says she and her neighbors not only fill prescriptions at CVS, but buy staples like food and diapers.

“The chain drugstore has almost become the general store these days,” says Jim Hertel, a food retail consultant with Willard Bishop.

Decades ago, many supermarkets moved out of the inner cities for the abundant real estate and parking of the suburbs. Hertel says pharmacy chains like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid saw an opportunity to fill the void. In recent years, many of the stores have expanded their grocery aisles and added fresh produce.

“They've got almost a free run, with little competition in those neighborhoods,” Hertel says.

Still, the city had to fight to bring in the CVS at Pennsylvania and North more than two decades ago. More recently, city developers scored a big victory when a Target moved in not far away. It was also damaged during the riots last week.

“It took us at least three, maybe five years, to convince Target that this was a good place,” says Jay Brodie, former president of the Baltimore Development Corporation, which promotes business investment in the city. It also took $15 million in tax breaks to help redevelop the area.

CVS didn't get any incentives to rebuild its damaged stores, says Bill Cole, the current president of the Baltimore Development Corporation.

“Absolutely not,” Cole says, “And CVS hasn’t asked for anything either.”

Texas Instruments: from calculators to cars

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:00

In the 1980s, Texas Instruments was excited about its microchips in a hot toy called the Speak & Spell.

TI’s Speak & Spell used the first single-chip voice synthesizer, a tiny device that just a few years later gave the beloved alien E.T. a voice. 

E.T. took advantage of the microchip, and later so did some Chrysler vehicles. 

Despite its reputation for calculators, Texas Instruments isn’t new to the car business. TI’s automotive business is growing faster than the rest of the company, thanks to selling microprocessors and car technology.

“Most of the major car brands have TI tech inside of them that you don’t even know about," says Automotive Processors general manager Curt Moore.

Microprocessors created by TI are in lots of cars, including Fords and BMWs, where they help control everything from car windows to power steering.

Still, it’s no surprise the average driver isn’t familiar with the company’s car accessories. The names don't exactly roll off the tip of your tongue: There's the DRA7XX and the integrated C66X digital signal processor—all part of the Jacinto family of processors.

But break through the technology jargon and you’ll find a multi-billion dollar industry shaping your driving experience.

Infotainment And Heads-Up Displays

Inside TI’s Dallas showroom, music blasts from a new car infotainment system.

"The way people now differentiate cars is via infotainment and active safety," Moore says. "So all the car companies are looking at how you create that unique experience using electronics that are going to be safer, greener and more fun to drive.”

Moore says car companies are turning to chipmakers like TI and demanding newer, faster microprocessors to build safer, more autonomous cars. One feature that's taken off is the heads-up display.

These displays are a sort of alert system for drivers. Cameras outfitted on the car monitor the surroundings and then project images in a corner of the windshield.

In one display car in the showroom, the windshield shows a traffic sign and two pedestrians up ahead. Both are outlined in neon green.

"So the system would recognize this is a caution sign, would recognize there’s two pedestrians in front of you, and then it could automatically help the car stop and prevent an accident,” Moore says.

In 2013, just two percent of cars used heads-up displays, most of them in luxury vehicles. Now, automakers are taking advantage of cheaper cameras and processors from chipmakers, and they’re outfitting more affordable cars with collision avoidance technology and fancy dashboards.

“So for the chip makers it’s an extraordinary opportunity,” says David Sedgewick, a senior writer for Automotive News. He says chipmakers are all fighting to get their silicon in your car first.

"It’s going to be a dog fight because it’s a tremendous growth industry. No one can do this right yet, but they feel they can’t wait,” Sedgwick says.

The largest chipmakers are drawing in billions of dollars from automotive sales. So for TI, investing in smart car technology was easy math—no calculator required.

Why the secrecy behind trade talks?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:00

Negotiations are a lot like chess — you’ve probably heard that one before. But in trade negotiations, instead of two players, there are potentially a dozen, each thinking about their best move, each trying to minimize the threat other pieces on the board may pose to them.


“It’s a long, drawn-out process,” says Eswar Prasad, a trade policy professor at Cornell University, adding that working out these deals can take years.


“Typically, the final points of negotiation are not made public,” he says, though generally, “there is awareness of what the big issues are.”


The closed-door nature of the negotiation process has become one of the major stumbling blocks to advancing trade deals currently in the works, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade deal between the U.S., Japan and 10 other countries.


However, there’s a reason the details are private, says Gary Hufbauer, a former trade negotiator with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.


“To reach an agreement, one party or the other, has to be seen and reported to be giving up, making a concession,” Hufbauer says. “And since negotiations are all about compromise, that really makes compromise much harder.”


Hufbauer thinks pending legislation could open up parts of the process, but he says making negotiations public in real time would essentially kill these kind of agreements.


Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, thinks the public should know what’s in the deals, especially as they become closer to being finalized.


“I can read the deal and go in and see it, as long as there’s a U.S. trade representative sitting there,” Brown says. “I can’t take notes and take them out of the room. When I’m back in Ohio, my staff can’t go in there, even though she has all the clearance necessary to get access to CIA and Department of the Defense documents.”


He says controls like this make him question what there is to hide.

Microsoft put a new emoji in Windows 10

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:00

While this particular final note might not be suitable for younger audience members, it does kind of give you a whole other level of respect for Microsoft.

According to the emoji-tracking website Emojipedia — yes, that's a real thing — the software company that everybody loves to hate is going to introduce a new emoji when it rolls out Windows 10 later this year.

It's technically called: "Reversed hand with middle finger extended."

You can call it what you like.

Making a living off an Etsy business

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:00

ThreeBirdNest is an online retail business run by Alicia Shaffer in Livermore, California. Shaffer began her business by selling handmade accessories for women on Etsy.

"For me, Etsy was a great place to start because the marketplace was there. I didn’t have to invest a lot of money into getting people to come to the website organically," says Shaffer.

Shaffer is not a rookie in the small business industry — this is her third business. Her first business was a baby product line and the second was a brick-and-mortar store — both ended and she and her family found themselves in debt.

"In the beginning, this was out of necessity," says Shaffer. "I needed to make money to pay for financial loss that we had had, I didn’t want to lose our house, and I have three kids I needed to provide for."

Shaffer’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to Etsy and says she saw it as a chance to try again, and not make the same mistakes she made in her other businesses.

Shaffer now owns her own e-commerce site for ThreeBirdNest. It's Etsy’s second-most successful handmade goods shop.

What's at stake in the British election

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:00

Britons go to the polls this week in their most unpredictable general election in decades. No one party seems likely to emerge with an overall majority; a coalition government involving two, three or even four parties is a possibility.

The repercussions of the vote could be enormous, conceivably leading to: the exodus of thousands of wealthy foreigners, the beginning of the end of Britain’s role as a nuclear power, the exit of Britain from the European Union and even the break-up of the United Kingdom.
Here's a breakdown of the key issues:

Dan Hill/Marketplace
More than 100,000 people living in Britain today enjoy a special tax status, known as ‘non-dom.’  They may have lived in the U.K. for decades, but they are not regarded as permanent residents — and therefore are not required to pay tax on their overseas income. The opposition Labour Party has promised, if it wins power, to abolish non-dom status. 

Labour’s critics say this could trigger the departure of thousands of 'non-doms,' depriving the government of the $12 billion tax they pay on their UK earnings and damaging London as an international financial centre.

Dan Hill/Marketplace
Labour will likely form a government only if it has the support of the Scottish National Party. The SNP is vehemently opposed to Britain’s nuclear weapons  program, the Trident submarine system based in Scotland, and has indicated that the price of its support for Labour might be Trident’s removal from Scottish territory.

Labour insists it will not do political deals with national security, and at this stage Trident looks safe. But the country must decide next year whether or not to renew the $150 billion system, and pressure to scale down, or even scrap, this costly weapon could grow.

Dan Hill/Marketplace
If the Conservatives win power again, they have promised to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership of the European Union and hold an in-out referendum no later than 2017. British business is largely in favor of continued membership if the EU is reformed. Euro-skepticism  has declined amongst the general population, and opinion polls show that a majority of Brits would probably vote to stay in. But European referendums have a habit of blowing up in the politicians’ faces; this vote — if it takes place — could herald Britain’s departure with unpredictable consequences, for Britain and for the rest of Europe.

Mind you, one leading British economist, Roger Bootle, author of “The Trouble With Europe,” thinks Britain would be better off out than in.

Dan Hill/Marketplace
If the Scottish National Party wins big, as opinion polls suggest they will, the SNP will not only be able to exert undue pressure on the national government in London, the party will also demand a re-run of last year’s referendum on independence for Scotland. And if the political outcome of this week’s election is as messy as forecast, the case for Scottish separation may grow stronger. 

Next time by a small majority, the Scots could vote to break up their 308-year-old union with the English.

Fracking chemicals found in Pennsylvania drinking water

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-05 13:00

A report out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says chemicals used in fracking have turned up in drinking water in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. There have been all kinds of suspected and hotly debated claims of such contamination. This is one of the very few that have been put out there on the record.

The state regulator concluded that natural gas from the Marcellus Shale contaminated the drinking water. And the company, Chesapeake Energy, settled with three families for $1.6 million dollars.

The authors aren’t totally sure about how the chemicals got into the water. But they say the most likely path is substandard well construction.

The EPA is supposed to release the final draft of its study on fracking and drinking water this spring. The study will incorporate findings from Bradford County, Pennsylvania. 

VIDEO: Queen visits new royal princess

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-05 12:47
The Queen meets her fifth great-grandchild, Princes Charlotte, on the day that the new royal baby's birth is registered.