National / International News

The problem of re-inventing spectacles

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 07:04
Innovations such as Google Glass have attracted much attention, but how tricky is it to re-design a classic pair of glasses?

What's The Secret To Pouring Ketchup? Know Your Physics

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 07:04

Many restaurants still serve ketchup in glass bottles, but they make it hard to get the right amount onto your plate. A video explains how the problem lies with the physics of the condiment itself.

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Health Law Adviser Says Insurers Will Morph Into Providers

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:58

In his new book, former White House adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel says the Affordable Care Act is going to work in the long run, but that we'll see a lot of changes in health care along the way.

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PODCAST: A case of the Mondays for BofA

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:55

Bank of America stock lost more than six percent of its value on Monday after it revealed it made a big mistake on its stress tests, which is the Federal Reserve's system to see if banks have the wherewithal to survive a future crisis without a bailout. BofA blames an internal communications error for miss-stating the amount of money it had in certain locations on its balance sheet. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman joins us to explain.

Meanwhile, starting Tuesday, you can stroll into Starbucks for a Chai Tea with Oprah’s name on it – Teavana Oprah Chai, to be exact. Oprah Winfrey's product and book endorsements used to send sales through the roof. But will the "Oprah Effect" hold, now that she's teamed up with a corporate giant?

And, you may have missed this a while back in the MIT Sloan Management Review, volume 52, number three. They call them "dormant ties" but it's really about the business value of connecting with old flames, or at the very least, re-connecting with someone whom you used to know, to paraphrase Gotye. Wharton business school professor Adam Grant keeps an eye on the business journals for us and joins us to explain

Kenya president signs polygamy law

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:16
Kenya's president signs into law a bill allowing men to take as many wives as they wish without consulting existing partners.

Syria blasts kill dozens in Homs

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:15
At least 37 people are killed in explosions in the Syrian city of Homs, after at least 14 die in a mortar attack in Damascus, officials say.

Heads say 'schools not fortresses'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:15
Head teachers warn that excessive school security should not be the response to the fatal stabbing of teacher Ann Maguire

Campus Sexual Assaults Are Targeted In New White House Report

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:14

Noting that 1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted in college, the White House releases new guidelines to help victims of that violence and improve the way schools handle such cases.

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US high court weighs phone searches

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 06:13
The US Supreme Court hears arguments over whether police may search a suspect's mobile phone without a warrant at the time of an arrest.

Inquest family anger at health trust

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:50
The parents of a cyclist are left "speechless" and "shocked" after the second inquest into their son's death is halted because Stafford Hospital medical staff have not been contacted.

Government targets millions for job training programs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:47

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has announced $150 million in new funding for states to develop and expand job-training programs. Since January 2014, a total of $1 billion in federal spending has been targeted to workforce development and employment opportunities for people suffering the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

The money is authorized under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. States can apply for the newly released money to help fund apprenticeships, on-the-job training, partnerships with employers, and industry certification programs. The overall goal, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is to train people—especially the long-term unemployed—in industries where there is now increasing demand for skilled labor.

As manufacturing picks up and Baby Boomers retire from middle-class blue-collar jobs, there’s plenty of need for additional workers, said machine-tool instructor Keith Knight at Mount Hood Community College near Portland, Oregon.

“As far as industries looking for these jobs—Boeing, Oregon Iron Works, the majority of industries—they’re starting to see more and more work showing up,” said Knight. The community college’s programs for machine-tool operator, automotive technician, and welder all fill up quickly, and many students are able to line up jobs before they graduate, instructors said.

Knight said job training can help someone with only a high school diploma, or a two-year associate’s degree, land a higher-skilled or better-paying job.

That’s what attracted Andrew Stevens, 27, to the community college program. “This is 'Plan F,'” said Stevens ,as he sat at his workbench disassembling and rebuilding a Chrysler transmission in the bright, clean automotive classroom. “I’ve done many things—from guiding fishing in Alaska, to laying ceramic tile—which is no fun—to being a prosthetics technician—I made fake arms and legs. I was pretty much at the top of my pay scale, making as much as I was going to make, and decided that wasn’t enough.”

Stevens’ instructor, Steve Michner, said auto technicians can ultimately earn $45,000 to $55,000 per year.

Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, said job-training programs can help individual workers boost their earnings and job opportunities, and they can help companies fill positions that require specific skills. But they can’t necessarily address high local or regional unemployment—for instance, in old industrial cities or depressed urban areas.

“The fancy term is ‘spatial mismatch’—people live in the wrong part of the country from where the jobs are,” explained Van Horn. “There might be lots of jobs in Southeastern Louisiana. But the people who used to work in the construction industry in New Jersey either can’t, or don’t want to, move there. Or, go to the Dakotas, which is another place that’s booming.”

Van Horn pointed out that sometimes the spatial mismatch is hyper-local. Some neighborhoods in New Orleans, for instance, have high poverty and unemployment, even though oil refineries and chemical plants may need skilled workers just a couple hours away.

Many economists say skills training is important at this point in the economic recovery, so employers can fill jobs in regions and industrial sectors that are growing strongly. But also, employers need to generate more jobs overall, in more places, to pick up the slack in the labor market nationwide.

Government targets $1 billion for job training

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:47

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has announced $150 million in new funding for states to develop and expand job-training programs. Since January 2014, a total of $1 billion in federal spending has been targeted to workforce development and employment opportunities for people suffering the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

The money is authorized under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. States can apply for the newly released money to help fund apprenticeships, on-the-job training, partnerships with employers, and industry certification programs. The overall goal, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is to train people—especially the long-term unemployed—in industries where there is now increasing demand for skilled labor.

As manufacturing picks up and Baby Boomers retire from middle-class blue-collar jobs, there’s plenty of need for additional workers, said machine-tool instructor Keith Knight at Mount Hood Community College near Portland, Oregon.

“As far as industries looking for these jobs—Boeing, Oregon Iron Works, the majority of industries—they’re starting to see more and more work showing up,” said Knight. The community college’s programs for machine-tool operator, automotive technician, and welder all fill up quickly, and many students are able to line up jobs before they graduate, instructors said.

Knight said job training can help someone with only a high school diploma, or a two-year associate’s degree, land a higher-skilled or better-paying job.

That’s what attracted Andrew Stevens, 27, to the community college program. “This is 'Plan F,'” said Stevens ,as he sat at his workbench disassembling and rebuilding a Chrysler transmission in the bright, clean automotive classroom. “I’ve done many things—from guiding fishing in Alaska, to laying ceramic tile—which is no fun—to being a prosthetics technician—I made fake arms and legs. I was pretty much at the top of my pay scale, making as much as I was going to make, and decided that wasn’t enough.”

Stevens’ instructor, Steve Michner, said auto technicians can ultimately earn $45,000 to $55,000 per year.

Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, said job-training programs can help individual workers boost their earnings and job opportunities, and they can help companies fill positions that require specific skills. But they can’t necessarily address high local or regional unemployment—for instance, in old industrial cities or depressed urban areas.

“The fancy term is ‘spatial mismatch’—people live in the wrong part of the country from where the jobs are,” explained Van Horn. “There might be lots of jobs in Southeastern Louisiana. But the people who used to work in the construction industry in New Jersey either can’t, or don’t want to, move there. Or, go to the Dakotas, which is another place that’s booming.”

Van Horn pointed out that sometimes the spatial mismatch is hyper-local. Some neighborhoods in New Orleans, for instance, have high poverty and unemployment, even though oil refineries and chemical plants may need skilled workers just a couple hours away.

Many economists say skills training is important at this point in the economic recovery, so employers can fill jobs in regions and industrial sectors that are growing strongly. But also, employers need to generate more jobs overall, in more places, to pick up the slack in the labor market nationwide.

Top Azerbaijan activist detained

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:41
Azerbaijan's most prominent human rights defender, Leyla Yunus, has been detained with her husband while trying to leave the country.

Officer cleared of Taser assault

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:39
A police officer who used a Taser stun gun on a naked man who threw his underpants at him is found not guilty of assault.

Appeal after tumours dog put down

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:34
The RSPCA is appealing for information after a dog found to have painful cancerous tumours and left tied to some railings in Oxford, has to be put down.

Seized Nigerian girls 'taken abroad'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:19
Some of the schoolgirls abducted by suspected militant Islamists in northern Nigeria are believed to have been taken to neighbouring states, a local leader tells the BBC.

North Korea Conducts Artillery Drills Near Southern Border

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:19

The exercises, while not uncommon, are considered provocative in the immediate wake of President Obama's visit to South Korea.

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Wimbledon losers' prize money boost

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:03
Prize money for players who lose in the first three rounds at this year's Wimbledon rises by over 100% over a three-year period.

Day in pictures: 29 April 2014

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:01
News photos from past 24 hours: 29 April

UK banks face housing 'stress test'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:45
Eight UK banks and building societies will face so-called stress tests, to assess their resilience to an economic downturn, the Bank of England announces.
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