National / International News

Syrian Peace Talks Open With Bitterness And A Bit Of Hope

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-22 13:00

The long-anticipated Syrian peace conference commenced on Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland. The opening day marked the first time Syrian government and opposition members came together in the same room. Each side blamed the other for the three years of bloodshed in Syria. NPR's Deborah Amos offers a recap and analysis of the day's events from Switzerland.

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In North Carolina, Workarounds Help The Poor Find Health Coverage

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-22 13:00

Because North Carolina didn't expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, many low-income people who could otherwise benefit from the law don't. But there are often ways to bump up their incomes just enough to help them qualify for subsidized coverage.

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English Only? For Mainland Puerto Ricans, The Answer Is Often 'Yes'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-22 13:00

Puerto Ricans are less likely to speak Spanish at home, compared with other Latinos living in the U.S. According to an NPR poll, only 20 percent of Puerto Ricans speak Spanish at home — less than half the percentage for respondents overall.

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Debate: Is The Affordable Care Act Beyond Repair?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-22 12:07

Two teams of medical doctors and political columnists face off over the hot-button health care law in the latest Intelligence Squared debate. Is Obamacare fundamentally flawed or poised to transform the health care system for the better?

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Rare whale vomit is 'lump of rubber'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 12:01
A substance thought to be a lump of rare, potentially valuable whale vomit turns out to be.... rubber.

VIDEO: Coding push for primary pupils

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 11:56
From September, every child in England will have to learn computer coding.

Marital coercion defence to end

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 11:51
The historical defence of marital coercion is an anachronism and will be abolished, says justice minister Lord Faulks.

Detective 'guilty of misconduct'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 11:42
A detective who did not follow arrest guidelines in a double murder case has been found guilty of gross misconduct, the BBC understands.

Abe urges Asia military restraint

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 11:40
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tells an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos that "military expansion" must be restrained in Asia.

VIDEO: Can business be a 'force for good'?

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 11:21
A group of leading entrepreneurs is taking their project to "make business a force for good" to the 2014 Davos conference in Switzerland.

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.

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