National / International News

PODCAST: A forecast to Friday's Jobs Report

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-03-04 03:00

First up, we'll talk about what the jobs report is likely to look like on Friday. Plus, Ukraine’s central bank is raising its interest rate from 19.5 percent to 30 percent. The hike comes as the government is seeking a $17.5 billion assistance program from the International Monetary Fund. Inflation is rampant and the national currency has tumbled since Russia annexed Ukraine's southern Crimea peninsula and pro-Russian separatists took up arms in the country's east.  We look at the reasons behind the hike in the interest rate. And gas prices sure seem to go up a lot faster than they go down. On the West Coast, 37 cents a gallon just last week. We explain.

VIDEO: Treasury Committee

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:59
MPs take evidence on the Bank of England Foreign Exchange Market Investigation.

Is another NHS scandal brewing?

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:52
The Morecambe Bay inquiry has chilling echoes of one into Stafford Hospital. So could there be another scandal happening elsewhere?

Alabama halts gay wedding licences

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:43
Alabama's Supreme Court orders its judges to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses despite a federal ruling saying a ban is unconstitutional.

South Sudan hits out at UN sanctions

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:40
South Sudan's foreign minister warns that the imposition of any US-backed sanctions would be counter-productive to the peace process.

Lovers convicted of killing girl

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:40
A woman and her lover are convicted of killing her eight-year-old daughter, who suffered 50 injuries at her London flat, in a cyber fantasy world death.

Sotherton's stolen gold medal found

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:39
A Commonwealth Games gold medal stolen from the home of former heptathlete Kelly Sotherton is found.

Tipper truck deaths inquest opened

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:31
The inquest into the deaths of four people who died in a tipper truck crash in Bath is opened and adjourned.

VIDEO: Prince's warning about ivory trade

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:30
The Duke of Cambridge gives a speech warning over the risks to elephants from poaching and illegal trade.

Blurred Lines track made $16m profit

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:28
Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams made more than $5m (£3.26m) each from 2013 hit Blurred Lines, according to figures revealed during a copyright trial.

Phelps may be reinstated for Worlds

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:28
Michael Phelps may be allowed to compete at swimming's World Championships in Russia after originally being banned.

Putin urges end to political murders

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:23
Russian President Vladimir Putin demands an end to "shameful" political killings in Russia, after the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

Economy grows despite oil price drop

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:22
The Scottish economy will continue to pick up pace, despite the impact for the oil and gas industry of the lower oil price.

Federal Agents Carry Out Search For Evidence Of Illegal Support For 'Birth Tourism'

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:22

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says some wealthy foreigners seek to give birth to their children in the U.S. so they will obtain U.S. citizenship.

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Tanzanians die in heavy floods

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:15
Flooding in north-western Tanzania has killed at least 38 people and left hundreds of others homeless, police tell the BBC.

'Blame fans' Hillsborough police told

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:15
An ex-police inspector tells the Hillsborough inquest officers were told to put the blame for the disaster on "drunken Liverpool supporters".

Cyclist escorted off M1 motorway

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:13
A cyclist is escorted off the M1 in Hertfordshire and given "words of advice" by police.

Man proposes with 8-tonne digger

BBC - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:10
A romantic road worker uses an eight-tonne digger to pop the question by writing his proposal with the heavy metal grab.

Target announces layoffs at company headquarters

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:00

Target Corporation has announced thousands of job cuts, most of them at company headquarters, set to roll out over the next two years. CEO Brian Cornell, who joined Target last year, told investors the cuts were part of a broader turnaround. 

The biggest event in Target’s recent history was a black eye for the retailer: A data breach in 2013 that saw millions of customer credit cards exposed to possible fraud.

However, that's not what's behind these cuts, says Brian Yarbrough, an analyst from Edward Jones. "Of course some customers will never shop them again," he says. "But for the most part, most of the customers have come back. So I don’t think this has anything to do with the data breach."

There have been other problems, too — like a failed expansion into Canada, which collapsed. Target Canada filed for bankruptcy in January after just two years in operation. It’s in the process of closing more than 100 stores and laying off more than 17,000 workers.

"Target’s last five years have been the most challenging in the history of the company," says Burt Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a retail consultancy. "Every major move Target made seemed to be a major management mistake."

However, Flickinger thinks the company may be poised for a rebound. For instance, he thinks Target is addressing supply-chain problems, which helped sink Target Canada and which Flickinger says have hurt stores here.

Also in the works: A new emphasis on fancier groceries, to lure younger shoppers. Once shoppers come to Target, the thinking goes, they will buy stuff. Come for the organic yogurt and gluten-free granola, stick around and pick up some pants or a deck chair.

The Sound of Computers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-03-04 02:00

Have you ever wondered what computers sounded like before they evolved into the sleek, silent processors we know and use. Well, now you can find out.

Matt Parker, a UK-based sound artist, is the man behind the Imitation Archive - it’s a collection of sounds from the early days of computing. The archive will be in the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park, England. Parker is also working on turning some of these sounds into musical compositions.

What was surprising, he said, was the rich variety of sounds he encountered. “Certainly the assumption would be that they all sound the same,” said Parker.  

“Very early electromechanical computers running on relay switches make a very different sort of sound to the sounds you get from high processing smaller devices,” he explained, before playing sounds from one particular device, known as the WITCH. It sounded, he said, like “various pieces of metal grinding.”

Parker described the device as “basically, a very advanced calculator.”

He also said the WITCH was the most musical of all the technology he's recorded: “It’s very interesting, very rhythmic."

His goal is to explore the separation between the quiet devices that we keep beside us or tucked away in our pockets and bags, and the place where all the information they process is ending up. “I want to try and find a way using sound to remind people of that,” said Parker.