National / International News

Amazon reports $126m quarterly loss

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 13:49
Amazon reports a loss of $126m in the second quarter and warns of slowing sales.

Murdoch upstages fellow Scot Jamieson

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 13:44
Ross Murdoch breaks the Commonwealth Games record as he earns a shock win over fellow Scot Michael Jamieson in the 200m breaststroke.

UNICEF Report On Female Genital Mutilation Holds Hope And Woe

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 13:43

The practice is on the decline in many countries. But the population boom in Africa and the Middle East will put millions of girls at risk unless more progress is made.

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UN sends 'unofficial' aid to Syria

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 13:39
The first UN aid shipment to Syria delivered without the consent of the government has arrived in the north of the country.

Mangala 'signs' for Man City in video

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 13:32
Manchester City's website releases a video that appears to show £32m defender Eliaquim Mangala signing for the club.

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 13:26

So much of the food we eat these days is encased in plastic. And behind it is a whole lot of research and innovation. We dive into some of the materials that keep food fresh and portable.

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Success for hosts at Glasgow 2014

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 13:20
Swimmers Ross Murdoch and Hannah Miley, as well as judo sisters Kimberley and Louise Renicks win gold as hosts Scotland take 10 medals on day one of the Commonwealth Games.

Wiggins says he's 'done with the road'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 13:04
Sir Bradley Wiggins says he will not ride the Tour de France again after describing road racing as "cut-throat".

A country where liberal journalists risk death

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 13:04
The country where a writer accused of blasphemy must hide

No deluge of campaign cash after limits end

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:57

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision in a big campaign finance case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The justices voted 5-4 to overturn certain limits on how much money Americans can give to candidates and committees.

The reaction was swift. There was concern, among the dissenting justices and campaign finance reform advocates, that the decision would open the floodgates, allowing more Americans to give more money. But so far, it seems the decision has only affected a small group.

Gone are what are called “aggregate limits” on political donations. That is, according to Emory University School of Law Professor Michael Kang, “the total amount an individual could give to candidates, parties and other PACs.”

In the past, a donor could give a maximum of $74,600 to party committees every two years, and $48,600 to federal candidates. A Republican donor named Shaun McCutcheon challenged those, and the court’s majority ruled they were unconstitutional. But, Kang says, here’s the thing: “The court striking down the aggregate limit probably won’t affect that many givers going forward.”

That’s because most Americans weren’t already affected by them.

“There really weren’t a lot of people bumping up against these aggregate limits. So, in 2012, I think the number is roughly 650 maxed out,” says Heather Gerken, a professor at Yale Law School. To “max out” means you gave as much as you could to candidates and committees – tens of thousands of dollars.

During oral arguments, the justices debated a hypothetical: With no aggregate limits, a donor could, in theory, funnel millions of dollars to a single candidate through committees. Gerken acknowledges that is plausible, but she says she doesn’t expect it will happen too often.

“If you have enough money to give $3.5 million in one check, you probably have enough money to fund your own super PAC,” she says, noting that is something many big donors have done. If you have your own super PAC, you have a lot more say over how your money gets spent.

So who has been affected most directly by the Supreme Court’s decision? Lobbyists.

Kelly Bingel is one of them. She is a big supporter of Democratic candidates.

“I think, as soon as the decision came out, every lobbyist in Washington, DC was looking at their checkbook, thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, what does this mean for me?’”

A lobbyist’s checkbook gets a lot of use. Part of her job, Bingel says, is to give money to politicians. She plans for it every year.

“This was a part of my family’s budget,” she allows.

Bingel pays out of pocket to go to political fundraisers, and there are a lot of them.

“We could spend breakfast, lunch and dinner with folks,” Bingel says. “My personal preference is to have breakfast and dinner with my family.”

Bingel estimates she gets around a hundred solicitations a day, mostly by email. In the past, those aggregate limits the Supreme Court overturned gave her an easy out:

“I mean, it used to be you could say, ‘I’m sorry. I’ve hit the max.’ Now, you have to say, ‘I’m sorry. I just can’t…’”

Lobbyist Kenneth J. Kies, managing director of the Federal Policy Group, used that line.

“In my case, it was actually true,” he says.

Kies bumped up against those caps many times. He has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and Republican Party committees. 

Kies also worried about the effect of the McCutcheon decision, joking, “I was going to get rid of my email address and delist my phone number.”

One limit is still in place, a cap on how much a donor can give to a single candidate: $2,600.

“I think from the standpoint of campaign finance reformers, they feel like they dodged a bullet here,” says Kang, noting that “base limit” is something the justices could address in the future.

“I don’t think it’s too sweeping to say that the court really is on a path toward something approaching total deregulation of campaign finance,” he says.

If that limit on individual donations were to disappear, that would affect many more Americans.

Farah forgotten as Glasgow basks in golden glow

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:56
The Commonwealth Games began with Mo Farah pulling out but ended with Scotland celebrating a golden day to savour.

VIDEO: Pope meets Sudan 'apostasy' woman

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:33
Pope Francis has met Meriam Yahia, the Sudanese woman who fled Sudan after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam.

DOJ Reaches Agreement For Oversight Of Albuquerque PD

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:29

The deal follows a Justice Department report released in April that showed the city's police used excessive force in dealing with many suspects.

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Who Are The Kids Of The Migrant Crisis?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:21

Many kids and teenagers leave Central America to avoid climbing levels of gang violence, extortion and drug trafficking. Sometimes, it's to find their families.

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5 Things I Learned About TV's Future From The Critics Press Tour

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:19

From being mistaken for Randy Jackson to confronting network executives about diversity issues, TV critic Eric Deggans runs down highlights of the two-week blizzard of parties and press conferences.

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The Death Clerk, And Other Details Of Last-Minute Execution Appeals

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:12

An hour into Wednesday's botched execution in Arizona, an attorney for the inmate reached out to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy seeking his intervention. How do such appeals work? And how often do they happen?

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Botched Ariz. Execution Renews Unease Over Lethal Injections

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:12

Activists against the death penalty are seizing on a botched execution in Arizona Wednesday. Witnesses say that death row inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood gasped for air, taking nearly two hours to die by lethal injection.

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Central American Leaders: Immigrant Children Are A Shared Problem

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:12

The presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are offering their take on the mounting numbers of unaccompanied children entering the U.S. from Central America. They're talking to reporters on the day before a meeting with President Obama.

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Sen. Ryan Unveils His Anti-Poverty Plan, A Rebuke To LBJ Programs

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:12

The Wisconsin Republican is rolling out a plan that he says will fight poverty more effectively than the programs launched by former President Johnson's War on Poverty, but progressives are skeptical.

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Missing Air Algerie Flight Appears To Have Crashed In Mali

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 12:12

According to Air Algerie, one of the airline's flights has likely crashed in the African country of Mali. The plane, which carried 116 passengers and crew, lost contact with authorities an hour after it took off.

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