National / International News

VIDEO: Hawaiian residents flee lava flow

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 13:30
Residents of a Hawaiian village threatened by lava have begun evacuating as the flow reaches the first property in its path.

No Hand-Washing, Spotty Temperature-Taking At Liberia's Airport

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 13:23

The Ebola screening of airline passengers departing from Monrovia was not operating like well-oiled machine Monday.

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VIDEO: The assassination of Indira Gandhi

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 13:20
The aide who saw Indira Gandhi's assassination

FBI Spoofs News Story To Send Spyware To Suspect

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 13:17

How did the FBI get a suspect to click on a link? It created a fake news story about the suspect. When he clicked, spyware glommed on to his computer.

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Rangers 1-0 St Johnstone

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 13:15
Lewis Macleod's late header seals a Scottish League Cup semi-final place for Rangers at St Johnstone's expense.

With A Soft Approach On Gangs, Nicaragua Eschews Violence

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 13:07

Despite being in one of the most dangerous regions in the world, Nicaragua remains relatively peaceful. Analysts credit its style of policing, which has rejected the iron fist policies of neighbors.

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VIDEO: 'I escaped death in N Korea'

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:43
A young girl who escaped North Korea has spoken to the BBC about the violence and starvation she experienced when she lived there.

Home Health Workers Struggle For Better Pay And Health Insurance

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:38

Home health care aides often toil for low pay and in jobs without benefits, including health insurance. A million more home health care workers will be needed to meet demand over the next decade.

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Constituent Services Give Voters Something To Remember

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:38

If played just right, members of Congress can see a political payoff from simply doing their jobs and helping out voters who elected them. It's one reason incumbents fare well come Election Day.

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Some St. Louis Teachers Address Ferguson With Lessons On Race

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:38

Educators in St. Louis are using events in Ferguson to spark discussions about race and class in a deeply segregated region. Others have found approaching the subject a difficult task.

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A Helping Hand To High Achievers

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:31

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will invest $10 million over two years to help top students from poor families into college.

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Blood Test For Ebola Doesn't Catch Infection Early

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:20

A highly sensitive blood test for Ebola exists, so why isn't it being used to test all returning health workers from West Africa? Because the virus isn't in the blood in the first stages of infection.

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Djokovic returns with win in Paris

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:16
Novak Djokovic's first match since becoming a father brings a 6-3 6-4 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Paris Masters.

To Make Bread, Watch The Dough, Not The Recipe

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:16

One man's quest for the perfect loaf took him to Paris, Berlin, California and Kansas. What he learned can't easily be captured in words. It's a feeling in your fingers that comes from experience.

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Haunted houses make scary money

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:15

Americans plan to spend about $7 billion dollars on Halloween this fall. A good chunk of that change will be spent at spooky attractions.

The creep-out factor starts at the entrance to Dark Hour Haunted House’s Halloween Show in Plano, Texas, as a 9-foot-tall furry bat sneaks up on a woman buying tickets.  In a dark corner, an animatronic witch tells a scary story and stirs a steaming cauldron.

More than one in five Americans plans to visit a spooky attraction this year, according to the National Retail Federation. They’re looking for an adrenaline rush.

“It’s easy to scare one person,” says Allen Hopps, the artistic director at Dark Hour. “When you have to scare 10,000 people, or 20,000 people, that gets very hard.”

Hopps tries to make Dark Hour different by not relying on the standard themes – think movies like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hills Have Eyes."

“Haunted houses will always have a redneck, cannibal and inbred theme,” he says. “That’s the easiest and cheapest to do because all your costumes are thrift stores, all of your makeup is blood and dirt, and you’re covered. So you’re going to see that everywhere.”

So instead of chainsaw sounds and clowns, Dark Hour has tunnels that spin as you walk through, and werewolves with fangs that glow.

It’s unnerving.

Hopps also mixes in the quiet buzzing sound of bees to add to the creepy music.

“Scaring people has become a global industry,” says Larry Kirchner. He builds terror attractions across the world, including Creepyworld -- the largest haunted attraction in the Midwest. On a good year, his creations bring in around $4 million to $5 million dollars.

Kirchner designed his first haunted house in 4th grade. Back then cold spaghetti for guts and peeled grapes for eyeballs would do. Today, he says there are high-tech ghost tours, paintball zombie attacks, even extreme haunts where actors tie you up and pretend to torture you.

“Halloween used to be this holiday where you would carve a pumpkin, watch a horror movie and go trick or treating,” Kirchner says, “Now you’ve got everyone trying to exploit it.”

And, in the past, a 10-minute adventure was just fine, visitors today expect a haunted house to be a full evening’s entertainment.

At Dark Hour in Texas, the maze takes nearly 40 minutes to walk through. And after you’re done, you get a music performance: Zombies, on stage, performing Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Now that’s scary.

 

Obama: Ebola Policies Should Support Health Care Workers On Front Lines

NPR News - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:52

The U.S. policies, said Obama, should be crafted to avoid discouraging workers from going overseas to help curb Ebola outbreaks.

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VIDEO: Emin: 'I am on the side of women'

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:39
Artist Tracey Emin says she is "on the side of women" after people "wilfully misunderstood" her on the issue of being an artist and a mother.

Michael Lewis: Wall Street is "lost"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:23

Wall Street today is lost and searching for its role, according to author Michael Lewis.

"Technology has created a world that's very hostile to intermediaries in most industries. And Wall Street has fought to preserve its position as an intermediary where it's really not necessary in a lot of cases," he says. "It's actually, probably, in decline."

Lewis — perhaps best known for two books later adapted to film, "Moneyball" and "The Blind Side" — used to be a financial trader. He left after three years and wrote a tell-all, his first book, "Liar's Poker." 

Twenty five years later, the book has been reissued. And while he's continued his deep look at finance with his recent book "Flash Boys," it's strange how the world Lewis depicted in the late '80s feels oddly familiar. 

Listen to the full interview in the player above or read the transcript, which has been edited for clarity.

Kai Ryssdal: This book was not received the way you thought it would be... you thought it would be a cautionary tale.

Michael Lewis: It had the opposite effect of what I expected. I didn't think of it as a moralistic tale about Wall Street ... but I did think that for someone who had some other idea of what to do with their lives, it would demystify it, and maybe they could go on and do what they were supposed to do.

Instead, I swear after six months, I had a thousand letters from kids saying, "I'm a junior at Ohio State and I've read your how-to book about how to get ahead on Wall Street. Is there anything you left out? Because you made me even more interested in doing it."

KR: And you know why, right? Because you talk about making money come out of a telephone.

ML: Not only do I make money come out of a telephone, but I clearly have no idea what I'm doing. The combination is like catnip for a male in college. He has no idea what he can do, he has no sense of himself in the marketplace, and then there's this thing... they give you lots of money even though you don't know what you're doing? It created a stampede.

 

KR: And you say "male" intentionally because at the time this book was written, females in this business were few and very far between.

ML: True. I would say that even now, [women are] kept far from the risk taking. It's still a very male-dominated business. At the time, yes, my training program at Salomon Brothers was 85 to 90 percent guys.

KR: And very fraternity house-like, I mean, the description of some of the guys sitting in the back row of that training class throwing spitballs. 

It was considered normal and acceptable to order a stripper up on the trading floor. 

KR: It seems like very little has changed. The essence of what happens on Wall Street, 25 years later, seems sort of to be the same.

ML: There's a timelessness about it isn't there? There are a couple of things that I think are a little different, but it's by degree, not kind. I think that the street has gotten much, much better at disguising what it does because it's gotten so much more complicated. All of a sudden, you're looking at a truly opaque black box when you're looking at something that used to be as simple as the stock market. 

The other thing is this idea of "too big to fail." That did not exist when I wrote the book. There was a sense that even my firm, Salomon Brothers, could fail. And now, if you're in the equivalent of Salomen Brothers today, you're in a place that, basically, you sense, won't be allowed to fail.

KR: You say that these guys are working harder at establishing a public persona, but I wonder if that doesn't lend itself to a real difference, actually, between Wall Street then and now. Wall Street then was sleazy, with strippers on the trading floor, as you said. Now, it just seems a little sinister, because we're supposed to believe that they're out for the common good.

ML: I think there has been much more attention paid to how things seem, rather than how things are, then there was then. There are phalanxes of corporate PR people. People inside these firms, no way are they going to talk to a journalist. You've got a much slicker corporate exterior now and a much more careful presentation of self. 

One of the things that was kind of lovely about the world I described in Salomen Brothers in the '80s was that the people kind of were how they seemed. There wasn't a lot of hypocrisy. You might approve or disapprove of the gambling and the strippers on the trading floor. But there was a certain integrity to it [laughs].

KR: And what is it now? What is Wall Street now?

ML: Lost. It has a very unclear sense of its purpose in the world. Technology has created a world that's very hostile to intermediaries in most industries.  And Wall Street has fought to preserve its position as an intermediary where it's really not necessary in a lot of cases. It's sort of like clawing to preserve its revenues and its profits at a time when it's actually, probably, in decline. 

KR: Do you re-read your own writing at all?

ML: It's funny you ask, I got on the plane coming to New York the other day, and I thought, I gotta re-read this thing. I've never re-read it.

I opened it and thought, "I'm so bored with myself. I can't do this. I just can't."

The only other time I'd done this, I put it on my lap when the paperback came out in 1990, to re-read it before I went on my paperback tour. And the guy in the seat next to me saw it and said, "I read that. Cynical bastard." I put it away and didn't read it then.

So I have not actually re-read it, but I vaguely remember what happened to me [laughs].

Noriega fails to sue Call of Duty

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:19
The former dictator of Panama, Manuel Noriega, fails in his attempt to sue Activision after a character based on him appeared in a Call of Duty game.

Giant tortoise 'miraculous' recovery

BBC - Tue, 2014-10-28 11:16
A new study confirms that giant tortoise numbers on one of the Galapagos Islands have bounced back thanks to captive breeding.

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