National / International News

Argentina hours away from default

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 07:50
No deal is in prospect in Argentina's debt talks in New York as Wednesday night's default deadline approaches.

US travel ban on Venezuela officials

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 07:50
The US imposes travel restrictions on Venezuelan government officials it says are linked to human rights abuses during recent protests.

Woman 'sought witness information'

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 07:48
A woman is charged with terrorism offences for allegedly trying to identify people currently under the PSNI Witness Protection Scheme.

Gun attack on police patrol car

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 07:37
Police are blaming dissident republicans for a gun attack on one of their patrols in Londonderry

VIDEO: How to 'drive' a driverless car?

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 07:24
The BBC's Jon Ironmonger uncovers the science behind the UK's driverless cars.

VIDEO: Broads-view opens up Norfolk waterways

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 07:22
The Norfolk Broads will soon be available for virtual navigation thanks to a novel aquatic equivalent of Google's Streetview technology

Desk Desk Evolution

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 07:13

The changing workspace in the Age of Deskovery.

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Los Angeles flood hits university

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 07:03
A burst water main causes flooding along Los Angeles' Sunset Boulevard at the University of California, Los Angeles, officials say.

Ex-NoW editors charged over hacking

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 07:02
Two former News of the World journalists have been charged with conspiring to hack phones, the Crown Prosecution Service says.

Energy firms to 'double' margins

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:55
The big six energy firms are set to double their profit margins over the next year, according to estimates by the regulator, Ofgem.

UN accuses Israel over Gaza shelter

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:42
UN officials accuse Israel of launching a deadly attack on a UN-run school housing thousands of refugees in Gaza despite repeated warnings.

Tight security after Xinjiang unrest

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:42
Chinese authorities step up security in parts of Xinjiang after dozens were killed or injured in the region's worst violence for months.

'You look down, your legs go to jelly - it's terrifying'

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:41
A rejuvenated Tom Daley talks sexuality, critics and the "demon" dive from London 2012 that is still affecting his performances.

Moyes bar 'scuffle' case dropped

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:28
Former Manchester United manager David Moyes is no longer being investigated over an alleged scuffle in a bar in Lancashire, police say.

Wednesday's gossip column

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:17
Borini resumes talks with Sunderland, Fellaini's wages could scupper Napoli move, Lovren visa delay plus more.

Woman, 34, found dead in river

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:13
A woman's body is pulled from a south Wales river, Gwent Police confirm.

WATCH: Video Shows Women Narrowly Escape Death On Railroad Tracks

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:06

The 14,000-ton freight train could not come to a stop. But the women laid down between the rails and survived.

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NLRB says McDonald's can be considered joint-employer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:00

McDonald’s could be held liable for wage-and-hour violations, and for obstructing union organizing, at its thousands of franchise restaurants across the country.

The National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel has ruled that McDonald’s can be considered a "joint-employer" along with its franchise owners in labor-law complaints, because the parent company plays a significant role in employment practices for fast-food workers at the franchisee-operated stores, which constitute 90 percent of the chain’s restaurants.

If upheld in subsequent NLRB proceedings (and further legal appeals, should there be any, by McDonald’s and its franchisees), the ruling could mean McDonald’s is legally responsible when franchise owners shortchange workers or lay them off after they protest for higher wages. The theory is that McDonald’s in part determines wage levels, work rules and scheduling patterns via the contracts it sets with franchisees, as well as the labor-management software and guidance it provides to maximize store-profitability.

Complaints about worker treatment in the ongoing campaign for $15-an-hour pay at fast-food restaurants, and for union representation, have been brought by the advocacy group Fast Food Forward, which is supported by the Service Employees International Union.

There are also class-action lawsuits being pursued in three states (California, New York and Michigan) over alleged violations by McDonald’s and its franchise owners. A lawyer for the class-action plaintiffs in California, Michael Rubin at Altshuler Berzon in San Francisco, said the NLRB ruling would strengthen those cases, which are also based on ‘joint-employer’ claims.

Meanwhile, a federal court in California has held Wal-Mart to be a joint-employer of temporary warehouse workers in a class-action lawsuit based on a similar argument — that Wal-Mart controls the employment conditions in the supply chain in which subcontractors and temporary staffing agencies operate.

Christine Owens of the National Employment Law Project says the NLRB and some courts are acknowledging the increasing use of contingent and temporary workers in the corporate ecosystem that many large corporations create around them.

These recent interpretations of U.S. labor law, says Owens, may be “catching up with how the economy is changing. So many working people are no longer employed by the company that appears to be the main employer. There’s more than one employer really calling the shots.”

McDonald’s has vowed to fight the NLRB ruling, saying its franchisees set wages and working conditions. A statement from the company says the decision "goes against decades of established law regarding the franchise model in the United States."

Groups representing restaurant owners and franchisees have also blasted the decision, saying it jeopardizes the franchising system.

But former Penn State labor-law professor Ellen Dannin, author of "Taking Back the Workers’ Law," isn’t so sure.

“People seemed a little over the top” in their reactions to the NLRB general counsel’s determination, she said. “Just because the general counsel has issued a complaint doesn’t necessarily lead to the kinds of problems that they’re worried about.”

Dannin also expressed skepticism that the ruling, linking McDonald’s more directly to labor relationships and conditions at its franchises, will necessarily make union organizing against chains like McDonald’s any easier. 

We have a tag for "Sharknado" stories

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-30 06:00

It's hard to imagine where the two circles of "Marketplace coverage" and "Sharknado" intersect on a venn diagram. But overlap they do, and in suprisingly relevant ways.

That's because the SyFy network's made-for-tv movie is something of a phenomenon from a financial perspective. With a relatively small budget — around $1-2 million — it grew from a disappointing first airing to internet sensation to big screen flick

"Everybody asks, you know, why did this happen?" says director Anthony C. Ferrante. "You can't ask why; it's 'Sharknado.' It's a movie about sharks and a tornado, and it just hit everybody's sweet spot for whatever reason this summer."

It didn't hit a sweet spot for actor Ian Ziering initially. That is, until health insurance came into play.

Ziering was reluctant to star in the original film, but when his wife urged him to consider the union health insurance he would be eligible for by doing the movie, he reconsidered.

With a pregnant wife, Ziering put down his reservations about the cheesy script, and picked up a shark chainsaw.

So it turns out Sharknado isn't just a story about a tornado dropping sharks from the sky.

It's about financial success, crowdsourced marketing and health care. Go figure.

By the way, Sharknado 2 premieres Wednesday.

Fastest growth in Spain since 2007

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-30 05:46
Spain's economy is growing at its fastest quarterly rate since the end of 2007, but it is also facing a deflation threat.
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