National / International News

Fed grapples with rising prices and slow growth

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-18 02:00

The Federal Reserve’s key policy-making body — the Federal Open Market Committee — wraps up its two-day meeting today with a news conference hosted by Chair Janet Yellen, and  projections on economic growth going forward.

Consumer prices were up strongly in May — at around a 2 percent annual rate — for everything from food and gasoline, to rents and new cars. If that keeps up, the Fed might have to raise short-term interest rates sooner than expected, to tamp down prices. That could also tamp down consumer spending and job growth.

“You’ve still got the backdrop of this slow-growth economy with stagnant household income," says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. "Suddenly inflation’s starting to pick up, so you’re taking away what little spending power the consumer had.”

And Bernie Baumohl at the Economic Outlook Group says even though economic growth and job-creation have clearly rebounded since the dismal winter months, there are a lot of wild cards out there for the Fed — like stubbornly low wage-growth in the U.S., not to mention civil strife in Iraq, and soaring oil prices worldwide.

 “The geopolitical pot is really boiling furiously," says Baumohl. "And it really greatly complicates the decision-making process on the Fed, among investors and also among CEOs.”

 

Report finds low graduation rates, but high federal aid

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-18 02:00

A new report from the Education Trust says over $15 billion a year in federal aid goes to colleges where most of the students don’t graduate. Plus, many of the students -- three out of ten -- have so much debt they can’t repay it.

Not so suprising: most of the schools on the list are for-profit institutions.

There’s some argument in academic circles as to what is a good graduation rate -- some students transfer, some take longer to graduate, and not everyone finishes. Judith Scott-Clayton, a professor of economics and education at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, says while that is the case, it's still easy to spot problematically low rates.

“I think most people could agree that 15 percent is probably too low," Scott-Clayton says.

But over a six year period at a group of schools (many of which are for-profit), the report found that 15 percent is exactly how few students are graduating.

Michael Dannenburg, Director of Higher Education Policy with Education Trust cites the University of Phoenix, a for-profit that he says receives $4 billion a year in federal student aid and has a lot of campuses on the low graduation list. The school points out that many of its students work on top of their studies, so of course it takes them longer to graduate. 

But Dannenburg notes the average college graduation rate from four year colleges after six years of enrollment is 59 percent. He also says you can’t pin low rates on low income students.

Says Dannenburg, "We’ve looked at scores of institutions that are serving similar students with similar characteristics that get very different results. In other words, demography is not destiny in higher education."

VIDEO: Vest lets players feel game sounds

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 01:43
A haptic vests which uses sound to provide an immersive experience has been developed.

Muralitharan to work with Australia

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 01:38
Muttiah Muralitharan is hired by Australia as a spin bowling consultant for the Test series against Pakistan in October.

BoE appoints yuan clearing house

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 01:36
The Bank of England appoints China Construction Bank as the Chinese currency clearing bank in London.

VIDEO: TV vet: Time to stop cruel puppy farms

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 01:26
TV vet Marc Abraham on the calls to stop puppy farming with claims about poor welfare, health and happiness.

Domestic abuse 'open eyes' campaign

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 01:15
Friends, relatives and neighbours are being challenged to "open their eyes" as part of an action plan to tackle domestic violence.

Man City set for Newcastle opener

BBC - Wed, 2014-06-18 00:00
Manchester City will begin their 2014-15 campaign away to Newcastle while rivals Manchester United take on Swansea.

Colin Firth leaves Paddington film

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 23:58
Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth pulls out of the upcoming Paddington Bear film.

England NHS 'faces funding gap'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 23:25
The NHS in England faces a funding gap of up to £2bn for the next financial year, with growing costs set to outstrip income, the BBC understands.

Deford: How To Host A Sports Extravaganza That Won't Break The Bank

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-17 23:25

Building new World Cup or Olympics facilities in different cities every several years is just too costly, says commentator Frank Deford. So why not, he asks, try something different?

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Is Collecting Animals For Science A Noble Mission Or A Threat?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-17 23:25

Museums are filled with dead insects, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles meticulously gathered worldwide in the name of scientific discovery. But some researchers now say scientists should think twice.

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Benefit Corporations Look Beyond The Profit Motive

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-17 23:24

A corporation has one core obligation: to make money. But some companies, known as benefit corporations, also promise to create a tangible benefit to communities and the environment.

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Your Pictures: Photos from Wales

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 23:09
A selection of your photos from around Wales

VIDEO: Karzai dismisses 'al-Qaeda comeback'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 23:05
Afghan President Hamid Karzai dismisses the possibility of al-Qaeda linked groups making a comeback in his country in a similar way to Iraq.

IMF in warning over Argentina ruling

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 22:59
The International Monetary Fund warns that Argentina's legal defeat in its fight against hedge fund investors may have wider implications.

Golf's elite women get perfect stage to shine

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 22:49
Iain Carter explains how Pinehurst could finally provide the recognition that the US Women's Open deserves.

VIDEO: Bletchley Park reopens after refit

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 22:34
Bletchley Park, home to the code-breakers of World War Two, is to be unveiled following extensive restoration.

US sees first executions since April

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 22:22
The US state of Georgia has executed the first person in the US since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma in April.

Sterling 'happy' to switch with Rooney

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 22:20
Raheem Sterling is happy to switch positions to accommodate Wayne Rooney if it helps keep England's World Cup hopes alive.
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