National / International News

Pickles in ministerial biscuit 'ban'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:38
Ministers have been banned from eating taxpayer-funded biscuits at official events, says Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

UK unemployment rate drops to 7.1%

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:29
The unemployment rate drops sharply to 7.1%, approaching the point at which the Bank of England has said it will consider raising interest rates.

Collymore accuses Twitter over abuse

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:21
Former footballer Stan Collymore accuses Twitter of not doing enough to combat abusive messages after he was targeted by internet trolls.

Row over rabbit in Mandela statue

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:05
South Africa's government orders sculptors to remove a bronze rabbit they hid in the ear of the statue of Nelson Mandela unveiled after his death, a spokesman tells the BBC.

Roache 'shocked by rape arrest'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 09:04
A jury hears Coronation Street star William Roache told police he was "absolutely surprised" and "amazed" when he was first arrested.

Ethiopia joins Somalia AU force

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:59
More than 4,000 Ethiopian troops are formally absorbed into the African Union force in Somalia, where it is fighting al-Qaeda-aligned militants.

How fixed-term Parliaments have changed politics

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:52
How fixed-term parliaments have changed British politics

'Plebgate' PC's resignation rejected

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:39
The police officer who admitted misconduct in the "plebgate" affair has his offer to resign refused by Scotland Yard.

PODCAST: Optimism at Davos

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:34

The World Economic Forum, the winter gathering of the powerful, kicks off today in the Alpine town of Davos, Switzerland. A Bloomberg survey finds that 59 percent of international investors think the global economy's improving. That's the highest level of optimism in five years, and the mood is up strikingly from the previous survey in November.

College courses with a 95 percent dropout rate would trigger alarm bells at most universities, but researchers at Harvard University and MIT says that’s potentially fine, at least in the case of some massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

A recent study shows one in 10 job applicants have been rejected because something turned up in their credit history. And last month Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill that would, among other things, bar the use of credit reports in hiring. 

Girl 'raped every week by father'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:34
A young girl was raped every time she stayed at her father's house, a court in County Londonderry is told.

Seized Brooks computers 'not in use'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:20
Computers recovered by police from Rebekah Brooks' house were not in use when she quit News International, a jury hears.

New report shows few finish free online courses

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-22 08:15

College courses with a 95 percent dropout rate would trigger alarm bells at most universities, but researchers at Harvard University and MIT says that’s potentially fine, at least in the case of some massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

In a new report from Harvard and MIT faculty involved with the online learning programs there, researchers find that only about 5 percent of the more than 800,000 people signed up for the free courses through the online platform edX actually finished enough coursework to obtain a completion certificate. Of those who didn’t finish, some lost interest shortly after signing. Others just sampled bits and pieces of classes and activities. But the faculty members say that’s not necessarily discouraging.

“The instructors welcome these kinds of curious browsers,” says Andrew Ho, a Harvard education professor who co-authored the paper on online learning.

The findings won’t please online learning’s skeptics, though, as a core criticism of distance learning is that it doesn’t adequately engage students.

There’s also the question of how to monetize online courses.

“It brings a completely new approach to teaching,” says MIT professor Isaac Chuang, another co-author of the paper. “It’s a different economy.”

That creates challenges both for non-profits like edX, but also for-profit universities. Big public companies and private equity firms back many of the for-profit colleges. They see online courses as a way to bring in more students and more money.

Online learning is growing. As more people get comfortable with the technology, we’ll see more digital courses, from universities in the non-profit and for-profit world.

Mark Garrison: The research shows more than 800-thousand people signed up for these free courses through the online platform edX. But only about 5 percent actually finished the classes. The Harvard and MIT faculty involved say that may not be a problem online. Harvard education professor Andrew Ho says their findings show many just sampled the classes.

Andrew Ho: The instructors welcome these kinds of curious browsers.

That won’t please online learning skeptics, who worry online classes don’t engage students enough. There’s also the question of how to pay for the cost of offering these classes. MIT researcher Isaac Chuang.

Isaac Chuang: It brings a completely new approach to teaching. It’s a different economy.

And that creates challenges both for non-profits like edX, as well as for-profit universities. Big public companies and private equity firms back many for-profit colleges. And they seeonline courses as a way to bring in more students and more money. As more people get comfortable with the technology, we’ll see more digital courses, from universities in the non-profit and for-profit world. I’m Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.

Warburton could miss Italy - Gatland

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 07:58
Wales coach Warren Gatland says captain Sam Warburton will probably miss his side's Six Nations opener against Italy.

VIDEO: Sadie Frost takes on acrobat role

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 07:45
Sadie Frost reveals why she is turning her hand to acrobatics for a new show

The Netflix 'State of the Union'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-22 07:43

Video streaming company Netflix announces earnings today. The expectations are high among investors. But the company has challenges, like growing the brand abroad. Molly Wood, the new deputy technology editor for The New York Times, and Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson assess the Netflix "State of the Union."

Migrants die under tow in Greece

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 07:39
The UN urges an inquiry after a boat carrying clandestine migrants capsizes while under tow by a Greek coast guard vessel, with at least two deaths.

Reporter 'groped by Dave Lee Travis'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 07:29
A woman tells a jury that former BBC DJ Dave Lee Travis groped her breasts when she went to his house to interview him for a national magazine.

Alcott selected in Team GB for Sochi

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 07:13
Three-time Winter Olympian Chemmy Alcott is selected among 56 athletes to represent Team GB at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

In pictures: Battle in Kiev

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 07:12
Long protest erupts into new levels of violence

VIDEO: Did Splash dive hurt? 'It did a bit'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-22 07:06
An MP relives her moment diving in to a swimming pool on TV and admits "it hurt a bit" as she hit the water.

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