National / International News

Boehner Reaches Out To The Tea Party — Or Trolls Them

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-23 10:31

Some elements of the Tea Party would like to see John Boehner ousted from his position as House speaker. Even so, Boehner insists there isn't much difference between the Tea Party and Republicans.

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Evra signs one-year deal at Man Utd

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 10:26
Manchester United's French left-back Patrice Evra, 33, signs a one-year contract extension with the Old Trafford club.

Woman in NI21 sex row speaks out

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 10:11
The woman at the centre of allegations about the conduct of NI21 leader Basil McCrea tells the BBC she did not contact the police as she thought she would not be believed.

Promotion for QPR could prove costly

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 10:04
Queens Park Rangers could land the Football League with a multi-million pound headache if they go up to the Premier League.

A grand tour of Marketplace(s) in London

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:59

While the Marketplace Morning Report team visited London to broadcast from the BBC this week, we've featured audio postcards in and around the city's many neighborhoods. 

We also enlisted our BBC colleague and producer Marie Keyworth to serve as our guide on the city's vast and popular markets, traveling to Smithfield Market, a popular meat market, to Portobello Road where antiques and other goods are sold. At each stop she helped us gather snippets of people selling foods and other goods.

We asked Marie to give us an overview of London markets, and her recommendations:

There are more markets than you can shake a stick at in London.  It’s impossible to suggest to a visitor which is ‘the’ market to go to. The conversation can quickly become a long exposition, listing the various, unique, and equally interesting options available. A London market is always a true sensory experience – it just depends which one you want.

If buying meat at 3:00 am from friendly foul-mouthed traders is your thing, then head to Smithfield Market in Farringdon.  It’s Europe’s largest meat market, and it’s been around since 1868. It’s the coal-face of the food industry in London, where restauranteurs and caterers of all shapes and sizes come to buy their meat each day. But members of the public are welcome to buy on a smaller scale, if you’re not put off by the odd trader in a bloody-splattered white suit, or rows of dead piglets lined up in a fridge as if they are just sleeping.

For those who want a more rarefied atmosphere, with a touch of Hollywood glamour, a twenty minute tube ride across town gets you to Notting Hill and the famous Portobello Road market. The area was brought into public consciousness with the help of the film ‘Notting Hill’ in which Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts fell in love in a house just a stone’s throw from the market itself. Head to Portobello Road on a Saturday and you won’t be able to move for antique dealers, jewelry makers, and general purveyors of bizarre curiosities you never knew you needed.

Glamour is in short supply in Brixton market, which is south of the river and well out of London’s centre. Here you shop with the locals – the ordinary people picking up groceries sourced from all over the world. I dare say you’ll never see so many yams in one place anywhere else in London. The area’s multicultural residents hailing from the likes of Portugal, Afghanistan, and the Caribbean, make this market a down-to-earth melting pot.  But the traders say the place is changing. Brixton market is getting quieter, as steady gentrification attracts more and more young professionals to the area. These people prefer to brunch and lunch in the champagne bars and gluten free cafes of the covered Brixton Village complex next door. This, too, is a hub of independent traders, but as the population of Brixton changes, the markets there evolve to suit their more ‘moneyed’ needs.

Check out Marketplace's full set of stories about London culture, life, and economics on the Mind the Gap series homepage

Seeking A Boost: Italy To Include Cocaine Sales In GDP Numbers

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:56

In an attempt to improve Italy's debt ratio, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi says the country will include illegal drug sales and prostitution when it figures its gross domestic product.

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Pietersen rejects 'uninterested' claim

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:53
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen insists he was "fully motivated" to play for his country in last winter's Ashes series.

Iraqi Kurdistan makes first oil sale

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:51
The government in the Iraqi autonomous region of Kurdistan says it has made its first sale of crude oil despite strong opposition from Baghdad.

Fire crews battle to save art school

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:50
Firefighters are continuing to fight a major blaze at the A-listed Glasgow School of Art - one of Scotland's most iconic buildings.

London's sewers overflow about once a week

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:47

While most of our focus this week while in the U.K. has been on our series, Mind the Gap: Exploring Income Inequality in London, there was just one story we couldn’t resist: The sewers of London!

London’s sewer system is perhaps the most notorious sewer system in the world. In the 1800’s, the sewer’s overflow into the (then) main source of drinking water for Londoners, the Thames River, resulted in tens of thousands of deaths from cholera and other diseases. A more advanced system was built as a result that boasted the best of Victorian engineering and craftsmanship. It’s the same system that is still being used today, more than 150 years later.

Last week in the U.S., President Obama called for an increase in the amount of investment in infrastructure.

Here in London, similar pushes for infrastructure enhancements are being made. The two most controversial are proposals to create a high speed rail that would extend from London to Birmingham, and a campaign for a super sewer system that would prevent the existing overburdened sewer system from overflowing into the Thames River.

Right now the sewer system overflows once a week, on average.

Imagine our luck when we learned that it just happens to be Sewer Week in London. This helped us gain rare access for a tour. We were told yesterday during our tour that in some cases, the public has to wait for up to five years for a tour like the one we experienced.

Marketplace's Nicole Childers wrote her take of the tour: 

We set off early in the morning and we were whisked off by Thames Water to Abbey Lane, home of the historic Abbey Mills Pumping station that was built in the 1800’s and served as the central transfer point of several of London’s sewers. We started our day learning about the history of the system before getting a tour of the Abbey Mills Pumping Station. Within Abbey Mills exists several stations. One of the most decorated is the B station, which has garnered quite a few media appearances throughout the years. The Arkham Asylum in the movie Batman Begins was filmed there as was part of Coldplay’s “Lovers in Japan” music video.

Marketplace's Nicole Childers (Marketplace)

We then made our way over to Wick Lane Depot for a tour of an operational sewer. After changing into protective gear that included rubber boots and gloves, a bright white full body protective suit reminiscent of a hazmat suit, and a hard hat to top it all off, our tour guide, Danny Brackley, led us through standard safety procedures. Then, one by one we were hooked up to a protective cable before climbing down a ladder into a hole that left us more than 30-feet below ground in a pool of raw sewage that included everything from fecal matter to cooking fat irresponsibly poured down many a London kitchen sink.

For someone like me who is terrified of heights, the last step off the ladder and into raw sewage was not as comforting as I’d anticipated. Before descending into the tunnels we had been warned that the water level could be as high as 2-3 feet in some parts. Instead of feeling solid ground beneath my feet, I was met with shaky gravel and cloudy brown water flowed through and around my legs. What was in the milk chocolate-y water that now surrounded me, you may ask?  The raw sewage included everything from what you flush down your toilet to the drainage from your shower, washing machine, and sink.

As we made our way through the sewers, the smell wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated. It was more of a musty moldy smell than the smell you generally associate with a sewer. Our guide explained that generally our experience with sewer smells is after a blockage when the raw sewage gets stuck and turns septic; emanating that recognizable but stomach turning odor. These sewers flow at a pretty steady rate, which prevents the waste from rotting before it reaches the water treatment plan.   

I thought I’d be most surprised to see fecal matter floating by, but the real surprise was the astounding number of spoons, yes, real spoons that made their way into the sewers. Our guide, Dan, explained his theory: In jail, prisoners often smuggle spoons into their cells from the canteen to transform them into sharp weapons, but they end up getting flushed down the toilet right before guards perform cell searches. Seeing cutlery cascading past me didn’t hold a candle to what we saw at the end of our time in the sewer.  As I made my way up the ladder at the end of the tour, someone still down in the sewers spotted a ring. The discovery led us all to ponder whether it was flushed down the toilet by an angry and disenchanted spouse seeking an incontrovertible end of matrimony, or whether it belonged to one half of a happy couple who removed the ring only to have it slip unwittingly into a kitchen or bathroom sink and down the drain. 

Yacht crew search 'may be suspended'

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:46
The US search for the crew of the missing yacht Cheeki Rafiki is continuing as the Coast Guard says its efforts will be called off if nothing is found by Friday night.

Detroit Federal Judge OKs Rep. John Conyers For Primary

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:36

The court overturned a decision by Michigan's secretary of state declaring the congressman ineligible because of problems with his nominating petitions.

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Guideline Is No Guarantee Insurers Will Pay For Pill To Prevent HIV

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:26

Truvada, an AIDS drug, is expensive, with an annual price tag of at least $10,000. High copayments are a real possibility for people, even those whose insurance covers use of the drug for prevention.

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Boko Haram 'targets vigilantes'

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:24
Boko Haram militants in north-eastern Nigeria raid three villages and kill those they accuse of being vigilantes, residents tell the BBC.

Hall sentenced for sex assaults

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:11
Ex-BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall sentenced to an extra two years and six months in jail for indecently assaulting a girl.

Reports: Clippers Owner Sterling Agrees To Sell Team

NPR News - Fri, 2014-05-23 09:01

Donald Sterling has agreed to let his wife negotiate a deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, according to reports. Sterling was banned for life by the NBA for making racist remarks.

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Repsol ends operations in Argentina

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 08:56
Spanish oil firm Repsol ends its operations in Argentina two years after having its assets in local company YPF seized by the government.

Wilkinson determined to finish on a high

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 08:54
Jonny Wilkinson wants a 'happy ending' to his career by leading Toulon to Heineken Cup success in his penultimate game.

Judge lifts Guantanamo feeding ban

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 08:54
A US judge lifts a temporary order preventing military officials from force-feeding a prisoner on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay.

Week in pictures: 17-23 May 2014

BBC - Fri, 2014-05-23 08:48
News photos from around the world
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