National / International News

Hunt Is On For At Least One 'Black Widow' In Sochi

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-21 05:00

Russian security forces are reportedly searching for at least one young woman who may be intending to set off a suicide bomb. She's said to be the widow of an Islamic insurgent. Meanwhile, the U.S. will have warships in the Black Sea in case evacuations are necessary during the Winter Olympics.

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Crowdfunding for investors may soon get easier

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:54

We’ve all heard of websites like Kickstarter, where you can donate to projects you believe in. Well what if, instead of just donating, you could go online and buy an equity slice of a small business? This crowdfunding of investment is what the JOBS Act is trying to promote. And it’s how one real estate company in Washington D.C. wants to shake up local development.

Sharon Lewis is a hairstylist who’s lived along the H Street corridor for decades. When she describes how the neighborhood’s changed, she chooses her words very carefully.

“On H Street, it used to be a lot of hairdressers,” she says. “But now it’s a lot of bars.”

It used to be a black neighborhood, now it’s gentrifying. And booming. You can’t park on a Friday night. But developer Ben Miller says, until now, it’s been impossible for local people to invest in development right across the street.

“Who owns your environment? You don’t know,” he says. “Who’s building your environment, who’s building your city? Not you.”

Miller is co-founder of the group Fundrise, which has started selling shares of private real estate projects to the public online. A tiny slice of ownership for a hundred bucks a pop.

First they bought 1351 H Street with private capital, then crowdfunded about a third of it.

“This building has almost 180 owners,” Miller says.

It’s going to be an Asian night market. 906 H Street has 360 owners. And at 1300 H St, there’s a funky, shuttered library. Fundrise wants to buy the site from the city and turn it into apartments.

“It could have ten thousand investors,” he says.

To solicit small investors now, Fundrise goes through a lengthy review with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These equity shares are securities, after all, and the SEC wants to protect small investors.

But once the JOBS Act is implemented, crowdfunding could take off nationally. Companies will be able to crowdfund up to one million dollars a year from small, unaccredited investors. If they choose to qualify with the SEC the way Fundrise does now, they should be able to raise $50 million a year from small investors (up from $5 million currently).

The whole idea is to create new avenues for small businesses to access capital. But there are risks to this deregulation.

“Do not invest money in crowdfunding that you can’t afford to lose,” says Rick Fleming, deputy general counsel of the North American Securities Administrators Association, the organization of state level securities regulators.

Fleming says crowdfunding can be an important tool. But he warns that most small businesses fail. Lighter regulation of crowdfunding to come could lead to more fraud. And you can’t sell your crowdfunded shares on the stock exchange.

“You’re not going to be able to get that money back anytime soon. These are going to be illiquid investments, because there’s no secondary trading market for these types of securities,” he says.

Still, a lot of people investing in Fundrise think it’s just fun and interesting. Elan Schnitzer lives on H Street. He expects a seven percent return.

“My first $7 dividend check, I will take right back to the restaurant that comes in and get a sandwich,” he says.

Actually, Schnitzer bought two shares, so he might be able to afford dessert. He won’t have much say in the property he owns, but at least he’ll get lunch.

Kejriwal runs Delhi from mass sit-in

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:53
Delhi's chief minister conducts government business in the open as he vows to escalate his street protest demanding greater control of the city's police.

Failing elderly care home to close

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:46
An elderly care home in Glasgow is to close after its owners are unable to make improvements in the wake of damning inspection reports.

Ministers 'fear public beating'

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:46
Fear of a "public beating" when things go wrong prevents ministers from learning valuable lessons from failures, says government adviser Lord Browne.

Savile links with NHS home probed

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:43
An NHS inquiry is ordered into sex attacker Jimmy Savile's connections with a former home for sick children.

Wawrinka beats Djokovic in thriller

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:41
Stanislas Wawrinka ends the three-year reign of Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic with a stunning quarter-final victory.

Brokeback Mountain opera to premiere

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:36
An operatic version of the novella Brokeback Mountain is to premiere at the Teatro Real in Madrid later this month.

VIDEO: Glenn Close to return to the stage

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:32
Actress Glenn Close has revealed she is making a return to the stage after more than 15 years.

How to get through the night shift

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:31
A user's guide to getting through night shifts

Microsoft in more hacking misery

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:25
Microsoft has been hacked again by the Syrian Electronic Army just weeks after a blog and social media sites were attacked by the group.

Deadly bomb strikes Beirut suburb

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:21
A bomb blast blamed on a suspected suicide attacker hits a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut, reportedly killing four people.

'No criminality' in Unite emails

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:17
Police find "no evidence of any criminality" in emails sent by a former Grangemouth union convener.

What Is This Bombogenesis And Why Is It Dumping Snow On Us?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:15

The type of storm that's blowing up the East Coast of the U.S. on Tuesday has an explosive-sounding name. Add bombogenesis to the growing list of weather terms we're learning about this winter — a list that also includes polar vortex.

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Millions of German passwords stolen

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:13
The passwords and other details of sixteen million email users in Germany have been stolen, according to the country's security agency.

Banks not lending enough, say MPs

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:12
Small UK businesses are still struggling to access enough funding despite efforts by the government to boost lending, says a committee of MPs.

Turkey PM gives new push to EU bid

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 04:05
Turkey's PM Erdogan is in Brussels for talks on his country's troubled EU membership bid, overshadowed by a purge of senior Turkish officials.

Foreign courses 'not up to scratch'

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 03:57
Review throws spotlight on some foreign student courses, many of which do not meet the required standards.

Fans help fund Jamaica bobsleigh bid

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 03:47
Jamaica's bobsleigh team raises more than $110,000 (£67,000) as donations come pouring in from fans supporting their Winter Olympics bid.

AUDIO: Night shift work causes body 'chaos'

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-21 03:42
Night shift work causes "chaos" to the body and can cause long-term damage to health, researchers warn.

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