National / International News

Takata president quits amid criticism

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 03:43
The boss of Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata is to step down, amid widespread criticism of how the company handled recent safety crises.

Jordanian Pilot Captured By Islamic State Militants

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-24 03:42

The Jordanian military confirmed the pilot was seized by the group. It said his aircraft had crashed, but the militants say they shot the plane down.

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Police Kill Young Man In St. Louis Area, Sparking New Anger

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-24 03:40

An man who was reportedly armed was shot and killed outside a gas station in a St. Louis suburb that's just two miles west of Ferguson. Police say the incident was captured on video.

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Nigeria travel ban during Christmas

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 03:38
All vehicle movement in Nigeria's north-eastern Borno state is banned from Christmas Eve until Sunday to prevent militant attacks, the army says.

Suspicious object examined in alert

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 03:33
Bomb disposal experts are sent to examine a suspicious object on the outskirts of south Belfast.

Formula 1's year of drama

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 03:31
From one of the most intense title battles ever, to a stark reminder of the dangers of motorsport, 2014 was a year no-one will forget.

Sandler tops overpaid actor list

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 03:19
The comedian came ahead of Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller to pick up the honour.

Singer's son 'critical' after crash

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 03:17
One of singer Bryan Ferry's sons is critically ill in hospital following a car crash in Shropshire, the BBC understands.

PODCAST: Christmas tree economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-24 03:00

First up on today's show, as the markets have been up in the U.S., we look at if this trend will continue into 2015. And we follow up on news that the CEO of Uber has been indicted by South Korea. Plus, ‘tis the season for Christmas trees. We profile a business that provides Christmas tree delivery service to residents ... by elves.

French unemployment hits new record

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:52
The number of people who are unemployed in France has risen to a record high, official figures show.

AUDIO: Man wins underpaid royalties case

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:35
Musician Marcus O'Neil has won a legal case against one of the music industry giants over underpaid royalties.

Guyanese Christmas Gives A Whole New Meaning To Slow Food

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:33

Two classic Christmas dishes beloved by the people of Guyana are pepperpot and garlic pork. To get the flavors just right, you have to cook them and let them sit out for weeks.

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Airports busy for Christmas Eve

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:22
Airports are busy on Christmas Eve as many people choose to get away for the festive season, but roads and railways are quieter than usual.

Wada team takes 3,000 Russia samples

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:16
Wada officials investigating claims of widespread doping in Russia visit Moscow and take 3,000 samples from athletes.

BAE wins $1.2bn US Army contract

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:14
Defence giant BAE Systems is to supply the US Army with a fleet of armoured vehicles, in a contract reportedly worth $1.2bn.

Japanese 'vagina artist' charged

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:08
A Japanese woman who makes art based on her vagina is charged with obscenity, in a case that has sparked discussion on pornography laws.

Man dies after being hit by car

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:05
A pedestrian believed to be in his 20s dies after being struck by a car in Aberdeenshire.

Could e-voting be on its way in the UK?

BBC - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:00
Campaigners say the UK's voting system is "ossified" and must embrace the digital revolution.

Travel snafus delight retailers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:00

While weather-related travel delays can throw a wrench into holiday plans, that doesn't mean it's bad news for everyone. After all, what do people do when they get stuck in an airport or decide to bail out on a traffic jam? Spend money.  

We look at who wins when travelers are the losers.

Click the media player above to hear more.

Some of Santa's elves are also lumberjacks

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-24 02:00

Most of the year, Brandon Johnson makes a living as a lumberjack. He runs a business in Minneapolis, Minn. trimming and clearing trees. But cold and snow make it hard to scale trees in the winter. 

So, Johnson came up with a side job for the holidays: delivering Christmas trees ... dressed as an elf.

“Essentially, I take all my guys from my tree business for the rest of the year and we just transition from lumberjacks to elves,” he says.

Johnson recently delivered a Christmas tree to a home in St. Paul. He was dressed in full elf attire: tight yellow pants and a green tunic.

“These were uniforms issued straight from the North Pole,” he says. “That's just what Santa requires for us elves.”

Johnson often blasts Christmas carols from the truck when he pulls up at a home. A big sign on the truck reads, "Santa's Tree Delivery."

Included in the standard $130 delivery package for a 7 foot Fraser fir is the chance for any children in the house to rub elbows with Santa's helper.

“How old is Santa Claus?” asked Ollie Koelb, the homeowner’s eight year-old granddaughter.

“I don’t know if anyone actually knows,” said Brandon the Elf. “He's getting up there. He's old.”

Johnson and two of his elf pals have delivered roughly 100 trees around the Minneapolis-St. Paul area this season. Johnson says the big trees are the most profitable. He can charge as much as $450 for a sixteen-footer.

Johnson hopes to ramp up the business next year with a big marketing campaign and more man — or elf — power to speed the deliveries, maybe even out of state.

Visit MPR News to check out more photos from the elves' deliveries.