National / International News

Growth in Scottish economy continues

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 01:46
The Scottish economy grew by 0.7% in the third quarter of last year, according to the latest official estimates.

Labour: Force banks to sell branches

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 01:21
Labour Ed Miliband says he would force major high street banks to sell branches to boost competition.

How I came out - Britain's only openly gay footballer

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 01:21
While openly gay Liam Davis is backed by his team-mates he thinks we're still "two or three years" away from a top-flight player coming out.

This is not your grandfather's tin foil hat...

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-15 01:21

Tin foil hats just got way more interesting. Italian designers made a hat, a collar and a visor that look fancy but also serve a classic tinfoil hat purpose. The accessories actually work to ward off neuroimaging surveillance.

If a brain scan is detected, the device will distract the wearer for a second to scramble their brain activity and protect their privacy. How? In one case, by hitting the wearer with an electric shock.

Small price to pay for protecting your privacy for a millisecond? 

Anti-NIS Accessories from Caitlin Morris on Vimeo.

Why the medical testing biz is like Gucci handbags

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

You'd think with millions of new patients coming on under the Affordable Care Act - many who haven’t seen a doctor in years, and need lots of tests - lab owners would be drooling over their microscopes.

There will definitely be more tests done.

Physicians like Penn Medicine internist Dr. Michael Cirigliano says he will order tests for cholesterol, kidney and thyroid function among others for a new patient

“Because you are like snow with no footprints in it. I don’t know where you are coming from. I don’t know where I stand with you,” he says.

But that doesn’t mean lab owners are hunting for second homes in Hawaii.

“It’s not a great time to be involved in this industry,” says Dennis Weissman, a medical lab consultant. “Laboratory revenues did see a decline in 2013, for the first time since I’ve been following this industry for 35 years.”

Even with a small bump from new ACA patients, a report from market research firm G2 Intelligence predicts the $75 billion industry will continue to slow down through 2015.

Why? Shrinking reimbursements from both the federal government and private insurers.

Dan Mendelson with consulting company Avalere Health,  says the industry’s economics are changing.

“It’s getting less expensive for lab companies to do the routine tests. And the federal government wants a part of that action,” he says.

To protect their businesses, labs like Quest and LabCorp are moving beyond that routine work. 

Richard Nicholson who runs West Pacific Medical Lab in southern California says the money is in the more sophisticated, specialized tests, like cancer tumor profiling and pediatric sequencing for genetic disorders.

“It’s like selling a Gucci purse vs. a purse at JC Penny. They sell less of them, but they make more money,” he says.

Dr. Eleanor Herriman - who did the G2 Intelligence industry analysis - says what’s happening with labs is what’s happening throughout healthcare: simple volume doesn’t drive business anymore.

The new healthcare currency she says is value, like a new DNA test for sepsis.

“Instead of it taking three days to figure out what the bug is, these new DNA tests are rapid so they move it to 12 hours. So these tests are lowering death rates and savings thousands of dollars per patient,” she says.

More and more doctors and hospitals must live within tight budgets to care for their patients.

Herriman says the future of the lab industry lies in finding tests that help the providers do just that.

Two men killed in Fife collision

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 01:10
Two men have died and another is seriously injured in a collision on the A92 road near the village of Freuchie in Fife.

Coming out in a man's world

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 01:08
What happens when men in 'macho' jobs reveal they are gay?

Axing councils could cut 15,000 jobs

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 01:04
A cut in the number of councils in Wales could lead to 15,000 job losses and cost more than £200m, the Welsh Local Government Association warns.

Mobile messaging is more popular than ever. But not TEXT messaging.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-15 01:04

According to the mobile analytics firm Flurry, mobile use arount the world in 2013 increased by 115 percent over the previous year. 

While music, games, news and other factors all played a role in the growth, messaging turned out to be the bulk of what drove the spike in increased usage. 

But surprisingly, text messaging actually decreased for the first time. That's because people are starting to use different services to communicate -- ones that are cheaper or more fun to use. 

Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief of reviews at CNET, joins Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson to discuss why messaging apps are becoming more popular.

NCAA to debate paying college athletes a stipend

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-01-15 00:57

As the NCAA annual convention opens in San Diego, one issue being discussed is a proposal to allow schools to pay student athletes. Several college football players wore patches in recent bowl games, with the letters APU on them, All Players United.

They believe athletes deserve a share of the hundreds of millions of dollars in profits generated by their performance. NCAA president Mark Emmert supports a system that would allow schools to pay athletes modest stipends.

There are two questions at the heart of this issue.

One is: can schools afford to pay players? Second: should they pay players?

"If we are considering it from a purely economic point of view, of course, if they create value they should be compensated, as we do in any business," says Lake Forest College economics professor Robert Baade. He says there's no question that teams can afford to pay players.

Profits from TV contracts, bowl games and endorsements generate tens of millions of dollars for college football programs.

If the NCAA decides to allow schools to pay players, that money will have to come out of someone's pocket. One likely target is the coaches.

"Not all, but close to all the states in the United States, the highest paid public official is the football coach at the flagship state university," says sports economist Allen Sanderson, at the University of Chicago.

In the current system, coaches play a crucial role in luring players to teams. Sanderson says that role would be diminished if teams could use money to lure athletes.

Private firms 'win 70% of NHS bids'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 00:54
Almost 70% of contracts for NHS services in England from April-December 2013 were won by private firms, a campaign group claims.

Gallagher completes World Cup treble

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 00:30
Paralympic skier Kelly Gallagher wins a third gold medal at the World Cup in Canada with victory in the super-giant slalom.

Global economy 'at turning point'

BBC - Wed, 2014-01-15 00:17
The global economy is at a "turning point", the World Bank has said, but warns of the economic impact of the withdrawal of US stimulus measures.

'Pretty Good' Budget Deal Looks Good Enough To Avoid Shutdown

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 00:06

The so-called "omnibus" package of all 12 annual spending bills has more money in it than what Congressional Republicans wanted, but less than what President Obama had asked for. There is some disappointment with the measure on both sides of the aisle, but this time nobody is talking about forcing another government shutdown.

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Soon To Be Big In Japan, Jim Beam's Roots To Stay In Kentucky

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 00:05

In a deal worth some $16 billion, Japanese beverage giant Suntory is buying Beam Inc., maker of Jim Beam bourbon and owner of well-known American brands such as Maker's Mark. Industry leaders say it's a reflection of bourbon's exploding popularity in Asian markets, but some wonder if the new owners will preserve bourbon's Kentucky heritage.

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Russia Aims To Implement The Tightest Security In Olympic History

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 00:04

Russian officials say high-tech surveillance and the deployment of tens of thousands of troops are part of the most extensive Olympic security measures ever. The region surrounding host city Sochi is home to Europe's deadliest insurgency, and Islamist militants have proven their ability to strike.

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A Woman Comes To Terms With Her Family's Slave-Owning Past

NPR News - Wed, 2014-01-15 00:03

Kate Byroade had always known her ancestors were slave owners, but she had been told their slaves were treated well. Understanding the truth took her on a difficult lifelong journey. Americans are shy "about calling out the great wickedness of slavery," she says. "We should not be."

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Pietersen in England World T20 squad

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-14 23:37
Kevin Pietersen is named in England's provisional squad for the ICC World Twenty20, which begins in March.

Report: NSA Maps Pathway Into Computers

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-14 23:33

The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the U.S. to conduct surveillance on those machines, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The software was not implanted in computers in the U.S.

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Man charged with murder at house

BBC - Tue, 2014-01-14 23:08
A 26-year-old man has been charged with murder following the death of a man after an incident at a house in Caerphilly county.

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