National / International News

VIDEO: Ebola crisis: Liberia schools reopen

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 02:32
Schools are reopening in Liberia on Monday following closure due to the epidemic of the deadly Ebola disease.

Convicted rapist 'murdered parents'

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 02:22
A convicted rapist, recently released from prison, is believed to have killed his parents in a double murder in central London.

US north-east shivers in snowstorms

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 02:18
The United States north-east is reeling from the latest in a series of disruptive blizzards, with temperatures up to 17C below normal.

Why would credit cards want Costco?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-16 02:16

The Costco and American Express partnership, which is ending at the end of March, was just one example of what credit card companies are doing more of these days. 

American Express offered an official Costco card and had been the only credit card you could use to buy stuff at the retailer, which posted $110 billion in revenues for fiscal year 2014.

Their partnership was a co-branding arrangement. Such arrangements have become more common, says Jason Arnold of RBC, and offer loyalty programs such as airline miles or cash-back cards. These arrangements are alluring to risk-averse credit issuers, says Arnold, because they are less likely to result in delinquencies.

"If a card-member wants to keep their rewards, they typically have to pay their card on time," Arnold says. 

Since the Great Recession, banks have been increasingly employing co-branding agreements to stand out from the competition, instead of competing with each other on lower interest rates, says Arnold.

Co-branding partnerships can encourage spending. American Express says 20 percent of its monthly outstanding balances are on its Costco cards. And, 70 percent of the money people spend on those cards, isn't even spent at Costco, according to the company.

Customers have been using the cards for other purchases, too.

Sameer Gokhale, who tracks the banking industry at Janney Capital Markets, says co-branding gives credit card companies a captive customer base.

"You have this one merchant. You have customers loyal to this one merchant," says Gokhale, "In this case it was Costco."

But he adds that it probably did not make sense for AmEx to retain the partnership under the terms which he thinks Costco was asking: accepting lower fees for point-of-sale transactions at Costco stores. 

For its part, American Express says it will try to hold onto its many Costco credit card customers by offering them other AmEx cards. It also plans to ramp up spending on marketing.

Will there be a U.S. version of Black Mirror?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-02-16 02:00

Today, we kick off From the Hills to the Valley, our series on what divides Hollywood and Silicon Valley, and what pulls them closer? We are going to talk about a lot of different things - from creativity and fame to piracy and lobbying -  but we begin with how Hollywood sees and, therefore, represents Silicon Valley.

First up is Jenna Wortham, staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, who recently wrote about Black Mirror, a dystopian British series that’s recently become popular in the US.

Black Mirror, Wortham says, is an un-Hollywood version of how technology is changing our lives. She thinks one reasons it’s difficult for hollywood to represent silicon valley is that people “sitting behind screens,” is rather “boring and hard to illustrate.”

What about The Social Network? “It was great,” she says, “but you couldn’t get away from scenes of Jesse Eisenberg furiously coding. How do you make that sexy?”

Wortham isn’t sure Hollywood could have made a series like Black Mirror.

“I don't know that those narratives are very popular here," she says. “When we do dystopian narratives they tend to focus on collapse of civilization  or a zombie virus outbreak. Not necessarily computers have gone haywire and they are coming for us.”


Morgan & Bopara join Pietersen in IPL

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 01:46
Kevin Pietersen is joined in the 2015 IPL by Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, but Alex Hales and Michael Carberry miss out.

Fifty Shades whips US box office

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 01:38
Erotic film adaptation Fifty Shades of Grey sizzles at cinemas, taking an estimated $81.7m (£53m) at North American box offices in its first weekend.

Women held over '50 Shades attack'

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 01:35
Three women are arrested at a Glasgow cinema following an alleged attack on a man at a showing of the film Fifty Shades of Grey.

As Rules Get Sorted Out, Drones May Transform Agriculture Industry

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-16 01:31

At farm shows across the country, drones have become as ubiquitous as tractors. Drone flights are mostly banned in the U.S., but on Sunday the FAA released long-awaited draft rules.

» E-Mail This

Are 51% of people really 'single'?

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 01:21
Are 51% of people really 'single'?

Schools 'exclude those needing help'

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 01:15
Schools are too frequently having to exclude pupils so they receive special support such as therapy or counselling, a report says.

VIDEO: The Grexit explained - in 60 seconds

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 01:08
Could Greece's debt problems force it out of the eurozone? BBC News takes a snapshot view of the debt crisis.

French PM Valls urges Jews to stay

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 01:04
Prime Minister Manuel Valls urges Jews to stay in France, amid shock at vandalism of Jewish graves and an attack on a Danish synagogue.

Mum uses US police car on school run

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 00:52
A woman is turning heads on the school run by driving her children in a replica American police car from video game Need for Speed.

University stops masks training

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 00:38
A university stops using prosthetic masks - designed to help trainee nurses - amid claims they could add to the mental health stigmatisation.

Iraq preparing to retake Mosul - PM

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 00:35
Iraq's prime minister tells the BBC its armed forces are preparing for an offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.

Eurozone Greek debt deal 'unlikely'

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 00:26
European finance ministers will meet in Brussels later amid increasing scepticism that a deal over Greece's debt problems can be reached.

Not A Group House, Not A Commune: Europe Experiments With Co-Housing

NPR News - Mon, 2015-02-16 00:16

From urban high-density housing to rural communal living, Europeans are using the principle of co-housing — in which neighbors share space and resources, depending on their needs.

» E-Mail This

Police investigate death of patient

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 00:11
The "unexplained death" of an elderly patient at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital is being investigated by both the police and the health authorities.

Man, 92, assaulted and robbed for £5

BBC - Mon, 2015-02-16 00:10
A mugger knocked a 92-year-old man to the ground as he made a grab for his wallet before fleeing with just £5, in what police have described as a "sickening" attack.