National / International News

This Dirty Little Weed May Have Cleaned Up Ancient Teeth

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 14:07

Turns out that for 7,000 years, snacking on nutsedge may have helped people avoid tooth decay. But at some point, the root it lost its charm. By the 1970s, it was branded "the world's worst weed."

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MP invested in 'tax avoidance scheme'

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:48
MP Andrew Mitchell has invested in a film-financing company that tax collectors say was a tax avoidance scheme, BBC Newsnight learns.

Chinese foot binding

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:44
Women whose feet were bound in China

Lotteries Take In Billions, Often Attract The Poor

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:39

Americans wager nearly $60 billion a year on lotteries. Revenues help states, which use the money to provide services. But researchers say the games often draw low-income gamblers who are on welfare.

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U.S. Sanctions Major Russian Banks And Energy Companies

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:33

The Obama administration announced new sanctions Wednesday that go well beyond any previously imposed in its dispute with Russia over Ukraine. It's not clear whether Europeans will match them.

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California farms pumping water to make up for drought

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:27

This is the third-driest year in California in at least 106 years. The drought has led state officials to clamp down on water waste, like open hoses. Fines can hit $500. 

The drought is having its biggest effect on California’s mammoth agriculture industry. A report from UC Davis’s Center for Watershed Sciences pegs losses at $2.2 billion this year. 

“There will be some pockets of deprivation, poverty,” says Josué Medellín-Azuara, a UC Davis researcher who worked on the report.

Four hundred square miles of farmland has been fallowed—mostly lower-value crops like alfalfa. More than 17,000 seasonal farm workers are affected.

“It takes people to provide nutrients for those crops. It takes people to even insure those crops. It takes people to truck those crops to market,” says Bruce Blodgett, executive director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau.  

The drought’s impact could be far worse, though. 

Farmers in the Central Valley have managed to find another source for 75 percent of the water they normally get from state and federal reservoirs. They’re drilling deep into underground aquifers, pumping out enough water to cover 7,800 square miles a foot deep.  

“I’m fortunate enough to have a well for groundwater, but it’s caused our electric rates to probably triple,” says Thomas Ulm, a farmer in Modesto. 

Ulm’s farm is getting only half the reservoir water it’s usually allocated, so he’s relying on his own well to keep his almonds, walnuts and grapes growing. 

His neighbor just drilled a well, too. All this drilling and pumping is unregulated and, “Eventually, of course, you run out of water,” says Robert Glennon, a professor at the University of Arizona, and the author of “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It.” 

If the state’s groundwater is like a giant milkshake glass, “what California is allowing is a limitless number of straws in the glass,” he says. “That’s a recipe for disaster. It’s utterly unsustainable.”

Especially when this drought could last another year, or another 50.

 

Pardon my (economic) language

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:27

Apparently, and this kind of stands to reason, the use of profanity by CEOs varies with economic conditions.

Bloomberg actually went through and did a word search of earnings call transcripts for the past 10 years. Profanity peaked in 2010, dipped a bit, shot up again in 2012 and has been declining ever since.

I know you want to know what the words are, but I really need my job.

There's a chart that'll give you the details, though:

A screenshot of Bloomberg's graphic on CEO cursing. For more detail, see the full graphic. (Courtesy of Bloomberg)

Royal Navy carrier to be retired

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:06
The Royal Navy's helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious is to be retired next month after 32 years of service.

The young 'barefooters' making bowls cool

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:03
How young people have made an ancient ball game cool

Peers criticise emergency data laws

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:02
The government comes under fire in the Lords over emergency legislation giving the security services access to people's phone and internet records.

Militias Clash At Libyan Airport For Fourth Day

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:54

The Tripoli airport has become a battleground between rival groups. The United Nations pulled its personnel out of the country earlier this week due to concerns about violence around the country.

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South Wales to get new £1bn motorway

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:52
A route for a £1bn motorway for south Wales to ease congestion around Cardiff and Newport is announced to mixed reaction.

59 arrested in paedophile inquiry

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:46
A scout leader, foster carer and an ex-police officer are among 59 people arrested in Wales in an operation against suspected paedophiles.

Visa Makes Big Move To Boost Consumer Spending Online

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:45

Ever try shopping on your smartphone and decide you don't want to put in your credit card number? Visa says it's a big problem and came up with a tool that combines improved security and convenience.

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Dallas Fed Chair: Time to lose monetary "beer goggles"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:35

"The punch in that punch bowl is still 108 proof," says Dallas Federal Reserve Bank Chair Richard Fisher. "Things look better when you have a lot of liquidity in your system."

He's calling on Washington to end the taper and rasie interest rates, something he believes will happen by October.

Chairman Fisher gave a speech on monetary policy today at USC Annenberg and stopped by Marketplace to chat afterwards.

Here is a link to his full speech, titled " Monetary Policy and the Maginot Line (With Reference to Jonathan Swift, Neil Irwin, Shakespeare’s Portia, Duck Hunting, the Virtues of Nuisance and Paul Volcker)".  Listen to his full conversation with Kai Ryssdal in the audio player above.

AUDIO: From crime to a first in criminology

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:33
Natalie Atkinson fell into a life of crime at the age of 12 but has since become a star student, gaining a first class degree in criminology.

VIDEO: Will a female Thor defeat her critics?

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:22
Marvel shake up the the comic book fraternity by casting a woman as Thor.

Patients With Low-Cost Insurance Struggle To Find Specialists

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:11

A Houston internist who supported the Affordable Care Act now finds that many of her patients who bought less expensive coverage have trouble getting the specialized care they need.

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The Devastation On The Ground In Gaza City

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:06

Audie Cornish speaks with Robert Turner of the United Nations in Gaza City, discussing the extent of the devastation there in the midst of Israel's bombardment.

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On Two Sides, Two Funerals — While Death Toll Mounts In Gaza

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:06

As the violence between Hamas and Israel continues, so too do the funerals that come in its wake. NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro and Emily Harris attended two such funerals today, in Tel Aviv and Gaza respectively, and they tell of what they learned there.

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