National / International News

From human trafficking victim to survivor

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

For several years, Rama was virtually invisible to the outside world.

In 2003, she was sold by her late husband's family in southern India to work for a doctor in California. She was effectively housebound, working without pay for more than three years, with no real idea where she was.

"Every day I would hear, 'You don't have papers, we could do anything to you,'" she says.

She was eventually able to escape, working a series of other jobs below minimum wage in other doctors' homes for a few more years.

In 2012, she got help from the South Asian Network, or SAN. That's when she was able to get her T Visa, for victims of trafficking.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above to hear Rama's story.

Dynamic camouflage will let soldiers hide like a squid

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:56

Some of the newest technology and development in camouflage is inspired by a 60-million-year-old creature: squid.

In a lab at UC Irvine, chemical engineering professor Alon Gorodetsky and his team are making synthetic squid protein using bacteria. The lab is recreating a protein called Reflectin — it's what allows squid to change color and disappear into their surroundings by manipulating light — in the hopes that it could someday be used by the military as part of more effective camouflage.

Gorodetsky is working on taking the purified protein to coat tape, stickers and other materials in an effort to use the natural camouflage properties outside the ocean. His work is part of a larger movement towards dynamic camouflage — camouflage that responds to external stimuli and adapts. 

The early versions of Reflectin-coated stickers appear to change color and reflect light in unique ways. A piece of shiny, coated material that normally has a metallic blue color will appear red if placed on a red piece of paper. The coating can take on colors across the spectrum, and can even reflect back infrared light, which most things can't. 

The Department of Defense and the Department of Energy have taken note of the animal-inspired research. Squid-protein coating could potentially help soldiers be less vulnerable to thermal or infrared detection, and could be used to create distinct tags or patterns so that team members could recognize one another in the dark, thus preventing friendly fire. 

The squid protein has multiple uses — Reflectin could also be used in clothing to help regulate body temperature to keep cool during a workout or to keep warm with a very thin jacket. That's what has the DOE and clothing company Under Armour so excited. Gorodetsky says the defense and energy applications for Reflectin complement each other.

"[They are] two sides of the same coin, whether you're working to control radiative emissions for energy applications or whether you're working to make it harder for someone to detect you, the technology will be quite similar," he says.

Gorodetsky says color-changing clothing could be on the way in the next decade, even further out to 30 or 40 years from now, camouflage could become even more adaptive.

"You could have a shirt that looks more like formal wear in one situation and then changes to look more like an informal T-shirt in another situation," he says.

Even though this type of research is in very early stages, Gorodetsky says the future of camouflage is dynamic.

"That's is really the exciting area to go into," he says. "Using natural systems and animals for inspiration, because the things that they can do in terms of camouflage are far beyond anything that we've been able to do artificially."

10 things we didn't know last week

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:46
The taste of shipwrecked champagne, and other news nuggets.

Couch and Barrow win bronze in Kazan

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:42
Great Britain's Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow claim bronze on day one of diving's World Series in Kazan.

London set for 'greatest ever race'

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:34
Defending champion Wilson Kipsang and world record holder Dennis Kimetto will go head-to-head at Sunday's London Marathon.

Man guilty of two-year punch killing

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:34
A nightclub bouncer is found guilty of the manslaughter of a man who died more than two years after he felled him with a single punch.

Go Figure: The week in numbers

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:20
The week's big numbers, visualised.

Appeal over 'dangerous' missing man

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:14
Police appeal for help in tracing an ex prisoner whom they have described as potentially dangerous.

'Bali Nine' Ringleaders Could Face Indonesian Firing Squad Within Days

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:00

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the heroin-smuggling ring, are expected to get execution dates on Saturday. Indonesian law requires they receive 72 hours notice.

» E-Mail This

Malawians boycott South African shops

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:55
South African-owned shops in Malawi stay closed after calls for a boycott from activists angered at recent xenophobic attacks.

VIDEO: Prince Charles' Gallipoli tribute

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:55
At a ceremony marking its centenary, the Prince of Wales pays tribute to those who fought in Gallipoli, one of World War One's bloodiest campaigns.

Poland bars Putin-backed bikers

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:44
Poland refuses entry to the pro-Kremlin biker group Night Wolves, saying it cannot ensure security for the gang on its WW2 commemorative ride.

Sexy, Simple, Satirical: 300 Years Of Picnics In Art

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:36

From Goya to Banksy, artists through the century have tackled modernity and its discontents through depictions of eating outdoors.

» E-Mail This

Hartlepool fans 'should not black up'

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:34
Hartlepool fans set to dress up as Bob Marley for a game at Carlisle should avoid "blacking up", says Kick it Out.

Man in court over student murder

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:31
A man appears in court for a second time charged with murdering Irish student Karen Buckley.

Saudis say 'killer' was IS agent

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:31
Saudi Arabia says a young man arrested for the murders of two police officers has confessed to acting on orders from the Islamic State jihadist group.

Plea to tackle tabloid 'hate speech'

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:30
UK authorities are urged to tackle "anti-foreigner abuse" in the tabloid press after a Sun column refers to migrants as "cockroaches".

VIDEO: Axe-wielding robber tackled by staff

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:22
A man had been sentenced to six years in prison with a four-year extended license period, after threatening staff with an axe at a shop in County Durham.

Richard Corliss, 'Time' Film Critic, Dies At 71

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:14

The magazine said Corliss died Thursday night in New York following a stroke he suffered a week ago. Corliss reviewed films for the magazine for 35 years.

» E-Mail This

Foiled post office axe raider jailed

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:06
A serial criminal who was brought to the ground by the owner of a County Durham shop during a failed axe raid is jailed for six years.