National / International News

Google will prioritize mobile-friendly sites

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-20 13:00

Google is making a big change to its mobile search algorithm Tuesday. It will start giving priority to websites that it classifies as mobile-friendly, ones that have been designed specifically to work on smaller smart phone screens. This could have a huge impact on businesses that don't have mobile friendly sites. They will now appear lower on search rankings. 

And it’s not just small businesses that haven't adapted. Large companies including Nintendo, Versace and Kroger all have sites that Google has classified as not being mobile-friendly. 

Google announced the changes in late February to give websites time to redesign. Its announcement warned that this change “will have a significant impact on our search results.”

Lamb with five legs born on farm

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 12:44
A lamb with five legs is born at a farm in mid Wales.

Meet The 'Accidental Activists' Of The Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Case

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-20 12:27

The legal battle over same-sex marriage hits the Supreme Court next week. It's an extraordinarily high stakes clash, but the men and women at the center of it see themselves as incredibly ordinary.

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In Northwest, A Push To Protect Forest As Geothermal Projects Near

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-20 12:26

The Forest Service is set to open more than 80,000 acres for clean, renewable geothermal power in Washington state. But environmentalists are worried about damage to streams and old-growth forests.

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Teen 'groomed friend for terror plot'

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 12:05
A teenager 'ruthlessly exploited' a young man in a plot to carry out a murder similar to that of Fusilier Lee Rigby, a court has heard.

Team GB announce relay squads

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 12:05
Great Britain will take a team of 22 to the World Relay Championships in the Bahamas on 2 and 3 May.

Saudi Airstrikes Raise Doubts Abroad, Spark Patriotic Fervor At Home

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-20 12:05

Much of the world is skeptical about the wisdom of the bombing raids in Yemen. But Saudis are rallying around their new king, Salman, and his son, the defense minister.

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You Don't Want To Mess With An Angry Mother

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-20 11:59

Phyllis Omido's toddler had a mysterious ailment. After doctors came up with a diagnosis, she set out to shut down a Kenyan polluter. Now she's won the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work.

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Appetite For Gulf Seafood Is Back, But The Crabs And Oysters Aren't

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-20 11:32

Five years after the BP oil spill, the public has stopped asking whether seafood from the Gulf is safe to eat. But now there's a supply issue, and fishermen worry about the future of their industry.

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'Hamilton now has a different aura'

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 11:28
A relaxed Lewis Hamilton remains dominant but Kimi Raikkonen & McLaren have upped their games, says the BBC's David Coulthard.

VIDEO: Miliband on Ed Balls as chancellor

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 11:16
Labour leader Ed Miliband says Ed Balls "would make an excellent chancellor" should his party win the general election.

'Post And Courier' Of Charleston, S.C., Wins Pulitzer For Public Service

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-20 11:11

The newspaper's series examined why South Carolina is among the deadliest states for women in the U.S. Anthony Doerr won the prize for fiction for All the Light We Cannot See.

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Doctors Don't Always Ask About Pet-Related Health Risks

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-20 11:07

People can pick up germs and parasites from their pets, and some of them can be nasty. Health care providers for all species could do a better job of communicating the risks, a study finds.

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Cirque du Soleil sells to private equity groups

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-20 11:01

This week's mergers and acquisitions news involves a former fire breather, acrobats, contortionists and a group of high-flying private equity firms.

Cirque du Soleil, the no-animals, highly stylized performance troupes with shows around the world will be sold for $1.5 billion Canadian, a little over $1.2 billion U.S.

That's a long way from its origins. 

Founder Guy Laliberte, "was a fire-breather and a busker who played an accordion," says New York Times reporter Ian Austen, who reported on the sale Monday. "It started as a kind of hippie commune with pay-as-you-want shows."

A grant from the provincial government of Quebec helped launch the company into its much wider renown and success. Fast-forward a few decades, and there's still a lot of local pride tied up in the company's success. 

"Quebec is a pretty small place and [Laliberte] is literally one of six billionaires who live in the province, so it's hyper, hyper sensitive. Plus, they're a big employer in Quebec," Austen says. 

The company is privately held and keeps its financials close to the vest, but it insists it's profitable, despite financial hurdles that were exacerbated in 2008. 

"[Laliberte] had kind of pulled back to literally go off into space in a Soyuz capsule," Austen says. "For the first time in their history, 25 years at that point, they had shows that fizzled out."

Laliberte returned in 2012 and began implementing aggressive cost controls. Four hundred employees were laid off, and shows that weren't working out were cut. The phenomenon that started as a ragtag group of street performers had grown unchecked since its founding in 1985. It was time for financial discipline and focus. 

Rather than gut the company further, Cirque du Soleil hopes the infusion of cash and influence from private equity will pull back the curtain on the biggest market it's yet to tap: China.

"What this is ultimately about," Austen says, "is to find a successful way into the Chinese market to take advantage of the growing middle class there."

Another wave of migrants drown in the Mediterranean

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-04-20 11:00

Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants enter Europe by sea from the South — and thousands from those groups drown as they attempt to make the voyage from places like Libya, Mali and Egypt.

At least 700 people are believed to have drowned after a boat was shipwrecked in the Mediterranean Sunday.

"It’s a problem that’s been building for years, and the numbers have continued to rise," says Chris Morris, with the BBC. "They’re not all political refugees, many of them are economic migrants."

Most people attempting the journey are trying to escape the violence and poverty in their native countries and find better job opportunities.

"London, in particular, is a magnet because it’s Europe’s genuinely international city," Morris says. "It’s a place where many people from many countries have friends, or relatives, or somebody from the village who has said, 'if you manage to get here, I’ll get you a place where you can kip on the floor and my cousin will give you a job at his bakery.'"

This disaster has prompted much criticism over the European Union’s response to the dangers migrants face crossing the Mediterranean. There's no final count yet of exactly how many people drowned in yesterday's sinking of that migrant ship.

What is clear, however, is that people will risk their lives to get out of where they are. 

VIDEO: Liverpool stunned by Aluko lob

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 10:48
Watch a round-up of the best of the action from week three of the Women's Super League One.

Shipwrecks Ahoy: Coast Guard Shares Pics From Crystal-Clear Lake Michigan

NPR News - Mon, 2015-04-20 10:25

All of that cold fresh water has helped preserve the wrecked ships over the years. A Coast Guard helicopter recently snagged some striking images of historic ships.

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UK orders Russian to sell oil assets

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 10:24
Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman must sell his North Sea gas fields within six months, the UK orders.

VIDEO: Robinson: Why you cannot ignore SNP

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 10:22
The BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, gives his assessment of the SNP election manifesto.

Africans dominant at Boston Marathon

BBC - Mon, 2015-04-20 10:19
Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa and Kenya's Caroline Rotich win the men's and women's races respectively at the Boston Marathon.