National / International News

England extend lead over West Indies

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 13:36
England recover from another top-order collapse to move into a dominant position in the first Test against West Indies.

VIDEO: What Russians want to ask Putin

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 13:27
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds his annual phone in on Thursday. Over a million people have already submitted questions.

VIDEO: Soldier's letters home from Gallipoli

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 13:12
Artist Idris Murphy talks about his grandfather's experiences at Gallipoli, and how he and other Australian artists have commemorated the events in the bloody campaign.

FC Porto 3-1 Bayern Munich

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 12:59
Porto shock Bayern Munich to hold a first leg lead in an entertaining Champions League quarter-final tie.

Why Knuckles Crack

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-15 12:59

A little MRI video seems to settle the decades-old debate about that loud pop of the joints: It's all about bubbles. But imagine an air bag inflating, not the bursting of a balloon.

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Street fashion: Tokyo Camera Style

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 12:53
John Sypal's pictures of the cameras used by photographers on the streets of Tokyo.

Paris St-Germain 1-3 Barcelona

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 12:53
Barcelona will take a two-goal lead to the Nou Camp after a first-leg win at Paris St-Germain in the Champions League.

New Discovery Of World's Oldest Tools

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-15 12:43

Researchers in Kenya uncover tools dated to 3.3 million years ago, long before the first humans, as we know them, walked the Earth.

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Pavoni wins stunning medley gold

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 12:41
Roberto Pavoni swims a lifetime best to secure British 200m medley gold and a place in the GB World Championships team.

Fragapane and Downie reach finals

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 12:27
Claudia Fragapane and Ellie Downie qualify for the all-around final at the European Gymnastics Championships.

First quintuplet sisters born in US

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 12:16
Hospital officials say that five baby girls in Texas have set a new record by becoming the first quintuplet sisters born in the US.

VIDEO: Gyrocopter lands on US Capitol lawn

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 11:43
A small aircraft known as a gyrocopter has landed on the west lawn of the US Capitol building.

Former FBI Agent Speaks Out: 'I Was Not Protected'

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-15 11:38

Robyn Gritz investigated major national security threats, but says the FBI drummed her out of a job after she fell out of favor with her supervisors. She went on to sell cosmetics and answer phones.

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Baby rape plot was 'pie in the sky'

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 11:30
A paedophile accused of conspiring to rape a baby tells a court in Bristol the alleged plan was "fantasy" and "pie in the sky".

China's growing at (just) 7 percent

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-15 11:29

The world's fastest-growing major economy is slowing its roll, just slightly. China's announced a 7 percent growth rate in the most recent quarter, on an annualized basis.

 And if you're saying to yourself right now, "I'd love to hear numbers like in the U.S., or in Europe," yes, you're right. Seven percent is huge. But compared to the past few decades, when China's growth seemed unstoppable.

 Lately, China-watchers have wanted it both ways: a more balanced and stable economy that continues to push global growth with its breakneck pace. 

 "It's probably an irrational expectation," says Matthews Asia investment strategist Andy Rothman. 

 Even at 7 percent, though, China is driving a third of global growth. That's more than the U.S. and Europe combined.  Constant economic growth has fostered a culture of entrepreneurship in the Communist state. 

 "When I started there in '84, there were no private companies at all. Today, 80 percent of employment is private, all the new job creation is private," Rothman says. "People starting up businesses in garages, just like the U.S."

 More than GDP figures, today Rothman focuses on the job market and income growth. China is doing well by those measures, he says. In his talks with small, private companies, he finds that businesses are having to give raises to both skilled workers and those on the factory floor alike, to hang on to the workforce they need. 

 While that's a good sign for China, the average person still can't buy a car or home. Despite massive urbanization, half of the population is in the countryside, where incomes are much lower. 

 As this all settles out, Rothman says, we should be prepared for the day when China's growth range matches other industrial nations: plus or minus 3 percent a year. 

 And as deceleration of Chinese growth continues, Rothman says we'll have to brace ourselves for the hyperbole.

 "Every quarter, people are going to be telling us, 'Hey, that was the slowest quarter since the Tang dynasty,'" Rothman says.

Spanish politician makes vote gaffe

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 11:18
The leader of Spain's opposition Socialist party apologises after accidentally voting to reopen a debate on abortion laws, which his party opposes.

Diamonds: pricey, but not valuable

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-15 11:10

Jason and Kristen Sarata won a diamond at a charity raffle, but when the couple couldn’t agree on whether to sell the diamond or not, Jason hid it in the laundry room.

“The diamond became part of this vast repository of what I’ve learned is known as the overhang,” says “Freakonomics” author Stephen Dubner.  

According to diamond expert Edward Jay Epstein, “The overhang is every diamond ever sold in history that is on someone’s finger or in a bank vault, or in some drawer somewhere.”

Dubner says when people stash away their prized diamonds, it makes them more valuable. “All those unsold diamonds that people keep because they think of them as investments makes them valuable because they are constricted,” he says.

And the common belief that diamonds are inherently valuable? It’s just not true.

“[The diamond industry has] kept prices high over the years by constricting demand, kind of matching demand to the number of engagements, for instance, for engagement rings,” Dubner says.

In fact, reselling a diamond for top dollar isn’t all that easy. “The markup from a jeweler is huge, so you can’t expect to get all that much if you sell it back to a jeweler and you don’t have that many choices. It’s what economists call a thin market.”

Which is why the Saratas have decided to skip over the middleman and sell their diamond on eBay (they’ll also donate fifty percent of the sale back to the charity they won the jewel from).

“If you know anybody that wants to buy a diamond, not just any diamond, a diamond that was won at a raffle and fought over and hid in a laundry room and fought over some more, head over to eBay and search for 'Freakonomics Charity Diamond,'” Dubner says.

Jones defends dad's private hip op

BBC - Wed, 2015-04-15 11:02
Carwyn Jones defends his dad's decision to have a private hip op, despite his own stance against the privatisation of the NHS.

Fun facts from the Beige Book

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-15 11:00

The Federal Reserve was out with its eight-times-a-year regional look at the American economy on Wednesday. Sure, fine, call me a dork if you will — but I do love me some Beige Book.

The Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog read it so we don't have to. The choicest nuggets...

  • First of all, the weather in the Northeast: restaurant revenues in the Boston area were down 30 to 40 percent with all that snow on the ground.
  • Apparently, it's been raining a lot in Mississippi and Alabama: really wet ground there means farmers are behind on their corn planting. They might switch 'em over to soybeans, in fact.
  • And, from the "yes, it is a tech bubble" category: backlogs for architectural companies in San Francisco are the biggest they've been since the recession.

Why it's hard to tell good monopolies from bad

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-15 11:00

On Wednesday, the European Union's antitrust division officially hit Google with an antitrust case, which could cost the search giant as much as $6.6 billion, according to Margrethe Vestager, the European Union competition commissioner. The accusation is that the search giant abused its power in the European market, by privileging its Google Shopping service in its Google Search results. 

But are monopolies always bad? Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land, says Google has been dominant in the European market for more than a decade.

"Having a big market share by itself is OK," says Nicholas Economides, Professor of Economics at NYU Stern School of Business. He says the problem is when companies abuse that market share by taking anticompetitive actions that hurt its competitors and its customers.

Determining when competitors and customers are harmed is hardly straightforward, according to Peter Passell editor of The Milken Institute Review.

But some say when you look at Google's business model, that debate is inevitable. Says Marketplace's Molly Wood, "Google's goal—and it's a mission-driven company—is to organize the world's information ... And if that means occasionally buying a company so that they can deliver results from a company they already own, so be it."

When asked if she thinks there is a possible happy ending in this situation, Wood points to the need for Google to return to filtering results, not owning them: "Let Yelp surface for restaurant reviews instead of having your own restaurant reviews."

And as far as the possibility of an outcome affecting policy in the states, Wood says, "The EU has had a different standard, but I will say, if they have solid findings, it could cross the pond."

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