National / International News

Three river death kayakers named

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-13 01:05
Three men from the same family who were killed after going kayaking together in the River Tyne are named.

A canary in the coal mine... and in your Mac

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-13 01:00

Canaries can be useful creatures. Coal miners used to bring them into the mines as a warning sign of methane or carbon monoxide. A dead canary meant the miners needed to get out of there pronto.

Now a clever loophole in the rules regarding NSA requests for information is letting companies warn their customers in the same way a little yellow bird might signal trouble. 

It's called a "warrant canary", and several major companies like Apple have already used it in their "transparency reports."

The idea is that while the NSA can enforce rules on companies to not tell their customers when their information has been acquired, it is still within a company's rights to tell their customers what they haven't been asked. If a transparency report gets released without a statement saying that the NSA has not requested information, then a customer can infer that the request has been made.

The idea originated from a public library that posted a sign on its door each day saying that the Government had not yet asked for any information on the patrons. The insinuation was that if ever the library did not post the sign, it meant that the NSA had made a request.

According to Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law at Harvard and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, it's not only a clever way to let customers know if their information may have been acquired by the NSA, but also a way for the private sector to agitate Government agencies on the issues involved in privacy.

"To mix my fowl, it’s a game of chicken played with a warrant canary. Under the first amendment, it may well be much more dicey for the government to insist that a company lie rather than to tell a company it may not speak."

UN appoints first woman commander

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-13 00:51
For the first time, a woman will command a UN peacekeeping force, as Norway's Major General Kristin Lund is appointed to lead troops in Cyprus.

VIDEO: Play therapy to help brain scans

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-13 00:45
A pilot scheme is helping young people have a brain scan without being sedated by teaching them about it through play.

Heathrow and Gatwick unveil plans

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-13 00:44
Heathrow and Gatwick airports both unveil revised expansion plans as they attempt to secure permission to build the UK's next runway.

Suspended nurses inquiry 'alarming'

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-13 00:44
Calls for "no stone to be left unturned" are made after confirmation that seven hospital nurses have been suspended amid allegations of falsifying records.

VIDEO: Spain politician shot dead in public

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-13 00:26
A top politician in northern Spain has been shot dead in public and two women have been arrested.

Miliband focus 'on issues not polls'

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-13 00:26
Ed Miliband says he is focusing on "the issues that matter" after two polls put Labour behind the Conservatives.

Cole omission a risk, admits Hodgson

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-13 00:22
England boss Roy Hodgson admits there is an element of risk in his decision to overlook Ashley Cole for his World Cup squad.

Repaired Rothko is back on display

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:59
Mark Rothko's painting Black on Maroon painting goes back on public display at Tate Modern, 18 months after it was vandalised with graffiti.

India shares at record high on polls

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:48
Indian stock markets rise to a record high after exit polls suggest Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party is on course to win the general election.

Explainer: Why dollar cost averaging is stupid smart

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:32

Retail investors – you know, people like you and me and the guy next door who day-trades in his PJs – are investing again. In an interview with Fox Business, TD Ameritrade president and CEO Fred Tomczyk described individual investors as "more bullish now than at any time since we started measuring."

"The retail investor is definitely back, our trades in the first quarter, the March quarter, were up 30 percent year-over-year," he told Fox Business. "They have been coming in increasingly over the last nine months."

Tomczyk said the conditions in the market are perfect for retail investors right now.

"They are getting lower trading commissions. They're getting lower bid ask spreads. They're getting quicker execution. There is a lot of liquidity in the market," he said.

But are we keeping it simple?

Are we sticking to tried and true investing strategies like using tax advantaged investments, diversification and my personal flavor of the month, dollar-cost averaging?

Maybe. And maybe not.

Tomczyk says we retail investors are using risky strategies like buying on margin, which means borrowing money to make wagers on stocks. That's the kind of risky behavior that led to the financial crisis, and in an environment when the stock market feels a bit frothy, isn't going to change the way institutional investors see individuals: as "dumb money."

Why are we so dumb?

Because we do the opposite of what the pros think they should do. We're supposedly always late to the game; we supposedly always buy high and sell low; we supposedly always buy stocks when we should be snagging bonds, and pile into bonds when stocks make most sense.

We're certainly doing the polar opposite of the professionals right now. Banks are  increasingly moving out of the trading business, peppered by the twin shotgun barrels of harsh regulation and heavy losses. Trading just isn't profitable anymore – or at least it's not as profitable as it was – and the stock market is seen as rigged by high-frequency trading firms. So anyone getting into trading right now must be dumb, right?

Well, hold on there. If you want to be the kind of investor who's trading in and out of stocks all day long, and trying to compete with the big guys – like that guy in his PJs – then maybe you are at a disadvantage (actually, let's be honest, there's no maybe about it – that particular game IS rigged).

But most retail investors aren't that guy. Most of us are doing things the simple way, in many cases managing our own money because we can't trust professionals who are increasingly compromised and conflicted by their relationships with the makers of the financial products they shill.

Most of us are using the dead simple, tried and true methods of long-term, diversified investing that really build wealth over time. If that makes us dumb, than I'm happy to be called stupid.

In Mississippi, A Tea Party Challenger Takes On A GOP Institution

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:23

After 41 years in Washington, Sen. Thad Cochran holds clout in Washington — and his name is on buildings across the state. But a Tea Party candidate says the time for that kind of largesse is over.

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Top scientist: Pfizer bid 'flimsy'

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:18
Pfizer's commitments to maintain research and jobs should it take over AstraZeneca have been dismissed as "vague".

China arrest over 'false stories'

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:14
Chinese authorities detain a man who posted "false stories" on a foreign news site, amid an ongoing clampdown as the Tiananmen anniversary looms.

Leicester owner 'will spend £180m'

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:12
Billionaire owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha says he will spend £180m to help Leicester City challenge for European places.

Poverty Among Holocaust Survivors Hits A Nerve In Israel

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:07

About a quarter of the 200,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel live below the poverty line. The government is now pushing a plan to increase assistance.

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The French Ask: Should We Be Building Warships For Russia?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:05

France's $1.6 billion sale is the biggest ever by a NATO country to Russia. But in the wake of Russia's actions in Ukraine, the French are debating whether they should suspend the deal.

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Hospital's A&E 'not fit for purpose'

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:04
The accident and emergency department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich is declared "not fit for purpose" by hospital inspectors.

The Global Economy: A World Of Acronyms

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 23:04

Perhaps you're well aware of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). But now there's MINT, CIVET and more. The emerging markets keep changing — and so do the letters.

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