National / International News

Russia, China Secure Nearly Half-Trillion-Dollar Gas Deal

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:17

The 30-year agreement involves supplying 38 billion cubic meters of gas a year via a Siberian pipeline starting in 2018.

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UK plane joins search for sailors

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:14
A Ministry of Defence aircraft is helping with the US Coast Guard's search for four British sailors missing in the Atlantic.

Will women CEOs still stand out in 2024?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:10

You’ve probably been hearing the name “Jill Abramson” a lot lately.

The former New York Times Executive Editor’s firing last week has started a new conversation about an old problem in the corporate world: the fact that there are hardly any female CEOs.

“I don’t think this is primarily some kind of Oliver Stone-like conspiracy,” says  Nancy Koehn, a historian at the Harvard Business School. “I think it's primarily that the tributaries that feed into the river of talent haven’t -- until recently -- been replete with talented women. Not because they aren’t out there in droves -- they are -- but because [they have] only recently come into the kinds of management jobs which feed top leadership talent.”

Koehn says women traditionally haven’t worked as much in the direct roles like sales and research that lead to executive jobs. She says General Motors CEO Mary Barra is an example of what can happen when women buck that trend.

“[She] didn’t stay in HR. She didn’t stay in PR or Legal. Instead, [she] was moved around into Manufacturing and Research...She had a full plate of professional positions that made her a great candidate to run this huge auto company.”

Koehn says it won’t be long until stories like Barra’s aren’t a rarity.

“[This] kind of social change isn’t a line. It's a curve. It's slow to begin with, like the adoption of a new technology, and then it ratchets up. And it has all these spillover effects. Talented women mentor other women. They mentor other women. The curve gets very steep very quickly.”

Burns heads five Leicester signings

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:07
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill confirms the signing of five players, headed by Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns.

Ex-partner guilty of killing model

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:04
A man who stabbed his model ex-partner to death is found guilty of her murder.

Turns out, shame and fear don't fight cancer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 10:01

Shame and fear – that’s the way marketers have traditionally tried to convince women to strip down in a cold room and squish their breasts between two plastic paddles.

Dr. Steve Woloshin, a professor of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, remembers one American Cancer Society ad from the 1980s that stated, "If you’re a woman over 35 and you haven’t had a mammogram, you need more than your breasts examined.”

“That was the classic persuasive message telling women if you don’t get screened, you’re crazy, you need your head examined," Woloshin says.

Scaring women about cancer is still the norm, but that could be shifting.

No Scolding Allowed

"Avoid anxiety": That's the mantra at the country’s largest breast imaging company in the country – Texas-based Solis Women’s Health.

At Solis Women’s Health centers across the U.S., employees don’t just steer clear of scaring women, they avoid talking cancer at all.

"Fear is not a motivator. It’s typically something that will cause people to procrastinate,” says Kate Maguire, president of Motivation Mechanics, a group of Philadelphia-based research and marketing strategists who worked for Solis Women’s Health.

After interviewing women about what they wanted in a mammography experience, Maguire – whose grandmother and mother had breast cancer – outlined a major marketing makeover.

The Makeover

Here are a few examples of what Solis Women’s Health changed:

Terminology: Women are referred to as visitors, instead of patients.

Clinic Layout: There are two different hallways, one for women coming in for a standard screening and another for women who have been called back for additional imaging. This helps reduce anxiety for the women who are nervous after being called back, Maguire says, because they don't see people leaving faster. 

Tagline: The old tagline at Solis was “Annual mammograms, it’s what smart women do.” That phrase, says VP of marketing Greg Scott, was a "bad girl message.”

Now, the tagline is “When you’re ready, we’ll be there for you.” 

Cost & Convenience

Breast imaging is big business. A report from Frost & Sullivan estimates revenues of $1 billion in 2011, and an expected rise to $1.4 billion in 2016.

But, from a business perspective, there are two main barriers to getting women in the door for screenings: financial and emotional. The Affordable Care Act, by making mammograms a fully-covered service, has cut the cost obstacle.

Now, there’s the psychological barrier – which companies like Solis Women’s Health are trying to counter by alleviating the fear that comes with scheduling and going through with a mammogram.

Marketing director Greg Scott says, by offering convenient, fast visits and fast results (within 24-48 hours by email if there is no additional screening required) his company is pushing past the competition.

Solis Women’s Health saw about 240,000 women in 2013, Scott says, and for the first quarter of 2014, growth was more than 10 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth and 4 percent nationwide.

Conflicting Messages

Steve Woloshin of Dartmouth says deciding whether to get a mammogram is much more complicated than any glossy brochure may suggest.

“The reason it’s controversial is the evidence supporting mammography, even though intuitively it seems like it’s got to be the right thing to do, the evidence we have isn’t so clear cut.”

Mammograms do save lives, Woloshin says, but they can also have downsides: false alarms, follow-up testing, and over-diagnosis.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says for every 10,000 women, mammograms probably save five lives of women in their 40s, ten lives of women in their 50s, and 42 lives of women in their 60s. Meanwhile, half of women screened for ten years have a “false positive” – a suspicious mammogram that leads to a repeat test or biopsy on a healthy breast.

Ultimately, decisions on whether or not to get a mammogram, he says, should be individualized. And the decision should be based on information, rather than fear.

Blizzard sues Starcraft cheat-makers

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:58
Activision Blizzard is trying to sue the creators of cheats that allow Starcraft II players to improve their rankings and unlock new weapons.

On The Trail Of Durian, Southeast Asia's 'Crème Brûlée On A Tree'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:39

A young couple got hooked on durians after one life-changing bite in 2009. And after two years of tracking the stinky sweet fruit through Southeast Asia, they've become experts on durian tourism.

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5 Convicted In 2006 Killing Of Famed Russian Journalist

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:38

Anna Politkovskaya was known for her coverage of corruption and the war in Chechnya. An earlier trial had resulted in acquittal but a Moscow jury on Tuesday found five men guilty in the murder case.

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May tells Police Federation to reform

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:28
The Police Federation must make sweeping changes and public funding will cease from August, the home secretary says.

Playing will be 'difficult' for McIlroy

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:23
Rory McIlroy says playing at the PGA Championship will be "very difficult" after his split from Caroline Wozniacki.

Saying It Was Hacked, EBay Urges Users To Change Passwords

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:23

EBay says that it hasn't seen any sign of fraudulent activity since the breach was detected "about two weeks ago." It says it stores financial data and customer records in different places.

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'Pet replacement' app criticised

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:17
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home says the PetMatch app risks turning animals into "disposable items".

How much would it cost us to eliminate the penny?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:14

I'll go on the record as saying I personally am in favor of getting rid of the penny. I've got a jarful in my office just collecting dust.

And really over the course of a year how much difference would rounding up or down to the nearest nickel really make, anyway?

As it happens, we have an answer to that question: 

Canada began phasing out its penny at the beginning of last year and a Quebec man kept track of how much he was gaining or losing over a year. Grand total? He was 89 cents ahead after 365 cash transactions.

So there you go: I say get rid of it.

Oregon Voters Approve Local Bans On GMO Crops

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:04

Despite heavy spending by agribusiness and potential legal hurdles, voters in two rural Oregon counties approved bans on genetically modified crops on Tuesday.

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Cuba blocks dissident newspaper

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 09:02
Access to an online newspaper launched by Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez is blocked on the communist-run island shortly after it went live.

Public memorial for Stephen Sutton

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 08:55
A public vigil to remember teenage cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton is to be held at Lichfield Cathedral, ahead of a private family funeral, church officials say.

Hamilton wants challenge from rivals

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 08:54
Lewis Hamilton hopes his Mercedes team face a challenge from Red Bull and Ferrari at the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.

Minister no confidence vote rejected

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 08:51
Scotland's health secretary survives a vote of no confidence in parliament, sparked by a row over NHS cuts in his constituency.

Farage: We may hold balance of power

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 08:51
Nigel Farage sets out UKIP's aims as campaigning for Thursday's local and European election enters its final stage.
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