National / International News

Litvinenko 'suspect' to help inquiry

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 10:20
One of the suspects in the killing of the spy Alexander Litvinenko is thought to be willing to co-operate with the inquiry into his death, lawyers say.

Rivals lament Blatter's TV snub

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 10:17
Two of Sepp Blatter's election rivals express disappointment at the Fifa president's decision not to take part in a TV debate.

Belgian minister in 'black face' row

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 10:16
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders draws sharp criticism for having his face painted black during a traditional festival in Brussels.

Council posts 'defecating man' video

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 10:04
A council defends its use of a video of a man apparently defecating in the street outside their city hall as part of an official campaign against dog fouling.

Illegal migrants smuggled out of UK

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 10:02
Illegal immigrants are being smuggled out of the UK via Dover to evade deportation then smuggled back, a BBC investigation has found.

Date set for bin lorry crash inquiry

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 10:02
A fatal accident inquiry into the Glasgow bin lorry crash in which six people died will be held in July.

Greece PM plea as EU summit starts

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:52
The Greek debt crisis dominates as EU leaders gather for a summit in Brussels, which is also due to focus on relations with Russia over Ukraine.

University stops festival funding

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:51
Queens University decides not to continue with the Belfast Festival at Queens.

What If Everyone In America Had To Vote?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:43

President Obama called the idea of mandatory voting potentially "transformative." That's true, and Democrats might love it, but it's not likely to happen.

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Sturgeon: 'Don't fear us in England'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:42
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tells the BBC that voters in England should not be frightened by the SNP and what role it might play after May's election.

Big labor's March Madness problem

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:41

About 60 million Americans filled out brackets to predict the outcome of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. It's also estimated by Challenger, Gray & Christmas that the productivity drop during the three-week tournament is $1.9 billion.

That isn't all that's on employers’ minds, though. Workplace pools can also lead to trouble with organized labor.

“I sort of do it on my own time and I suggest that employers do not allow it to run rampant," says Gary Lieber, an attorney at FordHarrison who represents management in labor cases and warns that allowing bracket bets in the workplace could violate what's known as the "no-solicitation rule."

"Work is work,” he says. “An employer can demand that employees spend all of his work time dedicated to the employers' operations."

That means no work-time solicitation in companies that bar it, and that's where unions get a little defensive. Matt Ginsburg, associate general counsel for the AFL-CIO, says employers often have a double standard when it comes to enforcement. He says in one case, a judge found against an Indiana hospital for interfering with nurses organizing a union, while ignoring other violations.

"He found examples that included solicitations for Girl Scout cookies, March of Dimes, United Way, Secretaries' Day, Boss Day, and going-away parties," Ginsburg says.

So could March Madness pools be included on that list?

"If an employer is promoting a March Madness pool,” he says, “I think that can be a form of solicitation, yes."

He says the AFL-CIO has yet to file any complaints regarding a March Madness pool, but like in the tourney, there is no such thing as a sure thing. I'm looking at you, Kentucky fans.

Afghan lynched 'after burning Koran'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:38
An Afghan woman is lynched by a crowd in the Afghan capital Kabul after reportedly burning a copy of the Koran, police say.

Interest rate cut 'as likely as rise'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:37
The chief economist of the Bank of England says UK interest rates are as likely to fall further as to rise.

Ryanair abandons US flight plans

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:28
Budget airline Ryanair abandons plans to operate transatlantic flights, just days after it said its board had approved the measure.

Quiz: Tests, tests and more tests

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:24

On average, students in grades 3-5 spend 15 hours a year taking standardized tests, according to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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EuroMillions syndicate shares £1.1m

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:22
A lottery syndicate of friends and family set up on Facebook has scooped more than £1.1m in a EuroMillions draw.

Ministers pushed over 'summer-borns'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:12
Parents of summer-born babies should get more powers to appeal against decisions on when their children start school.

The music industry sings a sorrowful, flat note

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:08

Recording industry revenues were flat in 2014, according to a new report by the Recording Industry Association of America. About 15 years ago, revenues peaked at about $14.5 billion. Now the industry brings in half that.

“It’s a big drop, but a lot has happened in those years,” says Joshua Friedlander, vice president of strategic data analysis with the RIAA.

First, there was piracy. Then iTunes and Amazon made it easy to buy just one song for a buck, as opposed to an entire CD for maybe $15.  And then came streaming.

“I think there’s been an overall competition for people’s attention and their time,” says Serona Elton, director of the Music Business and Entertainment Studies Program at the University of Miami. She says people are spending their time and their money on other things. Who’s suffered the most?

“I think the first people, the first entities to feel it were definitely the record companies,” Elton says.

But, she says, there’s a trickle-down effect, from the artists to the songwriters. Except those making vinyl records. Those sales were up 50 percent. 

Should oil companies be liable for earthquake-related damage?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:08

The Oklahoma Supreme Court will soon rule on a case that could hold oil and gas companies liable for earthquake-related damage.

Since 2009, Oklahoma has experienced earthquakes at a rate nearly 300 times higher than previous decades. Several peer-reviewed studies link seismic activity with oil and gas development — in Oklahoma's case, that's fracking.

The high court case is a personal-injury dispute. Four years ago in Prague, Oklahoma, a 5.7 earthquake struck and pieces of homeowner Sandra Ladra’s chimney fell on her leg. Ladra may need a knee replacement, and sued two companies in the fracking wastewater business, arguing they caused the quake.

West Virginia law professor Josh Fershee says science links injection wells with earthquakes, but says Ladra’s challenge is to prove wastewater disposal caused the 2011 tremor. If the companies lose, he expects industry to support new rules stipulating what the energy industry can do to avoid or limit quake liability.

Such changes cost money, as do new efforts to take fracking wastewater and recycle it. Still, if more lawsuits come, or more large quakes, the price of safety could be worth it to industry. 

India's prime minister needs a raise

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 09:08

On Business Insider, we found a piece pegged to a pledge by Russian President Vladimir Putin to reduce his salary by 10 percent because of economic sanctions that have been imposed on the country.

Putin's official salary, by the way, is $136,000.

Business Insider compiled what other world leaders make, and Barack Obama is right up there at $400,000 — just above Canada's Prime Minister Steven Harper, and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Narendra Modi of India earns about $30,000 a year — the lowest on the list. The highest? Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at $1.7 million.

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