National / International News

VIDEO: Is the Eurozone crisis over?

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 12:23
A lot has changed in the Eurozone over the past two years - this year Ireland emerged from its bailout; Portugal hopes to follow suit in 2014.

MSNBC Host Apologizes For Comments About Mitt Romney's Grandson

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 12:18

On a segment of the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, panelists captioned a photo of Romney's family, which included his adopted grandson. Cue the jokes, the Internet backlash and the apology.

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Where to spend New Year's? Boise or Brasstown, N.C.?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2013-12-31 12:09

This final note, a wrap-up of some of the items Americans will "drop" at midnight, to celebrate the New Year.

  • Eastport, Maine will drop a giant fake sardine.
  • Boise, Idaho, a $10,000 foam potato.
  • Brasstown, N.C., will lower a live and controversial possum.
  • Bethlehem, Penn., a 75-pound light-up candy peep.

New Year's Day to bring heavy rain

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:57
Forecasters warn that Scotland should expect a further spell of wet weather with heavy rain on New Year's Day.

Doctors brace for Obamacare patients

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:54

Tomorrow many of us will be recovering from tonight, watching football, perhaps a long nap, avoiding the gym.

But doctors are busy with last-minute preparations as millions of new patients sign up for health insurance and seek treatment they’ve put off – in some cases for years.

Anybody who’s been watching the Affordable Care Act roll out knows the next few months in healthcare will be filled with confusion, and the doctor’s office is Ground Zero.

On the eve of the Affordable Care Act’s full launch, different scenarios are running through Dr. Cheryl Bettigole’s head. Say, someone on a new plan coming in on Thursday with a hernia that needs immediate attention.

“Ok, we can give you a surgery referral,” says Bettigole. “But who takes your insurance? You know that book that’s going to arrive in the mail and tell us the whole list of specialists, we don’t have that yet.”

Referrals are one thing, but Bettigole says she’s not sure how much her doctors will get paid under the new exchange plans.

“If we end up with very low reimbursements for patients with these exchange plans, that could impact our ability to stay open or provide services,” she says.

Dr. Charles Cutler, an internist in suburban Philadelphia who also chairs the Board of the American College of Physicians, believes his patients will better off in the long run.

“My estimate is that things are going to be good, that this is going to work, and we will not have a breakdown of the medical system,” he says.

Over Cutler’s 30 years in practice, he has seen patients routinely turn down treatment, more concerned about cost than their own health. He thinks that will be different under the Affordable Care Act.

“We’re suddenly covering preventive care, screening we’re covering," he says. "So people will have an opportunity to be diagnosed earlier,” he says.

Cutler knows there will be mistakes: like patients leaving his office with prescriptions not covered by their new insurance plans. But he says that happens now, adding that the protections for patients that are new will be worth the headaches in the coming months.

New Year's Day flood warnings for UK

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:52
Flood warnings are issued across England and Wales as forecasters predict more heavy rain and strong winds for the first day of 2014.

Coffee beans are cheaper, so why isn't my Starbucks?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:48

2013 was the year commodities prices dramatically took a dive after a long period in the clouds. Corn, coffee and more have dropped substantially. The reason why isn’t terribly complex. Corn and coffee prices are down largely because there’s an awful lot more corn and coffee in the world. Supply has exploded without a similar growth in demand.

News of lower commodity prices is of little comfort for shoppers frustrated with the persistent cost of breakfast cereal or Starbucks drinks. Unfortunately for consumers, lower commodity prices don’t instantly translate into cheaper prices at the cash register.

“People don’t eat commodities. What they do is they eat food,” says Iowa State University economist Bruce Babcock, who watches corn prices professionally and coffee prices personally. “I do know I’m spending 14 dollars a pound on Peet’s coffee and it bears no reflection whatsoever to the price of Arabica beans down in Brazil.”

There are many additional and separate costs involved in transforming commodities to food, from transportation to manufacturing to marketing. Food prices may come down for shoppers, but probably not for a while. And some consumer brands are strong enough that they don’t have to pass the savings on to you.

“The raw commodity, which is coffee, is going down. So your costs are going down, your revenues are staying about the same, which means your profitability is gonna go up,” says Duke University business professor Campbell Harvey.

It’s not just edible commodities that are seeing price decreases. Metals are dropping too, with always volatile gold in a free fall. Then there’s copper, which is sinking as China’s growth slows.

“They’re gonna be pulling back a little bit on some of the spending they’ve been doing to build factories and homes,” says Paul Christopher, chief international strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors. “That’s gonna reduce their demand for copper.”

And in turn, copper’s price will suffer, like so many other commodities these days.

Mark Garrison: Corn and coffee prices are down largely because there’s a lot more corn and coffee in the world. In New York, I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.

I’m kidding of course. We’ve got 90 seconds, so let’s try a different question, perhaps one you’ve pondered while buying your favorite cereal or a pricey drink at Starbucks. If commodities prices are dropping for companies, how come we’re still paying basically the same price in stores?

Bruce Babcock: People don’t eat commodities. What they do is they eat food.

Iowa State University economist Bruce Babcock points to all the other expenses that go into making food, from transportation to manufacturing to marketing. Professionally, he thinks a lot about corn prices. But personally, coffee.

Babcock: I do know I’m spending 14 dollars a pound on Peet’s coffee and it bears no reflection whatsoever to the price of Arabica beans down in Brazil.

Duke University finance professor Campbell Harvey says some brands are strong enough that they don’t have to pass the savings on to you.

Campbell Harvey: The raw commodity, which is coffee, is going down. So your costs are going down, your revenues are staying about the same, which means your profitability is gonna go up.

Food prices may come down for shoppers, but probably not for a while. And it’s not just edible commodities. Metals are dropping too, with always volatile gold in a free fall. Then there’s copper. Paul Christopher at Wells Fargo Advisors says it’s lower because China’s growth is slower.

Paul Christopher: They’re gonna be pulling back a little bit on some of the spending they’ve been doing to build factories and homes. That’s gonna reduce their demand for copper.

And consequently, its price. I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.

Sebelius Touts 2 Million Obamacare Enrollees

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:37

The Health and Human Services Secretary, who has spent months fending off critics of the Affordable Care Act rollout, is touting the improving numbers.

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Icing On The Puck: Hockey Fans And The NHL Winter Classic

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:36

New Year's Day has become its own holiday of sorts for some hockey fans. The Detroit Red Wings play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Wednesday in front of more than 100,000 people. The game time weather forecast: about 18 degrees, with an 80 percent chance of snow.

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Romney's black grandson mocked on TV

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:32
A US cable news presenter apologises for jokes about former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's adopted black grandson.

Haass proposal document published

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:29
The final draft of the proposal document given to Northern Ireland's political parties by Richard Haass has been published.

Schumacher's condition improves

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:18
Seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher's condition improves slightly after an operation to relieve pressure on his brain.

Does Champagne Actually Get You Drunk Faster?

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 11:13

Search for "Champagne, bubbles and drunk," and you'll get headlines like "Why Bubbles Make You More Giggly." But when we took a close look at the science supporting the urban legend, we weren't impressed. The effect doesn't happen to everyone, and when it does, it's just temporary.

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Twelve in court on manslaughter charge

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 10:59
Twelve men have appeared in court charged with manslaughter of Kevin McDaid in Coleraine in 2009.

Seven dead in Argentina heatwave

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 10:54
The worst heatwave in northern Argentina since records began has killed at least seven people since Christmas Eve.

Romania dismisses UK 'invasion' talk

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 10:28
The Romanian foreign ministry has ridiculed talk of an "invasion" of the UK when work restrictions are lifted on Wednesday.

In Russia, A Soviet-Era Movie To Ring In The New Year

NPR News - Tue, 2013-12-31 10:24

The Irony of Fate is the country's favorite holiday movie. Like classic American films such as It's A Wonderful Life, it captures the magic of the holidays, but in a way that is quintessentially Russian.

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VIDEO: Fireworks mark new year around world

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 10:09
New year celebrations have been taking place across the world, welcoming the start of 2014.

VIDEO: 'Fat suit' shows effects of obesity

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 10:08
Hospital staff have been learning how to deal with obese patients by wearing a so-called "fat suit".

Broadcaster Geoffrey Wheeler dies

BBC - Tue, 2013-12-31 10:01
The broadcaster Geoffrey Wheeler, best known for presenting BBC quiz show Top of the Form and Songs of Praise, has died aged 83, his son confirms.

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