National / International News

Tebbitt's shooting jibe 'shocking'

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 09:36
Sinn Féin criticises a Conservative peer for saying that he hoped Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness would be shot in the back for attending a state banquet hosted by the Queen.

'Too few top-table women' - Labour

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 09:35
Labour claims David Cameron has downgraded women in his mini-reshuffle prompted by Maria Miller's resignation.

When the coal layoffs trickle down

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-09 09:25
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 06:40 Lorri Shundich

Kae and David Fisher opened their store in downtown Whitesburg last year.  

Coal communities in eastern Kentucky are feeling the effects of a relentless wave of mining layoffs the past few years. Competition from cheap natural gas and high production costs have hurt the mining business here. That, in turn, is hurting Main Street.

Take Whitesburg, Kentucky, population 2,000 give or take. At the Railroad Street Mercantile, owner Kae Fisher surprises visitors with an eclectic mix of merchandise. Homemade jellies, aromatherapy oils, snack chips, and jalapeno eggs fill the shelves. In the back of the store, she’s selling used LP’s and consignment quilts.

“These are from ladies across the county who try to earn a little extra money because a lot of them, their husbands have lost their jobs,” says Fisher.

Fisher and her husband David opened their “corner market” last year, as mining employment in eastern Kentucky plunged. Inauspicious timing, but Fisher believed the downtown needed at least one store. “We’re able to pay the bills,” says Fisher. “But have we got our money back that we’ve invested? Not yet.”

A midday stroll down Main Street, Whitesburg can be a lonely experience. The courthouse is the busiest place in town, but tables at the Courthouse Cafe across the street are fairly empty. On a weekday afternoon co-owner Laura Schuster worked the kitchen by herself. She can’t afford an assistant right now. “Once the layoffs started we immediately knew what would happen, that people would be afraid that they also would lose their jobs and they would cut back anyway they can,” says Schuster. “And one way to cut back is to not eat out. I’d say business is down 50 percent, if not more.”

Whitesburg and other coal towns in the region are also suffering from a steep drop in coal tax revenue. The money goes to counties and was originally intended for an economy beyond coal. In Whitesburg’s Letcher County, coal tax revenue is half what it was just a few years ago.

Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, says over the years coal severance taxes have been diverted for other uses. “Local governments in eastern Kentucky have gradually become dependent on the coal severance as just a general fund source for operations,” says Bailey “For them to pay for police, to do basic road repair. So they’ve had a really hard time because there’s the lack of a tax base outside that as well to generate revenue.”

Justin Maxson, president of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, says the transition to a “low-coal” economy will be “slow, hard and expensive.” He points out the region was poor, even while coal boomed. “So there will be no easy fix.”

Marketplace Morning Report for Friday, April 11, 2014 Lorri Shundich

Kae and David Fisher opened their store in downtown Whitesburg last year.  

Check out all our Coal Play stories.

Lorri Shundich

Laura Schuster, co-owner of the Courthouse Cafe in Whitesburg, KY, says business is down 50 percent, if not more.

by Sarah GardnerPodcast Title When the coal layoffs trickle downStory Type FeatureSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Google invests in more robots

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 09:23
Google's investment arm has taken a financial stake in a robot-maker that is seeking to disrupt the service industry.

Iran 'won't give up nuclear plans'

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 09:12
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backs negotiations with world powers but warns Tehran will never give up its nuclear plans.

The loaded meaning behind 'What do you do?'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-04-09 09:08

Jim and Deb Fallows of the Atlantic continue their travels across the United States, in partnership with Marketplace. This week, the Fallows are taking a break from exploring different towns across the country to examine something we all do – introduce ourselves.  

Or more precisely, they're examining the thing we say right after we introduce ourselves. It’s different in every part of the country.

In New York or D.C., the first question after an introduction is often “What do you do?” – meaning, what’s your job? But careful asking that question in Burlington, Vermont, says Fallows. People are more likely to respond, “I ski or I run a lot or I have a little boat.”

Deb Fallows says “It’s a question that matters. It’s something we say all the time." She was caught off guard when, in Greenville, South Carolina, she was asked what church she went to. In cities like Chicago or Boston, it’s not uncommon for people to ask "Which parish do you live in?" In midsized cities, it's often "Where did you go to high school?"

Fallows says the questions are meant to tease out socioeconomic status, political viewpoints, and cultural background.

“You know that somebody’s kind of digging for information to put you into their world – how do you fit into my world?

Debate: In An Online World, Are Brick And Mortar Colleges Obsolete?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-09 09:00

Proponents of online education say it's flexible and economical. But skeptics say "college by Internet" is a pale substitute for real-world exchanges with instructors and peers inside the classroom.

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Homophobic gesture footballer guilty

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 08:34
A footballer who made a homophobic gesture to Brighton fans is found guilty of using abusive or insulting behaviour, in a landmark legal case.

The New Age: Leaving Behind Everything, Or Nothing At All

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-09 08:21

Older generations might have left behind physical letters, photographs and journals. But much of that is digital now. Saving and organizing it all is a new challenge for librarians and writers alike.

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Ukraine ultimatum to east activists

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 08:20
Ukraine tells pro-Russia activists occupying buildings in eastern cities the situation will be resolved "by negotiations or force" within 48 hours.

9-Month-Old Boy Charged With Attempted Murder In Pakistan

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-09 08:17

Musa Khan was arrested along with his family at a violent protest in Lahore where police said the boy threw stones at them.

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Pistorius anguish at Reeva photo

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 08:05
Oscar Pistorius breaks down as he is shown a graphic photo of his dead girlfriend on the first day of cross-examination at his murder trial.

Police searches in dead birds probe

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 07:48
Police carry out searches in an area of the Highlands where 19 birds of prey have been found dead.

Clifford 'master of intimidation'

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 07:40
Max Clifford is a "risk taker" and a "master in the art of intimidation and manipulation", the prosecution says in the closing speeches at his trial.

Map illustrates 'Russian GPS' fault

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 07:38
The General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland issue a map illustrating the effects of the outage that hit Russia's GLONASS sat-nav system.

Ex-editor was aware of Milly message

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 07:34
Stuart Kuttner, former managing editor of the NoW, tells the hacking trial he knew the paper had a voicemail from missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone.

Hull City name change plan rejected

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 07:17
Hull City's proposed name change to Hull Tigers has been rejected by the Football Association Council.

Food Scraps To Fuel Vertical Farming's Rise In Chicago

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-09 07:14

As vertical farming takes root in cities around the world, critics fear it's leaving a big carbon footprint. An experiment in Chicago turning garbage into energy aims to prove them wrong.

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Ferrari suffer Bahrain test setback

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 07:08
Ferrari's attempts to improve their form suffer a setback as they abandon running early at this week's Bahrain test.

Car fumes cut easier than UN thought

BBC - Wed, 2014-04-09 07:07
UN experts say they underestimated the gains carmakers have made in fuel efficiency, but a huge expected increase in global traffic may outweigh this.
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