National / International News

England U21s claim 11th straight win

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:59
England Under-21s extend their winning run to 11 games with a 3-1 win over Portugal 3-1 in a friendly at Turf Moor.

Bristol beat Barca to reach quarters

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:47
Nikki Watts's late penalty against Barcelona sends Bristol Academy into the quarter-finals of the Women's Champions League.

Kerry sees progress on Jerusalem row

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:45
US Secretary of State John Kerry says steps have been agreed at talks in Jordan to lower tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

As Casinos Fold, Stakes Are High For Atlantic City Transformation

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:43

Atlantic City, N.J., once synonymous with gambling, is reeling from the failure of several big-name casinos. Officials hope they can revive the city by recasting it as the Las Vegas of the East Coast.

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Obama expected to announce immigration reform soon

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:42

President Obama is expected to make an announcement as soon as next week on immigration reform that will protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. To find out more, Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to Michael Shear, White House correspondent for the New York Times.

To sum it up: If you are in the U.S. illegally but have a child who is a citizen, you may be able to apply for deferred action, which means you will not be deported. This may also provide a work permit. And of course, some people will be exempt, especially if they have a criminal record.  

“I think a lot of people would say, these folks are largely employed anyways," Shear says. "These are mostly people who have been living in the country for many years – five, 10 years in some cases. They hold down jobs, but they’re holding these jobs in kind of a hidden way. Or in a way that they’re constantly looking over their shoulders, having to worry about a deportation proceeding if they’re caught."

Additional components to the plan include expanding opportunities for immigrants with high-tech skills and adding extra security to the southern border.

“The idea that the administration puts forward is that if you bring these folks out of the shadows in that respect, allow them to sort of hold these jobs in an above-board way, it actually helps the economy instead of  [hurting] it,” Shear said.

Facebook Rolls Out New, Simpler Privacy Policy

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:41

The new privacy guidelines are one-third their previous length. But experts say it doesn't change how much data the company will continue to gather from users.

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How To Make A Faux Cheddar In One Hour

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:25

Once Claudia Lucero had mastered rapid cheese-making, she knew it was time to tackle cheddar. But cheddar takes months, even years, to age, so Lucero devised a pseudo version: the Smokey Cheater.

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Israelis And Palestinians Ask: Is Another Uprising On The Way?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:14

So far, it's just scattered unrest. But with peace talks in the deep freeze and the recent scuffling over Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site, there's talk about the prospects of another intifada.

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Labour pledges tax avoidance fines

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:12
The Labour Party says it would double the fines that can be levied on people who aggressively avoid tax if it wins the next election.

Obama 'close to immigration action'

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:06
President Barack Obama is soon to enact a major package of reforms that would lift the threat of deportation to millions of undocumented migrants.

No return plan for British jihadists

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-13 13:01
British citizens who go abroad to fight could be prevented from returning home under plans to be announced by Prime Minister David Cameron.

VIDEO: 'It's the physical element of sound'

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-13 12:59
James Williams of Subpac explains how "bone conduction" is used in his firm's backpack to convey the physical element of sound.

An 'Orphaned' Photo Of Kites And Love, Rescued From Oblivion

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-13 12:38

A noted photographer talks about a favorite image — from the hundreds of thousands he's shot in the past three decades — that never quite got the attention it deserved.

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Farage: UKIP policy is to keep NHS

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-13 12:28
Nigel Farage clarifies UKIP's position on the NHS, after admitting he once advocated a form of NHS privatisation in a speech two years ago.

Common Core Reading: The Struggle Over Struggle

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-13 12:13

With the Common Core State Standards' emphasis on "complex texts," some critics worry kids are being asked to struggle too much. We ask: How much is too much?

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Obama Plans To Use Executive Action To Reshape Immigration

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-13 12:13

Obama has said he will take executive action on immigration by the end of the year; now, as NPR's Tamara Keith tells Audie Cornish, there are reports he could act as soon as the end of next week.

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Hurricane Sandy Stranded Dialysis Patients. Lessons Learned?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-13 12:06

A quarter of the dialysis patients who were in New York City when Hurricane Sandy hit missed at least one treatment due to power outages. Yet, not many are prepared for the next disaster.

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FIFA Clears Qatar, Russia Of World Cup Corruption, Ignites Furor

NPR News - Thu, 2014-11-13 12:01

A report by a German judge examined the actions of countries that bid to stage the World Cup in 2018 and 2022. But the lawyer on whose work the report was based called it "incomplete and erroneous."

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There's a business opportunity behind open enrollment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-11-13 11:47

Everybody knows shopping for insurance stinks. Not only do we not like it, but we’re not very good at it.

Minnesota state exchange CEO Scott Leitz says he saw consumers struggle last year.

“In many, many cases, it was hours of time that were spent kind of walking a person through what their choices were, answering their questions and helping them make a final decision,” he says.

With millions flocking to public exchanges under Obamacare, this shopping problem – which researchers have known about for years – is coming into focus.

Consumers must sort out co-insurance, deductibles, in-network, out-of-network and medications, then compare it all to screen after screen of health insurance plans. Wharton economist Jonathan Kolstad says don’t forget people also must guess what problems they’ll have over the next 12 months.

“Ultimately insurance is not just about the world as we know it today, it’s about knowing where we are going down the road,” he says.

Kolstad says there are more than 900,000 variables to consider when shopping for health insurance, and so it's no wonder that we tend to make such poor choices. Here’s the thing: Those choices have real world costs.

Kolstad’s research shows when employees don’t know what they’re doing, they leave $1,800 on the table. There’s certainly an opportunity here to both help people and to cash in. Several University of Pennsylvania professors – along with Kolstad – have launched software called Picwell in response.

Company CEO Jay Silverstein says their software is designed to “make the process easier, simpler, faster, better.”

Here’s how it works, according to Silverstein: Consumers first answer the four simple questions, "What is your age?" "Where do you live by zip code?" "What is your gender?" and "What medications are you on?"

Then Picwell’s algorithms cut, slice and dice the responses with a big data buffet that includes medical claims and credit scores. The result is Google-like. Almost instantaneously, the software spits out a list of the plans and ranks them by best fit. It also offers a total monthly cost estimate, which includes all out-of-pocket costs.

Industry consultant Ted von Glahn – who has no ties to the company - says Picwell is taking a lot of the mystery out of shopping. 

“The golden rule is 'do the math.' Don’t make me go find that neurologist procedure and 'is it covered or not?' Bring it right to me,” he says.

Compare Picwell to The federal exchange, says von Glahn, only offers the most basic tools forcing consumers to still do the math. Picwell is one of a dozen companies including GetInsured and Consumers’ CHECKBOOK in this small consumer choice space.

As these products mature, von Glahn believes, it will force the entire industry – insurers, hospitals and doctors – to become more efficient. 

“They can’t compete on the mistakes that consumers make, the dazzle and confusion of choice,” he says.

Change may well be here sooner than it seems. PricewaterhouseCoopers says a third of private companies are considering moving their active employees onto private exchanges within the next three years.

“My gut on this is private exchanges are in the early stages,” says PWC’s Michael Thompson. “The value proposition isn’t as strong as it ultimately will be. As that proposition grows, you’ll see more companies adopt it. I think the uptick rates will be significant.”

Not only do employers need to be convinced they can save money - so do employees. To that extent, whether exchanges take off or disintegrate could turn on the success of outfits like Picwell. CEO Silverstein says business is good: They’ve already lined up private and public exchanges, including Minnesota’s. He says there’s a good chance their clients will grow from 750,000 this year to 40 million in 2015.

Picwell executives believe their tiny industry is moving towards a time when consumers can actually find value - quite a transformation for a product that today many don’t understand or trust at all.

Federer knocks Murray out in London

BBC - Thu, 2014-11-13 11:43
Andy Murray is knocked out of the World Tour Finals in London after losing the opening set against Roger Federer.