National / International News

Day in pictures: 20 May 2014

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 03:23
News photos from past 24 hours: 20 May

In China, Anger At U.S. Hacking Charges — And Claims Of Hypocrisy

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 03:20

Citing U.S. surveillance and wiretapping operations, China says the U.S. has double standards on cybersecurity. The angry response came a day after the U.S. accused 5 Chinese officials of hacking.

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Man pepper sprayed by police drowns

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 03:18
A man pepper sprayed during a confrontation with police drowns after running into a lake in East Sussex.

New leads after voyeur teacher case

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 03:09
Police investigate "four inquiries" after receiving information from the team which led to the capture of voyeur teacher Gareth Williams.

Sainsbury's removes 'slave' dummy

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 03:05
Sainsbury's removes a dummy dressed as a slave from a display in Oxford after a complaints from customers and Twitter users.

Ah, Commencement. Caps, Gowns And Mispronounced Names

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 03:03

It's commencement. You are responsible for calling hundreds of students, one by one, to the stage. Every parent is anxiously waiting for you to pronounce their kid's name — correctly. What do you do?

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Call for detail on post-Yes tax cost

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:59
A financial body says more detail is needed on how taxes would be raised after a "Yes" vote, adding that a new system would cost hundreds of millions of pounds.

Swooping dogs stem deadly beach bugs

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:59
Border Collies may be an effective weapon against E. coli infections at the seaside according to a new study.

The 'ghost' who silenced the Maracana

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:57
The sole survivor of Uruguay's 1950 World Cup victory recalls the day his winning goal in Rio plunged Brazil into mourning... indefinitely.

How the AT&T-DirecTV deal plays in Latin America

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:51

In the U.S., satellite TV has been at something of a disadvantage, compared to cable.  

“Part of the reason for that is they lacked the clout to effectively negotiate reasonable rates for content, so they’ve always lagged in the content wars,” according to David Balto, a former policy director for the Federal Trade Commission who now runs a private anti-trust practice.

The merger will, says Balto, place both AT&T and DirectTV in a much better position to bargain for content in the U.S., making it “a much stronger rival to Comcast.”   There are places, however, where satellite already has the upper hand and where DirectTV has a significant stake that could accrue to its and AT&T’s mutual benefit, if the merger makes it past regulators. 

In many emerging markets, where public infrastructure is limited, satellite access is cheaper and more feasible for consumers.   

Stephen Snyder, an analyst with global intelligence and advisory firm Ergo, explains that “satellite TV requires much less infrastructure than cable does. All you need is a dish to receive the signal, whereas with cable TV you need to have antennae, cables, amplifiers and so forth, so that makes it a lot more costly to install.”

It’s the same reason why mobile banking and mobile phone use are so high in the developing world.  “Brazil has six times as many mobile phone users as it does landlines, compared to the U.S. where that ratio is 2 to 1,” says Snyder.  

In the U.S., the cable industry had a two-decade head start in terms of infrastructure and relationships that allowed it to prevent the ascendance of a new system – satellite – that otherwise could have well won out.  The rise of the internet and its associated convenience and alternate infrastructure has finally begun to pry off cable’s dominance. In emerging markets, however, that competition is getting off to a more even start, and the old race may turn out differently.

DirectTV has aggressively targeted Latin America, where it now has around 18 million subscribers, and which constitutes its fastest growing segment.    

“There’s a great opportunity for expansion in Latin America,” says Erik Brannon with IHS Global Insight.  “As people become more affluent, uptake of more high-end cell services like what we enjoy domestically would become the norm, so it’s a significant opportunity for AT&T to expand and do what they do best – provide wireless services.” 

Credit Suisse helped 'tax cheats'

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:49
Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse pleads guilty to helping thousands of US clients evade paying taxes to the US government and agrees to a $2.6bn (£1.5bn) fine.

PM extradition call after Hamza case

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:47
David Cameron says more could be done to speed up the UK's extradition process, after Abu Hamza is found guilty of supporting terrorism.

Is London too expensive for poor Londoners?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:45

London may have opened its doors to the rich from around the world– at the latest count the city had 72 billionaires - but some of the British capital’s poorest, indigenous residents are not feeling quite so welcome. They are being priced out of their hometown. 

Twenty-nine single mothers on welfare in the east London borough of Newham claim that they were threatened with exile from their own city. The mothers were living in the Focus E15 hostel for the homeless and when the hostel faced closure, the local authority reportedly advised the women to relocate to cheaper parts of the country.

One of the mothers -- 20-year-old Samantha Joanne Middleton -- was angered by the advice: “They’re trying to move me away from my family. I mean, I’m born and bred. My mum and my dad are from Newham. Their family’s from Newham. It’s not right. It really ain’t right.” she says.

Middleton became homeless after a domestic dispute. 19-year-old Jasmin Stone was in the same predicament when she went to live in the hostel, and she claims she too was told by the local authority that although she was born and brought up in Newham, she’s now too poor to live in the borough: “East London was a place for the poor. But it’s not anymore. You see so many luxury apartments everywhere. The rents are so expensive. London’s being made a place for just rich people.”

Some of those rich people are foreign investors buying new luxury apartments in the city off-plan. That makes Middleton feel even more alienated. 

“We’re the minority of London now,” she says. “Londoners don't live in London anymore.” 

The 29 “Focus E15” mothers will be living in London for a while longer. Thanks to a protest campaign organized by local activist Hannah Caller, the mothers have been given a reprieve; they will stay in the neighbourhood in private rented accommodation for the immediate future. But Hannah sees this as only a temporary fix.

“The fundamental problems remain for poor people across the capital,” says Caller. “Both Labour and Conservative governments have failed to build enough public housing for low-income families. And now the present coalition government is also squeezing the incomes of the poorest and most vulnerable members of the community by cutting and capping welfare benefits.”

Caller accuses Britain’s main political parties of not caring about the poor and focusing only on the money that big business and rich individuals can bring into London. 

No one at the Newham Borough Council was available for comment.

Local activist Hannah Caller pictured next to a campaign poster says “ British governments don’t care about the poor.” 

Stephen Beard/Marketplace 

President Obama makes a sales pitch for the U.S.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:44

President Obama will meet with business executives Tuesday morning with the goal of getting more companies to invest in the United States. 

The Obama administration is the first White House to actively campaign for foreign investments. And its intervention is none too soon.

Last year, foreign investment in the U.S. was roughly $193 billion -- down from its peak of $310 billion in 2008.

Dartmouth’s Matthew Slaughter says the U.S. attracts investments from foreign companies by telling executives that the U.S. is "the most innovative, open, largest economy on the planet.”

But Slaughter says many foreign company leaders respond by saying growth in the U.S. has slowed compared to developing countries like China, not to mention an aging infrastructure, complicated immigration system and high corporate taxes.

In 2011, the White House set up an office to attract foreign investments; work that until then had been left up to cities and states.

Nancy McLernon is president and CEO of the Organization for International Investment, which represents U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies.

She says it’s still too soon to know whether the White House strategy is working, but it can’t hurt.

“Competition around the world has gotten more intense and fierce," McLernon says, "It was getting harder for Ohio to go compete against Singapore.”

Gabby Logan vows to pay back tax

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:44
TV presenter Gabby Logan admits having been part of the same tax avoidance scheme as Gary Barlow, and vows to pay back any money she owes.

VIDEO: Cheryl Cole works the Cannes red carpet

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:38
Stars of the big and small screens walked the red carpet in Cannes on Monday night at the premiere screenings of Foxcatcher and Maps to the stars.

BT told to fix faults 'in two days'

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:33
Openreach needs to speed up repairs for telephone line faults and broadband installation, Ofcom has ruled.

VIDEO: Do you vote on local or national issues?

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:22
Buckinghamshire voters are asked whether local or national issues sway their vote in local elections.

Top beaches bring home Blue Flags

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:22
The Isle of Wight is awarded the highest number of Keep Britain Tidy awards for its beaches for the second year in a row.

Cook facing biggest test - Vaughan

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 02:21
Captain Alastair Cook will be judged on England's response this summer to the Ashes debacle, says Michael Vaughan.

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