National / International News

Ebola serum supply reaches Liberia

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:29
Liberia begins treating Ebola patients with serum therapy - a treatment made from the blood of recovered survivors.

Legal aid guidance ruled 'unlawful'

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:28
Judges rule that Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling's guidance on the granting of legal aid for immigration cases was "unlawful", following an appeal by the government.

Fare-dodging banker banned from City

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:28
A London banker who regularly travelled to work without buying a train ticket is banned from working in the financial services industry.

Syria rebels capture Idlib army base

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:28
Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria and another rebel group have taken control of a key military base in the northern province of Idlib, activists say.

Sydney siege brings Uber criticism

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:25
Cab-ordering firm Uber is facing criticism again, this time for charging passengers far more during the cafe hostage crisis in Sydney, Australia.

GAA stadium decision was 'unlawful'

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:18
Northern Ireland's environment minister acted unlawfully in approving a new GAA stadium in west Belfast, a High Court judge rules.

Embargo for three Championship clubs

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:18
Blackburn, Leeds and Nottingham Forest are given transfer embargoes for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.

Sony warns press over hacking leaks

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:17
Sony Pictures contacts some news outlets in an attempt to limit the damage caused by the hacking of its computer system and the leaking of emails.

Carol-singing bear probed by council

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:17
A six-foot mechanical polar bear that dances and sings Christmas carols is investigated after a council received a noise complaint.

Closing the gender gap

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:00

Possible 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton is in New York on Monday to talk about the knowns and unknowns when it comes to women's issues. A group called Data2X run by the United Nations Foundation is trying to tackle what it calls a gender data gap. We take a look at what that gap is and why it matters.

Click the media player above to hear more.

The 'one percent' lead holiday retail

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:00

The richest Americans will lead the way in holiday spending again this year.

At the beginning of the Great Recession, luxury retail fell hard – some brands and product-categories saw declines of 30 to 40 percent, says retail analyst David Schick at Stifel Nicolaus. That compared to declines under 5 percent for mass-market retail.

But after the recession, luxury retail rebounded sooner and stronger than the rest of the market. And that strength has continued through 2014. Management consultancy Bain & Company predicts the global luxury market will have grown by 5 percent in 2014; the increase will be 6 percent in the U.S. – significantly higher than mainstream U.S. retail.

“At the higher end of the income spectrum, we have seen financial assets helping the consumer in a way that isn’t helping other quintiles of income,” says Schick. “And wage growth is the same story.” That increased wealth at the top will likely help luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co.

Schick is quick to point out, though, that middle-income Americans are also doing better this year, with paychecks trending higher, unemployment down, and gas prices falling hard.

These consumers might now feel more comfortable splurging on a high-end brand—a Kate Spade handbag or Coach wallet.

“It’s not just the 1 percent that are carrying along high-end retailers,” says Kit Yarrow, professor emeritus of psychology at Golden Gate University and author of ‘Decoding the New Consumer Mind.’ “Obviously, the high-end retailers aren’t going to be doing well without them. But it’s also the huge influx of money coming from Chinese consumers that are visiting the U.S., and other nationalities. And also middle-class and upper-middle-class consumers who are stretching, because they perceive the value of those products to be worth it.”

Yarrow conducts "shop-alongs" with American consumers, including those in the six-figure income bracket. Stocks, home prices, and income have all combined to make these households even wealthier than they were before the recession.

But while they can afford to spend on luxury goods, she finds they don’t want to flaunt their money.

“They understand that there’s sort of an anti-wealth sentiment,” says Yarrow. “They don’t want to be conspicuous in their consumption. They don’t want other people to distrust them or feel separated from them. One woman I interviewed was embarrassed to say in front of other people that she’d paid full-price for a product, because she thought they might find that to be offensive.”

More retailers promise last-minute Christmas delivery

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:00

Today is expected to be the busiest shipping day in the country. But, that does not mean the next week and a half until Christmas will become slow. Companies will be shipping out packages all the way down to the wire.

Last year, the media reported a big backlash over late packages. There were storms, deliveries got backed up, and some presents spent Christmas sitting in cold, lonely warehouses.

Steve Osburn is a supply chain adviser with the management consulting firm Kurt Salmon. He says, “Coming out of last year, we estimated that people would be a little more cautious this year.” But, he says, that's not happening.

This year, Osburn says even more big retailers are promising last-minute delivery. He says companies are thinking “if my competitor is going to be able to do it, I need to be able to do it.”

To handle the surge of holiday packages, shippers like Fed Ex and UPS have hired tens of thousands of additional workers. 

Lisa Willis runs Missive, a custom letterpress company in San Francisco. She says customers have come to expect instantaneous delivery, and she wishes that weren't the case. Willis says, “As a small business we're up against all these really large companies that guarantee delivery dates.”

To try and compete, Willis gives her customers a price break if they order early.

The 1-Percent lead holiday retail

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-15 02:00

The richest Americans will lead the way in holiday spending again this year.

At the beginning of the Great Recession, luxury retail fell hard—some brands and product-categories saw declines of 30 to 40 percent, says retail analyst David Schick at Stifel Nicolaus. That compared to declines under 5 percent for mass-market retail.

But after the recession, luxury retail rebounded sooner and stronger than the rest of the market. And that strength has continued through 2014. Management consultancy Bain & Company predicts the global luxury market will have grown by 5 percent in 2014; the increase will be 6 percent in the U.S.—significantly higher than mainstream U.S. retail.

“At the higher end of the income spectrum, we have seen financial assets helping the consumer in a way that isn’t helping other quintiles of income,” says Schick. “And wage growth is the same story.” That increased wealth at the top will likely help luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co.

Schick is quick to point out, though, that middle-income Americans are also doing better this year, with paychecks trending higher, unemployment down, and gas prices falling hard.

These consumers might now feel more comfortable splurging on a high-end brand—a Kate Spade handbag or Coach wallet.

“It’s not just the 1 percent that are carrying along high-end retailers,” says Kit Yarrow, professor emeritus of psychology at Golden Gate University and author of ‘Decoding the New Consumer Mind.’ “Obviously, the high-end retailers aren’t going to be doing well without them. But it’s also the huge influx of money coming from Chinese consumers that are visiting the U.S., and other nationalities. And also middle-class and upper-middle-class consumers who are stretching, because they perceive the value of those products to be worth it.”

Yarrow conducts ‘shop-alongs’ with American consumers, including those in the six-figure income bracket. Stocks, home prices, and income have all combined to make these households even wealthier than they were before the recession.

But while they can afford to spend on luxury goods, she finds they don’t want to flaunt their money.

“They understand that there’s sort of an anti-wealth sentiment,” says Yarrow. “They don’t want to be conspicuous in their consumption. They don’t want other people to distrust them or feel separated from them. One woman I interviewed was embarrassed to say in front of other people that she’d paid full-price for a product, because she thought they might find that to be offensive.”

Armed men enter Belgian apartment

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 01:50
Four armed men enter a flat in the Belgian city of Ghent and police seal off the surrounding area.

Four boys held over man's death

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 01:49
Four 13 and 14-year-old boys arrested on suspicion of murder after death of 52-year-old man in Enfield, London

Poorest face highest inflation rate

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 01:45
UK households with the lowest income faced the fastest cost of living rise in the past 11 years, official figures show.

Mantel attacks Thatcher book critics

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 01:34
Hilary Mantel says criticism of the BBC's decision to broadcast her short story The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher is "froth and bile".

A smart bet on PetSmart

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-15 01:30
$8.7 billion

The weekend saw the "biggest private equity deal of 2014": PetSmart sold itself for $8.7 billion to BC Partners, an investment firm based in London. 

6 percent

Management consultancy Bain & Company predicts the luxury market in the U.S. will have grown 6 percent in 2014. That's higher than the 5 percent growth in the global luxury market for 2014, and much higher than growth in mainstream U.S. retail.

18,210

The number of followers conservative blogger Charles C. Johnson had as of early Monday morning. Johnson has gained a lot of notoriety recently by proclaiming President Barack Obama is dead, publishing the addresses of two journalists and doxing the woman at the center of the rape scandal at UVA. David Carr spoke to Johnson for his column this week.

40

That's how many menu items McDonald's has added in the past seven years. In response to lagging sales, the brand will cut down its menu  starting with eight items. But which will bo first? Quartz has some suggestions.

JJB Sports boss jailed for £1m fraud

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 01:29
The former chief executive of JJB Sports is jailed for four years for taking £1m of backhanders in a "very greedy fraud".

Cosby breaks silence on abuse claims

BBC - Mon, 2014-12-15 01:08
Actor Bill Cosby speaks out for the first time since police open investigation into claims of historical sexual abuse.

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