This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Later in the program, we'll continue our series of conversations and look ahead with NPR's Deborah Amos, who's been covering the war in Syria. But we begin today with a court order obtained by The Guardian's U.S. team, which authorizes the National Security Agency to collect information on billions of phone calls made by U.S. Verizon customers since late April.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. The war in and around Syria grows more horrific and more dangerous day by day: tens of thousands dead, many more injured, over a million refugees in neighboring countries and who knows how many millions displaced inside Syria itself.
It's almost hard to remember the early days of what's now grown into a civil war. More than two years ago, NPR's Deborah Amos reported on activists hopeful that Syria would be changed by the Arab spring.
Here's a sobering thought: Wild birds — including city pigeons and ubiquitous Canada geese — carry 170 different types of bird flu. You know, all those viruses with the Hs and Ns in their names, like H1N1 and H5N1.
Only a dozen of these viruses have infected humans so far, but many of those have been deadly, and three of them have caused global flu pandemics.
Does every bird flu that leaps into people have the potential to turn into the next "big one" that spreads rapidly around the world?
A new gastronomic guide to Rio de Janeiro's shantytowns — for a cool $35 — has just been published. A new boutique hotel perched on top of one of Rio's previously most dangerous favelas is about to open. And yes, there is a jazz club and yoga, too.
These are new services catering to a new kind of favela resident.
As news broke about the NSA collecting telephone records through Verizon, people took to Twitter to voice their opinions. As an experiment, NPR senior strategist Andy Carvin asked his followers to respond to the hashtag #CallsTheNSAKnowsAbout. Their responses ranged from the hilarious to the poignant.
It's too early to tell whether North Korea's offer on Thursday of talks with the South — potentially the first such dialogue in years — is more than just another negotiating tactic.
But Seoul readily accepted the offer, and though Pyongyang said the agenda should be discussing the reopening of the jointly run Kaesong factory complex inside North Korea, it left the door open for the possibility of broader negotiations.
Update at 10:35 a.m. ET. Still A Rescue Operation:
Although reports earlier this morning signaled that efforts at the scene of a building collapse in Philadelphia had turned from rescue to recovery and cleanup, city officials just told reporters that they're still looking for possible survivors.
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 12:01 pm
Like the U.S. and many other Western countries, Spain's building boom in the previous decade was a major factor in its economic implosion. And now a trio of civil engineers in Spain has created a website that offers a dramatic before-and-after view of the country's construction bubble.
Andrea, the first named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season, strengthened overnight and is forecast to make landfall along Florida's Big Bend area later today.
The National Hurricane Center has issued tropical storm warnings for a wide swath of the western coast of Florida. The system is forecast to move northeast along the eastern seaboard over the next couple of days, so the center has issued storm warnings from Georgia to Virginia.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The mystery is over. Yesterday, Gloria MacKenzie of Florida showed up at the lottery office, revealing herself as the winner of last month's record Powerball jackpot. The 84-year-old opted to take her winnings in a lump sum, rather than over time: $371 million, the largest sole jackpot winner in U.S. lottery history. MacKenzie said she bought her ticket at a supermarket, where another lottery player let her cut in line. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The Doors' front man, Jim Morrison, was nicknamed The Lizard King. This week researchers from the University of Iowa identified a new species of reptilian royalty, the six-foot long Barbaturex morrisoni. Though the species is named after the 20th century rock star, it lived in the jungles of Southeast Asia 40 million years ago, a gentle creature who ate only plants.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
When President Obama meets with the president of China tomorrow, he will have his National Security adviser at his side. Tom Donilon set the stage for this summit during a trip to Beijing last week. Now he's stepping down.
NPR's Scott Horsley has this look at his legacy and the woman Obama has tapped to replace him.
After years of distrust, China's government says it wants a new type of great power relationship with the United States. Chinese President Xi Jinping will begin trying to lay the groundwork Friday at a summit with President Obama in California, but just what kind of relationship does Xi want?
"He wants to challenge the Cold War mentality, which believes that the existing power and also the emerging power cannot have a relationship other than conflictual," says Cheng Li, a specialist in Chinese politics at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
President Obama travels to Mooresville, North Carolina today. He'll highlight the town's middle school and its focus on technology and digital learning. It's part of what the White House is calling the president's Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour. Jobs and education are big issues for younger voters, one of the most sought after demographics for both parties.
Chinese computer maker Lenovo celebrated the opening of its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Whitsett, N.C., on Wednesday. The company is trying to boost its brand and U.S. market share. Other high-tech firms, including Motorola, have announced plans to manufacture in the U.S.
The Lenovo plant celebration was a patriotic affair. A large sign was on display featuring the American flag and the words "Assembled in the U.S."
Last year, Joss Whedon put the blockbuster in summer blockbuster. He's the writer-director of "The Avengers," that crew of Marvel Comics superheroes whose story led to a super box office: one and a half billion dollars worldwide. It offered action and also repartee, like this moment of confrontation between Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man and Thor.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE AVENGERS")
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: (as Thor) You have no idea what you are dealing with.
Attorney General Eric Holder has been a lightning rod for the president's fiercest critics during his four years in office. Lately, he's been back on the hot seat with a crisis of his own making: the Justice Department's aggressive stance toward reporters in national security leak cases.
Holder heads to the Senate on Thursday, where lawmakers are sure to demand an explanation.
German Garcia-Velutini got into his car and left work one day. It took him 11 months to get home.
Kidnappers had nabbed the Venezuelan banker. His abduction is part of a problem that's been getting worse every year for the past decade in Venezuela, which belongs to a region riddled with crime and the most violent cities in the world.
Gracia-Velutini tells his story at an outdoor table at a hotel in Caracas, the capital, with a view of a mountainside that climbs into the clouds.
Two weeks after the brutal murder of a British soldier that brought a rise in hate crimes against Muslims in the U.K., a fire devastated an Islamic community center in London Wednesday. Scotland Yard says the cause of the blaze is being treated as suspicious.
"Graffiti was found amid the charred ruins, including an abbreviation for a far right anti-Muslim fringe group," NPR's Philip Reeves reports for our Newscast unit. "Detectives are trying to figure out when it was written."