The 2013 wildfire season hit a milestone Tuesday: Preparedness Level 5, an officious way of saying resources are stretched thin and it could quickly get worse.
Preparedness Level 5 is the highest on the national wildfire preparedness scale, which the National Interagency Fire Center uses to chart wildfire activity, the deployment and availability of firefighters and equipment and the likelihood that more big fires are coming.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 3:54 pm
If Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) really wanted to put some positive spin on his birth in Canada, he could point out that none of the first seven presidents were born in the United States either.
Of course, that was because the U.S. didn't exist when presidents from George Washington through Andrew Jackson were born. They were all technically British subjects at birth. Martin Van Buren, born in 1782 in Kinderhook, N.Y., was the first president actually born in the U.S.
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Fire managers in Idaho say they may be turning the corner on a massive wildfire near the resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley. The Beaver Creek fire has caused more than 11-and-a-half million dollars and forced mandatory evacuations of more than 2,000 homes. Sadie Babits of Boise State Public Radio reports.
For years, Miami-Dade County Public Schools faced problems common to many urban schools: low attendance, high dropout rates, poor grades. But since 2008, Alberto Carvalho has been in charge of the nation's fourth largest school district, and there've been some noticeable improvements in Miami schools. More students are graduating, fewer are dropping out, test scores are up and the district's budget crisis has faded.
NPR's Claudio Sanchez has this profile of the man some call a miracle worker.
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San Diego's embattled mayor Bob Filner has wrapped up a second day of closed-door mediation to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. Meanwhile, the debate continues among the city's voters about what should happen to the mayor. NPR's Nathan Rott reports while many want to see Filner resign, others are pleading for patience.
The percentage of U.S. undergrads who rely on the federal government for financial aid soared above 50 percent in the most recent survey from the National Center for Education Statistics. The data show that for the first time, a majority of students got federal help.
NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports for our Newscast unit:
"The new figures from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that from 2007 to 2011, the percentage of undergraduate students who depend on federal loans and grants jumped from 47 percent to 57 percent.
If you find yourself craving New Orleans food, you could go there and melt in the sweltering heat for a dose of gumbo or praline bacon. Or you could settle in on your couch, as I've been doing, and torture yourself watching reruns of the HBO series Treme. It's set in post-Katrina New Orleans and, along with the music, it puts the city's food on center stage.
Six seconds isn't a lot of time. If you were to read this sentence out loud, by the time you finished, six seconds would be up. But the brevity of Vine, the app that lets users make and share six-second video clips, has attracted 40 million registered users since its January 2013 launch.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 8:03 am
How risky are psychedelic drugs to mental health? Not nearly as much as you might have imagined.
People who had taken LSD, psilocybin (the brain-bending chemical in magic mushrooms) or mescaline at any time in their lives were no more likely than those who hadn't to wind up in mental health treatment or to have symptoms of mental illness, according to an analysis by some Norwegian researchers.
And there was some evidence that people who had taken the drugs at some point were less likely to have had recent mental health treatment.
The writer Elmore Leonard has died. He was 87 years old and had recently suffered a stroke.
For decades, Leonard — working at the very top of his profession as a crime writer — had been widely acclaimed, and universally read. He published 46 novels, which resulted in countless movie and TV adaptations, including the movies Out of Sight and Get Shorty and the TV series Justified.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 4:14 pm
Upon hearing news of the death of Elmore Leonard, NPR correspondent and former All Things Considered co-host Noah Adams recalls a day he spent with the crime writer in his hometown.
Three years ago, I rode with Elmore Leonard in the back of a rental car to see Detroit and remember what it once was. Much of it was sadly puzzling to him, especially the empty space where Tiger Stadium had been.
Soccer fans are strutting in Afghanistan today, after their national team defeated neighboring Pakistan, 3-0, in a friendly match sponsored by FIFA, soccer's governing body. Before Tuesday's match in Kabul, the two teams had not played each other in more than 30 years.
Afghan media relished the win, with the Pajhwok news agency declaring, "Afghanistan lash Pakistan in historic soccer duel."
Today's Internet users have become accustomed to stories of hacking, identity theft and cyberattacks, but there was a time when the freedom and anonymity of the Web were new, and no one was sure what rules — if any — applied to its use. Many thought the Internet was beyond government regulation, its very chaos a source of creativity and strength.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 am
The website Groklaw, which for 10 years demystified complex issues involving technology and the law, is shutting down. Editor Pamela Jones writes that she can't run the site without email, and that since emails' privacy can't be guaranteed, she can no longer do the site's work.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 10:50 am
Operators are reporting a fresh leak of contaminated water from the grounds of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan's coast.
In 2011, a tsunami sparked meltdowns at the plant, and authorities have had to pump in water ever since to keep the melted nuclear fuel cool. After passing through the reactors, the contaminated water is decontaminated and put into storage until it can be recirculated through the reactor cores.
Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is set to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this year for his contributions to the world of music. He's won nine Grammy awards and an Emmy. He's also collaborated with legends like Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis, and contemporary stars such as Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. And it's time for our weekly parenting roundtable. Every week we check in with a diverse group of parents to get a little common sense and some savvy advice. Today, we're talking about labeling school children according to their abilities, their strengths and their weaknesses. Schools have long used IQ tests and standardized tests of many varieties to group kids and teach each kid according to his or her abilities.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, Cuban jazz legend Arturo Sandoval joins us for a wisdom watch conversation. He'll tell us about his life in music and his special friendship with Dizzy Gillespie.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 10:45 am
The CIA isn't exactly known for its openness. But for a spy agency, it's been a gusher of information over the past week when it comes to old controversies.
The CIA has now acknowledged its role in the 1953 coup that deposed Iran's left-leaning Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Few Iranians will be surprised. They have always believed Mosaddegh was ousted by U.S. and British interests, and those suspicions are a big part of Iran's mistrust of the West to this day.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 10:34 am
President Obama, back from his vacation, is scheduled to address the college affordability crisis in a campaign-style bus tour that will take him to New York and Pennsylvania.
The tour, which takes place Thursday and Friday, is part of the president's overarching effort to highlight his agenda for middle-class Americans and to raise pressure on congressional Republicans to act on his second-term priorities.
When Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev arrived at the city's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on April 19 he had "multiple gunshot wounds, the most severe of which appears to have entered through the left side inside of his mouth and exited the left face," the doctor who treated Tsarnaev testified in court three days later.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 4:20 pm
The killing of an Australian man who was in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship has brought grief to his hometown and to the small Oklahoma town where he was shot to death. Three teens have been arrested for the crime; one suspect says they simply had nothing better to do, the police report.
Elmore Leonard, the crime novelist whose best-sellers included Get Shorty, Freaky Deaky and Maximum Bob, died Tuesday morning at his Detroit-area home, according to statements from his longtime researcher Gregg Sutter on Twitter and to The Detroit News