In Syria, the staple of most meals is a thin, round, flat bread that we would probably call pita.
Back in November, as fierce fighting raged across Syria, people started to run out of this bread. Government forces were attacking bakeries in rebel-held areas and cutting off electricity so mills couldn't grind flour. By late last year, Syrians were desperate.
As President Obama unveiled his gun control proposals Wednesday, he highlighted mass shootings at schools in Colorado, Virginia and Connecticut. He also mentioned another group of children, not in school — the ones on the street corners of Chicago.
Chicagoan Annette Holt was at the White House during Obama's address. Her teenage son, Blair, was shot to death five years ago on a Chicago bus as he shielded a fellow student from a spray of bullets.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar speaks at the dedication for the Southwest's first urban wildlife refuge on the southern edge of Albuquerque, N.M., on Sept. 27, 2012. Salazar has announced that he'll leave his post in late March and return to Colorado.
The Department of the Interior is huge — more than 70,000 employees manage a half-billion acres of public land, mostly in the West. The department does everything from operate national parks to administer Native American social programs and manage wild horses.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 7:35 am
Manti Te'o, the Notre Dame linebacker who nearly won the Heisman Trophy this season, is at the center of what Deadspin reports is a "hoax," in which the story of a girlfriend — and her tragic death — was fabricated. The site is questioning the existence of a girl Te'o has said inspired him to new heights. We'll update this post with new information as it emerges.
Vegetation like the kind growing here at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station could one day be used to feed small biofuel refineries spread throughout the Midwest.
This map shows the potential biomass collection within 10 states. Each circle represents an area of about 7,800 square miles, which could produce about 23 million gallons of ethanol per year. A gigagram, or Gg, is about 1,100 tons.
Millions of acres of marginal farmland in the Midwest — land that isn't in good enough condition to grow crops — could be used to produce liquid fuels made from plant material, according to a study in Nature. And those biofuels could, in theory, provide about 25 percent of the advanced biofuels required by a 2007 federal law.
But there are many ifs and buts about this study — and, in fact, about the future of advanced biofuels.
Lucas Codognolla, 22, receives his license after qualifying for it under President Obama's federal immigration policy, which allows some young immigrants who are in the country illegally to stay in the U.S. for at least two years.
Lucas Codognolla's hands shake as he waits in line at the Bridgeport, Conn., DMV for his turn to take the road test.
"I don't know if it's nerves or the excitement, you know?" he says.
The 22-year-old's family emigrated from Brazil when was just 9. When he turned 16 and wanted to get his driver's license, his parents sat him down and told him the truth: He was in the country illegally.
Initially, he lied to his friends about why he couldn't drive, he says. But then, as he got older, driving simply became necessary.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
In Afghanistan today, Taliban militants staged a brazen attack in the heart of Kabul. Their target was the headquarters of the National Directorate of Security or NDS - it's Afghanistan's equivalent of the FBI.
As NPR's Sean Carberry reports, the attack began with a suicide bombing, then five militants tried to storm the compound.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Algerian Islamists attacked an oil and gas field at dawn this morning in the desert on the border with Libya. They claim to have taken nearly 200 people hostage. In addition to Algerians, they claim to hold seven Americans, as well as French, British and Japanese citizens.
NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris reports the hostage-taking appears to be the first act of retaliation for France's actions in Mali.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 4:41 am
JPMorgan Chase reports that its profits were up 53 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 — but CEO Jamie Dimon's pay will be cut in half, after the bank lost billions of dollars on risky bets made in its London office. The incident tarnished the reputation of Dimon, who had successfully steered his bank through the recent financial crisis.
"This past year has been a bruising one for Dimon," as NPR's Steve Henn reports for our Newscast unit:
State Senator Jeff Klein (L-R), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins congratulate New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after he signed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act on Tuesday.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 2:31 pm
President Obama's historic plunge Wednesday into the politics and realities of gun control in America has mobilized advocates on both sides of the issue.
But though his major proposals, from banning assault rifles to more stringent background checks and ammunition limits, are being rolled out in the shadow of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., their Capitol Hill prospects remain highly uncertain given long-standing resistance to such efforts.
In anticipation of Inauguration Day, NPR photographer Becky Lettenberger and producer Justine Kenin visited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to ask Americans: "What do you want President Obama to remember in his second term?"
This video shows some of the answers we received outside the White House. But that was just the start of a project that we're calling "Dear Mr. President."
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 4:41 am
What began as a company's suspicion that its infrastructure was being hacked turned into a case of a worker outsourcing his own job to a Chinese consulting firm, according to reports that cite an investigation by Verizon's security team. The man was earning a six-figure salary.
Two high-profile cabinet nominations go before the Senate soon. Senator John Kerry is expected to face little opposition to become the next secretary of state. Former Senator Chuck Hagel may have more problems. But as mentioned earlier, his nomination as secretary of defense is also expected to win approval.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 12:15 pm
NEAL CONAN, HOST:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Rockefeller won't run again, Treasury kills the trillion-dollar coin, and the president calls on Congress to pony up. It's Wednesday, and time for a ...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Deadbeat.
CONAN: ...edition of the Political Junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
RONALD REAGAN: There you go again...
WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad - where's the beef?
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 2:12 pm
Zach Sayne was 25 when he died earlier this month at the place that had been his home for 15 years — a children's nursing home in Alabama.
But that was too far away, 200 miles too far, for his mother in Georgia. Nola Sayne was trying to bring him back, closer to her home. The story of why she couldn't reveals the bureaucratic traps, underfunding and lack of choices that plague state Medicaid programs.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 1:48 pm
How evil is sugar? That's long been a hard question for researchers to answer. Most of the studies about sugar's health effects to date have been too small, too short-term, or too poorly designed to nail it one way or another.
Finally today, in less than a week the country will celebrate President Obama's second term with a slew of inaugural events. There is a swearing in, a parade, breakfasts, lunches, and of course the balls. And there are many of them, but we want to tell you about one of them. It is the Native Nations Inaugural Ball. Native Americans from around the country will be coming in to participate.
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama are touting new proposals aimed at curbing gun violence. Host Michel Martin learns more from Paul Barrett, author of 'Glock: The Rise of America's Gun' and Craig Whitney, author of 'Living With Guns, A Liberal's Case for the 2nd Amendment.'
Lawmakers in New York are getting tough on guns. They passed a new law expanding the state's ban on assault weapons. It's also meant to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Host Michel Martin speaks to Thomas Kaplan of The New York Times about the legislation.
Starting a small business hasn't been easy lately. People are now turning to their peers for funding after being denied credit from big banks. But that has its own set of risks and rewards. Host Michel Martin explores the future of small business in 2013.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 1:09 pm
At a White House event with children who wrote him letters after the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama today said the nation cannot wait any longer to do what can be done to reduce gun violence.
In December, the actor Dustin Hoffman sat in a box seat at the Kennedy Center as his old friend, Robert De Niro, saluted him at a celebration marking one of the highest accolades for an artist in the United States: a Kennedy Center Honor.