I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, Detroit's bankruptcy last week made headlines because it was the biggest in history, but now comes the question of why this happened and what, if anything, this means for other American cities. We'll hear two very different views about this in just a few minutes. But first, we want to turn to two significant elections in Africa this week. The West African country of Mali is being praised for a smooth presidential vote this past weekend.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program, we'll talk about elections set for Zimbabwe, where 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe is hoping to win yet another term despite - or maybe because of - what many people call an increasingly abusive dictatorial style of government. We'll talk about that in just a few minutes. But first, we want to talk about an issue that's become a central focus of activists in this country - it's the incarceration rate.
Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 12:42 pm
Once upon a time, parents documented their kids' firsts in words and pictures in baby books and scrapbooks that got updated as life's big milestones got reached. Family photo albums grew thick with memories of trips, holidays, friends and relatives.
But who has time for that? I have two kids, thousands of pictures of them and a bunch of well-meaning, half-finished photo book projects littering my house and computer.
Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 6:48 am
President Obama personally met with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, this morning, a White House official tells NPR's Ari Shapiro.
The official called it a "quick check-in," but this is significant because Obama — at least publicly — has largely stayed out of the process, instead letting Secretary of State John Kerry take the lead.
Haaretz reports that Obama called on the negotiators to "exhibit good will and to remain focused and steadfast throughout the talks."
S&P/Case-Shiller's closely watched 20-city index found the average price of a home climbed 2.4 percent in May compared with April. The city with the biggest average monthly gain was San Francisco, where home prices jumped 4.3 percent.
The number of furlough days for civilian workers at the Department of Defense may be cut nearly in half, according to The Associated Press, a result of Pentagon officials finding hundreds of millions of dollars in savings within their current budgets.
Scores of prisoners were freed from a prison in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, after Taliban militants armed with explosives and automatic weapons reportedly stormed the facility. At least nine people, including five guards, died in gun battles and other violence at the prison, according to multiple news outlets.
Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 10:18 am
The misery of low back pain often drives people to the doctor to seek relief. But doctors are doing a pretty miserable job of treating back pain, a study finds.
Physicians are increasingly prescribing expensive scans, narcotic painkillers and other treatments that don't help in most cases, and can make things a lot worse. Since 1 in 10 of all primary care visits are for low back pain, this is no small matter.
After a long talk with ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton says Morsi, who has been detained for nearly a month, is in good health.
"We talked for two hours; we talked in-depth. He has access to information, in terms of TV, newspapers — so, we were able to talk about the situation," Ashton tells the BBC. "And we were able to talk about the need to move forward."
Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 12:38 pm
At least 10 people suspected of committing Nazi war crimes were never deported from the U.S. despite losing the American citizenship they gained when they immigrated, The Associated Press reports. A main cause of the delay is simple: Their European homelands don't want them back.
A series of fiery explosions ravaged a Blue Rhino propane gas plant in central Florida's Lake County late Monday night, forcing nearby residents to be evacuated. The detonations reportedly lasted for some 30 minutes and were heard as far as 10 miles away. A fire at the plant raged into the early morning hours.
Update at 11:10 a.m. ET: Work Continues; No Sign Of Sabotage
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. In Waynesboro, Georgia, Aleena Headrick thought she was hallucinating when she saw a huge Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket in her front yard. Turns out her landlord collects vintage signs and put it there. It quickly became a big draw for gawkers, which Headrick finds amusing.
Richard Diedrich of Illinois lost his high school class ring in 1948. His girlfriend had been wearing it, but removed it to dissect a frog in biology class. It disappeared. Sixty-five years later, a guy name Mike Geiger was using a metal detector on a Wisconsin lake. He found the ring and contacted the school, looking for an alum with the initials RD. He says the first RD he reached wasn't friendly. The second can't believe he's got his ring again at age 82.
American attitudes towards abortion reflects strong regional differences in opinion, and a new poll shows that divide seems to be growing. For more on what Americans have to say about abortion, we're joined now by Michael Dimock. He's the director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which conducted the survey. Good morning.
In Pakistan, militants armed with heavy weapons have attacked a prison not far from the border with Afghanistan. According to police, around 250 prisoners were freed. The Pakistani Taliban is taking responsibility for the violent attack, which included mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. The hours-long middle-of-the-night battle left at least a dozen people dead, guards and civilians. With us now from the capital Islamabad is Sebastian Abbot. He's the bureau chief for the Associated Press there, and thank you for joining us.
A year ago, Montana opened the nation's first clinic for free primary healthcare services to its state government employees. The Helena, Mont., clinic was pitched as a way to improve overall employee health, but the idea has faced its fair share of political opposition.
A year later, the state says the clinic is already saving money.
Pamela Weitz, a 61-year-old state library technician, was skeptical about the place at first.
In this age of cyber-crime and online espionage, here's a good old-fashioned story about cops and robbers: Smash & Grab, a new documentary film opening in New York on Wednesday, details the exploits of the "Pink Panthers" — a group of international jewel thieves that, for the past decade, has targeted high-end jewelry shops across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
According to the international police agency, Interpol, the Pink Panthers have stolen nearly a half a billion dollars worth of jewels over roughly 500 robberies.
Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller have been hacking into products for a long time. But they don't steal stuff or mess with people; instead, their purpose is to pressure companies into making their products more secure.
This week, they scored big. Their research on hacking cars has captured the attention of millions and has been featured in Forbes and on the Today show.
Fewer than 10 percent of all mammal species are monogamous. In fact, biologists have long disagreed over why monogamy exists at all. That's the subject of two studies published this week — and they come to different conclusions.
Animals that leave the most offspring win the race to spread their genes and to perpetuate their lineage. So for most mammals, males have a simple strategy: Mate with as many females as possible.
"Monogamy is a problem," says Dieter Lukas, a biologist at Cambridge University. "Why should a male keep to one female?"
With a vote of 93-1, the Senate confirmed James Comey as the next director of the FBI. Comey will replace Robert Mueller.
NPR's Carrie Johnson filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"Comey is a Republican and a former Justice Department official during the George W. Bush years. Civil rights groups questioned his record on surveillance and harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects.
"But after Kentucky Republican Rand Paul lifted his hold on the FBI nominee, Comey sailed through the full Senate.
Police in Washington, D.C., say a woman has been arrested, suspected of splattering green paint across the organ at the National Cathedral, the Episcopalian church that has long served as the country's spiritual home.
The nation's first black public high school, Paul Laurence Dunbar High, opened its doors in Washington, D.C., in 1870. But more than 140 years later, Dunbar — like many urban schools — has fallen on hard times. The crumbling, brutalist-style building is often described as a prison, and graduation rates hover around 60 percent.
But it wasn't always that way. Once upon a time, the yearbook read like a Who's Who of black America.
President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Monday for a private lunch that immediately sparked speculation about what it means for the 2016 presidential race.
The visit marked at least the second time the two have met privately since Clinton left the State Department earlier this year. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, met with Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for a private White House dinner in March.
For decades, Koreans have been pushing to preserve the legacy of women forced to provide sex to Japanese army soldiers during World War II. Glendale, Calif., will dedicate a statue memorializing the victims, known as "comfort women," on Tuesday. But the statue has spurred controversy in this Southern California city, where some area residents say it is a divisive reminder of the horrors of war.
The sculpture is a bronze statue of a young girl. She looks about 14 — around the same age as many comfort women when they were forced into military brothels run by Japan's imperial army.