You've heard the expression Bright Lights, Big City. For many people, city living can mean long hours at work and play and never enough sleep. Now a new study suggests that cities can have a very similar effect on another group of residents: birds. NPR's Rhitu Chatterjee reports.
RHITU CHATTERJEE, BYLINE: Since the 1930s, scientists have noticed that birds in cities, like robins and starlings, can keep different hours than their relatives in forests. Barbara Helm is a biologist at the University of Glasgow.
In Sanford, Florida, jury selection begins today in the murder trial of George Zimmerman. The neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with the shooting death of a 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, last year. Police, at first, declined to charge Zimmerman because of Florida's Stand-Your-Ground law. It gives immunity to people who use deadly force in self defense.
The Guardian has identified its source for a series of reports it published in recent days on secret U.S. surveillance activity. The paper says the source is Edward Snowden, a former technical assistant for the CIA who now works for a private-sector defense and technology consulting firm.
As privacy advocates and security experts debate the validity of the National Security Agency's massive data gathering operations, the agency is putting the finishing touches on its biggest data farm yet.
The gargantuan $1.2 billion complex at a National Guard base 26 miles south of Salt Lake City features 1.5 million square feet of top secret space. High-performance NSA computers alone will fill up 100,000 square feet.
The Utah Data Center is a data farm that will begin harvesting emails, phone records, text messages and other electronic data in September.
In California, a high-profile lawsuit is seeking to halt construction of a new $500 million rail yard next to the Port of Los Angeles. Activists, including a national environmental group that's spearheading the opposition, say the massive project would mean even more pollution for nearby neighborhoods that already have some of the worst air in the country.
On this day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in an effort to abolish wage discrimination based on gender. Half a century later, the Obama administration is pushing Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, designed to make wage differences more transparent.
Some dispute the frequently cited figure that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. But even those who argue the gap is narrower agree it's most prominent when a woman enters her childbearing years.
For many years, high medical bills have been a leading cause of financial distress and bankruptcy in America. That pressure may be easing ever so slightly, according to a survey released earlier this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But 1 in 5 Americans still face hardships due to medical costs — and African-Americans continue to be the hardest hit.
Barton Holmes was 16 months old when he had his first seizure. "He was convulsing and his eyes were rolling in the back of his head," his mother, Catherine McEaddy Holmes, says. "His lips were blue. I thought he was dying."
The seizure ended in less than a minute. And by the time an ambulance arrived, Barton was back to his old self. Even so, doctors at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where the family lives, kept him overnight while they tried, without success, to figure out what had caused the seizure.
"I'm a carpenter/cabinet-maker/woodworker, and I think I'll be retiring the day I die."
Michael Powers, 47, is not alone in his retirement insecurity. According to a Pew study published in May, members of Generation X — aged 38 to 47 — are on track to be the first generation to do worse in retirement than their parents. Assuming they retire at all.
The search is over for the winner of Round 11 of Three-Minute Fiction, the contest where listeners submit original short stories that can be read in about three minutes.
We received help this round from graduate students at 16 different writing programs across the country. They poured through thousands of submissions and passed the best of the best along to our judge this round, novelist Karen Russell.
Here was your challenge for this round: A character finds something he or she has no intention of returning.
The Sunday morning party in suburban Washington, D.C., had all the trappings of anticipation.
A lace-trimmed bassinet, a jumble of gifts tied with pink and blue ribbons, a "diaper cake" on the table. And chatter about babies, diets, new spring outfits and the coming end of the school year.
But for Sue Costello, the grandmother-in-waiting, the happy cacophony of the baby shower masked an abiding anxiety about the future of her daughter's family and the twins — a boy and a girl — who are due before June's end.
A self-described conservative Republican who oversees IRS screeners dealing with non-profit groups has told lawmakers that he doesn't think the White House played a role in stonewalling "Tea Party" and "patriot" groups, according to the ranking Democrat on the committee investigating the matter.
Major League Baseball is preparing to hand down suspensions to some of its marquee players according to a recent ESPN report. It's the result of information the league obtained through a man named Tony Bosch, who reportedly supplied banned substances to athletes through his company Biogenesis of America.
Dave Zirin is sports editor for The Nation, and he joins us. Hello.
DAVE ZIRIN: Hey. Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
In 1845, Frederick Douglass sailed to Ireland on a speaking tour to raise money for the abolitionist cause back home. About 75 years later, two airmen, Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown, performed the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, flying 16 hours from Newfoundland to land in an Irish bog. And 79 years after that, George J. Mitchell, the former senator from Maine, repeatedly crisscrossed the ocean — New York, Belfast, New York, Belfast — to steer the Northern Ireland peace process on behalf of President Clinton.
A 60-year-old wound in Kenya has finally found its recompense.
Last week, the British government finalized an out-of-court settlement with thousands of Kenyans who were tortured in detention camps during the end of the British colonial reign. The historic apology — and the unprecedented settlement — has been years in the making.
"There are times when one's faith is restored in the judicial system here, in Pakistan," writes a gentleman called Sajjid Khan, in an unusually optimistic letter published by one of his nation's leading newspapers The Daily Times.
Pakistanis generally take a bleak view of their system of law and order, which tends to be dysfunctional and corrupt. Khan was inspired to put pen to paper by a criminal case that seems to buck that trend.
"Guardian" reporter Glenn Greenwald on weekends on "All Things Considered"
The Guardian newspaper has identified the source for a series of reports it's published in recent days on secret U.S. surveillance activity as a former technical assistant for the CIA who now works for a private-sector defense and technology consulting firm.
Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency, tells NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday that the government's acquisition of phone records and surveillance of Internet activity is lawful and justified by the changing nature of the war on terrorism.
Hayden, who served as NSA chief from 1999-2005 and is also a former CIA director, says NSA's activities are "perfectly legal" and "an accurate reflection of balancing our security and our privacy."
The Emerson String Quartet is one of the most acclaimed chamber groups in the world of classical music. Since their founding in 1976, the group has won nine Grammys for its recordings. Now, it has a new album out called Journeys: Tchaikovsky, Schoenberg — and it's the last recording with cellist David Finckel, one of the quartet's longtime members.
Investigators were reportedly looking into family connections in their search for a motive in Friday's shooting rampage in Santa Monica, Calif., that left six people dead, including the gunman and a woman who died Sunday from injuries sustained in the assault.
A two-day summit between President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, is being described as a "unique, positive and constructive" meeting that reportedly produced broad agreement on handling North Korea and put the thorny issue of cybersecurity at the forefront.
It was hoped the summit, which wrapped up Saturday in California, would be an opportunity for the two men to establish a personal relationship weeks after Xi assumed the presidency in China.
In the past several days, there's been a steady flow of leaks about the National Security Agency and its secret surveillance activities, including the gathering of metadata on domestic and foreign telephone calls and the existence of PRISM, described in media reports as a top-secret data-mining program.
New developments are occurring on a daily basis. Here are a few we're watching right now: