Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:22 am
Ali Harzi, the only person who had been known to be in custody in connection with last September's attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, has been released by authorities in his native Tunisia, the suspect's lawyer tell The Associated Press.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. A Chinese man worried his son spent too much playing online video games. He was especially worried because the 23-year-old was out of work. So the father went online and hired virtual assassins to kill his son's avatar. He hoped his son would give up and get a job. A gamer's blog reports the son discovered the plot, asking his attackers why they whacked him every time he logged in. He told his father he's just waiting for the right job. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The wolf is called OR7 because he was the seventh gray wolf in Oregon outfitted with a GPS tracking collar. Unlike most gray wolves, he strayed far from home, to California, where he's roamed thousands of miles.
Some other news: Some of the biggest banks in the country have agreed to pay more than $18 billion to settle allegations of wrongdoing in their mortgage lending. That's today's "Business Bottom Line."
Bank of America said yesterday it would pay more than $10 billion to the mortgage company Fannie Mae because of bad loans sold during the housing boom. And in a separate settlement, 10 banks agreed to pay more than $8 billion in total, to settle claims that they made errors in foreclosing on people's homes. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. The good news for Notre Dame fans is that they should be well rested this morning. They had no reason to stay up late last night. Alabama took the fight out of the Irish, 42-14, defeating the previously undefeated team and winning the BCS championship. NPR's Tom Goldman was at the game in Miami.
Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:28 am
On Monday, Morning Edition explored crime rates in Chicago and how the murder rate went up in 2012. That was against national trends and even against Chicago's long-range decline in crime. We discussed police focus on "hot spots," and the dissolution of gangs. But listeners asked: What about gun bans?
President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai greet each other during a May 20 meeting at the NATO Summit in Chicago. Karzai is in Washington, D.C., this week to meet Obama and other senior U.S. officials.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington this week for meetings with President Obama and other senior administration officials. The talks are expected to help set the framework for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan after the bulk of American and NATO forces leave at the end of 2014. One of the key issues to be discussed is the number of American troops to remain in Afghanistan after that date.
Liza Colon-Zayas plays a troubled character named Odessa Ortiz, who finds her better self online. She's pictured above with Bill Heck, as Fountainhead.
Credit Richard Termine /
Quiara Alegria Hudes' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, <em>Water by the Spoonful,</em> opens off-Broadway on Tuesday. Above, Bill Heck as Fountainhead and Frankie R. Faison as Chutes & Ladders in the play, directed by Davis McCallum.
Credit Richard Termine /
Armando Riesco's character Elliot was inspired by Hudes' cousin, also named Elliot. Riesco has played Elliot throughout the trilogy. He's pictured above in <em>Water by the Spoonful</em> with Zabryna Guevara, who plays Yazmin Ortiz.
The cliche about writers is they should write what they know, and that old saw has certainly worked for Quiara Alegria Hudes. The 35-year-old playwright has mined her Puerto Rican family's stories into a series of plays, a musical and even a children's book. Now, her Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Water by the Spoonful, is being brought to life in the first New York production of the play, opening off-Broadway on Tuesday evening.
A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a heart-shaped sign that reads in Spanish "I vote for Chavez!" and a picture of Chavez outside the National Assembly in Caracas over the weekend. On Thursday, Chavez is scheduled to be sworn in for a fourth term. Government officials are suggesting the ceremony could be delayed as the president recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba.
In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."
Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.
The Shell oil drilling rig that ran aground off Alaska last week is now anchored in a quiet harbor so divers can assess the damage. Wildlife officials say they have seen no evidence of a spill from the vessel, which was carrying tanks of diesel fuel. But the accident does raise questions about Shell's plans to drill for oil in the remote and fragile ecosystem of the Arctic.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:57 pm
For the third straight year, spending on health care in 2011 grew at a historically slow rate, government researchers report.
According to a study published in the January issue of the policy journal Health Affairs, U.S. health spending rose 3.9 percent in 2011. That's statistically almost identical to the rate of increase in each of the two previous years.
This month marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the famed and widely cited case that legalized abortion. Yet across the country, states are continuing to approve restrictions.
With little fanfare, Virginia and Michigan Republican governors recently signed new abortion bills into law. Virginia's Bob McDonnell, in particular, quietly approved clinic regulations adopted by the state's Board of Health three months ago that hold abortion clinics to the same building standards as hospitals.
Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (left) arrives at Pyongyang International Airport on Monday. There is speculation that Schmidt's presence in North Korea could have an upside for Google by positioning Schmidt as the company's global ambassador.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:39 pm
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has landed in North Korea. His trip there is a bit of a mystery.
Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has been a vocal proponent of providing people around the world with Internet access and technology. North Korea doesn't even let its citizens access the open Internet, and its population is overwhelmingly poor — so it's not exactly a coveted audience for advertisers.
Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 7:02 am
So why did President Obama choose Chuck Hagel to be his new defense secretary?
First, Hagel is Obama's kind of Republican. The former senator from Nebraska is a realist and pragmatist who hasn't been afraid to buck the orthodoxy of his chosen party, for instance when Hagel opposed the Iraq War.
Eight in 10 prescriptions are filled with generics rather than brand-name drugs these days.
The generics are usually inexpensive. Think $4 for a month's supply of the depression drug fluoxetine (or Prozac) at Wal-Mart. If you have insurance that covers pharmaceuticals, your copay will be lower with a generic than a brand-name drug, too.
In Spanish, most nouns default to masculine or feminine, as do the adjectives that describe them. So if you're referring to a group of people that includes a man, the word you'd use for that group would be masculine — even if that group is mostly made up of women.
John Brennan speaks in the East Room of the White House on Monday, after President Obama announced his nomination of Brennan to run the CIA. Obama also announced his choice of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (left) to head the Department of Defense.
President Obama's choice of John Brennan to lead the CIA appears to be less controversial than his decision to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.
The top Republican on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said in a statement Monday that he looks forward to working with Brennan at the CIA. Still, the Brennan nomination will raise questions about Obama's national security policy.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 3:52 pm
It's become an annual tradition: bidding up an outrageous price for a Pacific bluefin tuna during the first auction of the new year at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market.
And on Saturday, a bluefin tuna big enough to serve up about 10,000 pieces of sushi fetched a mind-boggling price: $1.76 million. That's about three times as much as last year's tuna and equates to about $3,600 per pound for the 489-pound fish.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai will meet with President Obama and other senior U.S. officials in Washington this week. Many analysts remain skeptical about the prospects for a negotiated peace in Afghanistan. He's shown here speaking in Kabul last month.
As Afghan President Hamid Karzai comes to Washington to meet with President Obama and other U.S. officials this week, there is renewed discussion in Afghanistan about the possibility of a negotiated end to the country's war.
Recent talks hosted by France have rekindled hopes for some sort of reconciliation between the Taliban and Karzai's government. But given the decades of war in Afghanistan, many think the prospect of a peace deal remains nothing but talk.
Sixteen-year-old Rookie Reporter Temitayo Fagbenle says at her school girls are often the victims of "slut shaming," having explicit photos and videos of themselves posted online and shared with their peers.
Many teenagers are living half their lives on social media sites, and they're writing the rules as they go. One online trend 16-year-old Temitayo Fagbenle finds disturbing is something she calls "slut shaming" — using photos and videos to turn a girl's private life inside out. Temitayo reported this story as part of the Radio Rookies program at member station WNYC.
The news that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong might be willing to confess to the doping charges he spent years denying has reopened interest in his case — and in the question of whether his lifetime ban from competitive sports could be eased in exchange for Armstrong's cooperation.
Ren Jianyu poses for a photograph at a restaurant in Chongqing, China, on Nov. 19, 2012, after being freed from a labor camp. The village official was sentenced to a "re-education through labor" camp after he criticized the government.
China has indicated that it will stop handing down sentences to its controversial labor camps, which allow detention without trial for up to four years. According to Chinese media, some 160,000 prisoners were held in "re-education centers" at the end of 2008.
Critics of the system greeted the announcement — which was slim on details — with cautious optimism.
Pressure to change the system has been mounting after a number of high-profile cases, including that of Ren Jianyu, who had been a young village official.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 1:45 pm
Saying they're following the example of last year's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, a coalition of "gun rights" activists announced today that they're calling on like-minded Americans to visit gun stores, gun ranges and gun shows on Jan. 19 in a show of unity they're calling "Gun Appreciation Day."
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (left) has returned to Italy's political scene in advance of next month's election. Also in the race is the current Prime Minister Mario Monti (right). They are shown here in November 2011 as Monti took over for Berlusconi.
With elections in Italy just weeks away, polls show leftist parties with a comfortable lead. Yet attention is focused on the battle between the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and the current prime minister, Mario Monti, an austere technocrat.
Monti's platform calls for continued austerity, budget cutting and labor reforms.
While Berlusconi and Monti are the two big names in next month's race, the expected winner is the leader of the leftist Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani.
Moments after a deadly attack that turned an Aurora, Colo., movie theater into a scene of panic and tragedy, the police officer who found suspect James Holmes at first took him for a fellow police officer, due to the body armor Holmes was wearing.
But he noticed that Holmes was "just standing there" and had no sense of urgency — despite the pandemonium at the theater, as people continued to stream out.