NPR News

Pages

The Two-Way
6:14 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Alabama Hostage Standoff Continues

Thursday night in Midland City, Ala., there was a candlelight vigil for bus driver Charles Poland, who was killed Tuesday before a gunman snatched a 5-year-old boy — who is being held captive in an underground bunker.
Philip Sears Reuters /Landov

The standoff continues this morning in Midland City, Ala., where a 5-year-old boy has been held captive in an underground bunker since Tuesday, when a gunman abducted him from a school bus after killing the driver.

Read more
Asia
5:58 am
Fri February 1, 2013

China's Incoming Leader Bans Extravagant Banquets

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 9:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. China's incoming president wants to be seen as a man of the people. And he seems to know what the people don't want from their politicians. So for this year's opening of parliament, the president has banned extravagant banquets, gifts, flowers in rooms.

And in a parliament filled with hand-picked delegates used to launching to endless praise of the party, also banned are long-winded speeches; plus, empty talk is discouraged.

Around the Nation
5:52 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Player's Mom Caters To Baltimore Ravens Team

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

The San Francisco 49ers are the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but the Baltimore Ravens have a special source of fuel. Raven Jacoby Jones is from New Orleans, where the game will be played, and his mom made the team 150 plates of food. Jones describes the feast as, quote, "gumbo, jambalaya, potato salad, bread pudding, macaroni - the whole nine yards."

Finally, somebody used that cliche in a sport where it makes sense.

The Two-Way
5:46 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Death Toll Rising In Mexico; At Least 25 Dead After Explosion, Dozens Hurt

Rescue workers are searching the debris in Mexico City, where an explosion Thursday rocked the headquarters of the state-owned oil company, Pemex.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 9:49 am

Authorities in Mexico City said Friday morning that at least 32 people had been killed and another 120 or so injured by the explosion Thursday afternoon at the headquarters of Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:19 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Developing: Explosion Outside U.S. Embassy In Turkey

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:11 pm

There was an explosion Friday at an entrance to the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, and within hours American officials were calling it a "terrorist attack."

Read more
The Two-Way
5:04 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Ed Koch, Flamboyant Former New York City Mayor, Dies

New York City Mayor Edward Koch in February 1980.
CBS /Landov

Ed Koch, the colorful three-term mayor who led New York City through its financial crisis in the '70s, has died.

George Arzt, a spokesman for the former mayor, tells NPR's Joel Rose that Koch died of congestive heart failure around 2 a.m. ET Friday. The former mayor was 88.

Read more
Remembrances
4:40 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Ed Koch, Outspoken Mayor Who Brought N.Y. Back From The Brink, Dies

New York Mayor Ed Koch raises his arms in victory on Sept. 11, 1985, after winning the Democratic primary in his bid for a third four-year term.
Mario Suriani AP

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 9:26 am

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, whose larger-than-life personality was well-suited to the nation's biggest city but could also get him in trouble, has died. He was 88.

His spokesman, George Arzt, says Koch passed away early Friday from congestive heart failure.

Koch was famous for asking his constituents this question: "Hey! How'm I doing?" He insisted this was more than just shtick. He told NPR in 1981 that he really wanted to know.

Read more
Business
4:28 am
Fri February 1, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now to Google, which is looking for some hackers to ride to the top in an unusual competition. Our last word in business is: pi contest, as in 3.14.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Three point one four, that's the amount in millions of dollars that Google is offering in what its Podium Hacking Contest. The challenge here is to hack the Google Chrome operating system and expose security flaws.

Travis McCoy is the product manager for Chrome and we asked him why pi.

Read more
Sports
4:28 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Ravens Are Super Bowl Underdogs, But Are Stats On Their Side?

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Baltimore Ravens are the underdogs in this Sunday's Super Bowl, going up against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, there have been bigger underdogs. And yes, the Ravens are not the lowest-seeded team to make it to the Super Bowl. But the Ravens have beaten the odds in another way. NPR's Mike Pesca talked to some football numbers guys and has this report.

Read more
Movie Reviews
4:28 am
Fri February 1, 2013

How 'Sound City' Changed The Face Of Rock 'N Roll

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 9:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

One of the most entertaining documentaries to come out of this year's Sundance Film Festival is "Sound City." The rock musician Dave Grohl, of the band Foo Fighters, is the director - a first for him. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Sound City" is a mash note to a machine - not just any machine, however, but one that helped change the face of rock 'n' roll.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Read more
Author Interviews
1:47 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Netflix Moves Back Into Content Production With 'Cards'

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 9:26 am

Netflix customers will soon have a new option: Along with the company's usual offerings, viewers will be able to watch a new show called House of Cards, a political drama adapted from a British show, and starring Kevin Spacey. David Fincher (known for The Social Network and Seven) will direct the first two episodes. But what's new about House of Cards is that all 13 episodes will be available at once — and they were financed by Netflix itself.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:44 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Hillary Clinton Leaving The Stage — At Least For Now — And On A High Note

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a town hall meeting on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. She officially leaves her post on Friday.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 9:26 am

Hillary Clinton leaves her job Friday as secretary of state with sky-high approval ratings, and there's already a superPAC established urging her to run for president in 2016.

Read more
History
1:40 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Grand Central, A Cathedral For Commuters, Celebrates 100

Originally published on

Friday marks the day that 100 years ago, Grand Central Terminal opened its doors for business for the very first time. The largest railroad terminal in the world, the magnificent Beaux-Arts building is in the heart of New York City on 42nd St. And while it no longer serves long-distance trains, it's still a vibrant part of the city's eco-system.

Read more
Planet Money
1:38 am
Fri February 1, 2013

An International Battle Over One Of The Most Boring Things In Finance

Jeremy O'Donnell Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 9:26 am

This week saw the end of a years-long, international, multi-billion-dollar battle over one of the most boring things in finance: savings accounts.

At the center of the battle was Iceland, a tiny country where the banks grew into international behemoths during the credit bubble.

The banks got so big partly by convincing foreigners to open up online savings accounts. In particular, lots of people in England and Netherlands opened up "ICESAVE accounts" with a bank called Landsbanki. During the financial crisis, the bank collapsed.

Read more
U.S.
8:03 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Relentless, Despite Losses: Congressman's Climb To The Hill

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn explains the hope he carries along with him in his career to his granddaughter Sydney Reed.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:09 am

Read more
The Two-Way
4:22 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Explosion Hits State Oil Company Building In Mexico City

Firefighters belonging to the Tacubaya sector and workers dig for survivors after an explosion at a building adjacent to the executive tower of Mexico's state-owned oil company PEMEX.
Guillermo Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 8:07 pm

What appears to be a significant explosion has rocked the Pemex tower in Mexico City. Television images are showing smoke billowing from the glass high rise in the Mexican capital.

Pemex, the state-owned oil company, tweeted that an explosion happened in a building that is part of the oil giant's headquarters. According to the company and the country's interior minister, 14 people are dead and 80 are injured.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:21 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Salmonella Undermines Hedgehogs' Cuteness Overload

We have no reason to think this little guy isn't clean as a whistle, but some hedgehogs carry salmonella.
Flickr

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 2:19 pm

Salmonella is one of the most common illnesses people get from food. Undercooked ground beef is risky. And some of the biggest recalls ever involved eggs potentially contaminated by the bacteria.

Read more
Latin America
3:59 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

The Mexico-Canada Guest Worker Program: A Model For The U.S.?

Armando Tenorio at his home in Mexico last December. Tenorio spends most of the year working on a blueberry farm in Canada, on a temporary work permit, to support his family in Mexico.
Dominic Bracco II The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:29 am

In the U.S., farmers and farm workers alike say the current system to import temporary workers, especially in agriculture, is slow and fraught with abuses.

But the shape of a new guest-worker program is still being hashed out. Some say the U.S. should import temporary workers the same way Canada does. For nearly four decades, the governments of Canada and Mexico have cooperated to fill agriculture jobs that Canadian citizens won't do, and that Mexicans are clamoring to get.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Texas District Attorney Shot, Killed In Front Of Courthouse

An assistant district attorney in North Texas was shot and killed as he arrived at the courthouse where he worked on Thursday.

The Associated Press reports:

Read more
Law
3:50 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

'Check Yes Or No': The Hurdles Of Employment With Criminal Past

For Americans with criminal records, it can be tough to land job interviews — especially when employers bar them from applying.
CYH iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

Melissa spent months looking for a job — any job. For days, the 25-year-old consistently visited her welfare-to-work program in downtown Brooklyn, resume in hand and an interview smile splashed across her face.

"Every day, Monday through Friday, 9 to 4," she explains. "That's dedication."

Melissa, who asked us to not reveal her last name, has plenty of job experience. She's a self-identified "people person" and says she aces every interview. But there's just one thing holding her back: the past.

Read more
Latin America
3:31 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

As U.S. Consumes Less Cocaine, Brazil Uses More

Brazilian federal police patrol the Mamore River, which separates Brazil from Bolivia. The river is used by traffickers to ferry cocaine from Bolivia into Brazil, where cocaine consumption is rising rapidly.
Juan Forero Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

As cocaine consumption falls in the United States, South American drug traffickers have begun to pioneer a new soft target for their product: big and increasingly affluent Brazil.

And the source of the cocaine is increasingly Bolivia, a landlocked country that shares a 2,100-mile border with Brazil.

As Brazilian police officers and border agents can attest, the drug often finds its way to Brazil by crossing the Mamore River, which separates the state of Rondonia from Bolivia in the heart of South America.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:05 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

South L.A. Teens Doubt New Laws Will Change Gun Culture

Handguns collected in South-Central Los Angeles as part of a Gun for Gift Card exchange in 2009. One teenager here says getting a gun on the streets is just "one phone call away."
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:04 am

On 53rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles, violent members of at least six gangs run the streets. A landmark church is boarded up and tagged. There are liquor stores and abandoned lots. On Tuesday night, there was a drive-by shooting two blocks away, and folks are expecting retaliation. This is an area where murders, robberies and rapes are common — and so are guns.

"There's too many guns out there," says Randolph Wright, 18. "I can tell you right now, every hood has an AK[-47]. Regardless of whatever other gun they got, they have an AK."

Read more
Art & Design
3:01 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Graffiti Gnomes Allowed To Roam On Oakland Utility Poles

An anonymous artist started placing the hand-painted gnomes on the bases of utility poles all over Oakland.
Courtesy of the photographer

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

Over the past year, small gnomes started springing up all around Oakland, Calif. The elfin creatures are hand-painted on wooden boards; each is about 6 inches tall, with red hat, brown boots and white beard. They're bits of urban folk art from an anonymous painter who surreptitiously screws them onto the base of utility poles.

Read more
Music Interviews
2:32 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Ron Sexsmith: At Midlife, A Songwriter Ponders Mortality

Ron Sexsmith's new album, Forever Endeavour, comes out Feb. 5.
Michael D'Amico Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

Somehow, Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith makes a case of the deep blues sound sweet. The new album Forever Endeavour is his 13th, and the songs show him, at midlife, reflecting a lot on the passage of time.

"I think there's always something comforting about sad songs," Sexsmith says. "It's a shared thing that everyone can relate to."

Read more
The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Beyoncé On Lip-Syncing: 'I Did Not Feel Comfortable Taking A Risk'

Pat Benic DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 3:34 pm

The Grammy-award winning singer Beyoncé has finally put an end to all the talk surrounding her performance during President Obama's second inauguration.

And she did it in diva fashion, during a press conference to preview her Super Bowl performance.

Read more
You Must Read This
1:45 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

War Writ Small: Of Pushcarts And Peashooters

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

Adam Mansbach is the author of the forthcoming novel Rage is Back.

Stealing my 9-year-old nephew's copy of The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill was the best thing I did last summer. I was his age the first time I read it, and twice his age the last time I went back to it. I'm twice that old again now, but as soon as I dove into this intimate, majestic tale of war writ small — of a battle between the pushcart peddlers and the truckers of New York City — I realized how timeless, and how deeply a part of me, the story was.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:27 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

How Owls Spin Their Heads Without Tearing Arteries

How does a great gray owl do that? Now we know.
Martin Meissner AP

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 5:56 am

The human neck is a delicate stem. Torque it a bit too much, and the carotid and vertebral arteries can rip, causing deadly strokes. People have torn their neck arteries riding roller coasters, doing yoga, going to the chiropractor, being rear-ended in the car – even leaning back for a beauty-parlor shampoo.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Reports: Shots Fired At Atlanta Middle School

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 3:59 pm

Shots were fired at an Atlanta middle school, this afternoon, several news outlets are reporting. The Associated Press quotes an Atlanta fire official saying that a 14-year-old had been shot at Price Middle School.

WSBTV reports that one teacher was injured and the condition of the teen is not known.

Read more
All Tech Considered
1:18 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

What's Next, A Patent For The Lines Around Apple Stores?

Apple has trademarked its minimalist store design.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Officially as of last week, there's nothing quite like Apple's stores. After an array of patents of its products, Apple has decided to go whole hog and trademark its minimalist store design. The trademark was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 22, Reuters reported.

Read more
Sports
12:31 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Are Shooting Ranges The New Bowling Alleys?

Renee Blaine, a leader of the Leander, Texas, chapter of A Girl and A Gun during the "Girls Night Out" event.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 8:33 am

The traditional American shooting range is extending its range.

In Summerville, S.C., for example, the ATP Gunshop & Range stages community-minded blood drives and Toys for Tots collections. Twice a week there are ladies' nights, where women can learn to fire pistols and receive free T-shirts.

Read more

Pages