The tiny dynamo asking the U.S. Supreme Court to turn the world upside down looks nothing like a fearless pioneer. At age 83, Edith Windsor dresses in classic, tailored clothes, usually with a long string of pearls, and she sports a well-coiffed, shoulder-length flip. She looks, for all the world, like a proper New York City lady.
Proper she may be, and a lady, but Windsor, who likes to be called Edie, is making history, challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. The law bans federal recognition and benefits for legally married same-sex couples.
Police officers testifying at a federal trial challenging New York City's stop-and-frisk policy say they were ordered to increase their number of arrests, summons and 250s — the code for stop, question and frisk.
Some 5 million street stops of mostly black and Latino men have taken place in the city in the last decade.
It's Friday night in Bamako, and a club in the Malian capital has come alive. Guitarist and singer Baba Salah is on the floor.
His hometown of Gao, along the banks of the River Niger on the fringes of the Sahara Desert, made headlines as the first city in the north to be liberated by French-backed Malian forces in January. Gao was one of three regional centers in the north captured by rebels and jihadis a year ago. Islamists warned musicians that their tongues would be sliced out if they continued to sing and play. Speaking in French, Salah says artists left in a hurry.
Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 3:57 pm
Kurdish rebels have been fighting for nearly three decades against Turkish forces in the southeast corner of that nation. But the most prominent rebel leader said from prison Thursday that it was time for a "new era" that includes an immediate cease-fire.
Abdullah Ocalan heads the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK. He was captured by Turkey in 1999 and has been imprisoned on an island off Istanbul.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 10:02 am
The U.S. is slowly but steadily closing in on tuberculosis.
For the first time since the government started tracking the disease in the 1950s, the number of annual TB cases has dropped below 10,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
For baseball fans, spring training is a time for renewed hopes and a reminder that winter is almost over. But for the major league teams and Arizona and Florida communities, spring training is big business. In Florida, 1.5 million fans attend spring training games with an estimated $750 million annual economic impact, and the state is working to keep the teams from fleeing.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:30 pm
Small children aren't great at sharing, as any parent or preschool teacher knows. But little kids get cut a lot of slack on the presumption that they don't know any better.
Well, the jig is up. Researchers have found that 3-year-olds know darned well that sharing is the right thing to do. But when given the chance to share stickers with another child, they hoarded instead.
That flipped around by age 8, the children shared stickers, giving half to another child.
How much can you change a school in one academic year? That question threads through the PBS special 180 Days: A Year Inside An American High School. The documentary, which premieres March 25, follows the day-to-day struggles facing the administrators, teachers and students at Washington Metropolitan High School, an alternative school in Washington, D.C.
Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 8:36 pm
Yoko Ono, the widow of slain Beatle John Lennon, has weighed in on the issue of gun control by tweeting a photo of the blood-spattered eyeglasses worn by the legendary musician when he was fatally shot by a deranged fan more than three decades ago.
Her tweet, on the 44th anniversary of the couple's marriage:
"Over 1,057,000 people have been killed by guns in the USA since John Lennon was shot and killed on 8 Dec 1980."
When a Florida man vanished into a massive sinkhole that opened underneath his bedroom in February, the case garnered national attention. Every so often, tragedies like this put sinkholes in the spotlight.
Researchers say that minor sinkholes occur all the time around the world without much notice.
Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 1:50 pm
Disturbing images of the dead and dying have long been used as tools to provoke change. After the tragedy in Newtown, Ct., some are urging the release of the crime photos, hoping that images of the massacre might lead to stronger gun control.
The HBO movie Phil Spector is a production that demands attention because of the heavyweight names attached. First, of course, there's the subject of the drama: Spector himself, the man who invented the "wall of sound," and recorded hits for everyone from the Crystals, Darlene Love and Ike & Tina Turner to the Beatles and the Righteous Brothers. Oh, and who also went on trial, in 2007, for the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.
Brits and Americans may have split less than amicably a couple of centuries ago, but we can still find cultural common ground when it comes to life's pleasures: The Beatles, Downton Abbey and dunking cookies.
Of course, the Brits call them "biscuits" and dip primarily in tea, while we are more promiscuous and are willing to plunge our treats into coffee, hot chocolate or even milk.
But does immersing a cookie into a warm beverage really make it taste better? And if so, why?
According to the historical record dating back to 1895, 2012 was the hottest year this country has ever seen. But it's not just that the temperature has risen — from deadly tornadoes to the widespread coastal damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy, we seem to be living through a period of intensified and heightened weather extremes.
Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 3:02 pm
The House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday that avoids a federal shutdown and keeps the government open through the end of the 2013 fiscal year, which winds up Sept. 30. The Senate approved the same measure Wednesday, so the bill now goes to the president for his signature.
The New York Times characterizes the measure, which passed the House on a 318-109 vote, this way:
Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 7:23 am
Speaking to Israeli students at the Jerusalem Convention Center on Thursday, President Obama delivered a speech brimming with talk of hope and change that echoed the Obama of 2008. While there were touches of specifics on where the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians should head, for the most part Obama stuck with highlighting fundamental similarities between peoples.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, Oscar nominated actress Angela Bassett and film director Antoine Fuqua are here and they will tell us about their latest project, the action thriller "Olympus Has Fallen." It may make you rethink that White House tour you'd been planning. That's later in the program.
But now we want to take another look at the issue of gun rights and gun safety in this country. We've been hearing a variety of perspectives on this program.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:29 pm
Now children's doctors say it's time for same-sex marriage to be the law of the land.
For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a policy statement Thursday that it favors "civil marriage for same-gender couples — as well as full adoption and foster care rights for parents regardless of their sexual orientation ...."
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 9:01 am
NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris traveled to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to find out how the coral reefs are coping with increased water temperature and increasing ocean acidity, brought about by our burning of fossil fuels. Day 3: Waiting for a boat to the next island, Richard meets some rowdy birds.
Weeds are not a true category of plant. A weed is simply a plant that's growing where a person wishes it weren't.
For vegetable lovers, the start of spring can be a cruel tease, hinting of a feast of just-picked peas and spinach and beets, but delivering instead tired iceberg and romaine shipped from distant climes.
"It's zero here right now," Terry Nennich reported Wednesday morning, the first official day of spring, from Grand Rapids, Minn. So much for spring. Not only was it well below freezing, but the ground remained blanketed by 2 feet of snow.