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6:47 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Resurrected Frog Gives Us Cause To Brood

This week scientists announced they have reproduced the genome of an extinct amphibian, the gastric brooding frog.
Auscape/UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 12:06 pm

The gastric brooding frog may be coming back. Does that give us a lot to brood about, too?

This week scientists at the University of New South Wales' Lazarus Project announced they have reproduced the genome — that bit of biological material that carries our genetic structure — of a gastric brooding frog.

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Sat March 23, 2013

In Case You Missed It: Georgetown Upended, And Other NCAA Surprises

Florida Gulf Coast's Chase Fieler (left) and Georgetown's Mikael Hopkins leap for a rebound during a second-round game of the NCAA tournament Friday.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 11:33 am

Another big shock from the NCAA tournament: Florida Gulf Coast "busted a load of brackets" Friday, beating second-seeded Georgetown, as The Associated Press reports.

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles managed a 78-68 victory over the Hoyas, only the seventh time in NCAA history that a No. 15 seed beat a No. 2, the AP says.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
5:32 am
Sat March 23, 2013

The Senators Who Oppose DOMA, Despite Having OK'd It

Supreme Court justices will hear arguments Tuesday on California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. On Wednesday they'll hear arguments on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 10:53 am

The soul-searching over the Defense of Marriage Act went viral last week after Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, a social conservative and original co-sponsor of the 1996 bill, sought out CNN to say something no one saw coming.

Portman said he'd decided to oppose DOMA and support same-sex marriage, two years after learning his college-age son was gay.

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Middle East
4:24 am
Sat March 23, 2013

In Saudi Arabia, Shiite Muslims Challenge Ban On Protests

Anti-riot police face off with protesters in Saudi Arabia's eastern city of Qatif on March 11, 2011. Despite bans on the demonstrations, Shiite Muslims in the eastern part of the country have continued to stage protests, demanding political changes.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 2:27 pm

Editor's note: When Arab Spring protests broke out in Saudi Arabia in 2011, the government reacted quickly, pumping $130 billion into the economy and cracking down on dissent. While this approach has worked in some cities, the Shiite Muslims in the Eastern Province continued to demonstrate. Reese Erlich, on assignment for GlobalPost and NPR, managed to get into the city of Qatif and meet with protest leaders.

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Education
4:22 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Race, Poverty Central To National School-Closure Debate

Jean De Lafayette Elementary School is one of 50 schools slated to be closed in Chicago. Cities across the country are facing similar decisions, and opposition to the closures is growing.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 6:49 pm

In Chicago, parents are fighting to prevent the city from closing 54 public schools. The Chicago Teachers Union is planning a rally against the cost-cutting proposal next week.

School closings are nothing new, but in a growing number of districts around the country, what was once seen as a local decision to close schools has now morphed into a politically charged campaign.

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Shots - Health News
4:18 am
Sat March 23, 2013

At Age 3, Affordable Care Act Is No Less Controversial

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act at the White House on March 23, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 10:33 am

The Affordable Care Act turns 3 on Saturday, and it seems just as divisive as the day President Obama signed it.

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The Two-Way
4:17 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Coal And Coral: Australia's Self-Destructive Paradox

The city of Gladstone near the Great Barrier Reef is the world's fourth largest coal-export hub. Dredges, like one seen here, have turned the harbor brown as they work to expand the coal port.
Richard Harris NPR

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 5: A return to shore finds that people prefer cars to corals.

It's not every day you open an in-flight magazine and read an ad touting "spitwater pressure cleaners for the mining industry." Flip the page and you'll also see an ad cajoling you to "snorkel, sip, snooze" on the Great Barrier Reef.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
4:20 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

As Support For Gay Marriage Grows, An Opponent Looks Ahead

Maggie Gallagher has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage for the past decade. She debated the issue at Saddleback College this month with John Corvino (right), a gay-marriage proponent who is also a personal friend.
The Lariat Robert Cody Shoemake

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on gay marriage, Maggie Gallagher, one of the nation's leading voices in opposition to same-sex marriage, is also preparing for what might come next.

Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, likes to call herself an "accidental activist." After graduating from Yale in 1982, she thought she'd become a writer and focus on what she called "important things," like money and war. She never fathomed she'd end up on TV almost daily, smack in the middle of the war zone over gay marriage.

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The Two-Way
3:41 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Saturday Mail Delivery: Safe For Now?

Veteran USPS letter carrier Michael McDonald gathers mail to load into his truck before making his delivery run in the East Atlanta neighborhood on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, in Atlanta.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 4:25 pm

Does the budget bill passed by Congress this week derail the United States Postal Service (USPS) plan to end Saturday delivery of first class mail?

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Politics
3:34 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

From Leadership Posts, Women Said To Be Changing Senate Tone

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks at a field hearing of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, in Tacoma, Wash., last year.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

A lot of fanfare followed last November's election, when the number of women in the U.S. Senate surged to 20 — more than ever before.

But quieter victories came after. Female senators now claim an unprecedented number of leadership positions, and for the first time in history, women are at the helm of both the Appropriations and Budget committees — as well as half of the Armed Services subcommittees.

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It's All Politics
3:32 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Republicans Launch Mission To Turn Up Their Digital Game

Tweets from GOP supporters scroll along the side of a large-screen display at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, 2012.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

The Republican and Democratic parties have been in a digital arms race for years. And this week, Republicans frankly admitted that they are losing.

Now, the GOP has ambitious plans to improve its game.

Monday's report from the Republican National Committee puts it bluntly: "Republicans must catch up on how we utilize technology in our campaigns. The Obama team is several years ahead of everyone else in its technological advantage."

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The Salt
2:57 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Are Younger Catholics Abandoning Fish On Fridays?

A young parishioner carries plates filled with fried fish and potatoes to a table during a Lenten Friday fish fry at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Littleton, Colo., in 2009.
David Zalubowski AP

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 3:35 pm

It's Friday, and it's Lent. Maybe those of you raised Catholic, as I was, remember tuna noodle casserole, sticks, or the Friday night fish fry?

Seafood consumption typically increases during Lent in the U.S. But Harry Balzer of the survey firm NPD Group says younger Americans are less likely to follow the tradition.

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NPR Story
2:41 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Letters: Reaction To Gun Series

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Our Series this week on guns in America have sent many of you to your keyboards. And every day, a new batch of stories sparked conversation and some heated debate at our website. Some listeners complained that our coverage was pro gun control, some that it was pro National Rifle Association.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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NPR Story
2:41 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

State Laws Govern Gun Purchases Differently Across The Country

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
2:25 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Doubts Raised About Cutting Medicare Pay In High-Spending Areas

Whose wallet would get pinched if Medicare payments were cut in areas where service levels run high?
iStockphoto.com

Doctors and hospital administrators in parts of the country that are heavy Medicare spenders can relax their grips on their prescription pads and billing computers.

An influential panel on Friday panned the idea raised in Congress to pay them less for Medicare services if their regions are heavy users of medical services.

The idea is an outgrowth of decades of research into why Medicare spends more per beneficiary in some places such as New York City, Florida and McAllen, Texas, and significantly less in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

FAA Announces Tower Closures Coming In April

The control tower at Troutdale Airport in Troutdale, Ore., one of the towers slated for closure.
Don Ryan AP

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 4:22 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Friday that it will close 149 air traffic control towers from April 7 due to budget constraints. The number announced is 40 fewer than the FAA originally planned to close. The cuts in service are part of the FAA's response to sequestration, as we reported in a recent story from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pa.:

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Author Interviews
1:10 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

With Humor And Sorrow, 'Life After Life' Explores Death

Elderly and young person holding hands
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

A woman who moves from Boston to be near the grave of her lover; the widow of a judge who keeps a scrapbook of murder and crime; an 85-year-old who has always seen the sunnier side of life; an old man feigning dementia. In the fictional Pine Haven retirement center, together and separately, these characters face the ends of their lives. They're the stars of Jill McCorkle's new novel, Life After Life, which balances humor and sorrow as it explores the moment of death.

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Shots - Health News
12:45 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Talk Globally, Go Locally: Cellphones Versus Clean Toilets

A young boy plays on a commode during an event for World Toilet Day in New Delhi in November. An estimated 131 million Indian homes don't have a latrine or a clean toilet.
Raveendran AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 7:56 am

Mobile phones have become ubiquitous across Africa and Asia, but lowly toilets haven't.

Right now, 6 billion people around the world have cellphones. But only 4.5 billion people have access to a clean commode, the United Nations said Thursday.

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The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Chinua Achebe And The Bravery Of Lions

Chinua Achebe, Nigerian-born novelist and poet speaks about his works and his life at his home on the campus of Bard College in 2008.
Craig Ruttle ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:30 pm

Chinua Achebe, the prominent Nigerian novelist and essayist who died on Thursday, said in a 1994 interview with the Paris Review, "There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter."

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Technology
12:12 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Grand Central: An Engine Of Scientific Innovation

In his book Grand Central: How A Train Station Transformed America, New York Times urban affairs correspondent Sam Roberts writes of the scientific innovations pioneered at New York City's Grand Central Terminal, such as electric commuter trains and standardized time.

Health
12:06 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Scientists Search For Gulf War Illness Answers

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 12:14 pm

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm John Dankosky. Ira Flatow is out this week. Last December, Steven Coughlin, an epidemiologist at the Veterans Affairs Office of Public Health, resigned his position. And last week he told a congressional subcommittee why. He had serious ethical concerns about the research being done on Gulf War Illness at the VA.

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Movie Reviews
11:59 am
Fri March 22, 2013

With Vengeance And Violence, 'Olympus Has Fallen' Flat

Aaron Eckhart and Ashley Judd as the president and first lady in Olympus Has Fallen.
Phil Caruso Millennium Films

What surprises me about the ongoing discussion of violence in cinema and whether it influences violence in the real world is how people fail to engage with the male fantasy behind these films. There's a template for them, a theme; it hinges on violation and vengeance. A seminal action picture of the last 50 years is 1988's Die Hard, in which a lone male cop operates behind the scenes after an ingeniously orchestrated foreign attack on American soil. He's symbolically emasculated — he has no gun or even shoes, his wife is now going by her maiden name.

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Animals
11:47 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Project Seeks To Bring Extinct Species Back

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm John Dankosky. It sounds like something from a science fiction movie, researchers using cutting-edge biotech methods to bring an extinct species back to life. As a matter of fact, I think I saw that one. It was called "Jurassic Park."

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Bloomberg: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum Talked About A 2012 'Unity Ticket'

Presidential candidates Rick Santorum, left, Mitt Romney, center, and Newt Gingrich during a debate in February of 2012.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Yes the 2012 elections have been combed over a thousand times. But what's one more detail, right?

Today, Bloomberg reports that were it not for egos, Mitt Romney could have been toppled by a conservative "unity ticket" featuring Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Had the two united, there would have been a real possibility that Romney wouldn't have made it past the primary process and 2012 would have been truly different race.

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Science
11:45 am
Fri March 22, 2013

For Babies, It's Better To Like What I Like

Babies as young as nine months appear to approve of people who like what they like — and approve of being mean to those who don't share their tastes. Kiley Hamlin, lead author of a study in the journal Psychological Science, discusses the importance of similarity to young children.

The Salt
11:43 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Some Toddler Foods Come With A Mega-Dose Of Salt

Prepacked foods marketed for toddlers can have extremely high levels of sodium compared to the 1,500-milligram daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 12:46 pm

Feeding toddlers can be a challenge, so it's easy to see the lure of prepackaged favorites like mac and cheese. But many of those foods deliver startlingly high amounts of sodium, some with three times more than recommended in a single serving, according to a new survey.

The offenders include not just savory snacks but also healthful-sounding foods like pasta and chicken, according to Joyce Maalouf, a fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Fri March 22, 2013

HBO: Programming Could Be Sold Directly Through Internet Providers

HBO chief Richard Plepler speaks in New York at a 2011 screening.
Larry Busacca Getty Images for Time Warner

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 12:21 pm

HBO CEO Richard Plepler is saying something a lot of the television network's fans have been waiting to hear — that its content could be offered to customers directly through their Internet service providers instead of a cable company.

Right now, HBO must be purchased through a cable provider. Plepler tells Reuters that HBO Go, an online streaming service launched by the network in 2010 (but still only available as an extra to your cable TV) might also be sold through ISPs.

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U.S.
10:45 am
Fri March 22, 2013

'Severing Love From Diapers': The Other Case Against Gay Marriage

Zachariah Long (left) and Edward Ritchie protested last year against a gay marriage bill in Maryland. In 1973, Maryland became the first state to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Voters there legalized gay marriage in 2012.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 6:30 pm

Gay marriage opponents say they're protecting women and children first.

When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments about same-sex marriage next week, much of the debate will turn on legal questions surrounding issues such as federalism and due process.

But the underlying questions are more emotional, with moral objections frequently raised by members of the faith community.

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The Two-Way
10:01 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Legalized Marijuana Forcing Old Dogs To Learn New Tricks

A customer rolls a joint made of half marijuana and half tobacco in Olympia, Wash., on December 9, 2012.
Nick Adams Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 12:07 pm

Drug-sniffing dogs, those cute bellwethers of illegal activity, are dropping Marijuana from their repertoire in Washington state.

A 2012 ballot initiative legalized the use of marijuana in the state (although federal law still prohibits its use). Since then authorities have been working to implement the law. Part of that process is, apparently, to employ canines who don't react to the smell of marijuana. The AP explains why:

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Author Interviews
9:56 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Nathan Englander: Stories Of Faith, Family And The Holocaust

Nathan Englander grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. He now splits his time between New York and Madison, Wis.
Juliana Sohn

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 11:59 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 15, 2012.

The stories in Nathan Englander's short collection that's out now in paperback are based largely on his experiences growing up as a modern Orthodox Jew with an overprotective mother.

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