The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 11:25 am
This year's flu vaccine appears to be doing a unusually poor job of protecting the elderly, federal health officials reported Thursday.
Overall, this year's flu vaccine appears to be only about 27 percent effective for people ages 65 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
And now, a story from Washington state; a story about one family's unexpected odyssey. Seventy-three-year-old Kevin O'Grady had recently died in Seattle, where one of his two daughters lives. She mailed her father's ashes across the state to her sister, Katy, in Spokane. That's where their father, an Air Force veteran, was to be buried with military honors.
But after several days, Katy had yet to receive the ashes.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
Among the many charges thrown at Chuck Hagel, as he seeks confirmation as defense secretary, is this one: that he received funding from a group called Friends of Hamas. That explosive claim first surfaced on the conservative website breitbart.com. It got traction and spread among conservative media.
Thing is there's no evidence that any such group exists, not to mention any evidence of a Hamas-Hagel connection.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 3:31 pm
Those baggage fees, cramped seats and tiny pretzel bags to the contrary and notwithstanding, airline passengers enjoyed good times in 2012, according to an annual recap from Airlines for America, the industry trade group.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:27 pm
For the second year in a row, Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican of Kentucky, is returning a large part of his office's operating budget to the Treasury.
According to a press release, Paul presented taxpayers in Louisville with an "oversized" check for $600,000.
"I ran to stop the reckless spending, and I pledged to the people of Kentucky that I would work to keep their hard-earned money out of the hands of Washington bureaucrats whose irresponsible spending has threatened our country's economic health," Paul said.
Frustration over a change in federal copyright policy that makes it illegal to unlock new cellphones has resulted in more than 100,000 signatures on a petition at the White House's website, meaning the executive branch must now respond to calls to rescind the ruling or "champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington; Neal Conan is away. Religious exemptions have been in the news a lot lately. The Obama administration has revised its rules on insurance coverage to accommodate religious nonprofits. If the proposal sticks, they won't have to pay for coverage of birth control for employees.
Human ears, gun parts, bars of chocolate, musical instruments, robots - just a few of the things that have recently been created from scratch by 3-D printers. Apparently and amazingly, you just put in the materials, upload a design and press start. My printer doesn't even work with just old paper and ink. But we'll hear more about this potential. The possibilities seem endless. Some believe 3-D printing will revolutionize manufacturing, but the technology is also raising thorny questions about copyright and regulation.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. For same-sex military couples, a lot has changed since the end of "don't ask, don't tell." Just last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced a list of benefits that will now or soon apply to the same-sex partners of service members.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 1:29 pm
Several explosions ripped through Damascus on Thursday morning in what was one of the deadliest days in the Syrian capital since the uprising began nearly two years ago.
A huge blast in the al-Mazraa neighborhood was the work of a suicide car bomber, according to media reports. More than 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured, according to both the Syrian state media and opposition groups.
What happens when we die? Wouldn't we all like to know. We can't bring people back from the dead to tell us — but in some cases, we almost can. Resuscitation medicine is now sometimes capable of reviving people after their heart has stopped beating and their brain has flat-lined; Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and director of resuscitation research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, studies what these people experience in that period after their heart stops and before they're resuscitated. This includes visions such as bright lights and out-of-body experiences.
I don't have a good track record when it comes to raving about Karen Russell. Last year, along with my two fellow judges, I nominated Russell's novel, Swamplandia!, as well as two other finalists, for the Pulitzer Prize. Result? The Pulitzer Board made headlines by deciding not to give out the award in Fiction. Nevertheless, I rave on: this time about Russell's new short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 11:31 am
The New York Times points out something rather interesting about an otherwise mundane business story. Wal-Mart's fourth-quarter earnings report tells the tale of how changes in the tax code has both helped corporations and hurt them.
As the Times puts it, during the fourth quarter of last year, "the tax code gave and the tax code took away."
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:09 pm
We've all heard that drone strikes directed against al-Qaida and other militants have been on the rise, but now Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has put a number on deaths by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle: 4,700.
Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, rattled off the death toll during a talk he gave to the Easley Rotary Club in Easley, S.C., Tuesday afternoon.
While a majority (58 percent) say it would be "good" if the next pope allows priests to marry and 60 percent said it would be good if the new pope is from the "developing world," that majority narrows when they asked a broader question.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll take a trip to Puerto Rico. The economy is struggling, but the music there is thriving. We'll hear more about that in just a few minutes.
But first, we turn to Chicago, where the recent shooting death of honor student Hadiya Pendleton has put that city's battle with gun violence, especially affecting the youngest victims, back into the national headlines.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now we are going to turn our attention to Puerto Rico. That's where our colleagues at MORNING EDITION went recently for an in-depth reporting trip. They talked about the island's difficult economy, the many people leaving the island looking for opportunities elsewhere, and how all of that is affecting day-to-day life in the U.S. commonwealth.
Mississippi has received lots of attention this week for finally having ratified the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. But the state is hardly alone in being slow about blessing some long-established national principle.
After a sufficient number of states have ratified an amendment, it can feel like a moot point for legislatures to give belated approval to laws that are already in effect.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, another family is grieving in Chicago after another young person was killed by gun violence this past weekend. Today we're going to bring you some very blunt, powerful perspectives from young people affected by the violence that you might not have heard. This from our colleagues with the public radio program "This American Life." And that's coming up later in the program.