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4:10 am
Sat February 23, 2013

'Nordic Cool' Illuminates D.C.'s Kennedy Center

Nordic Cool Facade.
Yassine El Mansouri Courtesy: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 11:18 pm

What is Nordic cool?

Right now, it's a massive festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with artists and designers displaying art and culture from their very top sliver of the globe.

The festival arrives at what seems like just the right moment for Americans.

From the Danish modern furniture of the 1950s to the omnipresence of Ikea, Americans have long been attracted to the austere design of Nordic countries.

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It's All Politics
3:49 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Senate Decisions Could Put Lindsey Graham's Seat At Risk

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voices his opposition to President Obama's choice of former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as secretary of defense, on Capitol Hill last week.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 9:55 am

It seems Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has done his best in recent weeks to get as much ink as possible, talking about things that play well with the conservatives in his home state of South Carolina, like Benghazi and gun rights.

Graham also held up the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary to get more answers about what happened in Benghazi, even as he admitted Hagel had nothing to do with it. But his opposition might have more to do with home state politics than the nomination itself.

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It's All Politics
3:13 am
Sat February 23, 2013

States Take Sides As Court Revisits Voting Rights Act

President Lyndon Johnson and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. discuss the Voting Rights Act in 1965. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether a key part of the law is still needed nearly a half century after its passage.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments next week in a case that tests the constitutionality of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the law considered the most effective civil rights statute in American history. At issue is whether a key provision of the statute has outlived its usefulness.

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Africa
3:12 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Fighting Stream Of Terrorist Capital, Kenya Cracks Down On Somali Businesses

People walk down a market street in Eastleigh, a predominantly Muslim Somali neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2009. The neighborhood has come under scrutiny as the U.S. cracks down on terrorism financing.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 8:26 pm

U.S. counterterrorism efforts include choking off the flow of cash to extremists, and urging friendly countries to help. But in Nairobi, Kenya, suspicion of Somali money — and an increase in terrorist attacks — has prompted a country-wide crackdown, with Kenyan police accused of extortion and arbitrary arrests of thousands of Somali refugees.

But how do you tell the difference between tainted money and honest cash?

Take Eastleigh, a neighborhood in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

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The Salt
3:10 am
Sat February 23, 2013

A Dramatic Way To Uncork The Bubbly: Use A Sword

Brice from the Bubble Lounge in New York City demonstrates how to saber a bottle of champagne.
About.com

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 7:07 pm

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It's All Politics
4:03 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

What's The Sequester? And How Did We Get Here?

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (left) answers questions during a briefing with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:26 pm

They've been everywhere this week: dire warnings about threats posed by across-the-board federal spending cuts.

Unless Congress acts, the cuts are due to take effect a week from Friday. The administration is trying to drive home the ways that could affect you.

For example, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned Friday that air traffic controllers will have to take unpaid days off beginning in April. Fewer controllers on the job could mean airport delays, and some airlines may decide to cancel flights.

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Science
4:03 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Boston Grapples With The Threat Of Storms And Rising Water

The Boston Tea Party museum sits right on the edge of the harbor. With rising sea levels and the increasing threat of strong storms, buildings like these are at particular risk of flooding.
Christopher Joyce NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:02 pm

Since the drubbing that Superstorm Sandy gave the Northeast in November, there's a new sense of urgency in U.S. coastal cities. Even though scientists can't predict the next big hurricane, they're confident that a warmer climate is likely to make Atlantic storms bigger and cause more flooding.

Cities like Boston are in the bull's-eye.

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U.S.
3:46 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

As Police Drones Take Off, Washington State Pushes Back

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:28 pm

Last year, Seattle became one of the nation's first cities to buy unmanned drones for use by the police department. Public reaction was less "Gee-whiz" than "What the heck?"

The phrase "unmanned drones" typically conjures images of places like Afghanistan. But the Federal Aviation Administration says it wants to start testing the civilian use of aerial drones here in the U.S. and has already issued special permits to a few police departments interested in trying them out.

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

Attack By Chondrite: Scientists ID Russian Meteor

Researchers who studied pieces of the meteor collected near Lake Cherbarkul say it was a common chondrite meteor. The largest of the 53 fragments was one centimeter in diameter. Photo provided by the Urals Federal University Press Service.
Alexander Khlopotov AP

The meteor that caused at least 1,000 injuries in Russia after a startling and powerful daytime explosion one week ago has been identified as a chondrite. Russian scientists who analyzed fragments of the meteor, whose large size and well-documented impact made it a rarity, say that its composition makes it the most common type of meteor we encounter here on Earth.

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World
3:20 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

After Long Isolation, Myanmar Now Has Suitors

Engineers from China and Myanmar work to bury an oil pipeline outside the Myanmar city of Mandalay. Chinese media reports say the 700-mile-long oil and gas pipelines will be completed in May.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

For decades, Myanmar was isolated diplomatically, an economic backwater that seemed almost frozen in time amid a Southeast Asian region that was modernizing at a rapid pace.

But the political reforms under way in Myanmar, also known as Burma, are redefining its place in the world. President Obama's visit in November was a sign of the dramatic turnaround in relations with the United States.

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It's All Politics
3:18 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Sequester In South Carolina: A Tale Of Fighter Jets And Preschools

Four F-16s from the 77th Fighter Squadron of Shaw Air Force Base fly over Darlington Raceway before a NASCAR race in Darlington, S.C., in May 2012.
Geoff Burke Getty Images for NASCAR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

In Sumter, S.C., home of Shaw Air Force Base and the 20th Fighter Wing, cars sport bumper stickers that say, "Jet noise is the sound of freedom."

Throughout the day, F-16s on training runs blast from a runway on base, disappearing into the foggy sky. But if automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts slated for March 1 go into effect, there will be a lot less of that sound.

"To cut to that level, we just could not pay for the amount of flying hours that we currently have," says Capt. Ann Blodzinski, the base's chief of public affairs.

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Heavy Rotation
3:13 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Heavy Rotation: 5 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Brooklyn songwriter Katie Mullins has a fan in WNYC's John Schaefer.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:36 pm

Every so often, we ask a panel of public radio's music experts to share their favorite new songs.

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Around the Nation
3:12 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Penn State Officials Take Booze Out Of 'State Patty's Day' Mix

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

St. Patrick's Day is more than three weeks away, but this weekend near Pennsylvania State University in State College, a similar celebration — called "State Patty's Day" — is happening.

While it has some of the trappings of the Irish holiday, for most it's just an excuse to get drunk and party.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Pentagon Grounds Fleet Of F-35 Fighter Jets Because Of Engine Problems

In this image released by the U.S. Navy the U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, conducts a test flight over the Chesapeake Bay.
U.S. Navy Getty Images

The Pentagon has halted the testing of its entire fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. At an estimated cost of $400 billion, it is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program.

Defense News reports:

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Shots - Health News
2:26 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Contagion On The Couch: CDC App Poses Fun Disease Puzzles

As you solve outbreaks, you earn points and work your way to becoming an assistant disease detective.
Screenshot from Solve The Outbreak/Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 8:04 am

Disease detectives are kind of the rock stars of public health.

They travel around the world, on a moment's notice, to track down an Ebola outbreak in Uganda or stop a cholera epidemic in Haiti. And Kate Winslet and Lawrence Fishburne played them in the movie Contagion, for crying out loud.

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NPR Story
2:26 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Damascus Dragged Into Syrian War With Latest Wave Of Bombings

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

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NPR Story
2:26 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Obama's Meeting With New Japanese Leader Focuses On China

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The Japanese flag flew over Blair House in Washington today. That's where foreign leaders stay when they visit the White House. Japan's new prime minister is here for his first meeting with President Obama, and they've been discussing economic and security issues as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

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Health Care
2:26 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

This Year's Flu Vaccine Falters In Protecting Elderly

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This year's flu vaccine looks like it's not doing much to protect older people. New numbers in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the vaccine has only been effective about a quarter of the time for people 65 and older. NPR's Rob Stein joins me to explain what that means. And Rob, tell us more about these numbers coming from the CDC.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
2:24 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Novelist John Irving Plays Not My Job

Cesar Rangel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 9:28 am

This segment was originally broadcast on June 14, 2012.

John Irving is the author of The World According To Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Cider House Rules and many other works of fiction. His latest novel is called In One Person.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
2:24 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Dax Shepard And Kristen Bell Play Not My Job

Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 9:28 am

This segment was originally broadcast on Aug. 2, 2012.

Real-life Hollywood couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are a.) famous b.) adorable c.) funny d.) the stars of Hit and Run, a new movie they made together, and e.) amazingly, all of the above.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
2:24 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Singer-Songwriter Bonnie Raitt Plays Not My Job

Marina Chavez

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 9:28 am

This segment was originally broadcast on Sept. 6, 2012.

Back in the early 1970s, a young woman at Radcliffe College faced a choice: Stay in school and get her degree, or drop out and become a legendary blues singer and guitarist. It's pretty clear Bonnie Raitt made the right choice.

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Justice Department Joins Lawsuit Against Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong finishes the Power of Four Mountain Bike Race on Aspen Mountain on August 25, 2012.
Riccardo S. Savi Getty Images

The Justice Department has joined a civil lawsuit against cyclist Lance Armstrong, his Tailwind Sports team and its longtime manager, alleging their pervasive doping campaign defrauded the U.S. Postal Service out of more than $31 million in sponsorship fees.

The decision ratchets up the legal pressure on Armstrong, who's lost his seven Tour de France titles, enormous advertising and sponsorship deals, and a large part of his reputation.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

In Document Left Behind By Al-Qaida, 22 Tips To Avoid Drones Strikes

In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 photo, a young vendor waits for clients alongside woven reed mats of the type purchased by fleeing Islamists, apparently to camouflage their vehicles, in Timbuktu, Mali.
Rukmini Callimachi AP

As al-Qaida extremists streamed out of Timbuktu, they left behind a curious document and the Associated Press got its hands on it.

It's written by Abdallah bin Muhammad, a senior commander of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni arm of the group, and it includes 22 bulleted tips on how to evade drone strikes.

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Aquarium Dumping Linked To Giant Tahoe Goldfish

You're going to need a bigger fishbowl.

Scientists searching for invasive species in Lake Tahoe scooped up a bright orange goldfish measuring nearly a foot and a half long and weighing more than 4 pounds, according to the website Live Science. (You can see it here.)

Environmental scientist Sudeep Chandra says a survey has uncovered a "nice corner" of the lake where about 15 other giant goldfish were living, apparently after being dumped there by aquarium owners.

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The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

FBI Raids The Scooter Store; Will TSA Crack Down On 'Wheelchair Miracles'?

Scooter Store ads are ubiquitous.
PR Newswire

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

Somehow, the image of a slow-speed chase comes to mind:

Federal agents have "wrapped up their search of The Scooter Store's offices in New Braunfels," the San Antonio Express-News reports.

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The Salt
11:42 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Despite Lingering Drought, USDA Predicts A Flood Of Grain

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 12:51 pm

Economists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gazing into their crystal ball, see American farmers planting and harvesting huge amounts of corn, soybeans, and wheat this year. They're predicting a record harvest of corn: 14 billion bushels, up nearly 40 percent over last year's drought-crippled level.

With supply up, prices will fall. The USDA thinks that the price of the average bushel of corn could fall by a third. And soybean production and price are expected to follow a similar track.

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The Two-Way
11:38 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Venezuela Says Chávez Still Suffering From Respiratory Problems

A handout picture made available Friday by the Venezuelan Ministry of Communications and Information shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his daughters Rosa Virginia (right) and Maria Gabriela reading an edition of Cuban daily Granma, as he recovers from cancer surgery. It was reportedly taken on Thursday.
EPA /LANDOV

The Venezuelan government released an update on ailing President Hugo Chávez late Thursday.

"The respiratory deficiency that arose in the course of the postoperative period persists, and its tendency has not been favorable, for which reason he continues to be treated," the information minister, Ernesto Villegas, said according to The New York Times.

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Movie Interviews
11:18 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Affleck On 'Argo' And The 1979 Hostage Crisis

Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in Argo. Affleck also directed the film, which is based on events surrounding the Iran hostage crisis of 1979.
Keith Bernstein Warner Brothers

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 15, 2013.

At the Golden Globes, Ben Affleck looked genuinely surprised and delighted twice toward the end of the evening: first when he won best director for Argo, and then again when the film won for best motion picture/drama.

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Movie Interviews
11:18 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Bradley Cooper Finds 'Silver Linings' Everywhere

Bradley Cooper has been nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the film Silver Linings Playbook.
Jojo Whilden The Weinstein Company

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 7, 2013.

Bradley Cooper, who is nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as the bipolar Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he and director David O. Russell approached the role with the idea that Cooper would "play as real and authentic as [h]e could."

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Books
11:03 am
Fri February 22, 2013

The SciFri Book Club Visits "Gorillas in the Mist"

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next - let me get a cup of coffee, put my feet down, get cozy, because it's our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. We have the book club regulars here with us. Flora's still with us. And joining us now is Annette Heist, senior producer for SCIENCE FRIDAY. Welcome to the program, Anette?

ANNETTE HEIST, BYLINE: Hi, Ira. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hello.

FLATOW: And we had another classic book this month which is...

HEIST: "Gorillas in the Mist" by Dian Fossey.

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