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NPR Story
5:56 am
Sun January 13, 2013

At A Young Age, Aaron Swartz Did A Lifetime Of Work

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 6:51 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There was sadness and shock among many in the tech community yesterday after news spread of the suicide of a computer protegee. Twenty-six-year-old Aaron Swartz became a tech celebrity at the age of 14. Friends and family say he battled depression and was recently anxious because he was about to go on trial in federal court. NPR's Laura Sydell reports.

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NPR Story
5:56 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Baseball Writers Navigate Muddled Ethics

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 8:30 am

Host Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Mike Pesca about baseball's Hall of Fame shutout. This year, the Baseball Writers' Association of America did not select a player for the game's highest honor.

NPR Story
5:56 am
Sun January 13, 2013

In Kabul, Opinions On Drawdown As Numerous As People

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 8:30 am

President Hamid Karzai concluded a visit to the U.S. last week with a meeting and news conference with President Obama, where they announced an accelerated troop withdrawal. In Kabul, the reaction varies. Even though most people in the city seem more focused on shoveling out from the latest snowstorm, some are watching the news.

The Two-Way
5:14 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Mubarak Granted Appeal Of His Life Sentence

Egyptians supporters of ousted former President Hosni Mubarak celebrate an appeal granted by a court in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 11:16 am

An Egyptian court overturned a life sentence against ousted President Hosni Mubarak and ordered a retrial for the former autocrat.

The decision to retry the strongman who was serving a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of protesters came as no surprise. When the judge overseeing the original case made his ruling last June, he criticized the prosecution for failing to produce concrete evidence against the leadership.

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Music News
4:10 am
Sun January 13, 2013

A Married Duo Chases The Dream, Toddlers In Tow

Stefanie Drootin-Senseny and Chris Senseny are the core of Big Harp, a band the married couple formed shortly after the birth of their second child.
Ryan Fox Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 12:37 pm

Big Harp guitarist and lead singer Chris Senseney pulls his minivan into a gas station off Interstate 80 near the small town of Walnut, Iowa. His wife, and the band's bassist, Stefanie Drootin-Senseney jostles through children's books and toys scattered on the floor. Their kids do what kids do on long car trips: sing.

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It's All Politics
4:09 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Cabinet Picks Come As Democrats Push To Change Filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., left, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have talked about a deal to change the Senate's filibuster rules.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 12:25 pm

In recent weeks, President Obama has chosen Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as his next secretary of state; former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to head the Pentagon; counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be CIA director; and his chief of staff, Jack Lew, to be the next Treasury secretary.

Each nomination will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and they all could be stopped by a Senate filibuster — that is, the refusal by any one of 100 senators to let a matter come to a final vote.

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Books
3:58 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Life Is Difficult But Rewarding Under This 'Umbrella'

Will Self is a British author and journalist. His latest book, Umbrella, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Polly Borland

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 8:30 am

What is the best way for a writer to reflect life? For most of us, it's probably the traditional novel that has sat on our nightstands the most: the sprawling, linear tale, told from birth to death. For Will Self, the most lifelike story is told inside out, from the minds of the characters, without a narrator, a filter or any explanations along the way.

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Author Interviews
3:55 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Deserts, Coal Walking And Wildfires: Can You Take The 'Heat'?

To understand heat, biologist Bill Streever simmered in some of the hottest places on Earth, including California's Death Valley.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 8:30 am

Scientist and writer Bill Streever is fascinated by the extremes at both ends of the thermometer. In his 2009 book, Cold, he visited some of the chilliest places on Earth. And in his latest book, he treks through Death Valley, investigates fire-based weaponry and walks on coals — all to gain insight into what it means to be hot. Really hot.

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U.S.
3:54 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Army Corps' Options Dwindle Along With Mississippi River

An excavator perched on a barge removes rocks from the Mississippi River in Thebes Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 4:16 pm

Every day this month, the Army Corps of Engineers is working hard to deepen the Mississippi River's shipping channel in an effort to keep navigation open between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill.

Water levels are forecast to remain high enough through January to float loaded barges, but some say the only way to keep the river open next month will be to release water from the Missouri River.

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Music News
12:03 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Naxos: The Little Record Label That Could (And Did)

Over a quarter century, Naxos Records has evolved from an industry joke to a leading force in classical music.
Naxos

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 10:22 am

This past year was a good one for Naxos Records. In fact, it's been a great quarter century for the company, which has grown from a budget-label punch line to a leading force in classical music recording.

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The Two-Way
11:08 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Journalist Eugene Patterson, Civil Rights Advocate, Dies

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 5:39 am

Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist Eugene Patterson died Saturday of complications from prostate cancer, a family spokeswoman tells The Associated Press. He was 89.

Patterson, editor of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution from 1960 to 1968, "helped fellow Southern whites understand the civil rights movement, eloquently reminding the silent majority of its complicity in racist violence," the AP reports.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Two Is Company, Three Is A Crowd

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 12:22 pm

On-air challenge: Given three three-letter words, give a three-letter word that can follow each to complete a familiar six-letter word. None of the words in a set will be related in meaning. For example, given "dam," "man" and "sew," the answer would be "age," which results in "damage," "manage" and "sewage."

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Environment
3:53 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

From Corn Belt To Main Street: The Drought's Far-Reaching Grasp

The sun shines above a farm near White City, Kan., in November.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 5:37 pm

The U.S. had its hottest year on record last year. That heat, combined with the relatively dry winter that came before, has brought a historic drought.

From forest fires and low crop yields, to infrastructure and recreation, the drought has been costly, with early estimates putting the cost at between $50 billion and $80 billion.

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Aaron Swartz, Reddit Cofounder And Online Activist, Dead At 26

Aaron Swartz co-authored RSS and founded the company that later became the social media website Reddit.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 6:54 am

He was 14 when he co-authored RSS and later helped found the company that would become the social media website Reddit. Internet activist Aaron Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, authorities said Saturday. He was 26.

Update at 7:42 p.m.: Swartz To Be Remembered For 'Technological Virtuosity':

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Remembrances
2:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Remembering PFLAG Founder And Mother

Jeanne Manford, gay rights advocate and PFLAG founder.
PFLAG National

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 8:32 pm

President Obama spoke about Jeanne Manford in a speech he gave at the annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in 2009. Her son, Morty, was an important figure in New York City's gay community during the turbulent 1970s.

"Soon after the protests at Stonewall 40 years ago, the phone rang in the home of a soft-spoken elementary school teacher named Jeanne Manford," he said. A police officer told her Morty had been arrested.

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Digital Life
2:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

'Make Me' Asian App Sparks Online Backlash

A screenshot from the "Make me Asian" app page in the Google Play store.
Google Play

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 8:04 am

Tens of thousands of people have downloaded two apps from the Google Play Store that are sparking accusations of racism.

The "Make me Asian" and "Make me Indian" apps allow Android smartphone users to take a picture and superimpose characteristics the developer thinks relate to those ethnic groups. An online petition is urging Google to remove the apps from its store.

The Make me Asian app manipulates pictures to give the subject yellow-tinged skin, narrow eyes, a conical rice-paddy hat and a Fu Manchu mustache taken from a fictional Chinese villain.

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Movie Interviews
2:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Ann Dowd's One-Woman Oscar-Nomination Campaign

Ann Dowd plays Sandra, a hard-nosed Midwestern manager of a fast-food franchise in Compliance. The actress spent $13,000 to try to get an Oscar nomination for the role.
Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 9:01 am

Actress Ann Dowd won huge praise from critics for her role in the indie movie Compliance. But when it came time to start campaigning for nominations ahead of awards season, Magnolia Pictures — the studio that produced the film — told her they didn't have the budget to lobby the Academy for a best supporting actress award for her.

So Dowd did something exceedingly rare in Hollywood: She started her own campaign.

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Analysis
2:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Week In News: The Debt Ceiling Whack-A-Mole

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 5:37 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORTS)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The Federal Reserve should knit a trillion dollar platinum coin.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: And the government could use that to pay the debt, avoid default and pre-empt the debt ceiling crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: This is the kind of stuff that happens right before the downgrade. The last days of Rome, this is what happened.

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Law
1:15 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

From The Bronx To The Bench: The Family Photos Of Justice Sotomayor

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, late 1970s.
Courtesy of Justice Sonia Sotomayor

It was a long road to the Supreme Court. On the way, Justice Sonia Sotomayor faced a diabetes diagnosis, her father's death to alcoholism and her cousin's overdose. For Sotomayor, life began in the Bronx, in tenement housing in a community of Puerto Rican immigrants. She gave NPR exclusive access to a huge suitcase brimming with family photos and tells her story in this multimedia experience.

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Fleeing Violence, Syrian Refugees Weather A Cruel Winter

Some of the worst winter weather in decades is making life even more difficult for the residents of the al-Marj refugee camp. Some Syrians who fled violence and shelling say after living in such harsh conditions, they wish they could go back.
Susannah George NPR

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 1:32 pm

Lebanon has had some of the worst winter weather in decades. First, record rainfalls flooded the low-lying part of the country, then ice and show bent trees and blocked roads. The frigid conditions are making it even harsher for Syrian refugees trying to take shelter from the violence in their home country.

The al-Marj refugee camp sits wedged between snow-covered vineyards, a community center and an unfinished warehouse in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, just a 10-minute drive from the Syrian border.

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The Two-Way
9:57 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Failed French Rescue Attempt Leaves Several Dead In Somalia

In October, kidnapped French intelligence agent Denis Allex appeared in a video shot by his captors. In the video, Allex pleads for French President Francois Hollande to negotiate for his release.
- AFP/Getty Images

It's not clear whether a French intelligence agent is dead or alive after a botched rescue attempt in Somalia on Saturday morning. As the AP reports:

"France says the agent, code-name Denis Allex, was killed in the raid, along with a French commando and 17 Islamist militants. But the militant group al-Shabab, which held Allex for more than three years, says it still has Allex and claims to have captured a French soldier."

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Simon Says
8:27 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Cheating Might Buy Home Runs, But No Hall Of Fame

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 11:23 am

The Baseball Hall of Fame is a tourist attraction, not a papal conclave. And the people who cast votes for the Hall are sportswriters, not the College of Cardinals.

But there was something momentous this week when the Baseball Writers Association elected no one to the Hall of Fame. Not Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards. Not Barry Bonds, who hit a record 762 home runs. Not Sammy Sosa, who hit 60 or more home runs in a season three times.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Civil War, 'Downton' And 'Girls'

Lena Dunham's series Girls, which follows the lives of a group of young women in New York City, returns to HBO this month.
Jessica Miglio HBO

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 9:43 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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The Two-Way
5:38 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Hazardous Smog Enshrouds Beijing

The air quality in Beijing registered at hazardous levels on Saturday, beyond the index used to chart it.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 7:48 am

Beijing's air quality reached extremely hazardous levels Saturday, and officials are warning people to stay indoors, NPR's Louisa Lim reports.

"Beijing's skies are shrouded in a blanket of spectral grey smog, which blocks visibility and makes the eyes sting," Lim tells our Newscast Desk.

She says the air quality level is literally off the charts: The U.S. embassy's index stops at 500, but the levels recorded Saturday hit "beyond index," above 800. Lim adds:

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Krulwich Wonders...
5:33 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Phooey On Flu

A lot of you have had it by now, or are having it or are about to be exposed. This year's flu is called "H3N2" and this week it's doing big business in about 47 states, Chicago and New York. If you've had a flu shot and if you wash your hands several times a day for 20 seconds, (which is the time it takes to hum "Happy Birthday to You" two times through) you might reduce your odds of getting sick.

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The Sotomayor Interview
5:00 am
Sat January 12, 2013

A Justice Deliberates: Sotomayor On Love, Health And Family

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke with NPR in December at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 1:27 pm

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor readily concedes that she was the beneficiary of affirmative action in higher education, and she doesn't really know why her view is so different from that of her colleague, Justice Clarence Thomas.

"As much as I know Clarence, admire him and have grown to appreciate him," she says, "I have never ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive. And I know one thing: If affirmative action opened the doors for me at Princeton, once I got in, I did the work. I proved myself worthy. So, I don't look at how the door opened."

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Shots - Health News
3:34 am
Sat January 12, 2013

After Bringing Cholera To Haiti, U.N. Plans To Get Rid Of It

Haitians protest against the United Nations peacekeepers in Port-au-Prince in November 2010.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 9:11 pm

Not quite 10 months after Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake, a more insidious disaster struck: cholera.

Haiti hadn't seen cholera for at least a century. Then suddenly, the first cases appeared in the central highlands near a camp for United Nations peacekeeping forces.

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U.S.
3:33 am
Sat January 12, 2013

The 'Second Disaster': Making Well-Intentioned Donations Useful

Thousands of food and clothing items are organized by Occupy Sandy volunteers in a school gymnasium in Rockaway Park, Queens, after Superstorm Sandy in November.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 11:36 am

Among the donations that poured into the American Red Cross building after the earthquake in Haiti three years ago was a box of Frisbees. In a flood of well-intentioned but unneeded donations, this box stuck out to Meghan O'Hara, who oversees in-kind donations for the organization.

O'Hara says someone clearly wanted to help — the person mailed the box from Germany — but all she could think was, "Wow. That $60 or $70 could have been sent to so many different organizations to help out in so many different ways, and now we have a box of Frisbees."

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Energy
4:11 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Coal Loses Crown As King Of Power Generation

Georgia Power's coal-fired steam-turbine electric generating Plant Bowen in Euharlee, Ga., seen in 2009. The utility is planning on shuttering 15 coal- and oil-fired generating units at its facilities.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:31 pm

Just a few years ago, Georgia Power generated nearly three-fourths of its electricity with coal. Last year, for the first time, natural gas edged out coal, and just this week the company announced plans to close 10 coal-fired power generators within the next few years.

"We do recognize this is a historic event for our company. We've never announced this many closings at one time," says Mark Williams, a company spokesperson.

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U.S.
3:34 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Cigarette Makers Frustrated As Product Approvals Stall

A clerk prices cigarettes at Discount Smoke Shop in Ballwin, Mo. The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 5:28 pm

It's been only a few years since Congress granted the federal government the power to approve how tobacco products are made and sold in the U.S.

The Food and Drug Administration's new Center for Tobacco Products, established under a 2009 law that gives the agency jurisdiction over tobacco, must review all new cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, as well as any changes to existing brands.

But the agency has yet to clear any products under the new system, and some cigarette makers are frustrated by the backlog of applications.

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