It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
The Supreme Court this morning, upheld a ban on using racial preferences in admissions to the public universities of Michigan. The ban was enacted by referendum as an amendment to the state constitution in 2006 and struck down by a lower court. Today, the justices voted 6-to-2 to say the federal courts could not do that and the ban had to stand.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Aspiring high school mathematicians gathered in New York for March Mathness. Even for kids who don't love sports, the professor leading the event told The Times there are a billion reasons to love brackets this year: Warren Buffett's reward for picking the winners for all 67 NCAA games. The math geeks are hoping linear algebra and complex computer codes will help them beat the odds: 9.2 quintrillion to one. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Let's talk more about changes to the National Security Agency that President Obama is announcing as we speak at the Justice Department. And we're joined in our studio by Tamara Keith and Tom Gjelten. And let's just begin.
Tom, you told us earlier today that technology companies wanted greater transparency. They want the public to know more about what the NSA is doing. What is the president proposing today?
Oscar nominations are in. They were announced this morning in Beverly Hills. And "American Hustle" and "Gravity" are the early front-runners. Each of them got 10 Academy Award nominations, including best picture. "12 Years a Slave" was close behind with nine nominations. For more, we're joined now by Linda Holmes, who writes and edits NPR's entertainment and pop culture blog Monkey See. Good morning.
A very cold winter storm is engulfing much of the Northeast, dumping more than 20 inches of snow in some areas and bringing strong winds along with it. Schools are closed in Boston and New York City. Thousands of flights have been canceled. Officials around the region are asking people to stay home and let road crews do their work.
Turkey's government is defending itself against a corruption scandal. That scandal has shaken a nation often described as the model for moderate Islamic democracy. The scandal reaches the highest levels of the government, and has sparked a strong backlash by Turkey's ruling party.
We reached NPR's correspondent in Istanbul, Peter Kenyon, to learn more about what's going on.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. We're looking this morning at two stories of international intrigue. First to North Korea. Until recently, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un was the country's second-in-command. Earlier this week, though, he was detained on national television, hustled out of a meeting by guards.
Roy Choi ushered in a food truck "new wave" in Los Angeles, making street fare edgier, tastier. Five years ago, he and a partner launched Kogi — Korean for meat — with a small fleet of trucks offering up a Korean-Mexican fusion that inspired food entrepreneurs in cities across America where the trend caught fire. His signature creation? The short rib taco: warm tortillas, Korean barbecue beef, cilantro-onion-and lime, topped with a spicy-soy slaw.
And with some perspective on why the two sides are so dug in, and what options Speaker Boehner and President Obama may be weighing, we turn as we do most Mondays to Cokie Roberts. Good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi. How are you, Renee?
MONTAGNE: And Cokie, given what Tamara just reported, that a small but very key group of Republicans are unlikely to go along with a possible solution to the next crisis that's looming - that's a possible default on the national debt - what does Speaker Boehner do?
There is, of course, a lot of attention being paid about what's happening in Richmond because millions of other American homeowners around the country are also underwater - again, homes that are worth less than their mortgages. We're joined now by NPR correspondent Chris Arnold, who's been following all of this. Good morning.
CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: How many homeowners are still underwater? I gather with the housing market coming back, this is changing - for the better.
The National Security Agency violated special court restrictions on the use of a database of telephone calls, but the NSA says it fixed those problems. That's the bottom line from more documents declassified by the director of National Intelligence. The document dump is part of an effort to share more details about NSA surveillance activities that were uncovered by former government contractor Edward Snowden.
A judge in New Delhi has just delivered his guilty verdict for four men who raped and murdered a young woman on a city bus back in December. It was one of the most high profile cases in Indian history. The horrific crime stirred a national debate over the country's lax prosecution of crimes against women and became an international issue as well. We talk to NPR's Julie McCarthy who was at the courthouse. Good morning.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 3:25 am
In London, Prime Minister David Cameron had planned to get backing from Parliament Thursday – approving a possible military intervention. Instead, he's been forced to back down. The Labour Party announced it would vote against military action in Syria.
The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant is back in the news more than two years after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a series of meltdowns. New leaks found this week prompted regulators to consider raising the alert level there in Japan. NPR's science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel joined us to explain. Geoff, good morning.
So now the challenge for Major League Baseball: Winning back the trust of fans. The suspensions themselves were a start but there is a wrinkle because, as we've heard, Alex Rodriguez is appealing his 211-game ban. It means the narrative in baseball will continue to be about suspicions rather than the play on the field.
Joining us now to talk about the league and its efforts is NPR's Mike Pesca. Good morning, Mike.
Major League Baseball appears set to hand down suspensions to several players implicated in performance enhancing drug use. New York Yankees All-Star Alex Rodriguez is the biggest name by far on that list and he also faces the longest suspension. NPR's Mike Pesca joins us now for an update. Good morning.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.
MONTAGNE: So what length of penalty does Alex Rodriguez face?
Ben Bernanke's latest comments are at the top of NPR's business news.
Stock and bond markets reacted positively to the Federal Reserve chairman's latest remarks on the economy this morning. Ben Bernanke is on Capitol Hill delivering the Fed's twice-yearly update on the economy and Fed policy before the House Financial Services Committee. NPR's John Ydstie joins us now to talk about it. And John, what was it that Bernanke said that impressed the market?
The best players in major league baseball take the field tonight in New York. Fans voted for their favorites in the American and National Leagues. The All-Star game is an exhibition - or mostly an exhibition - and there is a real prize. The winner gets home-field advantage during the World Series. The game also offers a chance to check on how teams are doing midway through the season.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Here to talk all things baseball is NPR's Mike Pesca. Good morning.
The talk of the sports world this morning is women's golf. A rare moment brought on by a 24-year-old from South Korea. Inbee Park won the U.S. Women's Open yesterday on Long Island. It was the third major championship on the women's pro tour this season. And Park has won all three.
In fact, she's the first woman to win the first three majors of the year since the legendary Babe Zaharias in 1950.
NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us. Good morning.
This was the scene last night in the Texas Capitol building.
MONTAGNE: Crowds who came out to support a nearly 11-hour filibuster by Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis erupted in screams in an attempt to stop a vote on a bill that would have forced all but a handful of abortion clinics in Texas to close. That's because, among other things, the bill would require clinics be upgraded to ambulatory surgical centers, something that the clinics say they can't afford.