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Economy
10:54 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Economists Fear 'Flying Blind' Without Government Data

The Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, D.C., where the federal government shutdown left policymakers without key economic data.
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 11:51 am

Talk to economists about the government shutdown's impact on their forecasts and you'll hear this phrase again and again:

Flying blind.

For economists and investors, "at this moment, we are flying blind," said Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve and now president of Greenspan Associates LLC, a consulting firm.

Greenspan is not alone in feeling a little lost without the compass of government reports.

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Report: NSA Plays Crucial Role In Drone Attacks

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 2:00 pm

Basing its reporting on documents obtained by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, The Washington Post moved a story last night that details a close collaboration between the spy agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, when it conducts drone attacks against suspected terrorists.

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Parallels
10:12 am
Thu October 17, 2013

India, China Top List Of Nations With Most Slaves

Child laborers wait to be processed at a safe house after being rescued during a raid at a factory in New Delhi by workers from Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) in June.
Kevin Frayer AP

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 1:45 pm

Nearly 30 million people live in slavery worldwide, with most of them in Asia and Africa, according to a report released Thursday.

The Walk Free Foundation's ranking incorporates factors that include the traditional definition of slavery — owning another person — as well as things such as child marriage and human trafficking.

Here are the highlights of the report:

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Post-Shutdown Palate Cleanser: Panda Cam Is Back!

The panda cub now weighs 5 pounds. This photo was taken Tuesday.
Courtney Janney Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 1:56 pm

If the ugliness in Washington left a bad taste in your mouth, we have the perfect palate cleanser.

The panda cam at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, which was shutdown along with the federal government, is back online. It means you can once again ogle the now eight-week-old cub and her mother, Mei Xiang.

The zoo writes:

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Shots - Health News
8:34 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Houston, We Have Dengue Fever

Mosquitoes like this Aedes aegypti female can spread dengue fever.
James Gathany CDC

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 12:03 pm

Dengue fever is in Houston. And it turns out the mosquito-borne illness isn't exactly a stranger there.

Dengue has been roaming around the city since 2003, according to a study published Wednesday. "There was dengue circulating, and we had no idea that it was here because we just weren't looking," says the study's lead author Dr. Kristy Murray of the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital.

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It's All Politics
8:12 am
Thu October 17, 2013

A Look Back At The Shutdown, In Photos

Children from a Head Start program in Washington, D.C., join supporters and members of Congress on Oct. 2 to call for an end to the shutdown and to fund the comprehensive education, health and nutrition service for low-income children and their families.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 12:12 pm

The budget fight that led to a partial federal government shutdown finally came to an end late Wednesday.

For 16 days, beginning at midnight on Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of federal employees were told not to come to work. Museums, monuments, libraries and parks were closed across the country.

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Planet Money
8:06 am
Thu October 17, 2013

U.S. Is The World's Largest Producer Of Natural Gas. Here's What That Means

Quoctrung Bui

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 7:37 pm

Natural gas production in the U.S. is going through the roof. The U.S. now produces more natural gas than any country on Earth, according to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Author Interviews
7:41 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Jack London Believed 'Function Of Man Is To Live, Not To Exist'

Jack London's 1903 The Call of the Wild was a sensation — it sold one million copies and made London the most popular American writer of his generation. He's shown above in 1916, shortly before his death at age 40.
AP

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 12:54 pm

A literary critic once remarked, "The greatest story Jack London ever wrote was the story he lived." In his brief life, London sought adventure in the far corners of the world, from the frozen Yukon to the South Pacific, writing gripping tales of survival based on his experiences — including The Call of the Wild, White Fang and The Sea Wolf.

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Code Switch
7:11 am
Thu October 17, 2013

A Photographer Turns Her Lens On Men Who Catcall

"Untitled."
Courtesy of Hannah Price

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 11:20 am

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U.S.
7:11 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Federal Employees Return To Work

Yesterday Congress brought the country back from the brink of defaulting on its debt. Host Michel Martin talks to Joe Davidson of The Washington Post about how federal workers will bring the government back to life.

Around the Nation
7:11 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Regional Roundtable: News From Outside The Beltway

Host Michel Martin continues her conversation with regional newspaper editors on what news is grabbing their readers' attention.

Politics
7:11 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Post Shutdown, Many Reassessing Government's Role

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 5:19 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Well, it's finally over for now. This is President Obama speaking earlier today.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, last night, I signed legislation to reopen our government and pay America's bills because Democrats and responsible Republicans came together. The first government shutdown in 17 years is now over.

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The Salt
7:04 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Pucker Up, America: Beers Are Going Sour

Hold Your Horses: The main flavor of a sour beer is tartness, like a strawberry or lemon. But many sours also have a "funky" taste that some say smells like a horse blanket or a barnyard.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 5:57 am

Move over, bitter IPAs and chocolaty stouts. There's a new kid on the craft brewing block, and it's going to knock your salivary glands into action.

It's called "sour beer." When you take a sip, it's like biting into a Granny Smith apple that's soaked in a French red wine: crisp, refreshing and a bit odd.

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The Two-Way
6:33 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Obama Calls For Budget, Immigration Reform By Year's End

At the White House on Thursday, President Obama said "the American people are completely fed up with Washington."
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 7:50 am

President Obama slammed the partisan standoff "spectacle" that he said had damaged the economy and America's international credibility, and called on Congress to pass a comprehensive budget, immigration reform and a farm bill by year's end.

He praised "Democrats and responsible Republicans who came together" to pass a last-minute deal to reverse a partial government shutdown and narrowly avert the expiration of the federal borrowing authority.

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It's All Politics
6:12 am
Thu October 17, 2013

10 Takeaways From The Fiscal Fight

With the shutdown-debt ceiling fight over, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, appeared to strengthen his hand within the House GOP caucus but weaken it outside that group.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 7:50 am

With the double crises of a partial government shutdown and a potential debt default resolved, it's a good time to consider some of the lessons we learned from the dysfunction and drama of recent weeks.

Here are 10 of them:

Shutting Down The Government Is Not A Winning Political Strategy

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The Two-Way
5:29 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Economists: Shutdown Will Shave Half-Percent From Quarterly GDP

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 10:06 am

The government shutdown has taken a toll on the nation's economy and despite a deal that sidesteps a debt default and restarts the government (at least for a few months), growth forecasts for the last quarter of the year are being scaled back.

Economist Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics has shaved his gross domestic product forecast from a 2.6 percent annualized rate to 2.1 percent for the last three months of the calendar year.

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NPR Story
5:23 am
Thu October 17, 2013

How Financial Markets View Fiscal Deal

For a glimpse of how financial markets may view the deal by Congress to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling, Renee Montagne speaks to HSBC's chief U.S. economist Kevin Logan.

The Two-Way
4:30 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Man Survives Botched Hanging; Iran Vows To Try Again

Iranians watch the hanging of a convicted man in the city of Qazvin, northwest of the capital, Tehran, in May 2011.
Hamideh Shafieeha AP

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 8:48 am

Amnesty International is urging Iranian authorities not to go ahead with the execution of a convicted drug smuggler after the man survived a botched hanging last week.

The 37-year-old man, identified as Alireza M, was found alive in a morgue after he was hanged at a jail in the northeast Iranian city of Bojnord.

A news release from Amnesty International says:

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The Two-Way
4:07 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Lao Airliner Crash That Killed 49 Blamed On Bad Weather

Soldiers stand next to pieces of a Lao Airlines plane on Thursday after it crashed into the Mekong River near Pakse, Laos.
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 8:10 am

The crash of a turboprop in southern Laos that killed all 49 people aboard was caused by a violent storm that prompted the pilot to miss a runway and careen into the Mekong River, authorities say.

"Upon preparing to land at Pakse Airport the aircraft ran into extreme bad weather conditions and was reportedly crashed into the Mekong River," the Laos Ministry of Public Works and Transport said in a statement.

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It's All Politics
3:52 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Thursday Morning Political Mix

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 4:48 am

Good morning.

The newspapers hit the front porch this morning with a familiar thud. (Yes, some of us still like the feel of paper in the morning.)

"SHUTDOWN ENDS" shouted The Washington Post.

"REPUBLICANS BACK DOWN, ENDING BUDGET CRISIS" The New York Times intoned.

And online (yes, some of us also like the morning glow of our devices), the post-shutdown/debt crisis postmortems were piling up like so many pages of regulations in the Affordable Care Act.

But first, the details, quickly:

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Parallels
3:43 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Grandma Exodus: German Seniors Look To Poland For Care

Two German women chat in the gardens of a senior care home in Berlin. Germany is grappling with a rapidly aging population: By 2050, almost a third of Germans will be 65 years or older, and a growing "Grandma export" trend has set hands wringing.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 2:43 pm

A handful of German and Polish residents at a nursing home in the Polish mountain town of Szklarska Poreba play a Scrabble-like game using blocks with large letters.

The seniors are tended to by Polish workers who offer a steady supply of smiles, hugs and encouragement.

Leonardo Tegls says such personal attention makes this nursing home, Sun House, special. The 87-year-old Dutch-born immigrant to Germany says he first learned about the Polish nursing home from a TV ad.

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Europe
2:55 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Businessman Retaliates Against Ice Cream Truck Driver

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 5:23 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Money cannot always buy you peace and quiet. A Swedish newspaper reports on a prominent businessman, Percy Nilsson, owner a hockey team. The 71-year-old confessed he'd drilled holes in the tires of an ice cream truck. Mr. Nilsson said he was infuriated by the teenage driver blowing the horn. He says I want to start a debate about ice cream truck noise. The driver admits to blowing the horn almost 100 times per hour. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
2:46 am
Thu October 17, 2013

House Stenographer Seizes Microphone In Bizarre Rant

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 5:54 am

In one of the strangest moments of a strange few weeks on Capitol Hill, a House stenographer broke into a rant about God, the Constitution and Freemasonry as representatives cast their votes Wednesday on a deal to reopen the government.

"He will not be mocked," the stenographer, later identified as Dianne Reidy, yelled into the microphone at the chamber's rostrum. "The greatest deception here is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. It would not have been. The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God."

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Europe
2:12 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Who Was First To Enjoy Frog Legs, France Or England?

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 4:44 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

It would be hard to be more French than frogs' legs, but an archeological dig in Southwest England has revealed that frogs' legs were actually enjoyed by the English first, 8,000 years before they appeared across the channel.

This will be a contentious claim, given the long rivalry between the countries. While the British may have eaten frogs' legs first, there's still hope for the French that they were the first to gently saute them in garlic and butter.

The Two-Way
2:09 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Federal Workers Head Back To Jobs As Government Reopens

A furloughed federal worker protests outside the U.S. Capitol last week, demanding an end to the shutdown.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 5:49 am

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers on furlough for two weeks are going back to work after Congress approved a late-night deal Wednesday to fund the government and stave off default.

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The Two-Way
12:08 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Kerry Says He Hopes Syria's Chemical Weapons Are Shipped Out Of Region

Secretary of State John Kerry flies over Afghanistan on Oct. 11. He met with President Hamid Karzai to work out an agreement on U.S. presence in the country.
Jacquelyn Martin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 9:11 am

Syria's chemical weapons could be consolidated and moved out of the country, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested in an interview with NPR.

Weapons inspectors are still in Syria assessing the country's stockpile and how to destroy it, in accordance with a United Nations Security Council resolution approved in September.

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Politics
11:30 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Budget Process Isn't Over. Are More Shutdowns Ahead?

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 5:23 am

By wide margins in both the House and the Senate, Congress voted Wednesday night to end a 16-day partial government shutdown. The measure also delays the debt ceiling deadline until early February. House and Senate Budget committees have until Dec. 13 to reconcile competing budgets.

Middle East
11:30 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Experts Debate How Best To Remove Syria's Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 5:23 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Let's go deeper now into one issue Secretary of State John Kerry raised in my interview with him earlier in the program. The secretary, along with his Russian counterpart, got Syria's Bashar al-Assad to agree to hand over his vast store of chemical weapons. Now, Kerry is suggesting those stockpiles be taken out of Syria.

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Politics
11:30 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Government Workers Must Get The Wheel Turning Again

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 5:23 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, with the government funding and debt ceiling deal now reached, passed and signed, government agencies are set to reopen. But don't expect all federal offices to take your calls just yet. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: University of Alabama geologist Samantha Hansen has been conducting a research project in Antarctica that, in one way, is like most everything else, funded by the federal government. After 16 days down, it's going to take some time to restart.

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Movie Interviews
10:25 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

'12 Years A Slave': 160 Years Later, A Memoir Becomes A Movie

Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor play Patsey and Solomon, two slaves on a Louisiana plantation, in 12 Years a Slave.
Francois Duhamel Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 7:09 am

Solomon Northup was born free in early-19th-century upstate New York. He lived the life of a respected and elegant musician until 1841, when he was lured South by the promise of a lucrative stint playing his fiddle in a traveling circus.

In Washington, D.C. — in the shadow of the Capitol — Northup was drugged. When he came to, he was in chains: a slave headed for the hellish world of plantation life. Only the hope of being reunited with his beloved wife and children kept him going.

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