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The Picture Show
1:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

With One Photo, The Average Commute Becomes Super Special

Original caption via Instagram: #pscommute 5:15 PM on the C Train. 34th Street, Penn Station back home to Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Giving the gift of reading. A magical moment between mother and son. It may seem like just another subway ride, but with a book and an imagination, the adventures are limitless.
Jabali Sawicki/@jsawicki1 Instagram

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 6:53 am

Each month on Instagram, we team up with KPCC and suggest a photo assignment for our project Public Square. In October, we wanted to see your commute — that perfectly average and ordinary part of the day that many of us share. Lots of you participated. And one photo in particular had a special story.

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Economy
1:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

California Still Owes U.S. Billions For Unemployment

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

California, according to recent budget numbers, is slowly recovering from its years of multi-billion dollar budget deficits. The state is on track to turn a $2.5 billion budget surplus at the end of the current fiscal year. But that's general fund money. It does not address another gaping deficit. The state owes almost $10 billion to the federal government for money spent on unemployment benefits.

NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.

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Shots - Health News
12:08 am
Thu December 12, 2013

High Insurance Rates Anger Some Ski-Country Coloradans

Early December brought a foot of fresh powder to the resorts of Vail, Colo., but some residents are still steaming.
Zach Mahone, Beaver Creek Resort AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 9:36 am

Some of the biggest ski resorts anywhere lie in U.S. Rep. Jared Polis' Colorado district, dotting the peaks of Summit and Eagle counties, about a hundred miles west of Denver. The area has a high rate of uninsured people and also, it turns out, health plans that are much more expensive than similar plans in surrounding regions. So expensive that Polis, a Democrat, has asked the federal government to exempt some of his constituents from the requirement to buy health insurance.

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Around the Nation
12:08 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Scandal May Bring New Oversight To LA County Sheriff's Department

After the FBI released results of a federal probe on Dec. 9, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said he was troubled by the charges and called it a sad day for his department.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:41 am

Longtime civil rights attorney Connie Rice has been following this week's indictments against officers in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. She says it points to a subculture of corruption within certain units, much like the city's scandal-ridden police department of the 1990s.

In the main downtown jails, sheriff's officers are accused of beating and choking inmates without provocation, harassing visitors and then covering it all up.

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Latin America
12:08 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Mexico's Patron Saint Is Also Its Hello Kitty

The Virgencita Plis character from Distroller in Mexico.
Distroller

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:52 pm

In Mexico, Dec. 12 is the day to celebrate the country's most revered religious icon: the Virgin of Guadalupe.

As many as 6 million pilgrims have made their way to the Mexican capital to pay homage to the country's patron saint on Thursday, and one woman has taken her devotion of the Virgin and turned it into a multimillion-dollar company.

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All Tech Considered
12:08 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Amid Cuts And Tax Hikes, Tech Companies Get Love in Ireland

Tech companies around the world have set up shop in the financial district in Dublin, Ireland.
Peter Muhly AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:47 am

Ireland is about to become the first European country to emerge from an international bailout in the wake of the financial crisis. Like other European countries, Ireland has been in a period of austerity — higher taxes and more cutbacks.

The nation's technology sector has been protected, however, as Ireland makes a concerted effort to attract foreign businesses through tax incentives and development programs.

But Ireland's methods have also been criticized — locally and internationally.

Apple In Ireland

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Around the Nation
12:08 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Newtown Parents Seek A Clearer Window Into Violent Behavior

Avielle's artwork hangs on the walls and windows of Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel's home.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:22 am

The shooting in Newtown, Conn., last December has left families of the 26 victims, most of them children, struggling to heal in different ways.

Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel are one such family. They lost their only child, 6-year-old Avielle, in the shooting. In the year since, they've responded as any parents would: Asking why such a tragedy could have happened.

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Code Switch
12:08 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Shifting Gears To Make Bike-Sharing More Accessible

Bike-sharing is increasingly popular. But those who need it most often have the least access to it.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:51 am

This story is part of a project on commuting in America.

Millions of commuters across the country have a new way to get around. In the past few years, bike-sharing systems have popped up from Boston to Minnesota to Washington, D.C. They're supposed to make commuting easier, greener and cheaper. But the people who arguably need these bikes the most are often the least likely to access them.

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Veterans And Other-Than-Honorable Discharges
12:08 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Filling The Gaps For Veterans With Bad Discharges

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:18 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

All this week on MORNING EDITION we've been hearing about veterans we don't usually discuss, people who served in the military and then left with a less than honorable discharge. Even if they saw combat, veterans with bad paper, as it's called, do not get the healthcare or benefits accorded to most vets.

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Shots - Health News
12:47 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Some Young Athletes May Be More Vulnerable To Hits To The Head

Dartmouth defenders sandwich a New Hampshire wide receiver during a game in Durham, N.H., in 2009.
Josh Gibney AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:31 am

Concussions have deservedly gotten most of the attention in efforts to reduce the risk of head injuries in sports.

But scientists increasingly think that hits too small to cause concussions also affect the brain, and that those effects add up. And it looks like some athletes may be more vulnerable than others.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

The Things We Did And Said In 2013, According To Facebook

What the world was talking about on Facebook in 2013. The social media site released a review of the most popular topics, events, and places Wednesday.
Facebook

Did you travel in 2013? Perhaps you went to Disneyland. Or maybe you met someone special or watched the Super Bowl. Those moments of commonality are being highlighted by Facebook, which today released its list of the year's most popular topics, events and places.

After we spent a few moments reviewing the most common life events people reported in 2013, the list reads a bit like a 10-sentence short story — perhaps a fable or a coming-of-age tale.

See what you think: Here are the events Facebook says "people added to their Timeline most frequently in 2013."

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Around the Nation
12:27 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Florida Man Airs Grievances With Festivus Pole In Capitol

Florida lobbyist Keith Arnold stops to look at Chaz Stevens' Festivus pole made out of beer cans in the rotunda of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee.
Mark Wallheiser Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:14 pm

There's a brand-new holiday display at Florida's state Capitol in Tallahassee: a pole celebrating the fake holiday Festivus from the TV show Seinfeld.

It's the latest protest exhibit after a Nativity scene was set up in the rotunda last week.

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The Salt
12:23 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Drug Companies Accept FDA Plan To Phase Out Some Animal Antibiotic Uses

Young broilers nibble feed at a chicken farm in Luling, Texas. The Food and Drug Administration has issued new guidance on how drug companies label antibiotics for livestock.
Bob Nichols USDA/Flickr

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:07 pm

If drug companies follow guidance issued Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration, within three years it will be illegal to use medically important antibiotics to make farm animals grow faster or use feed more efficiently.

The FDA's announcement wasn't a big surprise; a draft version of the strategy was released more than a year ago.

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U.S.
12:23 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

After Fight Over Colo. Gun Laws, Two Sides As Dug In As Ever

A man holds a sign advocating the recall of state Sen. John Morse in Colorado Springs, Colo., in September. Morse and a second state senator who backed the state's new gun control measures were recalled during a special election that month.
Matthew Staver Landov

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:47 pm

John Morse was president of the Colorado Senate until September, when he became the first elected official recalled in the state's history.

Three months later, he's climbing the rotunda steps of the gold-domed Capitol building — his office for seven years. He hasn't been here since October. Gazing up at the dome, he says, "This is one of my favorite things to do. That's my version of smelling the roses."

Morse's political career ended over the gun bills he pushed through these chambers eight months ago. But he says he would do it all again.

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Energy
12:23 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Big Batteries Needed To Make Fickle Wind And Solar Power Work

PG&E, a Northern California utility company, is already experimenting with big batteries to store wind-generated electricity at its Vaca-Dixon Substation.
Richard Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:57 am

Giant batteries are coming to a power grid near you. In fact, they're already starting to appear on the grid in California.

That's because California is planning to rely increasingly on power supplies that aren't necessarily available every minute of every day. The state plans to get one-third of its electricity from wind and solar energy by 2020.

Utilities in the state are trying to figure out how they can cope with that uncertain power supply. Batteries aren't a panacea, but they could help.

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NPR Story
11:33 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Nelson Mandela Lies In State In Pretoria Before Sunday Burial

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:26 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Yesterday, the world's leaders paid tribute to Nelson Mandela. Now, the people have their turn. Mandela is lying in state in Pretoria to allow South Africans to bid him a personal farewell. Thousands of mourners filed past the half-open casket. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports the clouds and showers at yesterday's memorial have lifted.

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Movie Interviews
11:33 am
Wed December 11, 2013

David O. Russell, Building Movies From The Characters Up

Amy Adams and Christian Bale star as a couple of con artists in David O. Russell's American Hustle.
Francois Duhamel Columbia Pictures

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:32 pm

Director David O. Russell's latest film, American Hustle, is inspired by the Abscam scandal — the FBI sting from the 1970s, complete with an agent posing as an Arab sheik, that led to the downfall of a number of politicians.

Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Christian Bale, the movie is about that sting operation, but it's also a love story and a loving study of larger-than-life characters — with big '70s hair, wearing classic '70s polyester wardrobes — trying to reinvent themselves.

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NPR Story
11:33 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Pope's Propensity For Shaking Things Up Makes Him Man Of The Year

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:26 pm

Time magazine has named Pope Francis as its Person of the Year. The magazine cited Francis' willingness to take on thorny issues such as homosexuality, the role of women in the church, poverty and the nature of capitalism. At the same time, the pontiff has done so while projecting an air of humility and compassion, which has captured the world's attention in just nine months.

Shots - Health News
11:02 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Staph Germs Hide Out In The Hidden Recesses Of Your Nose

The interior of the nose is like a lush rain forest that's barely been explored.
Courtesy of Sunje Pamp

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:33 am

Otherwise innocuous bacteria can cause deadly infections when people have surgery or fall ill. To prevent trouble, patients sometimes have their bodies scrubbed clean of Staphylococcus aureus.

But it doesn't always work.

That may because the germs thrive in upper recesses of the nose, far from the spots typically tested for staph bacteria, or where antibiotics are applied.

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Planet Money
9:44 am
Wed December 11, 2013

We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner

Tshirt
Quoctrung Bui

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:46 pm

We recently published a story about how used clothes that get donated in the U.S. often wind up for sale in markets in Africa. As part of the story, we published some photos of used T-shirts we found in a couple of markets in Kenya.

One shirt in particular caught our eye:

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It's All Politics
9:14 am
Wed December 11, 2013

6 Things Missing From The Budget Agreement

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., walk to announce a tentative agreement Tuesday between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:46 am

The essence of the budget deal reached by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is better understood by looking at what's missing, rather than what's included in it.

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The Salt
8:47 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Chowing Down On Meat, Dairy Alters Gut Bacteria A Lot, And Quickly

Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:24 am

Looks like Harvard University scientists have given us another reason to walk past the cheese platter at holiday parties and reach for the carrot sticks instead: Your gut bacteria will thank you.

Switching to a diet packed with meat and cheese — and very few carbohydrates — alters the trillions of microbes living in the gut, scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:39 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Funk, Faust And Stone: Three Stunning Albums From 2013

Violinist Isabelle Faust.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:26 pm

Throughout this week, we at NPR Music are taking a look at the year in music with our friend Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered. I joined her to bring a closer ear to two very impressive classical albums and an international rarity that's been brought back to life. (I also provided Audie with a primer on pronouncing my last name. I hope you all pay close attention.)

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Shots - Health News
8:37 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Health Exchange Enrollment By State, In 2 Charts

HHS

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:48 am

Numbers released by the Obama administration show enrollment in health exchanges edged up in November, but the uptake remains far short of the administration's initial targets.

Roughly 264,000 people signed up for private insurance coverage last month through the federal and state exchanges, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department. That brings the total to about 364,000 for October and November.

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The Two-Way
8:32 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Mystery Bidder At French Auction Plans To Return Sacred Hopi Items

An anonymous bidder paid $530,000 for 24 Native American items that went on the block this week in Paris. The auction went ahead despite an appeal by the Hopi tribe to cancel the sale of the items it considers sacred. The U.S. Embassy asked for a delay, and the sale was challenged in court — unsuccessfully.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
7:52 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Debate: Should We Avoid Eating Anything With A Face?

Dr. Neal Barnard, Gene Baur, Chris Masterjohn and Joel Salatin debate eating meat for Intelligence Squared with moderator John Donvan.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

A doctor, a vegan, a researcher and a farmer recently waded into a hot-button topic in the food world: Is it a bad idea to eat meat?

They faced off two against two on the topic for the Intelligence Squared U.S. series. In an Oxford-style debate, they delved into the medical, ethical and environmental arguments surrounding the motion "Don't Eat Anything With A Face."

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The Two-Way
7:49 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Sebelius Calls For Review Of HHS Practices That Led To Debacle

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Earlier today, Sebelius announced an inquiry into the agency's launch of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov site.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 2:14 pm

"The launch of HealthCare.gov was flawed and simply unacceptable."

Those are the words of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, published Wednesday just before she met with people who share those views: members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

With her agency under fire since the website's failed release last month, Sebelius announced an internal inquiry and other steps that will focus on improving the contracting process, project management and employee training.

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Faith Matters
7:35 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Is Pope Francis Really 'The People's Pope'?

Pope Francis greets his papal audience.
Marco Campagna

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:53 am

Time magazine has dubbed Pope Francis its Person of the Year, calling him "The People's Pope." This title comes weeks after he criticized aspects of the global economy and "unbridled consumerism" in a document called an apostolic exhortation. Host Michel Martin recently spoke with a group of practicing Catholics about how Pope Francis has inspired them in their faith.


Interview Highlights

Author Michael Sean Winters: What the pope's exhortation puts into focus

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World
7:05 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Who Is The Next Mandela?

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:53 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, Pope Francis is Time magazine's person of the year for 2013. We'll talk about how the pope is changing both the Catholic Church and its relationship to the world. That's in a few minutes.

But first, mourning continues in South Africa for anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela. Some 100 leaders and dignitaries from around the world attended a memorial service in Soweto yesterday. And U.S. President Barack Obama was among the many speakers.

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Law
6:46 am
Wed December 11, 2013

No Cake For You: Saying 'I Don't' To Same-Sex Marriage

A Colorado judge recently ordered Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to serve gay couples, after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Lindsay Pierce Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:15 am

There were a few snickers when a Colorado state judge ruled that a baker has to produce wedding cakes for gay couples even though he opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

A cake? What's the big deal?

But the decision, handed down late last week, is just the latest slice in a debate that has gone front burner with gay marriage now legalized in 16 states, and counting.

Can individual businesspeople like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver be compelled to provide wedding (or commitment ceremony) goods and services to gay couples?

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