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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Will A Handshake Lead To Better U.S.-Cuba Relations?

In this image from TV, President Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:00 pm

In everyday life, a handshake is rather ordinary. But when President Obama shook hands Tuesday with Cuban leader Raul Castro at a memorial service for the late South African President Nelson Mandela, this was how it was described:

-- "a simple gesture that signaled possible thawing between the leaders of the two Cold War foes"

-- "an unprecedented gesture"

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Business
11:04 am
Tue December 10, 2013

GM Gives A Woman The Keys To Drive Its Future

Mary Barra speaks at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year. General Motors has picked her to lead the company.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:29 pm

She's not the first woman to head a global corporation.

Ginni Rometty runs IBM, and Indra Nooyi heads PepsiCo. Don't forget Ursula Burns at Xerox and Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard. There's Marissa Mayer at Yahoo.

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Tue December 10, 2013

WATCH: Goats Escape Avalanche

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:08 am

Gawker brings us this video posted on Monday of a herd of chamois goats that make a seemingly miraculous escape from an avalanche on an Alpine mountain face. It occurs in the Rhone-Alpes near Pralognan-la-Vanoise, not far from the border between France and Italy.

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Shots - Health News
10:52 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Despite Big Market In Florida, Obamacare Is A Hard Sell

Enroll America outreach workers talk to congregants at the Mt. Calvary Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
Eric Whitney

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 9:39 am

Getting people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act remains an uphill battle in much of Florida.

Politicians in the state erected roadblocks to the law from the beginning — from joining in the 2010 lawsuit to thwart the law to placing restrictions on what insurance helpers called navigators can tell people seeking advice.

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Code Switch
10:33 am
Tue December 10, 2013

In A Small Missouri Town, Immigrants Turn To Schools For Help

Abbie Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:30 am

This story comes to us from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting project that focuses on agriculture and food production issues. You can see more photos and hear more audio from the series here. Wednesday, we'll have a story from a meatpacking plant in Garden City, Kan., which takes a proactive stance toward its newest immigrants.

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Regulators Approve Rule To Rein In Banks' Risky Trades

President Obama with Paul Volcker at the White House in 2009. Volcker, who headed the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, lent his name to a new rule aimed at curbing risk-taking on Wall Street.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 3:33 pm

The Volcker rule, a centerpiece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law aimed at stopping some of the risky banking practices that contributed to the economic meltdown, was approved by five key regulators on Tuesday, clearing the way for its implementation.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission became the fifth and final body to approve the rule. The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. were also among the agencies that gave the green light.

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The Salt
10:02 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Elevenses And Then Some: How To Prepare A Feast Fit For A Hobbit

Precious snack: In Tolkien's books, lembas was a special bread made by elves that could stay fresh for months — perfect for sustaining travelers on a long journey (or engaging in an all-day movie marathon.) Try it for elevenses.
Beth Accomando for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:23 am

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." — J.R.R. Tolkien

Each year, I swear I will never do this again.

And yet, for the third year in a row, I am preparing to host a day-long Lord of the Rings movie marathon – and cooking up a seven-course hobbit-themed feast, plus dessert, to serve my guests. Maybe it's because, like Tolkien, I too would like the world to be a merrier place.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Ouster Of North Korea's Jang Noted With Unease In China

A South Korean man watches TV news about the dismissal of Jang Song-Thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, at a railway station in Seoul on December 3.
Jung yeon-je AFP/Getty Images

The recent, very public ouster of North Korea's Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of Kim Jong Un and formerly the country's No. 2 leader, has been noted with some concern in China, which is more or less Pyongyang's only friend in the region.

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Politics
8:56 am
Tue December 10, 2013

How ALEC Serves As A 'Dating Service' For Politicians And Corporations

President Bush speaks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Philadelphia, on July 26, 2007.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:07 am

A batch of internal documents recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Using Satellite, Scientists Pinpoint Coldest Place On Earth

Sastrugi stick out from the snow surface in this photo near Plateau Station in East Antarctica. Most of Antartica looks quite flat, despite the subtle domes, hills, and hollows.
Atsuhiro Muto National Snow and Ice Data Center

Using data from a NASA satellite, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) say they have now pinpointed the coldest place on Earth.

On a 1,000 kilometer swath of the highest section of the East Antarctic ice divide, scientists measured temperatures of -134 to -137 degrees Farenheit.

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It's All Politics
7:54 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Conservative Firebrand Challenges Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn

Texas Rep. Steve Stockman participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with House Speaker John Boehner in January. Stockman made the surprise move to challenge Sen. John Cornyn in the 2014 Texas GOP primary.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 11:42 am

Another day, another GOP primary fight.

This time, it's John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, who's receiving a challenge from the right in 2014. Rep. Steve Stockman, a conservative firebrand, made the surprise move to enter the March 4 race Monday evening just before the state's filing deadline.

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NPR Story
7:11 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Mourners Say Final Farewells To Mandela In Soweto

Tens of thousands of South Africans and world leaders celebrated the life of former president Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in Soweto. NPR's Gregory Warner has the story.

NPR Story
7:11 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Volcker Rule Aims To Rein In Banks' Risky Trades

American bank regulators unveiled the final version of the so-called Volcker Rule, which prohibits banks from trading stocks, bonds and derivatives for their own accounts. For more, Steve Inskeep speaks to NPR's Jim Zarroli.

NPR Story
7:11 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Mandela To Lie In State In Pretoria

The memorial service for Nelson Mandela concluded Tuesday in Soweto, but South Africans will have additional opportunities to say farewell to their late president. Mandela lies in state in Pretoria for three days and will be buried Sunday in his home village of Qunu.

The Two-Way
6:48 am
Tue December 10, 2013

In Qatar, Hagel Tours Command Center That May Or May Not Exist

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in the tiny Persian Gulf nation of Qatar on Tuesday morning, the last leg of a tour that has also taken him to Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

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Shots - Health News
6:39 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Don't Count On Insurance To Pay For Genetic Tests

After genetic testing revealed a heightened risk for breast cancer, Angelina Jolie had a precautionary double mastectomy.
Alastair Grant AP

The day when a simple blood test or saliva sample can identify your risk for medical conditions ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's disease seems tantalizingly close.

But genetics specialists say the hype around many of these tests has outstripped the science. Insurers generally only cover a test if there's strong scientific evidence that it can provide a health benefit to patients.

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The Two-Way
6:33 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Snow Follows On Heels Of Ice Storm In The East

A person walks on a deserted walkway on a snowy morning in New York City on Tuesday. People who live along the East Coast and the Appalachians woke up to snow Tuesday, forcing school closings and closed roads.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 1:53 pm

(This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET)

A fast-moving winter storm swept through the Eastern U.S. on Tuesday, bringing several inches of snow to the region, causing flights to be canceled, traffic to be snarled and federal government offices in Washington, D.C., to be shut for the day.

Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New England got up to 6 inches of snow, and the nation's midsection experienced frigid temperatures.

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The Two-Way
6:26 am
Tue December 10, 2013

U.K. Rescue Center Overrun With Orphaned (And Adorable) Seal Pups

Men take pictures as they try to move a seal pup away from a house, which has fallen into the sea, during a storm surge in Hemsby, eastern England, on Dec. 6.
Darren Staples Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:29 am

We guarantee this is the saddest and cutest story you'll hear about all day: About 263 seal pups were swept away from their mothers by a massive tidal surge near Norfolk in the U.K. recently.

Now, a wildlife center is struggling to cope with about 100 of them, who will need to be bottle fed and rehabilitated.

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The Salt
6:12 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Fresh Research Finds Organic Milk Packs In Omega-3s

Cows graze in a pasture at the University of New Hampshire's organic dairy farm in Lee, N.H., Sept. 27, 2006.
JIM COLE AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:35 am

While milk consumption continues to fall in the U.S., sales of organic milk are on the rise. And now organic milk accounts for about 4 percent of total fluid milk consumption.

For years, organic producers have claimed their milk is nutritionally superior to regular milk. Specifically, they say that because their cows spend a lot more time out on pasture, munching on grasses and legumes rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the animals' milk is higher in these healthy fats, which are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

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Remembrances
5:51 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Too Young To Remember Mandela's Leadership, But Not His Legacy

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:11 am

In Soweto, South Africa, NPR's Gregory Warner speaks with people attending Nelson Mandela's memorial service — some who are too young to remember the late leader's years as president.

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
5:51 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Mandela Remembered In Soweto, South Africa

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:11 am

NPR offers the latest updates from Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Soweto, South Africa.

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
5:51 am
Tue December 10, 2013

In Soweto, World Leaders Remember Mandela's Legacy

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 5:57 am

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton offers an update on Nelson Mandela's memorial from Soweto's FNB Stadium.

The Two-Way
5:02 am
Tue December 10, 2013

GM Says Its First Female CEO Will Take Over Next Month

General Motors executive Mary Barra, seen here in January, will become the automaker's first female CEO. She will replace Dan Akerson, 65, who is retiring.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:18 am

Mary Barra will become the new leader of General Motors in January, the company announced Tuesday. A longtime GM veteran, Barra is currently an executive vice president; her tenure as CEO will begin after current leader Dan Akerson retires on Jan. 15.

Barra, 51, works in the company's global product development unit. She will soon become the first woman to lead a major automaker, as The Detroit Free Press reports.

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Shots - Health News
4:43 am
Tue December 10, 2013

To Get Kids Exercising, Schools Are Becoming Creative

Students at Northeast Elementary Magnet, in Danville, Ill., play around. Fewer than 1 in 5 parents polled said their kids were getting physical education daily.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 9:42 am

Avery Stackhouse, age 7, of Lafayette, Calif., says he wishes he had more time for phys ed.

"We just have it one day a week — on Monday." There's always lunch and recess, he says. "We play a couple of games, like football and soccer," he tells Shots.

But at Happy Valley Elementary, where he goes to school, recess lasts only 15 minutes and lunch is 45. Between eating and mingling, he says, "there's only a few minutes left where we play games and all that."

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The Two-Way
4:28 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Brazilian Leader's 1976 Death Found To Be A Military Murder

A military plot has been blamed in the death of Brazil's former President Juscelino Kubitschek, seen here at the White House in 1961 speaking with President John F. Kennedy. For years, Kubitschek's death was blamed on a car accident.
William Allen AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:00 am

For years, a car accident has been blamed in the 1976 death of former Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek. But a new inquiry has found the politician was murdered by the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil for 21 years.

"We have no doubt that Juscelino Kubitschek was the victim of a conspiracy, a plot and a political attack," Sao Paulo Truth Commission leader Gilberto Natalini says, according to Agence France-Presse.

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Remembrances
4:21 am
Tue December 10, 2013

As Rain Pours, Mourners Celebrate Mandela's Legacy

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. More than 50,000 people attended a rainy and emotional memorial for Nelson Mandela today in Johannesburg. Scores of world leaders and dignitaries were in attendance, including President Barack Obama, who gave a lengthy tribute to the man he credits for inspiring his own journey into politics. NPR's Gregory Warner reports from Johannesburg.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

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The Salt
4:05 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Microbiome Candy: Could A Probiotic Mint Help Prevent Cavities?

A sweet way to avoid the dentist? Microbiologists are developing a probiotic mint that uses dead bacteria to fight off cavities.
Morgan Walker NPR

Eat candy and fight tooth decay. What a sweet concept, right?

Well, microbiologists in Berlin are trying to make that dream a reality.

They've created a sugarless mint that's aimed at washing out cavity-causing bacteria from your mouth. And the candy works in a curious way: It's spiked with dead bacteria. It's like probiotics for your teeth.

The experimental mint is still in the early days of development — and far from reaching the shelves at Walgreens.

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The Two-Way
3:32 am
Tue December 10, 2013

With Many Police On Strike, Looters Hit Argentina's Stores

Supermarket employees try to recover items left by looters in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, on Monday. Looting has spread across Argentina as mobs take advantage of strikes by police demanding pay raises to match inflation.
Bruno Cerimele AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:52 am

Chaos is visiting the Christmas season in Argentina, as police in many regions have refused to work until they get a pay raise. The lack of law enforcement has spurred looting in which at least five people have died and hundreds more have been injured. Some shop owners have taken up arms to defend themselves.

In Chaco province, the casualties include police deputy superintendent Cristián Vera, who died after being shot by looters in a supermarket, reports Data Chaco.

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
2:47 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Obama Calls For Self-Reflection On Mandela's 'Heroic Life'

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. At a soccer stadium in South Africa before a crowd notable for its dancing and for the umbrellas it is holding up against the rain, President Obama is speaking in a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela. He said just a moment ago: The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. And let's listen to a little bit more of the president today.

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The Two-Way
2:37 am
Tue December 10, 2013

LISTEN: President Obama Delivers A Eulogy For Nelson Mandela

President Obama delivers a speech Tuesday during the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:41 am

During Tuesday's memorial service at South Africa's largest soccer stadium, President Obama delivered a 20-minute eulogy that compared Mandela to Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and America's founding fathers.

Mandela, Obama said in Johannesburg, was the "last great liberator of the 20th century." He was not only a man of politics, but a pragmatist and flawed human being who managed to discipline his anger to turn centuries of oppression into what Mandela liked to call a "Rainbow Nation."

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