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Parallels
11:44 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Bhutan's New Prime Minister Says Happiness Isn't Everything

Tshering Tobgay receives appointment as prime minister in the Bhutanese capital, Thimpu, last week.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 3:28 am

Sad but true, Bhutan's Gross National Happiness index is not immune to politics.

Much has been made in recent years of the measure preferred by the tiny Buddhist kingdom over such cold and utilitarian Western-style metrics as gross domestic product.

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Ecstatic Voices
9:03 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Songs Of Africa: Beautiful Music With A Violent History

Fred Onovwerosuoke founded the St. Louis African Chorus 20 years ago.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 5:00 am

For the next year, NPR will take a musical journey across America, which is one of the most religiously diverse countries on earth. We want to discover and celebrate the many ways in which people make spiritual music — individually and collectively, inside and outside houses of worship.

The founder of the choral group Sounds of Africa is Fred Onovwerosuoke. He was born in Ghana and brought up in Nigeria, and his choir in the heart of the U.S. — St. Louis, Mo., to be exact — has recorded his arrangements of African sacred music by a composer named Ikoli Harcourt Whyte.

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The Two-Way
2:17 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Potential Whitey Bulger Witness Was Poisoned

Stephen Rakes as he arrived at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Boston on June 12 for the first day of the "Whitey" Bulger's trial.
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Police in Massachusetts arrested a man they say poisoned Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who was a potential witness in the case against notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.

The important detail: The Boston Globe reports Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said they believe William Camuti, 69, "acted alone" and they did not believe the homicide was connected to the Bulger case.

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The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Jury Rejects Death Penalty For Somali Pirates

Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, on a yacht in Bodega Bay, Calif., in 2005. The two were part of a group hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Oman in February 2011.
Joe Grande AP

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 2:22 pm

A Virginia jury has recommended life in prison for three Somali pirates convicted of murdering four Americans seized from a sailing yacht off the coast of Africa in 2011.

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It's All Politics
1:07 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Congressional Recess Isn't A Cease-Fire; It's A Chance To Reload

Bill O'Leary The Washington Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 1:32 pm

As Congress heads off for its 2013 summer recess, who could blame a citizen for thinking that maybe the slogan above the House dais should be changed from "In God We Trust" to "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."

Experts in government like Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann have repeatedly warned that compromise, the lubricant that makes the U.S. system work, has been a missing ingredient in recent Congresses, especially in the House. And there were no signs Friday that anything will be different when Congress returns in September from its five-week break.

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Shots - Health News
12:39 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Congress May Be Getting Its Own Obamacare Glitch Fixed

If you worked here, you'd be worried about losing your employer-funded health insurance contributions.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 5:16 pm

As its last official action before leaving for a five-week summer break, the House today voted — for the 40th time — to block implementation of the federal health law.

But it was something that happened late Thursday night affecting members of Congress and their staffers' own health insurance that attracted more attention around the Capitol.

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It's All Politics
12:19 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Obama Nominee For IRS Chief Has History With Tough Tasks

President Obama has nominated John Koskinen to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
Ron Edmonds AP

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 1:26 pm

The Internal Revenue Service, under attack by congressional Republicans, has been operating without a permanent commissioner. President Obama nominated John Koskinen on Thursday for what might be seen as a thankless job.

The president called his nominee "an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform." But Koskinen will have his work cut out for him, starting with his Senate confirmation hearing.

History With Struggling Agencies

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Supreme Court Denies California Delay On Prisoner Release

A California Department of Corrections officer looks on as inmates at Chino State Prison exercise in the yard in 2010.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant California an extension on an order issued by the justices more than two years ago for the state to release some 10,000 inmates from its overcrowded prisons.

The high court's original May 2011 ruling held that congested conditions in the California's 33 prisons amounted to cruel and unusual punishment as defined by the Eighth Amendment. The court gave the state two years to comply with an order to free the prisoners and alleviate the overcrowding.

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Political Crisis In Egypt
11:28 am
Fri August 2, 2013

In Egypt, 'Third Square' Protesters Seek Middle Road

Activists from a group called "Third Square," which promotes a middle way in the rift between the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of the army's overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, shout slogans as they gather to oppose both parties at Sphinx Square in Giza on July 30.
Asmaa Waguih Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 2:05 pm

Tensions are running high in Egypt, as supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi continue their protests. But they aren't the only ones.

Barely two weeks after Morsi was toppled in early July, a new protest movement emerged on the scene in Cairo.

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U.S.
11:13 am
Fri August 2, 2013

The Old Gig: Catching Frogs On Warm Summer Nights

Tommy Peebles shines a light on the pond. With the help of Bick Boyte, the two Tennesseans catch frogs with homemade "gigs" for a frog leg fry they hold every year.
Stephen Jerkins for NPR

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 2:05 pm

Bick Boyte plops a 1-pound bullfrog in his aluminum canoe, still half alive. He resumes his kneeling position, perched upfront, on the hunt for a big bellower. Boyte hears the "wom, wom, wom" and knows frogs are within reach.

Boyte and Tommy Peebles have been "gigging" Tennessee ponds together since their daddies first taught them. Boyte now owns a truck dealership. Peebles is a real estate lawyer. But in the warm moonlight, they revert to their boyhoods. Peebles does the paddling.

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NPR Story
11:13 am
Fri August 2, 2013

N.C. Abortion Law Sparks Protest; Governor Responds With Cookies

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 12:19 pm

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory sent out a plate of cookies to abortion law protesters who had gathered outside the governor's mansion on Tuesday. Audie Cornish speaks with Mary C. Curtis, who writes for the Washington Posts' blog She the People, about the incident and North Carolina politics.

Code Switch
10:43 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Research Says: Actually, Where You Go To College Matters

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:08 pm

There are lots of questions for high school grads: Should you go for an associate degree or a bachelor's? A community college or a four-year university? Does it really matter where you go? If we're comparing top-tier schools with open-access ones, then yes. It matters a whole lot, and it has long-lasting effects.

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Fri August 2, 2013

House Votes To Quash Obamacare, For The 40th Time

The chamber of the House of Representatives.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted Friday to suppress President Obama's signature legislative accomplishment for the 40th time since the law was passed in 2010.

The vote to gut the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — was a near-party-line 232-185 vote. And like the previous 39 times, this is a symbolic vote, because the Democratic-controlled Senate will not take up the measure.

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Shots - Health News
10:00 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Could Hotter Temperatures From Climate Change Boost Violence?

A police officer guards Cambodia's famed temple of Angkor Wat. The powerful city-state collapsed in 1431 after suffering through two decades of droughts.
Heng Sinith AP

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 10:48 am

Rates of homicide and other violent crimes often spike in cities during heat waves. People get cranky. Tempers flare.

So as the Earth gets hotter because of climate change, will it also become more violent?

Many scientists have thought so. And now a team of economists offers the first quantitative estimates for just how much weather changes might amplify human conflict.

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All Tech Considered
8:16 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Tech Week That Was: Suspicious Searches, Def Con And Moto X

The press set up to film Army Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, at the Black Hat hacker conference on Wednesday.
Isaac Brekken AP

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 8:56 am

Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog, and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.

ICYMI

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Shots - Health News
8:05 am
Fri August 2, 2013

That Face-Lift May Buy You Only Three Years Of Youth

Plastic surgeons tend to say a patient is going to look "refreshed," not younger.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 10:48 am

The lighting in the NPR newsroom isn't doing me any favors. Maybe it's time to get some "work" done? Then again, cosmetic surgery makes people look only about three years younger and no more attractive, according to a study that tries to add some objectivity to a very subjective field of medicine.

The researchers took before and after photos of 49 people who underwent facial cosmetic surgery at a private practice in Toronto. The patients ranged in age from 42 to 73. Some had face-lifts and neck-lifts; others had brow-lifts or had their eyelids done.

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The Two-Way
8:02 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Ohio: 75 Police Officers Face Punishment In Deadly Car Chase

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 4:04 am

Dozens of police officers acted outside the rules and could be disciplined for their role in a massive car chase in Cleveland last fall, according to city leaders, after an official review of the 19-mile pursuit that resulted in two deaths. The review found that 13 officers fired 137 shots. The fleeing driver, Timothy Russell, and his passenger, Malissa Williams, were killed.

Update at 9 a.m. ET, Monday Aug. 5: 75, Not 74, Officers Involved

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The Two-Way
7:38 am
Fri August 2, 2013

WATCH: So Cute! Baby Elephant Splashes In Kiddie Pool

A 300-pound baby playing in a pool.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:14 am

We'll get back to the real news, soon enough. But right now, we're pausing for a moment of cute.

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The Two-Way
7:18 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Whitey Bulger Decides Not To Take The Stand

James "Whitey" Bulger, in an image released by the U.S. Marshal's Service in August 2011.
EPA /Landov

One of the most anticipated testimonies in a criminal trial will not happen: James "Whitey" Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster, decided not to testify in his own defense, today.

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Business
7:06 am
Fri August 2, 2013

U.S. Job Growth Slows A Bit As Wages Shrink

Employees and supporters demonstrate Monday outside of a Wendy's fast-food restaurant in New York City to demand higher pay and the right to form a union. Incomes have been stagnant, especially for minimum-wage workers.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 8:10 am

Employers added 162,000 workers in July, and the U.S. unemployment rate slipped to 7.4 percent, the lowest level since December 2008, the Labor Department said Friday.

But while the number of jobs did increase, the hiring pace was slower than in the spring, marking a setback for unemployed Americans who had hoped for a better summer.

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The Two-Way
6:37 am
Fri August 2, 2013

State Department Issues Worldwide Travel Alert

The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Friday, warning of potential terrorist attacks.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 1:28 pm

The U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert because of an al-Qaida threat that is particularly significant in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," State said in a statement. "This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013."

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Barbershop
6:24 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Barbershop Guys Take A Swing At Sports Controversies

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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National Security
6:24 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Bradley Manning: Whistleblower Or Traitor?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Faith Matters
6:24 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Pope Francis' Comments: 'A Bridge, Not A Barrier'?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, the barbershop guys are in to talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. But first, it's time for "Faith Matters." That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality. Today, we want to take a look back at Pope Francis' history making trip to Brazil. By now, you've probably heard that His Holiness made headlines with a comment about gays in the priesthood.

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Economy
6:24 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Jobs Have Been Added, But Why Are Wages Stubborn?

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 7:32 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later today, we'll hear more about Pope Francis' recent visit to Brazil and we'll hear about why he made headlines around the world. That's in just a few minutes. But first, back here in this country, we want to hear about today's jobs numbers. One-hundred sixty-two thousand jobs were added last month, bringing the unemployment rate down to 7.4 percent. That's even below last month's report of 7.6 percent. The report also shows, though, that wages are going down for many workers.

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Nepal To Clamp Down On Everest Expeditions

Mountaineers on the summit of Mount Everest in May.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 7:54 am

The Nepalese government says it will tightly monitor next year's ascents of Mount Everest after an embarrassing high-altitude brawl in April between a European climbing team and their Sherpa guides.

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The Salt
6:10 am
Fri August 2, 2013

FDA Approves Gluten-Free Label

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 12:01 pm

The Food and Drug Administration issued Friday the first legally binding rules for what food companies can legally label "gluten-free."

The rules should help millions of Americans who can't tolerate gluten in their diet.

Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley and rye. Bakers appreciate its gluey texture for making bread. But when people with celiac disease eat it, it causes their immune systems to attack their small intestines.

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The Two-Way
6:07 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Giant Lion May Be King Of All Football Field Logos

At 50 yards wide, a new lion dominates the new field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium.
Lion Athletics

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:28 am

"That's a big ol' lion." How else to describe the new golden cat on the field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium that stretches from sideline to sideline, dominating the area between the 25-yard lines?

That description of the giant cat, which may be the largest on-field logo in America, comes from Mark Haslett of NPR member station KETR, which is based at the school in eastern Texas.

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Postmaster: We Photograph Your Mail, But Not To Snoop

A 2002 photo of the San Francisco Processing and Distribution Center.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:32 am

The head of the U.S. Postal Service has acknowledged that every piece of domestic mail is photographed for processing and that the information is sometimes made available to law enforcement, according to The Associated Press.

In an interview with the news agency, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says that exterior images of individual pieces of mail are snapped at some 200 processing facilities around the country primarily for sorting purposes, but that the images have been used "a couple of times" by law enforcement to trace letters in criminal cases.

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Economy
5:18 am
Fri August 2, 2013

162,000 Jobs Added In July; Unemployment Drops To 7.4 Percent

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:08 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the jobs report.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The Labor Department says the U.S. economy added 162,000 new jobs last month. That's lower than many economists expected. Still the unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 percent. Workers did have fewer hours on the job and hourly earnings fell in July, for the first time since last fall. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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