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NPR's Backseat Book Club
10:58 am
Wed December 19, 2012

In 'Red Pyramid,' Kid Heroes Take On Ancient Egypt

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 12:43 pm

If there was a recipe for the best-selling writer Rick Riordan, it would go something like this — start with a love of storytelling, fold in more than a decade of teaching middle school English, combine that with two sons of his own who don't quite share their dad's love of literature, and marinate all of that with a deep passion for mythology.

Riordan has sold tens of millions of kids' books. He hit pay dirt with the Percy Jackson series — it's about an everyday kid who has superhero powers because he's the secret son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea.

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Wed December 19, 2012

South Korea To Get Its First Woman Leader

South Korea's Park Geun-hye claimed victory Wednesday in the country's presidential election. Park, the daughter of a former military dictator, will be the first female leader of the country. Here, she greets supporters at party headquarters.
Kim Jae-hwan AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:47 am

Conservative candidate Park Geun-hye claimed victory Wednesday in South Korea's closely contested presidential election, an outcome that will make her the first woman to lead the Asian nation.

In addition, Park boasts a fascinating personal history that's deeply intertwined with South Korea's evolution in recent decades.

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The Two-Way
9:29 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Death Penalty Possible In Court Martial Of Army Sgt. Accused Of Afghan Killings

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales during an August 2011 training exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Spc. Ryan Hallock AFP/Getty Images

The Army staff sergeant accused in the March 11 murders of 16 Afghan civilians and shooting of six others could be given the death penalty if he's convicted of all the charges officially filed against him this week, a General Court-Martial Convening Authority announced Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, prosecutors say, attacked two villages near his base in southern Afghanistan. Among the 16 people killed, nine were children.

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Shots - Health News
8:44 am
Wed December 19, 2012

NIH Moving To Revamp Funding Process For Bird Flu Research

A health official culls chickens on a poultry farm in a village on the outskirts of Katmandu, Nepal. Chickens suspected of being infected with H5N1 bird flu were found in the area in October.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 10:32 am

Flu researchers may be close to ending an unusual moratorium on some controversial scientific work that has lasted almost a year.

That's because officials at the National Institutes of Health say they will be moving swiftly to finalize a new process for deciding whether or not to fund proposed experiments that could potentially create more dangerous forms of the bird flu virus H5N1.

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Let Teachers Carry Guns? Some State Lawmakers Say Yes

A sign some would like to see amended at schools.
Dave Kaup Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 9:52 am

There are reports from a variety of states about local lawmakers who want to give teachers the right to bring guns to school. They're making the case that school shootings such as the one Friday in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 small children and six adults dead could be prevented or stopped if some school staffers were armed.

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The Two-Way
8:09 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Three State Department Officials Resign Following Benghazi Report

Chris Stevens speaks to the media in Benghazi, Libya, in 2011. Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed on Sept. 11 of this year. Three U.S. government officials resigned Wednesday following a report that cited inadequate security.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 4:28 am

Update at 9:25 a.m. ET, Dec. 20: Four Officials Disciplined, One Has Resigned:

A sharply critical report about the State Department's handling of security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, has led to disciplinary action against four of the department's officials. One of them, the head of the Diplomatic Security Bureau, has resigned.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Wed December 19, 2012

'Take Me Out Of It,' President Urges GOP, And 'Take The Deal'

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 9:32 am

With the end-of-year deadline looming on automatic tax increases and spending cuts, President Obama on Wednesday made the case that Republicans should recognize "I have met them at least halfway in order to get something done for the country."

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Obama Asks Biden To Draft 'Concrete Proposals' On Guns By January

Vice President Biden watched as President Obama spoke earlier today in the White House briefing room.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 8:28 am

Saying the nation has a "deep obligation" to take steps to reduce gun violence, President Obama confirmed Wednesday that he's asked Vice President Biden to head a task force charged with drafting "concrete proposals, no later than January."

And, Obama said, he will push them "without delay."

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Shots - Health News
7:14 am
Wed December 19, 2012

A Question About Aspirin And Age-Related Vision Loss

This image shows how macular degeneration affects a person's vision.
National Eye Institute, NIH

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 8:28 am

About 20 percent of adults take aspirin regularly, either to ease pain or to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

But taking aspirin might increase the risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in old age, according to a study of nearly 5,000 people in Wisconsin.

Nobody wants to go blind. So does this mean it's time to give up on aspirin? Not at all, say ophthalmologists.

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Can I Just Tell You?
6:58 am
Wed December 19, 2012

What Do Polio And Gun Violence Have In Common?

Charles Krupa ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 11:22 am

In thinking about the last week's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I keep coming upon the word epidemic. While the death of one child is too many, the death of nearly two dozen in one place, of hundreds in the span of a year — especially by violence, is intolerable. Or at least it should be.

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Economy
6:58 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Why Not Go Over The Fiscal Cliff?

The White House is promising to veto a new tax proposal from House Speaker John Boehner. But who's bluffing and what's believable when it comes to fiscal negotiations? And what happens if talks break down? For Tell Me More's 'Why Not?' series, host Michel Martin takes a look at what might be on the other side of the fiscal cliff.

Beauty Shop
6:58 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Newtown: How Much Media Coverage Is Too Much?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, when rap pioneer Run from the group Run-DMC decided to get active in church, he had no idea how far it would go. We'll talk with him about his transition from rapping to preaching. That's later in the program.

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Wisdom Watch
6:58 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Reverend Run: From Rapper To Preacher

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 8:38 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program I will share a few thoughts in my Can I Just Tell You essay but now it's time for our Wisdom Watch conversation. That's the part of the program where we speak with those whose work has made a difference. Today we are speaking with a hip-hop pioneer.

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The Salt
6:02 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Peak Farmland? Some Researchers Say It's Here

A soybean field near Campo Verde in western Brazil in January 2011. Researchers argue that enough arable land is already under cultivation to feed the planet for the next several decades.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/GettyImages

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 11:34 am

If you're looking for a dash of optimism about the future — and who isn't, these days? — you can find it in a rosy new prediction about the planet's ability to produce food for the next half-century.

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Wed December 19, 2012

White House Says Obama Would Veto GOP's 'Plan B' For Avoiding 'Fiscal Cliff'

The president would use his pen to just say no, White House promises.
Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 6:22 am

Making the case that the "Plan B" proposed by House Republicans to keep the federal government from going over the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year "does not meet the test of balance," the White House announced this morning that President Obama would veto such legislation if it came to his desk.

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The Two-Way
5:36 am
Wed December 19, 2012

U.S. Will Sell Off Its General Motors Stock

General Motors is buying back stock from the U.S. government.
Paul Sancya ASSOCIATED PRESS

In a statement early this morning, the Treasury Department says it's going to "exit" its investment in General Motors. The federal government holds just over 500 million shares of GM stock.

The automaker will buy 200 million of those shares, and the government will dispose of the rest "in an orderly fashion" over the next year and a half, depending on market conditions.

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The Two-Way
5:09 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Robert Bork, Who Was Turned Down For Supreme Court, Dies

Judge Robert Bork in September 1987, at the Senate hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Charles Tasnadi AP

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 8:26 am

Robert Bork, who was at the center of Senate hearings that "marked the modern battle lines over judicial nominations," as NPR's Nina Totenberg has said, is dead, according to The New York Times, Fox News and The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
4:07 am
Wed December 19, 2012

UPDATE: 'Eagle Snatches Kid' Video Makers Admit Hoax

Real or not?
YouTube

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 9:14 am

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The Two-Way
3:20 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Newtown Shootings: Funerals Continue; Biden To Lead Task Force

Candles with the names of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, at a makeshift memorial near the entrance to the grounds of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Some of today's headlines and news about the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last Friday. Twenty children and six adults were killed by the gunman who attacked Sandy Hook Elementary:

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The Two-Way
3:02 am
Wed December 19, 2012

President Obama Is 'Time' Magazine's 'Person Of The Year'

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Writing that "after four of the most challenging years in the nation's history, his chance to leave office as a great president who was able to face crises and build a new majority coalition remains within reach," Time magazine has named President Obama its "person of the year."

The others on Time's "short list" were:

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The Two-Way
2:18 am
Wed December 19, 2012

UBS To Pay $1.5 Billion For 'Routine And Widespread' Rate Rigging

The logo of Swiss banking giant UBS in Zurich, Switzerland.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Swiss banking giant UBS AG has agreed to pay $1.5 billion in fines to regulators in the U.S., Britain and Switzerland for its part in a scheme to manipulate the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR), which is used to set rates on contracts around the world.

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Around the Nation
1:43 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Oregon Man Advertises For Wife

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Around the Nation
1:37 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Lottery Winners Donate To School's Football Stadium

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR Story
12:18 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Gunmen In Pakistan Target Polio Vaccinators

Rukhsana Bibi (center) mourns for her daughter, polio worker Madiha Bibi, killed by unknown gunmen, at a local hospital in Karachi on Tuesday. Gunmen staged additional attacks Wednesday.
Fareed Khan AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:44 am

Pakistani gunmen staged new attacks Wednesday on health workers carrying out a nationwide polio vaccination program. Six workers were killed Tuesday as they went house to house to administer the immunizations to area children in Karachi and the northwest city of Peshawar.

Although there were additional attacks, the Pakistani government vowed to continue the vaccination campaign — and eradicate the disease — even if there is bloodshed.

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NPR Story
12:08 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a global bank settlement.

It's the big Swiss bank, UBS. It announced this morning that it will pay a total of $1.5 billion in fines for its role in rigging the interbank lending rate known as LIBOR. The settlement will be paid to Swiss, British and American regulators.

NPR Story
12:08 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Credit Rating Upgrade Is Good News For Greece

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Greece got a rare bit of good news late yesterday. Standard and Poor's upgraded the country's credit rating six notches to a B minus. I mean, not the worst grade on your report card, but in the financial world this is junk bond status.

Still, Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens that there is a more stable outlook.

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NPR Story
12:08 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Benghazi Review Report Issued

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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Politics
12:08 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Capitol Hill Reaction To Gun Mayhem Varies

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Even before the events of the last few days, Congress had a busy agenda. Lawmakers are negotiating over taxes and spending that could affect the economy in the year ahead, not to mention almost every part of the federal government and the take-home pay for millions of Americans.

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It's All Politics
10:50 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Single-Issue Solidarity Behind NRA's Clout

A visitor handles a revolver at a Smith & Wesson display during the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits on April 14 at America's Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Whitney Curtis Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:44 am

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Music
10:50 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Country Singer Sammy Kershaw's Cajun Christmas

Sammy Kershaw's new album of Cajun holiday songs is called A Sammy Klaus Christmas.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:44 am

If the sheer variety of holiday music that pops up each winter is any indication, there's no genre that can't handle a little Christmas spirit. This year, Louisiana country singer Sammy Kershaw decided to test that theory with the sounds of the bayou. His new album of Cajun-infused holiday songs is called A Sammy Klaus Christmas.

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