NPR News

Pages

It's All Politics
4:51 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

For Some Conservatives, It's Homecoming Week

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., last year.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 2:23 am

The American conservative movement has its homecoming this week: the Conservative Political Action Conference, where everyone from politicians to peddlers is out to inspire the faithful.

Last year, one of the headline speakers was former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who harked back to the second-ever CPAC in 1975, when Ronald Reagan laid out a vision for a conservative Republican Party.

She invoked his image of a banner of bold colors, not pale pastels.

Read more
Law
12:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Once On Death Row, He Now Fights To Defeat The Death Penalty

Kirk Bloodsworth was the first person in the U.S. to be exonerated by DNA evidence after receiving the death sentence. Convicted in 1985 of the rape and murder of a young girl, he was released in 1993.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 2:35 pm

Maryland is about to become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty.

A bill has passed the state Senate and is expected to pass the House of Delegates easily with the governor's ardent support. The strongest advocate to end the death penalty in Maryland is Kirk Bloodsworth, who was convicted of murder in that state in 1985 and was the first person in the U.S. to be sentenced to death row then exonerated by DNA evidence.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Solitary Confinement: Punishment Or Cruelty?

A hallway at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The prison, opened in 1829 and closed in 1970, pioneered the use of solitary confinement.
Jacki Lyden NPR

An estimated 80,000 American prisoners spend 23 hours a day in closed isolation units for 10, 20 or even more than 30 years.

Now, amid growing evidence that it causes mental breakdown, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has decided for the first time to review its policies on solitary confinement.

Read more
Theater
12:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

'The Last Five Years' Returns To New York

Adam Kantor and Betsy Woolfe star in the current off-Broadway revival of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years.
The Hartman Group / Second Stage Theatre

The Last Five Years originally ran off-Broadway in 2002. Cited as one of Time magazine's "Ten Best of 2001," it won Drama Desk awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics.

There are only two characters in the musical, Jamie and Cathy. Jamie is a young novelist and Cathy is a struggling actress. Told in reverse chronological order, the drama shows what happens when an artistic couple's romance fizzles out.

Read more
Author Interviews
12:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

A Twin Carries On Alone In 'Her: A Memoir'

Christa and Cara Parravani were identical twins. When they were 28, Cara died of a drug overdose, and Christa spiraled into depression.

In her new book, Her: A Memoir, Christa explores their bond of sisterhood, which went beyond blood into the elliptical world of twinhood.

Both were artists, one a writer and the other a photographer. Both married young. Both lived through a hardscrabble childhood with a troubled mother. But Cara's path diverged after she was attacked and raped at age 24.

Read more
Environment
12:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Remembering Aldo Leopold, Visionary Conservationist And Writer

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 5:13 am

"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now, we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free." — A Sand County Almanac

A Sand County Almanac, a collection of essays and observations, was written decades ago by Aldo Leopold, the father of the American conservation movement.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:38 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Militants In Nigeria Kill Seven Hostages, Including Westerners

A man in Kano, Nigeria, reads a local newspaper Sunday that carries a story about the killing of seven hostages by a militant group.
Sunday Alamba AP

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 11:00 am

Militants in Nigeria have killed seven hostages, including three Westerners, in an act the British foreign secretary called "pure, cold-blooded murder."

The seven hostages — four Lebanese and one British, one Greek and one Italian citizen – worked for the Setrapo construction company. They were kidnapped Feb 16 from Jama'are, a town about 125 miles north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state. Ansaru, a group that's an offshoot of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist movement, claimed responsibility for the killings.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:35 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Afghan President Karzai Claims Taliban, U.S. Colluding

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a nationally televised speech on Sunday that the U.S. and the Taliban are holding talks.
Ahmad Jamshid AP

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai claims the U.S. is holding talks outside Afghanistan with the Afghan Taliban.

The allegations come as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel continues his first visit to the nation as Pentagon Chief – and after a deadly explosion in Kabul on Saturday that the Taliban called a message to the new defense secretary.

Karzai made his claims in a nationally broadcast address just hours before he was to meet with Hagel, reports NPR's David Welna, who is traveling with Hagel.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:35 am
Sun March 10, 2013

The Queen Takes A Stand For Women, And Maybe Gay Rights, Too

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will sign a new charter for the 54-member Commonwealth on Monday.
Ian Gavan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 10:59 am

With a stroke of her pen, Queen Elizabeth II is giving royal support to equal rights.

Her majesty is expected to sign a new charter for the Commonwealth on Monday. The charter declares the core values for the 54 member states, most of which were once under British rule. It's getting attention for statements on gender equality and what it may imply for gay rights.

Read more
Religion
12:50 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Sistine Chapel Conclave Prep Includes Ensuring Social Media Blackout

Wi-Fi will be blocked throughout Vatican City during the conclave, and cardinals with Twitter and Facebook accounts have been warned.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 2:35 pm

Last-minute preparations are under way at the Vatican where the conclave to elect the new pope begins Tuesday.

The 115 cardinal electors will remain at the Sistine Chapel incommunicado from the rest of the world as they vote. In the era of social media, however, Vatican officials are taking every precaution to prevent cardinals from yielding to the temptation to tweet and text.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:53 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

In Ancient Aleppo, Plotting The Future

Syrians carry a large revolution flag and chant slogans during a protest in Aleppo, Syria, where young people and children sang songs against President Bashar Assad and the Syrian regime, Dec. 21, 2012.
Virginie Nguyen Hoang AP

A soft-spoken, clean-shaven, 31-year-old aid worker hopes to determine, in part, the future of Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

Read more
National Security
11:39 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

When Rand Paul Ended Filibuster, He Left Drones On National Stage

Code Pink activists deliver flowers, candies and other objects of thanks to Sen. Rand Paul's Capitol Hill offices Thursday for filibustering John Brennan's CIA nomination.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 8:21 am

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky launched a nationwide conversation last week with his 13-hour filibuster of the president's nominee to lead the CIA.

Paul vowed to keep talking until the White House clarified whether it has authority to kill U.S. citizens on American soil with drones.

Read more
The Salt
11:39 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Poi: Hawaii's Recipe For Revitalizing Island Culture

Historians think poi, a sticky, nutritious food made from pounded taro root, has been eaten in the Hawaiian islands since the time of the ancient Polynesians.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 7:00 am

There are only about 1,000 people of pure Hawaiian descent left in the world, but island residents are cooking up an idea to keep native island culture from fading away. The key ingredient? Reviving a starchy food called poi.

Read more
Afghanistan
11:39 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Sniffing Out Bombs In Afghanistan: A Job That's Gone To The Dogs

Military Police Sgt. Joshua Hancock and Nero, his Dutch shepherd, play at Forward Operating Base Frontenac in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. Nero is trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and to attack.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 7:42 am

Lucy is a stereotypically giddy black labradoodle. She's not what you picture when you think of a military dog serving on the front lines in Afghanistan. She wiggles around the room chasing her tennis ball and thinks my microphone cover is a chew toy.

But her handler, Spc. Heath Garcia, says when Lucy is on a mission, she's all business. She's highly trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, which are the No. 1 killer of civilians and troops in Afghanistan.

Read more
Three-Minute Fiction
1:04 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Three-Minute Fiction: The Round 10 Winner Is ...

Lisa Rubenson of Charlotte, N.C., wrote our Round 10 winning story, "Sorry for Your Loss."
Courtesy of Lisa Rubenson

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 12:26 am

Did you leave a message after our prompt? For Round 10 of Three-Minute Fiction, we asked you to submit a short story in the form of a voice mail message. For this contest, the original fiction must be read in about three minutes, no more than 600 words.

After four weeks and more than 4,000 stories, we have a winner.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Venezuela Sets Date To Elect Chavez's Successor

A woman wipes photos of late President Hugo Chavez at a makeshift altar for him in the main square of Sabaneta, western Venezuela, on Saturday.
Esteban Felix AP

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 3:57 am

  • Listen to the full story on Hugo Chavez's legacy on All Things Considered

Venezuela's elections commission announced Saturday that voters will go to the polls on April 14 to choose a successor to President Hugo Chavez, who died this week after a battle with cancer.

The nation's constitution mandated that an election be called within 30 days of Chavez's death on March 5, but the scheduled date falls outside of that window. Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's vice president, was sworn in as interim leader on Friday.

Read more
Movies I've Seen A Million Times
12:11 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

The Movie Emily Spivey Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Dolly Parton in a scene from the film 9 to 5.
Archive Photos Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 1:04 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

Read more
Science
12:11 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Scientists Make Plans To Blast Threatening Asteroids

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 2:41 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ARMAGEDDON")

STANLEY ANDERSON: (as the President) What is this thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's enormous.

BILLY BOB THORNTON: (as Dan Truman) It's an asteroid, sir.

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

In the 1998 film "Armageddon," the character played by Bruce Willis saves the Earth by knocking aside an asteroid headed straight for us. Pure fiction, right? Well, maybe not.

Read more
Jazz
10:22 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Tadd Dameron, A Jazz Master With A 'Lyrical Grace'

Tadd Dameron (smiling at center) was an important figure in American jazz and bebop. He is shown here with Fats Navarro on trumpet, and Charlie Rouse and Ernie Henry on saxophone.
William Gottlieb Library of Congress

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 12:30 am

In the 1940s and '50s, Tadd Dameron worked with everyone who was anyone in jazz, from Miles Davis to Artie Shaw, Count Basie to John Coltrane. Everything Dameron touched had one thing in common, says Paul Combs, author of Dameronia: The Life and Work of Tadd Dameron.

"A penchant for lyricism," Combs says. "Almost everything that he writes has a very lyrical grace to it."

Read more
All Tech Considered
10:03 am
Sat March 9, 2013

How Kenya's High-Tech Voting Nearly Lost The Election

An Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission official carries closed ballot boxes to be counted in Mombasa.
Ivan Lieman AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 12:10 pm

It was supposed to be the most modern election in African history. Biometric identification kits with electronic thumb pads, registration rolls on laptops at every polling station, and an SMS-relayed, real-time transmission of the results to the National Tallying Center in Nairobi.

Ambitious? Of course. Only 23 percent of the country has access to electricity.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:23 am
Sat March 9, 2013

A Chat With A Radical Fighter In Syria

Members of Jabhat al-Nusra clean their weapons, in Aleppo in December. The Islamist rebel group has become an increasingly powerful force in Syria's civil war.
Ahmed Jadallah Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 1:51 am

The Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra has been secretive, keeping to itself and refusing to meet Western journalists. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the Obama administration and was thought to be made up mostly of foreign fighters, working alongside Syrian rebels.

But lately, members are starting to open up as more Syrians join the group and they make more gains on the ground in the fight against the Syrian government.

Read more
All Tech Considered
6:50 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Could This Robot Save Your Job?

Baxter is billed by its makers as a "collaborative manufacturing robot." It can work alongside humans to do simple, repetitive tasks.
© Stephen F. Bevacqua Courtesy of Rethink Robotics

The man who invented Roomba, the robotic vacuum, is back — this time, with Baxter. Rodney Brooks, roboticist and entrepreneur, brought Baxter, his latest robot, to the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., last week.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:58 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Second Claim Of Sexual Misconduct Against Former U.S. Olympic Speedskater

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 4:59 am

Ex-skater and former US Speedskating President Andy Gabel faces a second accusation of sexual misconduct, as first reported by member station WUWM in Milwaukee.

Former skater Nikki Meyer told the NPR affiliate that she was assaulted by Gabel in the 1990s when she was 15 and he was 26.

Read more
Simon Says
3:18 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Snowquester Fizzles, But We're Humbled Anyway

The failed Snowquester reminds us, during a time of national debate, that experts can still be wrong.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 9:22 am

Snowquester fizzled.

Wednesday was more or less canceled this week in official Washington, D.C. An enormous winter storm bore down on the region, threatening ice, a foot of snow in the city (more in the suburbs), and wind and misery throughout the region.

Most of the federal government was closed. I know, I know. How could they tell? Local governments and schools, too. Flights were canceled, planes diverted, and throngs descended on grocery stores, picking the shelves clean of bread, milk and toilet tissue.

Read more
Middle East
2:25 am
Sat March 9, 2013

From The U.S., Watching Syria's Slow And Brutal Spiral

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 3:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Not every Syrian American can go to the lengths that Abu Ahmed did, but here in the United States, they are watching the conflict closely. Muna Jondy was born in this country, but her father's family is from Daraa where the first protest back in 2011 began. She's an immigration lawyer in Flint, Michigan and president of a group called United for a Free Syria. She joins us from Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor. Thanks for being with us.

MUNA JONDY: Thank you for having me, Scott.

Read more
NPR Story
2:06 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Found At Sea, Civil War Sailors Buried In Arlington

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 3:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Two American sailors were laid to rest yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery more than 150 years after they died.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "TAPS")

Read more
NPR Story
2:06 am
Sat March 9, 2013

When Insects Go Biblical: Swarms Head Toward Israel

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 3:47 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

If it just sounded like this, might not be all that bad.

(SOUNDBITE OF GRASSHOPPER)

SIMON: That's a grasshopper, and this is the sound of what happens when grasshoppers go biblical, and become a swarm of locusts.

(SOUNDBITE OF SWARM OF LOCUSTS)

SIMON: Just such a swarm of locusts have entered Israel's Negeve desert on Friday and that's bad news for farmers because the insects eat everything that's green.

Read more
NPR Story
2:06 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Amid Unemployment Numbers, Faces Of Those Who've Lost Hope

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 3:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

At the same time, there are millions of Americans you can't find in monthly job reports. They've been unemployed so long they're no longer counted, or they're working just a few hours a week in jobs that can't support them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also said yesterday that what they call the labor force participation rate fell again to 63.5 percent, the lowest number since 1981.

Read more
The Salt
1:15 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Career Suicide Or Lifesaver? Why A Professional Foodie Went Vegetarian

Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan has made the decision to go vegetarian.
Cristian Baitg iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 12:53 pm

It takes an adventurous palate to be a food journalist, who must sample and judge from a wide world of cuisines. So it's understandable why some chefs and foodies might be suspicious of a food editor who decides to cut himself off from a broad swath of eating possibilities by becoming vegetarian.

Read more
The Salt
12:47 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Gluten Goodbye: One-Third Of Americans Say They're Trying to Shun It

Michele Kelly, owner of Pure Knead bakery in Decatur, Ga., is one of many businesspeople catering to soaring demand for gluten-free baked goods.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 12:47 pm

Sure, we know that gluten-free is the Jennifer Lawrence of food trends. But we were still startled to hear that one-third of Americans say they're trying to avoid gluten. Really?

Read more

Pages