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7:38 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Is Swimming Superstar Passing The Torch?

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 11:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Day One of the London Olympics may have signaled a passing of the torch from one generation of swimming superstars to another. Expectations were sky-high for Michael Phelps, who already had the biggest gold medal haul in Olympic history. But a much-anticipated showdown with swimming teammate Ryan Lochte, turned out to be not much of a showdown at all.

Here's NPR's Howard Berkes.

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Afghanistan
6:09 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Disarming Afghan IEDs: Big Job, Too Few Trained

A student takes part in an exercise to disarm IEDs in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 11:58 am

Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, remain one of the biggest killers in Afghanistan. As NATO forces prepare to withdraw from the country, Afghans are learning the special skills needed to find and disarm these deadly weapons.

The training area near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif is a large expanse of dirt and gravel, dotted with a few beat-up old taxis and scattered bunkers.

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Election 2012
5:59 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Does Sen. Thune Have The Right Stuff For Romney?

Mitt Romney gets a kick out of South Dakota Sen. John Thune's comments during a January rally in Dubuque, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 11:47 am

Mike Lee is one of the most conservative members of the Senate. The freshman Utah Republican was elected with strong Tea Party backing and, like Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, he's a man of the West.

Mention the possibility that Thune, 51, might team up with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Lee's eyes light up: "I love John," he says. "He's articulate, passionate, collegial. I mean ... I think he'd be great."

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Europe
5:58 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Spain's Crisis Pushes Educated Into 'Economic Exile'

Government employees demonstrate against the Spanish government's austerity measures in Madrid, on Friday. The economic situation has forced some Spaniards to leave the country for work.
Pierre-Philippe Marcou AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:48 pm

In Spain, the growing crisis — debt, austerity and joblessness — has prompted more people to vote with their feet. In the first six months of 2012, emigration from Spain is up more than 44 percent from the same period last year.

The Spanish government denies it, but the "brain drain" has become something of a flood with more and more educated, skilled Spaniards moving abroad.

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Politics
5:57 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Forget The Debt Ceiling? The 'Avalanche' Is Coming

If Congress doesn't make a deal before January, massive spending cuts will go into effect automatically in 2013.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 2:21 pm

In August, lawmakers will be heading home to their districts for the month's recess. Last summer, things weren't quite so calm.

A year ago at this time, Congress was in a nasty and protracted battle over whether to raise the debt ceiling. If they didn't make a decision, the government was going to go into default. It's a fight that cost Congress its already waning public support, and cost American taxpayers $1.3 billion.

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The Torch
5:24 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Sunday, Day 3 Of The London 2012 Games: What's On Tap

Satoshi Shimizu (left) of Japan celebrates his 10-9 points decision over Isaac Dogboe of Ghana, in their Round of 32 bantamweight bout at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The first full day of competition brought many close finishes in London.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

The first full day of Olympic competition brought moments of tense excitement, in the pool and on the archery course, among other places. At the time of this post, China leads the overall medal count, with 6, followed by Italy and the United States, with 5. Four of China's medals are gold.

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Religion
4:53 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

U.S. Still Religious, But Trust In Institutions Wanes

The cross on the steeple of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Henryville, Ind. A recent Gallup poll says only 44 percent of Americans have "great confidence" in organized religion.
Michael Conroy AP

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:05 pm

Something is happening when it comes to religion in America.

Though more Americans go to church or believe in God than their counterparts in virtually every other Western country, fewer Americans now trust religious institutions. A recent Gallup poll showed that just 44 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in "the church or organized religion."

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Technology
4:53 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Hackers Look At Vulnerability Of Mobile Phones

Computer experts say mobile phones are prime targets for hacking because of the ways they connect to networks.
Adele Hampton NPR

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 10:20 pm

This week thousands of hackers — computer security researchers, government recruiters, spooks and cyberpunks — descended on Las Vegas for the annual summer hacker convention.

Hosted by organizations called Black Hat and Defcon, these events are known for their elaborate, though often crude, computer pranks. The convention's actual purpose, however, is pretty serious.

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Music
4:12 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Across Latin America, Making Cumbia Modern

Uruguayan musician and producer Juan Campodónico records as Campo.
Matilde Campodónico Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:21 am

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Kee Facts: A Few Things You Didn't Know
3:36 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Live Pigeon Shooting And Other Odd Olympic Games

Leon de Lunden of Belgium won the live pigeon shooting event at the 1900 Olympics in Paris — the only time in Olympic history when animals were killed on purpose.
Popperfoto/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 21, 2012 3:11 pm

The 1900 Olympic Games in Paris hosted what was surely the weirdest and most bizarre Olympic event of all time: live pigeon shooting.

The winner was Leon de Lunden of Belgium, who bagged 21 of the 300 birds that were released to the gun-toting competitors. Perhaps the sight of all those gory feathers fluttering down from the Olympic sky was too horrible for the audience and the organizers; the event never returned.

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The Torch
3:13 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Making The Olympics Sound Right, From A 'Swoosh' To A 'Splash'

Inspired by the movie Robin Hood, Olympic sound man Dennis Baxter places microphones along the path to the target to capture the sound of arrows in flight.
Paul Gilham Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:05 pm

The Olympic Games are officially under way, and we're watching sports many of us glimpse only every four years: gymnastics; track; judo. But we're willing to bet that the sports' sounds are just as memorable: the clanking of foils, the tick-tock of table tennis, the robotic "Take your mark!" before swimmers launch.

Those unique sounds are part of the Olympic experience. And it's one man's job to make sure we hear them clearly: Dennis Baxter, the official sound engineer for the Olympics. He's been at it since 1996.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:12 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

The Movie Kasi Lemmons Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in Once.
Fox Searchlight AP

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:05 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.

For writer-director Kasi Lemmons, whose credits include Eve's Bayou, The Caveman's Valentine and Talk to Me, the movie she could watch a million times is John Carney's musical Once. "I was so taken by the filmmaking," Lemmons says.

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The Torch
2:57 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Lochte Cruises To Win Gold, Beating Phelps In The IM

Ryan Lochte smiles on the podium with his new gold medal after winning the men's 400m individual medley in London Saturday. Lochte is wearing a dental accessory known as grillz, in the shape of the American flag.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:05 pm

Ryan Lochte won the gold medal in the men's 400-meter individual medley Saturday, beating Michael Phelps and the rest of a talented field at the London 2012 Olympics.

Lochte finished with a time of 4:05.18, beating Brazil's Thiago Pereira (4:08.86) and Japan's Kosuke Hagino (4:08.94). Phelps was fourth, at 4:09.28. Lochte sprang to an early lead in the butterfly, and solidified it with his backstroke.

The victory wasn't a surprise to Lochte, who said that he knew he was in good shape coming into the London Games. Still, the win seemed to take a while to sink in.

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Syria: 'Mother Of All Battles' Looms In Aleppo

Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in the Syrian town of Azaz, some 20 miles north of Aleppo, on Tuesday.
Turkpix AP

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 4:54 pm

Syrian rebels are taking a pounding in Aleppo, Syria's largest city but they continue to hold some neighborhoods where they've taken control. VOA reports the Syrian government is warning of "the mother of all battles" in the commercial hub, home to millions of people. Russia says a tragedy is "imminent."

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The Torch
1:45 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Team USA Wins First Medals Of London 2012 Games; More Results From Saturday

Silver medalists Brady Ellison, Jake Kaminski and Jacob Wukie of the United States, gold medalists Michele Frangilli, Marco Galiazzo and Mauro Nespoli of Italy, and bronze medalists Kim Bub-min, Im Dong-hyun and Oh Jin-hyek of South Korea stand with their medals after the men's team archery event.
Paul Gilham Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 4:58 pm

On the first day of full competition in the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Team USA won its first medal of the games, as the men's archery team took silver in a tense final against Italy. The Americans reached the final after stunning the highly regarded South Korean team in a comeback win earlier in the day.

Italy won on its last arrow, when a score of eight would have meant a loss and a ten a gold. The arrow hit the line between the 9 and 10 — and in archery, that meant 10 points, and the gold medal.

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The Torch
11:01 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Cyclist Vinokourov Wins Gold Medal In Men's Road Race

Rigoberto Uran of Colombia leads a group of riders as they ride up Boxhill on the outskirts of London, during the men's cycling road race for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 11:48 am

Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan won the gold medal in the men's cycling road race Saturday, edging Rigoberto Uran of Colombia in a late sprint in London. The 150-mile race ended in front of Buckingham Palace.

The Olympic medal completes a vindication for Vinokourov, 38, who has previously been suspended for doping, back in 2007. He retired last year, after breaking his leg at the Tour de France. But he returned to the French classic this summer.

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The Torch
10:15 am
Sat July 28, 2012

London's Opening Ceremony Gets Rave Reviews; NBC, Not So Much

A scene from the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. The event was widely praised — but in the U.S., not all viewers were enthused.
Richard Heathcote Getty Images

The London Olympics are in full swing, after an opening ceremony Friday that was chock-full of historic and cultural imagery drawn from Britain's past. Critics are gushing over Queen Elizabeth's role in the spectacle — along with James Bond. But there is room for debate — especially among viewers here in the U.S.

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The Torch
9:31 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Let's Catch Up: American Vollmer Sets Olympic Record; First Medals Are Won

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 12:41 pm

Good morning. Here's a rundown of what's been happening in and around London, on the morning after the Summer Olympics' opening ceremony:

- U.S. swimmer Dana Vollmer set new Olympic and U.S. records in her 100m butterfly qualifying heat this morning. Vollmer, of Granbury, Texas, had a time of 56.25 seconds. She says she can go faster.

- The first medals have now been awarded in the London 2012 Olympics, with China's Yi Siling winning gold in the 10-meter air rifle shooting competition. Poland took silver, and China took bronze, as well.

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NPR Story
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Test Your Olympic Trivia Knowledge

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Our marathon man of trivia is A.J. Jacobs, who once read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica to learn more and get a book contract. Why didn't he just write 50 Shades of Knowledge? A.J. joins us now to talk about Olympic facts, some of which may actually be true.

A.J., thanks for being with us.

A.J. JACOBS: And thank you for having me.

SIMON: Let's start with the marathon, A.J. Apparently, one of your favorite athletes in history was Spiridon Louis, who was the winner of the first modern marathon back in 1896.

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NPR Story
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

A British Critique Of The Olympic Opening

The 2012 Olympic Games opened Friday, with a ceremony that included James Bond and Queen Elizabeth parachuting into the stadium, flyovers, rippling Union Jacks, Shakespeare, sheep and fireworks. Host Scott Simon talks to Simon Hoggart, political sketch writer for The Guardian about the opening ceremony.

NPR Story
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

As The Games Begin, A Look At Early Results

NPR's Tom Goldman talks with host Scott Simon about the first medal events, including cycling and swimming.

Presidential Race
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Romney's Olympic Slip-Up: A Lasting Impression?

Mitt Romney is set to depart from London Saturday, after three days of photo ops and closed meetings. But his assessment of London's handling of the games drew a rebuke from Prime Minister David Cameron. Host Scott Simon chats with Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman about the visit and the perceptions formed by Romney's hosts.

Middle East
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

On Syria's Front Lines: A Week With The Rebels

Throughout this week, NPR's Kelly McEvers has been bringing us stories from parts of Syria controlled by the rebels who are fighting to oust the regime of Bashar Assad. She talks with host Scott Simon about her reporting.

Law
7:50 am
Sat July 28, 2012

The NRA's Lock On The Gun Control Debate

A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds an NRA baseball cap during at a campaign rally in Craig, Colo., in May.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 8:10 pm

It's been just over a week since moviegoers in Aurora, Colo., were mowed down in a hail of bullets. There have been expressions of sorrow from the nation's political leaders, but no attempts at rewriting laws to head off yet another massacre in the commons.

Election-year politics may be one explanation; another may be the sway a powerful interest group holds over Congress.

This Conversation Didn't Happen

Earlier this week, Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette joined three other Democratic lawmakers at the Capitol to make a plea.

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Food
6:22 am
Sat July 28, 2012

You Won't Throw Tomatoes At These Recipes

Chef Cassy Vires uses heirloom tomatoes like these in her tomato terrine.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:50 pm

Late July is peak tomato season in much of the country, so for some fresh and inventive twists on the fruit — and yes, it is botanically a fruit, no matter what the Supreme Court says — we're heading to Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood, Mo.

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