It's like discovering a distant cousin, a really distant cousin. It's like learning that someone you had barely heard of is actually part of the family. In this case, the family is the Indo-European family of languages. And the umpteenth cousin is a language called Burushaski. It's spoken by about 90,000 people, the Burusho people, and nearly all of them live in Pakistan. A few hundred live in India.
Just to give a sense of what it sounds like, here's a joke in Burushaski that we came across online.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted today to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. He's accused of refusing to turn over certain documents related to the controversial gun-trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious.
We are a nation that puts apple pie above all other pies, and yesterday's survey confirms our audience falls right in line when it comes to the forbidden fruit. But that's not the whole scoop on popular pies.
As we reported yesterday, top American pies bought in the store are apple, pumpkin, cherry, blueberry, and Dutch apple.
Acting along partisan lines, with a vote of 23 to 17, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted this afternoon to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. Republicans, who control the committee, say Holder's Justice Department has not turned over all the documents that the committee needs to see as it probes the so-called Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation.
And they want to know more about why the Justice Department initially told a senator that it had not pursued such an operation.
On July 1, 15 California state parks are slated to be closed permanently to the public — the first such closures in the state's history. They're the victim of budget cuts in a state with a $16 billion shortfall.
Over the past year, park enthusiasts have scrambled to save dozens of parks from closure, including Henry W. Coe State Park, California's second-biggest state park, located about 30 miles south of San Jose.
Reprisals after three church bombings on Sunday have continued in Nigeria, and The Associated Press reports the death toll has reached 98.
The AP adds:
"A rescue services official said more than 98 people have died since Sunday after a trio of church bombings sparked reprisals in Kaduna state. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.
Sahar Sabet of Alpharetta, Ga., says that when she was in an Apple store at the local North Pointe Mall last week to buy an iPad and an iPhone, she and her uncle were overheard by a clerk.
The sales rep asked what language they were speaking and where they were from. When they said they were speaking Farsi and originally from Iran, Sabet tells Atlanta's WSB-TV, the clerk's response was a shock:
The Federal Reserve is ready to take further action — including the purchase of Treasury bonds — "to provide support for the economy," the Chairman of the Fed Ben Bernanke said during a press conference.
Bernanke also said that the members of the Federal Open Market Committee had "marked down" their outlooks on the economy.
Most expect there to be little change in the unemployment rate through the end of the year. The consensus, said Bernanke, is that the Fed expects "slow progress" on unemployment and most opinions are "weighted toward slower growth" on the GDP.
Back in April when NPR looked at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's potential running-mate picks, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and GOP Govs. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia were on our short list.
A new survey of 38 former clerks of current Supreme Court justices and 18 attorneys who have argued cases before the high court found that most of them think the court will rule that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The mandate is the centerpiece of the Obama administration's signature health care law and it is unknown whether the law can survive without that piece.
For Langdon Cook, a walk in the woods isn't that different from a walk through the produce section of the supermarket. He's a writer, blogger and all-around outdoorsy type, but in outdoorsy Seattle, he's made his name primarily as a forager.
When a woman drinks heavily during pregnancy, it can cause profound damage to her unborn child.
Nobody knows how much alcohol, if any, is safe, so the U.S. surgeon general and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise women to abstain from drinking throughout pregnancy to avoid physical and mental birth defects.
But here and elsewhere, even conscientious pregnant women have been known to have an occasional beer or glass of wine while carrying a child. How risky is that?
Update at 12:33 p.m. ET. Fed Extends 'Operation Twist':
The Federal Reserve said it was extending its "Operation Twist" through the end of year. It will add $267 billion more to the program in which the Fed sells some of its medium-term bonds in order to buy longer-term ones. In theory, that pushes down the interest rate on longer-term loans, especially mortgages.
Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 12:03 pm
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, immigration is back in the news right now, in part because of a new move by the Obama administration to stop deporting young people who came here illegally as children. And now there's also new information about just who is coming here and why.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's June, the beginning of the summer wedding season and a lot of couples are tying the knot, but what happens when your plans for a dream wedding in your hometown are the subject of - well, let's say - opinions of complete strangers?
The battle between the Obama administration and the House Oversight and Government over the Fast and Furious operation just ratcheted up another notch. There's word that the White House is exerting executive privilege over documents that the committee's Republican majority has subpoenaed.
New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras has been sworn in as Greek prime minister, correspondent Joanna Kakissis and Sky News report.
As Joanna reported earlier for our Newscast Desk, Samaras' conservative New Democracy party came in first during Sunday national elections, but didn't get enough support to govern on its own. So it will share power with the Socialist PASOK and a small pro-European party — The Democratic Left.
We don't do too many traffic reports, but this news has the potential to be both fascinating and frustrating — depending on whether you're watching from afar or stuck inside a gridlocked car:
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge that carries U.S. Route 50 traffic back-and-forth between Washington, D.C., and mid-Atlantic beaches will be closed for about 40 minutes today, starting around 1:15 p.m. ET, so that a cargo ship carrying four huge cranes can pass (safely, we hope) beneath the span.
Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 12:07 pm
The defense rested its case just before noon ET today and closing arguments will begin Thursday in the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on charges of sexually abusing young boys, according to reporters from The Associated Press, NPR and other news outlets.
Sandusky did not take the stand in his own defense.
Our Original Post: If Sandusky Is Going To Testify, Today's The Likely Day