Uruguay boasts that it has the longest Carnival celebration not just in Latin America, but the world. The 40-day celebration is dotted with makeshift stages all around the capital city of Montevideo for performances of choral music called murga. Murga is both entertainment and a sociopolitical commentary that survived the military dictatorship of the 1970s.
When it comes to schemes to defraud Medicare and Medicaid, there seems to be no limit to the ingenuity and tenacity of would-be scammers.
Still, a Texas doctor and six co-conspirators indicted for an alleged long-running home health care scheme look to have set a new record for a one practice: at least $350 million in fraudulent Medicare bills and $24 million under Medicaid over nearly six years ending in late 2011.
Right about now, gardeners are aching to get out and plant. Usually, in the February dregs of winter, that desire is dashed by cold, wet, maybe even frozen soil. But this year is different.
Here in Washington, D.C., snowdrops came up almost a month ago, and the daffodils have been blooming for two weeks. It's tempting to think that if these harbingers of spring showed up three weeks ahead of schedule, it's safe to plant early, too.
The roiling legal battles over election laws passed in various states have potentially far-reaching consequences: the fate of a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The landmark legislation requires the Justice Department to "pre-clear" any changes to election laws in some or all parts of 16 states, mostly in the South, because of their histories of racially discriminatory voting practices. The Justice Department recently used the mandate to block a voter identification law in South Carolina on grounds that it would harm minority voter turnout.
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 2:13 pm
In a report released by the Pentagon today, the government admits that a contractor dumped some of the remains of Sept. 11 victims in a landfill.
According to the report, the remains "that could neither be tested nor identified" from victims of the attack on the Pentagon and the Shanksville, Pa. crash were first taken to Dover Air Force Base, cremated by a contractor, returned to the base, where they were handed over to a "biomedical waste disposal contractor," which incinerated the remains.
Russia's presidential election is on Saturday. The projected winner is current prime minister — and former president — Vladimir Putin, the subject of a new biography, The Strongman. Author Angus Roxburgh is a longtime journalist who served briefly as a public relations adviser to the Kremlin. He joined Morning Edition's David Greene to discuss the complicated figure who dominates and defines Russian politics.
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 2:02 pm
Owning a food truck may sound like fun – it's a free wheeling, superhip, and low-cost way to experiment with food service. But increasingly food truckers are finding that they're up against some unfriendly realities of city streets, namely a shortage of parking spots.
That's why many, like Nida Rodriguez, who steers the helm of The Slide Ride, a Chicago truck that dishes out gourmet mini sandwiches, are now focused on catering events from office parties to weddings.
A British photojournalist hurt during the government shelling of Homs is now safe in Lebanon, his employer told Reuters.
Reuters adds that The Sunday Times said Paul Conroy was in "good shape and good spirits."
Conroy was hurt in the same incident that killed two other journalists, including his colleague Marie Colvin and Frenchman Remi Ochlik. There is no word whether French journalist Edith Bouvier, who is also hurt, is still in Syria.
In a final burst of campaigning in Michigan Tuesday, embattled GOP front-runner Mitt Romney complained that rival Rick Santorum was making automated phone calls to Democrats and urging them to vote against Romney in the Republican race. (Although only declared Republicans can vote in the party primary, voters can change their affiliation to cast a ballot.)
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 6:09 pm
Like baseballs in a batting cage, the controversies that divide us just keep on coming. Fast and unpredictable.
Last month it was the flap over the Susan G. Komen foundation and its move to cut financial support of Planned Parenthood. The resulting imbroglio dredged up deeply held convictions among Americans about women's health issues and "cause marketing" that, in this case, has resulted in profits for companies promoting breast cancer awareness and research through pink and omnipresent product tie-ins.
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 11:14 am
Less than a month ago, it seemed inconceivable that Mitt Romney would have to fight for his political life in his home state of Michigan.
But fast-moving economic changes, the candidate's verbal stumbles and event venue blunders, and the ascent of flamethrower social conservative Rick Santorum have left Romney sweating to eke out a win Tuesday in Michigan's Republican presidential primary, where the latest polls show a tight race.
Almost one year ago, the Fukushima nuclear disaster nearly led to a global catastrophe, if not for the efforts of a small group of engineers, soldiers, and firemen, who risked their own lives in the days after the disaster to prevent a complete nuclear meltdown.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A touch of Paris has arrived in L.A. Angelinos, like Parisians, can now enjoy fine dining with their pet dogs. The Health Department has deemed dogs perfectly safe as eating companions. Effective immediately, canines will be welcomed in the outdoor seating areas of restaurants. But pet dogs will be denied some elements of standard restaurant service. For one thing, dining does not include sitting on a chair. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Gean Brown Jr. was installing pipes in an attic in Spring Hill, Kan., and somehow he lost his wallet. He never expected to see it again. More than three decades later, Brown received a call last week. The current owner of that house had found the wallet.
If primaries and caucus victories are still all about media attention and momentum, then, yes, it's critical who wins Michigan's statewide vote Tuesday. All the more so if that winner is not Mitt Romney, who grew up there and whose dad was governor in the 1960s.
But as to collecting actual delegates for the actual GOP nomination? Tuesday's vote in Michigan probably will not matter much at all.
Israeli officials say they won't warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.
And let's stay in the region and turned to Israel now, where concerns are growing over Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program. Israel's minister of defense travels to the U.S. today, that's ahead of that's ahead of a visit by his boss, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, next week. The subject of Iran is expected to dominate much of those high-level talks in Washington.
NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro visited the Israeli city of Tel Aviv to gauge concern among residents there.