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Afghanistan
2:53 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Afghan Goal: Toning Down The Radical Preachers

The Afghan government wants Muslim preachers to tone down sermons that often criticize the presence of American troops and praise the Taliban. Here, an Afghan youth drags his sheep past a group of men praying at a mosque in Kabul in November 2011.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 4:48 am

The ministry that governs religious affairs in Afghanistan has announced what some are calling a "three strikes" policy.

It's a warning directed at Muslim clerics, or imams, accused of inciting violence in their Friday sermons. Imams across the country routinely condemn the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and speak in favor of the Taliban.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:52 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Feds Join Fight Against Whooping Cough In Washington

Nurse Susan Peel gives a whooping cough vaccination to a high school student in Sacramento, Calif. The whooping cough vaccine given to babies and toddlers loses much of its effectiveness by the time people reach their teens and early adulthood.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 9:09 am

Washington state is in the midst of a whooping cough outbreak. The state has more than 1,100 confirmed cases so far this year — that's 10 times as many as this time last year, and health officials fear the number may rise.

The state is desperately trying to raise awareness of the epidemic. Take this public service announcement featuring a mother whose baby contracted the disease.

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Politics
1:55 am
Thu May 10, 2012

House To Vote On GOP Bill Framed As Guns Vs. Butter

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 8:49 am

Republicans who control the House want to block some $55 billion worth of automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget next year. Instead, they want to cut funding for social programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and Meals on Wheels. It's a choice that has been framed as guns versus butter, and this time, guns are expected to win.

The Obama administration has threatened to veto the legislation, which the House votes on Thursday. But the president is willing to leave the Pentagon cuts in place for now, in hopes of bringing Republicans back to the bargaining table.

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The Two-Way
11:04 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Pew Study: Americans In The Northeast Have More Economic Mobility

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 4:48 am

A new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts finds economic mobility differs significantly across the United States. The report finds Americans are more likely to move up the economic ladder if they live in the northeast.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:15 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

A Critic's Advice For Doctors In Search Of Industry Work

iStockphoto.com

Over in the U.K. there's a set of principles being floated in support of collaboration between the drug industry and doctors.

A sample of the dos and don'ts for doctors reads a little like dating advice:

"Don't establish blanket policies denying interaction with industry or regard it merely as a source of funding.

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The Two-Way
6:05 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Vidal Sassoon, Hairstyling Icon, Dies At Age 84

Clothes designer Mary Quant, one of the leading lights of the British fashion scene in the 1960's, having her hair cut by another fashion icon, hairdresser Vidal Sassoon in 1964.
Ronald Dumont Getty Images

Vidal Sassoon, who's hair styles and products are used by millions worldwide, has died. He was 84 and died of natural causes.

Sassoon started his career as a shampoo boy in the 1950s. As the AP reports, he became a hair styling icon when he freed women of 1950s hair in favor of a hair cut that needed little styling.

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Animals
5:54 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

'Frankenfish': It's What's For Dinner

John Odenkirk holds up a snakehead. The fish can survive for long periods of time out of water as long as they're kept moist. They breathe air by gulping it, so they don't need to stay submerged.
Sabri Ben-Achour for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:19 pm

More people on the East Coast are acquiring a taste for snakehead, an exotic fish that's moved here from Asia. But the fish are still multiplying and spreading.

Snakehead came to Maryland almost 10 years ago. The so-called "Frankenfish" looks like its namesake and has multiple rows of teeth. Someone released it here — and then there was a documentary and an unbelievably bad movie.

Creating A Market

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It's All Politics
5:32 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Obama Gambles On Gay Marriage

President Obama was on a TV monitor at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a key historic site of the gay-rights movement.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:35 pm

The 2012 presidential election was supposed to be about the economy, and even with President Obama's historic decision to make it known Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage, that is still likely to be true.

But the president's decision to announce in an ABC News interview that he personally backs gay marriage could mean that at least one social issue may take a more prominent role in the election-year spotlight.

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Economy
5:24 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Foreclosure Review Is Free, But Few Borrowers Apply

A foreclosed home in Los Angeles. More than 4 million homeowners nationwide are eligible for an independent review of their foreclosure process, but only a small percentage have applied to the program.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:19 pm

It's been more than six months since government regulators and banks first extended an offer to 4.3 million homeowners facing foreclosure: to review, at no cost, the foreclosure process to check for any possible errors or misrepresentations.

Homeowners stand to collect compensation of as much as $100,000 if errors are found. But thus far, only a tiny percentage of those eligible have signed up.

'Not Enough Folks Have Signed Up'

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Politics
5:24 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Andrew Sullivan On Obama's Support Of Gay Marriage

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:19 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For reaction now, we turn to writer and political blogger Andrew Sullivan. He is gay and married, and for years has been a leading advocate of same-sex marriage. He's the editor of the blog "The Dish" at The Daily Beast website. And, Andrew, I take it from what I've seen on your blog this afternoon you have mixed feelings about this development.

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Election 2012
5:06 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Romney's 1996 Help To Colleague Hits Airwaves Again

Mitt Romney speaks at a March 3 rally in Dayton, Ohio, where he told the story of the 1996 disappearance of the daughter of a colleague.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:19 pm

For the past few days, Mitt Romney's superPAC has begun to flex its considerable financial muscle in nine key swing states. Restore Our Future is spending upward of $4 million on TV ads in its first major media buy of the general election.

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Music Interviews
5:00 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Paul Thorn: Music From The Margins

Paul Thorn's new, all-covers album is called What the Hell Is Goin' On?
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:19 pm

Before Paul Thorn made his living as a singer, he was a professional boxer. He also spent 12 years working at a furniture factory in his hometown of Tupelo, Miss.

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NPR Story
4:59 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Texas Inmate Rivals Obama In W.Va. Primaries

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's not much news out of presidential primaries these days, but there was one surprise yesterday in West Virginia's Democratic primary. A convicted felon serving time in a Texas prison won 41 percent of the vote to President Obama's 59 percent.

For more on this unusual candidate and what his strong second-place showing says about Democratic voters in West Virginia, I'm joined from Charleston by Associated Press reporter Lawrence Messina.

Lawrence, welcome.

LAWRENCE MESSINA: Hi.

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National Security
4:50 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Bomb Plot: Secrets Didn't Stay Secret For Long

Information about CIA operations often leaks quickly, and analysts say this can complicate future efforts.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 6:13 pm

Once upon a time, CIA operations were secret.

But as the latest bomb plot in Yemen shows, little stays hidden for long these days.

In the post-Sept. 11 world, even the most sensitive intelligence operations quickly become daily fodder as the 24-hour news cycle, the Internet and media-friendly politicians give the story momentum. And it's often senior government officials and the intelligence community who spread the juiciest details.

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The Salt
4:24 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Hospital Food So Fresh, Even The Healthy Come To Dine

Executive chef Tony DeWalt picks some lettuce from the Fauquier Hospital's culinary healing garden.
John Rose

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:48 am

Twice a week, local seniors in Warrenton, Virginia, flock to a hip new dinner spot called the Bistro on the Hill for good food, a great view, and musical accompaniment by a retired piano player from a nearby Nordstrom's.

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News
4:02 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Government Job Cuts Threaten Black Middle Class

An employee loads flat trays onto a truck at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Merrifield, Va. The USPS, which is projecting a $14.1 billion loss this fiscal year, is discussing restructuring options with potential advisers.
Andrew Harrier Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 4:58 pm

The planned downsizing of the U.S. Postal Service, which wants to shed thousands of jobs and reduce hours at post offices, struck Baltimore native Eric Easter at his core.

For him, it will mark the end of an era in which a post office job has meant stability and a path to a better life, as it did for him and his six siblings living in public housing in the 1960s.

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

President Obama: Same-Sex Couples Should Be Able To Wed

President Barack Obama is seen on a monitor in the White House briefing room in Washington, Wednesday. President Barack Obama told an ABC interviewer that he supports gay marriage.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:19 pm

In an interview with ABC News, President Obama declared his support for gay marriage. This marks a departure from the president's previous stance, which has repeatedly been described as "evolving."

Here's the money quote from ABC's OTUS blog:

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Agent, Double Agent Or Mole? Which Was The Underwear Bomb Character?

Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 3:45 pm

Many headlines and stories (including some of ours) have been saying that a "double agent" infiltrated al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and foiled a plot to get another underwear bomb aboard a U.S.-bound passenger jet.

But we've been looking at definitions of spy terms and think that based on what we have been told so far, the person at the center of the story wasn't a double agent.

That character was at least an "agent."

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You Must Read This
2:49 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Beyond The 'Blonde': A Look At Marilyn's Inner Life

Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:19 pm

Manuel Munoz's first novel is What You See in the Dark.

Think Julianne Moore's take on Sarah Palin, or Meryl Streep's depiction of Margaret Thatcher.

Actors in biopics have a major leg up on writers when it comes to developing character. Even casual viewers can judge the performance a success if it mimics what we remember of the public persona.

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The Salt
2:33 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

What Our Gut Microbes Say About Us

The bacterium Enterococcus faecalis is a beautiful example of a gut microbe.
National Institutes of Health

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 2:37 pm

What if it's not just our genes or our lifestyle, exactly, that makes us skinny or fat, healthy or sick? What if it's also the makeup of the bacterial ecosystem that inhabits our gut?

A growing pile of scientific studies is pointing us in that direction. Researchers in this hot new field describe the microbes in our gut as a vital organ that's as essential as our liver or kidneys. They're finding that this organ, which they call the "microbiome," varies greatly from person to person.

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The Two-Way
2:31 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Study: Plastic Garbage In Pacific Ocean Has Increased 100-Fold In 40 Years

An insect known as a "sea skater." Scientists say the abundance of floating plastic has led to an increase of these creatures.
Scripp Institution of Oceanography

The amount of plastic debris in the part of the Pacific Ocean known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" has grown 100-fold in the past 40 years.

In a paper published today by the journal Biology Letters, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography report that most of that plastic has degraded into pieces no bigger than a fingernail. But that wasn't the major finding the scientists are reporting.

The scientists have found that all those pieces of plastic have provided ample opportunity for insects called "sea skaters" to breed.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

County Judge Overturns Small Claims Hybrid Judgment Against Honda

Heather Peters and her 2006 Honda Civic hybrid. She went to court over its disappointing mileage.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 1:23 pm

It was a story about the little guy taking on the big, multinational corporation on equal footing: Heather Peters, a California woman, took Honda to small claims court claiming her hybrid Civic wasn't getting the gas mileage promised on the window sticker.

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Latin America
1:03 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Mexican Crime Reporters Risk Becoming The Story

A woman lights a candle during a tribute to slain Mexican journalists at the Monument of Independence in Mexico City on May 5. The vigil took place to protest violence against the press after the brutal murders of four journalists in Veracruz state.
Sashenka Gutierrez EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 9:37 am

Mexico is reeling from another round of brutal murders of journalists. Four journalists and photographers who covered the police beat have been killed in eastern Mexico's crime-ridden state of Veracruz.

There's a new call for the federal government to take measures to protect journalists in a country where more and more reporters censor themselves out of fear.

The ceremony to remember the most recent killings took place last weekend in Mexico City on the steps of the Monument of Independence between statues depicting peace and law.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:38 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

FDA Leans On Device Makers To Cut X-Ray Doses For Kids

Easy does it on the X-ray doses for kids.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 12:58 pm

The Food and Drug Administration has a proposition for the companies that make X-ray machines.

Make sure your new equipment has settings and instructions that minimize radiation hazards for kids, or the agency will look to slap a label on the machines that recommends they not be used for children at all.

The agency proposed the approach today (details in the Federal Register); it's the latest move to curb radiation hazards from imaging equipment.

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The Two-Way
12:34 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Fannie Mae Posts Profit, Doesn't Need Federal Funds For First Time Since Crisis

Fannie Mae.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:58 pm

The mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced today that it made $2.7 billion during the first quarter of 2012. For the first time since the beginning of the financial crisis, Fannie Mae will not ask the federal government for bailout funds.

CNN reports the company will pay a dividend to the Treasury Department. CNN adds:

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