Kathy Scruggs of Georgia went to the store to buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket. By mistake, the clerk gave her a ticket for Powerball. Scruggs decided to buy both. The unemployed woman's Powerball ticket was worth more than $15 million.
To celebrate its German roots, residents of Cullman, Ala., usually donned liederhosen and ate bratwurst in. But keeping with Bible Belt values, beer was verboten. This year kegs are being tapped at what had been billed as the world's only dry Oktoberfest.
Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 7:34 am
Four men were arrested Tuesday for their alleged roles in what the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald Machen, alleges was "one of the most brazen corruption schemes in the history of federal contracting."
Remember reading, as a child, and feeling the fine mesh of words catch you up so completely that you became enjoyably muddled about which was the real world and which the world of the book? For me, it was as though I gulped down the language of the story and grew fat with its cadences — they rang in my ears, colored my vision and pulsed in my throat.
As I got older, I lost some of that easy susceptibility. What had once been a permeable membrane between fiction and life solidified.
Israeli scientist Daniel Schectman was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for chemistry for his discovery of quasicrystals, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Wednesday.
The discovery, made in 1982, changed the way chemists look at solid matter.
"Contrary to the previous belief that atoms were packed inside crystals in symmetrical patterns, Shechtman showed that the atoms in a crystal could be packed in a pattern that could not be repeated," the academy said.
The U.N. Security Council has failed to agree on what to do about Syria's brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters. Tuesday night, Russia and China vetoed a resolution condemning Syria, even after the text was watered down and stripped of any threats of sanctions.
The Department of Education says that as distance learning has grown so has fraud. An inspector general's report found that scam artists are taking advantage of the popularity of online education to steal federal education money.
LYNN NEARY, host: Samsung says it will file court injunctions in France and Italy to try and block the sale of Apple's latest iPhone, citing patent infringement. Apple unveiled its latest version of the popular smartphone just yesterday. As NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, the new device, called the 4S, didn't make the usual splash.
NPR's business news starts with lawsuits against a big New York bank.
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MONTAGNE: The Bank of New York Mellon is facing two more government lawsuits involving its currency trading business. The suits were filed yesterday by the Manhattan U.S. attorney and New York attorney general. The lawsuits accuse the bank of promising clients, including public pension funds, the best exchange rate, then giving them the worst rate and pocketing the difference.
RENEE MONTAGNE, host: The presidency of one of the biggest unions in the country is up for grabs. James Hoffa currently heads the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and he's facing the first challenge by a woman in the Teamsters' 108-year-old history. Sandy Pope is a former truck driver. If she becomes head of the union and its 1.4 million members, her challenge would be to turn around years of declining membership.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Steve Inskeep is away.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
We're going to hear now about the continuing economic woes of Greece. It's one of the small European Union countries drowning in debt. Today it faces yet another protest. This time, a general strike by workers in the public sector furious about more cuts aimed at them. The pressure to shrink the government payroll is coming from international creditors.
Ryan Van Duzer, an outdoor enthusiast who has starred in reality TV adventure shows, visits Colorado schools to talk about how working out can be entertainment. He says he often leaves frustrated after kids tell him about staying inside playing video games.
The obesity crisis is catching up with Colorado, the nation's thinnest state.
Being fit is part of the culture in Colorado: there are biking trails and hiking trails and ski slopes and even the high altitude itself helps burn off calories. But waistlines are widening, especially among children.
The United States Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a major case testing the rights of teachers in religious schools. At rock bottom, the issue is who is a minister and when, if ever, that individual is exempt from the nation's civil rights laws.
Minnesota Lynx guard Candice Wiggins, center, goes up for a shot against Atlanta Dream center Alison Bales, left, and forward Sancho Lyttle, right, in the second half of Game 1 of the WNBA finals basketball series on Sunday.
Game 2 of the WNBA finals is set for Wednesday night in Minneapolis, as the Minnesota Lynx face the Atlanta Dream. The Lynx lead the series after winning Game 1 on Sunday, where they played in front of a near-record crowd. But after 15 seasons, the WNBA is still having trouble attracting fans and making money.
Syrian exiles, both defecting soldiers and civilian protesters, have slipped across the border into northern Lebanon seeking safety from the Syrian government and its relentless crackdown on opponents.
But even here, they can literally hear the shooting from across the border in the restive Syrian town of Homs, less than 20 miles away. They express fear that President Bashar Assad's forces will track them down in Lebanon. Those most at risk are army defectors who are hiding out in small Lebanese villages.
Hollywood inhabitants always joke that nobody can understand the profit and loss statements of films. There's an old expression: "We shoulda shot the deal instead of the movie — it's got a better plot." The same, it seems to me, could be said of the economics of college athletics.
One week before the pro baseball season ended, Florida Marlins pitcher Leo Nunez made a stunning admission: For the past 10 years, he lied about both his age and his name. As the subterfuge finally came apart, Nunez left for his native Dominican Republic. Details about why he assumed someone else's identity are only now coming out.
"His real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo," Miami Herald reporter Frances Robles tells NPR's Lynn Neary. "And when he was 17, he assumed a friend's identity, who was 16 — because the teams pay so much more money for 16-year-olds."
An Egyptian man sits watching as others take part in a sit-in at Tahrir Square demanding further reforms in Cairo, on July 27, 2011, months after the country's revolution which brought down the government.
This summer I spent a month in Egypt doing research for the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. In October, Afropop will begin airing a series of programs looking at Egypt — past and present — through the eyes of musicians. In one episode Egyptians are asked to imagine how the revolution will affect their popular music?
In the past 17 days, people visiting Munich's Oktoberfest drank a record 7.5 million liters of beer — around 1.98 million U.S. gallons. That figure is made more striking if one notes that the festival, which ended Monday, hosted some 6.9 million visitors this year — or 200,000 people short of a record turnout.
Despite that number, there was less violence this year, with the police being called about 100 times fewer than they were in 2010. And Reuters says that only 58 conflicts involved people knocking one another over the head with steins — a drop of 4 from last year.
Brian Vandevender says a tough economic market prevented him from getting a good job until the state brought back the program it calls STEPS 2 last month. He just got a position working for a company that makes auto parts and supplies and hopes it will turn into a full-time job when STEPS ends in December.
Credit Kathy Lohr / NPR
Jamita Washington was unemployed for two years before the STEPS program was introduced in Mississippi. She landed a full-time position at a manufacturing plant in Vicksburg and has remained employed for 18 months.
As President Obama sells his jobs initiative across the country, people in Mississippi point to a program they say is already creating jobs. Mississippi has attracted attention because economists like the way the state got employers to share the cost of hiring workers.
Under the Subsidized Transitional Employment Program and Services, or STEPS for short, the state pays part of the cost of workers' salaries in the hopes that the subsidy will lead to full-time jobs.
Some analysts say this could be a national model, but it comes with a price tag.