There are a few things to say about about the incident in which President Obama was heckled by an apparent militant Christian at Monday night's campaign fundraiser at Los Angeles' House of Blues in Los Angeles. (My colleague Mark Memmott reports on the incident over at The Two-Way blog.)
A tiny crimson berry from West Africa discovered by Westerners almost three centuries ago can turn lemons into lemonade and vinegar into apple cider, at least as far as the tongue is concerned.
The chemical miraculin in "miracle fruit," as the berry is known, makes sour things eaten immediately afterward taste sweet, and sweet things taste super sweet. And it's inspired a small counterculture of "flavor trippers" who get together to swirl it (or a tablet containing it) around on their tongues and then sample a parade of foods to showcase its mind-bending qualities.
For the past three years, a highly encrypted computer worm called Conficker has been spreading rapidly around the world. As many as 12 million computers have been infected with the self-updating worm, a type of malware that can get inside computers and operate without their permission.
Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 2:11 pm
Unbearable cuteness is news, right? In any case, we'll get back to the serious news in a bit. But, first, a picture of 12 baby giant pandas taking a nap at a breeding center in Chengdu:
There is a bit of news to go along with this picture. As the AP reports today, China has finished its census of humans and has now started its once-a-decade counting of pandas in the wild. The AP adds:
Many Americans view Congress as a disaster, albeit one whose shifting tectonic plates are caused by humans not geology.
So it was probably fitting that FEMA, whose mission is partly to mitigate calamities stepped in to do just that Monday and rescue the nation's lawmakers from the dire circumstances the policymakers had created.
Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 4:03 pm
There's live video now from CNN and Washington's NBC-4 as work begins to have engineers rappel down the sides of the Washington Monument to inspect for damage from the Aug. 23 earthquake that shook much of the eastern U.S.
For many of us, coffee is the first thought of the day. Just thinking about it gives us the buzz, the energy and the power to ask ourselves the next question, do I make it at home or shell out another $4 at the local Starbucks as I race to work?
The vast majority of parents get their kids vaccinated, but a persistent minority decline to do so.
Their reasons vary: Some continue to worry about a link with autism even though research supporting a connection has been completely discredited. Others are concerned about side effects, or they say they don't believe that the diseases the vaccines prevent are really all that serious.
Israel's government has given the final go-ahead for the construction of 1,100 new housing units in east Jerusalem.
The move is sure to heighten tensions, which are already high following a Palestinian move last week to seek U.N. membership.
Israel's Interior Ministry announced Tuesday that it had given the final approval for the new homes to be built in Gilo, a sprawling Israeli enclave in southeast Jerusalem. It said construction could begin after a mandatory 60-day period for public comment.
Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 9:52 am
July marked a fourth consecutive month of slight gains in home prices in its surveys covering major cities across the nation, researchers who put together the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices
Today's top story so far in the U.S. seems to be about the government shutdown that isn't going to happen.
As we reported earlier, Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement last night that averted what might have been at least a partial shutdown later this week. And, as often is the case, both sides are claiming vindication.
Meanwhile, other stories making headlines include:
Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 10:28 am
As some last-minute developments and a late-evening deal came together to bring another shutdown showdown to a close last night, Democratic and Republican leaders were both declaring their positions in the latest budget battle had been vindicated.
A gun turret on the sunken Australian warship HMAS Sydney. All 645 people aboard the Sydney died.
The Australian warship HMAS Sydney is anchored in Sydney Harbor in this undated photograph. The ship sank in November 1941 after a battle with a German vessel. Despite extensive search efforts, the boats were not found until 2008.
A sonar image shows the seafloor wreckage of the German ship HSK Kormoran. The discovery of the ship came 67 years after it sank during a battle in World War II.
A 5.9-inch deck gun from the German raider HSK Kormoran, seen on April 7, 2008, off the coast of western Australia.
In November 1941, two ships crossed paths off the coast of Australia. One was the German raider HSK Kormoran. The other: an Australian warship called the HMAS Sydney. Guns were fired, the ships were damaged, and both sank to the bottom of the ocean.
Big banks are beginning to make good on their threat to charge fees for everyday checking accounts. But most banks aren't big banks, and community institutions are hanging on to free checking as long as they can in the hopes of luring away some of the big banks' disgruntled customers.
The larger banks are now enacting what customers like James Miller of Nashville have heard was on the horizon for a year or more: Your free checking account is about to cost you.
The high price of gold and other precious metals is encouraging a new breed of gold diggers — traveling estate buyers who temporarily set up shop in hotels. They offer to pay cash on the spot for gold, diamonds, old Rolexes and collectibles.
Walking into one such event at a hotel, it all seems very professional: A fancy conference room with a 20-foot conference table, with soothing bossa nova music playing overhead.
For a long time, much of the world saw the eurozone sovereign debt crisis as Europe's problem. Now world leaders, including the United States, realize a eurozone meltdown could have dire consequences for everyone. They are working up a massive rescue plan whose contours are beginning to emerge. Although Britain does not use the euro, that nation's politicians are using their party conventions to issue dire warnings about the euro's fate. And one eminent economist is proposing a novel solution to limit the impact of the European debt crisis.
STEVE INSKEEP, host: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, host: And I'm David Greene. Greece's government hopes to approve a new property tax in parliament today. There is wide opposition to the measure from a Greek public that's already feeling the pain from austerity measures. The government says the new tax is a must to prove that the country deserves more international bailout money to prop up the Greek economy. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us on the line from Athens.
The British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is in negotiations to pay several million dollars to settle the claims of the family of a slain girl whose mobile voice mail messages were hacked by a private investigator for one of its tabloids. Murdoch would personally pay more than $1.5 million to charity as part of the deal.
But that's only the latest fallout for News Corp. in the phone hacking and bribery scandal there.
According to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, life in retirement is better or the same as it was before, but it is worse for a substantial minority in key areas, including health and finances.
Americans pride themselves on being optimistic. But Robert Blendon, of the Harvard School of Public Health, says that may not be such a good thing when it comes to planning for retirement. For many Americans, it is proving harder than they imagined, according to a a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
It looks like the government will be funded until Nov. 18. According to multiple news reports, Senate leaders announced they have come to an agreement that will likely avoid a partial shutdown of the government.