The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case testing whether the federal government is liable for damages when it violates the Privacy Act by disclosing that an individual is HIV-positive. The government does not dispute that it broke the law, but it asserts that the Privacy Act authorizes damage suits only for violations that cause economic harm, not for emotional harm.
More than 30 years ago, on March 30, 1981, John Hinckley shot President Reagan and three other people outside a Washington hotel. A jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity, and authorities sent him to a mental institution.
Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 12:01 am
It is not uncommon for outstanding athletes to succeed in later life, but it is rare for teammates, literally playing side by side, both to be in the spotlight almost half a century later.
But such is the case with two old boys from Syracuse, who were roommates as freshmen, went on to become the starting backcourt, saw their lives diverge after college — and now, at an age when most men have retired, are facing two very different but very painful challenges in the professions they've chosen, in the places they love.
Rep. Barney Frank, the long-time liberal voice (and a fast-talking, brusque one at that) who announced he won't be running for re-election, discussed with NPR's Guy Raz, co-host of All Things Considered, the items of unfinished business he plans attend to during his remaining year in Congress.
Obama administration officials have announced another round of grants to states to help build the insurance marketplaces, called "exchanges," that will help individuals and small businesses buy health insurances beginning in 2014.
But the real news is who's getting the $220 million. Nine of the 13 states in this round of grants are headed by GOP governors.
The Superdome is one of those pieces of distinctive architecture that immediately gives you a sense of place. Obviously, most recently the Superdome was the backdrop for tragedy, when it became a shelter-of-last-resort during Hurricane Katrina.
But over the past few years, it's gotten quite a makeover. It culminated last month, when new LED lights were installed on its exterior and it was emblazoned with the corporate logo of Mercedes-Benz, which acquired naming rights this year.
Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 6:11 pm
Herman Cain's decision to reassess the status of his Republican presidential campaign in the wake of allegations he engaged in a long-term extramarital affair raises questions beyond will-he-or-won't-he drop out.
One of the big ones?
Which candidate in the still-crowded GOP field would benefit most if Cain ends his White House quest?
We put that question to Republicans in the early contest states of Iowa, which will hold its caucuses Jan. 3, and New Hampshire, where the nation's first primary will be held Jan. 10. What we heard wasn't all that surprising.
Scott Amron really doesn't like peeling those little stickers off fruit from the grocery store. "They're pesky and annoying and they create waste," he tells The Salt. So, he decided to do something about it.
There's a difference between news that's in the public interest and news that the public is interested in. But that difference has been eradicated when it comes to sex scandals involving presidential candidates.
There was a time when affairs involving candidates for the nation's highest office were not generally considered fit subjects for media scrutiny. In the current media environment, however — and in the wake of dozens of sex scandals involving politicians in recent years — that's no longer the case.
As American Airlines struggled to keep up with its rivals in recent years, it could at least boast something that competitors could not: The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier had never gone bankrupt. Not anymore.
On Tuesday, American's parent, AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection, citing $10 billion in loses over the past decade. In a statement, it said it took the step in hopes of bringing down costs and emerging more competitive.
An independent commission has released a blistering human rights report that says Syria's security forces have carried out widespread abuses against protesters, including murder and torture.
The commission, appointed by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, based its report on interviews with more than 220 witnesses or victims of abuse by Syrian security forces. The panel says it collected a solid body of evidence and identified patterns of human rights violations.
Welcome to the second installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! Every month, we invite kids to read a book along with us, and then send in their questions for the author.
Our book club selection for November is a classic that's celebrating a big anniversary. The Phantom Tollbooth — written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer — was published 50 years ago. Juster tells NPR's Michele Norris that the story sprang from his own childhood.
Thanhha Lai was 10 years old the day in 1975 that North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon and fear spread through the city on rumors that Communist troops were about to begin a massacre. Lai recalls fleeing with her eight older siblings and her mother to the nearby port and boarding a crowded South Vietnamese Navy ship that then headed to sea.
A package of tough new economic sanctions imposed this week by the Arab League is another blow to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But will international pressure really help the people of Syria? Melissa Block talks with Kimberly Ann Elliott, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Elliott co-authored a case study on sanctions against Syria that was published by the Peterson Institute.
President Obama is ramping up his campaign for continuation of a payroll tax cut, which only affects the first $106,000 in individual income. Republicans object, in part because they don't even consider it a tax since the money goes to the Social Security Trust Fund. Democrats see it a progressive tax cut. "Spreading the wealth" is a theme Obama campaigned on four years ago.
NPR's Hard Times series features stories of economic hardship and also stories of hope. We asked for ideas from listeners, and Emily Nugent of Berea College in Kentucky responded, writing: "With a student body composed entirely of students from low socio-economic backgrounds, Berea students know about the challenges Americans are facing." Noah Adams went in search of Emily and the Berea College story.
As diplomats from around the world gather in Durban, South Africa, for talks about climate change, a big question looms: What will become of the Kyoto climate treaty, which was negotiated with much fanfare in 1997. The treaty was supposed to be a first step toward much more ambitious actions on climate change, but it is now on the brink of fading into irrelevance. That could have major implications for the future of United Nations climate talks.
Twitter already beat us to all the good puns, including the one in the headline. But, yes, it is true, you will either love or hate this news story from England: A tanker carrying 20 tons of yeast extract — the main ingredient in the loved-or-reviled Marmite — was involved in a late night accident, yesterday, spilling its contents and shutting down the M1, which connects London to the northern part of England.
Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 2:40 pm
Politicians and food executives have been talking about ending the problem of child labor in the West African cocoa industry for the last decade. After shocking revelations that hundreds of thousands of children were forced to harvest cacao beans under abusive conditions, companies pledged to address the practice as "fair trade" entered their lexicon.
Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 3:44 pm
Florida A&M's famed "Marching 100" band has been rocked by the death of one of its drum majors on Nov. 19. Police still haven't released all the details of his death, but they said Robert Champion had been throwing up and hazing had something to do with it.