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It's All Politics
9:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Taking Nothing For Granted, Romney Launches N.H. Bus Tour

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets voters after his campaign speech in Bedford, N.H. on Dec. 20.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 11:06 am

All eyes are on Iowa this week, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is far away — on a campaign bus tour in must-win New Hampshire.

As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on Wednesday's Morning Edition, somehow there are still New Hampshire voters who remain undecided about Romney — despite the fact that he's practically camped out in their living rooms for the last four years.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Accused Of Sexually Abusing Children Decades Ago, Sportswriter Retires

July 23, 2011: Sportswriter Bill Conlin speaking at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 8:44 am

Bill Conlin, a Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter for 46 years and this year's winner of the National Baseball Hall of Fame's award for "meritorious contributions to baseball writing," retired Tuesday after three women and a man came forward to accuse him of molesting them in the 1970s when they were between the ages of 7 and 12.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Mood In North Korean Capital Is 'Subdued But Calm,' U.K. Diplomat Says

This image taken today from North Korean TV footage shows people mourning for Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang.
AFP/Getty Images

While North Koreans in Pyongyang are "in a state of mourning and ... paying their respects at landmarks across the city," the overall mood is "subdued but calm" as people there react to Saturday's death of leader Kim Jong Il and the likelihood that his son Kim Jong Un is now in charge, according to one of Britain's diplomats in the capital city.

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Strange News
7:16 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Pen Removed 25 Years After Woman Swallowed It

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Picture this: A woman in Britain felt a lump in her throat. She tried to take a closer look with a mirror and a pen, but slipped and fell and swallowed the pen. It sounded so improbable, her doctor and her husband did not believe her.

Twenty-five years later, they're eating their words. The woman just had the pen removed. She is in good health - and the pen still works. Doctors scribbled "hello" on a piece of paper.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Europe
7:10 am
Wed December 21, 2011

6-Year-Old British Boy Wins $4,700 Pie In Raffle

Mince pies are a centuries-old Christmas tradition. And this year, a six-year-old boy in England won the most expensive mince pie in the world. A London pie maker raffled it off. To make the $4,7000 dessert, he used rare ingredients. And, buried in the holiday treat was a solid platinum coin worth nearly $1,000.

Business
6:47 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Booming Buffalo Market Comes With Growing Pains

More consumers are turning to buffalo meat as a healthier choice that's often better for the environment. South Dakota is the biggest producer of buffalo, and ranchers there say their biggest challenge is keeping up with the demand.

Media
6:43 am
Wed December 21, 2011

CNN's Piers Morgan Testifies In Phone-Hacking Case

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It was a reversal for CNN celebrity interviewer Piers Morgan yesterday. He had to answer questions about journalists in Britain hacking into phone messages and bribing police. A scandal about press practices has struck at the heart of Rupert Murdoch's media empire in the UK and has led to more than 20 arrests.

NPR's David Folkenflik reports that Morgan insisted he had no involvement in or knowledge of any of it back when he was a high profile tabloid editor in London.

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Election 2012
6:30 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Romney, Gingrich Spar Over Negative Super PAC Ads

There's a spirited debate going on between GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. A Super PAC called Restore Our Future is running negative ads against Gingrich on Romney's behalf. Gingrich called on Romney to get the ads off the air. Romney responded by saying the law does not allow him to communicate with a Super PAC.

It's All Politics
5:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

In A Year Of Partisan Brawls, Congress Goes One More Round

President Obama speaks in the White House's Brady Briefing Room on Tuesday. Behind the president, a ticking clock counts down the time until taxes will go up if Congress can't reach an extension deal on payroll tax cuts.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:35 am

In a year of deadlines and political fights, Congress is closing with one last partisan brawl. At stake are billions of dollars in tax breaks and unemployment benefits for millions of Americans set to expire Jan. 1.

Just in case you've been out buying presents, working or not watching C-SPAN with bated breath, what happened Tuesday was that the House — specifically Republicans in the House — rejected a bill that had broad bipartisan support in the Senate.

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Election 2012
4:40 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Romney Focuses On N.H. Primary Over Iowa Caucuses

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Most of the Republican presidential candidates are focusing their campaign efforts on Iowa at the moment; the first-in-the-nation caucuses there are less than two weeks away.

But not former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He's hundreds of miles away from Iowa, in New Hampshire. And today he's setting off on a three-day tour of the state, eyeing an early primary win.

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Business
4:38 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Why Do Americans Bother To Fly Over The Holidays?

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Many Americans begin their holidays with travel, and complaining about that travel is quickly becoming a favorite national pastime. Long lines, small seats, hidden fees for everything from carry-ons to a can of Coke - the list goes on. To help us understand why this is the new reality, we reached Seth Kaplan. He's the editor of Airline Weekly.

Mr. Kaplan, good morning.

SETH KAPLAN: Good morning, Linda.

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Business News

Linda Wertheimer has business news.

NPR Story
4:00 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Pyongyang Ups Police Presence Ahead Of Kim's Funeral

North Korea has tightened internal security since the announcement of the death of its leader Kim Jong Il. Kim had picked his son Kim Jong Un to replace him, and while it's not official yet, there are indications that the transition is moving forward. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Seoul.

Latin America
12:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Costa Rica's Peaceful Reputation At Risk From Cartels

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, seen in Tokyo in December, says drug cartels are a greater threat to Costa Rica than the region's conflicts during the Cold War.
Kazuhiro Nogi AFP/Getty Images

Costa Rica is Central America's most stable democracy, a peaceful country that abolished its army in 1948 and now draws nearly a million U.S. tourists a year to its national parks and beaches. But it's also right in the middle of the world's most lucrative cocaine trafficking corridor.

As Mexican drug cartels push deeper into Central America, they've cast a dark shadow over Costa Rica's idyllic green image.

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Art & Design
12:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Unusual Diego Rivera Work Restored in Mexico City

Diego Rivera's fountain of the Aztec rain god Tlaloc is a pumping station in Mexico City's municipal water system. It fell into disrepair for some time, but has recently been restored.
David Hiser National Geographic

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 1:54 pm

The Mexican muralist Diego Rivera painted in New York City, San Francisco, Detroit, Europe and the Soviet Union. But some of Rivera's most famous murals and most unusual projects are found in Mexico City.

In Mexico City, Rivera did far more than just paint. He collected pre-Hispanic pottery and indigenous folk art. And he experimented with sculpture and architecture.

And between 1950 and 1952, Rivera built a giant tiled fountain to the Aztec rain god Tlaloc as part of an overhaul of Mexico City's municipal water system.

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History
12:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

A 'Happy Burden': Reflections On The Medal Of Honor

In February 1945, Hershel Williams was sent to Iwo Jima with a flamethrower unit. All but 17 of the 279 members of his company had been killed or wounded a week and a half later.
Nick Del Calzo Courtesy Artisan Books

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor. It is the highest military decoration in the United States, reflecting great service and sacrifice. Of the more than 3,400 recipients, fewer than 85 are still living.

Among them is Hershel Williams, who served as a Marine corporal in World War II. He says that on the day he received the honor — Oct. 5, 1945 — he had no concept of it.

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Middle East
12:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

White House Faces Tough Choice On Iran Sanctions

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:35 am

Let Iran off the hook or undermine the global economy? Slap sanctions on an Iranian energy company or provide Europe with an alternative to Russian gas? Washington policymaking is especially difficult when the aims conflict, and few cases illustrate that principle more clearly than the challenge of finding a way to punish Iran without hurting someone else.

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Law
12:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Calls For More Reporting Of Suspected Child Abuse

Students stand outside Penn State's Old Main building, protesting the handling of a child abuse scandal involving retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:35 am

The revelations about alleged child sex abuse by a former Penn State football coach have caused policymakers to propose new measures to broaden who is required to report suspected abuse.

Each state already has laws that require some combination of doctors, teachers, day care providers and others who work with children to report suspected abuse. If they don't, they could face fines, the loss of a license, and, in some states, possibly jail time.

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Violence At California's Psychiatric Hospitals
12:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

How Do You Hold Mentally Ill Offenders Accountable?

In California, prison inmates who have committed serious crimes and have been diagnosed with a major mental illness can be forced to serve their parole in a state hospital. At Atascadero State Hospital, shown above in this 1999 photo, there are more than 600 such patients. "As a group," says the hospital's director, "the mentally disordered offenders are the most aggressive."
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:35 am

Part of an ongoing series

Mental health and law enforcement officials in California are trying to find ways to hold violent psychiatric patients accountable without punishing people for being sick. It's a response to escalating violence in the state's mental hospitals, where thousands of assaults occur annually. Only a tiny fraction of them, however, result in criminal charges.

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Sweetness And Light
10:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

The NBA Is Bullish On Christmas, By Necessity

The Chicago Bulls mascot, dressed as Santa Claus, dunks during a game last December. The NBA is starting its season on Christmas Day, with a quintuple-header.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

This time last year, Phil Jackson, then the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, complained that the NBA scheduled games on Christmas Day. It seemed, he said, that "Christian holidays don't mean anything" any longer.

A few players echoed Jackson's sentiments, but the complaint died aborning. This Christmas, Sunday, the league has scheduled ... (to the tune of "The 12 Days Of Christmas"):

  • 5 gold games,
  • 4 point guards,
  • 3 referees,
  • 2 free throws,
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It Was A Good Year For...
7:19 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Hell On Fire In 2011, Thanks To Film And Books

Hell was much written and thought about in 2011. In this 18th-century engraving accompanying Dante's Inferno, Virgil leads the poet past souls writhing in torment in the River Styx.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

In 2011, hell was a hot topic, from Hollywood to New York Times bestsellers. In fact, this year has seen an incendiary debate about the existence and contents of hell.

The year began with an epic battle between a priest and Satan, with Anthony Hopkins playing a demon possessed priest in the movie, The Rite. The Hollywood glimpse of the underworld came and went without much notice by moviegoers. But then, another form of hell on earth grabbed the headlines. Judgment Day would soon be upon us.

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It Was A Good Year For...
6:34 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

In Sales, Android Has Upper Hand On The iPhone

Models hold the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android phone during its official launch in Hong Kong in October. The new smartphone runs Google's Android "Ice Cream Sandwich" operating system.
Laurent Fievet AFP/Getty Images

Apple's iPhones may seem more cool, but the Google-backed Android phones are much more popular in the United States. In 2011, Android's U.S. market share was 53 percent, compared to 29 percent for the iPhone, according to the research group NPD.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:33 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Many Police Officers Are Sleep Deprived, Risky For Them And Us

Sleepy police were likelier to fall asleep while driving, a new survey of nearly 5,000 officers in the U.S. and Canada finds. About 40 percent of officers surveyed reported sleep disorders, with various health implications.
Sean Locke iStockphoto

Harvard researchers say they've uncovered a big problem among the nation's 700,000 police officers: a serious lack of sleep.

In what's believed to be the first study of its kind, the researchers queried nearly 5,000 municipal and state police officers in the U.S. and Canada about their sleep habits and symptoms of possible sleep disorders. Then they assessed their on-duty performance for two years.

Forty percent had sleep disorders, and the vast majority of these were undiagnosed before.

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The Two-Way
6:11 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Report: U.S. Takes Top Spot As Most Charitable Nation

Antionette Levi solicits donations for the Salvation Army in Chicago.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Despite the gloomy economic situation, the United States has become the world's most generous nation, according to this year's Charities Aid Foundation's World Giving Index.

Ireland is ranked second followed by Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. Charities Aid Foundation used Gallup's Worldview Poll to look at three behaviors: "giving money, volunteering time and helping a stranger."

The U.S. came out on top after being ranked fifth last year.

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