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Around the Nation
5:09 am
Sat October 15, 2011

'NextGen' Air Traffic System Has Yet To Take Off

An air traffic controller monitors flights in July at the Denver International Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration is planning to modernize its traffic control system, but has faced a number of obstacles.

John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 15, 2011 3:35 pm

The government is trying to modernize the nation's air traffic control system, but cost overruns, software problems and management concerns are making some wonder whether the so-called "Next Generation" system may take another generation to complete.

The radar screens in the nation's aircraft control towers are based on technology dating to World War II. Many of the routes airliners fly were laid out at a time pilots followed bonfires for navigation at night.

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Music Interviews
4:57 am
Sat October 15, 2011

A Grand Musical Thinker, Inviting 'Friendly Experiencers'

Anthony Braxton has just released the recording of his fifth opera, Trillium E.

Michael Weintrob Tri-Centric Foundation

The rap on composer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton has always been that his music is difficult.

But Braxton himself is far from austere. He's easily approachable, so much so that he uses the term "friendly experiencer" to describe his audience.

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Middle East
4:36 am
Sat October 15, 2011

WikiLeaks Cable Hints At Motive For Alleged Iran Plot

An alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir (shown here in 2004), may have been motivated by tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but also could underscore an internal power struggle.

Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 16, 2011 6:23 am

The disclosure of an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in the U.S. is certain to worsen relations between Riyadh and Tehran, despite the baffling and improbable details that have emerged so far.

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been deteriorating for some years now, however, with growing hostility bubbling just below the surface. In that context, the plot may make more sense than is immediately apparent.

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Politics
4:24 am
Sat October 15, 2011

The Binge-Purge Politics Of 2012

Rep. Michele Bachmann greets supporters after Tuesday's debate in New Hampshire. She saw her political fortunes rise earlier in the summer but has since fallen back in the polls.

Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Sun October 16, 2011 1:39 am

In the days following the umpteenth Republican presidential debate — Tuesday night in New Hampshire — America continues to ladle praise on its newfound hero: pizza mogul Herman Cain.

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Presidential Race
3:37 am
Sat October 15, 2011

The Difference, Herman Cain Says, Is 'Substance'

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out this week puts a new name at the top of the race for the Republican presidential nomination: Herman Cain. The poll shows the former head of Godfather's Pizza at 27 percent, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney just 4 points behind. Cain spoke with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about his surge to front-runner status.

Scott Simon: So how do you keep your campaign from going the way of Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump — for that matter, every other front-runner?

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Sports
3:02 am
Sat October 15, 2011

Being Bartman: 'Catching Hell' Tells Cubs Fan's Story

As the Chicago Cubs' Moises Alou made a leaping attempt at a pop foul during the National League Championship Series, Steve Bartman (in Cubs cap and dark sweater) was among the fans reaching for the ball. While one image suggests he acted alone, the second photo tells another story.

Elsa Getty Images

We fans of the Chicago Cubs rarely hear good news in October, so there's a little buzz of excitement around Wrigley Field these days about the possibility of Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein reportedly coming to Chicago to take over a similar or expanded role with the hapless Cubs.

In 2004, Epstein helped guide the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years and to another title in 2007. In Chicago, he'd be trying to end a Cubs' championship drought dating back to 1908; the Cubs haven't even been to the World Series since 1945.

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Business
12:19 am
Sat October 15, 2011

Obama Drives Home Free Trade Deal With S. Korea

President Obama waves to the crowd after speaking at a GM plant Friday in Michigan. Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited the plant to promote a free trade agreement.

Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 15, 2011 11:26 am

Over the last few years, during factory tours across the country, Obama has driven an electric vehicle and coerced a New York Times reporter aboard a high-tech scooter.

So it was a safe bet that when he and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak found a brand new subcompact Chevy Sonic car on their tour of a General Motors plant, the two world leaders would climb in.

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Environment
6:01 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Polar Bear Researcher To Be Re-Interviewed By Feds

A researcher who wrote a famous report about dead polar bears is being re-interviewed by federal investigators, who are continuing to probe allegations of misconduct. Above, a polar bear walks on the frozen tundra on the edge of Hudson Bay.

Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Federal officials continue to probe allegations of misconduct related to a famous report on dead polar bears that raised concerns about climate change. Later this month, officials plan to re-interview one of the two government scientists who wrote that report.

The new development suggests that scientific integrity remains a focus of the investigation, which recently detoured into allegations that the other researcher under scrutiny broke rules related to federal funding of research. Both scientists work for agencies of the Department of the Interior (DOI).

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The Two-Way
5:50 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

NASA Books Flight On Virgin Galactic

SpaceShipTwo in full feather wing mode on a rapid descent from its drop altitude of 51,500 feet over Mojave, Calif. in May of 2011. This photograph was taken with high powered telescopes from the ground.

Mark Greenberg Virgin Galactic/Clay Center Obse

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 6:49 pm

Virgin Galactic announced today that NASA has booked its first charter flight to space on the company's SpaceShipTwo, which the company says will take off from its New Mexico spaceport.

The contract could be worth up to $4.5 million if NASA exercises its right to book two more flights. Virgin said NASA will use its flight on the spacecraft for "engineers, technologists, and scientific researchers to conduct cutting-edge experiments in space."

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Music Interviews
5:46 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Evanescence: Thrashing Guitars, Angelic Vocals

Evanescence's self-titled third album is out this week.

Courtesy of the artist

Goth metal has always been a niche genre, but over the years, a few artists have found ways to give it Top 40 appeal. Evanescence has pulled off that trick with two multiplatinum albums: Fallen in 2004 and The Open Door in 2006, both of which unite loud, heavy guitars and drums with the ethereal voice of singer Amy Lee.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:42 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Administration Drops Long-Term Care Provision Of Overhaul

The late Sen. Edward Kennedy, a champion for the CLASS Act, gets a standing ovation as he arrives at the closing session of a White House forum on health care overhaul in early March 2009.

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 15, 2011 11:52 am

After a 19-month review, the Obama administration has concluded that it can't implement the CLASS Act, the community-based long-term care program that was the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's most heartfelt contribution to the Affordable Care Act.

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Politics
5:41 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Voters In Spartanburg, S.C., Say They Favor Cain

Members of the Palmetto Statesmen, a barbershop chorus, say they think the Republican Party has lost its way. Currently, many say they favor candidate Herman Cain.

Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 7:28 pm

One of the earliest primary states is South Carolina, which holds its primary on Jan. 21. South Carolina is a Republican stronghold — with a strongly conservative voting base.

In Spartanburg, S.C., a handful of Republican voters share what's on their minds — and many are leaning toward Herman Cain.

Perry Aims To Win Voters

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to win hearts and minds in the Palmetto State right where it counts — with food.

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Religion
4:46 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Bishop Indicted For Not Reporting Suspected Abuse

A grand jury has indicted the Roman Catholic bishop of Kansas City for failing to report suspected child sexual abuse. Bishop Robert Finn has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of not reporting to police that a priest had child pornography on his computer.

World
4:46 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

U.S. Sends Troops To Uganda

President Obama told Congress he is sending troops to Uganda and neighboring country. The numbers aren't big: About a hundred American military advisers are going. But they have a significant job. They're tasked with helping African troops pursue members of the Lord's Resistance Army. Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Michele Kelemen for more.

Shots - Health Blog
4:22 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

What Twitter Knows About Flu

Flu shots, anyone?

Giorgio Magini iStockphoto.com

Twitter may turn out to be a great tool for tracking epidemics and how people deal with them.

Some scientists tracked tweets about swine flu back in 2009 and 2010, then looked at how the tweets lined up with vaccination rates.

By comparing the Twitter data with vaccination estimates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the group saw patterns between what people were saying about flu shots and whether or not they were getting sick.

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Arts & Life
4:11 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Remakes Rethink: Is Hollywood Really Out Of Ideas?

Holding out for ... what again? A remake of 1984's Footloose (with Kevin Bacon) has some fans crying foul — but if Aretha Franklin can earn respect with an Otis Redding song, why can't Hollywood take a second look at something?

The Kobal Collection Picture Desk

It's been a big year for Hollywood remakes — more than a dozen, not counting sequels. There were new versions of Conan the Barbarian and Arthur this summer. Fresh incarnations of Footloose and The Thing open today. And soon we'll see Hollywood's take on the Swedish hit The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Cue the standard complaint: Hollywood has run out of ideas.

Hold on, though. Let's think this through.

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It's All Politics
4:03 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Rick Perry Offers His Version Of 'Drill, Baby, Drill'

Texas Gov. Rick Perry lays out his energy plan at a US Steel plant in West Mifflin, Pa., Oct. 14, 2011.

Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 15, 2011 2:24 pm

Ask yourself what sort of energy plan you would likely get from a conservative governor from the oil and gas patch who gets a lot of political and financial support from the fossil-fuel industry and who is openly hostile to the federal government and that's pretty much the energy plan Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed Friday.

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Around the Nation
3:28 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

The Changing Face Of Seeing Race

In 1968, a year after the release of the film Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, a Gallup Poll revealed that just 20 percent of Americans thought it was OK for a white person to marry a black person. According to a recent 2011 Gallup Poll, 96 percent of African-Americans and 84 percent of whites accept the idea.

Anonymous AP

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 11:37 pm

Let's go back to 1967.

That was the year interracial marriage made headlines. Just take the Hollywood classic Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. The film was a new kind of love story for Hollywood. The movie was about a black man who wanted to marry a white woman — a huge taboo at the time.

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Herman Cain
3:17 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Cain Says He's Not Just A Flavor Of The Week

The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza has surprised a lot of people by rising to the top of the pack in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Herman Cain hasn't been traveling to many pancake breakfasts in Iowa or town halls in New Hampshire, but his polished speeches and debate performances have thrilled Republican voters.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

S&P Downgrades Spain's Sovereign Debt Rating

Late last night, Standard & Poor's announced it was downgrading Spain's sovereign debt rating one notch from AA to AA-minus.

The Financial Times reports:

S&P's statement said that despite "resilience" in Spain's economy this year, there were "heightened risks to Spain's growth prospects" due to high unemployment, tighter financial conditions, a high level of debt and a broader eurozone slowdown.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Obama Pushes Free Trade Agenda In Detroit

President Obama was in Detroit Friday, selling his free trade agenda. He brought the message to an auto plant and brought along the South Korean president. Guy Raz talks to NPR's Ari Shapiro for more.

The Two-Way
1:51 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Two More Parts Of Alabama Immigration Law Put On Hold, Rest Upheld

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 1:52 pm

"The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the parts of Alabama's immigration law that require proof of lawful residency in the U.S. and track immigration information about newly enrolled students," The Huntsville Times writes.

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Turns Out Herman Cain's 'Black Walnut' Flavor Had A Limited Run

Herman Cain.

Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

You remember how Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain defended himself after Sarah Palin called him the "flavor of the week?"

Like his rolls-off-the tongue 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan, Cain came back with a zinger of a comeback during an interview with Jay Leno:

"I happen to believe that there's ice milk and there's Häagen-Dazs Black Walnut. Substance. That's the difference," Cain said. "I got some substance here. Okay? I'm Häagen-Dazs Black Walnut. It lasts longer than a week."

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Off With Their Wigs! Irish Judges No Longer Need To Don Horsehair

He might not be amused: Irish lawyer Edward Vaughan Hyde Kenealy (1819-1880).

London Stereoscopic Company Getty Images

For first time since the 17th century, judges in Ireland no longer need to wear horsehair wigs while in court.

According to The Irish Times, the new rule won't just modernize the look of the court, it will also save the Irish government money. It has been paying about $3,000 each for wigs as new judges are appointed to the Supreme, High and Circuit courts.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

U.K. Defense Secretary Steps Down

This file picture taken on October 18, 2010, shows British Defense Secretary, Liam Fox, leaving after attending a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street.

Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

Liam Fox, Britain's defense minister, has resigned after questions arose about the relationship and influence of his adviser and friend Adam Werritty.

"As I said in the House of Commons on Monday, I mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred," Fox said in his resignation letter to Prime Minister David Cameron. "The consequences of this have become clearer in recent days. I am very sorry for this."

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