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Living Large: Obesity In America
12:01 am
Wed October 5, 2011

The Thinnest State Loosens Its Belt

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.
Kirk Siegler for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 5:28 pm

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America.

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.

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Law
12:01 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Do Civil Rights Laws Apply To Parochial Schools?

Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

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.

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Sports
12:01 am
Wed October 5, 2011

WNBA Has Higher TV Ratings But Uncertain Future

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.

Stacy Bengs AP

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.

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Where Everybody Has A Say In Everything

Spencer Platt Getty Images

At Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, where hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters are camped out, there's a big meeting every night at 7:00.

The protesters call it the General Assembly, and it's a meeting where every single person has a say in every single decision that gets made. For the protesters, this is a model society.

It's a model where it takes a really long time to make a decision — like, say, whether to buy more sleeping bags for the group.

I visited the park for a General Assembly earlier this week. Here's what I heard.

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Middle East
12:01 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Even In Lebanon, No Safe Haven For Syrian Dissidents

Lebanese and Syrian protesters demonstrate against the Syrian government in Beirut in August. Syrian defectors say they fear the Syrian regime will track them down, even in Lebanon.

Anwar Amro AFP/Getty Images

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.

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Business
12:01 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Is Nostalgia Enough To Save Friendly's?

Ever since two brothers opened the first Friendly's ice cream shop in Massachusetts 75 years ago, the company has been serving up as much "family and feel good" as it has french fries and frappes.

"My grandma would take me and my brother out and we would always get the watermelon slice," says 23-year-old Lisa Lane. "Ah! The watermelon slice!"

Fans like Lane helped Friendly's expand to more than 600 locations by the 1980s.

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Sweetness And Light
10:00 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

The Luxurious Revenue College Sports Model

Despite the popularity of college football, according to Frank Deford, only 14 athletic departments show a profit. Why? Because football has to cover the costs of the college sports that lose money.

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 12:01 am

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.

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The Two-Way
7:52 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Relief Pitcher Admits Living A Lie, And Then Life Gets Complicated

Juan Carlos Oviedo, seen here closing a game for the Marlins under the name Leo Nunez, remains in the Dominican Republic after admitting falsifying documents.

Otto Greule Jr Getty Images

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."

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Music
5:51 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Authentic Egyptian Music Is From The Streets

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.

Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

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?

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The Two-Way
5:40 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Oktoberfest Tallies 7.5 Million Liters Of Beer; Lost And Found Office Is Busy

Revelers clink their beer mugs inside a beer tent on the last day of Oktoberfest in Munich. The festival drew some 6.9 million visitors this year.

Johannes Simon Getty Images

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.

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Around the Nation
5:37 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Mississippi's Jobs Program: A New National Model?

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.

Kathy Lohr NPR

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.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:09 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Hormonal Contraceptives May Raise HIV Risk For Men And Women

Hormone shots that are a popular form of birth control in Africa may increase the risk of HIV infection for women who use them and the men who are their sexual partners.

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Economy
4:51 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Obama, Banks Trade Fire In Debit-Card Debate

A man walks up to an ATM machine outside a Bank of America branch in Los Angeles on Sept. 12. Bank of America has said it will charge customers a $5 monthly fee to use its debit card — a plan that has set off grumbling from consumer advocates at the highest levels.

Jae C. Hong AP

President Obama has waded into the controversy over bank card fees, suggesting that Bank of America is mistreating its customers with a plan to start charging a $5 monthly fee for the use of its debit card.

In an interview Monday with ABC, the president seemed to suggest the fee could become a target for the federal government's new financial watchdog agency.

"This is exactly why we need this Consumer [Financial] Protection Bureau that we set up, that is ready to go," he said.

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The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Bicycles, China's Former Love, Get A Second Look

For years, it was common to see images of Chinese people riding bikes in massive packs, coursing along the streets of Beijing or other sprawling metropolises. Then, as the nation's economy took off, bicycles came to be seen as part of the country's past — and cars as a sign of its future.

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Monkey See
4:12 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

DVD Picks: 'The Honeymooners'

MPI Home Video

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 6:52 pm

Time for our movie critic Bob Mondello to suggest something for home-viewing. Today, he's exploring a 15-disk collection of classic TV comedy that nobody's seen for a while: The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes.

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Opinion
3:52 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Drafting My Fantasy Picks & Tackling Nobel Trends

The statue of Alfred Nobel resides at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The 2011 Nobel Prize for Medicine, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, opened a week of Nobel honors.

Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Commentator Dennis O'Toole is a writer and improv performer from Chicago.

Today, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam G. Riess won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering that expansion in the universe is speeding up. That's great news for me, since I had Riess and Perlmutter in my fantasy league.

Honestly, I could have gotten Schmidt too, but I drafted Nathan Seiberg, mainly because he's worked with both supersymmetric gauge theories and with discrete light-cone quantization. That was a hedge.

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Conflict In Libya
3:43 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Post Revolution, Libyan Women Seek Expanded Roles

In Tripoli, Libya, women celebrate the revolution against Moammar Gadhafi's regime and call for a strengthening of women's rights, Sept. 2. After playing large but largely unsung roles during the uprising, women are now seeking a greater political role.

Alexandre Meneghini AP

One recent day in Tripoli, hundreds of people strolled through a charity fundraiser organized by the women in Libya's capital city.

Ladies sold baked goods and handicrafts in rows of stalls. For the kids, there was a moon bounce and face painting. There was even a rock band that could use some practice.

It was a lot like charity bazaars in towns across the U.S., with a couple of notable exceptions: most of the women wore headscarves and among the more popular items for sale were hand-knitted versions of the Libyan flag.

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Europe
3:41 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Greek Prime Minister: Undoing His Father's Legacy

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou addresses a meeting of the Federation of German Industry in Berlin, Sept. 27. He is the son and grandson of Greek prime ministers, but his critics say he is betraying the work of his father, who built up the Greek welfare state.

John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Greek Prime Minster George Papandreou, who was born and raised in the U.S., belongs to Greece's most important political dynasty — he's the son and grandson of prime ministers.

And yet just two years after he led the Socialist party to victory, his popularity has plummeted, his debt-stricken country is at the heart of the eurozone crisis and he faces the daunting task of dismantling the generous welfare state his father created.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:33 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Surprise In Your Sewage: Lots Of Exotic Viruses

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 10:03 am

You think your job is tough? Some scientists examined sewage from Pittsburgh, Barcelona and Addis Ababa in a hunt for unknown viruses.

They found scads. How many? At least 43,381.

To put that number into perspective, consider that up to now scientists have charted only about 3,000 viruses. And among the known viruses found in the sewage samples, only 17 were bugs that cause human disease — things like the common cold virus, diarrhea-causing Norwalk virus and human papilloma virus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer and genital warts.

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Monkey See
3:11 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Apple Announces A New Phone And Voice Recognition, But Not The iPhone 5

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the event introducing the new iPhone.

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 6:01 pm

Today was widely expected to bring the announcement of the iPhone 5 — maybe with a bigger screen, a different home button, or a differently shaped case — at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

It didn't.

That's not to say Apple didn't say anything of note at its rather lengthy presentation. Not at all. But the big game-changing piece of new hardware didn't come to pass. Aficionados waited, wondering and chattering on liveblogs and on Twitter to see if it would come at the end in Apple's traditional "one more thing" fashion.

It didn't.

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The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Beware The Bear Market? Here's Why Not To

With the Dow Jones industrial average and other market indexes around 20 percent below their recent peaks, the very definition of a "bear market," there's understandably a fair amount of concern among investors and everyone else who watches the economic indicators.

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The Two-Way
2:43 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Apple Unveils New iPhone 4S, With Voice 'Assistant' And Better Camera

Apple Inc. has unveiled the company's updated version of the iPhone 4, called the iPhone 4S. The phone, which will be launched on Oct. 14, is very similar to the iPhone 4's styling. But it features all-new hardware inside, according to Apple.

With an improved battery and software, the phone allows six hours of browsing on a 3G network, and nine hours of Wi-Fi browsing, according to Apple. And the phone also has an 8 megapixel camera with an improved sensor. The camera will reportedly allow for HD video recording in 1080p resolution, with image stabilization.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:03 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Drunken Driving Declines But Rates Remain 'Unacceptable'

Last year Americans hit the road 112 million times after drinking too much.

That statistic, just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is nothing to be proud about. But it's worth noting that the number of alcohol-impaired driving episodes has declined 30 percent since peaking at 161 million in 2006.

Some 4 million adults in the U.S. drove while impaired by alcohol last year, the CDC estimates. That works out to about 479 episodes for every 1,000 adults.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Will Christie Be 'Shermanesque?'

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

"Now is not my time," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just said at a news conference in Trenton — ruling out a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

"New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me," Christie added.

Update at 1:10 p.m. ET. More From Christie:

The governor said he did consider making a bid. He had been asked to run by many people, Christie said, and "felt an obligation to earnestly consider their advice."

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

U.S. Regulators Promise Oversight Of Offshore Drilling Contractors

Men fish off a pier at a jetty in Dauphin Island, Ala., with oil rigs in the background. The U.S. government is changing how it regulates drilling platforms.

Mario Tama Getty Images

Nearly 18 months after a disastrous oil spill killed wildlife and endangered the futures of fishermen and resort businesses along the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government announces it will regulate not only the operators of offshore oil rigs, but the contractors who own and work on them, as well.

The shift in enforcement is one of several changes announced in the past 24 hours, as federal regulators seek to ensure the Gulf spill catastrophe does not recur.

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