National News

Yulia Tymoshenko is "wasting away in prison," her family told the AP. Tymoshenko went on a hunger strike and her family said she was "bruised from prison beatings and afraid she will be force-fed by her political foes."

On a chilly grey morning I come across a big, lush patch of nettles in a Pittsburgh park. Leah Lizarondo, the food writer who brought me here, has her hands wrapped in old plastic bread bags.

Those bags are crucial because touching stinging nettles with your bare hands can be pretty unpleasant. "It's like something pricked you, like a little ant bit you, and then it starts being a little painful," said Lizarondo.

General-election battle lines are taking shape between President Obama and likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Romney is sticking with his long-standing attack on the president as someone not up to the huge job of turning around the economy.

But the Obama campaign has recently changed its message: Instead of portraying Romney as a flip-flopping, say-anything politician, it is now arguing that the former Massachusetts governor is a man with extreme positions far outside the American mainstream.

Today at All Things Considered, we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month, we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.

The fallout from the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia continues: Now the Secret Service says it is tightening and clarifying its policies for traveling employees.

NPR's Tamara Keith spoke to a Secret Service spokesperson who says the Secret Service leadership detailed the new rules in an internal message regarding personal conduct sent to all employees.

The new policy covers alcohol consumption and what types of businesses employees can patronize, Tamara tells our Newscast unit. "The Agency is also adding additional briefings on standards of conduct."

The U.S. economy lost some steam during the first three months of the year. The Commerce Department said Friday that growth slowed to just 2.2 percent, down from 3 percent at the end of last year.

The good news was that the economy continued to grow during the first quarter of the year. But anyone who was waiting for growth to kick into a higher gear was disappointed once again. One reason for that was a slowdown in business investment — companies spent less on new equipment and software even though profits were surprisingly strong.

We've written about the Decorah Eagle Cam and about the Jewel bear cam.

The surveillance tape shows what looks like a Muslim woman, her face and body hidden by her traditional clothing, robbing a Philadelphia bank. But the robber in the abaya and khimar is actually a man. He's part of a recent crime spree involving perpetrators in Muslim garb.

The worst of the incidents happened in Upper Darby when, Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood says, someone who appeared to be a Muslim woman went into a barbershop.

Attorney General Eric Holder — the first African-American to hold the nation's top law enforcement job — is in the homestretch of his first, and probably last, full term in the post.

And after more than three years on the job, Holder is in an unusually reflective mood. He's thinking about the country's ongoing struggle over civil rights and what he wants to accomplish in his last months of government service.

The spring sun is warming the fields and orchards along the Turkey-Syria border, and new refugee camps are sprouting as well.

Smugglers who have long worked these mountain border trails are now busy moving civilians out of Syria to the safety of Turkish camps. They're also moving medical and communications equipment and people into opposition-held neighborhoods in Syria. But recently, some say that's getting harder.

A smuggler known as Abu Ayham says Turkish guards, who used to permit nonlethal aid to pass freely, have suddenly grown much tougher on the smugglers.

Robert Siegel speaks with Miami Herald reporter Patricia Mazzei about how that county spent millions on new vehicles that were never used, and have been just sitting in garages since 2006.

Even before the hospital bills started coming, Lori Duff and her family were living paycheck to paycheck. So when the debt collector called the Columbus, Ohio, mother and demanded $1,800 for the prenatal visits she'd had while pregnant with her third son, she panicked.

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday approved a rule requiring TV stations to post details online about the amount of advertising time political candidates and campaigns buy, as well as how much the stations charge for those ads.

TV stations already are required to keep such public records. But in most cases, the information has been accessible only to those who visit a TV station and physically look through paper files, NPR's Brian Naylor reported.

Lehman Bros., the Wall Street giant, collapsed in September 2008 in the nation's largest bankruptcy and arguably kicked off a financial meltdown that helped drag the economy into the Great Recession.

Choose Health Coverage Like An Economist

Apr 27, 2012

If you want to eat well, find out where the chefs go after they clock out.

If you're wondering how to deal with a health problem, ask your doctor what she'd do for her mom.

And if you're puzzling over which insurance plan to pick, take a look at how some health economists size them up.

Clever journalist Dinah Wisenberg Brin got some big names in the world of health economics to reveal details about their insurance status. And you might learn a thing or two from their thinking.

Hart Seely is the author of The Juju Rules: Or, How to Win Ballgames from Your Couch: A Memoir of a Fan Obsessed.

Remember that pod on the Death Star, where Darth Vader would go to be alone? Did you ever wonder what he was doing in there?

Well, I have a theory: I think he was watching ballgames.

The new baseball season is here. For me, it means reclaiming the war pod, the living room — or, as I prefer to call it: my personal corporate luxury skybox.

In an explosive interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, the former chief of the CIA's clandestine service describes waterboarding Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. (A Warning: The interview contains some offensive language.)

Blind Chinese Activist Flees House Arrest

Apr 27, 2012

A blind Chinese activist, one of the country's most prominent, has made an audacious escape from house arrest and is safe from Chinese authorities, according to his supporters.

Yet days after Chen Guangchen fled his home, it's not clear exactly where he is. A diplomatic source indicates that he is inside the U.S. embassy, but this has not been confirmed officially.

Chen has attracted international attention with his efforts to prevent forced illegal abortions in China. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken out in support of him.

After tough criticism from Republicans, the Obama administration withdrew its proposal for new rules to limit child labor on farms.

The AP reports that yesterday, the Labor Department withdrew the proposed rules "that would ban children younger than 16 from using most power-driven farm equipment, including tractors. The rules also would prevent those younger than 18 from working in feed lots, grain bins and stockyards."

"Major college football is on the verge of implementing a playoff, its own version of the final four — two semifinals and a title game," The Associated Press writes.

Or, as The Wall Street Journal reports:

It's All Politics, April 26, 2012

Apr 27, 2012

Mitt Romney sweeps five primaries and all but locks up the GOP nomination. Even Newt Gingrich agrees Romney is the presumptive nominee. More veepstakes speculation on Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. Two centrist House Democrats bite the dust in Pennsylvnaia, while Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch lives to fight another day.

NPR's Ken Rudin and guest host Mara Liasson have the latest political news in this week's roundup.

The Los Angeles riots stunned the nation in 1992, claiming more than 50 lives in that city. As the unrest approached Koreatown, store owner Kee Whan Ha mobilized his fellow business owners to arm themselves and defend their property. Host Michel Martin talks with him about the riots, and the neighborhood today.

In an historic judgment, the UN-backed court at The Hague found Liberia's former president, Charles Taylor, guilty of war crimes. He was convicted of abetting murder, rape, and the forced enlistment of child soldiers during Sierra Leone's civil war. Host Michel Martin talks about reactions in Liberia and Sierra Leone with journalist Tamasin Ford.

The beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers sparked the chain of events that led to the deadly L.A. riots 20 years ago this weekend. Host Michel Martin speaks with Rodney King about his memories of the riots, the beating, and his new book, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption.

How Work Is Messing Up Your Sleep

Apr 27, 2012

It's no secret that Americans are short on sleep. But there's been disagreement as to why. A new study says here's one big reason: work.

An analysis from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health asked people where they're working, and how much they sleep. The more people work, the less sleep they're likely to get. And some jobs are much less sleep-friendly than others. Sort of saw those coming, even through our bleary eyes.

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