Liyan Chen, a grad student in New York, was chatting online recently with her cousin in China.
"He said, 'I want Abbott milk powder,' " Chen told me. " 'I want you to buy it and ship it back.' "
Her cousin wanted her to buy three boxes of Abbott baby formula, sold under the brand name Similac, and ship it to him in China. She did some research and found out the shipping alone could cost $80. "They're not from a very well-off family, and that really surprised me," she said — especially because they can buy Abbott baby formula in stores in China.
President Obama has been hosting a series of visitors from the Middle East, and all of them have been urging the U.S. to get more involved in Syria.
They have included the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, whose country has been arming rebel forces in Syria. Obama wants to see such aid go to moderates — but that requires more cooperation with partners like Qatar. Problem is, they don't always see eye to eye.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:53 pm
The U.S. Congress — a body not exactly known for its swift feet — raced Friday to complete legislation to help travelers avoid delays at airports.
The House voted 361-41 to approve legislation that the Senate passed without objection late Thursday. The bill gives the Federal Aviation Administration more spending flexibility to cut its budget while avoiding furloughs of air traffic controllers.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 2:46 pm
The U.S. has remained at arm's length during two years of bloodletting in Syria that has claimed some 70,000 lives. But when the White House said Thursday it believed Syria has used chemical weapons, even in small quantities, it immediately set off a renewed debate on whether the U.S. might pursue a more aggressive policy.
Here are some of the key issues now under discussion:
-- Is the U.S. sure that Syria used chemical weapons?
The furloughs of air traffic controllers that have slowed air travel in the past week and frustrated thousands of fliers should soon come to an end.
By a vote of 361-41, the House of Representatives just passed legislation that would allow the secretary of transportation to shift up to $253 million in funds so that controllers no longer have to be furloughed to meet the requirements of sequestration (the mandated, across-the-board spending cuts that began taking hold March 1).
I'm Celeste Headlee, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we take a closer look at reports from Detroit that local police officers are taking homeless people off the streets only to abandon them outside the city's border.
But first, it's time for Faith Matters, our weekly conversation about religion and spirituality. Today, we focus on the complex relationship between faith and mental health.
I'm Celeste Headlee, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. And it is time for a visit to the Barbershop. That's where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Coming up, an unexpected death can be a test of faith for just about anyone, but what happens when that death is a suicide? We'll talk about that in just a few minutes, but first when it comes to politics it's become something of a cliché to say 9/11 changed everything. And in the immediate days following those terrorist attacks, Republicans and Democrats came together.
Now we turn to Detroit, where police have been reportedly using a pretty controversial method to deal with vagrancy. Allegedly, police are taking homeless people off city streets - particularly in high tourist areas - then driving them outside of the city limits and leaving them there. The American Civil Liberties Union recently sent a letter to city officials and the Detroit Police Department demanding an end to this practice, and the group also filed a complaint with the Department of Justice, requesting an investigation.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 3:46 pm
Maybe it's not your first thought after saying "I do," but federal election law gives married couples some advantages in making political contributions. The Federal Election Commission tried Thursday to make those same breaks available to couples in same-sex marriages — but commissioners said they're thwarted by the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
True, President Obama's Justice Department no longer defends DOMA, and the Supreme Court is weighing whether to get rid of it. But the FEC didn't want to get too far out in front. The vote was a reluctant 5-0.
Country superstar George Jones, known for "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and a long string of other hits, has died.
He was 81.
According to Webster & Associates, the Nashville public relations firm that represented Jones, he died Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was hospitalized there on April 18 for treatment of a fever and irregular blood pressure, the p.r. firm adds.
The president's appearance at that memorial service came on the same day he joined with all his living predecessors. He met with Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, whose presidential library was dedicated in Texas.
A photograph, sent out on Twitter incidentally, by former President Clinton, shows the five men in a circle, chatting. Three Democrats joined two Republicans on a day when political differences were overlooked.
Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Nearly 10,000 mourners gathered yesterday to honor the men who died fighting a fire in a fertilizer plant in Texas. They packed the basketball arena on the campus of Baylor University in Waco. At least 14 people died when that fire led to an explosion in the little town of West - which is just north of Waco.
NPR's business news starts with Samsung ringing up sales.
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INSKEEP: Samsung said this morning its first quarter profit is at a record high - net profit surged 42 percent. The company has now seen six straight quarters of growth, thanks to strong smartphone sales. Tomorrow, it's launching a new smartphone in the United States - the Galaxy S4 - which is aimed at taking on Apple's iPhone. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Accelerating economic growth is at the top of NPR's business news.
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INSKEEP: U.S. economic growth regained speed in the first quarter of this year, although not as much as economists had hoped. The Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent. Consumer spending is up and home construction rose, but government spending fell and tax increases, as well as federal budget cuts, are expected to slow economic growth later in the year. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
That's modest growth, and was below the 3.2 percent pace economists had expected to hear about. But growth was up substantially from fourth-quarter 2012, when the economy expanded at a scant 0.4 percent annual rate.
Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep with congratulations to Bill Clinton. The president, whose campaign theme was "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow," caught up with Twitter. TV host Stephen Colbert made him a fake Twitter account, and then Clinton began using a real one. He's posted a few messages, including one saying he's enjoying Twitter so far. Where else can you hear from Bill Gates, Paul Pierce, John McCain, Ellen DeGeneres and Usher in one day? Hashtag: #Thisisgreat.
An estimated 38 people died early Friday at a psychiatric hospital north of Moscow when a fire swept through the facility.
The state news agency RIA Novosti says it has been told by a "police source" that most of the victims "died in their sleep [from] inhaling the fumes as they were likely sedated by prescribed medicine."