North Korea has accused an American tourist of committing crimes against the state and trying to bring down the country's regime, according to the North's official news agency.
The KCNA said Saturday that 44-year-old Kenneth Bae, imprisoned since November, confessed to the crimes and would be facing judgement in a North Korean court. He is identified in the report by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho.
The 2012 election was the most expensive in history, but there remain some gaping holes in our knowledge about who paid for what. The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering a proposal to add more transparency in future elections, but it won't happen without a fight.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The first great sequester showdown has ended and the White House says President Obama will sign a bill that effectively ends furloughs for air traffic controllers. The House yesterday approved the measure, which was passed by the Senate Thursday night, and the action comes after a week of flight delays that angered air travelers and set off a flurry of finger-pointing in Washington, D.C. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.
President Obama has spoken at two memorial services in just over a week — one for victims of the Boston Marathon attack and one for those who died in the chemical plant explosions in West, Texas. In both speeches, he focused on victims and survivors.
But other Democrats are using these events to talk about another subject: the role of government.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. The White House tried to clarify its message on Syria today, saying it is still studying evidence that the government there has used chemical weapons. Here's press secretary Jay Carney.
JAY CARNEY: We are continuing to work to build on the assessments made by the intelligence community. The degrees of confidence here are varying, this is not an airtight case.
We also have some sequester news today. The House approved a bill, and the president says he'll sign it, to end the furlough of air traffic controllers. Short-staffed control towers translated into thousands of flight delays this week, all because of those automatic across-the-board spending cuts. NPR's Tamara Keith has that story.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:33 pm
President Obama on Friday became the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood's annual meeting, delivering a strongly worded speech defending the embattled organization.
"We shouldn't have to remind people that when it comes to women's health, no politician should get to decide what's best for you," said Obama, who was greeted by sustained applause when he took the stage.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:46 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.
Politics has been especially gloomy lately, but NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving try their best to improve the mood in this week's podcast, offering analysis on the politicization of the Boston bombings, Max Baucus' potential successor and Senate primary battles in Massachusetts and Hawaii. Plus: Jeb Bush gets some 2016 advice.
The Tribune Co., emerging from bankruptcy and looking to reshape itself, is now considering the sale of all its newspapers — including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, TheBaltimore Sun and five other regional newspapers. It's still very early in the sale process; although the newspaper unit has been valued at $623 million, significant debts are also attached, and Tribune has signaled that it reserves the right not to sell if there isn't a worthy bid.
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.
I recently got a tour of the Spangler Candy Co., a family-owned firm in Bryan, Ohio. The company makes 10 million Dum Dums lollipops there every day, and it has a whole separate building where it stores the sugar — enough to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools.
The CEO, Kirk Vashaw, says he wants to expand the factory and make even more candy there. There's just one thing he needs.
Longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana announced this week that he would not seek re-election next year, ending four decades in Congress and leaving as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Baucus Thursday about his recent vote against expanded gun background checks, his role in negotiations over President Obama's health care legislation, efforts to remake tax policy, and the legions of his former staffers now populating lobbying shops.
Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 11:50 am
Will history judge George W. Bush more kindly than his contemporaries have?
The man himself seems fairly indifferent.
"I don't think he really cares much at all, to be honest with you," says Kevin Sullivan, who served as White House communications director during Bush's second term. "I think he cares very little about where his approval rating stands today, compared to 2005 or 2008."
From 'Morning Edition': Former first lady Laura Bush talks with NPR's David Greene
We're due for one of those rare moments Thursday morning when the current president and all of his living predecessors will be together.
The occasion: The dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are due to be there along with, of course, George W. Bush.
Air travelers are growing less and less happy. Automatic budget cuts are now leading to hundreds of flight delays, about half of all delayed flights this week.
NPR's Tamara Keith reports.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Up until this point, the effects of the sequester have been scattered and hard to pin down: hiring freezes, delayed park openings. But then the furloughs of air traffic controllers the Federal Aviation Administration had been threatening for months hit and, bam, the sequester got real, real fast.
Auto executives got a grilling on Capitol Hill yesterday. Not the usual suspects from Detroit's Big Three. Think much, much smaller. Executives from the hybrid carmaker Fisker testified about hundreds of millions of dollars in loans Fisker got from the government. Today, the company is on the verge of collapse.
NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.
SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Fisker, the car company, isn't dead yet. But Congress has already begun the autopsy.
The U.S. Senate may vote this week on the Marketplace Fairness Act, a bill that would allow states to collect sales tax from more online retailers. And as the political and retail landscape has shifted from the last time around, the Senate is expected to approve the measure.
The proposal to require online sellers to collect out-of-state sales tax has been kicked around for many years. For a decade, Amazon was a fierce opponent.