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The Two-Way
12:34 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

15 Republican Senators Call On Obama To Withdraw Chuck Hagel Nomination

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, talks on the phone at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:28 pm

Fifteen Republican senators sent a letter to President Obama asking him to withdraw the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of Defense.

The senators pointed to his lackluster performance during his confirmation hearing as well as what they said were his untenable positions on Iran.

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The Salt
12:16 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Former Peanut Firm Executives Indicted Over 2009 Salmonella Outbreak

A sign outside the Peanut Corp. of America's processing plant in Blakely, Ga.
Ric Feld AP

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 8:26 am

Four former executives from Peanut Corp. of America and a related company are facing federal criminal charges for covering up information that their peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

The charges are related to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella back in 2009. More than 700 people became ill, and federal investigators traced the source of the bacteria to peanut butter manufactured in Blakely, Ga., by the Peanut Corp. of America. The company is no longer in business.

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Shots - Health News
12:13 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Feds Set New Rules For Controversial Bird Flu Research

Health officials around the world are on constant lookout for the deadly bird flu. Here a worker collects chickens on a farm in Kathamndu, Nepal, where the virus was suspected of infecting poultry last October.
Prakas Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:25 am

Government-funded scientists here in the U.S. are a step closer to being able to resume some controversial experiments with lab-altered bird flu viruses.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Explosions In Syrian Capital Kill More Than 50

Syrian security agents carry a body following a huge car bombing in Damascus on Thursday. More than 50 people were killed in one of the worst attacks in the capital since the uprising began in 2011.
SANA AP

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 1:29 pm

Several explosions ripped through Damascus on Thursday morning in what was one of the deadliest days in the Syrian capital since the uprising began nearly two years ago.

A huge blast in the al-Mazraa neighborhood was the work of a suicide car bomber, according to media reports. More than 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured, according to both the Syrian state media and opposition groups.

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Author Interviews
11:51 am
Thu February 21, 2013

'Erasing Death' Explores The Science Of Resuscitation

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:39 pm

What happens when we die? Wouldn't we all like to know. We can't bring people back from the dead to tell us — but in some cases, we almost can. Resuscitation medicine is now sometimes capable of reviving people after their heart has stopped beating and their brain has flat-lined; Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and director of resuscitation research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, studies what these people experience in that period after their heart stops and before they're resuscitated. This includes visions such as bright lights and out-of-body experiences.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Tough Turkeys Are Taking Over A California Town

You talking to me? (A turkey on New York's Staten Island; who's probably just as intimidating, if not more, than those in California.)
Jonathan Fickies Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 11:59 am

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Book Reviews
11:13 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Karen Russell's 'Vampires' Deserve The Raves

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:39 pm

I don't have a good track record when it comes to raving about Karen Russell. Last year, along with my two fellow judges, I nominated Russell's novel, Swamplandia!, as well as two other finalists, for the Pulitzer Prize. Result? The Pulitzer Board made headlines by deciding not to give out the award in Fiction. Nevertheless, I rave on: this time about Russell's new short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

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All Songs Considered
11:08 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Playing SXSW? Send Us Your Song

This member of Middle Brother had someone send an MP3 to All Songs Considered a couple years back, and now look at him: He's on the NPR Music website again.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 4:08 pm

Every year around this time, all four members of the All Songs Considered roundtable gang (Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Ann Powers and me) each dredge through more than 1,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We base our coverage and festival schedules on the music we've researched in advance — and have found some of our favorite artists, like Kishi Bashi in 2012, as part of these blind pre-fest taste tests — and this year, we want to be sure we're considering yours.

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The Two-Way
11:06 am
Thu February 21, 2013

In Wal-Mart's Earnings Report, A Lesson On The Tax Code

A Walmart store in Paramount, Calif. in November of 2012.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 11:31 am

The New York Times points out something rather interesting about an otherwise mundane business story. Wal-Mart's fourth-quarter earnings report tells the tale of how changes in the tax code has both helped corporations and hurt them.

As the Times puts it, during the fourth quarter of last year, "the tax code gave and the tax code took away."

The paper explains:

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The Record
10:54 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Long Before The Harlem Shake, We Did The Shimmy

Gilda Grey, the dancer who is sometimes credited with naming the shimmy, in London in 1928.
Planet News Archive SSPL via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 7:47 am

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Sen. Graham Says 4,700 Killed In U.S. Drone Strikes

U.S. "Predator" drone over Afghanistan in Jan. 2009.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:09 pm

We've all heard that drone strikes directed against al-Qaida and other militants have been on the rise, but now Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has put a number on deaths by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle: 4,700.

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, rattled off the death toll during a talk he gave to the Easley Rotary Club in Easley, S.C., Tuesday afternoon.

"We've killed 4,700," Graham said.

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The Salt
10:20 am
Thu February 21, 2013

This Music Is Bananas (Really)

Making a banana piano is easy with the MaKey MaKey.
Jay Silver/Flickr

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 10:26 am

Fresh produce has never been hipper.

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Pew: U.S. Catholics Divided On Future Of The Church

A silhouette of St. Peter's statue in front of St. Peter's Basilica is seen from the Vatican Gardens.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

Catholics in the United States are divided over what they want from their next pontiff, a new poll from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds.

While a majority (58 percent) say it would be "good" if the next pope allows priests to marry and 60 percent said it would be good if the new pope is from the "developing world," that majority narrows when they asked a broader question.

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Want To Be In The Dark? Death Valley Is Among 20 Recommended Places

The Racetrack area in Death Valley National Park, which boasts one of the darkest night skies in the U.S.
Dan Duriscoe National Park Service

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 10:29 am

Hearing that the International Dark Sky Association has declared that Death Valley National Park is now the world's largest "international dark sky park" sent us in search of other places that the organization recommends if you really like "star-filled nights."

The association, which tries to "call attention to the hazards of light pollution," has recognized:

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It's All Politics
9:37 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Failure To Ratify: During Amendment Battles, Some States Opt To Watch

George Washington is depicted addressing the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in this painting by Junius Brutus Stearns. Presumably, no representative from Rhode Island is in the picture; Rhode Island boycotted the gathering and originally rejected the Constitution.
AP

Mississippi has received lots of attention this week for finally having ratified the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. But the state is hardly alone in being slow about blessing some long-established national principle.

After a sufficient number of states have ratified an amendment, it can feel like a moot point for legislatures to give belated approval to laws that are already in effect.

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Music
9:28 am
Thu February 21, 2013

More Than Pretty Views Behind Puerto Rico's Music

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:55 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now we are going to turn our attention to Puerto Rico. That's where our colleagues at MORNING EDITION went recently for an in-depth reporting trip. They talked about the island's difficult economy, the many people leaving the island looking for opportunities elsewhere, and how all of that is affecting day-to-day life in the U.S. commonwealth.

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Around the Nation
9:28 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Chicago Kids Say They're Assigned To Gangs

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:55 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll take a trip to Puerto Rico. The economy is struggling, but the music there is thriving. We'll hear more about that in just a few minutes.

But first, we turn to Chicago, where the recent shooting death of honor student Hadiya Pendleton has put that city's battle with gun violence, especially affecting the youngest victims, back into the national headlines.

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Politics
9:28 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Former Social Security Boss On The Real Problem

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:55 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, another family is grieving in Chicago after another young person was killed by gun violence this past weekend. Today we're going to bring you some very blunt, powerful perspectives from young people affected by the violence that you might not have heard. This from our colleagues with the public radio program "This American Life." And that's coming up later in the program.

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Music
9:28 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Singer Lea Gimore On Musicals That Move Her

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:55 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to turn now to a regular feature we call In Your Ear. That's where some of our guests tell us about the songs that inspire them. Singer Lea Gilmore's mastery of gospel, blues and jazz has made her a name as far away as Siberia. But she freely admits her musical tastes are equally wide-ranging, including a popular tune from a musical that's for an Oscar this Sunday.

LEA GILMORE: Hi, my name is Lea Gilmore and this is what I'm listening to.

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Shots - Health News
9:26 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Hospitals Clamp Down On Early Elective Births

Waiting may be hard, but it's worth it.
iStockphoto.com

For decades, doctors have been warned about the dangers of delivering babies early without a medical reason. But the practice remained stubbornly persistent.

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World
9:02 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Corruption Reigns In Spain; King's Son-In-Law Accused Of Embezzling

Iñaki Urdangarin, Duke of Palma and the Spanish king's son-in-law, is accused of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds.
Manu Mielniezuk AP

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 8:26 am

There is no end, it seems, to revelations of corruption in Spain, exacerbated by the country's economic crisis. The latest scandal threatens to topple the pedestal on which Spain's royals have long stood.

The newest suspect is the king's son-in-law, who is accused of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds and faces a judge this weekend.

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The Two-Way
8:46 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Existing Home Sales Rise Again; 'Seller's Market Is Developing,' Realtors Say

A "for sale" sign in San Francisco last summer.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Sales of existing homes rose 0.4 percent in January from December and were up 9.1 percent from January 2012, the National Association of Realtors reports.

The trade group also says "a seller's market is developing and home prices continue to rise."

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Thu February 21, 2013

New Fighting In Northern Malian Town Recently Liberated By France

Malian teenagers watch French soldiers pass through Gao, in northern Mali, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.
Jerome Delay AP

As France continues to talk about withdrawing troops from Mali, following its military operations there against Islamist attackers, there are new reports of fighting in the northern city of Gao.

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Thu February 21, 2013

In A Swirl Of Humanity, A Chance Encounter With A Saint

Gyanesh Kamal, a Hindu saint, attends the Kumbh Mela on the banks of the Ganges River in the northern Indian city of Allahabad. The gathering is the largest religious festival in the world.
Anoo Bhuyan NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:49 am

Kurt Vonnegut once said, "What makes life worth living are the saints. ... They can be longtime friends or someone I meet on a street. They find a way to behave decently in an indecent society."

And so it is with Gyanesh Kamal, a man I met at India's Kumbh Mela, one of the oldest festivals on Earth. To the uninitiated, this spiritual spectacle is a discombobulating din of prayers, loudspeakers and pilgrims so ceaseless it disorients the senses.

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The Salt
8:35 am
Thu February 21, 2013

More Antioxidants In Your Diet May Not Mean Better Health

The flavonoids in coffee may have health benefits, but preventing stroke may not be one of them.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 10:34 am

Antioxidants in foods are good for you, so more should be better, right?

Evidently not.

In a new study, people who ate more antioxidants overall didn't lower their risk of stroke and dementia in old age. That flies in the face of earlier research that found that the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables reduce stroke and dementia risk.

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Thu February 21, 2013

L.A. Hotel Where Body Was Found In Water Tank Has 'Long, Dark History'

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, which advertises "low monthly rates."
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:44 am

  • From KPCC: Chris Nichols speaks with Susanne Whatley about the Cecil Hotel

(Feb. 22, 7:15 a.m. ET: Scroll down for an update. "The water's safe, authorities say.")

The gruesome discovery this week of a young woman's body inside a rooftop water tank at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles is not the Cecil's first brush with such notoriety, as Southern California Public Radio's KPCC reports.

Chris Nichols, associate editor at Los Angeles Magazine, told KPCC about the hotel's "long, dark history."

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Monkey See
7:42 am
Thu February 21, 2013

'Argo' Is The Best Picture Frontrunner, But Why?

John Goodman, Alan Arkin and actor-director Ben Affleck in Argo.
Claire Folger AP

Programming Note: Sunday night, we'll be live-blogging the Academy Awards here at NPR.org, and the Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! team will be covering the red-carpet fashions, so be sure to join us to share your thoughts and see whether Affleck, Argo, and Daniel Day-Lewis have the big nights predicted for them.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Deadly Explosions Reported In Major Indian City

The scene of a blast in Hyderabad, India on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013.
AP

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 8:55 am

Update at 10:55 AM, ET: India's home minister confirms 11 deaths from the bombing, a lower number than previously reported, but he warns the toll may rise, according to the Times of India.

Update at 10:30 AM, ET: Media outlets now report there was a third explosion, and the series of blasts appeared to be timed, according to NDTV.

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Shots - Health News
7:23 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Medical Waste: 90 More Don'ts For Your Doctor

Scans shouldn't be ordered routinely for kids with minor head injuries, new advice to doctors says.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 2:54 pm

Doctors do stuff — tests, procedures, drug regimens and operations. It's what they're trained to do, what they're paid to do and often what they fear not doing.

So it's pretty significant that a broad array of medical specialty groups is issuing an expanding list of don'ts for physicians.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Winter Storm 'Q' Barrels Through Nation's Midsection

Snow-packed morning commute in Wichita on Wednesday.
Wichita Eagle MCT via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:02 pm

Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. State of emergency in Missouri.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency due to the heavy snowfall. The declaration allows state agencies to work directly with county and city emergency responders.

Jennifer Davidson of member station KSMU reports that about 40 people are staying at The Salvation Army in Springfield, which provides beds, blankets, and food for families in need.

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