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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 10:34 am
Antioxidants in foods are good for you, so more should be better, right?
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.
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.