On July 18, 1863, the Union Army's famed 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry — a black military unit — made a desperate assault on Confederate forces at Fort Wagner near Charleston, S.C. In the end, they were unsuccessful and lost almost half of their forces. Escaped slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman bore elegiac eyewitness to the terrible day: "We saw the lightning and that was the guns," she said later.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with an update on a Hawaiian woman with a very long name - Janice Lokelani Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele. She goes by Loke, but Honolulu's KHOM2 reported on her complaint that her name was cut off on ID cards, which led to issues with travel and cops.
Now, Hawaii will expand its limit on the length of names on IDs so Loke won't need to use her maiden name - Worth.
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The head of a Rhode Island school was named Providence Principal of the Year, but that was only the start of the accolades. Police say an employee, Christopher Michael Sheehan, gave his boss a present to celebrate - a half ounce of marijuana. Mr. Sheehan was arrested. Just to be clear, since it can apparently be easy to forget, Rhode Island is not one of the states that has legalized pot, and especially not in a school zone.
Next, we go to a wildly successful Japanese export that specializes in cute. I'm talking about the white cat with a red bow and a button nose, whose image adorns everything from school supplies to rifles to RVs.
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Yes, our last word in business today is: Hello Kitty - in a can.
The Japanese company Sanrio has licensed the pudgy face cartoon cat to a Taiwanese beverage maker which is selling fruit-flavored beer in China and Taiwan.
Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 8:57 am
Throughout the Syrian war, President Obama has insisted that President Bashar Assad must go. But now, the U.S. may want, or even need, Assad to remain in power for a while longer so he can oversee the dismantling of his chemical weapons stockpile.
"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside," Obama said back on Aug. 18, 2011, in his first explicit call for Assad's ouster, something the U.S. president went on to repeat on multiple occasions.
And the shooter is known to have been, as we've just reported, a former Navy reservist. But DC's police chief did say yesterday that no active duty servicemembers were killed, no one in uniform. The dead included contractors and civilians, apparently. And to learn more now about those victims of yesterday's shooting, we turn to NPR's Hansi Lo Wang.
And what are you hearing from the people for whom this is a personal tragedy - that is, those who knew one or more of these victims?
Five hundred and six people were murdered in Chicago last year. It was the kind of news that got John Lippert thinking.
JOHN LIPPERT: I live in Chicago and a lot of what we get is overnight stories saying, you know, three people shot, six people shot, day after day. And I just felt like, okay, well, what does it mean? Where are we going with this?
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. A report by United Nations' chemical weapons inspectors does not blame Syria's government for last month's chemical weapons attack. The inspectors were not authorized to do that. But they did provide substantial evidence, the most detailed look available, of an August 21 attack that led the United States to threaten military action.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
President Obama says the nation does not want to watch another game of chicken in Washington, D.C. this fall, and he's warning congressional Republicans not to force his hand. Congress must, once again, raise the debt ceiling, or the federal government won't be able to pay all of its bills. Mr. Obama told GOP lawmakers yesterday they should lift that limit on borrowing, without trying to extract concessions from him.
And we are following other stories this week, including possible action by the Federal Reserve. Many analysts expect the Fed to announce the first reduction in its massive intervention in the economy, $85 billion per month, a decision that may come at the end of a two-day meeting. Here's NPR's John Ydstie.
The heavy rain has finally stopped in Colorado, but days of flooding have devastated the most populated region of the state, known as the Front Range. As of this morning, we know that eight people have died, though hundreds have not been heard from, some in very remote areas. Officials estimate 1,500 homes have been destroyed, and thousands more damaged. Grace Hood from member station KUMC reports federal aid is making its way into the state, even as crews assess the damage.
Police say the gunman, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, died after a gun battle inside a building at the Navy Yard on Monday. He was a veteran with a history of gun-related incidents. His last known address was in Fort Worth, Texas.
A shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. killed 13 people including the shooter. By late Monday, authorities said they were convinced the shooting was the work of a lone gunman, and the lockdown around the area was eased.
Credit John von Pamer / Courtesy of Crown Publishers
Anya Von Bremzen is a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure and the author of five cookbooks.
Credit Courtesy Crown Publishers
A banquet spread is pictured in the 1952 edition of The Book of Tasty and Healthy Foods. The cookery book, published in the former Soviet Union, promoted a fantasy of abundance at a time when privations abounded.
Credit Courtesy of Anya von Bremzen
Anya von Bremzen emigrated from Russia with her mother (here, in Philadelphia in 1978) when she was 10 years old.
The French novelist Marcel Proust immortalized the connection between food and memory when the narrator of his novel Remembrances of Things Past bit into a madeleine and was transported to thoughts of his childhood.
But what if that madeleine were poisoned, so to speak?
That is the question underlying Russian American writer Anya von Bremzen's new memoir, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking. Though it contains recipes, this is not a cookbook but rather, a history of a family and of Soviet Russia.
When the Affordable Care Act was working its way through Congress, Gary Lauer was nervous. Part of the bill sounded grim. It said people could buy required health coverage online, but only through websites run by state and federal governments.
"That was going to pretty much delete us from the landscape," he says.
The Japanese city of Narita is best known to the outside world for its major airport that serves Tokyo, the nation's capital city.
Narita is also a rural area of Chiba Prefecture, however, with a long tradition of rice farming.
Toward the end of the summer, Narita's rice farmers gather to pray for bountiful harvests. They dance, play music and ride elaborate festival carts. From afar, the wagons appear to glide through a sea of lush green paddy fields as villagers pull them down Narita's placid country lanes.
When critics of industrial agriculture complain that today's food production is too big and too dependent on pesticides, that it damages the environment and delivers mediocre food, there's a line that farmers offer in response: We're feeding the world.
It's high-tech agriculture's claim to the moral high ground. Farmers say they farm the way they do to produce food as efficiently as possible to feed the world.
How often do whales clean their ears? Well, never. And so, year after year, their ear wax builds up, layer upon layer. According to a study published Monday, these columns of ear wax contain a record of chemical pollution in the oceans.
The study used the ear wax extracted from the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore on a California beach back in 2007. Scientists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History collected the wax from inside the skull of the dead whale and preserved it. The column of wax was almost a foot long.
These were the words uttered by painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was deeply shaken after he heard the story of a black graffiti artist who was beaten to death by New York City police. Seeing his own life reflected in the death of a fellow artist, Basquiat went on to create Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart),not only to commemorate the young man's death, but also to challenge the state-sanctioned brutality that men of color could face for pursuing their art in public spaces.
Editor's note: After the crowning of Nina Davuluri as Miss America, we solicited this commentary from writer Anna John, one of the co-founders of the blog Sepia Mutiny. This post includes several embedded tweets that contain explicit language.
Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 8:04 am
Aaron Alexis, the 34-year-old man believed responsible for Monday's shooting rampage that killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, was a former full-time Navy reservist who had obtained a concealed-carry permit in Texas and was arrested three years ago for illegally discharging a weapon.
From the standpoint of global warming, burning natural gas can be better than burning coal, a study published this week suggests.
This is a contentious issue among people who are opposed to the natural gas drilling practice known as fracking. That technique involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into wells to release far more gas than conventional drilling can. Opponents of fracking have been concerned not only about local environmental issues, but also about the potential for methane leaks to make global warming worse.
You may be hearing a lot about the National Book Awards this week — at least that's what the National Book Foundation hopes. That's because they've made some changes to the awards that they hope will get more people talking about them. Over four days starting Monday, they will roll out their nominees in four different categories — beginning with Young People's Literature and ending Thursday with Fiction.
The whole beauty of fantasy sports is that you can manage teams of pro athletes without ever leaving your couch. The process of drafting teams, betting on the success of individual players and trash-talking with your similarly obsessed friends takes place on Web and mobile platforms, and that makes the fantasy sports pastime about more than just bragging rights. It's become a billion-dollar business.
A line of men in black rain boots push trash carts through the alleys of Lahore, Pakistan. They stop at an open sewer along a neighborhood street and start to pull up shoes, bricks, plates and any other trash that might block the flow of wastewater.
Standing water is a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes. And the local government in Lahore is on a focused mission: Stop the spread of dengue fever by mosquitoes.