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Parallels
9:26 am
Sat February 1, 2014

What Comes Next In Syria?

A Syrian man walks through debris following an alleged air strike by Syrian government forces on Friday in the northern city of Aleppo. Nearly 1,900 people have been killed in Syria since peace talks opened in Switzerland on Jan. 22, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Mohammed Al-Khatieb AFP/Getty Images

For eight days, the Syrian regime and an opposition delegation sat face-to-face, but were not on speaking terms in Room 16 of the Palais des Nations in the sprawling complex of United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

Round one demonstrated the bitter divide with no breakthrough on the core issues of a political transition or access to humanitarian aid.

So what comes next?

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Around the Nation
8:28 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Tainted-Heroin Warnings Blanket Pa. Amid Overdose Deaths

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 8:14 am

Heroin overdoses are a routine part of life in the emergency room, and they're fairly easy to treat. Dr. Bruce MacLeod is used to seeing them at Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh.

But over the past week, West Penn and other area hospitals have seen an increase in the number and severity of opiate overdose cases coming into emergency rooms.

"A number of them came in that had already died, so that's unusual," MacLeod says. "We saw that echo across western Pennsylvania."

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Simon Says
8:03 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Opera Star Renee Fleming Brings Grace To The Super Bowl

Opera singer Renee Fleming will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" live on Sunday night.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Who knows who'll win the Super Bowl tomorrow, but history will be made before the coin toss.

Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. She is the first opera star to be asked, and it seems so utterly fitting, both for the first Super Bowl to be played within view of the towers of New York, and in the 200th anniversary year of the national anthem.

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Movies
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Comedian's Career Is Central To 'Quality Balls'

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So a Rabbinical student, a Canadian and a comic walk into Chicago's "Second City." They turn out to be the same person, David Steinberg.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED SECOND CITY ACT)

MARTIN SHORT: So this evening we're very, very glad to have with us the first Eskimo folk singer, Mr. Nanook Smith.

DAVID STEINBERG: No, I'm the second. My brother was the first and was swallowed by a big huge polar bear.

SHORT: Oh, that's too bad. I'm sorry to hear that.

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Pop Culture
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Major Oscar Dust-Up Over A Song From A Minor Movie

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:45 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When the Oscar nominees for best song were announced earlier this month, there were, of course, several well-known titles, including Karen O's "The Moon Song," from the movie "Her"; and Pharrell Williams' "Happy," from "Despicable Me 2." Then there was this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALONE...YET NOT ALONE")

JONI EARECKSON TADA: (Singing) I will not be bent in fear. He's the refuge I know is near...

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Food
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

What's Best To Drink With Pizza And Football?

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This Super Bowl weekend millions of slices of pizza will be consumed and 51 million cases of beer. But there are a lot of beverages to wash down a slice. Katie Parla is a journalist and food historian. She's from New Jersey, where the game will be played, but she lives in Italy now and has written about beverages that go with pizza for Saveur magazine. She joins us on the line from Rome. Thanks very much for being with us.

KATIE PARLA: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: So what's your beverage lineup?

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Arts & Life
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Winter Straight Out Of Dante's 'Inferno'

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We generally think of hell as hot, but with the polar vortex sweeping through the country, many Americans may feel that hell is these bleak, cold days of mid-winter. Sally Franson is a write who's felt besieged in her apartment in Minneapolis. She says, "Dante's hell and winters are the same thing." And that's a direct quote from a blog post that she wrote this week. Sally Franson joins us now from Minneapolis. Thanks very much for being with us.

SALLY FRANSON: Pleasure.

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Politics
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

State Department: Keystone XL Would Not Worsen Warming

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Keystone XL oil pipeline may be closer to being built. The U.S. State Department's released an environmental impact statement that says the project would not make climate change any worse, and it's now up to President Obama to decide the fate of the pipeline. NPR's Jeff Brady reports that environmental groups and many Democrats want the president to reject the review's findings.

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Around the Nation
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Ex-Aide: Christie Knew About Lane Closures As They Happened

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's denied new allegations that he knew about the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as they were going on. Now, charges made in a letter released yesterday from the lawyer of David Wildstein, a former ally of the governor's. He oversaw the closures as an official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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Politics
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Republicans Retreat To Regroup On Immigration, Debt Ceiling

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Leaving Washington, D.C. for the frozen banks of the Chesapeake Bay might not be everybody's idea of a great late January getaway, but that's where House Republicans packed off for a three-day retreat this week. They gathered at a resort in Cambridge, Maryland, to try to reach agreement on a few big issues, among them immigration and the need once again to raise the debt ceiling.

A lot of reporters who cover Congress went along too, including NPR's congressional correspondent David Welna. David, thanks very much for being with us.

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Business
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Obama Pushes Employers To Consider The Long-Term Jobless

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. Labor Department says there are nearly four million people in America who've been unemployed for six months or more. That number has remained stubbornly high, even as the overall unemployment rate has fallen. Yesterday, President Obama met with U.S. business leaders and urged them not to overlook qualified job applicants just because they've been out of work for a while.

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Digital Life
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Finding The Sum Of True Love On The 88th Try

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Education
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

The High Cost Of Testing For College

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A college education is famously expensive. But what about the tests just to apply? Benjamin Tonelli wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal this week; and he questioned the costs of the SAT and AP tests that students have to take just to be considered for admittance to college, and asked if this doesn't discriminate against poorer families especially. Mr. Tonelli is a senior at Garfield High School in Seattle, and he joins us. Thanks very much for being with us.

BENJAMIN TONELLI: Of course, of course.

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Europe
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

British Royal Household Needs To Beef Up Reserves

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You know, being the Queen of England, it's not all about cute Corgis, glamorous balls and lacy hats. Even the royal family has financial troubles. This week a report by members of the British parliament found that the royal coffers are down to their lowest level ever. Just about a million pounds are left in the fund. That is slightly less than $2 million. NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from London. Ari, thanks so much for being with us.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: My pleasure, Scott.

SIMON: How could this happen to our Queen, Ari?

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Middle East
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Will A Military Leader Become Egypt's New Strongman?

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Sports
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

U.S. Figure Skaters Are Underdogs In These Games

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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National Security
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Foreigners Still Vulnerable To NSA Snooping

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We now know that the government's spy agency is Hoovering up billions of bits of data from our phone calls and emails. But we don't really know how it's being used. Much of it apparently just sits in a giant top-secret storage facility in Utah. And that makes some people nervous, especially many foreigners on whom we're spying. Here's Guy Raz of NPR's TED Radio Hour.

GUY RAZ, BYLINE: Picture the largest Ikea you've ever been in. And now picture five of them.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Holocaust Tale Unfolds On Two Levels

Mieczyslaw Weinberg's opera The Passenger tells the story of an Auschwitz prisoner and a Nazi guard, whose lives continue to interweave after the the war.
Lynn Lane Houston Grand Opera

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich called it a perfect masterpiece without ever having seen it performed. The Passenger, an opera about the Holocaust, was written nearly half a century ago, but was only given its first full performance just three years ago.

Now it's getting its U.S. premiere at the Houston Grand Opera. The opera is based on a story by a Holocaust survivor, with music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a composer who lost his entire family in the Nazi death camps.

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The Two-Way
7:38 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Gunfire, Explosions Rock Thai Capital Ahead Of Polls

Anti-government protesters run as an explosion takes place near their vehicle during a gunfight between supporters and opponents of Thailand's government near Laksi district office in Bangkok on Saturday.
Nir Elias Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:33 am

An hour-long gun battle erupted in the Thai capital of Bangkok on Saturday, a day ahead of parliamentary elections opposed by anti-government activists were to take place.

The opposition is seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose Pheu Thai Party won overwhelmingly in 2011 elections. They have boycotted the polls and threatened to disrupted them in a bid to replace Yingluck's government with an unelected council.

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The Two-Way
6:37 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Scout Leaders Who Toppled Ancient Rock Formation Are Charged

A frame grab from a video taken by Dave Hall shows two men cheering after the Boy Scout leaders knocked over an ancient Utah desert rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park.
AP

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 8:49 am

A former Boy Scout leader who toppled an ancient rock formation in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park, and another Scout leader who videotaped the incident, are being charged with criminal mischief.

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The Two-Way
5:56 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Kerry: 'Disturbing' Trend Of Authoritarianism In Eastern Europe

Secretary of State John Kerry addresses delegates at the 50th Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Saturday.
Tobias Hase EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:33 am

Secretary of State John Kerry has criticized what he calls a "disturbing trend" among governments in eastern and central Europe to "trample the ambitions" of their people.

Speaking at an international security conference in Munich, Germany, Kerry said:

"The aspirations of citizens are once again being trampled beneath corrupt, oligarchic interests — interests that use money to stifle political opposition and dissent, to buy politicians and media outlets, and to weaken judicial independence and the rights of non-governmental organizations."

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Book Reviews
5:02 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Through The 'Dust,' Glimmers Of Brilliance

courtesy of Knopf

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:44 am

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor's Kenya is a country knit together by secrets. Each character in Dust, her debut novel, owns a share of his land's violent past, a history that longs to be forgotten. They live and love in an atmosphere of mutually agreed-upon silence, a mindset best summed up by Nyipir Oganda, a former soldier: "For the good of the country," he tells his daughter, "we know, nyara, that to name the unnameable is a curse."

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All Tech Considered
5:02 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Tech Week: 'Leaky' Angry Birds And Digital Invades Cinemas

Classified documents provided by Edward Snowden showed that the NSA was garnering private user information by piggybacking on "leaky" apps such as Angry Birds that collect data.
Gary He AP

After a week of earnings reports and inflammatory comments from a Silicon Valley mogul, we have finally made it through January.

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Code Switch
5:02 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Does It Taste As Sweet To Say 'I Love You' In Another Language?

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."
Kaan Tanman Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 2:51 pm

Editor's Note: Code Switch is engaged in a month-long discussion and exploration of interracial and cross-cultural dating. Follow the conversation via the Twitter hashtag #xculturelove.

My first kiss was with an Albanian man I met in Venice, Italy; within hours, Jeta and I were telling each other, "Ti amo." I didn't mean it any more than I knew his last name (and I won't kid myself into thinking there was much sincerity on his end).

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Shots - Health News
2:57 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close: Fans Risk Hearing Loss

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:48 am

For diehard football fans, nothing beats screaming your lungs out in the stadium alongside tens of thousands of other fans.

There is, however, a downside: hearing loss.

With the battle among fans to be the loudest crowd getting almost as competitive as the NFL itself, hearing experts say it's time for a serious conversation about the damage caused by crowd noise.

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Author Interviews
2:55 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Born Together, Then Torn Apart, In Civil War-Era Minnesota

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Clement and Angel, fraternal twins separated at birth, have very different lives. After being abandoned, both are raised in Stillwater, Minn., around the time of the Civil War. But Clement dwells among orphans and prostitutes; Angel is adopted by a wealthy couple, and she lives in the town's mansion.

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The Great Plains Oil Rush
2:55 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Booming Oil Fields May Be Giving Sex Trafficking A Boost

A cold night in the city center of Williston, N.D. Law enforcement agencies are concerned that rapid changes in the region have created conditions conducive to organized crimes like sex trafficking.
Annie Flanagan for NPR

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

A Friday night at J Dub's Bar & Grill in Williston, N.D., begins and ends with multicolored flashing lights, thumping dance music and crowds of young men with money to spend.

"A lot of testosterone being thrown around in this town," says Nathan Kleyer, 24, a Williston native who's at J Dub's with some friends for a few drinks.

And he's seen it all over town, he says: "These scantily clad women walking in, and they will hop tables until they find a john to take them home."

He's seen it in bars, and he's even heard about it at a nearby chain restaurant, he says.

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Parallels
2:55 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Germany's New Defense Minister: More Peacekeeping Missions Welcome

Germany's new defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, right, chats with German soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, at a training center in Letzlingen on Jan. 28. Von der Leyen has said she would like to see German forces participate more with other European troops in foreign peacekeeping missions.
Thomas Trutschel Photothek via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Many Germans were surprised in December when Ursula von der Leyen was named the country's first female defense minister.

Some people questioned whether a medical doctor with seven children, who championed Germany's generous parental leave policy, was the right choice to shepherd the country's military through the challenges of being a newly minted volunteer force.

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Economy
4:26 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

After Overcoming Early Obstacles, Yellen Assumes Fed's Top Job

Janet Yellen smiles as President Obama announces her nomination for Federal Reserve chairwoman on Oct. 9.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Ben Bernanke hands over the reins at the Federal Reserve to Janet Yellen on Friday. The Fed's vice chairwoman will be the first female ever to lead the nation's central bank. It's a position many view as the second most powerful in the country.

The world of central banking is largely a man's world. But Yellen has been undeterred by such barriers since she was in high school in Brooklyn. Charlie Saydah, a former classmate, says she was probably the smartest kid in the class. Yellen was "clearly smart, and she was smart among a lot of smart kids," he says.

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Health
4:26 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Sidelined By Brain Injury, Ex-NFL Player Copes With 'Desperation'

Sean Morey, then with the Arizona Cardinals, celebrates after blocking a punt against the Seattle Seahawks in 2007. Morey, who suffers from post-concussion syndrome, retired from the NFL in 2010 on the advice of doctors.
Stephen Dunn Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

The home of Sean Morey bears the impressive signposts of his 10-year career in the NFL: a Vince Lombardi trophy for his Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. A hefty Super Bowl ring. A framed photograph showing Morey in midair, launching himself like a missile to block a punt. With that play in 2008, his Arizona Cardinals became the only team in NFL history to win a game in overtime with a blocked punt.

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