Thursday night — just as Twitter was coming down from Scandal's midseason finale, and it's hard to think of this as a coincidence — Beyonce dropped an album out of nowhere. The news ricocheted through social media. People called it Bey Day and Christmas come early.
With its colorful box-style buildings with big windows, Castlemont High in Oakland, Calif., looks like any other school. But inside, teacher Demetria Huntsman and Joseph Hopkins, 16, are deconstructing a shooting that happened out front just 30 minutes before.
"We just, like, heard gunshots," Joseph explains. "We just ... turned around and started running. That's the closest I've ever came to almost, like, actually getting shot."
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:54 pm
If you think grains of rice or kernels of corn are free gifts of nature, think again. Seed companies — and the FBI — take a very different attitude, and walking off with the wrong seeds can land you in very serious trouble indeed.
In two apparently unrelated cases this week, federal prosecutors arrested citizens of China and charged them with stealing seeds that American companies consider valuable intellectual property.
Navid Khonsari worked on blockbusters like Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City and Max Payne. These are all violent and aggressive games, set in fictional cities where you shoot your enemies. But for the past two years Khonsari, a video game director, has led a small team, some of them fellow Iranians, working on something very different — a documentary game about the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
A student armed with a shotgun apparently killed himself after opening fire at a Colorado high school, wounding two fellow students, police said Friday.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the armed student entered the school and said he was looking for a specific teacher, calling him by name through the hallways. Robinson said another student confronted the gunman and then was shot.
"The teacher began to understand that he was being looked at [and] exited the school," Robinson said.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:30 pm
Stargazers are in for a treat if they're willing to wake up really early Saturday morning.
The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight, potentially serving up more than a hundred shooting stars per hour. The meteors will appear to emanate from the constellation Gemini (thus the name), but that's just an optical illusion. The meteors are actually remains of an asteroid whose fragments burn up in Earth's atmosphere as our planet passes through the field of debris.
The House adjourned for the holidays Thursday night after passing a two-year budget agreement. But despite pressure from Democrats, the deal did not include an extension of the long-term unemployment benefit program.
While the issue may be reconsidered in January, more than a million Americans will lose their benefits between Christmas and New Year's.
Texan John Cornyn is the No. 2 man in Senate GOP leadership and by most measures holds high conservative ratings — according to National Journal's rankings, he was the second most conservative senator in the last Congress.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:37 pm
A day after The Associated Press reported that an ex-FBI agent who went missing in Iran nearly seven years ago was on a rogue mission for the CIA, the White House has reiterated its long-held position that Robert Levinson was not on the U.S. payroll when he disappeared.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 4:58 am
Authorities in Kansas have arrested a man they say was plotting to use a carload of explosives to blow up the terminal at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport.
The suspect, identified as Terry Lee Loewen, a 58-year-old avionics technician, was arrested Friday morning at the airport, where he allegedly planned to drive a car loaded with explosives through the airport terminal, U.S. District Attorney Barry Grissom said in an afternoon news conference.
Born in Milan on December 5, 1972, Stefano Bollani was playing piano by age six. He grew up listening to his father's stride piano albums, and the pop music of Italian superstars Renato Carsone and Adriano Celentano.
Jazz guitarist, composer and arranger Jim Halldied in his sleep Tuesday; he was 83. Hall was known for a subtle, lyrical playing style, a gift for innovation and collaborations with a host of talented musicians in a career that stretched more than seven decades.
2013 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of lyricist Sammy Cahn, who was born Samuel Cohen, on the Lower East Side of New York City, on June 18, 1913. We didn't want the year to end without celebrating this centennial.
Cahn had his most successful and enduring partnerships with composers Saul Chaplin, Jule Styne and Jimmy Van Heusen. Several of his songs were written for Frank Sinatra. Cahn died in 1993, at the age of 79.
Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 9:32 am
An early winter storm in the Mideast has blown down tents in Syrian refugee camps and flooded parts of the Gaza Strip. It has also given Jerusalem its heaviest snowfall in 50 years, and Cairo its first snow in decades.
The storm dubbed Alexa was "pushing temperatures below zero in mountainous areas and dumping snow and heavy rains. The snow has heaped another layer of misery on the already grim existence of many of the ... Syrians who have fled the civil war raging in their homeland," according to The Associated Press.
Let's switch gears now and talk about your plans for the weekend. If you plan to head to the movies, you might be interested in the critics' picks from the Golden Globes. The nominations were announced yesterday. "12 Years a Slave" was one of the most honored films. That's the story of Solomon Northup who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He's played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was also nominated for his role in the film. Here's a clip.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the Golden Globe nominations are in. We'll speak with film critic Wesley Morris about who got the nod, who was left out and why we care - if we care. But first, the envelope please - we've got your letters. It's BackTalk. That's where we hear from you about this week's stories. Editor Ahmad Omar is back with us for that. Welcome back, Ahmad. Thanks for joining us.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, editor Ahmad Omar and I will hear what you had to say about conversations we've had on the program recently. That's ahead in BackTalk. But we're going to start the program today with Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality. Today, we want to look at a year of healing, faith and recovery. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:53 pm
NPR's Anthony Kuhn has lived in and covered Asia for the past two decades. The majority of his time has been in China — where he is currently based — though he spent most of the past three years covering Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, from his base in Jakarta.
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:45 pm
Toward the end of every year, NPR Music invites some of the world's best jazz keyboard players to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We ask them to take on some of their favorite Christmas tunes, solo, and the recording becomes the public radio special A Jazz Piano Christmas.