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.
Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose appearance at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela angered many in South Africa's deaf community and has led to an apology from the government. His sign language interpretation was just meaningless gestures, say those who understand that language.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:16 am
Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Previously Charged With Murder?
"The South African government said Friday it is aware of reports that the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial once faced a murder charge, and said he is being investigated," The Associated Press reports from Johannesburg.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 8:38 am
We've long known that the fish we eat are exposed to toxic chemicals in the rivers, bays and oceans they inhabit. The substance that's gotten the most attention — because it has shown up at disturbingly high levels in some fish — is mercury.
First of all: WOW. We did our live show at NPR HQ this week, and it was wonderful, and all of you who attended made a fantastic audience. You'll be hearing the live show in two segments over the holidays while we take a rest, but in the meantime, we've got a brand-new show to roll out.
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how "power posing" can affect our brains, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
Phuc Tran grew up caught between two languages with opposing cultural perspectives: the indicative reality of Vietnamese and the power to image endless possibilities with English. In this personal talk, Tran explains how both shaped his identity.