Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:48 pm
At one time, Area 51 was one of the most famous military installations in the world — a place widely talked about, yet so secret that the U.S. government refused to confirm its existence.
That's why President Obama's reference to the southern Nevada base Sunday raised eyebrows. It marked the first time a U.S. commander in chief has publicly acknowledged the facility that fueled countless conspiracy theories.
This is FRESH AIR. At 44, the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann may be the most popular tenor of his generation and one of the most versatile. Music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two of his recordings this year, dedicated to both Verdi and Wagner, celebrating the bicentennials of their birth.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 11:30 am
Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was sentenced to three months home detention and three years probation for sexually harassing three women.
As we reported, Filner pleaded guilty to three criminal charges — including false imprisonment and battery — back in October. The charges were related to allegations that Filner grabbed and fondled three women while he was in office.
Delia Ephron is a novelist and playwright. Her essays have been published in <em>The New York Times, O, Vogue</em> and the Huffington Post<em>.</em> Her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, died in June 2012.
In the opening chapter of her latest book, novelist Delia Ephron writes that losing her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, was like "losing an arm, it's that deranging." Nora, who wrote When Harry Met Sally, died of acute myeloid leukemia in June 2012. Delia and Nora were writing partners; they co-wrote the movies You've Got Mail and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as well as the off-Broadway hit Love, Loss and What I Wore. Delia was an assistant producer on Nora's film Sleepless in Seattle.
Cars pass by the RIA Novosti information agency headquarters in Moscow on Monday. President Vladimir Putin named Dmitry Kiselyov, a controversial news anchor known for his ultraconservative views, to head a newly restructured state news agency.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:35 pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin dissolved one of the country's official news agencies and an international radio broadcaster on Monday, setting up a new organization to be run by a news anchor known for his ultraconservative views.
RIA Novosti, the news agency, and Voice of Russia, the broadcaster, will be absorbed by a new entity, Russia Today.
Jessica Golloher is reporting on the story for our Newscast unit:
A still image taken from North Korea's state-run television footage and released Monday shows Jang Song Thaek being forcibly removed by uniformed personnel from a meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang.
In July, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (second left) is flanked by top advisers, including his uncle Jang Song Thaek, at far right in white uniform.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:42 pm
We told you last week about a report from North Korea that an uncle of Kim Jong Un, the country's leader, was dismissed from a key defense post.
The uncle in question is Jang Song Thaek, who is married to the sister of Kim's late father, Kim Jong Il. As NPR's Scott Neuman noted, there have been previous reports of Jang's dismissal only for him to be back in power, apparently rehabilitated. Well, not this time — or so it would seem.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:36 am
The meat on your dinner table probably didn't come from a happy little cow that lived a wondrous life out on rolling green hills. It probably also wasn't produced by a robot animal killer hired by an evil cabal of monocle-wearing industrialists.
Truth is, the meat industry is complicated, and it's impossible to understand without a whole lot of context. That's where Maureen Ogle comes in. She's a historian and the author of In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 12:27 pm
Their paths repeatedly crossed on the way to the World Series. And now retired managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox are headed to the same place: the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall's Expansion Era committee announced its selection Monday.
Together, the trio won eight World Series titles and led teams that were perennial threats to play in October. They account for a combined 7,558 victories.
I'm Celeste Headlee. This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, infants are tested and screened for all kinds of illnesses, but a new report shows some hospitals are waiting too long to process those screening tests. The results could be bad. We're going to talk more about that in a few minutes but first, to happiness and the holidays.
We end our program today with another tribute to anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. He died last Thursday, and South Africa is preparing for his memorial tomorrow. Many Americans learned about Mandela on screen through the movies that dramatized his life. Here's a clip of Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard in the 1987 film, "Mandela."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MANDELA")
ALFRE WOODARD: (As Winnie Mandela) Baba Mandela, when I see you walking about in this country, my joy overflows and my faith is made real enough to touch.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 12:46 pm
It's hard out here for a How I Met Your Mother fan these days.
I mean, it's always been hard. The show has had its share of ups and downs, from how often it was on the brink of cancellation to its rocky creative track record in recent years. But the ninth and final season of the show — set in the 50-odd hours before a wedding we've already seen bits and pieces of — has become downright exhausting.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:27 pm
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the country's Parliament on Monday and called early elections in the face of anti-government protests that began last month. But protest leaders said their goal was to rid Thai politics of her family's influence, and to that end, they want to replace Yingluck's elected government with an unelected "people's council."
A government spokesman said a new vote would be held Feb. 2, but the date must be approved by Thailand's Election Commission. Yingluck says she'll remain as caretaker leader until a new prime minister is named.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:59 pm
An American volunteer in the Peace Corps, Juliana Peluso, 24, lives in Kanel, Senegal, in West Africa.
What does your life sound like? Or your job? Or the place where you live? Please send a recording of four sounds that tell the story of your life or job or town — at this moment in time — to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, age and where you live. You may be contacted for a follow-up interview.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 12:14 pm
U.S. and British intelligence agencies have worked to infiltrate networks of violence-prone individuals who might unite for a common cause. And in some cases, the spies are also targeting networks that aren't regional terrorist cells — they're online gaming communities, according to the latest revelation from documents given to the media by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 5:08 pm
The disastrous rollout of the Obama administration's storefront for buying health coverage is now in a new phase — a slow recovery. But the questions about how something like this could happen and how a $600 billion technological failure can be prevented in the future made for dozens — dozens — of stories over the past 2 1/2 months.
For our latest episode of the tech team podcast, aka "Our So-Called Digital Lives," we take you through the failure of HealthCare.gov and explore the possibilities of how to prevent it from happening again.
Activists who had backed Ukraine's plan to form closer ties to the European Union try to give food to riot police officers preparing to block the Independence Square in Kiev Monday.
Credit Sergei Chuzavkov / AP
At right, Ukrainian protesters stand atop a ruined monument to Vladimir Lenin in central Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 8 — one week after police protected the statue during protests, left. The statue of the Bolshevik leader was toppled and broken apart with sledgehammers.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 1:11 pm
As President Obama travels to South Africa for Nelson Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday, it might seem as though Mandela was an eternal object of admiration for U.S. presidents and the American public. But that wasn't the case by a long shot.
During Mandela's 27 years behind bars, successive U.S. administrations worked with, or at least tolerated, South Africa's white leaders. Only in his final years of incarceration did he and the anti-apartheid movement become a cause that gained traction in the United States.
An increasing number of people are signing up for health insurance through the government's new exchange, suggesting the Obama administration has made progress in fixing its broken website. But the exchange is just one part of the health care law, which remains politically divisive almost four years after its passage.
Officials of 159 countries have taken a big step forward in promoting global trade. This happened over the weekend at World Trade Organization talks in Indonesian.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The countries attending the WTO meeting agreed to a treaty that they say will lower trade barriers and speed up the passage of goods across borders. Officials say the deal could increase global trade by nearly a trillion dollars over time and also create millions of jobs.
David Greene talks with Sylvain Groulx, head of mission for Doctors without Borders in the Central African Republic, about the state of the violence there and the hopes for peace now that French troops have arrived.
In the Arab world, TV watchers were buzzing this weekend about the finals of a popular contest show, "Arab's Got Talent." Runner up was the competition's dark horse contender, Jennifer Grout, a young American. She's not an Arab. She just loves Arabic music. And the presence of a Westerner in the running for this prize caused a bit of a stir. NPR's Deborah Amos was at the finale Saturday in Beirut and she sent this postcard.
Vitali Klitschko, head of the opposition UDAR party, waves a flag during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 1. The WBC heavyweight boxing champion has emerged as one of Ukraine's most popular political figures, as massive anti-government protests grip the country.
Credit Sergei Grits / AP
Klitschko celebrates his win over Manuel Charr of Germany during their WBC bout for the heavyweight title in Moscow on Sept. 9, 2012.