Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:38 pm
A record-high percentage of Americans identified as political independents last year, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.
The survey, based on more than 18,000 interviews conducted throughout the year, found that 42 percent identified as independent, the highest figure since the polling firm began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago.
In 2013, 31 percent identified as Democrats, while 25 percent identified as Republican.
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:09 pm
German Chancellor Angela Merkel accepted an invitation Wednesday from President Obama to visit the U.S., just months after relations between the two allies hit a low following revelations the U.S. was spying on Merkel and other world leaders.
Obama made the invitation during a conversation Wednesday with the German chancellor. Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman, said the visit would occur in the next few months.
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:21 pm
Companies from Sony and Samsung to Netflix and Google's YouTube are putting their money into TVs that pack more pixels. Several models are on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
For five years, a multibillion-dollar expansion has been underway on the Panama Canal so that ships three times the current size can pass through the vital waterway. The new, wider canal will alter global trade routes and dramatically increase revenue for Panama's government, primarily from toll charges.
The expansion is more than two-thirds done, but now a funding dispute between the builders and the canal operators threatens to bring construction to a halt.
Two new miniseries this week are worth special mention — and couldn't be more different.
True Detective, which begins Sunday on HBO, is a combination series and miniseries, kind of like American Horror Story on FX. Each season is designed to tell a different, self-contained story, followed the next year by a new tale with new characters and sometimes even new actors. This first season of True Detective is an eight-hour murder mystery starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, neither of whom is expected to return next season.
Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. After Russia passed two anti-gay laws in June, she decided it was time for her, her partner and their children to leave. In late December, they moved to New York.
"The only thing more creepy than hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive is hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive and thinking, 'I know that guy.' "
The annual number of mass murders and attempted mass murders in the U.S. has tripled since 2008, to 15 last year, according to statistics that the FBI and Justice Department have been citing in recent weeks.
In a new study posted online by the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, experts make the case that "police have, generally, done an excellent job responding to active shooter events quickly."
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:41 pm
This post was updated at 7:45 p.m.
Two crew members who were rescued after the U.S. Navy helicopter they were in went down in the Atlantic Ocean near Virginia have died, The Virginian-Pilot reports. They were among the four crew members taken to a hospital today. One crew member died soon after being rescued; the second died later Wednesday.
Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:08 am
This week's Winter Jazzfest seems to be a kind of turning point — for the festival, and maybe for jazz in New York City. What started 10 years ago as a one-night showcase under one roof has expanded to five days at 10 venues, featuring more than 90 groups in a vast array of styles.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We start the program today with reflections on money, speaking broadly. In a few minutes, we'll talk about some myths and facts about credit. Consumer columnist Sheryl Harris will help us clear up some confusion over what exactly helps and hurts your credit. That's in just a few minutes.
This is the time of year when many people make an effort to get a handle on their credit. But you might be confused about what actions can actually help your credit and those that can harm it. Consumer columnist Sheryl Harris joined Tell Me More host Michel Martin to share some tips and debunk consumer credit myths.
Tip: Understanding your credit report
A credit report shows your credit and loan accounts, the balance owed on each account, and your payment history on each account.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Finally today, we want to take a look at the world of Internet media. Now we often hear that the Internet is the brave new world where things like race and gender don't matter. Everybody can be who they want to be and have equal access and equal say. But we also know that there is an ugly side to the Internet, and that's something you may have experienced yourself, particularly if you are a girl or a woman.
Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:49 pm
What's to be done about Edward Snowden?
As the courts consider whether the National Security Agency's surveillance practices are constitutional, NPR's Morning Edition is speaking to individuals making the case for and against granting clemency for the man whose leaks cast a spotlight on U.S. spying.
Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals are injured or killed every year by fishermen around the world. And because most seafood in the U.S. is imported, that means our fish isn't as dolphin-friendly as you might expect.
Under pressure from conservation groups, federal regulators are preparing to tighten import standards to better protect marine mammals.
There was a time, more than 40 years ago, when U.S. fishermen killed millions of dolphins while fishing for tuna. After a public backlash, fishermen figured out how to minimize that so-called bycatch.
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:47 pm
Emily Johnson Dickerson died at her home in Ada, Okla., last week. She was the last person alive who spoke only the Chickasaw language.
"This is a sad day for all Chickasaw people because we have lost a cherished member of our Chickasaw family and an unequaled source of knowledge about our language and culture," Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said in a news release. The Chickasaw Nation has about 55,000 members and is based in the southern part of central Oklahoma.
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:25 am
The White House has approved NASA's call for four more years for the International Space Station, ensuring that the orbiting science laboratory will keep going for another decade, according to documents obtained by The Orlando Sentinel.
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:56 am
A few years ago, physicist Brian Skinnerasked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it's something everybody asks. When I can't wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thing — and what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Even mysterious.
Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:24 am
Years ago, on an overnight bus ride in Argentina, a waiter poked his head through the drawn curtains: "Whiskey or Tia Maria?" he offered as a post-meal drink. Unfamiliar with the latter, I decided to take a taste. He steadied himself on the rocking walls and poured me a serving of the almond-colored digestif. I could smell the coffee aromatics as I took my first sip. The sweet liqueur popped on my taste buds with flavors of vanilla, coconut and rum. "Good, right?" he asked. I nodded. As the sugar and alcohol settled my stomach, I knew I had to learn more about this dinnertime tradition.