NPR News

Pages

Politics
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Federal Health Insurance Website Features 'Reset' Button

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:03 am

The Obama administration is renewing its sales push for the president's signature health care law. On Wednesday, officials host a "youth summit" at the White House, where young people will be encouraged to sign up for insurance coverage. Their participation is crucial to help balance out the cost of insuring older, sicker people.

Politics
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Immigration Debate To Drag Into Next Presidential Election

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:38 am

It's more than likely that overhauling immigration will not happen this year. Congress has only nine working days left in 2013. And it appears, the issue will not be resolved next year either.

Politics
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Supporters Of Immigration Overhaul Remain Focused

Activists Cristian Avila (left), Dae Joong Yoon and Eliseo Medina ended their fasting for immigration reform after 22 days in Washington, D.C.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:17 am

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill face a lengthy to-do list before they head home for the holidays. Near the top is an issue deemed a priority after last year's election — immigration reform. So far, only the Senate has passed a bill.

Despite the standstill, supporters of immigration reform are pushing to keep the issue alive on a crowded legislative slate.

Read more
Business
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

A Toast To The End Of Prohibition

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:05 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business is: a toast.

We lift a glass to a time when the government passed a popular measure.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In this case, the 21st Amendment - which was ratified 80 years ago today - ending the prohibition of alcohol as imposed by the 18th constitutional amendment in 1920.

MONTAGNE: Whether or not you partake in holiday cocktails or a winter brew this season, there's no denying alcohol does play a big role in our economy.

Read more
Business
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Advertising Push Helps Last Month's Car Sales

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:38 am

November was a better than expected sales month for the auto industry. Carmakers saw their sales go up nearly 9 percent over last year, and the increase had a lot to do with advertising.

Business
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Next Stop Bangladesh As We Follow Planet Money's T-Shirt

Workers sew together the Planet Money t-shirt in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:31 pm

Bangladesh is the cheapest place in the world to make a T-shirt. But this month, the minimum wage there will rise from $39 a month to $68 a month. That's got some factory owners nervous about whether Western retailers there will pull out. Our Planet Money team examines the future of the garment industry in Bangladesh.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

City Workers Fret Over Pensions As Detroit Enters Bankruptcy

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:38 am

A federal judge has ruled Detroit qualifies for bankruptcy. But the cash-strapped city, laden with roughly $18 billion in long-term debt, faces a long road to regain financial solvency. Unions whose members face pension payment cuts are appealing the ruling, and the ultimate decision about paying the pensions may be made by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Middle East
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Iran's Nuclear Deal Faces Big Test

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are scheduled to visit Iran's heavy-water reactor in the city of Arak on Sunday as part of an international deal on the country's nuclear program.
Hamid Forutan EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:39 pm

The nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers will face its first test this weekend. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are due to make a long-delayed visit to a nuclear site in Iran where plutonium could be produced.

A nuclear reactor and associated production plant in Arak are a special concern because plutonium can be used in a nuclear bomb. Under last month's accord, Iran promised to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Officials on both sides say they are committed to the nuclear deal, but keeping it on track will be a challenge.

Read more
Middle East
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Political Divisions Contribute To Limited Electricity In Gaza

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 6:18 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's turn now to the Middle East. In the Gaza Strip, it makes for good news that sewage is no longer flooding the streets. The sewage was one byproduct of an ongoing power shortage that seems to be easing, although just slightly. Hospitals and government offices should soon get electricity for more than the few hours a day, which has been the norm for weeks now.

NPR's Emily Harris reports that people expect, though, that they will still be cooking on open fires until Palestinian leaders mend a political split.

Read more
Europe
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Brutality Against Protesters Deepens Divisions In Ukraine

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:38 am

Thousands of protesters in Ukraine continue to occupy Kiev's Maidan square and to prevent the government from functioning after President Victor Yanukovich refused to allow the country to strengthen trade ties with the European Union. Ukraine is under intense Russian pressure to continue aligning itself with a customs union comprising countries of the former Soviet Union.

Sports
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NFL Thursday Matchup: 2 Losing Teams Will Still Get Ratings

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It must be said the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars tomorrow night, is not a marquee matchup. The Texans are two-and-10, the Jaguars look a little better, having won three of their last four games, but that was only after losing the first eight games of the season. In fact, these teams combine for the lowest-winning percentage in the history of the NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" games.

Read more
Author Interviews
1:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

A Holiday Photo Book That Puts Families In An 'Awkward' Position

Someone has earned a spot on the naughty list this year.
Courtesy of Three Rivers Press

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 10:06 am

In 2009, Mike Bender was horrified to find that his mother had hung a particularly embarrassing family photo.

"It was a vacation photo. It was my dad's 50th birthday. I was 13," he says. "My dad had my brother and I do a Rockette's kick with our skis. We were on top of a mountain, right by the lift, and I just remember feeling, you know, stuck in that pose: This. Is. Awkward."

But as an adult he realized that the photo was not only awkward — it was hilarious.

Read more
Sweetness And Light
1:07 am
Wed December 4, 2013

To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'?

Fox sportscasters Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson appear during the 2005 Super Bowl pregame show in Jacksonville, Fla.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 10:39 am

The Sunday pregame shows feature interchangeable ex-players and ex-coaches saying the same banal things, one after another.

"They've got to cut down on turnovers."

"They've got to convert more third-down situations."

And so on. There's no human interaction, just mirthless recitations. But on female-centered shows like The View and The Talk, the hosts actually discuss, argue, hash things out, laugh for real and behave like flesh-and-blood human beings. And they dare do it all without a net, before a live audience.

Read more
Business
1:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Around The World, Ford's Mustang Fuels A Dream

If American Mustang fans are hungry to see the new version, European fans are starved. Ford hasn't sold the Mustang there since 1979.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:46 am

Just about every Mustang owner has a story about how their love affair with the car began.

Laura Slider's story began the day a red Mustang appeared in the driveway across the street.

"I've wanted one ever since I was 15," she says. "It was owned by a very cute boy that I liked. And then we rode in it and it was very fast and sporty and fun and pretty, and I thought, I want one someday."

Now, decades later, she has one. And, yes, it's red.

Read more
Parallels
1:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

There And Back Again: One Afghan's Journey To Find Home

An Afghan man rides a horse at sunset on Nadir Khan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan. Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape the Taliban-controlled country, only to return after 12 years living in England.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 7:28 pm

In 2000, Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. He spent 12 years in England getting educated and becoming a documentary filmmaker.

Last year, he gave up life in the West and returned home to southern Helmand province. Now, he's the father of twins and he's working in a rural government office while trying to readjust to life in a conservative society that he finds dysfunctional.

Read more
The Salt
1:05 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Why $7-Per-Gallon Milk Looms Once Again

Sticker shock in the dairy aisle? If the government fails to pass the farm bill, milk prices could spike sometime after the first of the year.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:29 am

The leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are meeting Wednesday as they continue to try to work out the differences between their respective farm bills. If they fail, the country faces what's being called the "dairy cliff" — with milk prices potentially shooting up to about $7 a gallon sometime after the first of the year.

Here's why: The nation's farm policy would be legally required to revert back to what's called permanent law. In the case of dairy, that would be the 1949 farm bill.

Read more
Media
1:04 am
Wed December 4, 2013

OMG, BuzzFeed Is Investing In Serious News Coverage! Is It FTW?

BuzzFeed's content is created by both paid staff members and users of the site.
Matt Haughey Flickr

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:01 am

Anyone who has hankered for a list of 10 of the most life-affirming dog rescue stories ever can rely on the social media site BuzzFeed.

That list of 11 classic horror films that should never have been remade? That's from BuzzFeed too.

Read more
Kitchen Window
12:32 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Get Freshly Minted This Holiday Season

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:03 pm

When I was growing up, my uncle Richard farmed mint. In the late summer, he and his crew would mow the mint fields like hay and collect the leaves in enclosed wagons, then drive them down to the still, where they would seal them and pump them full of steam. The steam caused the oil in the leaves to turn to vapor, which re-liquefied when pushed through a condenser.

Read more
Science
10:03 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Polar Bear Researcher Gets $100,000 In Settlement With Feds

Threatened Arctic polar bears have become controversial icons of climate change.
Gerald Hoberman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:19 pm

A scientist whose observations of drowned polar bears raised alarms about climate change has received $100,000 to settle a whistle-blower complaint against an agency of the Department of the Interior.

Under the settlement, wildlife researcher Charles Monnett retired from his job at the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Nov. 15, and the agency agreed to remove a letter of reprimand that officials had placed in his file.

Read more
Technology
4:49 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

FCC Proposes AM Radio Changes To Give The Band A Boost

For years, sports broadcasts were a staple of AM radio. But now, AM seems to be mostly a mix of talk shows and infomercials, and the Federal Communications Commission wants the band to be relevant again.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:24 pm

AM radio once played a central role in American life. The family would gather around the Philco to hear the latest Western or detective drama. The transistor radio was where baby boomers first heard the Beatles and other Top 40 hits. And, of course, there's no better way to take in a ballgame.

Read more
Politics
4:18 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Obama Offers Second Chance For Missouri Court Nominee

Ronnie White, then-chief justice-elect of the Missouri Supreme Court, talks with reporters in June 2003.
Kelley McCall AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:50 pm

President Obama has made it a priority to choose federal judges who are diverse in terms of race or gender. But for the most part, he's avoided controversy for those lifetime appointments.

That's why the nomination of a Missouri lawyer named Ronnie White has raised the eyebrows of experts who've been around Washington for a while. Old hands remember that White was rejected for a federal judgeship back in 1999 after a party line vote by Senate Republicans.

Now, in what experts say could be an unprecedented step, he's getting another chance.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:58 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Mammograms In 3-D May Be Better, But Hard Proof Is Missing

A woman is positioned for a traditional mammogram at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 10:02 am

A newer form of mammogram may do a better job of finding cancer, a study finds. But the technology is still too untested to know if it's going to be useful for most women or even to know for sure who might benefit.

It's called breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography. Since being approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011, the new type of scan has been touted by radiologists.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'Mastermind' Behind Doritos Locos Tacos Dies At Age 41

Todd Mills and his daughter.
Team Todd

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 8:03 am

He had a great vision. And despite naysayers, he stuck to his guns and eventually saw a hard-shell taco splattered with neon-orange cheese dust become a staple in the country's fast-food scene.

Todd Mills, the inspiration behind Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos, died of cancer Thanksgiving morning.

He was 41.

USA Today brought Mills' story to our attention today. And it's an extraordinary tale. The paper reports:

Read more
The Two-Way
3:49 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Guardian Editor: We've Published 1 Percent Of Snowden Files

Guardian Editor-In-Chief Alan Rusbridger speaks at a debate about the newspaper's NSA coverage, on Sept. 19.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:44 pm

The editor-in-chief of The Guardian, which has turned leaks from Edward Snowden into a seemingly endless series of exposes concerning U.S. electronic surveillance activities, says the newspaper has published just 1 percent of what it's received from the former NSA contractor.

In testimony before Britain's Parliament, Alan Rusbridger told lawmakers that about 58,000 files obtained from Snowden, or "about 1 percent," had been used by the paper for its stories. However, he added: "I would not expect us to be publishing a huge amount more."

Read more
Music Reviews
3:14 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

27 Years Ago, Keith Jarrett Was A One-Man Band

Keith Jarrett circa 1986.
Toshinari Koinuma Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:57 pm

Keith Jarrett is a jazz legend. His catalog of recordings includes solo piano improvisations, trio and quartet works, classical performances, early sessions with Charles Lloyd and late ones with Miles Davis. But there's nothing quite like Jarrett's new double-CD set No End: It was recorded in his home studio in 1986, and he plays all the instruments — notably drums, bass and electric guitar.

Read more
Parallels
3:11 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Will Progress On Nuke Talks Mean More Engagement From Iran?

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Nov. 24 in Geneva, after the announcement of a deal halting parts of Iran's nuclear program.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:01 pm

The U.S. and other major powers have been holding historic negotiations with Iran to try to curb that country's nuclear program. But Washington still has many other concerns about Iranian behavior. And while some diplomats may hope to build on the nuclear talks to push Iran to play a more constructive role in the region, experts remain skeptical.

Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says there are a couple of ways to look at the negotiations with Iran.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Seahawks Fans Cause Earthquake, Set Noise Record

A Seattle Seahawks fan at Monday night's game, when he and other helped set a new noise record and made the ground rumble.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:23 am

They're louder than a jet on takeoff and they make the earth tremble.

We're talking about fans of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

During the team's home game Monday night against the New Orleans Saints, "Seahawks fans jumping up and down during" a fumble return for a touchdown "registered about a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake," The Seattle Times' The Today File blog reports.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Train Engineer 'Nodded At Controls,' Official Says

Monday, as a train on an unaffected track passed by (in the background) work continued on removing the commuter cars that derailed the day before.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:30 am

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday:

Federal investigators in New York announced late Tuesday that they had removed the rail employees union, the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, as a participant in the investigation. According to The Associated Press, investigators cited a breach of confidentiality after Anthony Bottalico, leader of the union, spoke to the media concerning comments train engineer William Rockefeller had made about what happened moments before Sunday's derailment.

Update at 8 p.m. ET:

Read more
Politics
3:01 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

White House Revs Up Delayed Push For Health Coverage

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:39 pm

With HealthCare.gov able to handle an increasing number of users, the Obama administration finally went on the offensive to urge Americans to sign up for new health insurance. The administration had planned a massive advertising and social media campaign to support the Affordable Care Act back in October, but the push was delayed for two months after the health insurance exchange website failed in its debut. The effort comes as the deadline for people to sign up for coverage starting next year looms.

Europe
3:01 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Ukrainian President Withstands No-Confidence Vote Amid Protests

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:39 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Read more

Pages