A broken pipe funneled 30,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River in North Carolina earlier this month, turning it gray. The pipe has been plugged, but the spill has reignited a fight over storage of coal ash, and scrutiny of the state regulators responsible for monitoring it.
Back in 2012, reporter Kevin Roose went undercover at a very exclusive party.
It was a dinner for a secret society, held once a year, at the St. Regis hotel in New York City. The secret society is called Kappa Beta Phi, and it's made up of current and former Wall Street executives — people like Michael Bloomberg, former heads of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs. And every year the group holds a dinner to induct new people into the group — they're called neophytes.
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:02 pm
Judging from an attack by one of his Republican opponents, you could easily draw the conclusion that Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska opposes a road that would serve as a lifeline to the remote Aleutian village of King Cove. But you would be wrong.
When private hospitals transfer patients who don't have insurance to public hospitals, it's called "patient dumping." But a study from Stanford University published Wednesday suggests a twist: Hospitals, it seems, are less likely to transfer critically injured patients to trauma centers if the patients have health insurance.
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:01 pm
Seeking new ways to be a player in mobile messaging, Facebook announced today that it will acquire the fast-growing WhatsApp firm for some $16 billion in cash and stock. The deal includes an additional $3 billion in Facebook stock for the employees of WhatsApp, who would see the shares vest over four years.
This is the second headline-grabbing acquisition by Facebook, following the $1 billion deal for Instagram that was announced in the spring of 2012. The new deal calls for Facebook to pay $4 billion in cash, along with around $12 billion in stock.
If there is such a thing as a home rink advantage, that makes the competition in the women's figure skating program fierce. Russian fans erupted with glee for Adelina Sotnikova on Wednesday. And then there's Yulia Lipnitskaya, a 15-year-old Russian phenom who has thrilled Russian fans and stunned the figure skating world.
Scott Hamilton, a 1984 figure skating gold medalist, has been watching Lipnitskaya closely.
"She's beyond her years. Like, you look at her and she qualified [to be age-eligible] for the Olympics by days," he says.
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:09 pm
The oldest private art museum in Washington is poised to be taken over by the National Gallery of Art, according to a plan to disperse much of the museum's holdings and turn its art college over to George Washington University. The plan was publicly unveiled Wednesday.
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 4:05 am
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a multibillion-dollar loan guarantee Wednesday for building nuclear reactors in Georgia, underscoring the White House's plan for an "all of the above" energy strategy.
The two reactors will be the first built in this country in nearly three decades.
The top American women's bobsled teams took silver and bronze in Sochi Wednesday, but the story of the day was Lauryn Williams, who became just the second American in history to win medals at both Summer and Winter Olympics. She's the fifth person to have accomplished the feat.
Williams won a silver medal to match the silver she won in the 100 meters 10 years ago at the Athens Games. She also owns an Olympic gold medal, from being part of the U.S. women's 4x100 meter relay team in London two summers ago.
Foreign ministers from France, Germany and Poland are traveling to Ukraine in hopes of persuading all sides in the country's recent violence to pull back from the brink and restart a political dialogue. The U.S. is also urging the country's president to calm the situation and restart a dialogue with the opposition. But the U.S. and Europe seem to have few levers of influence, as the crisis spins out of control.
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:42 pm
You'll find Raymond Champs, senior pictographer, seated in Row 8, Pod D, where he draws, day in, day out, instruction manuals for assembling furniture starring Mr. CustomMirth, the mascot of an Ikea-like furniture company called LokiLoki. Raymond may strive to give Mr. CustomMirth's potato shaped body the right amount of whimsy each day. But whimsy, or any type of feeling related to happiness, is what's missing from Raymond's life. And he suspects he's not the only one.
It may have been "mad" as in angry or "mad" as in deranged. Either way, almost 40 years ago, screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky anticipated the future of television news. He envisioned a nasty, profit-oriented industry that would literally kill for ratings. (Network was — after all — satire, not a documentary.) Dave Itzkoff's account of how the brilliant, stubborn and pugnacious Chafesky did his research, wrote his script and, ultimately, imposed his vision on the film is elegantly executed.
Pokemon is the wildly popular Japanese Nintendo video game, first released in 1996. Its goal is to collect wild creatures and battle other trainers to become the Pokemon master. Simple enough, right?
Now imagine trying to play the game with tens of thousands of people looking over your shoulder, telling you which buttons to press. That's the latest social experiment going on in the gaming community. At any given time, thousands of people are controlling a single game of Pokemon Red — the original game of the series — at the same time.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel
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President Obama is in Mexico today, for a one-day summit meeting with his fellow North American leaders. Trade tops the agenda. And President Obama signed an executive order today designed to speed up cross-border commerce. But the president's broader trade agenda appears to be slowing in the face of stiff congressional opposition.
The conflict that the world is witnessing in the streets of Kiev has deep roots and potentially very wide repercussions. Ukraine is a country of 45 million people and at issue these days is how it aligns itself and how it defines its future. Columbia University Professor Stephen Sestanovich is a former U.S. ambassador at large to the former Soviet Union. Welcome to the program once again.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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Today, the Midwest got a reprieve from this winter's bitter cold. But that long, deep freeze has created so much ice cover on the Great Lakes that it's near record levels. It's also really tempting for many people who want to walk out on the ice.
As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports while that may be fun, it is also dangerous.
Now, a roundup of some of the big stories out of Winter Olympics in Sochi today. A Norwegian athlete became the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. And there was a bruising loss for host country Russia. Its men's hockey team lost to Finland and is out of the Olympic tournament. Russian fans like Alexander Ustinov(ph) were devastated.
ALEXANDER USTINOV: You know, it's so bad because we lose. We lose. I can't believe it. It's so bad.
The U.S. has added another gold medal to its Olympic tally. As NPR's Tamara Keith reports, this latest win comes courtesy of Ted Ligety and with it, he has cemented his place as one of the great giant slalom skiers.
Now, health and electrical lighting. Last month, Mariana Figueiro showed me something she has developed to help seniors avoid falls in the night. Figueiro researches health applications at the Lighting Research Center at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Her project is a nightlight. But it's not just a single bulb. It's a string of yellow lights that border the darkened entrance to, say, a bathroom.
It's a doorway and around the frame of the doorway are the yellow LEDs?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel. We begin this hour with the crisis in Ukraine. In the capital, Kiev, anti-government protesters stormed the central post office one day after violent street battles with police left at least 25 people dead. Well tonight also brought hope for peace there. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with opposition leaders, and they have agreed for the moment to stop the fighting.
Back in 2011, Mohamed Abdi Farah, who goes by the stage name Mo, seemed to be Norway's next rising pop star. Success on his country's version of The X Factor led to a record deal and the release of several singles, all before his 18th birthday. But then, Mo found himself in the middle of a national nightmare: a mass shooting on the Norwegian island of Utøya.