Melissa Block talks to Washington attorney David Laufman, who prosecuted national security cases during the George W. Bush administration. He talks about the complications of prosecuting a case that involves extradition requests and classified materials.
Jasmine Chestnut at her internship at the Center for American Progress in Washington. An at-risk student, Chestnut had almost given up on college when a nonprofit network supported by the government's Social Innovation Fund helped her get back on track.
Credit Gabriella Demczuk / NPR
Nonprofits supported by federal and private dollars through the Social Innovation Fund say they have helped thousands of people like Chestnut since the fund's inception.
"We're going to use this fund to find the most promising nonprofits in America," he said when announcing the plan. "We'll examine their data and rigorously evaluate their outcomes. We'll invest in those with the best results that are the most likely to provide a good return on our taxpayer dollars."
If you're a member of Congress and you didn't know about the National Security Agency's phone records program before it was disclosed last week, President Obama has this to say to you: Where have you been?
"When it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed on this program," Obama said to reporters last Friday.
Walk into any bookstore or library, and you'll find shelves and shelves of hugely popular novels and book series for kids. But research shows that as young readers get older, they are not moving to more complex books. High-schoolers are reading books written for younger kids, and teachers aren't assigning difficult classics as much as they once did.
A Predator drone operated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine taxis for a flight over southern Arizona near the Mexican border on March 7 from Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Credit Ted Robbins / NPR
The equipment hanging from the Customs and Border Protection drone's underbelly includes a night camera, a day camera, a low-light camera and laser target illumination.
The runways at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., are busy. This is where the Army tests its military drones, where it trains its drone pilots, and where four Customs and Border Protection drones take off and land.
From here, the CBP drones survey the Arizona-Mexico border — mainly looking for immigrants and drug smugglers.
Reaction was swift to the Obama administration's announcement Monday night that it was dropping a long-running legal battle to keep age restrictions on one type of the morning-after birth control pill.
But like just about everything else in this decade-long controversy, the latest decision has pleased just about no one.
As Sochi, Russia, prepares to host the 2014 Olympic Games, workers walk past piles of dirt at the construction site of Fisht Stadium and Olympic Park on May 20.
Credit Corey Flintoff / NPR
Yulia Saltykova (center) stands with her family on the site of a highway that, when finished, will cut off all access to their home. The family is one of many that say they have been displaced or harmed by Sochi's Olympic construction.
Credit Zurab Dzhavakhadze / ITAR-TASS/Landov
An aerial view of the construction site of Sochi's Olympic Park on the shore of the Black Sea.
As Russia prepares to host the world for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, it faces a number of challenges: The weather is mild for winter sports; residents are complaining about being displaced; and the project is costing a huge amount of money.
Yet the Black Sea resort town, a favorite of President Vladimir Putin, is bustling with construction cranes. Workers are racing to complete high-rise hotels and state-of-the-art venues for figure skating, speedskating and hockey.
Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized since Saturday with a recurring lung infection. The government says his condition is unchanged — serious, but stable. But his poor health and advanced age — 94 — suggest the former president's days are numbered. Retired archbishop Desmond Tutu described the anti-apartheid campaigner as an "extraordinary gift".
Millions of bats live in Bracken Cave, in a rural area near San Antonio. Conservationists are worried that plans for a multithousand-unit housing development will disrupt the bat colony.
Credit Eric Gay / AP
Millions of bats emerge from Bracken Cave, near San Antonio, in 2011. The cave is located in a rural area, but conservationists are worried that a planned housing development nearby will disturb the bat colony that lives here.
The Bracken Bat Cave, just north of San Antonio, is as rural as it gets. You have to drive down a long, 2-mile rocky road to reach it. There's nothing nearby — no lights, no running water. The only thing you hear are the katydids.
The cave houses a massive bat colony, as it has for an estimated 10,000 years. Bat Conservation International, the group that oversees the Bracken Cave Reserve, wants it to stay secluded, but the area's rural nature could change if a local developer's plan moves forward.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
An update now on the congressional investigation into the IRS' flagging of conservative groups for extra scrutiny. For the first time since the scandal broke, there are no public hearings scheduled this week. The action is all behind closed doors as NPR's Tamara Keith tells us from Capitol Hill.
In North Carolina, NAACP leaders are planning a seventh week of protests at the state legislature. The demonstrations have grown in size and number of arrests every week since they started back in April. Protest organizers oppose the social, economic and voting policies of the Republican-led General Assembly, and they want lawmakers to take notice. But it's not clear whether legislators will change their policies as a result of the protests.
Egypt's leaders are negotiating with Ethiopia over a Nile River dam project the Ethiopians have begun building, according to reports. The news comes after a week of forceful talk about the dam project, including one session with Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi in which politicians discussed armed intervention, apparently not aware their words were being broadcast on live television.
In order to make tough cuts of beef more tender, the industry uses a mechanical tenderizing process that involves piercing the meat with needles.
This is effective in breaking up the tough muscle fibers, but there's a downside, too: a higher risk of surface bacteria making their way into the cut of meat, which can set the stage for food poisoning. That's a particular concern when it comes to the center of meat cuts, which don't get heated to the same temperatures as the exterior.
Sean Kelley, senior vice president at the Eastern State Penitentiary, displays a plate of "food loaf," a punishment food currently served in Pennsylvania prisons. Over the weekend, the historic penitentiary, now a museum, served visitors sample meals from the 1800s, 1900s and today.
Our fascination with prison food is usually limited to death row prisoners' elaborate last meal requests and urban legends about disturbingly low-grade meat. But nowadays, the walls between the prison cafeteria and the outside world are coming down, at least metaphorically.
This young female rhinoceros, photographed in Kenya in 2011, was killed by ivory poachers a few months after this photo was taken.
Credit WWF Nepal
Park rangers and army personnel in Nepal carry unmanned aerial vehicles used to track wildlife and poaching activity. The drones, which can be programmed to fly automatically, are outfitted with cameras that relay live video to the ground.
Credit Courtesy of Falcon UAV
Chris Miser, owner of Falcon UAV, uses a laptop to control and monitor an unmanned aerial vehicle in test flights in May at Olifant West, a private game preserve in South Africa.
A crowd of wildlife rangers gathered on a woody hillside in Nepal last year to try something they'd never done before. A man held what looked like an overgrown toy airplane in his right hand, arm cocked as if to throw it into the sky. As his fellow rangers cheered, he did just that. A propeller took over, sending it skyward.
The craft was an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a drone, though not the military kind. Its wingspan was about 7 feet, and it carried only a video camera that filmed the forest below.
OK, so it might be a little presumptuous to call a winner considering that neither Sony's nor Microsoft's new console is on the market quite yet.
On Monday, however, on the first day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, where the gaming industry tells consumers what to buy this holiday season, Sony dropped the mic to universal applause, as Digital Trends described it.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its practice of collecting vast data about the phone calls made in the United States. The ACLU claims the government surveillance violates the Constitution's guarantee of free speech, association and privacy.
A public health poster from 1952 encourages Americans to get checked for sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhea is the second-most-common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., with more than 300,000 cases reported in 2011.
Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 10:31 am
Forms of gonorrhea that don't respond to the last line of antibiotics have rapidly spread in Great Britain, expanding the reach of drug-resistant disease.
The number of gonorrhea cases with decreased sensitivity to the front-line drug cefixime increased by nearly six times from 2004 to 2011 in England and Wales, a team from the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency reported Tuesday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Google was recently allowed to release general data about national security letters it receives, as seen in this chart. The company is now asking the U.S. government to allow it to publish similar data on national security requests, including those made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
As Google and other large tech companies cope with the aftermath of recent reports that the National Security Agency has had broad access to their users' data, the search giant is asking the U.S. government for permission to publish the number of national security requests it receives, including those made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:40 am
I have vivid memories of my mom going out of town one weekend and my dad feeding me fried bologna sandwiches for three nights in a row. He didn't make the sandwiches because I liked them; he made them because he can't cook. He can't get around a kitchen. He doesn't know how to chop an onion. He has no idea how to roast a chicken. But the man can grill.
If you want to observe one of Washington's most delicate balancing acts, look no further than President Obama's effort to assert leadership on immigration legislation without its coming to be identified as a new Obamalaw.
Because they're keenly aware of how nearly any legislative effort that becomes known as the president's baby almost immediately makes his political foes hellbent on stopping it and denying him a victory, Obama and other White House officials have been committed to letting Congress take the lead on major legislation like immigration reform.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal today that would designate all chimpanzees as an endangered species.
Currently, chimps in the wild are classified as endangered but those in captivity are not classified as such. The Washington Post reports that the change could affect chimps that are used in medical research and are used as pets.
At a time when most pregnant women work, there are new efforts to keep companies from unfairly targeting employees because of a pregnancy. The allegations of pregnancy discrimination persist and have even risen in recent years despite a decades-old law against it, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
James Franco (from left), Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride all play versions of themselves in the post-apocalyptic comedy This Is the End, written by Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg.
NPR Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep recently traveled to Damascus for a series of reports on the ongoing war in Syria. He sent this postcard from the road.
On my first day in Damascus, I went walking in the ancient bazaar — narrow stone-paved streets surrounding a great stone mosque. The mosque is so old, it used to be a church during the Roman Empire, and before it was a church, it was a pagan temple. The bazaar is surely as old as the mosque, for Damascus is a historic city of trade.