Suzanne Cloud, that jazz musician we just heard, lives in Pennsylvania, one of the majority of states using the federal government's system for the new health insurance marketplace. And as we've just heard, the federal system has been plagued with problems. But what about the 16 states and District of Columbia that decided to set up their own insurance exchanges? How are they doing?
This week, All Things Considered is talking with leaders from different faiths about their perspectives on the afterlife. NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Mufti Asif Umar, a Muslim scholar and imam of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, about what Muslims believe and about his own beliefs.
Umar, the 29-year-old son of Indian immigrants, said Muslims believe that when a person dies, two angels appear and ask that person three questions about his or her faith. Those questions, Umar says, have correct answers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a health alert warning that an estimated 278 illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with raw chicken produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 7:49 am
Iran and Israel are at it again, but at least it's not the nuclear issue. This time it's jeans.
It started last week when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told BBC's Persian TV that "if the Iranian people had their way, they'd be wearing bluejeans; they'd have Western music; they'd have free elections."
A bomb exploded Monday near a group of polio vaccinators in Peshawar, killing at least two policemen, The New York Timesreported. Since December, at least 20 polio workers have been killed in similar assaults.
Such violence has threatened the global effort to stamp out the disease in the three countries where the virus is still endemic — Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 8:37 am
There's a moment in this rousing tune by the Brooklyn-based band Rubblebucket I think we can all connect with: singer Kalmia Traver screams "15 missed calls / can you blame me? / Charlie tell me, do you love me?" It's that exasperation, that moment in a relationship when one person finds themselves caring a whole lot more than the other, that makes this a fabulous pop song. I also love how much life this lyric video has; the color and style feel fresh and so perfect for the blasting horns and funk of the music.
U.S. and Iranian diplomatic relations made a big jump last month when President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke directly by phone. It's the first time an American president has spoken to an Iranian leader in more than three decades. That phone call, of course, wasn't a cure-all. The U.S. and Israel remain concerned about Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear program, among other things.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 2:16 pm
Almost 1 in 10 high school and college-aged people have forced someone into sexual activity against his or her will, a study finds. The majority of those who have done it think that the victim is at least partly to blame.
The results come from a multiyear study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was designed to look for the roots of adult sexual violence. Most adult perpetrators say they first preyed on another while still in their teens.
Elizabeth Smart has the kind of fame no one would want: In the summer of 2002, at the age of 14, she became one of the nation's most famous kidnap victims when she was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, where she lived with her devout Mormon family.
Her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, saw himself as a religious prophet and took her to be his second wife in a polygamous marriage. With a knife at her throat, Mitchell forced her to go with him to his remote camp on a mountain near Salt Lake, where they lived during the first stage of her nine-month captivity.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 4:02 pm
Well, it's happened. British scientist Peter Higgs has won a Nobel Prize for proposing the Higgs boson particle as part of a mechanism that explains how things in the universe came to have mass.
Higgs seems to be lying low today so far — a colleague told The New York Times that Higgs had "gone off by himself for a few days without saying where" and that a reporter seeking an interview recently had been "sent away with a flea in his ear."
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 4:45 pm
In a press conference that lasted more than an hour, President Obama said he was willing to talk about anything, as long as Republicans reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, even if its for a short period of time.
"Let's stop the excuses. Let's take a vote in the House. Let's end this shutdown, right now; let's put people back to work" Obama said.
It's been a dreary, rainy week in D.C. On this episode of All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are a little stir crazy after being stuck inside during the storms. But, with thunder rolling in the background, Robin kicks things off with an ethereal cut from the Berlin-based trip-hop artist Perera Elsewhere that perfectly captures the mood.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 11:54 am
President Obama phoned House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday morning to tell him that he's open to discussing Republicans' fiscal ideas, but not until the government shutdown is over and the federal debt ceiling has been raised.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 12:32 pm
Someone's taken credit for the shadowy billboard on the 101 Freeway near San Francisco — a plain white sign with black text reading, "Your Data Should Belong To The NSA." We wondered about it last week and got some interesting theories in the comments.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up in money coach - look, you're a college student, you're hard-pressed for some cash and one of your classmates invites you to a, quote, amazing business opportunity. Is there a way to tell if it's the real deal and not just a scam? We'll take a closer look at some of these schemes or scams that seem to target college students in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:14 pm
Federal employees aren't the only ones feeling the heat in Week 2 of the government shutdown.
D.C. bars and restaurants are also getting nervous about just how long their customers will be out on furlough — and how that might dent their bottom line. While attendance at local happy hours was up in the past week, according to some reports, there are serious concerns about whether that can last with so many government workers sent home.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 12:53 pm
Dr. Douglas Aspros says the federal health law is increasing his costs to buy medical equipment, which he has no choice but to pass onto his patients — most of whom are uninsured.
None of Aspros' patients, though, will benefit from the Affordable Care Act's expansion of coverage. Aspros, you see, treats dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, parrots and other small animals at his veterinary center in Pound Ridge, N.Y.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:49 pm
Imagine a poker table.
At one seat, China's President Xi Jinping studies his cards. At another, Russian President Vladimir Putin is stroking his chin. Asian leaders fill the other seats, each trying to win the pot, which is filled — not with poker chips — but with jobs.
That's the kind of high-stakes game that played out this week in Indonesia, where global leaders got together to discuss trade relations. Their gathering ended Tuesday, and exactly who won what is not yet clear.
But this much is known: President Obama was not at the table.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 10:07 am
Photojournalist Arantxa Cedillo has worked all over Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. But in 2011 she decided to spend a few years in Nepal. She says it interested her because it's a country in constant political turmoil, as well as "one of the most beautiful corners of the world."
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 11:44 am
South Korean officials say they have confirmed that North Korea has restarted a nuclear reactor that had been shut down in 2007. The news bolsters reports last month that the reactor was operating once again.
In April, North Korea said it would restart the reactor to aid its nuclear weapons program, as NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports for our Newscast unit:
"South Korea's National Intelligence Service delivered a report to a parliamentary intelligence committee saying that North Korea's 5-megawatt plutonium reactor at Yongbyon has resumed operations.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 11:17 am
A second team of international inspectors is being deployed to Syria, where the process of destroying chemical weapons-producing facilities began Sunday. Syria faces a November deadline for demolishing its production equipment; the first weapons team arrived in the country on Oct. 1.