A winter storm is hitting an area from Virginia to New England, snarling traffic and closing schools. On Sunday, heavy snowfall changed the look of an NFL game in Baltimore, Md., where Ravens players stood for the national anthem at 1 p.m.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:24 pm
Winter won't officially begin for nearly two more weeks, but a winter storm continued to plow across much of the eastern part of the U.S. on Monday, bringing a dangerous mix of snow, ice and freezing rain. The storm knocked out power in some areas, fouled morning commutes and caused more than a thousand flights to be cancelled.
"Heavy snow fell Sunday in the Mid-Atlantic, with more than 8 inches reported in Philadelphia and a foot in nearby Newark, Del.," The Associated Press reports.
New York's health insurance marketplace has been running relatively smoothly, compared with healthcare.gov, the site the federal government is running for 36 states.
But that's a low bar, and even though about 50,000 New Yorkers had signed up in the first two months, almost every day still brings complaints and glitches. Donna Frescatore, the head of the New York State Of Health, says there are no serious patterns of trouble, just individual issues that the state and its contractors address one by one.
Reed Holway spent 13 months in Iraq. He says PTSD brought on a drinking problem when he returned to the States — and that eventually led to a bad-conduct discharge. Vets with "bad paper" have trouble getting any VA health benefits — even for PTSD.
Credit Marisa Penaloza / NPR
Brandon Bailey worked as a flight nurse evacuating wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. After a blow to the head and being diagnosed with a TBI and PTSD, he was court-martialed for theft and drug use, sentenced to three months in prison and dismissed from the Air Force.
Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good-conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.
None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."
With a new White House push to promote the Affordable Care Act well underway, the question is whether an improved HealthCare.gov site and onslaught of positive talking points will be enough to bolster Senate Democrats facing tough races in 2014.
One re-election fight to watch is Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's in New Hampshire, where she's been taking heat for supporting the new health care law.
As the holiday season approaches, the TV cupboard may seem a bit bare; the industry winds down like everything else, filling cable and broadcast networks with holiday specials, reruns and also-ran reality shows.
But there are bright gifts, too: TNT offers Mob City, a three-week, lavishly produced noir-ish TV show about cops and crooks vying for control of 1947-era Los Angeles, airing Wednesdays.
On Dec. 8 and 9, A&E presents a four-hour miniseries on Bonnie and Clyde, retelling the story of the Depression-era outlaws and lovers.
In 2007, Benazir Bhutto — twice prime minister of Pakistan and then-leader of the Pakistan People's Party — was killed in a suicide bombing attack that claimed 38 lives. The factors at play in her assassination, however, reached deeper than many imagined.
In his new book, Getting Away With Murder, Heraldo Munoz portrays the tense political climate that surrounded Bhutto's return to politics and examines the circumstances of her death.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 7:54 am
Aside from racial and ethnic slurs, there aren't many words that prompt a more immediate and visceral response than "hipster." Many associate the term with craft beer, smugness and, of course, Brooklyn. Modern-day hipsters have inspired a huge number of Tumblrs, memes and trend pieces in the media.
It may seem like hipsters sprang up out of nowhere sometime in the late 1990s, but the original hipsters were around several generations before that. And they were strongly associated with another uniquely American phenomenon — jazz.
Not long ago, Nick Lowe was approached by his American record label about releasing a Christmas album. The esteemed UK songwriter, who gave the world "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "Cruel to Be Kind," says the idea seemed laughable.
"But I was confused by how snooty I felt when they asked me about doing it," Lowe says. "I think it's a Brit thing, really: Making Christmas records is seen as a not very cool thing to do. And I thinkg it's all bound up with strange ideas from the 1960s, about selling out and things like that."
When the U.S., Canadian, and Mexican governments were negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement back in the 1990s, environmentalists warned that it would create a race to the bottom: Countries would compete to gut environmental rules to attract businesses. But by and large, those fears were not realized. Still, the trade deal had other unforeseen environmental consequences.
The plan to dispose of Syria's chemical weapons is swiftly moving ahead. But the plan to get the materials out to sea to dispose of them is easier said than done, when it means transporting them through a war zone. Arun Rath talks to Amy Smithson of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies about what lies ahead.
This week, Hassan al-Laqis, a senior commander of Hezbollah, was assassinated in Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah has blamed Israel for the killing, but Israel has denied that it had any involvement. Host Arun Rath speaks with Mitchell Prothero, who reports from Beirut for McClatchy, and Matthew Levitt, author of Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Army of God, about who al-Laqis was, and what the assassination means.
In Ukraine, protests continue over President Viktor Yanukovych's rejection of closer trade ties with the European Union. Protesters believe the president will opt instead for closer trade ties with Russia and several former Soviet republics.
It has been National Day of Prayer and reflection in South Africa as the nation pays tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. Host Arun Rath speaks with NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about the day, and how white South Africans are reacting to the death of Mandela.
President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law 20 years ago on Dec. 8, 1993. One of the clear beneficiaries over the past two decades has been the Mexican automobile industry.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just published a blockbuster story that's today's must read: Based on court records, police reports and dozens of interviews, the paper details how the ATF used "rogue" tactics — including providing underage youths with alcohol and allowing them to smoke pot — to run storefront gun and drug stings across the country.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 4:27 pm
A U.S. company is taking what it hopes to be a small step toward eventually mining the moon.
Moon Express, based in Mountain View, Calif., just unveiled the design for a small robot spacecraft about the size of a coffee table that it says could move about the moon's surface powered only by solar panels and hydrogen peroxide.
The national debate about income equality and low-wage labor ramped up this week as fast-food workers across the country rallied for better pay and President Obama assailed the nation's growing income gap as the "defining challenge of our time."
Meanwhile, an $11.50 minimum wage bill was approved in the nation's capital, and giant discount retailer Wal-Mart opened its first Washington stores — accompanied by a flurry of ads defending the company's often-criticized pay and benefits practices.
It's always chic to make fun of holiday letters. People can't win, whether they earnestly recount their fellowship missions to poor countries (self-important), brag about European vacations (must be nice) or simply bore with accounts of school plays or travails in their gardens.
The habit of knocking holiday letters is now not just snark shared between friends, but has become an annual journalistic tradition.
In 1995, South African rugby captain Francios Pienaar receives the Rugby World Cup from President Nelson Mandela, who wears the green Springbok jersey.
Credit Jon Eeg / AP
Though there was no warmth between them, Nelson Mandela and President F.W. de Klerk understood they needed to work together. Their careful collaboration led them to share the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
The same scene played out repeatedly at political rallies in South Africa's dusty black townships two decades ago: Nelson Mandela's then-wife, Winnie, would electrify the crowd by lashing out at the white government. She would fire up the young men with her heated rhetoric, tapping into their grievances and leading them into frenzied chants and songs of liberation.