Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 8:53 am
A team of chemical weapons experts has arrived in Syria, where they will begin the long and complicated task of destroying the country's chemical weapons arsenal. Under a plan endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, the weapons are to be destroyed by next June.
Syria is wracked by a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people and forced more than 2 million others to flee the country, according to recent U.N. figures.
Eugene Rakow is a carpenter who shot himself in the heart with a nail gun. Doctors removed the nail and gave it to him as a souvenir. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the surgeon said Rakow was amazingly lucky. "Nine out of 10 people won't make it," according to the surgeon.
It has been a great frustration for fans of Elizabeth Gilbert's early fiction to have her turn to memoir for so long. Most of the reading world is aware, of course, of the phenomenon that was her memoir Eat, Pray, Love — from the movie starring Julia Roberts, if nothing else — which turned Gilbert into a kind of phenomenon herself, the kind of writer whose fans tearfully clutch books at signings and whose TED Talks get millions of views.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 7:53 am
Either you want to be dashing thief Locke Lamora, or you wish he loved you the way he loves his boon companions Jean and Sabetha. It's the delightfully tangled relationship between the three of them that takes center stage (sometimes literally) in Scott Lynch's latest Gentleman Bastard book, The Republic of Thieves.
You know, Russian President Vladimir Putin is kind of a tough guy. You can find photos of the former KGB spy fishing shirtless and hunting everything from tigers to whales. Now something else is in his crosshairs: zombies. That's in a new videogame called "You Don't Mess with Putin." In it, the Russian leader battles some unlucky zombies at a news conference. But no superhero can do it alone. His sidekick: a hard-drinking American who goes by the name Comrade Mike.
And next, let's talk with Representative David Schweikert. He's in the studio with us. He's an Arizona Republican lawmaker, a member of the House majority that has insisted they will not approve a short-term government funding measure unless it also takes a bite from Obamacare.
The Marine Corps has forced two of its top officers to retire. It is rare for commanders to be punished for a failure in combat, but that's the case here. The two commanders - both two-star generals - are being forced out because of an attack that happened on their watch in Afghanistan. It took place a year ago at a sprawling base called Camp Bastion. Two Americans died.
Hockey superstar Alex Ovechkin was among the first torch bearers for the 2014 Olympics that will be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. David Greene talks to Ovechkin about the various challenges ahead for the Winter Games, as well as the upcoming hockey season.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 12:08 pm
Update at 8:18 p.m. ET. Impasse:
As first day of a federal government shutdown came to a close, Congress was not any closer to a resolution.
Case in point: Republicans in the House proposed three bills that would have reopened national parks, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and kept the D.C. government afloat. But all three bills didn't even make it out of the House.
After weeks of wondering what would happen, Americans now know:
1. Congress missed the midnight funding deadline for the new fiscal year, triggering disruptions in government operations.
2. That will slow economic growth, at least in the short term.
But just how far the damage will go is far from clear. Economists say they can't refine their predictions because they have no idea how long the shutdown might last or how many federal workers may be furloughed.
John Boehner might not have the worst job in politics, but not many people envy the House speaker these days.
The GOP rank and file won't listen to him, grass-roots conservatives don't trust him, and Democrats say he can't deliver votes.
For a man who occupies the most powerful position in the House, Boehner's inability — or, possibly, his unwillingness — to persuade his fellow House Republicans to accept a budget without delaying or blocking parts of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in the first government shutdown since 1996.
President Obama spoke with NPR in the Oval Office on Monday, as a visiting group of young people in suits got a tour of the Rose Garden outside the windows. The most striking part of our encounter in this moment of crisis was how familiar the atmosphere seemed.
President Obama says he's tired of the seemingly never-ending rounds of budget crises.
"When it comes to Congress paying its bills ... we cannot be a country that is lurching every two months or three months from crisis to crisis to crisis," Obama said in an interview Monday with NPR's Steve Inskeep.
Yet that is precisely the situation the president finds himself in.
Steve Inskeep's Full Interview With President Obama
During a wide-ranging interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, President Obama assumed an indomitable posture as he talked about his negotiations with House Republicans.
He said he will not negotiate with Republicans when it comes to a cornerstone of his health care law, and he will not negotiate when it comes to another congressional battle to raise the debt ceiling in a little more than two weeks.
"This perpetual cycle of brinksmanship and crisis has to end once and for all," Obama said.
After 162 regular season baseball games, the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates will meet tonight in a sudden death playoff. For my team, the Pirates, it's their first time in the post-season in 21 years. And after tonight, after just one game in a scheme surely invented by sadists, the Pirates might be out of the playoffs.
A day after a meeting with President Obama, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes center stage at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. He will likely dwell on Iran's suspect nuclear program and warn the world community against being taken in by Tehran's recent charm offensive.
Before parts of the government began shutting down, the House and Senate bounced a series of stopgap spending bills between the chambers. The House would insert language to delay or limit the president's health care law, and the Senate would reject the Obamacare language and send the bill back. The two chambers did not reach an agreement before the midnight deadline.
Now, even as a partial shutdown begins, a bigger fight looms. A default on federal debt obligations could have global effects. Federal borrowing authority expires in the middle of this month. House Republicans have said they will not extend the debt ceiling unless President Obama accepts a long list of their agenda items. And that was on the president's mind when we sat by the Oval Office fireplace yesterday.
Financial markets across the world took a hit on Monday. They closed lower — waiting to see if there was a partial government shutdown in the U.S. Shortly before midnight, the White House ordered agencies to begin shutting down.
In our talk yesterday with President Obama, he said he will not make concessions to Republicans who quote, "threatened to burn down the house." We are hearing parts of the interview throughout today's program.
Amid the latest political crisis, our economy keeps evolving. And so we used part of our conversation in the Oval Office to ask the president about the longer term trends.
In the three years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, it has survived more than 50 votes in Congress to defund or repeal it, a Supreme Court challenge, a presidential election and, as of Tuesday morning, a government shutdown. Much of the spending for the law is mandatory and won't be cut off.
But now, it must survive its own implementation.
Tuesday is the day that Obamacare goes operational. Americans can begin signing up for health insurance on online marketplaces known as exchanges.