Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:53 pm
Two former U.S. Army sergeants are among those facing charges in connection with an alleged international hit squad after their extradition from Thailand in a case the prosecuting U.S. attorney says reads like a Tom Clancy novel.
Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, nicknamed "Rambo," was arrested by Thai authorities after a sting operation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with Timothy Vamvakias and at least three others on the resort island of Phuket on Thursday.
Once a child actor on TV, then an indie sensation, then an honest-to-God movie star going head-to-head with the likes of Bruce Willis in Looper and Leo DiCaprio in Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt hardly needs to burnish his LinkedIn resume at this point. But that's not kept him from adding a couple of skills — writing and directing — with his latest picture.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
For millions of uninsured people, Tuesday is a big day. That's when they can start signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But for people who speak little or no English, it may be a difficult process. Illinois, which has one of the country's largest immigrant populations, is working to make sure that language is not a barrier to enroll in. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. There was once a time when naming a new Federal Reserve chairman was a non-event. Well, not this time. The competition between supporters for former Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the current vice chairman of the Fed, Janet Yellen has been a highly public affair.
As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there's concern that the high profile discussion could politicize the Fed succession in a way that could ultimately hurt the economy.
Robert Siegel speaks with political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review magazine. They discuss Congressional wrangling over a continuing resolution to stave off a government shutdown, President Obama's speech at the UN and U.S.-Iranian nuclear negotiations.
Tea Party-backed Republican senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee failed to block the Senate from removing language defunding Obamacare from a stopgap spending bill. Democrats proceeded to replace the House spending bill that took away money for Obamacare with their own version that funds the government through Nov. 15, but leaves the Affordable Care Act alone. A federal government shutdown starts Tuesday if both chambers don't agree on a spending plan by then.
In Florida, Louisiana, New York and other coastal states, many homeowners are in shock at new flood insurance rates that are rapidly approaching. After Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy left the National Flood Insurance Program $24 billion in the red, Congress revamped the program--phasing out subsidies. One group especially upset are new homeowners--people who bought a property and are now seeing their flood insurance costs skyrocket, making the property no longer affordable.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:22 pm
The United Nations Security Council is considering a legally binding resolution that would require the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons.
Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says the U.S. is getting what it wants in the Security Council's draft plan, which calls for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons or face consequences.
UN Security Council diplomats are working on a resolution that focuses on ridding Syria of chemical weapons. Aid groups want the UN to go further and help them open up routes to get desperately needed assistance to Syrians uprooted by the civil war. They say the paralysis on the security council has had a real costs on the ground and has added to donor fatigue.
Some two million Syrians have fled the war in their homeland. Most have sought refuge in neighboring states - Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. But some have gone farther afield to a place few would consider a safe haven, the Gaza Strip. Emily Harris has that story.
In Arizona, the state Forestry Division will release its official report Saturday regarding the the Yarnell Hill fire, where 19 elite firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hot Shots were killed. The deaths shook firefighters across the country. They and others hope the report addresses problems they see in current firefighting policies.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:28 pm
During an address at the White House, today, President Obama said that he spoke on the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
That detail is important in understanding just how serious the negotiations between the two countries have gotten. That talk was the first time the heads of states of the two countries have spoken directly since 1979.
An Australian record label may have picked a fight with the wrong guy. The label sent a standard takedown notice threatening to sue after YouTube computers spotted its music in a video.
It turns out that video was posted by one of the most famous copyright attorneys in the world, and Lawrence Lessig is suing back.
Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, has lectured around the world about how copyright law needs to adapt to the Internet age. In his lecture, he shows examples of people who have used the Internet to "share their culture and remix other people's creations."
Phantom vibration — that phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating but it's not — has been around only since the mobile age. And five years ago, when its wider existence became recognized, news organizations, including ours, covered the "syndrome" as a sign of the digital encroachment in our lives. Today, it's so common that researchers have devoted studies to it.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 2:17 pm
A Danish shipping company announced Friday the first-ever voyage of a large commercial freighter through the Northwest Passage — a journey made possible by the disappearance of Arctic ice due to global warming.
Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 2:57 am
Singer Johnny Mathis started out with a string of hits in the 1950s and quickly became a household name. A two-time inductee into the Grammy Hall of Fame, Mathis has one of the most popular albums of all time with Johnny's Greatest Hits, which spent almost 10 years on the Billboard Top Albums chart.
Jazz musician Vijay Iyer started playing the violin when he was 3, but when he was 4 or 5, he wanted to play another instrument: the piano.
"The piano was around because my sister was taking lessons, and so I just started messing on it and figuring things out little by little," Iyer tells Terry Gross. "I can't really pinpoint the beginning of it."
President Obama was more dependent on female campaign contributors in 2012 than any presidential candidate in recent history.
According to a new report from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, female donors accounted for more than 44 percent of Obama's campaign contributions, the most for any White House hopeful since at least 1988.
The GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, received just 28 percent of his campaign cash from women.
In phe last decade, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has worked hard to establish himself as a serious actor, and he's been so successful it's easy to forget he came of age in the '90s sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. The guy has comedy chops, and he's exercising them again in a smart new movie he wrote and directed called Don Jon.