NPR News

Pages

Author Interviews
12:58 am
Tue January 7, 2014

CIA Lawyer: Waterboarding Wasn't Torture Then And Isn't Torture Now

John Rizzo is the CIA's former acting general counsel. His new memoir is Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.
Jay Mallin Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:07 am

In the years following the Sept. 11 attacks, many Americans heard the term "waterboarding" for the first time — a technique aimed to simulate the act of drowning. Waterboarding was at the center of the debate about what the CIA called "enhanced interrogation techniques" — and what critics called "torture."

John Rizzo, acting general counsel of the CIA in the years after Sept. 11, 2001, has written a memoir about his three decades at the agency. He talks with NPR's Renee Montagne about Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam

Ian Dodd (center), co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Sunday Assembly, sings with other attendees. Chapters of the godless church, founded by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, have been spreading since launching in London in January 2013.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:41 pm

It sometimes feels like church in the auditorium of the Professional Musicians union in Hollywood. It's a Sunday morning, and hundreds of people are gathered to meditate, sing and listen to inspirational poetry and stories.

But then the live band starts up — performing songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. And instead of a sermon, there's a lecture by experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Jessica Cail about the biology of gender identification and sexual orientation.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

The Secret Burglary That Exposed J. Edgar Hoover's FBI

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover is seen in his Washington office, May 20, 1963. The 1971 burglary of one of the bureau's offices revealed the agency's domestic surveillance program.
William J. Smith AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 12:23 pm

More than 40 years ago, on the evening of March 8, 1971, a group of burglars carried out an audacious plan. They pried open the door of an FBI office in Pennsylvania and stole files about the bureau's surveillance of anti-war groups and civil rights organizations.

Hundreds of agents tried to identify the culprits, but the crime went unsolved. Until now.

Read more
All Tech Considered
12:56 am
Tue January 7, 2014

In Gaming, A Shift From Enemies To Emotions

The game That Dragon, Cancer is an interactive memoir about raising a child with pediatric cancer.
That Dragon, Cancer

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:56 am

A generation has grown up with video games — and video games are growing up, too. Developers are using the medium to tell sophisticated, emotionally complex stories.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:57 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Texas Hires Coach Charlie Strong, And History Is Close At Hand

Incoming Texas Longhorns football coach Charlie Strong is embraced by Edith Royal, widow of famed Texas coach Darrell Royal, Monday.
University of Texas

The University of Texas introduced Charlie Strong as the school's new head football coach Monday, hoping to usher in a new winning era by hiring a man known for strong recruiting and stubborn defenses.

As he moves from Louisville to Austin, Strong becomes the first black coach of a men's team at Texas. For some, his hiring brings to mind how things have changed at a school that, during the 1960s, fielded teams made up of only white players.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:55 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Funding Could Dry Up For Kentucky's Noah's Ark Theme Park

Mike Zovath, co-founder of Answers in Genesis ministries, poses for photos at the Ark Encounter headquarters in Hebron, Ky., in July 2011.
Dylan Lovan AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 6:00 am

Plans for a Christian theme park in Northern Kentucky featuring a 510-foot-long replica of Noah's Ark are likely to sink unless the project raises millions of dollars from investors in the coming weeks.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:12 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Letter From Gracie Mansion: The New Mayor Meets His City

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio poses for pictures with visitors at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor, during an open house and photo opportunity with the public as part of the inauguration ceremonies on Sunday.
John Minchillo AP

I've always wondered what it would have been like to be at the White House in 1829 when President Andrew Jackson was inaugurated. He threw open the White House to the public and some 20,000 people stomped through, apparently causing a rowdy mob scene.

So I was intrigued with the fact that New York's new progressive mayor, Bill de Blasio, planned to open Gracie Mansion to the public this past Sunday. He kept calling the official mayoral residence, "The People's House." I decided to go.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:53 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Panama Asks Spain To Help Resolve Canal Expansion Dispute

President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli (left), talks next to Spain's Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ana Pastor, during a news conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, on Monday.
Alejandro Bolivar EPA/Landov

Panama's president on Monday expressed confidence that a multi-billion dollar Panama Canal expansion will get back on track after a European-led consortium threatened to halt construction unless it gets paid for massive cost overruns.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:47 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen As Federal Reserve Chair

The Senate has approved Janet Yellen as the next head of the Federal Reserve. At a ceremony commemorating the Fed's centennial last month, Yellen sat with (from left-to-right) former chairmen Paul Volker and Alan Greenspan, and current Fed leader Ben Bernanke.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:13 pm

The Senate has voted to approve the nomination of Janet Yellen as the next leader of the U.S. Federal Reserve. With Monday's vote, Yellen, 67, will become the first woman to serve as America's banking chief, heading an institution that was established in 1913.

Update at 6:31 p.m. ET: Some Senators Left Out

Read more
All Tech Considered
4:21 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

CES 2014: Toothbrush? Bed? Car? Put Some Internet On It

The Kolibree toothbrush, billed as the world's first Internet-connected toothbrush, monitors dental hygiene.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 9:18 am

The International Consumer Electronics Show is nothing less than a gadget-lover's dream.

Every year thousands of companies from all over the world flock to Las Vegas in the first week in January to show off the products they hope to sell in the coming year. What began as a trade show featuring the latest high-fidelity stereos 40 years ago has become an annual electronics circus.

Read more
Politics
4:17 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Tighter Access To 'Death Master File' Has Researchers Worried

To help cut down on fraud, Congress is limiting access to the Social Security Administration's data about people who die in the United States each year.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 8:51 am

The "Death Master File." It sounds like a ledger the Grim Reaper might keep, but in reality, it's a computerized list containing some 86 million names and other data kept by the Social Security Administration.

An obscure provision tucked into the budget deal that Congress approved last month would limit access to the list — and that has everyone from genealogists to bankers concerned.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:30 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012

NPR

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 2:55 pm

Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.

The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Democrats Tackle Politics Of Income Inequality

White House National Economic Council Chairman Gene Sperling speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Monday. With Congress back, the Senate is expected to work on a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 12:26 pm

President Obama and fellow Democrats, just back from a long holiday break, are immediately embracing a legislative agenda that would increase the minimum wage and extend unemployment insurance benefits to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless in America.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:09 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

4 Lessons From Liz Cheney's Ill-Fated Senate Run

Liz Cheney campaigns in Casper, Wyo., on July 17, one day after announcing her GOP primary challenge to Sen. Mike Enzi.
Matt Young AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 5:26 am

Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, ended her Wyoming Senate primary challenge Monday, saying in a statement that a family health situation is responsible for her decision. (ABC News reports that sources close to Cheney said one of her daughters has diabetes.)

Even before family health issues arose, Cheney's apparently dimming prospects against GOP Sen. Mike Enzi would have been enough to give pause to many candidates.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:36 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Foul Weather In Britain Linked To U.S. 'Polar Vortex'

High tide storm waves batter the Cumbrian coast, completely inundating the harbor wall at Whitehaven on Monday.
Ashley Cooper Barcroft Media/Landov

Britain's southwest coast is getting slammed by a winter storm, with high winds driving waves as high as 27 feet ashore in an unusual event that meteorologists say is likely linked to the bone-chilling "polar vortex" gripping much of the U.S.

The U.K. Met Office is warning of continued "exceptionally high waves."

It said the waves were triggered by a large, deep depression in the Atlantic which was "whipping waves up" out at sea.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Don't Just Shiver, Here Are 3 Cold-Weather Experiments To Try

A bubble freezes in very cold weather.
SimonSaysBaka via YouTube

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 4:37 pm

Read more
Politics
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen As Federal Reserve Chair

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:11 pm

The Senate returned from its two-week holiday break on Monday. Senators confirmed the nomination of Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve Board and delayed a vote on an extension of unemployment insurance.

Africa
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How I Almost Got Arrested With A South Sudanese Ex-Minister

South Sudan's then-Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Peter Adwok Nyaba (center) celebrates the first anniversary of the country's independence in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on July 9, 2012. Since then, all of South Sudan's Cabinet ministers have been sacked — including Adwok — for allegedly conspiring to overthrow President Salva Kiir.
Ding Haitao Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 12:28 pm

The unmarked, unpaved streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, can be tough for an outsider to navigate.

By the time I found the house of Peter Adwok Nyaba, the country's former minister of higher education, science and technology, it was already 5 p.m. The sun was dangerously low on the horizon. I had less than an hour to interview Adwok and get back to my hotel before the citywide curfew — imposed when the violence began three weeks before — took effect. After 6, there would be no one on the streets except myself and soldiers.

Read more
Iraq
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Al-Qaida-Linked Militia Gains Control Of Fallujah

Robert Siegel talks to independent journalist Jane Arraf about the takeover of Fallujah and Ramadi by an al-Qaida-linked group. Arraf is based in Baghdad and was in Fallujah three weeks ago.

Around the Nation
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Forest Service May Try To Recoup Rim Fire Costs With Logging

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a large salvage logging operation in the area affected by last year's historic Rim Fire, which burned 410-square miles of California's Sierra Nevada. The proposal is meeting stiff opposition from environmental groups who say the land is better left untouched.

Around the Nation
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Giving Up Info To Drive A Worthy Risk For Maryland's Undocumented

Maryland has just become one of several states that allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses. Such licenses are issued as long as the immigrants show some form of legal ID — such as a passport — and they will have to take road exams. But critics worry about security risks, and costs to the state.

Law
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Halts Gay Marriages In Utah

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously granted a stay in the Utah gay marriage case, putting a stop to the weddings until an intermediate appeals court has heard and ruled on the matter. It could be a potentially precedent-setting case.

Education
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

UNC May Have Passed Football Players With 'Phantom' Classes

The University of North Carolina is embroiled in an academic fraud case involving students who received high grades for classes that were never held. Many of those students happen to be football players. The case has resulted in the indictment of a professor, who was a department chair. Audie Cornish talks to Dan Kane, an investigative journalist at The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh.

Sports
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Many Fans Not Sad To See End Of Bowl Championship Series

On Monday night, Florida State and Auburn battle for the national college football title. It will be the last championship under the much maligned Bowl Championship Series, or BCS. A new playoff system kicks off next season, but will it be better?

Around the Nation
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Powerful 'Polar Vortex' Makes Rare Appearance In U.S.

Jason Samenow, The Washington Post's weather editor and chief meteorologist of the Capital Weather Gang, tells Robert Siegel about the weather phenomenon known as the "polar vortex." It means frigid temperatures and wind chill in much of the country.

Around the Nation
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Dangerously Low Wind Chills Pummel Much Of U.S.

"Historic" — that's one of the terms being used to describe the brutally cold temperatures across the Midwest and other parts of the country. Some temperatures are the lowest recorded in two decades, many in the single digits or below zero with wind chills predicted as low as minus 50.

NPR News Investigations
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Army Takes On Its Own Toxic Leaders

NPR interviewed dozens of current or former soldiers who said they have struggled under toxic leaders.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 9:15 am

Top commanders in the U.S. Army have announced publicly that they have a problem: They have too many "toxic leaders" — the kind of bosses who make their employees miserable. Many corporations share a similar problem, but in the Army's case, destructive leadership can potentially have life or death consequences. So, some Army researchers are wondering if toxic officers have contributed to soldiers' mental health problems.

Read more
All Songs Considered
2:00 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Question Of The Week: What Are Your Music Resolutions For 2014?

NPR

I began last year with some ambitious goals as far as music goes. I vowed to go to more live shows, to pay more attention to lyrics and to spend more time in general with the albums I hear. This was in addition to losing weight, writing a novel and quitting World Of Warcraft. (Ha ha, just kidding! Why would anyone quit World Of Warcraft?).

Read more
The Salt
1:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Ignatius R

No mouths were harmed in the eating of this sandwich. Except Eva's — she wants Worker's Comp for a bad case of Sandwich Jaw.
NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:01 pm

It's -16 degrees today here in Chicago, which for many of us has triggered hibernation mode. Fortunately the great Jerry's Sandwiches has created the Ignatius R., with enough calories to get us to the end of winter, which we expect to occur sometime in August.

The ingredient list: fried chicken, cold hickory-smoked sirloin, applewood bacon, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, Carolina vinegar, fried shrimp, fried green tomato, mortadella, country ham, pickled okra, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Southwest mayo on a potato bun.

Read more
The Salt
1:22 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth

Say aaaaaah! Dental caries and other signs of oral disease are plain to see in the upper teeth of this hunter-gatherer, between 14,000 and 15,000 years old. The findings challenge the idea that the original paleo diet was inherently healthy, says paleo-anthropologist Louise Humphrey. It all depended, she says, on what wild foods were available.
Courtesy of Isabelle De Groote

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 4:16 pm

One of the hinge points in human history was the invention of agriculture. It led to large communities, monumental architecture and complex societies. It also led to tooth decay.

Read more

Pages