From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
And we begin this hour with a milestone of 2013, a remarkable feat with far-reaching implications both at home and abroad. According to the Energy Information Agency, the United States became the world's biggest producer of oil and natural gas. NPR's John Ydstie has more on the turnaround in America's energy fortunes.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. Retailers are wrapping up a lackluster holiday season. Overall, sales were tepid, but growth exploded online, on mobile devices and with the sale of gift cards. NPR's Sonari Glinton has that story.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 3:56 pm
Thailand's army chief on Friday called for calm amid unrest between supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, but he refused to rule out the possibility of a military coup to restore stability.
Asked whether the army would seize the government for the second time in less than a decade, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said: "That door is neither open nor closed ... it will be determined by the situation."
At least three people are reported dead in Egypt after security forces clashed across the country Friday with supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. On Thursday, the government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization following a car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura that claimed 16 lives. The brotherhood denied it was behind the attack, and another group claimed responsibility.. For more on the turmoil in Egypt, Robert Siegel speaks with Tamer El-Ghobashy Cairo correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
North Dakota and western Canada are producing crude oil faster than it can be shipped to refineries.
Rail car manufacturers can't make new tank cars fast enough, and new pipeline proposals face long delays over environmental concerns. So energy companies are looking for new ways to get the heavy crude to market.
One proposed solution is to ship the oil by barge over the Great Lakes — but it's a controversial one.
The law that protects endangered species turns 40 tomorrow and perhaps the most controversial thing the government has done under the law is to reintroduce the gray wolf. Ranchers and hunters strongly opposed the move and now the federal government wants to take the gray wolf off the endangered species list. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, this time, it is the scientists who are protesting loudly.
ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Ecologist Carlos Carroll is walking through the snow in a wide valley in Northern California.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
Car companies have already begun to design cars that can drive themselves. But to make these smart cars really useful, they'll also need smart roads. As part of his series, "Joe's Big Idea," NPR science correspondent Joe Palca has this story about some computer scientists who were designing a smart traffic intersection. How smart? Well, it can keep traffic flowing at least 10 times faster than old-fashioned intersections.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. A stunning court disagreement today over the National Security Agency's mass collection of telephone records. Just one week after a D.C. federal judge found it unconstitutional, New York federal Judge William Pauley determined concluded the opposite. The program, he says, is lawful. The conflicting opinions came in response to two challenges to the NSA's phone data collection.
The 113th Congress, which just ended its first year, has come to be defined more by what it hasn't done than what it has. With two warring and ideologically polarized parties controlling either end of Capitol Hill, Congress has more or less become a quagmire for policy.
Still, one of the least productive Congresses of the modern era was able to accomplish a few things in 2013. Here are five of them:
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 12:30 pm
Egyptian security forces carried out widespread arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members just days after the government labeled the group, which supports ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a terrorist organization.
Three people were reported killed in Muslim Brotherhood-led protests and some 265 people were arrested as part of the nationwide crackdown, which came as the political group renewed calls for massive anti-government rallies.
Over the 60 years that Mel Brooks has been in the entertainment business, his name has become synonymous with comedy. He is the man who broke Broadway records for most Tony Award wins with The Producers (an adaptation of his own movie); who satirized Westerns and racism in Blazing Saddles; and who poked fun at monster movies with Young Frankenstein.
One of Amy Schumer's comedy routines begins with the declaration, "I'm a little sluttier than the average bear. I really am."
Degrees of sluttiness may be hard to define, but Schumer does talk frankly about many subjects — including sex — that can be uncomfortable for people, both in her stand-up act and on her Comedy Central series, Inside Amy Schumer, which was recently renewed for a second season.
Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.
But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
Though hackers did obtain "strongly encrypted PIN data" when they got into Target's information systems, the retailer said Friday that sensitive information from customers' debit cards should not be at risk.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 11:51 am
A federal judge has ruled that the National Security Agency's bulk gathering of the telephone records of millions of Americans is legal — less than two weeks after another federal judge ruled that the program violated the Constitution.
You might think going through a divorce and losing your home to foreclosure would be hard to bounce back from, and they are, but Tell Me More caught up with a woman who beat the odds and built a new home for herself.
Macy Miller, an architect from Idaho, built the home with her own two hands at a cost of only $11,000. The house is less than 200 square feet.
"The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The characteristic hexagonal shape of Saturn's northern jet stream, somewhat yellow here, is visible. At the pole lies a Saturnian version of a high-speed hurricane, eye and all. ...
This edition of JazzSet features a double helping of Wynton Marsalis celebrating New Year's Eve.
First, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra musicians play King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton, merging "Dippermouth Blues" and "New Orleans Bump." Then, Marsalis invites Vince Giordano and members of his band, The Nighthawks, to play tunes made famous by Louis Armstrong in the Hot Fives and Sevens recordings.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 10:23 am
The chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat is often spoken of as the country's next prime minister. But his critics accuse Narendra Modi of being responsible for a wave of anti-Muslim violence in his state in 2002. The accusation has stuck despite Modi being cleared of wrongdoing in the violence and despite his record as an efficient administrator.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 9:01 am
Okinawa's governor has approved a plan to relocate the U.S. Marine base on the Japanese island.
Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima's decision Friday is a reversal of his pledge to move the base off the Japanese island.
The project would involve land reclamation for a new base that would consolidate the U.S. presence on the island.
"We decided to approve the application for the landfill as we judged it contains all possible steps that could be taken at present to protect the environment," Nakaima said at a news conference in Naha, the prefectural capital.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:45 am
Money mattered in Michael Bloomberg's case.
The billionaire's personal fortune (ranked 10th in the nation by Fortune) allowed him to bankroll his three runs for New York City mayor, freeing him to hire people he believed were the best and the brightest, rather than friends of donors.
His philanthropy also backed up the experiments he ran at City Hall — and allowed him to encourage other mayors to take similar tacks.