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Ask Me Another
7:54 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Minimum Sentence

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 10:03 am

Some people have a last name that is also a verb, so their full name forms a complete sentence--like George Burns and Stevie Nicks. (If you're one of these people, we salute you.) In this game, house musician Jonathan Coulton gives contestants clues about famous people whose names also tell a story--a very short story.

Ask Me Another
7:54 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Isn't It Ironic?

Rest assured, this game contains no ironic t-shirts or mustaches. Here, irony is defined as an "incongruous yet appropriate juxtaposition that highlights the discordant, revelatory nature of the universe." Deep. Play along as host Ophira Eisenberg asks contestants about certain ironic situations, like how the best-selling holiday song of all time, "White Christmas," was written by Irving Berlin--who was Jewish.

Plus, Jonathan Coulton tops off this game with a rendition of the pop standard "Everything Happens To Me."

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Thu September 12, 2013

UPDATED: U.S. Rejects Assad's Timetable For A Chemical Weapons Deal

In Washington, D.C., this week, there have been demonstrations both in favor of and against a military strike on targets in Syria. Outside the White House on Monday, supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad waved a Syrian flag with his face on it.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:44 pm

Thirty days after his regime signs the international Chemical Weapons Convention that bans their use he will start handing over data about Syria's stockpile, President Bashar Assad told a Russian TV channel Thursday.

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Jobless Claims Hit 7-Year Low, But Data Weren't Complete

At a Target store in San Francisco last month, job seekers waited in line.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

A plunge in the number of first-time claims for jobless benefits last week — to a 7-year-low 292,000 — can be partly explained away by "technical problems," Reuters writes:

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Monkey See
6:42 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Nothing Personal, But I'm Not Reading Your 'Breaking Bad' Analysis

Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston as Jesse and Walt on AMC's Breaking Bad, which will have its finale in a few weeks.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:12 am

The closer we get to the end of Breaking Bad, the less I want to read about it.

I'm not calling for a moratorium on Breaking Bad content from now until the finale (and not only because of ... you know, futility.) From now until then, I expect an avalanche of recaps, interviews, think pieces, retrospectives, speculations and so forth. That's exactly as it should be with any show coming to a close, let alone a show as great as this one.

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Thu September 12, 2013

You May Not Want To Look: Blobfish Named 'Ugliest Animal'

The blobfish: world's ugliest animal?
NOAA.gov

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 8:47 am

At first glance, we thought it was a Star Wars character.

But, no, the blobfish is a real creature that bobs around in the waters off Australia.

And now it's the "winner" of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society's online vote to choose a mascot.

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The Two-Way
6:14 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Top Stories: Syrian Rebels On Russian Plan; Putin's Editorial

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 8:45 am

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Thu September 12, 2013

'Massive Flooding' In Colorado's Boulder County

A city worker talks on his phone while surveying high water levels on Boulder Creek following overnight flash flooding in downtown Boulder, Colo. today. Flash flooding in Colorado has left two people dead and the widespread high waters are keeping search and rescue teams from reaching stranded residents and motorists in Boulder and nearby mountain communities.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 9:28 am

  • From the NPR Newscast: KGNU's Maeve Conran on the flooding

A huge overnight downpour that brought 4 to 7 inches of rain to the area around Boulder, Colo., has already produced "massive flooding" in the streets there, The Denver Post writes.

Even worse:

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Europe
5:25 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Pope Accepts Hand-Me-Down Car

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Picture now a boxy little 1984 four-door Renault with 190,000 miles. The perfect hand-me-down car for a teenager maybe, but the Pope? Well, Pope Francis accepted the keys to one over the weekend - a gift from a 70-year-old priest, Renzo Zocca of Verona. Pope Francis has famously shunned luxury items, including the popemobile, but he plans to drive this car himself around the Vatican grounds. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
5:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Texting Driver Ends Up All Wet

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Two kinds of news stories seem to come up again and again. The first is the guy who writes a text message about a drug deal and inadvertently sends it to the cops. This story, too, seems like it's happened more than once. A driver in Waldorf, Maryland lost control of her car while texting and landed in a lake. She was not hurt. She faces criminal charges. We do not know if her cell phone contract allows her a replacement when the phone gets wet.

The Two-Way
5:13 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Book News: Lance Armstrong's Lies Are Protected, Judge Says

Lance Armstrong talks to the media after the 2011 Xterra Nationals triathlon in Utah.
Jim Urquhart AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:32 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mary Beard 'Confronts' The Classics With Wit And Style

iStockphoto.com

Early on in Confronting the Classics, Mary Beard tells the story of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus, who "used to seat his dinner guests on cushions that, unbeknownst to them, were full of air. As the meal progressed, a slave secretly let the air out, so Elagabalus could enjoy the sight of his companions subsiding, until they slid beneath the table."

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Russian Plan 'Is Just A Lie,' Syrian Rebel General Says

A Free Syrian Army fighter in eastern Syria on Wednesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 8:13 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Free Syrian Army Gen. Salim Idris

As Secretary of State John Kerry was preparing to sit down with his Russian counterpart Thursday to discuss whether the Assad regime's chemical weapons can be handed over to international monitors, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army was telling NPR that "the Russian initiative is just a lie."

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Around the Nation
3:27 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mill Closing Is 'Major Setback' For Ala. Town

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The world's largest paper producer says it's closing a mill in Alabama that employs 1,100 people. International Paper Company blames the closure in the town of Courtland on a decline in the demand for paper. Stan Ingold of Alabama Public Radio reports.

STAN INGOLD, BYLINE: The small town of Courtland, Alabama is reeling after the announcement by Memphis-based International Paper to close their mill. Diane Scanland is the executive director of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

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Business
3:26 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mexico's Tax Overhaul Has Middle Class Crying Foul

Mexico's president has unveiled a major shakeup of the country's tax system. His administration says it's aimed at capturing more of Mexico's paltry tax collection. Critics say it's unfairly targeting the middle class. Among the items slated for taxing: dog food and private school tuition.

Business
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Village People Singer Wins Copyright Case

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:05 am

Victor Willis has finally won a share of the income from his most famous song. The New York Times reports Willis, you know him as the police officer, has emerged from six years of legal wrestling with a new copyright in hand. The victory gives him substantial control over "YMCA" and 32 other Village People tunes.

Business
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Britain Plans To Privatize Royal Mail

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:57 am

British officials unveiled plans Thursday morning to sell the majority of its centuries old postal service. It's the largest privatization of a government service the country has seen in decades. The public offering of the world's oldest postal service would take place in the coming weeks.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Backers Of Israel Press For Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 8:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, those who favor U.S. military intervention in Syria include backers of Israel. One of them is Republican campaign contributor Sheldon Adelson. Another is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

NPR's David Welna reports on their lobbying efforts.

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Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Russia's Putin Adds Another Voice To Debate On Syria

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:04 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin has written an op-ed piece for Thursday's New York Times. He's calling on the U.S. to forgo military strikes on Syria. For Russia's view of the Syrian conflict, Renee Montagne talks to Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Analyst Criticized For Syrian-Rebel Advocacy Connections

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:26 am

During the run-up to possible military action in Syria, the name of an unknown researcher was catapulted into the spotlight. Elizabeth O'Bagy was on NPR, Fox and quoted by Senator John McCain during a hearing. It turns out, O'Bagy is not exactly who she said she was, and her story reveals a lot about how Washington works during times of high drama.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Rebels Were 'Eager' To See U.S. Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:21 am

Steve Inskeep talks to General Salim Idriss, commander of the Free Syrian Army. They discuss Syrian opposition reaction to President Obama's address to the nation this week, the Russian diplomatic initiative and what assistance the general is hoping to receive from the United States.

All Tech Considered
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Long Before Most, Intel Chased The Smart Watch

The Microma watch was the first watch with a liquid crystal display, but the limited technology of the time prevented Intel from achieving much else with it.
Courtesy of Intel

In the past couple of weeks, several major companies — Samsung, Sony, Qualcomm — have announced they will release smart watches this fall. As the name suggests, the gadgets do more than keep time.

The latest spate of computerized watches promise to do everything from working as a phone to taking photos and fielding emails. Smart watches have actually been around for a long time, but they've never really taken off as a product.

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Pop Culture
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Hannibal Buress And The Comedy Of The Unexpected

Hannibal Buress looks at the world from a slightly skewed perspective — and often as not, his observations lead him down some convoluted comedic byways.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 9:22 am

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Around the Nation
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Two Years On, Protesters Still Fighting Wisconsin Governor

Members of a loosely organized, anti-Walker group known as the Solidarity Singers sing outside the Wisconsin Capitol in July.
Michelle Johnson AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 12:34 pm

It's been more than two years since Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill stripping collective bargaining rights from most public employees. The new law sparked massive protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol because many saw it as an attack on unions.

While most demonstrators eventually went away, a small group did not. They arrive at the building most weekdays to sing anti-Walker and pro-union songs.

On a recent day, more than 100 people were gathered in a circle on the Capitol lawn, tapping cowbells and singing a localized version of "This Land Is Your Land."

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Business
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

A Check On The Housing Industry

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:51 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There is, of course, a lot of attention being paid about what's happening in Richmond because millions of other American homeowners around the country are also underwater - again, homes that are worth less than their mortgages. We're joined now by NPR correspondent Chris Arnold, who's been following all of this. Good morning.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: How many homeowners are still underwater? I gather with the housing market coming back, this is changing - for the better.

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Business
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Calif. City Proposes Unique Plan To Avoid Foreclosures

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:09 am

A federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday hears arguments over a radical plan to stem the foreclosure crisis. The City of Richmond is proposing to buy underwater mortgages in order to help keep local residents in their homes. If banks don't want to sell those mortgages, the city says it is prepared to invoke eminent domain to seize the mortgages.

Around the Nation
2:55 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Missouri Tax Posturing May Influence Other States

Republican lawmakers in Missouri on Wednesday failed to override a tax veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. The controversial measure would have lowered state income taxes for the first time in decades.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:50 am

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon used some fancy footwork to ensure his veto of a tax cut stayed in place — even though it faced a supermajority of Republicans in the Missouri House and Senate

Nixon said he vetoed the tax cut because the $700 million price tag was "unaffordable." But he knew in doing so, he was up against a lion of a legislature, with a veto-proof majority in both chambers.

Lawmakers on Wednesday failed to override Nixon's veto.

Dan Ponder, a political scientist at Drury University, says the governor had a decidedly uphill battle.

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Business
1:46 am
Thu September 12, 2013

5 Years After Financial Crisis, Are Big Banks Still A Threat?

The headquarters of Lehman Brothers in Times Square in 2008, the year the financial services firm filed for bankruptcy.
Hiroko Masuike Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 9:30 am

It's been five years since Lehman Brothers collapsed and touched off a banking crisis that is still being felt by the global economy. Today, the banking industry is a lot stronger than it was, but some critics say efforts to reform banking regulations have fallen short of their potential.

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Shots - Health News
1:45 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better

Physician Jim Olson cares for children with brain cancer in Seattle. His laboratory studies the gene expression programs controlling neural differentiation, brain tumor genesis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:58 am

Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.

Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Now, a medical researcher in Seattle thinks he has a way to eliminate some of the inevitable ones.

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Author Interviews
1:43 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Tired Of Inequality? One Economist Says It'll Only Get Worse

Economist Tyler Cowen believes that income inequality in America is only increasing. His new book is called Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.
Szasz-Fabian Ilka Erika iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:57 am

Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:

"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."

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