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The Two-Way
5:02 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Chemical Weapons Claims Spur Calls For Force Against Syria

Gas mask in one hand and rifle in the other, a Free Syrian Army fighter sits inside a house in the city of Homs early Thursday.
Yazan Homsy Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 1:11 pm

  • From the NPR Newscast: The BBC's Nick Bryant reports

Claims by the opposition in Syria that President Bashar Assad's forces used chemical weapons during an attack Wednesday near Damascus — killing scores of people, they say — are being followed Thursday by word that:

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Asia
4:29 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Airline Offers Upgrade To Sit In Child-Free Zone

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. If you board a plane excited about a trip but dreading the possibility of a baby crying loudly for the whole flight, this news is for you. The budget arm of Singapore Airlines - called Scoot - is now offering a $14 upgrade to sit in a child-free zone, no one under 12 allowed.

Europe
3:50 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Madrid Creates 'Acoustic Protection Zone'

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

In downtown Madrid, music floats through the air, amateur musicians playing for money. Sadly, many are not that good, but the city is on the case. To shield residents from mediocre musicianship, it's created an Acoustic Protection Zone. Buskers who wish to perform will be talent-tested. A panel will issue permits to those who have what it takes. The rest will be booted off the stage or, in this case, the sidewalk.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

New York City Council To Vote On Tough Police Oversight Laws

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In New York, the city council is poised to vote today on some of the toughest police oversight laws in decades. The vote comes just weeks after a judge ruled that the NYPD violated the civil rights of minorities with its practice of stopping mostly young men of color on the streets.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is appealing the judge's ruling and refusing to back down on a policing program he has championed. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

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Business
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Phyllis Diller's Estate To Be Auction Next Month

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Dress like Diller.

In Beverly Hills, Phyllis Diller's estate will be auctioned off next month.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

On stage, the late comedienne dressed like a disheveled, chain-smoking housewife with freakish hair - and now some lucky bidders can too. The sale will include many of her trademark props: blond fright wigs, feather boas, ankle boots and cigarette holders.

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Business
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Bank Of America To Close Some Drive-Up Tellers

Bank of America won't say exactly how many drive-through lanes are closing. A spokeswoman did say the decision is not a cost-cutting move but a response to the way people are banking. At branches where drive-through lanes are closing, the bank says ATMs will be available.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Some Bank of America branches with drive-through tellers from Georgia to Texas have already closed the lanes, according to spokeswoman Tara Burke.

She wouldn't divulge exactly how many are closing. She did say the decision is not a cost-cutting move but a response to the way people are banking.

About 13 million customers bank by mobile phone and 29 million participate in online services. Among them is 19-year-old Brittney Sprague who says, "Not too many folks will really miss the drive-through teller because everybody uses apps. It's all about the new technology."

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Business
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Asian Markets Move Lower On News From Fed Meeting

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We'll begin NPR's business news with fallout from the Fed.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Stock markets across Asia fell and India's currency continued its plunge after minutes from the July meeting of the Federal Reserve were released yesterday. The records from that meeting showed that officials were comfortable with scaling back its huge bond-buying program as the economy grows stronger.

Middle East
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

U.N. Inspectors Try To Get To Site Of Alleged Syrian Attack

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And we turn now to Charles Duelfer, a long-time U.N. weapons inspector. He was the author of the 2004 Duelfer Report, which confirmed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when the U.S. invaded. Good morning.

CHARLES DUELFER: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, looking here at Syria and based on your extensive experience as a weapons inspector, do the scenes that we're seeing in these opposition videos, look to you consistent with what you would expect to see in a chemical attack?

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Middle East
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Opposition Accuses Syria's Regime Of Chemical Weapons Attack

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. And now to some horrific scenes in Syria.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHRIEKING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Speaking in foreign language)

GREENE: This is the sound from one of the many videos uploaded onto the Internet yesterday showing Syrian civilians, including children, convulsing and gasping for breath in an area outside of Damascus that's a rebel stronghold.

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Asia
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Bo Xilai's High-Profile Trial Gets Underway In China

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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National Security
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

FISA Court: NSA Surveillance Program Was Unconstitutional

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

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Law
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Lawyers For Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales To Ask For Leniency

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. We're following developments in Egypt after today's release from prison of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. We'll go to Cairo in a moment. We begin this hour with stories of two military trials in this country. Both involve horrendous massacres.

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Animals
1:01 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Where The Whale Sharks Go

A whale shark dives near the surface in waters off the coast of Mexico.
Marj Awai Georgia Aquarium

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 1:17 pm

Of all the creatures in the sea, one of the most majestic and mysterious is the whale shark. It's the biggest shark there is, 30 feet or more in length and weighing in at around 10 tons.

Among the mysteries is where this mighty fish migrates and where it gives birth. Now scientists have completed the biggest study ever of whale sharks, and they think they have some answers to those questions.

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It's All Politics
12:59 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Future Historians: Good Luck Sifting Through Obama Video

President Obama is seen on a video camera as he delivers a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2010. In addition to footage of official events, the White House now has thousands of hours of behind-the-scenes video that it will archive.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

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Crime In The City
12:58 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Awaiting The Apocalypse In The Quiet Town Of Concord

Ben Winters wrote the best-selling Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters, as well as Bedbugs, Android Karenina and several books for kids. So far, he's published two books in the Last Policeman series.
Neda Ulaby NPR

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

No place seems safe these days from someone's terrifying, post-apocalyptic imaginings. Los Angeles is wrecked in the movie Elysium, the South is zombie-ridden in TV's The Walking Dead, and now— thanks to writer Ben Winters — even the quiet streets of Concord are at risk of annihilation.

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All Tech Considered
12:56 am
Thu August 22, 2013

How A Look At Your Gmail Reveals The Power Of Metadata

An MIT analysis of Larry Abramson's Gmail account illustrates his online relationships.
immersion.mit.media.edu

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Sometimes you have to give up a little privacy in order to find out how much — or how little — privacy you really have. So I handed over the keys to my Gmail account to Cesar Hidalgo, a professor at the MIT Media Lab and the designer of a program called Immersion.

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Parallels
12:55 am
Thu August 22, 2013

China's College Grads Face A New Reality: Fewer Jobs

Thousands descended on a job fair in Shanghai earlier this year. This summer nearly 7 million people graduated from Chinese colleges, but jobs are harder to find than in previous years.
Frank Langfitt/NPR

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 5:03 pm

It's been about two months since college graduation, and more than 3 million graduates from this year and last still don't have jobs, according to government officials.

That's not in the U.S., but in China.

China is home to the world's fastest-growing major economy. But with nearly 7 million college graduates this year, a record number, finding work is tough and a worry for the ruling Communist Party.

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The Salt
12:53 am
Thu August 22, 2013

In Canada, Maine Lobstermen Get Both A Rival And A Tutor

Sternman Scott Beede returns an undersized lobster while checking traps in Mount Desert, Maine.
Robert F Bukaty AP

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

There's nothing quite like the sweet, succulent taste of Maine lobster. And fishermen off the state's rocky coastline have been catching more and more of the tasty crustacean over the past five years.

But that surging supply has overwhelmed Maine's limited marketing and processing capabilities and driven down the prices paid to lobstermen.

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Business
12:41 am
Thu August 22, 2013

As Housing Recovers, Lots Of Boats Rise In U.S. Economy

A worker at the Cataumet Sawmill in Falmouth, Mass., where the improved housing outlook has led to more hours for employees.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 10:02 am

In just the past week we've seen a bunch of signs that the housing recovery is gaining steam. Data out Wednesday showed that existing-home sales rose to their highest level in nearly four years, while prices were up 14 percent from a year ago.

Retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both reported strong earnings growth and attributed that to the housing rebound.

And most important for the economy, homebuilders are hiring more workers and building more houses.

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Music Interviews
12:03 am
Thu August 22, 2013

'You're What I Wanted': Assembling The Family Stone

Sly & The Family Stone in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., in 1968. Left to right: Sly Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Freddie Stone, Rose Stone, Jerry Martini, Larry Graham.
Stephen Paley Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

"I think he was looking for good musicians, and he knew quite a few. He sees the heart of a person."

That's how Cynthia Robinson, founding member of Sly & The Family Stone, characterizes the charismatic frontman's choice of backing players. The band, which pioneered a blend of funk, soul, jazz and pop, began in 1960s San Francisco as a kind of blended family: black and white, men and women.

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The Two-Way
4:44 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Soldier Who Admitted To Massacre Hears From Afghan Survivors

A courtroom sketch shows an Afghan man named Faizullah testifying in a courtroom at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., on Tuesday. His father and brother were shot and wounded when Staff Sgt. Robert Bales attacked their village in Kandahar province last year.
Peter Millett AP

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:11 am

Details of the massacre of 16 Afghans by a U.S. soldier last spring are emerging in a courtroom near Tacoma, Wash., where survivors of that attack traveled to confront Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. A six-member military jury is hearing testimony at a sentencing hearing for Bales.

At least seven people made the trip from Afghanistan to Washington state to speak at the hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where Bales' Army unit is based.

The AP describes the night in question:

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It's All Politics
4:17 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Gender Gap Doesn't Budge In Virginia Governor's Race

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for Virginia governor, (left), is trailing Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe (right) among female voters.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 5:05 pm

Here's one takeaway from a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday: Republicans have their hands full if they hope to close the gender gap in the Virginia governor's race.

The poll of likely voters reports that Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a 6-percentage-point overall lead in his contest with Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

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It's All Politics
3:50 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Obama Heads Back To School To Talk College Affordability

President Obama steps off his bus, nicknamed "Ground Force One," as he arrives for breakfast at the Ossorio Bakery and Cafe in Cocoa, Fla., during a two-day bus tour last year.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:51 pm

It's back-to-school season for college students — and President Obama plans to be right there with them.

The president will spend the next two days on a bus tour of New York and Pennsylvania that includes stops at three colleges and a high school. At each stop, he'll be talking about ways to make college more affordable.

The president's big black bus will make its first stop at the University at Buffalo on Thursday — the same day incoming freshmen will be moving in, hauling suitcases and mini-refrigerators.

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Asia
3:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Former High-Profile Chinese Politician Heads To Court

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A flamboyant politician in China, once considered a presidential contender, will go on trial in the eastern city of Jinan tomorrow. Bo Xilai is one of the highest ranking Communist Party officials to face trial in decades. Many Chinese believe he's being prosecuted for corruption because he lost an internal power struggle.

But as NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Jinan, the root causes of Bo's dramatic downfall are unlikely to come out in court.

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Africa
3:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Morsi Opponent: Democracy The Path Out Of Violence

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

A court has ordered that former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak be released from jail, at least temporarily. The news adds another coal to what is already a white-hot fire in Egypt. More than a thousand people have died, most supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, in a brutal crackdown by government troops.

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Middle East
3:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Russia Defends Syria Amid Chemical Weapons Allegations

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The latest reports of chemical weapon attacks in Syria set off a tense debate in the United Nation Security Council. It met this afternoon in an urgent session. The U.N. has long been divided over how to deal with Syria. The United States and its partners are calling for a full investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons, but Russia is casting doubts on the allegations and is defending the Syrian government's position.

NPR's Michele Kelemen has our story.

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Middle East
3:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Syrian Government Accused Again Of Using Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Anti-government activists in Syria are accusing President Bashar al-Assad's forces of deploying a chemical weapons attack on the suburbs of the capital, Damascus. The government denied the attack, but the allegations have prompted the United Nations to call an emergency meeting. Melissa Block talks to Washington Post reporter Loveday Morris for more.

Parallels
3:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Israeli Politician Stirs Up The Religious-Secular Debate

Ruth Calderon, a religious scholar, recently became a member of Israeli's parliament and has been a leading voice on issues that often divide the country's religious and secular communities.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 6:19 am

When Ruth Calderon is nervous, she does her nails.

"It helps," she grins. "Did you ever try? It puts you together. If you really are nervous you do bright red."

Calderon, 51, is a scholar and teacher of Jewish religious texts. She is also a novice Israeli politician, part of the new Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party that unexpectedly took 19 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, last January.

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Around the Nation
3:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

VA Still Under Pressure To Reduce Disability Claim Backlog

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

For years, the backlog of disability claims for veterans has been fodder for politicians, pundits and even comedians, like Jon Stewart.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")

JON STEWART: And paper disability records still undigitized and piled up so high that the floor of one VA field office is going to collapse.

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Economy
3:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Study Finds Stagnated, Declining Wages For Low Wage Earners

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The president's education tour is part of a broader campaign aimed at boosting the fortunes of the middle class. A study out today shows just how widespread the nation's economic pain has been. It finds that over the past decade, wages have been flat or even declined for the bottom 70 percent of American workers. NPR's Jennifer Ludden has that story.

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