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2:06 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Letters: Not 'Just A Trucker' And John Mayer's Soulful Strumming

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's time now for your letters. On Friday, we told you about a 60-year-old Japanese man who, as a baby, was accidentally sent home from the hospital with the wrong family. His biological parents were wealthy. And the boy who went home with them went on to be president of a real estate company. Meanwhile, their true son went home with a poor working-class family and he spent most of his childhood living in a tiny apartment being raised by a single mother. And we said he wound up just being a truck driver.

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Parallels
1:27 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Some Turkish Churches Get Makeovers — As Mosques

The fifth century Byzantine Stoudios monastery in Istanbul housed a church and was later turned into a mosque and then a museum before falling into disrepair.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:11 pm

A historically significant but now-crumbling fifth century Byzantine monastery in Istanbul is finally slated for restoration. But for Turkey's dwindling Greek community, the bad news is that the government wants to turn the Stoudios monastery into a mosque.

It's just one of several such conversions of historically Christian sites that the government is considering. And there's even talk that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be reconverted into a mosque.

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The Two-Way
1:08 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'This Law Is Working,' Obama Says Of Health Care

While conceding that "more problems may pop up as they always do when you're launching something new," President Obama on Tuesday said the troubled HealthCare.gov website "is working well for the vast majority of users" and his Affordable Care Act "is working and will work into the future."

"We may never satisfy the law's opponents," Obama added during an afternoon event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. But, he said, "we know the demand [for health insurance] is there and we know the product on these marketplaces is good."

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The Salt
1:03 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Cookie-Baking Chemistry: How To Engineer Your Perfect Sweet Treat

Engineering the perfect cookie: You can control the diameter and thickness of your favorite chocolate chip cookies by changing the temperature of the butter and the amount of flour in the dough.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:38 am

Baking cookies is almost magical. You put little balls of wet, white dough into the oven and out pop brown, crispy, tasty biscuits.

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The Two-Way
12:28 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Man Killed In Shark Attack Off Maui

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:35 pm

Yet another shark attack in Hawaii, this time leading to the death of a man off Maui. It comes just three days after a woman survived a harrowing shark attack on the same side of the island.

The Associated Press reports that a shark bit the dangling foot of Patrick Briney, 57, of Stevenson, Wash., as he fished from a kayak between Maui and Molokini, a small island that is a popular diving and snorkeling spot.

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Parallels
12:28 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

The High Price Egyptians Pay For Opposing Their Rulers

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood run from tear gas during clashes with riot police near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on Nov. 22.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:11 pm

Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.

But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.

That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.

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Parallels
12:14 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

And The Award For Most Corrupt Nation Goes To ...

A young Afghan balloon seller runs toward a customer in Kabul on April 2. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are the most-corrupt countries, according to the annual Corruption Perception Index released Tuesday.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:41 pm

Each year, Transparency International releases its Corruption Perception Index, and this year, like most, the Scandinavian countries and New Zealand were at one end of the spectrum as the least-corrupt nations in the world.

In the category of most-corrupt, there was a three-way tie: Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Something Cool: A 'Hopscotch Crosswalk' In Baltimore

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 3:07 pm

The most famous crosswalk in the world has to be Abbey Road. But, today, the city of Baltimore unveiled what could be the most entertaining of crosswalks.

The street crossings adjacent to the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in downtown are now equipped with four different games of hopscotch. Take a look:

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Dead Mice Update: Tiny Assassins Dropped On Guam Again

Researchers hope Guam's snakes take the bait.
Micha Klootwijk iStockPhoto.com

Dead mice laced with acetaminophen have for the fourth time been dropped from helicopters into trees on Guam in an experiment aimed at killing snakes that have devastated the island's bird population and caused other damage.

No, we haven't been duped by something written by The Onion.

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Shots - Health News
11:34 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Nonprofits Challenge Missouri Licensing Law For Insurance Guides

Nonprofits that are supposed to be helping people figure out their health insurance options are challenging an allegedly restrictive state law.
iStockphoto

In the first lawsuit of its kind, several nonprofit groups that received federal grants to help people sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act are suing the state of Missouri.

The Missouri law requires health insurance helpers called navigators to be licensed by the state, which involves passing an exam and paying a fee.

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Author Interviews
11:25 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Underground Cities And 'Ghost' Miners: What Some People Do For Gold

The price of gold rose dramatically after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:41 pm

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

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Author Interviews
11:25 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Ted Williams: A Perfectionist Ballplayer With Many Demons

Ted Williams, pictured here in 1941, was deeply marked by his parents' absence while he and his brother were growing up.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:16 pm

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

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The Salt
10:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Your Waiter Is Having A Bad Day. Can You Tell?

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:11 pm

Imagine how Robbie Travis felt. He waits tables at Libertine, a high-end restaurant just outside St. Louis, and his ex insisted on coming in just a few days after they'd broken up.

Like everyone else, waiters and waitresses have to show up for work on days they'd rather be anywhere else. But it's especially tough to shrug off a bad mood in a job where people expect you to greet them gladly.

"You have to fake it a little bit," Travis says. "That's what pays the bills."

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Tue December 3, 2013

American Held In North Korea Reportedly Oversaw Guerrilla Group In War

Park Boo Seo (right), a former member of the Korean Kuwol partisan unit, speaks about Merrill Newman, an American tourist detained in North Korea. Newman supervised the group during the Korean War.
Ahn Young-joon AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:03 pm

Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old American war veteran and tourist who was arrested in North Korea in October, once supervised a guerrilla group of "perhaps the most hated and feared fighters" of the Korean War, some of his former comrades say. That's according to The Associated Press, which offers details about Newman's service as a possible explanation for his detention.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Cleveland Kidnapper's Death Was Suicide, Experts Say

Ariel Castro in court on July 17.
Marvin Fong The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 10:59 am

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro committed suicide by hanging himself, two independent corrections consultants said in a report released on Tuesday.

Before this report was released, a review by a state prisons agency had suggested that Castro died in September while performing autoerotic asphyxiation. That is likely not the case, Lindsay M. Hayes and Fred Cohen, who were hired by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, found.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
9:49 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Detroit Is Eligible For Bankruptcy Protection, Judge Rules

The Detroit skyline as seen from Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:55 am

The largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history took a major step forward Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Project Xpat: How It Sounds To Live In Turkey

Ian Volpi
Courtesy of Ian Volpi

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 10:09 am

Ian Volpi, 25, is from Atlanta, Ga. He teaches English at the English Life school in Denizli, Turkey.

**

Produced by Art Silverman

**

What does your life sound like? Or your job? Or the place where you live? Please send a recording of four sounds that tell the story of your life or job or town — at this moment in time — to protojournalist@npr.org. Please include your name, age and where you live. You may be contacted for a follow-up interview.

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Thai Anti-Government Protesters Claim 'Partial Victory'

An anti-government protester cuts a lock on a gate outside Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday.
Wason Wanichakorn AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 10:12 am

Anti-government protesters in Thailand are claiming a symbolic victory Tuesday after police allowed them to swarm into the prime minister's compound and shout slogans.

The protests began Nov. 24 but turned violent two days ago when police clashed with demonstrators opposed to the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Four people were killed and more than 250 others wounded in the past three days, according to The Associated Press.

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Shots - Health News
9:00 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Overweight And Healthy: A Combo That Looks Too Good To Be True

Gym members warm up on treadmills at Downsize Fitness in Addison, Texas. Membership at the gym is limited to people who have a high body mass index.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 7:30 am

Overweight or obese people are indeed more likely to die prematurely than people of normal weight, say researchers who've analyzed the data. Their conclusion throws cold water on recent studies that have found some excess weight isn't so bad.

Earlier this year, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that overweight people actually live a bit longer than their skinnier peers.

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The Two-Way
8:23 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Chimps Are People, Too? Lawsuit Will Test That Question

A four-month-old baby Chimpanzee is seen at the National Zoo in Kuala Lumpur in February 2013.
Mohd Rasfan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 10:20 am

Is a chimp, living as a pet in the home of Patrick and Diane Lavery in Gloversville, N.Y., really enslaved and entitled to his freedom? Does the 26-year-old Tommy, who scientists argue is cognitively similar to humans, deserve some of the same rights as Homo sapiens?

Those questions are at the center of a lawsuit (pdf) filed in the State of New York Supreme Court in Fulton County, N.Y., on Monday.

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Monkey See
7:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Little Ditty About Lackin' Diane: Hug A Skeptic Today

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:11 am

Perhaps while you were enjoying your Thanksgiving turkey (or, in my case, your hotel tub and your Hallmark movies), you heard the story of "Diane in 7A."

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Biden Says U.S. 'Deeply Concerned' About China's Air Defense Zone

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.
Toru Yamanaka AFP/Getty Images

Kicking off a weeklong trip to East Asia, Vice President Joe Biden urged China and Japan to put in place new mechanisms to reduce the chance of an escalation in tensions.

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Six-Year Jail Term For Dancer In Bolshoi Acid Attack

Pavel Dmitrichenko, a former leading dancer in Russia's Bolshoi ballet, stands inside the defendant's cage in a Moscow court Tuesday. He was sentenced to six years in prison for ordering an acid attack on the Bolshoi's artistic director, Sergei Filin.
Alexande Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 11:53 am

A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced the man who ordered an attack on Bolshoi Theater artistic director Sergei Filin to six years in a penal colony.

Former Bolshoi ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, 29, was one of several people convicted in the attack in which a masked assailant threw acid into Filin's face, nearly blinding him.

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The Two-Way
5:38 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Book News: Ancient Texts From Vatican And Bodleian Libraries Digitized

An illustration from The Reginensis Graecus 1, a 10th century Greek Bible that is among the texts included in the digitization project.
Bodleian Libraries and Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:50 am

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

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The Two-Way
5:37 am
Tue December 3, 2013

U.S. Students Slide In Global Ranking On Math, Reading, Science

A graphic released with the 2012 PISA results shows the annualized change in performance in average math scores between 2003 and 2012. The chart includes only nations that have comparable data from both 2003 and 2012.
PISA

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 11:13 am

American 15-year-olds continue to turn in flat results in a test that measures students' proficiency in reading, math and science worldwide, failing to crack the global top 20.

The Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, collects test results from 65 countries for its rankings, which come out every three years. The latest results, from 2012, show that U.S. students ranked below average in math among the world's most-developed countries. They were close to average in science and reading.

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Religion
5:15 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Pope Francis Reveals He Once Worked As A Bouncer

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:02 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:05 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Independent Bookstores Offer 'Cider Monday'

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:02 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene.

Yesterday, millions of Americans logged on to snag some Cyber Monday savings. But a number of independent bookstores decided to play on that name with a new tradition: Cider Monday. They invited customers to step away from the computers and stop by for a free cup of apple cider. The celebration was first proposed by The Toadstool Bookshops in New Hampshire. They promised their servers would not be overloaded and would, in fact, give you a smile.

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Moving Fables Of Gods, Men, Love And Monsters In 'Early Earth'

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:56 am

Despite its title, British writer and illustrator Isabel Greenberg's The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is not mere history, with its assiduous accounting of dusty facts, but is instead a compendium of funny, sad and surprisingly moving fables from the pre-history of a world that exists only in Greenberg's febrile imagination — one that bristles with capricious gods, feckless shamans, daring quests and, of course, doomed love.

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It's All Politics
4:37 am
Tue December 3, 2013

How 2013 Became The Greatest Year In Gay Rights History

Several same-sex couples hold a group wedding ceremony Monday at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu.
Marco Garcia AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:59 am

Any day now, the New Mexico Supreme Court may grant same-sex couples the right to get married.

At this point, such a ruling may not seem like such a big deal. Prior to last year's elections, gays and lesbians had a civil right to marry in only six states. Now, they have it in 16.

"This year represented the true tipping point," says Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History. "We've reached a moment in history where it's very difficult, if not impossible, to go back."

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