NPR News

Pages

It's All Politics
1:51 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

GOP Enraged After Filibuster Vote, But Does It Change Much?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks to the media on Thursday after passing the so-called nuclear option, which changes the Senate rules to eliminate the use of the filibuster on presidential nominees except those to the Supreme Court.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:48 pm

The political class was aflame Thursday with outrage (Republicans) and triumph (Democrats) as Senate Democrats voted to hem in the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees.

By a 52-48 vote, the Democratic-controlled Senate carried out the so-called nuclear option. The leadership will now allow a simple majority of senators to override filibusters on nominations, with the exception of those to the Supreme Court.

Previous precedent, in place since the 1970s, required a 60-vote "supermajority" to end a filibuster.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:34 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Alabama Pardons Scottsboro Boys In 1931 Rape Case

Attorney Samuel Leibowitz, confers with seven of the defendants in the Scottsboro rape case in 1935 in Alabama. Thursday, a judge pardoned the remaining three men who hadn't already been pardoned.
AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 3:05 pm

"Today, the Scottsboro Boys have finally received justice."

That was Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's reaction to a parole board's decision Thursday that brought an end to an eight-decade-old case that came to represent racial injustice in the Deep South.

The parole board unanimously approved a posthumous pardon for Haywood Patterson, Charlie Weems and Andy Wright — the three black men who weren't pardoned in the 1931 rape case.

Read more
Parallels
11:58 am
Thu November 21, 2013

The European Union Says It Wants To Join The Drone Club

A handout picture shows Europe's biggest drone, Eurohawk, made by Northrop Grumman, at the start of its first test flight in Manching, Germany, on Jan. 11. If European officials have their way, the European Union will have its own drones within the next decade.
Cassidian DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:44 pm

Seven EU countries say they want to join forces and start making their own military drones by 2020 rather than relying on the Americans.

The EU Observer website reported that the proposed "Medium Altitude Long Endurance (Male) craft ... can be used to strike military targets or for surveillance of migrant boats in the Mediterranean Sea."

Read more
The Two-Way
11:09 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Kennedy Cousin Skakel Gets Bail As He Awaits New Murder Trial

Michael Skakel, pictured in October 2012, was granted bail Thursday.
Jessica Hill MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:00 pm

Michael Skakel, a cousin of the Kennedy family, was granted bail Thursday and released from prison as he awaits a new trial in the 1975 murder of his neighbor Martha Moxley.

The Associated Press reports:

Read more
The Two-Way
11:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Senate Democrats Detonate 'Nuclear Option' To Curb Filibusters

Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 12:09 pm

(We added to the top of this post at 2:08 p.m. ET.)

There was high drama Thursday on the floor of the Senate as Democrats significantly changed the way business in the chamber is done.

In what Republicans cast as a "power grab" but Democrats defended as a way to break gridlock, the Senate's rules were changed to make it much more difficult for a minority of the members to hold up action on key presidential nominees.

Read more
Around the Nation
10:49 am
Thu November 21, 2013

American Indian Leader Encouraged By White House Meeting

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, journalist Paul Salopek started walking a while ago. He'll keep walking for seven years. He's following the development of mankind from Ethiopia all the way to the bottom of South America. And we'll talk about how students in cities across the U.S. are falling in his footsteps. That's in a few minutes.

Read more
World
10:49 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Walking The World: 7 Years And Counting

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Now to East Africa, where one man is currently on a journey of discovery.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOOTSTEPS)

Read more
On Disabilities
10:49 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Autistic Kids At Risk Of Wandering: How To Keep Them Safe

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Read more
Parallels
10:45 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Everything You Wanted To Know About An Afghan Loya Jirga

Afghan delegates to the Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, listen to Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday. Some 2,500 elders and community leaders have gathered in Kabul to discuss a U.S.-Afghan security agreement that would define the role of U.S. troops after the combat mission ends next year.
S. Sabawoon EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:25 pm

The U.S. military has been fighting in Afghanistan for 12 years, and its future role could be determined, or at least heavily influenced, in the next few days by an Afghan Loya Jirga.

So, what is a Loya Jirga?

It's a "grand assembly," an Afghan tradition dating back at least three centuries, that brings together elders and community leaders from across the land to discuss matters of major national importance.

Read more
Intelligence Squared U.S.
10:45 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Debate: Has The Right To Bear Arms Outlived Its Usefulness?

Alan Dershowitz and Sanford Levinson argue in favor of the motion "The Constitutional Right To Bear Arms Has Outlived Its Usefulness" in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on Nov. 14.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 12:48 pm

  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate

If Americans were writing the Constitution over again in 2013, would it make sense to include the right to bear arms? Or has it become outdated?

Some argue that states should have the ability to decide the laws they want around guns, instead of having a national standard. And they point to the Second Amendment's language about the need for well-regulated militias as evidence of its anachronism.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:19 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Three Women May Have Spent 30 Years As Slaves In London

A very disturbing story is emerging from the U.K.:

-- "Two people have been arrested as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude at a house in London sparked by a report on Sky News. The inquiry was launched after one of three alleged victims told a charity she had been held against her will for more than 30 years." (Sky News)

Read more
All Songs Considered
9:27 am
Thu November 21, 2013

The Good Listener: Can You Meet Your Favorite Band Without It Getting Awkward?

You don't get many opportunities to hug Bono — better do it right!
Courtesy of beth.anderson2007 via Flickr

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:38 am

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the holiday gift baskets from which our interns will receive their only sustenance is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how to meet your favorite musicians without feeling like a complete stooge.

Helen Okolicsanyi writes via Facebook: "How can you not be awkward when you get a chance to meet your favorite musician in person? I never know what to say besides 'Love your music' without sounding like a fangirl."

Read more
The Two-Way
8:44 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Yellen's Nomination To Fed Gets OK From Senate Committee

Janet Yellen during her confirmation hearing earlier this month. She's expected to win Senate approval to take over as head of the Federal Reserve.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:55 am

By a 14-8 vote that saw three Republicans join 11 Democrats in saying "aye," the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday morning approved the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next head of the Federal Reserve.

Read more
Shots - Health News
8:42 am
Thu November 21, 2013

A Son's Death Reveals Chasms In Emergency Mental Health Care

A hearse leaves the Deeds family home in Millboro, Va., on Tuesday, after 24-year-old Austin "Gus" Deeds died in an apparent suicide.
Don Petersen AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 11:49 am

Parents who have a child struggling with serious mental illness live in fear that the worst will happen.

The apparent suicide of a young man in Virginia after he allegedly attacked his father, a state senator, shows how difficult it can be for families to get help in the midst of a mental health crisis.

The recession brought deep cuts in states' spending on mental health. The reductions made it harder for people to get help before they're in crisis, mental health advocates say, and even harder to find a hospital bed in an emergency.

Read more
The Salt
8:15 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Remember 'French Fries Cause Cancer'? Here's The Acrylamide Update

French fries: There are probably other reasons besides acrylamide to avoid these tasty snacks.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 1:02 pm

Back in 2002, french fry lovers around the world received a nasty bit of news: Those crunchy, fried strips of potato contained a known carcinogen. Now, all these years later, a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration has consumers once again puzzling over whether to fear the chemical acrylamide.

Read more
Parallels
7:50 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Saudi Arabia's Global Arms Shopping Spree

A Leopard 2 A6 tank is in operation during the German army exercise in Bergen, Germany, on Oct. 2. Germany said it would sell 270 of the tanks to Saudi Arabia last year. According to official figures, the Saudis were the top buyers of arms from Germany.
Peter Steffen DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:04 pm

Saudi Arabia has emerged as the biggest foreign customer for German arms, buying nearly a quarter of Germany's total weapons sales.

It's part of an emerging pattern of weapons purchases by Saudi Arabia and its neighbor, the United Arab Emirates.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:46 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Family Asks North Korea To Release 85-Year-Old American

North Korean soldiers march through Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang. Merrill Newman, an American grandfather, has been missing since being removed from a plane about to depart North Korea on Oct. 26.
ED JONES AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:53 am

The family and friends of an 85-year-old California grandfather have appealed to North Korean officials to release the man, who reportedly has been held by authorities in the communist state since Oct. 26.

Read more
Ask Me Another
7:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Killer Apps

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:14 am

Puzzle guru Will Hines leads this final round, in which every correct answer is a word, phrase or proper noun that contains the letters "a-p-p" in order. For example, if he said, "It's what you tear off your birthday presents," you would say, "wrapping paper." Word nerds everywhere who rule this game, we applaud you.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Read more
Ask Me Another
7:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

R.L. Stine: What's Scarier?

Author R.L. Stine tries to guess whether Ask Me Another listeners find "ventriloquist dolls" or "a swarm of bees" scarier.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:50 am

You'd think a guy who writes scary books for a living would know a thing or two about what makes our hearts race and our palms sweat. We put the best-selling horror author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series to the test in this Ask Me Another Challenge based on an audience poll. Did Stine know what scares our listeners more: ghosts, or being alone for the rest of your life?

Read more
Ask Me Another
7:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Sympathy For The Tasmanian Devil

Mick Jagger was reportedly inspired to write The Rolling Stones' hit song "Sympathy for the Devil" after reading Mikhaíl Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. We were inspired to re-write "Sympathy for the Devil" after watching Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes. As such, house musician Jonathan Coulton's musical clues in this game are about various Looney Tunes characters, from Tweety to Elmer Fudd.

Ask Me Another
7:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Zombie Gourmets

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:17 am

Zombies eat brains, everyone knows that. But if brains aren't available, zombies are not picky; they'll eat anything that rhymes with "brains." In this round, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton serve up clues to groups of nouns or names that follow this rhyming pattern. Points awarded to those who answer in a scary zombie voice.

Read more
Ask Me Another
7:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Random Questions With: R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine: This man wants to terrify your children.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 10:13 am

If you're a person of a certain age, R.L. Stine probably scared or delighted you with his Goosebumps and Fear Street series. (And you'll be happy to hear Stine recently announced a Fear Street reboot.) But the man who declares "terrify[ing] kids" as his job description actually started out as a humor writer — and his "jovial" nature remains intact.

Read more
Ask Me Another
7:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Hurtful Words

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:10 am

They say that love is the universal language, but they're wrong — it's pain. In this game, house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you how people around the world say "ouch," and you have to name the language. "Úff, this eruption by the volcano Eyjafjallajökull is making me really hot!"...you said, in Icelan-glish. (That's Icelandic + English.)

Read more
Ask Me Another
7:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Quoth The Raven, Something More

You are probably aware that in Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem, the titular raven repeatedly says, "Nevermore." Turns out, while he "still is sitting, still is sitting," that raven has moved on to quoth'ing celebrity names that rhyme with "-moore." Naturally, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton perform the clues about these famous folks in verse.

Typhoon Haiyan Devastates The Philippines
7:20 am
Thu November 21, 2013

What I Saw: A Photographer's Last Dispatch From The Philippines

David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:12 pm

NPR photographer David Gilkey has photographed in extreme situations — from the surge in Afghanistan, to bombings in Gaza, to the tsunami in Japan, but he was shocked at what he saw in the village of Barangay 68 in Tacloban City, Philippines.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to find when I arrived.

"Barangay," loosely translated, means a neighborhood or village and Barangay 68 is just one of the tiny hamlets that make up greater Tacloban City in the central Philippines. The village was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:59 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Jobless Claims And Wholesale Prices Drop

Part of the scene at a job fair for veterans and family members earlier this month in Marietta, Ga.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:47 am

While it's always important to keep in mind that neither one week nor one month make for a trend, there is good economic news to pass along:

Read more
The Two-Way
6:45 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Top Stories: Afghan Security; Plane Lands At Wrong Airport

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:48 am

Good morning, here are our early stories:

-- Obama Says U.S. Will Respect Afghan Sovereignty.

-- Taking Off Will Be Tricky After Jet Lands At Wrong Airport.

And here are more early headlines:

Read more
The Two-Way
6:18 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Obama Says U.S. Will Respect Afghan Sovereignty

A member of the Afghan Loya Jirga listens as the more than 2,000 elders begin debating a proposed U.S.-Afghan security pact on Thursday in Kabul.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 10:15 am

As Afghan elders debate whether to approve a proposed security agreement with the U.S., there's word that President Obama has said the U.S. will respect Afghanistan's sovereignty and carry out raids on Afghan homes only under extraordinary circumstances, The Associated Press writes.

The wire service says Obama made that pledge in a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. It adds that:

Read more
Parallels
6:08 am
Thu November 21, 2013

World Headlines: Colombian President To Seek Re-Election

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announcing his decision to seek re-election in Bogota, Colombia, on Wednesday.
Xinhua /Landov

Colombia, El Tiempo

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Wednesday that he was seeking re-election, saying he wanted to bring peace to the country.

"I do it because I am convinced that we have gone far enough and that, finally, it is possible to get to that future of prosperity and peace we deserve," he said.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:27 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Book News: James McBride, Surprise National Book Award Winner

National Book Awards judges lauded writer James McBride, seen in 2007, for "a voice as comic and original as any we have heard since Mark Twain."
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

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

Read more

Pages