From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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The poppy crop in Afghanistan has hit record levels, a sign that the drug trade there continues to rise. That's according to the latest numbers from a United Nations report out today. The U.S. warns that a boost in opium production will provide more money for Taliban insurgents.
As NPR's Tom Bowman reports, those rising numbers come despite billions of dollars spent to eradicate the poppy plant.
The UN, as well as private charitable groups, are deploying an army of humanitarian aid workers to the areas hardest hit by the typhoon and the need is massive. Agencies say they will need millions to rebuild. Many of us want to know, how can I help? Should I send money, clothes and to whom? Will it reach the people who need it the most?
We're joined now by Bob Ottenhoff of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to offer some practical guidance. Hi there, Bob. Welcome to the studio.
Despair and criticisms are mounting in the Philippines as the delays stretch on and residents along the country's eastern seaboard struggle to survive without food or clean water.
According to one local government estimate, just 1 in 5 victims of Typhoon Haiyan has received any assistance.
On Wednesday, the U.S. military expanded its assistance to around-the-clock operations. U.S. Marine Osprey planes joined the procession of mostly military aircraft delivering aid workers and supplies to the devastated city of Tacloban.
In Chicago, the mayor and school officials say that they're making good on a promise to keep students safe after closing nearly 50 schools. Parents worried about children having to cross rival gang territory to attend new schools. But now, two and a half months into the school year, the district says its program, Safe Passage, is living up to its name.
Finally, this hour, "The Price is Right" and how to get it.
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CORNISH: We're talking about the popular daytime game show, of course. Sure, you could study up on the cost of canned goods, living room sets and big screen TVs to win or you could tip the odds in your favor and apply game theory. That's what Ben Blatt did for a recent article in Slate. He joins us now. Hey there, Ben.
The sentencing hearing of convicted mobster James Whitey Bulger began in federal court in Boston today. Bulger was convicted in August of taking part in 11 murders while running a massive criminal enterprise going back to the 1970s. Sentencing takes place tomorrow, but no matter what jail time he gets, it's pretty clear that the 84-year-old Bulger will spend the rest of his life in prison.
As NPR's Tovia Smith reports, it is an anti-climactic end to a long, expensive trial that has left many frustrated by what it didn't accomplish.
The U.S. Supreme Court, which has been somewhat hostile to unions in recent years, on Wednesday examined a key union organizing tool. At issue: neutrality agreements, under which employers pledge to remain neutral during union organizing campaigns, and in exchange, the union promises not to picket, boycott or strike.
It's easy, when writing about network TV, to be cynical.
For example, when I heard the Fox network had been holding annual conferences on diversity, telling top show producers their casts and crew had to feature more people of color, I remained skeptical. What's the catch, I wondered?
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:47 pm
More than 106,000 Americans selected health plans in the first reporting period of open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplace, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.
That number is only "about 20 percent of the government's October target," as NPR's Scott Horsley reports for our Newscast unit.
Less than 27,000 people used the federal HealthCare.gov site to select a plan. The overall number includes enrollments made via federal and state marketplaces from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2, the agency says.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:07 pm
A while back (a long while back), Bob Boilen and I were sitting around the office, chatting like we do about music and life, and got to wondering: Is it possible to come up with a top ten list of albums that everyone can agree on?
Scotland Yard says it believes a British spy whose naked, decomposing body was found padlocked inside a gym bag in a bathtub three years ago, probably died accidentally.
Gareth Williams, 31, was working for Britain's MI6 spy agency when his body was found at his home in August 2010.
Last May, a coroner concluded that Williams was probably murdered, but on Wednesday London Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt told reporters that the death was "most probably ... an accident."
Pity the poor essay collection. Unlike its close, more creative neighbor — the short story collection — or its snooty relation, The Novel, the humble essay collection is the wallflower of the literary world. And, when an essay collection is composed — as Ann Patchett's new volume partly is — of pieces previously printed in fashion and pet lovers' magazines, it really might seem like a grab bag of minor material — as, admittedly, a few of the pieces here are.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 5:48 pm
Like many states, Missouri is struggling to obtain the drugs it normally uses to carry out the death penalty.
Last month, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon stayed an execution under pressure from the medical community and the European Union, which threatened to hold up supplies of propofol, the anesthetic the state intended to use.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 1:34 pm
A team appointed by President Obama to review U.S. spying policies in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations about National Security Agency programs has delivered an interim report to the White House.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in an email to news organizations that the review group "has orally provided their interim report to the White House, with their final report due by Dec. 15." She said the results would be made public "in some way" once the finished review is submitted.
When you think of recycling, you probably think of cans, plastic bottles and newspapers. Well, think a little bigger.
There are businesses devoted to recycling metal, paper, plastic, oil, textiles, cell phones, computers, motors, batteries, Christmas lights, cars and more. The hidden world of globalized recycling and reclamation, and its impact on the environment and the global economy, is the subject of the new book Junkyard Planet by journalist Adam Minter.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:06 pm
Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on Friday, packing winds of close to 200 mph. Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, devastated the city of Tacloban and the surrounding areas. At the time of impact, it was being called the "strongest tropical cyclone on record."
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:50 pm
Pedro Quezada, winner of a $338 million Powerball lottery prize in March 2013, is being sued by his ex-girlfriend for a greater share of the winnings. In the course of the legal proceedings, Quezada's lawyer made public an interesting tidbit: Quezada has sent a whopping $57 million to the Dominican Republic. It's a high-profile and big-ticket example of an everyday phenomenon where immigrants to the U.S. send a total of billions and billions of dollars back to their country of origin.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:51 pm
(This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET)
How did TV's most storied newsmagazine make such a huge mistake? And why won't they explain exactly what happened?
Those are the questions left unanswered days after 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan and CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager retracted an Oct. 27 story about the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that featured a suspect source: government contractor Dylan Davies.
When it comes to dating the rules aren't always black and white. And when you add race into the equation things can become even more complicated.
The online dating website "Are You Interested" analyzed over 2.4 million interactions on their site and found that Asian women are more likely to get a message from a man of any race—unless those men are Asian.
AYI also found that white men are pursued the most by women of all races—except black women, who are least likely to get a message from anyone.
As an aid worker, Jessica Alexander worked in Rwanda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Haiti, but don't call her a hero or a saint. Alexander tells Michel Martin about why she wanted to challenge perceptions of aid workers in her new book, Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid.
Wrecked infrastructure is making it hard for Filipino Americans to find out the status of family members affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Host Michel Martin speaks with Jessica Petilla, a Filipino doctor in New York who has immediate family in the hard hit province of Leyte.
The group Peace First is handing out $50,000 in prizes to young people who promote peace in their communities. Host Michel Martin speaks with Eric Dawson, the co-founder and president of Peace First, and recipient Babatunde Salaam.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 10:55 am
(With the day's court action over, we updated this post at noon ET.)
Confronting James "Whitey" Bulger, who she believes killed her father in addition to the 11 people he's been convicting of murdering, a woman told the mob boss Wednesday morning that "we got you, you rat."
It's hard to remember when you look at the last umpteen seasons of MTV's The Real World, but back at the beginning, it was a pretty fascinating show. It once involved people who had actual plans to be musicians or artists or activists, and although there was always conflict, the days before everyone knew the rhythms of Real World editing — which became the rhythms of reality editing in general — it was, I repeat, a pretty fascinating show.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:53 pm
The usual question for Americans on an Anniversary of National Significance is: Where Were You When...?
Where Were You When you learned that: Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot on April 4 in 1968? Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 21, 1969? The twin towers of the World Trade Center were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001?
But there is another question of orientation: Who Were You When ... a certain nation-changing event occurred?
This is who I was — 50 years ago this month — when I heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.