This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The news that the National Security Agency is collecting reams of telephone data and tracking Internet behavior has alarmed civil liberties groups. President Obama believes U.S. citizens have no need to worry.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: One of the things that we're going to have to discuss and debate is how are we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy, because there are some tradeoffs involved.
Latin America has some of the highest crime rates in the world. And that includes extortion, which doesn't just terrorize but also takes a huge economic toll on ordinary citizens. In many Latin American countries, it's costing billions of dollars and hindering development. As part of our series on violence in Latin America, NPR's Carrie Kahn takes us to Mexico, where some estimates say extortion costs more than $30 billion a year. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Extortion costs an estimated $3.2 billion in Mexico annually.]
Fifty-five boys — all poor and almost all African-American — were a part of a bold educational experiment in the early 1960s. They were placed in an intensive summer school program. If they finished, the headmasters of 16 prep schools agreed to accept them. Tuition paid.
Planning for that experiment started in 1963 at the height of the civil rights movement, one year before President Lyndon B. Johnson declared his "War on Poverty." Today, what began with 55 students and 16 schools has become an institution celebrating its 50th anniversary. It's called "A Better Chance."
Alison Krauss recorded "Lay My Burden Down" a couple of years ago for her No. 1 country album Paper Airplane, but the song was written by Aoife O'Donovan. The singer, best known as the voice of the alt-bluegrass band Crooked Still, is releasing her first solo album this week.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday. There was a steady rain. Soldiers fired rifle volleys, a bugler played taps and mourners paid their final respects.
The New Jersey Democrat was 89 when he died this week — and his death marked a somber milestone.
For the first time since the end of World War II, there are no veterans of that war in the U.S. Senate. Lautenberg had been the only one remaining.
A grim and chaotic scene today in Santa Monica, California. That's where authorities say at least six people are dead after a shooting rampage that ended violently on the campus of Santa Monica Community College. Several more people are being treated at area hospitals. Authorities say some injuries are serious, others minor. The shooting triggered lockdowns at the college and at other nearby schools. NPR's Kirk Siegler joins us now with the latest from NPR West in Culver City. And Kirk, what have you learned so far?
Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 11:50 am
Clarinetist and saxophone player Don Byron has a way of homing in on a departed artist's legacy and transforming it with intelligence and adventure. Having already dedicated albums to klezmer clarinetist Mickey Katz, the great saxophonist Lester Young circa 1946 and R&B saxophonist Junior Walker, Byron and his latest project take after the legacy of classic gospel music, primarily that of composer Thomas A. Dorsey and singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Ariel Castro, whose Cleveland, Ohio, home allegedly became a prison for three kidnapped young women, has been indicted on 329 counts by a grand jury. Other charges include 177 counts of kidnapping and 139 counts of rape, as well as aggravated murder, a charge stemming from "the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy."
Cambodian lawmakers on Friday approved a bill making it a crime to deny that atrocities were committed by the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s, echoing laws against Holocaust denial in Germany and more than a dozen other European countries.
The bill passed the assembly in Phnom Penh by a unanimous vote, but only because of the absence of opposition parliamentarians, who were expelled after forming a new party.
Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot came to Washington to meet members of the Obama administration and Congress. The feminist activist band is hoping to persuade U.S. officials to visit two of their members in Russian penal colonies to highlight their plight.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama was at pains today to defend the National Security Agency programs that were uncovered this week by The Guardian and The Washington Post. He said nobody is listening to your telephone calls and he assured the country that these intelligence efforts come with strict government oversight.
Now, for our weekly political conversation. We're going to start with this week's big disclosures of data collection by the National Security Agency. Joining me are columnist David Brooks of The New York Times and sitting in this week for E.J. Dionne, Jane Mayer, staff writer for The New Yorker. Good to see both of you here.
While President Obama is acknowledging that the government is tapping into records from major Internet companies, most of those companies have issued broadly worded denials. That includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo.
NPR's Steve Henn joins us now to explain how these companies can deny taking part in a program that both the president and the intelligence community say exists. And, Steve, first, what do these firms say exactly when they are asked about PRISM?
This story from Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and NPR's Laura Sydell aired this weekend on This American Life. A shorter version of the piece is also airing today on All Things Considered. Here's the story.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. Today, President Obama acknowledged and defended secret U.S. surveillance programs that have been revealed this week. He said judges approved them and the programs are audited to make sure they don't overreach.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. Steady but not stellar, that's the message today from the government's monthly jobs report. While the economy added 175,000 jobs in May, the unemployment rate ticked up a notch, to 7.6 percent. NPR's John Ydstie explains.
President Obama spoke for the first time about revelations that his administration has been continuing the monitoring of Internet communications and warehousing of cellphone records that began under President Bush. Obama defended both programs as necessary to keep the country safe and said Congress had been kept fully apprised.
All this week on Code Switch and on air we've been digging into the findings of a survey of African-American views of their communities, finances and social lives. We conducted the poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
In Southern California, a nuclear power plant that supplied energy to more than a million homes is shutting down for good. As NPR's Ina Jaffe reports, the San Onofre nuclear plant has been idle for repair since January of 2012.
INA JAFFE, BYLINE: The twin, white domes at the San Onofre nuclear power plant have been landmarks on the California coast for more than four decades.
Peter Dinklage stars as the cunning, charismatic Tyrion Lannister in HBO's hit drama <em>Game Of Thrones</em>. One security consultant suggests that the number of people watching the popular drama through HBO's streaming service HBO Go without paying for it could be high enough to pose a real challenge for providers of such services.
For today's All Things Considered story about people sharing their Netflix or Hulu Plus passwords, producer Sami Yenigun latched on to what could've been an ordinary entertainment-business story and front-loaded it with snippets of sound from Game of Thrones — attacking dragons, evil kings, treacherous harlots. He made it hilarious.
The fear of something like a major oil spill in environmentally sensitive waters comes as the number of vessels plying the world's oceans has risen 20 percent in the past 15 years, from 85,000 to 105,000, the report, released on World Oceans Day, says.
If you're having trouble picturing a health "datapalooza," think 2,000-plus data geeks, entrepreneurs, industry bigwigs and bureaucrats stuffed into hotel conference rooms with lots of coffee and PowerPoints.
Early this week the fourth annual Health Datapalooza conference descended on Washington, D.C., including a contest over the course of the two-day meeting to come up with the best health app on the spot.
Even in an era of stark political polarization, there are still some issues that can draw Americans together and scramble the normal ideological fault lines.
Recent revelations about the Internal Revenue Service and the National Security Agency are among them.
Unlike the debates over Obamacare or President Obama himself, which tend to be more litmus tests for party affiliation than anything else, the reactions to reports about overreach by the Internal Revenue Service and the National Security Agency have brought normally warring partisans together.
<a href="http://www.judyblume.com/about.php">Judy Blume</a> is the author of many books for kids and teens, including <em>Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret</em>, <em>Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing</em> and <em>Blubber</em>. Her 1981 novel<em>, Tiger Eyes, </em>has just been adapted into a movie.
Mention Judy Blume to almost any woman under a certain age and you're likely to get this reaction: Her face lights up, and she's transported back to her childhood self — curled up with a book she knows will speak directly to her anxieties about relationships, self-image and measuring up.
Swimmers begin a 1-mile race in the Great Salt Lake in June 2012. The mountains of Stansbury Island rise in the background.
Credit Connie Hubbard
<a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/06/06/189240932/the-iceman-swimmeth-chanting-f-cancer">Read the story of Goody Tyler</a>, a schoolteacher who earned the "ice man" label for swimming a mile in 41-degree water in the Great Salt Lake. He credits that swim and workouts in the lake for helping him withstand the tedium of chemotherapy while being treated for cancer.
It's the "liquid lie of the desert," as writer Terry Tempest Williams describes it, a vast inland sea so salty it triggers retching when swallowed. Brine shrimp swarm its waters and brine flies blanket the shore. In the right wind and weather its putrid smell reaches Salt Lake City neighborhoods 16 miles away. Storms churn up waves that rival ocean swells.
Students rush to safety after shots were fired near the Santa Monica College Friday. According to reports, at least six people were shot, and a suspect was taken into custody. One shooting victim died of her injuries during surgery.
As many as four people died in a series of shootings in Santa Monica Friday, according to city police chief Jacqueline Seabrooks. The gunman was eventually shot to death in an exchange of fire with police in the library of Santa Monica College, she said at a news conference.
Police said earlier that seven people were killed, but later corrected that number to five people total, including the gunman, at a news conference Friday night.
Actor and singer Cheyenne Jackson is equally at home on Broadway and in front of the camera. He made his Broadway debut as the understudy for both male leads in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and his cabaret debut, a one-man show titled Back to the Start, was a sold-out hit. His love of music comes from digging through vinyl at yard sales around his family farm in Idaho, and his love of Broadway comes from the time he saw a touring production of Les Miserables in Spokane, Wash., with his French teacher.