Since 2008, the Afghan government has assessed nearly $1 billion dollars in taxes — sometimes erroneously — on U.S. contractors working in the country, according to a new report from the Pentagon's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, NPR's Tom Bowman tells our Newscast Desk.
John Sopko, the special inspector general, says the tax confusion has led to the arrest of contractors for nonpayment, increased costs to the U.S. government and interruptions to American military operations.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. Hipsters: They're known for roasting their own coffee, riding vintage bicycles, listening to vinyl records from obscure bands, and now also for being unpopular. A new report from Public Policy Polling finds only 16 percent of Americans think hipsters are still hip. More than a quarter of those polled said hipsters should have to pay a special tax for being so annoying.
One need pick up on only a hint of the zeitgeist to know that monsters that once worried their careers had peaked in B-movies of the '50s are now enjoying a sustained resurgence. On screens and in the "Teen Paranormal Romance" section of Barnes and Noble, supernatural creatures of all stripes battle for the hearts (or throats) of our homecoming queens.
American literature has plenty of coming-of-age novels. What we need more of, judging by the strengths of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's new book, are novels about coming to America. In particular, books that address our biggest problems — in this case, race. Because things natives don't see about themselves often stand out like neon to foreign eyes. And if you think racism expired when President Obama was elected, this is perhaps not — or absolutely is — the book for you.
Actress Angelina Jolie at a news conference with Secretary of State John Kerry (in background) and other foreign ministers in London last month. They held a forum on how to reduce sexual violence against women in conflict zones — an issue she has often spoken about.
Saying she is "writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience," actress Angelina Jolie reveals on the op-ed pages of The New York Times that she had a double mastectomy earlier this year to substantially reduce the chances she will develop breast cancer.
This IRS scandal has given Republicans an unexpected opportunity to chide the Obama administration. And it comes as the GOP was resurrecting questions about how top Washington officials, including the president, handled the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya last year.
NPR's David Welna has more on the latest political firestorm.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
We're going to spend some time this morning, examining tax examiners at the IRS. The Internal Revenue Service is under fire for paying extra attention to conservative groups that were seeking tax exempt status. The groups had names suggesting they were linked with the Tea Party.
GREENE: Now, social welfare organizations can claim tax exemptions, political groups are treated differently.
If you live in France, you might be paying more, soon, for smartphones and tablets, like the iPad. If the government moves ahead with a new tax proposal, the move could worsen an already tense climate between the Socialist government in France and some technology giants.
A Philadelphia doctor who performed late-term abortions is now facing multiple murder convictions and a possible death sentence. A jury found Kermit Gosnell guilty on three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies that prosecutors said were delivered alive and then killed. Gosnell was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a female patient. He was acquitted on one count of murder in a fourth abortion.
Now, the murder conviction of Kermit Gosnell is likely to bring more sparks to the already heated abortion debate in Washington and across the nation. Those on both sides of the divide have been gearing up for what comes next. Here's NPR's Julie Rovner.
Jessica Buchanan was working as an aid worker in Somalia in the fall of 2011. She was based in northern Somalia, but in October, she traveled to the more dangerous southern half of the country for a training.
Credit Courtesy Jessica Buchanan / Atria Books
Erik Landemalm, Buchanan's husband, was also an aid worker in northern Somalia. He expected Buchanan to get in touch and say that she'd returned from her trip; instead, he received a call saying that she'd been kidnapped.
In 2011, Jessica Buchanan was an aid worker in northern Somalia, helping to raise awareness about how to avoid land mines. The north was the relatively safe section of the country; that October, she traveled to the more dangerous southern region for a training. The night before she left, she texted her husband, Erik Landemalm, also an aid worker in Somalia. She asked him a question: "If I get kidnapped on this trip, will you come and get me?"
Last year, almost the entire Michigan apple crop was lost because of 80-degree days in March and then some freezing April nights. This year, the apples are back, but everything always depends on the weather. The state was under a freeze warning Sunday night — a scary prospect if you're an apple grower and your trees have just come into bloom.
The Associated Press is protesting what it calls a massive and unprecedented intrusion into its gathering of news. The target of that wrath is the U.S. Justice Department, which secretly collected phone records for several AP reporters last year. The AP says it's caught in the middle of a Justice Department leak investigation.
The scope of the Justice Department subpoenas is what gives David Schultz, a lawyer for AP, pause.
Today we learned of some news from the Associated Press in which the AP is at the center of the story. The newswire service reports that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of editors and reporters' phone records from last year as part of a government investigation. Late today, the Justice Department issued a statement saying it strives to strike a balance between the need for information in criminal cases and the rights of individuals and news organizations.
Lanny J. Davis, a former special counsel for President Clinton, is a man who knows something about managing a White House crisis. And he isn't exactly impressed by how President Obama's aides have handled the fallout from numerous crises, from Solyndra to Benghazi and now with the Internal Revenue Service controversy.
Eric Wilson, head of the Kentucky 9/12 Project, portrays a representative of the tyrannical kingdom as he talks to children on the first night of Vacation Liberty School at a church in Georgetown, Ky., in 2010.
What would you do if the IRS wanted to see your interactions on social media?
At least one Tea Party group in Ohio received just such a request. As part of a broad inquiry for information about the group's activities after it had applied for tax-exempt status, the IRS wanted details about how the Ohio Liberty Coalition promotes or publicizes itself on social media such as Facebook.
Dr. Joyce Brothers, whose long-running television show dispensed advice on life and relationships to her viewers, has died in New York at age 85, according to her publicist.
She died on Monday of natural causes, Sanford Brokaw said.
Brothers, who was a pioneer of the television advice show, first gained fame as a winning contestant on the television game show "The $64,000 Question" in 1955, becoming the only woman ever to win the top prize. The AP says:
There's another way television is moving online. Starting Tuesday, ABC will let viewers in New York and Philadelphia watch their local stations over the Internet. But this is not a way to cut your cable bill.
NPR's Dan Bobkoff discusses the change with All Things Considered co-host Audie Cornish.
Americans appear to be split over the Obama administration's handling of the aftermath from the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.