Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep. A special odor is added to natural gas. You know that smell meant to warn you of possible trouble? Last weekend, New York officials added an odor to mask the odor. They were fixing a pipeline in Harlem, and didn't want a flood of 9-1-1 calls over gas leaks that weren't considered dangerous because they were in the open.
So they masked the smell by adding cinnamon to the gas. We have no word if area coffee shops sold out of rolls.
Good morning, I'm David Greene with congratulations to Laura Gramble. She graduated from Indiana University. To celebrate, mom ordered a cake - Indiana red and white with a photo of Laura's face. And one more request, a graduation cap made of icing.
The baker evidently misheard and drew a cat, instead, on Laura's head - pink nose, white whiskers. The Grambles laughed it off, and kept the cake from the bakery. Laura says they must have thought she was going to become a veterinarian.
When's the last time you read a comic book? Oh, right, the term now is "graphic novel" — as if calling them "comics" was somehow undignified or not sufficiently intellectual. But the problem with "graphic novel" is that it's far too limiting — because, sure, while all comics are graphic, many of the smartest and most exciting examples don't even remotely resemble novels. In fact, I'm about to recommend five books that — each for its own reason — can only be called comics, representing a wide range of literature being produced in what is truly a golden age.
At a ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, NATO officially handed over security of Afghanistan to the country's forces. It marked the first time the whole nation has been under Afghan control since the coalition invaded to oust the Taliban in 2001.
From Brussels, Teri Schultz filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"Afghan forces are now leading security operations all over the country, as NATO-led forces gradually drop back into a supporting role in the remaining, most difficult, districts.
Just because a government is democratically elected does not mean it is immune to protest. We've been watching demonstrations and the government response in Turkey. And now the demonstrations we're about to hear about took place in Brazil.
And today's last word in business is home detention.
The story comes to us from New Zealand, where authorities have been locking up some criminals in their homes rather than jail. House arrest is a lot cheaper, but it turns out that serving time at home is not as comfortable as you might think.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's easy for us to overlook, given the violence elsewhere in the Middle East, but violence in Iraq has risen sharply. Since the start of April, more than 2,000 people have been killed in car bombings and other attacks. Iraq has not seen that level of killing since the worst of the sectarian war back in 2006 and 2007. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.
NPR's business news begins with Ben Bernanke's future.
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GREENE: OK, President Obama has given the clearest hint yet, that Ben Bernanke's time as chairman of the Federal Reserve may soon be up. In an interview that aired last night on PBS's "Charlie Rose" program, the president said this...
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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think Ben Bernanke's done an outstanding job. Ben Bernanke's a little bit like Bob Mueller, the head of the FBI...
Some other news. Authorities in New York have announced the arrest of eight men and one woman who operate several 7-Eleven convenience stores in New York and in Virginia. They're accused of staffing their stores with undocumented workers and then stealing those workers' wages.
From member station WNYC, Ilya Marritz has details.
Mary Louise Kelly used to cover the national security beat for NPR, but lately she's turned her attention to teaching and writing fiction. Her new novel, Anonymous Sources, followsrookie journalist Alexandra James as she investigates a shady banana shipment and a clandestine nuclear plot. The tale is fiction, but it draws on Kelly's own experiences reporting on the spy beat, including things she couldn't say when she was a journalist.
The furor over recently exposed government surveillance programs has posed an abundance of political challenges for both President Obama and Congress. Relatively unmentioned in all of this, however, is the role of the courts — specifically, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, and how its role has changed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
It's not your everyday real estate deal. A team of young entrepreneurs persuaded about 50 deep-pocketed investors to help them purchase a mountain. The deal just closed in April, and development on Utah's nearly 10,000-acre Powder Mountain is now underway.
"When we made those first phone calls, everybody's like, what? That being said, they know that we aren't kidding," says Jeff Rosenthal, co-founder of Summit, the group that led the purchase of the peak.
The U.S. spends more than $7 billion a year preparing classroom teachers, but teachers are not coming out of the nation's colleges of education ready, according to a study released Tuesday by U.S.News & World Report and the National Council on Teacher Quality.
The study says most schools of education are in disarray.
Advocates of tougher voter registration standards have racked up wins in recent years — voter ID laws have taken hold across the nation, for example.
But those who believe that government should make voting as easy as possible just gained a significant victory with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision slapping down an Arizona law that required potential voters to prove their citizenship.
Editor's Note: Many of you noted that the price for a 10-pound bag of potatoes cited in the lawsuit seems ridiculously high. So we look into the matter further — you can read what we found in this follow-up post.
High-tech spying with satellites. Intimidation. Price fixing.
Paula Cooper, 43, left prison Monday morning, decades after she became America's youngest resident of death row at age 16. She had confessed to the 1985 murder of Bible studies teacher Ruth Pelke, 78, in Gary, Ind. Cooper's death sentence was commuted in 1989, after widespread appeals for mercy.
The human voice appears to trigger pleasure circuits in the brains of typical kids, but not children with autism, a Stanford University team reports. The finding could explain why many children with autism seem indifferent to spoken words.
Once upon a time, it was MySpace. (Huh. Turns out you can still link to it.) Then Facebook happened. And Twitter. And beyond those two dominant social-media platforms, there are a host of other, newer options for staying in touch and letting the digital universe get a look at your life. And for certain kinds of sharing, some of those other options make more sense to tech-savvy teens than the Big Two do.
In his speech in Belfast, President Obama talked at length about the transformation of that city from conflict zone to a city bustling with normal healthy daily life. He got the biggest burst of applause when he tossed in a bit of Irish vernacular.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Students lounge at cafes asking each other, what's the crack?
BLOCK: What's the crack? Translation, how you doin'? Are you having fun?
OBAMA: So to paraphrase Seamus Hayden(ph), it's the manifestation of sheer bloody genius. This island is now chic.
Note: As part of NPR's series on the summer of 1963, reporter Cory Turner headed to Jackson, Miss. to take a look at how folks are teaching the Civil Rights movement to kids who weren't a part of it — and making the lessons stick.
Much has changed in the past 50 years, since the height of the Civil Rights movement. But how do you teach the Civil Rights to kids who haven't ever experienced it? In Jackson, Miss., Fannie Lou Hamer Institute's Summer Youth Workshop tackles that question.