If the wrath of heaven sounds anything like Locrian, then archangel Michael has been digging into the prog-rock bin lately. The loosely Chicago-based trio has always had grand ambition, dissolving and rebuilding the darker sounds of ambient, noise and metal on its own and in several collaborations (Mammifer, Christoph Heeman and Horseback among them). Return to Annihilation continues in that vein, but is far more rhythmic, hypnotic and Popol Vuh-lic.
The remarkable story of gangster Whitey Bulger begins in the housing projects of South Boston and ends with his capture by the FBI in 2011 after his 16 years on the lam. By then, Bulger was wanted for 19 murders, extortion and loan sharking for leading a criminal enterprise in Boston from the 1970s until 1995. During much of that time he was also an informant and being protected by the FBI.
An asteroid nine times the size of a cruise ship is dropping by Earth on Friday, and it's not coming alone. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will be about 3.6 million miles from our planet at its closest approach. And its proximity has already given scientists a surprise: It has its own moon, measured at about 2,000 feet wide.
Psychopathic killers are the basis for some must-watch TV, but what really makes them tick? Neuroscientist Jim Fallon talks about brain scans and genetic analysis that may uncover the rotten wiring in the nature (and nurture) of murderers. In a too-strange-for-fiction twist, he shares a fascinating family history that makes his work chillingly personal.
NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving offer a tearful goodbye to Michele Bachmann, a premature but constitutional welcome to James Comey to head the FBI and some Boardwalk Fries to President Obama and Gov. Christie. But they're not sure about Eric Holder's longevity as attorney general.
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Last year, a snapshot of a frowning feline went viral, emblazoned with captions like, "Of all the 9 lives I've lived, this is the worst." Within months, "Grumpy Cat" - that's her nom de plume -had a book deal. Now, the feline face that launched a thousand memes has a movie in the works.
So how does a cat make it into the pictures? Turns out she has a great agent - the same one who represents another online star, "Keyboard Cat."
It's not every week you get to hear me go full-on fan-crazy. (Okay, it's some weeks, but usually not about the people who are in the studio.) But this week, I am extra-excited because Stephen Thompson and I are joined for our pop-culture roundtable podcast by Gene Demby and Kat Chow, both from NPR's race, ethnicity and culture team that writes the Code Switch blog.
"Authorities, including the FBI, questioned a New Boston, Texas, man Thursday night in connection with an investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to government officials, including President Barack Obama," KSLA-TV in Shreveport, La., reports.
If you're trying to grow a business in Nigeria and you want investors, you want Nigeria's economy to look as big as possible.
Bayo Puddicombe and Zubair Abubakar own a company called Pledge 51, which creates applications for Nigeria's low-tech cellphones. One of their most popular games lets players pretend to drive the notoriously wild buses crisscrossing the Nigerian city Lagos. It's called Danfo, after the buses.
When Congress voted on federal relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey earlier this year, five of the seven Oklahoma representatives and senators voted no. Rep. Tom Cole, one of the two who voted yes, warned that someday Oklahoma would be asking for help — and that day came last week after a massive tornado.
The storm ripped through the city of Moore, in Cole's home district, killing 24 people and destroying thousands of homes.
NPR's business news begins with Japan's wheat ban.
Japan has suspended wheat imports from the Pacific Northwest states. This comes after the U.S. Agricultural Department found genetically modified wheat growing on an Oregon farm - as we reported on this program yesterday. GMO wheat has not been approved for U.S. farming, and it's not clear how the wheat found its way onto the farm.
The state of Massachusetts is suing the Obama administration over fishing regulations. Ocean-going commercial fishermen say new limits on the amount of codfish they can catch will put them out of business.
Curt Nickisch reports from member station WBUR in Boston.
CURT NICKISCH, BYLINE: Generations of fishermen have hauled cod, halibut and flounder into the port of Gloucester, where today Joe Orlando runs a 65-foot trawler, the Padre Pio.
JOE ORLANDO: I've been fishing with this boat almost 38 years.
And our last word in business today is living on a prayer.
The rock band Bon Jovi recognizes that song is the reality for many cash-strapped fans in Spain, which is deep in recession. So the New Jersey rockers waived their performance fee for an upcoming concert in Madrid. The newspaper El Mundo reports tickets for the show now cost half as much as most of the band's other European shows. And it seems their fans in Madrid are grateful. The concert is completely sold out.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
While there are many signs that the American economy is picking up steam, in much of the European Union, the opposite is true. Austerity programs aimed at reducing national debts have been blamed for crushing growth and sending unemployment in the eurozone nations to a record high of 12 percent.
Houston, Texas provides a dramatic example that it's possible to make great strides in reducing air pollution. Our story yesterday talked about how that came about, but Houston still does not quite meet the federal smog standard. So, the question for the nation's fourth largest city is what's next. NPR's Richard Harris explores that question as part of our series Poisoned Places.
With the Olympics set to begin in Russia this coming winter, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling the preparations, quote, "a monstrous scam." That language comes from a report just released that alleges massive theft and corruption. It estimates that contractors and government officials may have already stolen as much $30 billion dollars as they build Olympic venues in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
NPR's Corey Flintoff joined us on the line with us from Moscow. Good morning.
Syria's government appears to be making gains this week in a battle against rebel forces in the key city of Qusair, along the border with Lebanon. NPR's Steve Inskeep traveled to the edge of the city, and we hear from him first, followed by Kelly McEvers, who reports from just across the frontier in Lebanon.
A Syrian provincial governor told us this week that the government army has largely retaken Qusair, though a battle continues for the airport. We asked to see for ourselves.
NPR's Kelly McEvers has also been reporting on the fight, and the involvement of Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. She sends this report.
KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: So, we're just on the other side of the border from where Steve just was. We're in Lebanon. We're standing on top of an unfinished house. It's basically bare concrete with rebar sticking up. And I can see into Qusayr. Just beyond a berm that forms the border between Lebanon and Syria is the city of Qusayr.
Brazil is a paradise for birds; the country has more than 1,700 species. Among them is the colorful toucan, a bird with an almost comically giant bill that can be half as long as its body. There are lots of different types of toucan — red-breasted, channel-billed, keel-billed, saffron toucanet — each with its own color-scheme and distinctive call.
President Obama surrounded himself with college students at the White House on Friday and warned that the cost of student loans is about to go up.
Interest rates on government-backed college loans are set to double July 1 — unless Congress agrees on a fix before then. Obama has threatened to veto a House-passed bill that would let the cost of student loans go up and down with the market.
When it comes to reining in health care spending, it still seems like each hospital administrator thinks the guy at the other hospital should do it.
Hospitals are still racing to offer expensive new technology — even when it hasn't been proved to work better than cheaper approaches. Case in point: proton beam therapy, a high-tech radiation treatment for cancer.