Fireworks inside a truck exploded on a major roadway in the central Chinese province of Henan today, as the driver was taking the devices to a Chinese Lunar New Year's event. The blast caused a highway overpass to crumble, and several vehicles plunged as much as 100 feet to the ground, says the Associated Press.
Thursday night in Midland City, Ala., there was a candlelight vigil for bus driver Charles Poland, who was killed Tuesday before a gunman snatched a 5-year-old boy — who is being held captive in an underground bunker.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. China's incoming president wants to be seen as a man of the people. And he seems to know what the people don't want from their politicians. So for this year's opening of parliament, the president has banned extravagant banquets, gifts, flowers in rooms.
And in a parliament filled with hand-picked delegates used to launching to endless praise of the party, also banned are long-winded speeches; plus, empty talk is discouraged.
The San Francisco 49ers are the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but the Baltimore Ravens have a special source of fuel. Raven Jacoby Jones is from New Orleans, where the game will be played, and his mom made the team 150 plates of food. Jones describes the feast as, quote, "gumbo, jambalaya, potato salad, bread pudding, macaroni - the whole nine yards."
Finally, somebody used that cliche in a sport where it makes sense.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 9:49 am
Authorities in Mexico City said Friday morning that at least 32 people had been killed and another 120 or so injured by the explosion Thursday afternoon at the headquarters of Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company.
Something tells me a few people may be hoisting a few cold ones on Sunday. One hundred ten million people are expected to tune into the Super Bowl then. And, of course, it's not just the game that attracts people, it's also the ads. Viewers who watched the 1984 Super Bowl may not recall who won the game, but they may well remember the ad that Ridley Scott directed for Apple. And you may not recall very many plays from last year's Super Bowl, but I bet you heard about the Chrysler ad starring Clint Eastwood.
And now to Google, which is looking for some hackers to ride to the top in an unusual competition. Our last word in business is: pi contest, as in 3.14.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Three point one four, that's the amount in millions of dollars that Google is offering in what its Podium Hacking Contest. The challenge here is to hack the Google Chrome operating system and expose security flaws.
Travis McCoy is the product manager for Chrome and we asked him why pi.
The Baltimore Ravens are the underdogs in this Sunday's Super Bowl, going up against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, there have been bigger underdogs. And yes, the Ravens are not the lowest-seeded team to make it to the Super Bowl. But the Ravens have beaten the odds in another way. NPR's Mike Pesca talked to some football numbers guys and has this report.
One of the most entertaining documentaries to come out of this year's Sundance Film Festival is "Sound City." The rock musician Dave Grohl, of the band Foo Fighters, is the director - a first for him. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.
KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Sound City" is a mash note to a machine - not just any machine, however, but one that helped change the face of rock 'n' roll.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. More signs today of a slow, slow economic recovery. The Labor Department reports the economy added 157,000 new jobs last month. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly, to 7.9 percent. To tell us what's behind these numbers, we're joined by NPR business correspondent Yuki Noguchi, and also our White House correspondent, Scott Horsley. Good morning to both of you.
Iran is preparing for a presidential election set for June. The last election back in 2009 was followed by massive protests after hard line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. Iran then brutally cracked down and thousands of Iranians fled into exile. NPR's Peter Kenyon met with many of them in neighboring Turkey. He found memories of the regime's crackdown still fresh and little hope things will improve with the next election.
Having overthrown their autocratic leaders, several Arab nations now face the question of how to govern themselves.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
One of the toughest questions is the role that Islam should play in crafting new laws. Secular or moderate groups hope to leave space for democratic debate rather than clerical rule. That's especially true in Egypt, which has a large Christian minority.
We've been closely tracking events in Mali since French forces led a military campaign to rid that country's vast northern desert of militants linked to al-Qaida. Those Islamists had taken over much of the region last spring and imposed a harsh form of Islamic law. But the fabled Timbuktu and other cities have been taken back with almost no fight. Now the French say it's time for them to step back and hand over to an African peacekeeping force.
If you're dismayed that people already talk of the presidential race in 2016, just be grateful we haven't said much yet about 2020. That year is already on the minds of the members of the International Olympic Committee. The committee decides in September among possible venues for the 2020 Olympics, including Istanbul, Madrid and the city we visit next. Tokyo is clean, safe and efficient, but has one problem.
Lucy Craft reports the cultural problem that gets in the way of closing the sale.
Netflix customers will soon have a new option: Along with the company's usual offerings, viewers will be able to watch a new show called House of Cards, a political drama adapted from a British show, and starring Kevin Spacey. David Fincher (known for The Social Network and Seven) will direct the first two episodes. But what's new about House of Cards is that all 13 episodes will be available at once — and they were financed by Netflix itself.
Friday marks the day that 100 years ago, Grand Central Terminal opened its doors for business for the very first time. The largest railroad terminal in the world, the magnificent Beaux-Arts building is in the heart of New York City on 42nd St. And while it no longer serves long-distance trains, it's still a vibrant part of the city's eco-system.
This week saw the end of a years-long, international, multi-billion-dollar battle over one of the most boring things in finance: savings accounts.
At the center of the battle was Iceland, a tiny country where the banks grew into international behemoths during the credit bubble.
The banks got so big partly by convincing foreigners to open up online savings accounts. In particular, lots of people in England and Netherlands opened up "ICESAVE accounts" with a bank called Landsbanki. During the financial crisis, the bank collapsed.
Competitors in a men's category race in the 2013 National Cyclo-cross Championships in Bradford, England, this month. The sport requires riders to traverse mud and sand on off-road courses peppered with obstacles.
Credit Oli Scarff / Getty Images
Helen Wyman nears the finish line in the women's race at the 2013 National Cyclo-Cross Championships in Bradford, England, this month. Popular in Europe, cyclo-cross is the fastest growing bicycle discipline in the U.S.
While many Americans will be tuning into the Super Bowl on Sunday, there's another big sports competition this weekend: the Cyclo-Cross World Championships. This weekend's event, in Louisville, Ky., marks the first time in its 60-year history that the world championships will be held outside of Europe.
Cyclo-cross, a grueling sport requiring riders to traverse mud, sand and other obstacles, is growing rapidly in the U.S. And the fans can be a bit crazy. At the 2012 Louisville Derby City Cup, hundreds of people — some in costumes — packed onto the course to cheer the riders on.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:56 pm
So what did we learn from Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel's sometimes rocky confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee?
1) We learned that the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska with the reputation for speaking his mind and not sticking to his party's talking points has through the years said lots of things that could be used against him in such a setting.