Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 7:06 am
Why would the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — the people who helped bring the world stealth fighters and GPS — fund research into man-made proteins that could make it easier for some Americans to eat pizza?
That's what we wondered when we read that the Pentagon's gee-whiz research arm provided support for work on a drug to treat celiac disease, a condition that interferes with the digestion of gluten in wheat and other foods.
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who has been outspoken about the lack of freedom in his homeland and was imprisoned in what he and his supporters say was an effort to keep him quiet, told our colleagues at Boston's WBUR this week that the lack of truth in China is "suffocating ... like bad air all the time."
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:56 am
Simon Rattle announced yesterday to the Berlin Philharmonic that he will be leaving his position there as artistic director and chief conductor in the summer of 2018. Said Rattle, "In 2018 I will have been with the orchestra for 16 years. Before this I was chief conductor in Birmingham for 18 years. In 2018 I will be nearly 64 years old. As a Liverpool boy, it is impossible not to think of the Beatles' question, 'Will you still need me ...
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:29 am
Drugmaker Merck just stuck a fork in a vitamin-based drug to prevent heart disease and stroke.
The company is withdrawing Tredaptive, a long-acting pill combining niacin (No. 3 in the long list of B vitamins) and laropiprant, a chemical that reduces the unpleasant skin flushing caused by high doses of niacin.
Finally, what we've been waiting for. Let's bring back our winners to play the Ask Me One More final round. From Name that Candy Bar, Sarah Sheppard.
EISENBERG: It's All Squeak to Me, Stephen Kendall. Time to Turn off the TV, Dan Moren. Street Music, Steve Spinoglio. Celebrity Secret Words, Margaret Maloney. All right, Noah, how are we going to wrap this show up?
His second-term inauguration is a certainty. His cabinet choices may not be. President Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel to head up the Defense Department still faces hurdles, and there are questions about John Brennan at the CIA. Plus: Joe Biden tries for a consensus on guns. And Barney Frank wants to be the interim senator from Massachusetts. NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving try to make sense of it all.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:50 am
If you haven't caught the flu yet or don't know someone who has, you might want to buy a lottery ticket today. You're one lucky person.
As The Associated Press writes, "from the Rocky Mountains to New England, hospitals are swamped with people with flu symptoms." More than 40 states report "widespread" outbreaks. The flu's been blamed for the deaths of at least 20 children, the AP adds.
Of all the cable comedies returning with new episodes Sunday, Girls is the most ambitious — as well as the most unpredictable, and occasionally unsettling.
When thirtysomething premiered on ABC more than 25 years ago — yes, it's been that long — that drama series was both embraced and attacked for focusing so intently on the problems of self-obsessed people in their 30s. What that drama did for that generation, Girls does for a new one — and for an even younger demographic, by presenting a quartet of young women in their mid-20s.
Nearly seven decades ago, a young soldier from Indiana left his green duffel bag on a French battlefield in World War II. This week, William Kadar's granddaughter, also an Army veteran, presented him with the bag still stenciled with his name and serial number. A teenager in France had found it in his own grandfather's house. Kadar was captured by the Germans, and has said: It's a miracle I came home.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:05 am
Update at 9:42 a.m. ET. Review Ordered:
Saying that "we are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we are concerned about these incidents," Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta confirmed Friday morning that his agency has ordered a review of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems in recent days, including fuel leaks and an electrical fire.
The planes are not being grounded. Boeing says it welcomes the review and is confident in the aircraft's safety.
Humboldt State University invited Jimmy Kimmel to come see for himself. The TV host mocked the university for its marijuana research program. He ran a fake commercial, saying graduates could enjoy careers like dog walking or Occupying Wall Street. The university and student body presidents wrote a letter saying the skit was funny, but unfair. And now the school has invited Kimmel to deliver its commencement address. No word if he'll bring a match.
Let's hear another perspective on President Obama's choice for Defense secretary. Chuck Hagel faces sharp questions at the least on his way to Senate confirmation. Earlier this week on this program, the analyst Danielle Pletka argued that the former Republican senator has omnidirectionally offended everyone, with his views on Israel, talking to Iran, the war in Iraq, and much more.
And today's last word in business is being set to music. Truth really is stranger than fiction, which is how a TV interview with President Richard Nixon could become a famous play, and how The New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright could create a forthcoming play on the Camp David accords. Now, an international Twitter war is becoming an opera.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Last summer, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticized the economic austerity of Estonia.
One of Spain's most troubled banks announced, this week, that it's laying off half of its staff - after being sold to a competitor for just one euro. Crippled by the housing market's collapse, Spanish banks are living off bailout loans from Europe. Those loans come with strings attached, including massive layoffs and strict new regulatory measures by Spain's central bank.
Ford announced today, that it plans to hire more than 2,200 white collar workers here in the U.S. The jobs will center around product development, manufacturing and IT. This continues an upswing in hiring at Ford. It added over 8,000 U.S. jobs last year. And yesterday, the automaker doubled its quarterly dividend to the highest level in seven years. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
That big consumer electronics show in Las Vegas ends today. And while big tech firms like Google and Apple did not attend, an increasingly diverse range of companies took their place. With more and more devices connecting to the Internet, many companies are flocking to this festival of gadgets, hoping to bring all the appliances in your home online. NPR's Steve Henn reports.
Five years ago today, Bank of America announced it was buying the troubled subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial for $40 billion. At the time, the financial crisis had not fully revealed itself, and many people thought Bank of America was getting a good deal. Instead, the acquisition has turned into a never-ending legal and financial nightmare. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
A man buys the latest edition of Southern Weekly at a newsstand near the newspaper's headquarters in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, on Thursday. The staff at the influential weekly rebelled to protest censorship by government officials; the newspaper was published Thursday after a compromise that called for relaxing some intrusive controls.
Credit Vincent Yu / AP
A policeman points to a supporter of Southern Weekly before taking him away during a protest near the newspaper's headquarters Thursday.
In China, one struggle over censorship has been defused — for the moment, at least.
Journalists at one of the country's boldest newspapers have published a new issue after a weeklong standoff that started when censors replaced a New Year's editorial. Now the week's events are being parsed for signals about the direction of China's new Communist leadership.
Another soldier has died on the disputed border between India and Pakistan, the so-called "line of control" in Kashmir. At least four soldiers have died in a series of shooting and infiltration incidents that began last Sunday. The region has been a flashpoint between the two countries since they gained independence in 1947.
Major League Baseball has enacted new anti-doping policies that are being described as unprecedented in American professional sports. Yesterday, Major League Baseball and its Players Union said that starting next year they will be fighting the use of human growth hormone and testosterone - two allegedly popular banned substances.
NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman has been covering this story. Tom, good morning.
Evidence of loss remains even three years after a massive earthquake claimed the lives of as many as 200,000 people in Haiti. In the middle of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, there is a cathedral whose sun-washed walls reach into the sky where a roof used to be.
A lone flagpole marks the spot where the National Palace, a symbol of Haiti's government, once proudly stood.
And on a downtown street that once bustled with storefronts, there is now a row of vendors who sell their wares under tent poles and umbrellas.