Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne with a follow-up on the record for oldest person to scale Mount Everest. An 81-year-old Nepalese climber earned the title five years ago when he was 76. Last week, an 80-year-old Japanese climber took the crown. Now Min Bahadur Sherchan has given up his attempt to snatch it back but bad weather, due to the season, forced him to turn back. Disappointing. Still, it wasn't age that proved the ultimate barrier.
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"A record 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family," the Pew Research Center reported Wednesday as it released data that certainly won't surprise many Americans but will underscore some dramatic shifts over recent decades.
In 1845, Frederick Douglass sailed to Ireland on a speaking tour to raise money for the abolitionist cause back home. About 75 years later, two airmen, Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown, performed the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, flying 16 hours from Newfoundland to land in an Irish bog. And 79 years after that, George J. Mitchell, the former senator from Maine, repeatedly crisscrossed the ocean — New York, Belfast, New York, Belfast — to steer the Northern Ireland peace process on behalf of President Clinton.
It's taken awhile, but Tea Party activists and social conservatives are finally beginning to get smiles on their faces. Whether that will last through the November election is another story.
After watching their insufficiently conservative (in their view) presidential nominee lose last November, their opposition to taxing-the-rich fall by the wayside thanks to congressional Republican acquiescence, and changes in same-sex marriage and immigration coming faster than they might have wished, some on the right were becoming inconsolable.
On this Wednesday, we are following developments in Pakistan. A U.S. drone strike has killed four suspected militants, including - according to some reports - the Taliban's second-in-command in Pakistan. Now, we should say the militant group denies that he's dead. This is the first strike since President Obama's speech last Thursday, announcing that the use of drones would be scaled back to limit civilian casualties.
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On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. You could call it a failing performance review. Recently uncovered correspondence from the North African branch of al-Qaida lays out - in bullet points - the shortcomings of one of its local leaders. In the letter, he is chastised by his bosses for sloppy expense reports, ignoring emails and failing to pull off, quote, "any single spectacular operation."
The Communist Party's new leadership has pledged to change China's slowing economy by putting a greater emphasis on private enterprise and reining in huge but far less profitable state-owned businesses. Economists say the party has no choice but to update if it wants to stay in power, but they doubt that a genuine overhaul is in the works.
One of President Obama's top economic advisers is leaving the White House later this year, to return to his teaching job at Princeton. Since 2011, Alan Krueger has chaired the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
NPR's Scott Horsley takes this look back at his time in the White House.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: One of Alan Krueger's tasks at the White House is deciphering the many different signals the economy sends, including the closely watched jobs report that typically comes out on the first Friday of the month.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
We're going to hear now about drawing and redrawing the political map in two big states, beginning with Texas, where the legislature has had some legendary battles over the years, few more contentious than those involving revising legislative and congressional districts. One of the more dramatic saw Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state in an effort to block the process.
When it was revealed recently that the Justice Department had secretly seized records belonging to journalists, part of an effort to end high-profile government leaks, it sparked a huge debate about press freedom. But in one of the cases involving Fox News, there is a disagreement. Justice officials say they told Fox they were about to obtain telephone records for one of its senior reporters. The man at the center of the story has a different version of events, as NPR's David Folkenflik reports.
NPR's business news begins with a big bump for housing.
House prices went up 10 percent between March of this year and last year. That's according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Index. It's the largest gain in housing prices in seven years, putting prices on average where they were in mid-2003.
Pope Francis has been in office for just over two months and has been making headlines for many remarks that emphasize inclusiveness, contrasting sharply with his predecessors' style and apparently even with centuries-old Catholic dogma.
The latest was a statement last week that all human beings, even atheists, can be redeemed.
The international community talks of arming Syria's rebels against President Bashar Assad, but in the capital many people still hope the rebels will lose.
That's the thinking we found around a Muslim shrine in Damascus, a tribute to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. She lived centuries ago, but a Damascus doctor we met spoke of her in the present tense.
Members of Congress are back in their home states this week for a Memorial Day recess. It's a chance to talk with constituents about what could become the year's biggest legislative story: the push on Capitol Hill to fix what Democrats and Republicans alike agree is a broken immigration system.
A bill proposed by the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of senators, to revamp the nation's immigration rules passed out of committee last week and will soon be brought before the Democratic-led Senate. Less clear, though, is where the issue is headed in the GOP-controlled House.
More than 75 years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt caused an uproar with his plan to "pack" the Supreme Court with friendly justices. It was an audacious effort to protect his New Deal initiatives.
Now, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has floated the reverse — legislation that would cut three seats from the important D.C. Circuit appeals court, just as President Obama prepares to announce his nominees for those jobs.
Little boys play soccer in the afternoon heat at a makeshift camp near Libya's capital Tripoli. Their homes, or what's left of them, are in Tawargha, a small town about 20 miles from the Mediterranean coast.
The town has been empty since August of 2011. Its residents fled in cars and on foot, under fire from rebel militiamen from the nearby town of Misrata.
The siege of Misrata was one of the bloodiest battles of the Libyan war. Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi shelled Misrata relentlessly, killing hundreds.
A popular phenomenon during the housing boom, flipping is when a house is bought and sold within a six-month period. Flippers are real estate investors who buy houses, fix them up quickly and then resell them, making money off the renovation. In parts of California, it's happening at some of the fastest rates in a decade.
At a recent open house in Glassell Park, a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, curious buyers and neighbors streamed into a green stucco house that had just come onto the market.
A radical shift in the world energy picture is raising environmental concerns in the United States.
Until recently, the U.S. had been expected to import more natural gas. But now, because of controversial technologies like "fracking," drillers are producing a lot more domestic natural gas; so much that prices are down, along with industry profits. And drillers are looking overseas for new customers.
Howard Lincoln of White Mountain, Alaska, doesn't always hear it when people knock on his door. He's 82 and he still has a little shrapnel in his jaw from a mortar shell that nearly killed him in the Korean War 60 years ago.
"We heard it whistling, but I was the third one in line running toward the bunker," he recalls.
Wounds to his face, arm and hip laid him up in a Tokyo hospital for quite a while. But he recovered, came home to Alaska in 1955 and says he never applied for Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs) benefits.
In most states, the power to draw lines for political districts rests with legislators. In recent years, California voters have tried to make the process less political by taking it out of lawmakers' hands. But not everyone is happy with how things are turning out.
To understand redistricting in California, consider this: Over a 10-year period beginning in 2000, there were 255 congressional races, and only one seat — that's right, one seat — changed parties.
Rhubarb — like spring itself — is fleeting and lovely. A vegetable that often masquerades as a fruit in sweet dishes, it is a true harbinger of the season, appearing in April and, if we're lucky, lasting until July. But it is best to seize rhubarb's moment and take full advantage as soon as its delicate pink and green ribs start appearing in markets and gardens.
Frank Deford puts aside his gripes this week to pay tribute to the poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, first published in the San Francisco Examiner 125 years ago June 3.
The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day: The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play. And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same, A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
Alan Krueger, the chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, says he will step down to return to Princeton to resume his post as a professor of economics.
Krueger, who has served as CEA chairman for the past two years, will return to Princeton in time for the beginning of the fall term. The Associated Press quotes a source familiar with the situation as saying Jason Furman, who served in President Obama's 2008 campaign, will be tapped as a replacement.
Two young men — foster brothers in love with the same woman — leave their small Pakistani town for Afghanistan in late 2001. Jeo, a medical student, wants to help wounded civilians and Mikal is there to look after Jeo, but their good intentions aren't enough to keep them safe in an increasingly dangerous war zone.