And we're also reporting on the aftermath of another tragedy. Four months after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, residents in Newtown, Connecticut are still trying to move forward. And the same goes for business owners, especially in Sandy Hook Village, just a mile from the school.
NPR's business news begins with some sky-high prices.
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GREENE: If you travel, you might have noticed airfares are going up sharply in many markets - and the reason is mergers. This could be just the beginning. Prices may keep rising if government regulators approve another merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways.
To talk more about this, we reached Scott McCartney. He writes an airline's column for "The Wall Street Journal."
Now, President Obama had promised to put the full weight of his office behind getting Congress to pass new gun control legislation. That weight was apparently not enough. When the legislation failed yesterday, Obama went into the White House Rose Garden and made a blistering speech, calling it a shameful day for Washington.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
We are following two major stories this morning. One is the fire and explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant. We'll have more on that in a moment.
INSKEEP: We begin with a victory for gun rights groups and a stinging defeat for gun control. Senate Republicans joined a small group of Democrats to reject every major gun control proposal President Obama has been pushing since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
Like many California cities hit hard by the real estate crash, Indio (near Palm Springs) has been forced to make steep cutbacks to avoid bankruptcy. But unlike other cities, Indio hosts the highest-grossing music festival in the world — Coachella — which wraps up this weekend. It has made city leaders eager to capitalize on Coachella's riches.
Sam Torres, plumber by day, Indio city councilman by night, says he was prepared to become the most hated man in the city, and he very well may have achieved that goal. His offense? Proposing a 6 percent tax on Coachella tickets.
April 18, 2013, is a big day for Superman. The Man of Steel, more powerful than a locomotive, turns 75. Most of us know Superman's story — faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Less well-known is that the superhero is not native to the lost world of Krypton, nor the rural Kansas burg of Smallville. Superman is Cleveland's native son — at least as far as the city's residents are concerned.
At the 2011 Academy Awards, the film Restrepo was among the documentaries nominated for an Oscar. It follows an American platoon on a remote mountaintop in what was, at the time, the most dangerous place in Afghanistan.
To make the film, writer Sebastian Junger teamed up with British photojournalist Tim Hetherington — who, walking the red carpet that night at the Oscars, might as well have been a young actor straight out of central casting: tall, handsome, charismatic.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:10 pm
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police must generally obtain a warrant before subjecting a drunken-driving suspect to a blood test. The vote was 8-to-1, with Justice Clarence Thomas the lone dissenter.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:44 pm
President Obama ditched his usual diplomacy and accused Republican senators of putting politics ahead of the wants of the American people, when they voted to reject a bipartisan measure that would have expanded federal background checks for firearm purchases.
"All in all, this is a pretty shameful day in Washington," Obama said.
From Boston now to the White House, where President Obama reacted angrily tonight to the failure of an effort in the Senate to expand background checks for gun purchases. The amendment, proposed by Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Pat Toomey, got only 54 votes - six short of the necessary 60. President Obama spoke in the White House Rose Garden. He called this a pretty shameful day for Washington.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:53 pm
The Senate's rejection of more robust gun purchase background checks was a stinging blow to President Obama that raised questions about his second-term agenda.
Expanding background checks had become a key part of Obama's post-Newtown push for tougher federal gun control laws. And in recent weeks, the president had campaigned for overall gun control legislation — especially the bipartisan background-check compromise — with a sense of urgency.
The U.S. military says the number of prisoners on hunger strike at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has risen to 52 — up from 45 a day earlier. The news comes just days after guards raided a section of the facility to move prisoners to single cells from their communal holding area because the detainees had covered security cameras and engaged in other actions.
The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg had this tweet:
While an immigration overhaul has drawn support from church groups, business, labor and even former opponents, there's still deep opposition — mostly centered in the Republican Party.
The last time a president tried to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul was in 2007, and George W. Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress killed his bill. Republican strategist Kevin Madden says a lot has changed since then — including the way the Republican Party is dealing with its own internal divisions.
Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest in a funeral attended by dignitaries from around the globe as well as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on Wednesday. It's the first funeral of a British politician attended by the Queen since Sir Winston Churchill's in 1965.
The front page headline on today's Financial Times is ominous - "Warning On Out-Of-Control China Debt." It's about an influential figure in Chinese financial circles, the head of a big accounting firm there and his warning follows similar expressions of concern by the International Monetary Fund and by bond rating firms. Simon Rabinovitch of the Financial Times wrote today's story and he joins us now from Beijing. Welcome to the program.
Two high-school sophomores — Ethan Wynkoop and Ti-Anna Chen — sneak away from their homes in suburban Washington, D.C., and fly to Hong Kong. They're searching for Ti-Anna's father, a Chinese emigre and dissident who believes that China is just a spark away from democratic revolution.
This is the second in a three-part series aboutthe intersection of education and the arts.
Let's start with a question from a standardized test: "How would the world be different if we all had a third eye in the back of our heads?"
It's not a typical standardized question, but as part of the Next Generation Creativity Survey, it's used to help measure creativity a bit like an IQ test measures intelligence. And it's not the only creativity test out there.
And Tovia mentioned a different kind of attack, one that's the subject of a widening investigation here in Washington, D.C. A second letter thought to contain the poison ricin has been sent for further testing. That one was addressed to the White House. We heard yesterday about one addressed to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker. Also today two Senate office buildings were locked down as the Capitol police investigated suspicious packages.
In Texas, prosecutors have filed capital murder charges against the wife of a former Justice of the Peace in Kaufman County. Kim Williams is charged with the murder of the county District Attorney, his wife, and another prosecutor.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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I'm Robert Siegel. And there was a big moment in the United States Senate today. It was barely morning, the wee hours, around 2:00 a.m. An immigration reform bill was filed, more than 800 pages of legislation. It would tighten security along the borders, expand worker visas and offer a 13-year path to citizenship to people who live in this country illegally.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
The Senate has voted down an effort to include background checks to include gun sales over the Internet. The amendment was an attempt to regulate what turns out to be a bustling marketplace for weapons, as The New York Times reports today.
The Senate has rejected a compromise background checks language pushed by Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Pat Toomey. It could mean the end of gun control legislation in Congress, at least for a while. Ailsa Chang joins Robert Siegel from the Capitol with the latest.
Acadia National Park draws thousands of visitors every year and contributed $186 million to the state's economy in 2011 alone. But under sequestration cuts, the park is closing roads for an additional month and cutting back staff and programming, leaving area business owners nervous about the 2013 summer season.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:36 pm
A bipartisan compromise that would have expanded federal background checks for firearms purchases has been rejected by the Senate.
The defeat of the measure by a 54-46 vote — six votes shy of the number needed to clear the Senate — marks a major setback for gun-control advocates, many of whom had hoped that Congress would act to curb gun violence in the wake of December's Newtown elementary school massacre, where 20 students and six adults were killed.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:17 pm
Scientists have unraveled the genome of the coelacanth, a rare and primitive fish once thought to be extinct, shedding light on how closely it's related to the first creatures to emerge from the sea.
The coelacanth, a fish that can reach up to 5 feet long and lives in deep ocean caves, had only been seen in fossils and was thought to have gone extinct some 70 million years ago. That was until 1938, when fishermen from the Comoros islands off the coast of Africa captured one in a net. A second coelacanth species was discovered off the Indonesian island of Sulewesi in 1997.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 2:29 pm
If it seemed like former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's problem with female voters couldn't get any worse, well, it appears that it might have.
Sanford, a Republican, is hoping to put the marital scandal that defined his second term behind him with a return to Congress in a May 7 special election. But just two days later, Sanford will have to appear in court to defend himself from an accusation that he was at his ex-wife's house in February without her permission.
When people talk about movie magic, they rarely mean card tricks. They're talking about digital wizardry and special effects.
But a new documentary called Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay is all about card tricks — and a man who has devoted his life to them.
Card artist Ricky Jay keeps up a constant stream of chatter in his act onstage — everything from gambling poems to stories about The Great Cardini — and it's all very entertaining, but the patter is designed to distract you from what he's doing.