The trial of notorious Boston mobster and FBI informant James "Whitey" Bulger is pushing into its fourth week with a parade of gangland witnesses. But few knew the workings of James Bulger's organization like today's star witness, Kevin Weeks. Weeks was Bulger's right-hand man, enforcer and chosen successor to lead the Winter Hill Gang.
Illinois is the last state in the country to prohibit gun owners from carrying concealed weapons. Now, state lawmakers have just one day left to meet a court order to change that. They'll meet tomorrow to consider revisions to a bill that would allow Illinois citizens to carry concealed guns in public. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.
Brass bands often bring New Orleans to mind. But some 1,000 miles away from southeast Louisiana, there's a different kind of brass band at work: the No BS! Brass Band of Richmond, Va.
Since the late 1970s, the brass-band repertoire has morphed into a new sound with the addition of funk, hip-hop and post-bop jazz. With as many as 13 members, No BS! Brass Band picks up on — and expands — that new tradition.
A few months ago, I reviewed a handful of new apps that show you which bands or artists are playing in your area. Some of those apps were hit-or-miss, and some have made some improvements since my initial review. This week All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton and I have pared the list of apps down to our two favorites. (You can hear us talk about it on the weekly series All Tech Considered.)
In many parts of Africa, elephants are threatened by poaching. But in South Africa, they're doing so well that some game reserves say they're overpopulated. Now, many of those reserves are trying to limit elephant reproduction even while some ecologists believe it's the wrong approach. Willow Belden reports.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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Charlie Huston is a Los Angeles-based writer known for his superhero comic books and crime novels. Alan Cheuse couldn't wait to get his hands on Huston's latest thriller called "Skinner." Here's his review.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Edward Snowden, the man who leaked top-secret NSA documents, predicted a month ago that the U.S. government would accuse him of committing grave crimes. That comment came in a video released today by The Guardian newspaper. At the time he disclosed the secret information, Snowden was an employee of a private firm Booz Allen Hamilton.
Three seconds before it struck the ground Saturday, the speed of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, a Boeing 777, was 103 knots — the lowest measured by its data recorders, and far below the target speed of 137 knots, says National Transportation Board Chairman Deborah Hersman.
The crash-landing at San Francisco International Airport left two passengers dead and more than 180 people injured, as Mark reported for The Two-Way this morning.
The "collective failure" of Pakistan's military and spy authorities allowed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to live in multiple places in the country for nearly a decade. That's the finding of a confidential Pakistani government report published Monday by Al Jazeera.
The 336-page report said officials in the Pakistani government, military, intelligence and security agencies did not know that bin Laden lived in the country.
By now, you've probably heard of cronuts, the half-doughnut, half-croissant pastry equivalent of a liger. They're so coveted, people line up for hours at the Dominique Ansel bakery in New York, where they're made, or they pay exorbitant sums on the cronut black market.
In the Jordanian desert, the chaos begins at sundown, when the wind whips up the desert sand and the buses arrive. For the past two years, Syrian refugees have been streaming into Jordan, and they now number an estimated half million.
But for the past month, more refugees have returned to Syria than entered Jordan, and hundreds are leaving daily from Zaatari, the U.N.'s largest refugee camp in Jordan.
"Four buses are going every day," says Kilian Kleinschmidt, who runs Zaatari. "Depending on how many people manage to storm the buses, it's probably 300 to 400 people."
As our population is growing and getting more diverse, so is our taste in music. And music lovers want to hear fresh ideas that reflect new realities and experiences. Yet some songs remain quintessentially American — even as they inspire constant re-interpretation.
Tell Me More is teaming up with New Orleans member station WWNO's Music Inside Out With Gwen Thompkins to showcase some fresh takes on popular American songs. Today we hear from Don Vappie of the Creole Jazz Serenaders, playing the banjo and singing, "Careless Love."
I have always believed in correcting mistakes, especially bad ones. In my wrap-up piece at the end of the Supreme Court term, I quoted Northwestern University law professor John McGinnis as one of several conservative scholars highly critical of the court's decision on the Voting Rights Act.
Not many children write letters to government entities, we would think. But a boy's letter to NASA is making waves and softening hearts on the Internet today.
"Dear NASA," the letter begins. "My name is Dexter I heard that you are sending 2 people to Mars and I would like to come but I'm 7." The handwritten note, in which Dexter asks for advice about becoming an astronaut, got a full response from NASA, along with some stickers and posters.
It's a political ticket only Jon Stewart could dream up.
With Anthony Weiner leading the race for New York mayor in some polls, fellow Democrat Eliot Spitzer now hopes to appear on the same ballot in the city comptroller slot.
This latest news comes in a season that has already seen the return of South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford to the House.
"Sanford's success led to Weiner's reassessment, and Weiner's positive polls have led to Spitzer's thinking, 'Why not me?' " says Lara Brown, a political scientist who wrote a dissertation on congressional scandals.
The key takeaway from Monday morning's testimony at the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin is that the defense produced three people to say they're convinced it is Zimmerman's voice that can be heard calling for help on the recording of a 911 call.
The FX version of the Scandinavian series The Bridge, like the Showtime version of the Israeli TV series that inspired Homeland, is a major revamp as well as a crucial relocation. With Homeland, the focus became American politics and home-soil terrorism. In The Bridge, premiering July 10, the setting is changed to the U.S.-Mexico border. This allows executive producer Meredith Stiehm, a writer-producer from Homeland, to deal with everything that relocation provides — including the white-hot issues of immigration reform and border security.
In the new Showtime series Ray Donovan, Liev Schreiber stars in the title role as a man who knows how to handle a crisis. It's Donovan's job to clean up the messes of Hollywood's rich and powerful while trying to keep his own personal problems under wraps.
A TV series is something of a new turn for Schreiber, who's been acting onstage and in movies for two decades. But playing complicated characters is something he's earned a reputation for, with roles in films like Defiance and The Manchurian Candidate.
Faced with persistent drought and water-usage concerns, the city of Los Angeles is paying property owners to replace their grassy lawns with heartier plants, such as shrubs, trees, and perennials. The city's water utility is hoping to boost the successful program by raising its offer, to $2 a square foot from $1.50, reports member station KPCC.
One major source of pleasure in the music Eleanor Friedberger makes as half of The Fiery Furnaces is a matter of sheer density — the density of The Fiery Furnaces' musical ideas, the thick layers of words, lyrics that operate as dense sounds with meaning to be extracted from them.
We've been following the case of Justin Carter, the Texas teen who's been jailed near San Antonio since February. It started when he posted a Facebook message saying he would go "shoot up a kindergarten." Austin Police arrested him and seized his computer and a grand jury indicted him in April on a charge of making a terroristic threat.