Millions of Americans stand in line today to vote. Last night, thousands of Americans lined up to buy one of the most anticipated new video games of the year. "Halo 4" is the latest installment of the popular franchise for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Some younger gamers refer to "Halo" as their "Star Wars," a cultural touchstone. Now, after a five-year hiatus, the game's hero - the Master Chief - returns.
NPR's business news starts with Suzuki pulling out of the U.S.
Japan's Suzuki Motor Corporation has been selling cars in America for almost three decades. But unlike Toyota or Honda, it never managed to win over masses of American consumers. The company has the smallest American market share among the big Asian automakers. And when its current inventory runs out the company will no longer sell cars here at all. It will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection instead.
In Florida, Supreme Court justices are nominated by a commission and appointed by the governor. Every six years, they're up for retention. Voters decide whether to keep them on the bench or let them go.
Since the system was put in place in the 1970s, retention votes have been pro forma affairs, with justices doing little fundraising or campaigning.
Superstorm Sandy got officials in New York and New Jersey talking about how to prevent flooding in a time of global warming and sea level rise.
But the place on the East Coast that's most vulnerable to flooding is several hundred miles south, around Norfolk, Va. — and Norfolk has already spent many years studying how to survive the rising waters.
Scientists say what Norfolk has learned is especially important in light of new research showing that the coastline from North Carolina to Boston will experience even more sea level rise than other areas.
A plea to the Long Island Power Authority for electricity to be restored is posted on a barrier last Wednesday in Mastic Beach, N.Y. The south shore Long Island community was among the hardest hit by the storm that pounded the Northeast.
Credit Steve Henn / NPR
Mastic Beach Mayor Bill Biondi looks over a map of the flooding in his community from Hurricane Sandy. More than 1,000 homes here were inundated with seawater.
A week after Hurricane Sandy hit the region, roughly 1 million people are still without power in the New York area, and more than one-third of those live on Long Island.
In the hierarchy of hurricanes that have hit Mastic Beach, N.Y., over the years, this one ranks near the top, says Mayor Bill Biondi.
"This is the worse we've had in a long time," Biondi says. "I guess the only thing that was worse than this ... was the hurricane of 1938. I haven't seen or heard anything in between those years that was worse than this one."
Now many who will cast presidential ballots in New York have been facing a complicated post-storm challenge - where they should vote. Superstorm Sandy has displaced many residents from their homes and some polling places are out of commission because of storm damage. Late today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order, telling voters they can cast ballots wherever they want.
I asked NPR's Quil Lawrence in New York about just what Governor Cuomo said today.
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:12 pm
Ben Sollee is not only an unconventional cellist, but also an unconventional human being. Recently, he took his cello, walked up the long steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the mall in D.C. (along with the Mason Jar Music film crew) and began to perform. It's not legal to do that, but like I said, Ben Sollee — the guy who bikes his cello across the country — is not a follower. The following video captures the moments in the shadow of Lincoln amid a throng of tourists.
Early voting ended in Florida on Saturday. But on Sunday, some county elections officials opened their offices to allow people to vote using absentee ballots.
In Miami-Dade County, elections officials opened the office for over-the-counter absentee voting, but then inexplicably shut down. A couple of hundred waiting voters began chanting and pounding on the doors. An hour later, the office reopened.
Syrians gather at the site of a car bombing Monday that killed 11 people and wounded dozens in Damascus, according to the SANA news agency, which provided the photo. The violence in the city was described as some of the worst in recent months.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 4:40 pm
The fighting in Syria was both nasty and widespread on Monday. Here's a summary of some of the worst fighting:
-- Two deadly car bombings took place, one in a residential neighborhood in Damascus that killed 11 people, according to Syria's state-run SANA news agency. The other one, near the central city of Hama, generated wildly conflicting claims. An activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the suicide attack killed 50 government soldiers and allied gunmen. But the government put the death toll at two civilians.
Over the past few weeks, we've been checking in regularly with pollster Andrew Kohut, president of Pew Research Center. On the eve of Election Day, he talks to Robert Siegel about the difficulties of polling during this campaign and the center's final poll, in which President Obama regained the lead.
The three seasons of Treme have all found their way to Mardi Gras; appropriately, the day is always depicted with all the spectacle, vice and musical mayhem you might expect. Josh Jackson of WBGO returns to break down the many musical scenes in this year's go-round.
Patrick Jarenwattananon: So many flashes of live music this episode. Let's start at the beginning. Did you recognize the band where Lieut. Colson and his fellow officer are talking, and there are (clothed) women on poles in the French Quarter?
U.S. regulators have found that Hyundai and Kia motor corporations have overstated the fuel economy for many of their vehicles. Melissa Block speaks with Jerry Hirsch of the Los Angeles Times about the issue and what it means for the auto makers that had been on the rise in the U.S market.
If you bought a Hyundai or Kia over the past three years, you could soon be getting some money back from the two automakers.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the South Korean carmakers, owned by the same parent company, overstated the gas mileage on 900,000 vehicles over the past three years. The EPA discovered the bloated figures during an audit of gas mileage tests undertaken by the companies. The agency said last week it was investigating how the carmakers arrived at the numbers.
Schools in New York City opened for the first time since superstorm Sandy hit the city last Monday. Some buildings had to be cleaned up before students arrived and a few had no heat. Still more than 90 schools remained closed due to storm damage or because they are still being used as evacuation shelters.
The two presidential candidates made their final campaign stops ahead of Tuesday's election. Melissa Block talks with Ari Shapiro, who traveled with Mitt Romney, and Scott Horsley, who traveled with President Obama, about their final pitch to voters.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 3:53 pm
As the election season ends, so does the ad season. With close to a billion dollars spent on presidential TV ads and more than a million spots, do any ads stand out as memorable? Well, they certainly don't do what "Morning in America" did for Ronald Reagan. So while negative ads may be effective — and therefore plentiful — they're unlikely to stick in the mind.
Robert Siegel talks with Geoffrey Fowler, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, about popular ride-sharing and taxi apps like Uber and SideCar. They've begun to run afoul of state and local regulators as they've grown into a convenient alternative to hailing a cab the old-fashioned way.
Noah Hope, 10, shows off his I Voted sticker during the children's mock Election Day at Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in Washington D.C.
Credit Karen Castillo Farfán / NPR
Noah Hope, 10, votes for the next president of the United States during the children's mock presidential election at Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in Washington D.C., as the wax figure of John Quincy Adams looks on.
Credit Karen Castillo Farfán / NPR
Olyvia Berry, 7, decorates a sugar cookie at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Encouraging kids to vote through age appropriate activities is a fun way to share Election Day.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 2:14 pm
Election Day is Tuesday, and it's easy to forget about those who don't have a vote — children. But it can be a fun experience if parents take the time to include the kids, and maybe bribe them with a little sugar.
Over the weekend, the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in Washington D.C, did just that. Kids got to make patriotic sugar cookies, personally meet all the American presidents' wax figures and vote for the next president of the United States.
Lincoln's life has been adapted for the screen so often that there's room for the artistic liberties of films like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Credit Terry Chambers / Getty Images
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more omnipresent president than Abraham Lincoln. With his face on the penny, Mount Rushmore and a larger-than-life memorial, he's a fascinating and familiar figure for moviemakers to tell stories about.
Credit David James / DreamWorks Pictures
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as the 16th president in Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated Lincoln.
Credit Alexander Gardner/Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
The historical Lincoln, circa 1863, and Day-Lewis at the Academy Awards in 2008.
He's a statue in many a monument, a profile on the penny, a face on the $5 bill, and an animatronic robot at Disneyland. He's even carved into a mountain in South Dakota. So, of course, Abe Lincoln has been a character in the movies — more than 300 of them, in fact.
A rebel fighter raises his weapon after firing a missile Sunday toward Syrian government troops in the northern city of Aleppo. Syria's largest city has been the scene of heavy fighting for the past three months. Both sides control part of the city, and the fight has been a stalemate recently.
Credit Narciso Contreras / AP
Rebel fighters watch as smoke rises after Syrian government forces fired an artillery round at a rebel position during heavy clashes in the Jedida district of Aleppo, Syria, on Sun., Nov. 4.
Credit David Holley / NPR
In one Aleppo neighborhood, government forces and rebel fighters are separated by an abandoned building that forms the front line. Most civilians have fled, and rebels live in the abandoned apartments. Government snipers are posted on rooftops.
Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 1:26 pm
Burger King's Angry Whopper is a burger with bacon, jalapenos and something called Angry Onions, topped with something called Angry Sauce. It's got the best name of the three new items on the BK menu now appearing "for a limited time" to celebrate the Whopper's 55th Anniversary.