The pollution in China's capital has intensified again, and some residents are turning to gas masks to breathe. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing is tracking the current air quality, and it's most recent reading finds that even late at night, the air is hazardous: "Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low."
Herman Koch's new novel The Dinner is a meal that may give you indigestion, but you'll relish the burn. The book begins with two couples meeting for dinner in a posh Amsterdam restaurant: Paul Lohman, the entertainingly bilious narrator, his brother Serge, a rising politician almost certain to become prime minister in the next election, and their wives. But the dinner conversation is grim, even shocking. Each couple has a teenage son, and the two boys have committed a ghastly crime — a crime that's been captured on grainy viral video.
No big surprises in these bits of news about President Obama's cabinet:
-- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as expected, this morning approved the nomination of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be the next secretary of state. Kerry, the committee's chairman, is set to replace Secretary Hillary Clinton after he gets the approval of the full Senate, which also is expected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is amplifying recommendations it's made for years: Don't eat raw or undercooked ground beef. And the call may take on new significance in the wake of reports released last week about a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella in which nearly half the victims reported eating a raw ground beef dish at the same restaurant.
Medicare beneficiaries who win a settlement in a personal injury liability case sometimes find their efforts are for naught because the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ends up getting the money they thought would be theirs.
A new law is expected to fix problems with the system so seniors can get what's coming to them.
Egyptian protesters remain in the streets of Port Said and Suez, defying President Mohammed Morsi's declaration Sunday night of states of emergency and night-time curfews. Egyptian army troops are out on the streets but they did not interfere as thousands of people jeered Morsi's call.
Activists and rebels in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are reporting today that "the bodies of dozens of young men, all apparently summarily executed" have been found in and around the Quwaiq River, the BBC writes.
Two is a coincidence. Three is a trend. That's why an Oklahoma City house has been dubbed The Twin House, after a third consecutive couple living there had twins - a boy and a girl each. Current tenants, Brady and Chelsea Smith, said they didn't believe in the twin mojo when they moved in. Then an ultrasound showed she was expecting twins. New father Brady Smith told the Oklahoman, now his friends won't even drive down the block.
A woman takes the oath of allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at the district office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Newark, N.J.
Credit John Moore / Getty Images
GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin (right) greeted former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at a campaign event last spring. Sensenbrenner sponsored a controversial 2005 House bill on immigration.
Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 7:32 am
After years of inaction, immigration policy changes suddenly have notable momentum in Washington.
President Obama will address the issue in a speech Tuesday in Las Vegas — a day after a bipartisan group of senators outlined their ideas for a bill that could move through the chamber as early as this spring.
Viewed through the lens of dogmatic perversions in the Soviet Union and China, communism is often seen as the antithesis of American society; an atheistic dystopia founded by Karl Marx, one of the post-Enlightenment's wayward secular philosophers. But Marx came from a deeply religious background — generations of rabbis on both sides — and his original motivation lay in that most Christian of principles: helping humanity's downtrodden.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
This week, talk of new immigration laws serves as a reminder that timing is everything. Wait until after a momentous election and it becomes possible to discuss an issue that previously seemed impossible.
INSKEEP: In this quiet week between the government's ongoing fiscal storms, President Obama today unveils an immigration plan.
MONTAGNE: A bipartisan group of senators has already made a proposal.
North Carolina-born Chris Hughes attended Harvard University, where he shared a room with his Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg. He bought a majority stake in the venerable magazine <em>The New Republic</em> in 2012, and is the magazine's publisher and editor-in-chief.
Chris Hughes, 29, is the co-founder of Facebook, a former adviser to the Obama campaign, and now the publisher of the 98-year-old magazine The New Republic.
He's facing the same challenges other print media owners do: how to marry in-depth news articles with screens that seem to be getting smaller and smaller. Hughes tells NPR's Steve Inskeep it's a task he's prepared to tackle.
British troops will be supporting the French mission in Mali to drive rebels and Islamist militants out of the West African country. British Foreign Secretary William Hague says it is important to support an ally. He tells Renee Montagne the prime way of dealing with the crisis in Mali is through African governments and forces.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
The city of Timbuktu is free...
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Mali, Mali, Mali, Mali...
INSKEEP: ...and residents cheered as French and Malian forces entered the city. Those forces swept aside Islamist rebels who'd controlled the place for months. The Islamists rule included amputations and the destroyed ancient tombs. It ended with the burning of a library housing priceless manuscripts.
While CEO Marissa Mayer is getting praise, it's unclear which part of Yahoo's business, if any, will turn the once-flagging company around. Yahoo is making more money from users clicking ads while searching but less money on display ads.
An immigration plan announced Monday by a bipartisan group of senators would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country and overhaul legal immigration. It also calls for improved border security and better tracking of individuals in the U.S. on visas. Steve Inskeep talks with one of the senators behind the plan, Republican Jeff Flake from Arizona.
The nickel — with Lady Liberty on the front and the Roman numeral V on the reverse — shows the date 1913. The problem is the liberty head was replaced by the buffalo head in 1912. Making this nickel a bootleg — one of five allegedly cast at the Philadelphia Mint by a crooked employee. One nickel is expected to sell for more than $2 million at an auction this spring.
When all Boeing 787 Dreamliners were grounded for electrical issues, it sent the stock of the company that makes the plane's batteries into a tailspin. Now that company, GS Yuasa, is seeing its stock bounce back. The Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau cleared the company of all responsibility for Boeing's electrical issues.
French troops entered the legendary outpost of Timbuktu in Mai to push out Islamist militants. Many valuable artifacts were destroyed when militants first took the city last summer. There is now concern for the fate of tens of thousands of manuscripts, which capture the cultural history of the region. Renee Montagne talks to Shamil Jeppie, senior researcher with the University of Cape Town's Institute for Humanities in Africa, about what historical treasures were at risk in Timbuktu.
Prices on mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service increased this week — the price of a first-class stamp now costs 46 cents, up a penny. But for small businesses that ship products overseas, like many independent record labels, the costs could be much larger.
Brian Lowit, who has worked at Washington, D.C.'s Dischord Records for 10 years, says that while a postage rate hike is a familiar bump in the road, "I've never seen one this drastic."
The eye of Hurricane Earl in the Atlantic Ocean, seen from a NASA research aircraft on Aug. 30, 2010. This flight through the eyewall caught Earl just as it was intensifying from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane. Researchers collected air samples on this flight from about 30,000 feet over both land and sea and close to 100 different species of bacteria.
Credit Jane Peterson / NASA
Terry Lathem, a graduate student in Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, takes notes aboard a NASA DC-8 aircraft gathering samples of microorganisms in the atmosphere.
Microbes are known to be able to thrive in extreme environments, from inside fiery volcanoes to down on the bottom of the ocean. Now scientists have found a surprising number of them living in storm clouds tens of thousands of feet above the Earth. And those airborne microbes could play a role in global climate.
Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the poet Robert Frost, famous for such poems as "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and "The Road Not Taken." Fans of Frost's works have another reason to pay special attention to his legacy this week: Jonathan Reichert, professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Buffalo, has just donated a rare collection of Frost materials to the university.