Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has not been seen or heard from in public since he underwent cancer surgery in Cuba last month. This has raised concerns about the stability of his country, both in Venezuela and also in South Florida, which is home to tens of thousands of Venezuelan expatriates.
Here's Phil Latzman of our member station WLRN in Miami.
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a Republican leadership plan to put off the debt ceiling fight for three months. This marks a new strategy for House Republicans who until recently had pledged not to raise the debt ceiling unless it was matched with an equal amount of spending cuts.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears before two congressional committees Wednesday to talk about the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya last September. The hostage drama in Algeria, near the Libyan border, has put a spotlight back on that troubled region.
MONTAGNE: Nebraska's governor has approved a new plan for where the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will pass through his state. In 2011, the governor opposed the pipeline for its potential environmental impact. Yesterday, he wrote a letter to President Obama saying the new route avoids the more environmentally fragile parts of Nebraska.
It now falls to the Obama administration to approve the project. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And today's last word in business is: extraterrestrial gold rush.
A company called Deep Space Industries - which sounds like it's a company fm a Mel Brooks movie - anyway, it's planning to start mining asteroids - mining asteroids by the year 2015. The idea is to first send small spacecraft to explore asteroids for minerals like platinum and gold.
Half of all tomatoes eaten in the U.S. come from Mexico, and tomato growers in Florida aren't happy about that. In fact, they're willing to risk a trade war to reverse the trend.
At JC Distributing In Nogales, Ariz., one misstep and you're likely to get knocked over by a pallet full of produce. Forklifts crisscross each other carrying peppers, squash and especially tomatoes from trucks backed into the warehouse loading dock.
"This is a Mexican truck being unloaded," says JC President Jaime Chamberlain. "He's just waiting for his paperwork to get back."
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. In Israel last night a surprisingly close election. Voters appear to have reelected Prime Minister Netanyahu for another term. That was expected. But Netanyahu's right wing alliance suffered serious losses. Centrist and left wing parties defied opinion polls and won half the seats in parliament. As NPR's Larry Abramson reports from Jerusalem, the prime minister will now have to turn these fractured results into a government.
OK, the Pentagon says the U.S. commander in Afghanistan is cleared. Gen. John Allen was caught in a scandal last fall. You may recall, he'd been corresponding by email with a Florida socialite; and the question for the Pentagon was whether Gen. Allen's emails were inappropriate. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman followed the story back then. He's with us now. Tom, good morning.
Two chimps groom each other at the Save the Chimps facility in Florida. The National Institutes of Health owns about 360 chimpanzees that aren't yet retired and that are living at research facilities; new guidelines say most of its chimps should be retired.
The National Institutes of Health should retire most of its chimps that are currently living in research facilities, according to a working group put together by the NIH to look at the future need for biomedical research on chimps.
The group did recommend keeping a small number of chimps in reserve in case they are needed for studies later on. But it also laid out a detailed description of the kind of living conditions that would be needed for those chimps, and said any proposed research should go through a review committee that includes members of the public.
Fresh snow lures a lot of people to do some outdoor exploring, but sometimes that exploring can go too far. When snowmobilers or skiers wander off or get in over their heads, many call 911, putting a strain on already underfunded search-and-rescue budgets.
In Vermont, state police have had to help find 50 lost skiers in the past four weeks.
Farmers who had hoped to get some answers on why prices for their raw milk went into free fall a decade ago were disappointed Tuesday by the settlement of a case accusing Dairy Farmers of America Inc. of creating a milk monopoly in the Southeast.
Dairy farmers and industry observers had hoped for their day in court after years of delays in the large class-action suit. But the day before the trial was to start in federal court in Tennessee, DFA announced a $158.6 million deal, saying it didn't want to risk going to trial.
Carolyn Tuft and her daughter Kirsten (seen here in 2005) were the victims of a shooting at a Salt Lake City mall in 2007. Kirsten was one of five bystanders killed, and Carolyn was left in severe pain.
Credit Courtesy of Carolyn Tuft
Michael Israel (shown here, left, with his father, Avi, in 2006) killed himself after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers.
A few years ago, a doctor started prescribing Michael Israel painkillers for bad cramps in his gut. Israel had been struggling with Crohn's disease, a chronic digestive disorder, since he was a teenager.
"So he was prescribed, you know, Lortab, or Vicodin or whatever. You know, they would flip-flop it from one to another," says Avi Israel, Michael's father.
Then one day, Michael confessed that something was wrong.
According to commentator Frank Deford, Sports<em> Illustrated</em> writer Peter King — shown here during an event at Seton Hall Preparatory Academy in Dec. 2005 — is the champion model of sportswriters.
Sports fans are jealous of sportswriters, because it's a dream job where you get to watch games free, which is, above all, what sports fans want.
Once upon a time this was true. The sportswriters watched games, keeping score, me. . .tic. . . u. . . lous. . . ly, and then wrote it all up, so that the poor devils who had real jobs could read about the games.
The U.S. Capitol at sunrise on Monday, before President Obama's second inauguration. While the president raised big issues in his inaugural address — climate change, gay rights, immigration, the shooting of schoolchildren — none of them appear to top the agenda of Congress, which returned to work Tuesday.
The Senate picked up Tuesday exactly where it left off nearly three weeks ago. By a twist of the rules, the Senate chamber remains in its first legislative day of the 113th Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he's kept things at the starting point so that he and his fellow Democrats have the option of changing the rules on the filibuster by a simple majority vote.
"The Senate will take action to make this institution that we all love, the United States Senate, work more effectively," Reid said Tuesday. "We'll consider changes to the Senate rules."
President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do.
Abortion opponents march to a rally at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., on the 40th anniversary of <em>Roe v. Wade.</em> Kansas is among several states that have enacted new restrictions on abortion in recent years.
Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Thousands of activists on both sides of the issue are holding rallies marking the day at state capitals across the country.
In the decades since the decision, abortion has been one of the most debated and legislated issues in the nation. And state legislatures, which are increasingly passing laws restricting abortion, have become the debate's key battlegrounds.
Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 11:47 am
In 1983, buoyed by a $10,000 grant from a city arts fund, a new concert presenter in San Francisco put together a festival called Jazz In The City. Fast-forward 30 years, and that organization — now called SFJAZZ and presenting more than 100 concerts a year — has raised $64 million, largely in private donations, for a new state-of-the-art performance space and permanent home. The SFJAZZ Center held a grand-opening ceremony Monday, and will celebrate Wednesday night with an all-star opening-night concert.
In response to a December rocket launch, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously today to tighten sanctions on North Korea.
The United States said the new sanctions are an appropriate response to a "reckless" act.
NPR's Michele Kelemen filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"The security council resolution condemns the launch in December and adds North Korean companies, individuals and the the country's space agency to a sanctions list. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice says the council is sending a strong and united message.
Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 5:24 pm
It may have struck many people as odd that Lamar Alexander, the senior senator from Tennessee, gave a shout-out to Alex Haley, the author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, during his remarks at the presidential inauguration.
Should emergency rooms track the number of people who get hurt or sick after drinking coffee? That's what the maker of Monster Energy drinks suggests in response to a recent report that emergency room visits involving caffeine-laced energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011.
If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, what would be the impact on Israel?
Some say this would be an existential threat that Israel cannot tolerate. Iranian nuclear weapons would raise the stakes most every time there was a conflict in the region.
But others argue that Israel could live with a nuclear Iran because the Israelis have such a powerful military of their own, including nuclear capabilities. In addition, an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities could unleash a cascade of events that would further destabilize the region.
This undated image shows the Amenas natural gas field in Algeria, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages last week. Dozens of hostages and their captors were killed when Algerian forces subsequently raided the facility.
The prime minister of Algeria is defending his government's response to last week's attack on a natural gas plant that left 37 hostages dead. He says the Islamic militants who were behind the attack planned to blow up the facility and would have killed a lot more people if they hadn't been stopped.
The attack happened at a huge, internationally operated facility in the Sahara. And it underscores the dangers that energy companies face when they do business in politically unstable places.
The man who says he masterminded last week's attack on a BP-operated gas facility in Algeria claimed responsibility in a video.
"We are behind the blessed daring operation in Algeria," says Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a former member of al-Qaida's arm in North Africa. "Forty men from Muslim and Western countries took part in the operation," he continues. "We did it for al-Qaida."
More than 30 men set out to sea in the titular boat of <em>The Pirogue</em>. With that many actors and only an hour of time, not every character gets fleshed out — but the director's eye for singular faces helps.
Credit ArtMattan Productions
Baye Laye (Souleymane Seye Ndiaye) is among a ragtag assortment of emigrants on a shaky boat, seeking economic opportunity in Europe.
The journey from Senegal and poverty to Europe and supposed prosperity takes seven days by fishing boat. The Pirogue spends only about an hour on open water, but that's enough to convey the risks that make the trip foolish, and the desperation that makes it inevitable.