Several states are rushing to establish a foothold in online gambling — an activity that federal officials were only recently trying to ban.
Just a while ago, the federal government actually viewed online gambling as a crime. Lately, the Obama administration has taken a more permissive stance. It now allows states to sell lottery tickets online.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had expressed reservations about online gambling a month ago and had vetoed an earlier version of the bill. But in the end, the pressure to sign the legislation was just too great.
Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:57 pm
North Dakota's legislature is considering a proposal to authorize the first changes to the state's license plate in two decades. North Dakotans are volunteering some humorous ideas for the plate's new slogan.
Today, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Iran and six world powers including the U.S. wrapped up two days of talks. No breakthroughs, but Iran is considering a proposal that would impose new restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of some economic sanctions. The two sides will return to Kazakhstan for another meeting in early April. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report from the scene of the negotiations.
The Obama administration is rethinking its strategy in Syria. As the death toll mounts and a diplomatic solution seems out of reach, the administration is planning to do more to help Syrian rebels. That could involve what's referred to as direct, non-lethal assistance. It does not include weapons.
Secretary of State John Kerry is talking about all this in Rome with members of the Syrian opposition, and NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with him.
On his last full day as Pope, Benedict XVI had his final general audience in St. Peter's Square before a crowd estimated at 150,000 people. He had a more personal message than usual, saying his resignation was dictated by his ailing health and declining speech. He spoke of the moments of joy in his papacy, but also of turbulent seas and rough winds when it seemed like the lord was sleeping.
Pope Benedict XVI had his final general audience Wednesday in front of a crowd of thousands. On Thursday, he leaves the papacy and becomes "Pope Emeritus". It's a brand new position and there are a lot of questions. What will he wear? Where will he live? How will he fill his time? Melissa Block speaks to long time pope watcher Rocco Palmo, editor of the website "Whispers in the Loggia."
A majority of Supreme Court justices seemed prepared on Wednesday to invalidate a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The law is considered the most effective piece of civil rights legislation in the nation's history.
Melissa Block speaks with Republican Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., about his concerns for the pending sequester. Smith is in Washington, D.C., with a group of more than 30 mayors, warning members of Congress about the damage that could come to America's cities with these cuts.
Now, a new tool in the anti-piracy toolbox. This week, half a dozen Internet service providers - from Verizon to AT&T, along with entertainment industry trade groups - launched the Copyright Alert System.
It's a program to help deter online piracy. When they see movies or TV shows getting swapped illegally, they will trace that back to the person who's doing it, using the IP address. And then - well, here to tell us what happens next is New York Law School professor James Grimmelmann.
President Obama and the top congressional leaders gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday morning for the dedication of a new statue honoring civil rights activist Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up a seat on a public bus sparked a boycott and a movement.
Among those watching the papal transition closely are survivors of clergy sexual abuse, including a handful who were selected to meet with Pope Benedict XVI five years ago as the crisis raged.
The group left the meeting hopeful that that Benedict would make significant changes in how the church handled both past and current cases. Among those at the meeting were Olan Horne and Bernie McDaid.
Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: Beer Is At Full Strength, Tests Say
Samples of Budweiser and other Anheuser-Busch InBev beers were found to be in line with their advertised alcohol content, according to lab tests conducted at NPR's request. We've rewritten portions of this post to reflect that new information.
Anheuser-Busch is accused of misleading beer drinkers about the alcohol content of Budweiser and other products, in a series of class-action lawsuits filed in federal court.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:18 am
Feeling a little awkward? Consider skipping the alcohol and grabbing a pet instead.
As any dog walker knows, it's easy — unavoidable, even — to strike up conversations with strangers when accompanied by a canine friend. Smaller animals like rabbits and turtles can also lubricate social interactions.
Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 4:04 pm
Beatport, one of the most popular online stores for fans of dance music, has been bought by SFX Entertainment, a company that has invested heavily in the dance music business over the past year. According to sources with direct knowledge of the deal, the company was sold for around $50 million.
"[With this purchase] you now have a great one-stop shop for consumers of dance music," says SFX Entertainment CMO Chris Stephenson.
If Congress and the Obama administration can't agree on a budget deal by Friday, the federal government will be forced to cut $85 billion from just about every federally funded program. Every state could lose federal aid, and a myriad of government programs could shut down or curtail services — and that includes the nation's public schools.
Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:17 pm
The victory of a pro-gun-control candidate in the Illinois Democratic primary race to replace Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was also a political win for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose superPAC backed the winner over a candidate it linked to the NRA.
But Robin Kelly's victory Tuesday was, for Bloomberg, more than just another achievement on the gun control front. It was one more win in Bloomberg's unique assault on what he views as the public health problems of our time.
Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 4:42 pm
Elba Esther Gordillo will remain behind bars, a Mexican judge decided today.
Gordillo's arrest, yesterday, shocked the country. She is the president of Mexico's national teacher's union and considered the most powerful woman in the country, having the ability to sway both small, local elections and even presidential ones.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:33 am
Forty years ago, a caravan of more than 50 cars full of demonstrators pulled into Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. That day marked the beginning of a 71-day occupation led by members of the Oglala Lakota tribe and followers of the American Indian Movement, attempting to address long-standing grievances — not only with the U.S. government but also with tribal leaders.
After school and evening are "crunch time" for most families. It's the time when crucial decisions get made that affect kids' fitness and weight. And that includes snacking.
To get an idea of what parents thought their kids were doing during this time, NPR conducted a poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. Youth Radio's Chantell Williams talked about the findings with teens and their parents.
Things on Capitol Hill today turned emotional, when Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son was killed in Sandy Hook, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Throughout, Heslin held a picture of him holding his son Jesse Lewis, who was 6 at the time of rampage, during his first Christmas. Two other oversized pictures of a smiling Jesse were place on easels beside him.
Heslin's voice cracked almost from the beginning, when he said Jesse was killed about 20 minutes after he dropped him off at school.
And now it's a supersize edition of the Political Junkie. Ken Rudin, of course, is staying with us. John Kasich, Rick Scott, now, Chris Christie - three high-profile Republican governors and outspoken critics of Obamacare - have all decided to accept federal money to expand Medicaid coverage. The governor of New Jersey explained his reasoning yesterday.