For anyone who's read Christopher Isherwood or even just spent a few hours in front of the History Channel, a novel that opens in 1930s Berlin raises certain expectations: There will be decadent parties, and then one day a Nazi killjoy will turn up and soon the music stops, windows are smashed, Jews rounded up and everyone's lives subsumed by historical forces. The end.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.
A hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday included tears, cheers and a recording of bursts of gunfire. It was all part of a new push by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, a ban that expired nearly a decade ago.
With unemployment still high, hiring managers continue to be inundated by job applications. Some big companies are coping with the deluge by using talent management software that winnows pools of job applicants before a human lays eyes on their resumes.
Human resources teams say in today's economy, the systems, which have been around for decades, are crucial. But job hunters like Tim Woodfield often find the software overly aggressive.
Woodfield is an information technology expert, but, ironically, computers became his nemesis during his job search.
And if the mandatory spending cuts do take affect tomorrow, the secretary of agriculture says he will be forced to furlough food safety inspectors. Without those inspectors, food companies could grind to a halt. But many in the meat industry say the USDA is mostly cooking up a scare.
Frank Morris of member station KCUR has that story.
New Jersey is hoping to hit the jackpot. Governor Chris Christie just signed a new law allowing online gambling. You have to be in the state to gamble there online, though it does save a drive to Atlantic City. And New Jersey's new law follows a similar move in Nevada last week.
To find out more, we called David Schwartz. He's director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.
The sequester countdown calendar now has the number one on it. Tomorrow is the big day. Over time, the automatic across the board spending cuts could slow economic growth and lead to the furlough of hundreds of thousands of government employees. And we're going hear more about that in a moment.
NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith begins our coverage with the efforts to stop that from happening.
And our last word in business today, is a missing link found. As in sausage.
At Milwaukee Brewer's games, a regular on field promotion is a race between seven-foot-long sausages. We should say people wearing sausage costumes. There a hotdog, a bratwurst, a Polish sausage - you know, you get the idea. So earlier this month, the Italian sausage disappeared.
Kenya will soon have a new president. Voters there go to the polls on Monday. The last election was followed by allegations of vote-rigging, and by weeks of deadly tribal violence, which left more than a thousand dead. NPR's Gregory Warner sat down with a few perpetrators of that violence in a bar to watch a Kenyan presidential debate and to find out what, if anything, has changed this time around.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
After two years and an estimated 70,000 deaths, the U.S. is about to step up its involvement in Syria's civil war. The Obama administration has offered more direct aid to the Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the aid today after meeting with Syrian opposition leaders in Rome.
Here's a signal that the newly elected president of Mexico may be ready to start cleaning house. The longtime boss of Mexico's teachers union is in jail on charges of embezzling more than $160 million in union funds. Prosecutors say the money went to maintain a luxurious lifestyle, as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.
Today is the last day of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI. Just two weeks ago, the German-born pope stunned the world by announcing he would be the first pope to resign in 600 years. After eight years on the throne of St. Peter, Benedict leaves behind a church in crisis.
Since the announcement, bulletins issued by the Vatican have ranged from the lofty — how Benedict will retire to a life dedicated to prayer and study — to the mundane, such as the details of packing the pope's personal belongings and what he'll leave behind.
And it's thought that the Syrian province of Idlib, near the border with Turkey, might be the first to fall under the control of rebels. If that happens, the area could serve as a safe zone for rebel fighters and aid workers. But one key government-controlled army base is standing in the way.
NPR's Kelly McEvers just returned from Idlib, and sent this report.
KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: The fight for a Syrian army base called Wadi Daif started back in October, and rebels say it's still not over yet.
Yahoo touched off a debate about the effectiveness of telecommuting when it told employees last week that they may no longer work from home. The policy change was made, according to the company's internal email, to enhance workplace collaboration.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who happens to be a new mother, drew fierce criticism from those who say she should embrace, rather than reject, flexible work arrangements.
What exactly is lost and what's gained when people work from home?
If you've ever shot the breeze, had a heart-to-heart or bent somebody's ear — in fact, if you've ever talked at all — odds are you've used an idiom. These sometimes bizarre phrases are a staple of conversation, and more than 10,000 of them are collected in the latest edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, which came out this week.
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.