Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is introducing legislation with other lawmakers Thursday that would change how the military handles sexual assault cases. The proposal would let military prosecutors — rather than commanders — decide whether to bring serious military crimes to trial.
It's the latest high-publicity move for a senator who was virtually unknown four years ago when she was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat. Now, she's on some lists for possible candidates for vice president — even president.
On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. There are some weeks when a White House controls the agenda, and there are weeks like this one, when the White House is forced largely to react. President Obama has been juggling multiple controversies, and last night his White House tried to take two of them head-on.
Japan's economy is finally getting a lift. The stock market is soaring there. Companies like Toyota and Sony are seeing a surge in profits. And today, Japan's government reported the economy grew a three-and-a-half percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, a significant improvement.
The broadcast networks are in New York this week pitching their fall TV shows to advertisers. David Greene talks with reporter Kim Masters, of The Hollywood Reporter, about the new shows and indications the industry is in decline. Masters also hosts The Business on member station KCRW.
The House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved a sweeping farm bill that would trim the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program. The panel rebuffed Democratic efforts to keep the program whole, as debate on the farm bill turned into a theological discourse on helping the poor.
How often do you find Iran, Russia and the United States united behind a single message? Well, representatives from all three countries were in New York City yesterday rallying support for the sport of wrestling, which could be excluded from the upcoming Olympic Games. It was quite a show of sportsmanship and diplomacy. Of course, there was time for some conflict among the wrestlers. It took place at New York's Grand Central Terminal, that's why they called it the Rumble on the Rails.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets President Obama at the White House on Thursday. Their talks will focus on the Syrian conflict. Erdogan has been pushing the U.S. to do more to resolve a conflict.
Syrian government troops are besieging the western town of Qusayr, a stronghold of rebel forces. For civilians and rebel fighters injured in the fierce clashes and intense aerial bombing campaigns in and around that Syrian border town, the nearest hospital is in another country: Lebanon.
Scientists have discovered water that has been trapped in rock for more than a billion years. The water might contain microbes that evolved independently from the surface world, and it's a finding that gives new hope to the search for life on other planets.
The water samples came from holes drilled by gold miners near the small town of Timmins, Ontario, about 350 miles north of Toronto. Deep in the Canadian bedrock, miners drill holes and collect samples. Sometimes they hit pay dirt; sometimes they hit water, which seeps out from tiny crevices in the rock.
On a sunny spring day in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province, Afghan officials and U.S. troops and civilians gather inside the ancient mud fort in the center of Forward Operating Base Gardez. They're attending a ceremony marking the formal end of the work of the provincial reconstruction team, or PRT.
Two years ago on Memorial Day, Nashville songwriter Connie Harrington was driving in her car, listening to a story on the public radio program Here & Now. And she heard a father remembering his son — a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.
President Obama announced late Wednesday that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Miller, has resigned in the wake of a report that employees at the agency engaged in partisan scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
The president, appearing for a brief statement at the White House, said he had directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "to accept the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS."
Astronomers said Wednesday that a reaction wheel that keeps the orbiting telescope pointed at tiny, distant patches of sky to look for Earth-like planets has failed. If they can't fix it, Kepler will be relegated to a less prestigious mission, directing its gaze much closer to home in a search for so-called "near-Earth objects," i.e., meteors and asteroids.
MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: And I'm Audie Cornish.
The Obama administration is doing some intensive damage control this evening. Tonight, the president announced that the acting commissioner of the IRS, Steven Miller, is being pushed out over heightened scrutiny given to Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations.
Revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted some conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny have put a spotlight on a part of the tax code increasingly popular with political groups: section 501(c)(4).
But what's the benefit for organizations to get approved for 501(c)(4) status?
A new rifle goes on sale on Wednesday, and it's not like any other. It uses lasers and computers to make shooters very accurate. A startup gun company in Texas developed the rifle, which is so effective that some in the shooting community say it should not be sold to the public.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
The President of the U.N. General Assembly said today that at least 80,000 people have been killed in Syria's two-year civil war, and that most of those casualties were civilians. The assembly also approved a resolution today calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside. But that vote was largely symbolic; the resolution is unenforceable.
School suspensions are a big issue in California. Last year, schools handed out 700,000 of them. But the Los Angeles Unified School District took a step to change that this week when it voted to ban suspension of students deemed "willfully defiant."
The Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press phone records as part of an investigation into what Attorney General Eric Holder has called "a very grave leak" to the news agency has set off a political firestorm on Capitol Hill, but there's a lot to the AP story published a year ago that started it all.
Hundreds of condolences are appearing online for Richard Swanson, the Seattle man whose plan to dribble a soccer ball all the way to Brazil to raise money for charity ended Tuesday after he was struck and killed by a pickup truck in Oregon. Many see his story as an inspiration, and say they'll continue his charity work.
"It is with a heavy heart to notify you that Richard Swanson passed on this morning," reads an update announcing Swanson's death on the Facebook page for his project, Breakaway Brazil, yesterday.
The competition for your ears — and dollars — just got a little tougher. On Wednesday, Google launched a paid music subscription service that will put it in direct competition with other streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. The announcement may just be the beginning for Google.
When 23-year-old Solomon "Sully" Omar felt the music scene in his native Denver wasn't giving him what he was looking for, he made a radical move. He headed for Kabul, capital of the war-torn country his parents had fled decades ago.
"I came here to continue my education and at the same time see what's in the music scene here and bring some of the skills and abilities that I have to the music scene," says Omar.