U.S. News

Shots - Health News
8:03 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Gene Therapy Keeps 'Bubble Boy' Disease At Bay In 8 Children

David Vetter was born without a functioning immune system and spent his life in a bubble that protected him from germs. He died at age 12 in 1984. Scientists are using gene therapy to treat the disorder so that children can live normally.
Science Source

Researchers say they are achieving success in curing the genetic defect that causes some children to be born without immune defenses, a rare condition made famous in the 1970s by a Texas boy who lived most of his short life in a sterile "bubble."

Scientists now report that 8 out of 9 young children given gene therapy for a type of severe combined immunodeficiency disease, called SCID-X1, are alive and living amid the everyday microbial threats that would otherwise have killed them. The oldest is just over 3 years old.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:44 am
Sat December 7, 2013

WATCH: Maya Angelou's Poem For Nelson Mandela

Poet Maya Angelou has written a poem in honor of Nelson Mandela, "on behalf of the American people."
PRNewsFoto/Forsyth Medical Center AP

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 11:35 am

Read more
Around the Nation
6:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

White House Invites All To 'Gather Around' A Holiday Tradition

Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, almost 100 volunteer decorators show up at the White House. They spend the next five days stringing garlands and hanging ornaments, making the White House sparkle for the holidays.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 9:35 pm

Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, almost 100 volunteer decorators show up at the White House. They spend the next five days stringing garlands and hanging ornaments, making the White House sparkle for the holidays.

At NPR, we have a related tradition. This is the fourth year in a row that White House correspondent Ari Shapiro has brought us the voices of some of those volunteers.

Read more
The Salt
6:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Fishery Closure Puts New England's Shrimp Season On Ice

Northern shrimp are shoveled into a holding chamber on a trawler in the Gulf of Maine in 2012. Stocks of the shrimp have been declining for several years, leading regulators to cancel the New England shrimping season.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 7:56 pm

New England chefs like Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley are still coming to terms with the news: No more shrimp until further notice.

This week, regulators shut down the New England fishery for Gulf of Maine shrimp for the first time in 35 years. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission judged the stocks of the popular shrimp, also known as northern shrimp, to be dangerously low.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Hagel Arrives In Afghanistan, Has No Plans To Meet With Karzai

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel attends the International Institute for Strategic Studies Regional Security Summit in the Bahraini capital Manama on Saturday.
Mohammed Al-Shaikh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 11:22 am

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel landed in Afghanistan Saturday for a surprise visit with the troops.

Despite the fact that the U.S. and Afghanistan are at odds over a security agreement that allows U.S. troops to remain in the country past 2014, Hagel has no plans to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has refused to sign the security agreement.

The Associated Press reports:

Read more
Politics
6:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Social Security Fight Exposes Democratic Divide On Populism

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is leading a push to increase Social Security benefits. But her whole party is not in agreement on the issue.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 11:51 am

American politics is having a populist moment, with voters angry and frustrated with all big institutions in American life.

The backlash against big government found its expression on the right with the Tea Party. The tensions between that movement and the Republican establishment have been on full display.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:27 am
Sat December 7, 2013

How Mandela Expanded The Art Of The Possible

President-elect Nelson Mandela and President F.W. de Klerk outside the South African Parliament in Cape Town, May 9, 1994.
Frank James

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 9:35 am

When I was coming of age in the late 1970s, as an African-American high-schooler and college student, I had two certainties: Nelson Mandela would die in prison in apartheid South Africa and no black person would become U.S. president in my lifetime.

So much for my youthful powers of prediction.

Little could I have known then that I would become a journalist who would one day get to cover events I once thought would never happen, at least not during my time on Earth.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:14 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

North Korea Frees Elderly U.S. Tourist After Weeks In Detention

A Nov. 9, 2013 file photo released by KCNA of U.S. citizen Merrill Newman reportedly reading an apology.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 1:25 pm

The official North Korean news agency, KCNA, reports that Pyongyang has deported Merrill Newman, the U.S. tourist and Korean War veteran who was arrested in October during a visit to the reclusive state.

The Associated Press says, "Newman appeared over the weekend on North Korean state television apologizing for alleged wartime crimes in what was widely seen as a coerced statement."

KCNA said he was being released because he had made the apology.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:58 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Mexican Official Says Six Arrested In Cobalt-60 Heist

A firefighter stands next to the radiation head which contained the stolen cobalt-60.
Marco Ugarte AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:03 pm

The Associated Press is quoting a Mexican government official as saying six people in the hospital for possible radiation exposure are suspects in this week's theft of a shipment of radioactive cobalt-60.

The unnamed official tells the AP that the suspects were arrested on Thursday and were taken to the general hospital in Pachuca for observation and testing.

The news agency quotes Hidalgo state Health Minister Pedro Luis Noble as saying none are in grave condition and may be released soon.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:07 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Bob Dylan's Electric Guitar Sells For $965,000

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 5:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Today, Christie's auction house sold a sunburst Fender Stratocaster for $965,000. It's the guitar behind a watershed moment in music history.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAGGIE'S FARM")

BOB DYLAN: (Singing) I ain't going to work on Maggie's farm no more.

SIEGEL: The moment Bob Dylan went electric. It was July 25th, 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival.

MURRAY LERNER: I was mesmerized by it.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Business
4:07 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Planet Money T-Shirt Exposes Issues Of Work, Trade And Clothes

Josh Davis Planet Money

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:42 am

All this week, All Things Considered and Morning Edition has aired stories about the global journey a T-shirt makes from seed to finished product. Over the months NPR's Planet Money team spent reporting the series, they tackled questions about trade, work and clothes play in the global economy. There's a whole lot more about a simple T-shirt's journey from cotton to completion here.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:07 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Nosy Driver In The Next SUV? It May Be A Cop Watching You Text

An unmarked New York State Police SUV pulls over a motorist for distracted driving. Troopers are using a fleet of the tall vehicles to crack down on texting while driving.
Jim Fitzgerald AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 5:35 pm

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have laws that make it illegal to text while driving. Six others forbid new drivers from texting behind the wheel.

But that doesn't stop drivers from doing it — and enforcing those laws can be difficult.

On a highway north of New York City, state Trooper Clayton Howell is in an unmarked SUV. He's looking for drivers who are texting or using hand-held phones, which is banned in New York, along with 11 other states.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

President Obama Lights National Christmas Tree

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, applaud after lightng the National Christmas Tree at a ceremony across from the White House in Washington, on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 4:20 pm

President Obama threw the switch on the National Christmas Tree on Friday amid a constant rain that soaked many of the estimated 17,000 attendees.

"We're going to start at 5 since it's a little wet and we shouldn't start at 10," the president said before hitting the switch that lit the giant tree.

The ceremony was accompanied by celebrity performances from Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin and others.

Read more
It's All Politics
12:50 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Sen. Thad Cochran To Seek Re-Election In Mississippi

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on June 12.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 12:57 pm

Get ready for a bruising GOP primary battle in Mississippi.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said Friday he will seek a seventh term in 2014, setting the stage for a contentious contest that pits the Republican establishment against the Tea Party wing.

Read more
Economy
11:27 am
Fri December 6, 2013

For Workers, A Week Stuffed With Good News

An auto worker tightens bolts on the wheel of a Focus at a Ford plant in Wayne, Mich. Reports this week showed increases in auto sales and manufacturing jobs.
Mira Oberman AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 2:40 pm

Here's something you haven't heard in years: The U.S. economy had a great week.

Read more
Technology
11:18 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Would More Technology Mean Safer Trains?

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:56 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. For less than $100, you can buy a little gadget, a speedometer, that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter and it will let out a terrific scream when you exceed that speed limit that you preset into it. In fact, there's a 99-cent app for that too for your smartphone that tells you when you've exceeded the speed limit.

Read more
Health Care
11:18 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Dissecting America's $3 Trillion Medical Bill

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:54 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Do you know that what the number one reason for people filing bankruptcy in this country is? What's the number one reason? Not a lost job. It's not damage from earthquakes or floods. It's medical bills. My next guest says our high-priced medical treatments are responsible for some 60 percent of personal bankruptcies. And if you think you're safe because you have insurance, he says think again.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:15 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Hoped-For AIDS Cures Fail In 2 Boston Patients

The HIV virus has proven once again that it can evade detection in the body.
BSIP UIG via Getty Images

HIV has reappeared in the blood of two Boston patients who scientists had hoped had been cured of their infections.

This disappointing development, reported by The Boston Globe's Kay Lazar, is yet another cautionary tale of how researchers can never afford to underestimate the human immunodeficiency virus's ability to hide out in patients' bodies and overcome their most ingenious efforts to eliminate it.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:57 am
Fri December 6, 2013

U.S. Flags Lowered For Mandela, A Rare Honor For Foreign Leaders

The U.S. flag flies at half-staff over the White House in Washington, D.C., in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:44 pm

After the death of Nelson Mandela, President Obama ordered that U.S. flags on government buildings be flown at half-staff until Monday evening — a symbolic gesture of a nation in mourning.

It's a tradition observed by countries around the world, one that began as early as the 17th century. Mental Floss reports:

Read more
The Two-Way
10:49 am
Fri December 6, 2013

World Cup 2014 Draw Is Set: U.S. Will Face Germany, Portugal, Ghana

FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke shows a paper with the name of the Korea Republic as Brazilian presenter Fernanda Lima looks on during the final draw of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup Friday.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 12:53 pm

The final draw of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was announced Friday. The U.S. team will face Germany, Portugal and Ghana in Group G; host Brazil will face world No. 16 Croatia in Group A. Only the top two teams of each group advance to the next round.

The draw puts the U.S., currently ranked as the world's No. 14 team, in the same group with the world's No. 2 (Germany) and No. 5 (Portugal). Ghana is ranked 24th. The showdown with Germany has the potential to be bittersweet for Jürgen Klinsmann, the coach of the U.S. team who was a star for German World Cup teams in the 1990s.

Read more
Barbershop
9:58 am
Fri December 6, 2013

What Madiba Meant To The Barbershop Guys

The Barbershop guys share their take on Nelson Mandela: what his life meant to them and how he will be remembered by the world. Writer Jimi Izrael, professor Sean Jacobs, and journalists Corey Dade and Michael Skolnik weigh in.

Shots - Health News
9:02 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Canceled In California: People Eye Health Plans Off Exchange

Shoppers get ready to pay at Costco Wholesale in Mountain View, Calif. For the next couple of weeks, Californians whose insurance was canceled have some unusual options, including an Aetna plan available only at Costco.
Paul Sakuma AP

Some Californians whose policies have been canceled are finding relief in a surprising place: from insurance companies that aren't offering plans on the new Covered California marketplace.

Earlier this year, Aetna announced it would bow out of the state's individual market, effective Dec. 31. Cigna is staying, but isn't offering any products on the exchange. Right now, both companies are accepting new customers into pre-Affordable Care Act plans.

Read more
Africa
3:26 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Mandela's Death Reverberates Across U.S.

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We're reporting today on the passing of Nelson Mandela. The Nobel laureate and first black president of South Africa died yesterday at 95. Many here in the United States felt a connection to Mandela, among them former President Bill Clinton. He spoke recently to CBS News about Mandela's legacy.

Read more
StoryCorps
1:28 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Adrift In Frigid Water, Not Caring 'If You Live Or Die'

On a visit to StoryCorps in Ohio, Dennis Hale recounted his experience surviving a shipwreck on Lake Huron to his wife, Barbara.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

It was 1966, and a ship called the Daniel J. Morrell was making its last run of the season, hauling steel across Lake Huron. The crew was eager to head home for Christmas. But one night, caught in a severe storm, the ship broke apart and sank.

Only a few of the crew members made it to a life raft, and only one of them, watchman Dennis Hale, survived.

Read more
Remembrances
5:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Obama: World Lost A Profoundly Good Man In Nelson Mandela's Death

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Tributes are pouring in from around the globe on news that Nelson Mandela, the man who led South Africa out of apartheid, has died. He was 95 and had been ill for a long time. His death marks the passing of an era and President Obama spoke a short time after hearing the news. President Obama held Mandela up as an inspiration to his own leadership.

Read more
Law
5:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Wash. Judge Rules Towns Failed Poor Defendents

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Sports
5:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Fla. Prosecutor: No Sexual Assault Charges For FSU Football Star

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A Florida prosecutor says he will not charge Florida State University football star Jameis Winston with sexual assault. The 19-year-old quarterback was being investigated after a young woman alleged Winston raped her a year ago. But Winston's attorney said the sex was consensual. Joining me now is NPR's Tom Goldman. And, Tom, tell us more about what the prosecutor said this afternoon.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

New York City's New Top Cop's Broken Windows Background

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now to someone whom William Bratton has called an intellectual mentor. George Kelling, along with James Q. Wilson, introduced the Broken Windows theory that we just heard mentioned. It first appeared in an article in The Atlantic magazine in 1982. It was also around that time that Kelling came to know William Bratton and he's followed his career ever since.

Mr. Kelling, welcome to the program.

GEORGE KELLING: Oh, thank you.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

DeBlasio Appoints New Commissioner To Run NYPD

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The nation's largest police department will soon be run by one of the nation's most prominent law enforcement officials. New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced that William Bratton will be the NYPD's next boss. It's a repeat engagement. Bratton was New York's police commissioner in the mid-'90s. He's also run police departments in Los Angeles and Boston.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Fast Food Workers Rally Across Country For Better Pay

Workers rallied in 100 cities on Thursday to raise awareness for increasing pressure to raise wages. The push comes as 19 cities and states already raised minimum wages. A report from Berkeley economists finds the low-wage fast food jobs are costing taxpayer billions of dollars in public assistance — everything from food stamps to Medicaid.

Pages