U.S. News

Around the Nation
4:43 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

A Terrible Winter Wreaks Havoc On Roads, Pipes And City Budgets

Potholes on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, one of which is about half-a-car-length long and at least a foot deep. The city of Chicago says it has filled an estimated 240,000 potholes this winter, 100,000 more than last winter, at a cost of more than $2.8 million.
David Schaper NPR

Bitter cold has returned to parts of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast, following another heavy snowstorm that left 1 to 2 feet of snow from Ohio to New England.

And when all this snow finally melts, it'll expose the physical toll of this brutal winter: potholes, broken water mains, collapsed catch basins and other infrastructure problems.

"This winter's crazy, crazy busy," says John Polishak, a foreman for the Chicago Department of Water Management. "Everybody's been working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. It's exhausting."

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The Two-Way
4:34 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Takes White House To Task Over Privacy

Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference as part of the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.
David Ramos Getty Images

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg published an open letter on Thursday in which he takes the White House to task over "the behavior of the U.S. government."

While he does not say so explicitly, Zuckerberg is clearly referring to the reports of widespread surveillance undertaken by the National Security Agency.

Zuckerberg, 29, who has built the world's most successful social network, writes that the Internet works because companies like Facebook strive to make it secure. He adds:

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History
4:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

A Farewell To Carrot Cake (And Other Things Lost Without World War I)

As one listener points out, we might not have carrot cake today if Germans weren't forced to bake with ersatz materials during World War I. This little girl might have had to settle for chocolate instead.
Fox Photos Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 1:18 pm

This is the conclusion to an All Things Considered series that imagines a counterfactual history of World War I.

This year marks the centennial of the outbreak of World War I. What started as a beef between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia unleashed a clash that brought in Russia, Italy, France, Germany, England and eventually the United States.

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Environment
4:02 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Oil Industry Gets An Earful As It Eyes Florida's Everglades

Drilling companies have new interest in southern Florida's Big Cypress preserve. The prospect of large-scale operations and possibly fracking worries environmentalists and residents.
Sue Cocking MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:35 pm

As oil production goes, Florida isn't much of a player. The state produced less than 2 million barrels last year, which is how much oil Texas pumps from its wells each day.

That's about to change as the revolution in oil drilling technology comes to Florida.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Pew Study: Many Technophiles Also Love Libraries

Julie Ball at a newly renovated computer lab at Shute Park Branch Library in Hillsboro, Oregon. The new lab is set to open on Saturday.
Benjamin Brink The Oregonian/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:30 pm

You might think that in a world of Google and Wikipedia, people who love technology wouldn't care much about the musty old local public library. But, according to a new report by the Pew Research Internet Project, you'd be wrong.

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It's All Politics
2:46 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Will Democrats Change Their Health Law Message After Florida Loss?

Democrats may have lost the battle in a Florida special election, which Republican Rep. David Jolly (right) won and in which the Affordable Care Act figured prominently. But they don't think they have lost the health-law messaging war.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 8:35 am

Congressional Democrats' messaging on the Affordable Care Act obviously didn't work as they had hoped in the Florida special election for a vacant House seat, since Republican David Jolly won the Tuesday vote.

But does that mean Democrats should abandon the "fix it, don't nix" it message delivered by Democrat Alex Sink, who narrowly lost a race that Republicans sought to nationalize and turn into a referendum on the health law?

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., certainly isn't saying so.

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News
2:21 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Holder Steps Forward For Shorter Drug Sentences

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:35 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder is before the U.S. Sentencing Commission to support changes in sentencing for drug offenses, which could shave time off prison terms and reduce federal prison populations.

Around the Nation
2:21 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Months Later, West Virginians Remain Wary Of Water That Smells

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Around the Nation
2:21 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

For A New View On The West Virginia Spill, Follow The Elk River

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:35 pm

In early January, West Virginia's Elk River was contaminated by a chemical spill near Charleston. NPR's Noah Adams returns to the Elk nearly two months later to follow the course of the river.

Technology
2:21 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

With 3-D Printing, Affordable Prosthetics Are In Reach

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 10:37 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Next, we're going to meet a little girl in Huntsville, Alabama. She was born without fingers on one hand. And now, thanks to 3D printing technology, she has an affordable prosthetic.

As Dan Carsen of member station WBHM reports, her story is one example of life-altering changes on the horizon.

DAN CARSEN, BYLINE: Kate Berkholtz is a smiley, active two-year-old who's happy to have a new tool that helps her pick things up. Right now, she's trying very hard to hold still before a gymnastics class. Can you tell me your name?

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Economy
2:16 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

The World Bank Gets An Overhaul — And Not Everyone's Happy

Jim Yong Kim joined the World Bank as president in 2012.
Michel Euler AP

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:35 pm

The World Bank, the largest international development institution, is undergoing a sweeping reorganization, the first of its kind for the bank in nearly a generation.

The bank, based in Washington, has laid out a new set of goals, but they're accompanied by deep budget cuts and the elimination of a whole layer of senior management jobs.

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Shots - Health News
10:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Statins Might Not Cause Aching Muscles, But Diabetes Risk Is Real

Statins are widely prescribed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but we may not be getting a clear picture of side effect risks.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 2:22 pm

People taking cholesterol-lowering statins often report having muscle pain and other side effects. Many quit taking the pills as a result.

But the statins aren't to blame, according to an analysis that found muscle problems no more likely with statins than with a placebo pill.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
8:08 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Debate: Should The President Be Able To Order Citizens Killed Abroad?

Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, argues against the motion, "The president has constitutional power to target and kill U.S. citizens abroad."
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 9:49 am

  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

There are intense debates underway in the United States over the question of targeted killings of terrorist suspects abroad – particularly when those individuals are U.S. citizens.

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Sports
1:40 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Who's The Best In College Basketball? Let's Look At The Numbers

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 7:22 am

In just a few days, college basketball fans will celebrate the sport's biggest day: Selection Sunday. As soon as the bracket unveiling ends, the speculation will begin over who will be this year's Cinderella.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

U.S. Judge Throws Out Charges Against Indian Diplomat

Devyani Khobragade at an India Studies Stony Brook University fundraiser in Long Island, N.Y., on Dec. 8, 2013.
Mohammed Jaffer Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 7:53 am

A federal judge dropped charges on Wednesday against an Indian diplomat because she enjoys diplomatic immunity.

As Krishnadev reported back in January, the case of Devyani Khobragade, who was indicted on charges of falsifying visa documents for her Indian maid, "sparked a diplomatic row between India and the U.S."

According to a grand jury indictment, Khobragade said she was going to pay her maid $9 an hour. She actually paid her $3.

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The Two-Way
4:09 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

New Jersey Judge Rules Women Can Keep Fathers Out Of Delivery Room

The case of whether a woman could keep the biological father of her child out of the delivery room was argued while she was in the hospital to give birth.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 6:39 am

A New Jersey judge likely made history this week when he released an opinion that found women can keep the biological father of their children out of the delivery room.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports that the ruling involves a couple who got engaged after the woman became pregnant but later broke up. The man sued for the right to be present at the birth of his child. Jennifer filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The case was argued by telephone — while the New Jersey woman was in the hospital to give birth.

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Business
2:59 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Health Care Law Helps Entrepreneurs Quit Their Day Jobs

The Affordable Care Act could encourage people to start new businesses by solving an age-old problem: job lock.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:37 am

The Affordable Care Act — which many see creating challenges for businesses — could benefit a particular group of business people: entrepreneurs.

Joshua Simonson was reluctant to give up his job at a Portland, Ore., area grocery store, New Seasons Market, which he says had provided excellent health care for him and his family. He had a pre-existing condition that has prevented him from getting insurance in the private market, but one key development helped convince him to quit and start a farm.

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Senate Panel Clears Ukraine Aid Package

A bill aimed at punishing Russia for sending its forces into Crimea by imposing sanctions on Moscow and providing economic aid to Ukraine has passed a key vote in the U.S. Senate.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-3 to pass the measure that authorizes $1 billion in loan guarantees to the new government in Kiev as well as the freezing certain Russian assets in the U.S.

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News
2:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Would-Be Shoebomber Testifies Against Bin Laden's Son-In-Law

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A would-be shoe-bomber for al-Qaida told his story to a jury in New York City yesterday. Saajid Badat testified in the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. That's the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden who the government says was aware of the shoe-bombing plot. The witness has told some of his story before. He's in Britain. He's cooperated with authorities there and in the U.S.

But some of what he said was new to Benjamin Weiser, of The New York Times, who's covering this trial and who joins us from New York. Welcome to the program.

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Shots - Health News
2:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

How A Series Of Mistakes Hobbled Minnesota's Health Exchange

Becky Fink, a MNsure navigator, helps Mic-Ryan Freeman, 22, fill out a paper application for health insurance in February at Nucleus Clinic in Coon Rapids, Minn.
Jennifer Simonson/MPR News Photo courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio News and NPR-Kaiser Health News-Member Station Reporting Project. © 2014 Minnesota Public Radio

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Minnesota is expected to pick a new lead technology contractor for its health insurance marketplace in the coming weeks. The state has been working hard to improve its website, but in its first few months serious technical problems made it difficult if not impossible to use.

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History
2:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Without World War I, A Slower U.S. Rise, No 'God Bless America'

Without World War I, the woman's suffrage movement might have been slower to gain traction.
Paul Thompson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 2:45 pm

This is part of an All Things Considered series that imagines a counterfactual history of World War I.

This summer marks 100 years since the start of World War I. Many argue that the conflict was inevitable — but what if it wasn't?

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Law
2:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Ruling On Gay Juror May Cause Ripples In Same-Sex Marriage Cases

A legal dispute between pharmaceutical companies Abbott Laboratories and SmithKline Beecham ended up before a federal appeals court. The court's ruling may have implications for laws that concern gays and lesbians.
Tim Boyle Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

There was a small development in a case before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this month that could have a major impact on the legal battle over same-sex marriage. The case involves a dispute between two pharmaceutical companies, a gay juror and the level of legal scrutiny directed by the appellate court.

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News
2:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

FTC Investigates Herbalife, Following Claims It's A Pyramid Scheme

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Herbalife shares dropped on news the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the company. After shorting Herbalife's stock, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman's been lobbying politicians to investigate.

Politics
2:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Menendez On Crimea: The Question Of Sanctions And Sending Aid

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Aid for Ukraine, sanctions against Russians. Those are key features of a bill that Senator Robert Menendez proposes. He is a New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And he joins us from Capitol Hill. Welcome to the program once again.

SENATOR ROBERT MENENDEZ: Good to be with you.

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News
2:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Obama Rolls Out White House Welcome Mat For Ukrainian Prime Minister

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is visiting the White House Wednesday. The meeting comes days before a vote in Crimea over whether to secede from Ukraine.

Shots - Health News
1:41 am
Wed March 12, 2014

You Might Pay A Lot More Than $95 For Skipping Health Insurance

The tax penalty is designed to encourage people to sign up for health insurance.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 2:08 pm

2014 is the first year most Americans will have to either have health insurance or face a tax penalty.

But most people who are aware of the penalty think it's pretty small, at least for this first year. And that could turn into an expensive mistake.

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It's All Politics
5:41 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Feinstein's CIA Outrage Splits Senate

Sen. Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA publicly and at length of hacking Senate computers to spy on Senate aides and remove documents.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 11:07 pm

The Senate was a chamber divided in reaction to Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein's diatribe against the CIA for allegedly hacking into Senate computers.

A no-nonsense Feinstein, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, took to the Senate floor Tuesday to speak at length and publicly for the first time about a dispute with the agency.

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Law
4:52 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Justice Can Be Hard To Find With Courts Far From Tribal Lands

Over 20,000 people live in the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Many of them have to travel over five hours to attend a federal court hearing.
Irina Zhorov WPR

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 8:29 am

Access to federal courts is difficult for people living on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The majority of cases are tried nearly five hours away. Other Western states, like Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, also lack courthouses close to tribal lands.

For the people there, this isn't just an inconvenience — the community has lost confidence in the notion that justice is something that's available to them.

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The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Health Care Enrollments Up, But Still Well Short Of Goal

The HealthCare.gov website has been a source of delays and confusion for those trying to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.
Jon Elswick AP

Another 940,000 people signed up for health insurance in February under the Affordable Care Act, bringing the total to 4.2 million since the troubled HealthCare.gov website was launched, the Department of Health and Human Services reports. The number is still well short of the administration's goal for March 31, when open enrollment ends.

To reach 6 million sign ups under the ACA, as the White House had hoped for, another 1.8 million people would need to enroll by the end of the month.

As The Associated Press reports:

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U.S.
3:39 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Move To Honor Prohibition-Era 'Untouchable' Hits A Snag

Eliot Ness is credited with assembling a team of federal agents who took down Al Capone in Chicago in the 1930s.
The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Eliot Ness, the famed Prohibition-era agent often credited with bringing down the empire of Chicago mobster Al Capone, is perhaps best known to many from fictional portrayals on the big and small screens.

Although Ness is a legendary figure, some politicians are debating whether the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington should bear his name.

Ness began his career as a Prohibition agent in 1926. Four years later, he was the special agent in charge of going after Capone's bootlegging operation.

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