When the CIA came into being in 1947, its mandate was to keep tabs on events around the world. Gather intelligence about foreign governments. Spy. But the agency has evolved away from this original mission, as Mark Mazzetti reports in a new book, The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.
Mazzetti, a national security correspondent for The New York Times, begins with a quote from John le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy:
Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 10:22 am
April Fool's Day was one week ago — but an elaborate hoax targeting Pastor Joel Osteen gained wide attention Monday, after those behind the hoax used Twitter, YouTube, and other social media to spread spurious claims that the pastor had renounced his faith and would close his huge Texas church.
Main Street in Webster City, Iowa, has so far survived the 2011 closure of an Electrolux factory. But retraining funds and unemployment are running out for former workers, leaving businesses worried that a serious downturn is ahead.
Credit Andrea Hsu / NPR
Electrolux's former warehouse and distribution center in Webster City, Iowa, is up for sale. The plant itself, across the street, will soon be demolished.
What becomes of a city of 8,000 people when its main employer leaves town? What does it look like, and what does it feel like? I set out to answer those questions on a trip to Webster City, Iowa, last month, as part of my report on the Swedish appliance maker Electrolux.
Electrolux's new plant in Memphis, Tenn., is the Swedish appliance company's most modern and high-tech facility. The factory will open this summer while an Electrolux plant in Quebec, Canada, is being shuttered.
Credit Andrea Hsu / NPR
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton (left) with Jack Truong of Electrolux at the company's new plant. The city used a large incentive package to entice the company.
Credit Courtesy of Electrolux
Jerry Kloberdanz and seven family members were laid off when Electrolux closed its Webster City, Iowa, plant in 2011.
The United States lost close to 6 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2009. Now, slowly, some of those jobs are coming back. Over the past three years, the U.S. economy has gained a half-million manufacturing jobs.
But even with the manufacturing recovery, there are both winners and losers — and sometimes they're created by the same company.
Cursive handwriting is disappearing from the list of required courses at U.S. schools, so one New Jersey grandmother is making sure her grandson's schoolmates know how to loop their Ls and curl their Qs.
At first, 45 students signed up for the cursive club that Sylvia Hughes founded last fall at Nellie K. Parker Elementary School. But then the club grew to 60 8- and 9-year olds.
Buckle up — climate change could make this a bumpy flight.
That's according to a newly published study by two British scientists who say increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will make "clear air turbulence" — which can't be easily spotted by pilots or satellites — more common over the North Atlantic. That means the potential for gut-wrenching flights between the U.S., Europe and points east.
Picture a tiny town set along a creek in West Virginia. A mountain rises from the town's eastern edge, overlooking the 1,400 people living below. Then, July comes — and 50,000 people arrive on that mountain for the National Scout Jamboree.
The town is called Mount Hope. I've heard some call it "Mount Hopeless." The town went through the long, downward slump from the boom days of deep-mine coal, when it was a grand, small-town capital of coal mining.
As an icon of the American conservative movement in the 1980s, it would have been difficult to find a more unlikely figure than Britain's Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday following a stroke.
Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, a full year and a half before Ronald Reagan became president. She hailed from a country seen as a hopeless bastion of socialism by conservatives, many of whom, like Reagan himself, were strongly invested in the idea of American exceptionalism.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We've been talking a lot about college readiness on this program. Often the focus is kids from tough backgrounds. Now, though, we're hearing that even some high achieving college students just aren't college ready. We'll talk about why that might be later in the program.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. It's that time of year. Students are hearing back from college admissions offices and competition being what it is these days, we know a lot of people are going to be unhappy, so we've called a psychotherapist to ask how to help students cope with that inevitable - for most of us, anyway - rejection letter.
Most colleges and universities recently let anxious students know who is getting in --and who is not-- for the next academic year. And many applicants are dealing with rejection from their dream school. Host Michel Martin talks with psychotherapist Diane Barth about what students are going through, and how parents can help them move on.
Rutgers University says it plans to have an "independent adviser ... conduct a review of the circumstances surrounding the men's basketball program as well as the procedures used to investigate allegations related to former head coach Mike Rice."
Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and former al-Qaida spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is expected to appear in a New York courtroom Monday afternoon.
Abu Ghaith was captured by U.S. officials in February, and his arrest is considered important not just because he was so close to bin Laden, but also because the Obama administration has decided to try him in a federal court instead of using a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Tomas Young was paralyzed from the chest down during his deployment to Iraq. Since then, his health has only deteriorated. He has decided to refuse care and end his life, and his wife, Claudia Cuellar, says she respects his wishes.
Credit Frank Morris for NPR
Tomas Young in 2008, before his health took another dive.
After a dozen years at war, an estimated 2 million active-duty service members will have returned home by the end of 2013. Some reintegrate without much struggle, but for others it's not so easy. The psychological wounds of war can sometimes prove to be just as fatal as the physical ones.
For injured veterans such as Tomas Young, life is a daily struggle. But this Iraq War veteran, who says his physical and emotional pain is unbearable, has decided to end his life.
Ten million people funnel in and out of our nation's jails and prisons every year. And every year, some of them get lost. Recently there have been two high-profile cases of such inmates — one who got out years too early, and one who stayed years too long. Both cases had disastrous consequences, but there's no easy fix to this problem. This story originally ran on Morning Edition on April 5.
With a single, devastating shot, Ali Farokhmanesh became the face of the NCAA basketball tournament in 2010.
He nailed the 3-pointer that propelled the ninth-seeded Northern Iowa Panthers to a major upset victory over the tournament favorite, Kansas Jayhawks. It also put him on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Lt. Gen. Richard Harding, Air Force judge advocate general, center, speaks with Army Lt. Gen. Dana Chipman, left, and Robert Taylor, acting general counsel of the Defense Department, prior to testifying before the Senate subcommittee on sexual assault on March 13.
The Air Force continues to grapple with the number of sexual assaults among its members.
In March, Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Harding and other legal officials for the military appeared before a Senate subcommittee to address rape in the services. The hearing was spurred by a general's decision to overturn a jury's sexual assault verdict on a U.S. Air Base in Aviano, Italy.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Spring is here. And just as temperatures begin to creep up, so do the bugs - all matter of creepy crawlies. Among the noisiest and, for my money, most repulsive...
(SOUNDBITE OF CICADAS)
MICHAEL RAUPP: My name is Michael J. Raupp. I'm professor of entomology and the bug guy here at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican, watches the chamber's electronic tally board as it approves a sweeping anti-abortion bill Friday at the Statehouse in Topeka. At left is Majority Leader Jene Vickrey.
Lawmakers in Kansas passed an extensive anti-abortion measure Friday night, which Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign into law. The bill declares that life begins "at fertilization," prohibits abortions related to the baby's sex and blocks tax breaks for health care providers that perform abortions.
The House passed the bill 90-30, hours after the Senate approved it 28-10.
Originally published on Sat April 6, 2013 11:52 am
Guns and America were born around the same time and grew up together. Like feuding cousins, their histories have been linked ever since.
Often helpful in American history — and often harmful — the portable gun has been inarguably influential in the national direction. The American Revolution would not have been won without guns. Precious lives at numerous school shootings would not have been lost without guns. And somewhere in between those two truisms lies the truth about what Americans really feel about firearms.
A federal judge ordered Friday what women's groups have failed to accomplish politically for a dozen years. He ruled that Plan B, the most commonly used morning-after birth control pill, be sold without a prescription or other restrictions to women of all ages.
The nation's capital has been undergoing something of a building boom. Dozens of construction cranes dot the Washington, D.C., skyline.
So it comes as no surprise that the federal government is hoping to take advantage of the real estate values and unload what's seen by many as an eyesore on Pennsylvania Avenue: the J. Edgar Hoover Building, headquarters of the FBI.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
At first blush, it might seem like good news from the Labor Department this morning: The unemployment rate that has been dropping in recent months fell again. It fell to 7.6 percent in March. But job growth was much weaker than expected. And the main reason that the rate went down is that a large number of people decided to leave the workforce. NPR's Yuki Noguchi joins us now. Hi, Yuki.
The forced budget cuts known as the "sequester" have not yet started to trickle down to the local level. But that hasn't stopped politicians from talking about what those cuts will mean. But business leaders in a city with strong aviation ties aren't looking at only the conversations in Washington as they plan their futures.
We're going to hear now about this year's big final four matchup, but not in basketball. This weekend Webster University of St. Louis, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Illinois square off outside Washington, D.C. in the Final Four of College Chess, the President's Cup. Those schools emerged in a tie at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship last December.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are tracking changes in the Philadelphia accent. Reporter Zack Seward dips into archives that include more than a century's worth of Philly natives. The researchers say most regional accents are alive and well, even in the digital age, but they're always changing.