U.S. News

National Security
3:45 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

Uncertainty Looms For Pentagon In Obama's Second Term

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 5:25 pm

America's military future is decidedly undecided.

Looming sequestration cuts of massive proportions, coupled with a U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan are adding to the boiling partisanship over nominating Chuck Hegel as defense secretary. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that some of the biggest challenges for the Department of Defense come from inside U.S. borders.

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Animals
2:15 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

The Kraken Is Real: Scientist Films First Footage Of A Giant Squid

A giant squid stars in this still image taken from the footage Edie Widder shot. It's the first-ever video of these giant squids, and it'll debut in a Discovery Channel documentary airing in late January.
Edie Widder Discovery Channel

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 5:25 pm

For thousands of years, sailors have told stories of giant squids. In myth and cinema, the kraken was the most terrible of sea monsters. Now, it's been captured — on a soon-to-be-seen video.

Even after decades of searching, giant squids had only been seen in still photographs. Finally, in last July, scientists filmed the first video of a live giant squid swimming some 2,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Edie Widder is the ocean researcher who shot the footage, which is slated to be released in a Discovery Channel documentary later this month.

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

Ban On Assault Rifles Unlikely, NRA Chief Says

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 2:27 pm

The head of the National Rifle Association said Sunday that there's little appetite on Capitol Hill for a ban on assault weapons.

"When a president takes all the power of his office, if he's willing to expend political capital, you don't want to make predictions, you don't want to bet your house on the outcome. But I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress," NRA President David Keene said on CNN's State of the Union.

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U.S.
3:54 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Army Corps' Options Dwindle Along With Mississippi River

An excavator perched on a barge removes rocks from the Mississippi River in Thebes Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 4:16 pm

Every day this month, the Army Corps of Engineers is working hard to deepen the Mississippi River's shipping channel in an effort to keep navigation open between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill.

Water levels are forecast to remain high enough through January to float loaded barges, but some say the only way to keep the river open next month will be to release water from the Missouri River.

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The Two-Way
11:08 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Journalist Eugene Patterson, Civil Rights Advocate, Dies

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 5:39 am

Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist Eugene Patterson died Saturday of complications from prostate cancer, a family spokeswoman tells The Associated Press. He was 89.

Patterson, editor of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution from 1960 to 1968, "helped fellow Southern whites understand the civil rights movement, eloquently reminding the silent majority of its complicity in racist violence," the AP reports.

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Aaron Swartz, Reddit Cofounder And Online Activist, Dead At 26

Aaron Swartz co-authored RSS and founded the company that later became the social media website Reddit.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 6:54 am

He was 14 when he co-authored RSS and later helped found the company that would become the social media website Reddit. Internet activist Aaron Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, authorities said Saturday. He was 26.

Update at 7:42 p.m.: Swartz To Be Remembered For 'Technological Virtuosity':

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Remembrances
2:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Remembering PFLAG Founder And Mother

Jeanne Manford, gay rights advocate and PFLAG founder.
PFLAG National

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 8:32 pm

President Obama spoke about Jeanne Manford in a speech he gave at the annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in 2009. Her son, Morty, was an important figure in New York City's gay community during the turbulent 1970s.

"Soon after the protests at Stonewall 40 years ago, the phone rang in the home of a soft-spoken elementary school teacher named Jeanne Manford," he said. A police officer told her Morty had been arrested.

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Digital Life
2:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

'Make Me' Asian App Sparks Online Backlash

A screenshot from the "Make me Asian" app page in the Google Play store.
Google Play

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 8:04 am

Tens of thousands of people have downloaded two apps from the Google Play Store that are sparking accusations of racism.

The "Make me Asian" and "Make me Indian" apps allow Android smartphone users to take a picture and superimpose characteristics the developer thinks relate to those ethnic groups. An online petition is urging Google to remove the apps from its store.

The Make me Asian app manipulates pictures to give the subject yellow-tinged skin, narrow eyes, a conical rice-paddy hat and a Fu Manchu mustache taken from a fictional Chinese villain.

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Law
1:15 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

From The Bronx To The Bench: The Family Photos Of Justice Sotomayor

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, late 1970s.
Courtesy of Justice Sonia Sotomayor

It was a long road to the Supreme Court. On the way, Justice Sonia Sotomayor faced a diabetes diagnosis, her father's death to alcoholism and her cousin's overdose. For Sotomayor, life began in the Bronx, in tenement housing in a community of Puerto Rican immigrants. She gave NPR exclusive access to a huge suitcase brimming with family photos and tells her story in this multimedia experience.

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U.S.
4:51 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Gun Buyback Programs Tend To Attract Low-Risk Groups

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 10:08 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a number of cities have launched gun-buyback programs, to try to reduce the number of firearms in circulation. This weekend, the police department in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is offering a gun buyback called Operation Safe Streets. It will give people who turn in weapons a $150 gift card, for a handgun; $200 for assault weapons. Santa Fe's chief of police is Raymond Rael.

If somebody turns in a gun, do they have to say where they got it?

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Politics
4:51 am
Sat January 12, 2013

What Obama's Cabinet Picks Say About His Second Term

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 7:04 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama has announced most of his Cabinet choices for his second term. There are no big surprises. All are pretty familiar faces in Washington, D.C., but Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and the White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew still must get through Senate confirmation. We're joined now by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, thanks for being with us.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Happy to be here.

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Politics
4:51 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Biden Seeks To Rally All Sides Of Gun Debate

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 10:08 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Vice President Joe Biden met with factions in the gun debate this week, from the National Rifle Association to the families of the Virginia Tech shootings. On Tuesday, the vice president will present the recommendations of the task force on gun violence that he has been leading to President Obama. We're joined now by NPR's Brian Naylor who's been covering the gun debate in Washington D.C. Brian, thanks for being with us.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: Thank you, Scott.

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Afghanistan
4:51 am
Sat January 12, 2013

As U.S. Starts Afghanistan Drawdown, Long-Term Concerns Linger

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 10:08 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has concluded a four-day visit to Washington, D.C. The president met with senior administration officials, including a private meeting in the Oval Office with President Obama. Their discussions reportedly centered on the U.S. role in Afghanistan after 2014. That's when most of the U.S. and NATO troops are due to withdraw from the country. NPR's Jackie Northam has this report.

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Animals
4:51 am
Sat January 12, 2013

'Python Challenge' Asks Floridians To 'Harvest' Snakes

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 10:08 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

They call it The Python Challenge.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Today and for the next month, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is asking Floridians to tangle with the Burmese Python. They call it a harvest. Of course, that means that they want people to hunt pythons. How do you hunt pythons? Very carefully, I'm sure. They're huge constrictor snakes that can grow to be more than 20 feet long.

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History
3:34 am
Sat January 12, 2013

World War II Exhibit Asks Visitors, 'What Would You Do?'

Using touchscreens, visitors decide how they would make wartime choices.
Courtesy National WWII Museum

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 10:08 am

For many, the stakes and the scale of World War II are hard to fathom. It was a war fought around the world, against powerful, determined regimes in Europe and the Pacific; some 65 million people died. And as the number of people who have actual memories of the war dwindle — as of next year, there will be fewer than 1 million living veterans — the mission of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans becomes all the more urgent.

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U.S.
3:33 am
Sat January 12, 2013

The 'Second Disaster': Making Well-Intentioned Donations Useful

Thousands of food and clothing items are organized by Occupy Sandy volunteers in a school gymnasium in Rockaway Park, Queens, after Superstorm Sandy in November.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 11:36 am

Among the donations that poured into the American Red Cross building after the earthquake in Haiti three years ago was a box of Frisbees. In a flood of well-intentioned but unneeded donations, this box stuck out to Meghan O'Hara, who oversees in-kind donations for the organization.

O'Hara says someone clearly wanted to help — the person mailed the box from Germany — but all she could think was, "Wow. That $60 or $70 could have been sent to so many different organizations to help out in so many different ways, and now we have a box of Frisbees."

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U.S.
3:34 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Cigarette Makers Frustrated As Product Approvals Stall

A clerk prices cigarettes at Discount Smoke Shop in Ballwin, Mo. The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 5:28 pm

It's been only a few years since Congress granted the federal government the power to approve how tobacco products are made and sold in the U.S.

The Food and Drug Administration's new Center for Tobacco Products, established under a 2009 law that gives the agency jurisdiction over tobacco, must review all new cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, as well as any changes to existing brands.

But the agency has yet to clear any products under the new system, and some cigarette makers are frustrated by the backlog of applications.

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It's All Politics
3:09 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Post-Election Americans Perceive Less Class Conflict and Tension Over Immigration

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:19 pm

You might think that after a pretty rancorous election season there would be lingering acrimony between people who belong to groups embroiled in some of the campaign's most heated debates. But if there is, a new study by Pew found that many Americans don't feel that way.

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U.S.
2:53 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

FAA To Review New 787 Dreamliner After Spate Of Problems

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:11 pm

Boeing faces a comprehensive review of the design and manufacturing of its ballyhooed 787 Dreamliner.

Around the Nation
2:53 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

NRA Head: Registry Of Gun Owners Would Be Very Dangerous

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:37 pm

Melissa Block talks to David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association.

U.S.
2:51 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Biden Meets With Video Game Makers To Discuss Gun Violence

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:11 pm

Vice President Joe Biden wrapped up a week of White House meetings regarding gun violence and gun safety by meeting with a group from the video game industry — makers of games that have been criticized for glamorizing gun violence.

Afghanistan
2:46 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Obama: U.S. Forces Will Transition To Support Role In Afghanistan

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:11 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. The leader of Afghanistan has had a rocky relationship with the U.S., but today at the White House, President Hamid Karzai and President Obama spoke of progress. As NPR's Jackie Northam reports, today's discussion on what role the U.S. might play in Afghanistan in the future.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
2:38 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Superstorm Sandy Victims Resettle Thanks To Small Town's Efforts

Deborah Rassi, 59, cleans her new kitchen. She's holding a bag of donated clothing, one of many that volunteers left in the new mobile home.
Neena Satija WNPR

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:11 pm

Thousands of Superstorm Sandy victims are still displaced more than two months after the storm. So, some locals in Connecticut hatched a plan to relocate some of them to a brand-new neighborhood with homes of their own.

Deborah Rassi and her family from Staten Island, N.Y., have been in the small, rural town of New Milford, Conn., for three days.

She was happy to be unpacking at her brand-new mobile house, which came with bags of donated clothing.

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Shots - Health News
2:30 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Businesses Sue Government Over Birth Control Mandate

The Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores has gone to court to block a provision of the administration's health law that requires employers' health plans to pay for contraceptives.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:07 pm

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, few would have predicted that one of the most contentious provisions would have to do with contraception.

But today federal officials are grappling with more than 40 lawsuits claiming that the requirement for most health plans to provide contraceptive coverage to women violates their religious freedom.

And religious groups aren't the only ones going to court.

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The Two-Way
2:22 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Former Marine Who Shot At The Pentagon Sentenced To 25 Years

Yonathan Melaku, the former Marine who admitting to shooting at several U.S. military buildings in the Washington, D.C., area in 2010, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, in a plea deal that makes his sentence non-negotiable. After his arrest, Melaku was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

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The Two-Way
1:36 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Spike That Email About Welfare And Work; Fact-Checkers Say It's Not True

If this arrives in your inbox, fact checkers advise just hitting delete.
PolitiFact.com

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:58 pm

If you've gotten the "Death Spiral" email that's apparently been arriving in many inboxes, here's the verdict from two major, nonpartisan fact checkers:

It is NOT true, as the email claims, that in 11 states there are more people on welfare than there are working.

The debunkers: both PolitiFact.com and FactCheck.org.

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The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Computer Users Should Disable Java 7 Owing To Security Flaw, Experts Say

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:43 pm

Millions of computer users who run the most recent versions of Oracle's Java software should disable the product owing to security flaws, says the cybersecurity section of the Department of Homeland Security. The agency says, "Web browsers using the Java 7 plug-in are at high risk."

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The Salt
12:24 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

In The Battle Between Health And Taste, Why White Bread Still Wins

White bread, we just can't quit you.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 6:59 am

The tantalizing aroma of freshly baked brioche is hard to resist, while a virtuous loaf of whole wheat often lacks that same allure. Blame it on the ferulic acid.

See, whole-wheat bread contains all parts of the wheat, including the bran, but white bread does not. That bran in the wheat bread contains the aforementioned ferulic acid, which overrides the compounds that give white bread its mouthwatering smell, according to new research.

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Religion
9:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

The Buzz On Silent Retreats

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 10:56 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're almost two weeks into the new year. We're thinking about the resolutions that many people may have made, and you often hear people talking about getting their finances in order or eating better or getting in shape, but we also notice that many people are telling us that they are resolving to unplug more from the stress of our fast-paced lives. Some people are saying that they're going to spend more time in silence, so why don't we give it a try? Here it is. Let's go.

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StoryCorps
1:17 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Mother To Daughter: 'That's When I Knew I Was Adopted'

Diane Tells His Name, 61, grew up unaware of her Native American identity. When she discovered the truth in her late 30s, she adopted a child from her Lakota tribe, Bonnie Buchanan.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Diane Tells His Name, 61, grew up never knowing she was adopted.

"When did you first feel like you were different?" Bonnie Buchanan, 23, asks her mother during a recent visit to a StoryCorps booth.

"Probably elementary school," she replies. "I had a younger sister, and I really didn't like doing the same things that she would do."

Instead of tea parties and dolls, Tells His Name spent her time outdoors, peering at the clouds and stars.

"And my sister was blond, tall and thin like my mother, and I was round and brown," she says with a laugh.

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