U.S. News

Mental Health
3:15 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Boston Blasts Remind Us Of Fragility Of Life

Jillian Blenis, 30, of Boston reacts while stopping at a makeshift memorial to marathon bombing victims Wednesday.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:33 pm

From the first explosion in Boston on Monday to the second, just 15 seconds elapsed. And in those 15 seconds, three people were mortally wounded, including an 8-year-old boy. The number of injured topped 100, and for those of us watching, it was a profound reminder of a reality we'd prefer to ignore.

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Animals
12:56 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Lionfish Attacking Atlantic Ocean Like A Living Oil Spill

Lionfish, like this one spotted in the Bahamas, are a nonnative predatory fish that can decimate native fish populations.
Cammy Clark MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 11:45 am

A gluttonous predator is power-eating its way through reefs from New York to Venezuela. It's the lionfish.

And although researchers are coming up with new ways to protect some reefs from the flamboyant maroon-striped fish, they have no hope of stopping its unparalleled invasion.

Lad Akins has scuba dived in the vibrant reefs of the Bahamas for many years. But when he returned a couple years ago, he saw almost no fish smaller than his hand.

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Sweetness And Light
12:55 am
Wed April 17, 2013

The Pitch For More No. 42s

Jackie Robinson during spring training at Vero Beach, Fla., in March 1956. It would be Robinson's 10th and last year with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:46 pm

Yet another movie about Jackie Robinson arrived as baseball held its annual commemorative celebration of No. 42, but officials of the game are fretting over the fact that only 8 1/2 percent of current major leaguers are black.

Given that African-Americans only constitute about 13 percent of the U.S. population, and that rarely do we have any industry or school system or community population that correlates exactly to the whole country's racial or ethnic makeup, baseball's somewhat smaller black cohort hardly seems like an issue to agonize over.

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The Two-Way
5:22 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Maine Court Sets $25,000 Bail For 'North Pond Hermit'

Christopher Knight, 47, has been charged with stealing food and other items from a camp in Rome, Maine. Knight's years of living in isolation earned him the nickname of the North Pond Hermit.
Kennebec County Sheriff's Office AP

Christopher Knight, whose 27 years of living in near-total isolation in Maine's wilderness made him an object of fascination after he was arrested for stealing food and supplies, appeared by video for a court hearing Tuesday, when a Kennebec County judge set his bail at $25,000 cash.

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Education
3:46 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Creative Classes: An Artful Approach To Improving Performance

Jionni Anderson is a third grader at Savoy Elementary School. Anderson raises her hand to answer a question in Mr. Scott's keyboard class.
Lizzie Chen NPR

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 3:31 pm

This is the first in a three-part series about the intersection of education and the arts.

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Around the Nation
3:46 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

50 Years Later, King's Birmingham 'Letter' Still Resonates

Martin Luther King Jr., with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (center) and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, defied an injunction against protesting on Good Friday in 1963. They were arrested and held in solitary confinement in the Birmingham jail where King wrote his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail."
Courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 11:12 pm

It's been five decades since Martin Luther King Jr., began writing his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail," a response to eight white Alabama clergymen who criticized King and worried the civil rights campaign would cause violence. They called King an "extremist" and told blacks they should be patient.

But the time for waiting was over. Birmingham was the perfect place to take a stand.

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It's All Politics
3:46 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

How Congress Quietly Overhauled Its Insider-Trading Law

Vice President Biden and members of Congress watch as President Obama signs the STOCK Act on April 4, 2012. A year later, Congress moved to undo large portions of the law without fanfare.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

The legislative process on Capitol Hill is often slow and grinding. There are committee hearings, filibuster threats and hours of floor debate. But sometimes, when Congress really wants to get something done, it can move blindingly fast.

That's what happened when Congress moved to undo large parts of a popular law known as the STOCK Act last week.

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Around the Nation
3:46 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Changes Help San Diego Homeless, But Long Road Remains Ahead

Wanda Rayborn, 63, was homeless for nine years and was living under a tree in downtown San Diego two years ago. She now lives in a newly renovated efficiency apartment — part of an initiative to help get homeless people off the streets.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 1:05 pm

Two years ago, we reported on an ambitious campaign to end homelessness in downtown San Diego, a city with one of the largest homeless populations in the nation. The effort involved an unprecedented coalition of business leaders, community groups and government agencies.

At the time, some advocates for the homeless — after years of seeing other, failed efforts to get people off city streets — were skeptical that the campaign would amount to much.

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Security Expert: Investigators Seek Bomber's 'Signature'

Boston firefighters talk with FBI agents and a crime scene photographer Tuesday at the scene of the Boston Marathon explosions.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:03 am

As investigators combed through evidence in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, seeking both motive and perpetrator, we turned Tuesday to a security expert for guidance on how the investigation may be unfolding.

Bryan Cunningham, a former CIA officer, assistant U.S. attorney and deputy legal adviser for the National Security Council, served in both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. He is now a senior adviser at the consulting firm the Chertoff Group, co-founded by former Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff.

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It's All Politics
2:49 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Background Check Battle: More Prosecution Or More Checks?

Vice President Joe Biden, holds a background check form last week in Washington, as he calls on Congress to pass legislation aimed at reducing gun violence.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 11:54 am

One argument that some gun rights groups make against expanding background checks is that the federal government isn't doing a good enough job now of enforcing the law already on the books.

They point out that only a tiny fraction of people caught trying to buy a gun illegally are ever prosecuted.

But gun control supporters say that argument totally misses the point of background checks.

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

American Airlines Grounds All Flights Due To Computer Glitch

American Airlines flights were grounded for two hours on Tuesday due to a glitch in the reservation system, the airline says.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 2:54 pm

A computer glitch in the reservations system at American Airlines caused all of the carrier's flights to be grounded for at least two hours on Tuesday.

"American's reservation and booking tool, Sabre is offline," American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan told Reuters in an email. "We're working to resolve the issue as quickly as we can. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience."

NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports that the outage was announced about 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.

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Shots - Health News
2:04 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Quality Conundrum: Complications Boost Hospital Profits

If he messes up, should the hospital profit?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:35 pm

Hospitals can make much more money when surgery goes wrong than in cases that go without a hitch.

And that presents a problem for patients. The financial incentives don't favor better care.

"The magnitude of the numbers was eye-popping," says Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and an author of the study, which was just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. "It was much larger than we expected."

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The Salt
1:59 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Low-Sodium Food Labels Woo, And Confuse, Consumers

Nutrition fact labels are good but confusing, consumers say.
iStockphoto.com

The general consensus is that food labels that advertise lower sodium are a good way to help people make more healthful choices. But after that, what we think those labels mean gets a bit fuzzy, according to a new study.

Nutrition researchers were wondering just how we interpret the various sodium-related claims slapped on food packages: claims like "low in sodium" but also how a food product will reducing the risk of disease like hypertension, or "help lower blood pressure."

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Vatican Reaffirms Plan To Scrutinize U.S. Nuns

Nuns worship following a Mass for the election of a new pope at St. Patrick's Cathedral in February.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Pope Francis' doctrinal chief has reaffirmed the Vatican's intention to overhaul the largest organization of U.S. nuns, dashing the hopes of some that the newly installed pontiff would take a more conciliatory approach than his predecessor.

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Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Boston Globe Columnist: 'A Little Bit Of Freedom Taken Away'

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. We are so saddened and outraged by the bombings yesterday at the Boston Marathon - we're going to start the show, today, with a brief call to Dan Shaughnessy, a Boston Globe sports columnist who's covered many of the Boston Marathons. He's been named Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year eight times and seven times has been voted one of America's top 10 sports columnists by AP sports editors.

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History
10:25 am
Tue April 16, 2013

'Letter From Birmingham Jail' 50 Years Later

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s letter from Birmingham jail. Dr. King penned this letter as a response to white clergymen who called his campaign of non-violent protests, quote, "unwise and untimely," unquote, and had urged him not to intervene in Alabama's segregationist policies.

Here is a clip of Dr. King reading part of the letter that he wrote in response.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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News
10:25 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Former Terror Expert: 'Very Confident' Case Will Be Solved

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're going to start the program today by talking about the bombings that shook Boston yesterday afternoon. Today, civic leaders are trying to find out what happened, but also to help their citizens heal. Here's Boston's mayor, Thomas Menino, at a press conference this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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Religion
10:25 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Faith Community Comforts Bostonians

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Joining us now is the Right Reverend Gayle Harris. She is suffragan bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Massachusetts. Welcome to you. Thank you so much for joining us.

REVEREND GAYLE HARRIS: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: How are you seeing faith communities across the city and the state react to this?

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Around the Nation
10:25 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Single Moms Make It Work

In this week's segment on parenting, host Michel Martin talks to three single moms to find out what they've learned by raising children alone. Martin is joined by Lori Gottlieb who wrote about single parenting for Working Mother magazine, Stacia Brown, blogger at Beyond Baby Mamas, and regular 'Moms' contributor Aracely Panameno.

The Two-Way
8:59 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Oklahoma City Marathon Will Proceed, Organizers Say After Boston Attack

Oklahoma City officials say that a marathon that's part of memorial events honoring the anniversary of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building will take place Friday. Here, Boy Scouts take part in the 2010 event.
Brett Deering Getty Images

News of the deadly bombing attack on the Boston Marathon is echoing in Oklahoma City, where residents will observe the 18th anniversary Friday of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 people. The events include a marathon, which remains on the schedule, although officials say they will review their security plans.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
8:47 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Investigating The Boston Marathon Bombings

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 12:04 pm

Morning Edition co-hosts Steve Inskeep and David Greene discuss the investigation of Monday's Boston Marathon explosions with Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism investigator and member of the National Security Council, and NPR's Dina Temple-Raston.

Shots - Health News
8:35 am
Tue April 16, 2013

How To Avoid A Colonoscopy Billing Kerfuffle

Before your doctor gets to this, make sure he'll bill the colonoscopy as a screening test rather than a diagnostic one.
Sebastian Schroeder iStockphoto.com

Where preventive health care is concerned, a colonoscopy is one of the pricier screening tests, with a cost that often exceeds $1,000.

But under the health care overhaul, most health insurance plans have to cover the test for colorectal cancer without billing patients a dime, even if a polyp is found and removed.

Yet the way your doctor categorizes the test can make all the difference.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
6:23 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Boston Doctors Compare Marathon Bomb Injuries To War Wounds

Medical personnel work outside the medical tent in the aftermath of two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. At area hospitals, doctors say they were confronted with the kinds of injuries U.S. troops get in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 9:26 am

Boston hospitals always staff up their emergency rooms on Marathon Day to care for runners with cramps, dehydration and the occasional heart attack.

But Monday, those hospitals suddenly found themselves with more than 100 traumatized patients — many of them with the kinds of injuries seen more often on a battlefield than a marathon.

Like most big-city hospitals these days, Tufts Medical Center runs regular disaster drills, featuring simulated patients smeared with fake blood.

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The Two-Way
6:06 am
Tue April 16, 2013

The Cruelest Month: Boston Blasts Join List Of Dark Incidents

Oklahoma City Bombing: The Albert P. Murrah Federal Building shows the devastation caused by a fuel and fertilizer truck bomb on April 19, 1995. The blast killed 168 people and injured more than 500.
Bob Daemmrich AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 11:04 am

Howard Berkes is an NPR correspondent based in Salt Lake City.

It may have been the dumbest thing I ever said. On April 19, 1999, I stood before an audience at Idaho State University in Pocatello, talking about the cruelest month. April, I pointed out, and April 19 in particular, have provided celebrated, infamous and sometimes horrific moments in our history.

What was it about the month, I wondered, or the time of year, that made April so meaningful and at times so cruel? Back then, the list was relatively short:

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The Two-Way
4:28 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Explosions: Latest Developments

A marathon runner, wrapped in a blanket to stay warm after the race, watched Monday as authorities investigated the bombings that shook the finish line area at the Boston Marathon. At least three people were killed and dozens were wounded.
Nicolaus Czarnecki Barcroft Media /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:59 am

The day after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, investigators began to unravel some of the details of what happened, and we began to learn about the lives of the three people who were killed.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers said that they believed the devices used in the attack may have been pressure-cooker bombs stuffed with BBs and nails. Investigators said the bombs may have been left inside nylon bags or backpacks.

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Law
1:52 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Adoption Case Brings Rare Family Law Dispute To High Court

This October 2011 photo provided by Melanie Capobianco shows her adoptive daughter, Veronica, trick-or-treating in Charleston, S.C. The child has been the focus of a custody battle between her adoptive parents and her birth father.
Courtesy of Melanie Capobianco AP

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 12:04 pm

Take the usual agony of an adoption dispute. Add in the disgraceful U.S. history of ripping Indian children from their Native American families. Mix in a dose of initial fatherly abandonment. And there you have it — a poisonous and painful legal cocktail that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

At issue is the reach of the Indian Child Welfare Act, known as ICWA. The law was enacted in 1978 to protect Native American tribes from having their children almost literally stolen away and given to non-Indian adoptive or foster parents.

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The Two-Way
5:17 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Online Tools Help People Connect After Boston Marathon Bombing

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 3:21 am

Even as the shock and horror of the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon had yet to subside Monday, people were turning to online tools to check on the safety of their friends and family who were at the event. The latest estimates of the casualties include more than 3 dozen people injured, with two dead.

As has been the case in previous calamities, Google and the Red Cross helped to connect people with runners, spectators, and volunteers who were at the race.

Here are several tools that came into use today:

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Boston Blasts Lead To Heightened Security Elsewhere

U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Park Police officers stand guard on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House Monday. Security there was tightened after at least two explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 3:23 am

Monday's explosions in Boston have led to heightened security elsewhere, with New York, Washington and Los Angeles among the cities taking action within hours of the blasts.

"We're stepping up security at hotels and other prominent locations in the city through deployment of the NYPD's critical response vehicles until more about the explosion is learned," Paul J. Browne, the deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department, .

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U.S.
4:06 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

An Update On The Boston Marathon Explosions

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 8:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. We begin this hour with the horrific story unfolding today out of Boston. Just over four hours into the Boston Marathon, two explosions ripped into a crowd of onlookers and runners not far from the finish line. Boston Police have confirmed at least two people dead, and 23 injured. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick spoke just moments ago, along with the city's police commissioner, Ed Davis.

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Law
4:06 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Supreme Court Weighs Patenting Of Human Genes

Medical geneticist Dr. Harry Ostrer (center) talks to the press outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The court heard oral arguments on the highly charged question of whether human genes can be patented.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 6:44 am

In a case considered pivotal to the future of science and medicine, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed skeptical Monday about a claim that human genes can be patented.

Contending that genes can be patented are the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, which see patents as the keys to new scientific exploration. On the other side are doctors, patients and many scientists, who see gene patents as an attempt to monopolize and block future exploration in the new universe of genetics.

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