There is a fake John Kerry wandering around Jerusalem these days. He stars in several satirical videos criticizing the U.S. effort to negotiate a peace agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The State Department suggests it is just the latest sign that Kerry has put real pressure on Israel to move toward a peace deal. NPR's Emily Harris reports.
Is the water safe to drink? As we've just heard, that's the question still plaguing hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who live in and around Charleston. I spoke earlier today with the other U.S. senator from West Virginia, the senior senator, Democrat Jay Rockefeller.
Senator Rockefeller, welcome to the program.
SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Melissa. I wouldn't drink that water if you paid me.
BLOCK: Really? Well, that was my first question, would you drink the water? And you say no.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 3:11 pm
If you're happily in love, Mom and Dad may have helped.
Teenagers' relationships with their parents have a small but measurable impact on their romantic relationships up to 15 years later, according to researchers at the University of Alberta.
People who had a tumultuous relationship with Mom and Dad in their teens were more likely to face heartache down the road. And those who felt close to their parents during adolescence tended to feel more emotionally and physically satisfied in their adult romantic relationships.
Now we go behind closed doors. That's the part of the program where we talk about issues that people usually keep private. And today, we are focusing on miscarriage. And if you've ever gone through it or know someone who has, then you know it's devastating and surprisingly common. The National Institutes of Health report that 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
In inner cities and poor rural areas across the country, public health advocates have been working hard to turn around food deserts — neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce, and greasy fast food abounds. In many cases, they're converting dingy, cramped corner markets into lighter, brighter venues that offer fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you've ever tried to drink something through one of those little red coffee stirrers instead of a full-sized straw, you know what it's like to breathe with asthma.
Twenty-five million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma. And for 10 percent of them, medications like inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists aren't enough to keep them out of the hospital.
Forest Lawn is a big name in the funeral business, and it has funeral homes all across Southern California. Most are stately, sprawling estates. But the Glendale location is a little different.
First off, it's tiny — the size of a typical funeral home bathroom. Second, there aren't any coffins or headstones for sale. There is an attendant, but he can't sell you anything: The urns are only on display. The place feels pretty inconspicuous. It could as easily be marketing homemade pottery as end-of-life planning.
Wayne Warren shakes wet dirt out of a plastic bucket and into a metal chute, tossing aside bigger rocks. For him, California's drought is golden.
Yes, golden. Warren is knee-deep in the San Gabriel River, an hour outside of Los Angeles. That chute next to him is a sluice box. The water washes away the dirt in a muddy cloud, and he leans over the box. Out of the creek, he taps his findings into a green, plastic gold pan and gives it a few swirls. What's left ...
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 3:19 pm
In Sochi this week, athletes are competing in a display of human grace and skill. Many will win. Many more will lose, and many tears will be shed.
In New York on Saturday night, athletes of a different breed competed in a display of canine finesse and dexterity. Many won. If any lost, none knew it. Not one shed a tear.
At the Westminster Dog Show's Masters Agility Championship, 225 exuberant dogs dove through tunnels, flew through hoops, leaped over hurdles and wove in and out of poles with the focus of the highest-level Olympic champion.
Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 10:04 am
California, which has been experiencing its worst drought on record, is welcoming some heavy rainfall this weekend, but it's still too early to say if it signals a wholesale quenching of dried up streams and farm fields.
There's been a surge in earthquakes in the U.S. over the last few years. In Texas, there are 10 times the number of earthquakes now than just a few years ago.
Scientists say it's likely linked to the boom in oil and gas activity, meaning that people who never felt the ground shake are starting to.
Here's how Pat Jones of Snyder, Texas, describes the earthquake that struck her town in 2010: "It just sounded like some car hit the back of our house. We got up and checked around and we didn't see anything or hear anything else."
Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 10:37 am
Controversy is nothing new to figure skating, so perhaps it's not surprising that team figure skating, new to this Olympics, has already come in for some unwanted attention. The Russian and U.S. figure skating teams are strongly denying reports that they are in collusion.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The Obama administration is now urging some criminals in U.S. prisons to plead for clemency. Many of these prisoners were sentenced under tough drug laws from the days of the crack epidemic. And now, the Justice Department says that low level, non-violent drug offenders should ask for early release. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, is pushing a bill that advocates are calling the biggest sentencing reform in decades.
Letters written in a time of war reflect almost universal longing and loss, no matter the century or the enemy. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Andrew Carroll, the director of the Center for American War Letters, about his personal collection of wartime correspondence from every American conflict, going back to 1776.
Attorney General Eric Holder has directed the Justice Department to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition." This means they will now have spousal privileges in federal courts. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with justice correspondent Carrie Johnson about the policy shift and what it means for same-sex couples.
Pretty soon, going to community college in Tennessee may become absolutely free. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled the proposal in his annual State of the State address this week.
Haslam is trying to lift Tennessee's ranking as one of the least-educated states. Less than a third of residents have even a two-year degree. But a community college free-for-all has been tried elsewhere, though not sustained, and there's always a nagging question.
"So I know you're wondering," Haslam said. "How do we pay for this?"
Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:04 pm
Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's the first day of Winter Olympic in Sochi. Winners and losers are flying off the slopes. Those that don't want to know what happened before you have a chance to see it on TV, consider this is a spoiler alert. We're joined now by NPR's Tamara Keith from Sochi. Tamara, thanks very much for being with us.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Glad to be with you.
SIMON: And let's start with the biathlon because someone who's regarded as a legend, I guess, has performed....
Plans are underway to open KitTea, a gourmet tea house in San Francisco, where patrons mingle with "resident" cats. The felines will come from rescue shelters and be up for adoption. NPR's Scott Simon talks to Courtney Hatt, the co-founder of KitTea, about starting a cat cafe.
Alex Rodriguez has accepted his season-long ban from baseball and dropped his lawsuits against the MLB and the Players Association. NPR's Scott Simon talks with Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine about one of baseball's greatest and most infamous players.
Gray wolves are a controversial and polarizing animal in much of the American West. Wolves have slowly come back from extinction, forcing people to learn how to coexist with the cunning predator. One farmer is teaching his cattle to huddle together as bison do when threatened — there is safety in numbers.
We wondered if some of the numbers in recent jobs reports might reflect a finding in a Department of Education study that came out in January about a group of high school students they began to study 12 years ago. That group of students is now pushing 30, and 23 percent are living with their parents. A Pew national study puts the percentage of that generation called millenials who live with their parents even higher.
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 6:31 pm
A federal jury has found Mayor Tony F. Mack of Trenton, N.J., guilty of six charges ranging from extortion and bribery to fraud. Mack's brother was also convicted of conspiracy and bribery charges in the case, which involved plans for a parking garage.
The Justice Department announced the jury's ruling Friday evening. In a news release about the verdict, U.S. Attorney Fishman said that Mack and his brother, Ralphiel, had schemed to use the influence of the mayor's office to extract money in exchange for easing development on city-owned land. Their trial lasted five weeks.
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:42 am
Norovirus isn't just a problem for cruise ships.
The Mohonk Mountain House, a historic resort on the edge of Catskills in New York, closed Friday afternoon so that cleaning crews from a company that specializes in disaster responses can scour the place after an outbreak of intestinal illness. The cleanup is expected to take a week.
Hundreds of people, both guests and staff, were reportedly sickened in the last week or so.