The big energy story of 2013 was a boom in domestic oil production, especially in North Dakota. NPR's Arun Rath talks with national correspondent Jeff Brady, who saw the boom firsthand during a recent reporting trip to the state.
Before turning the page on 2013, All Things Considered wanted to tell you stories you haven't heard — unknown stories about people you've heard of, and unknown people who have affected your lives in ways you can't imagine.
The passing of one sports legend went largely unnoticed this year. She's a figure you might know from the movie A League of Their Own, starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks.
Abortion rights activists are working on a counterattack to the 200 bills that have passed in states across the U.S. since 2010.
In the past three years, Republican-led legislatures have backed bills to regulate abortions and the doctors and clinics that perform them.
Bills to ban abortions at 20 weeks are among the laws that cropped up three years ago and have now passed in about a dozen states. This year, North Dakota pushed to end abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy.
The giant retailer Target continues to feel the fallout from a massive security breach at its stores. The latest revelation: Hackers who stole credit and debit card numbers this holiday season also collected encrypted personal identification numbers.
But Brigitte Clark had no worries as she left a Target in Los Angeles on Saturday morning, her cart full of groceries.
Secretary of State John Kerry helped broker the deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria. He's been in his State Department post since February, and in that time has had a full portfolio - Syria, Iran, another attempt at Mideast peace talks. To better gauge how John Kerry's performed during his first year on the job, we called David Ignatius. He is a columnist for the Washington Post. Thanks so much for joining us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jennifer Ludden. A scandal at a Baltimore jail this year prompted Maryland to review procedures that all of its state and local detention centers. Dozens of correction officers and others are accused of conspiring with gang members in the jail, smuggling in drugs, even having sex with inmates.
GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: I share the public's revulsion at these allegations and we have a zero tolerance policy towards corruption of any kind.
This month, NPR's been looking at some of the numbers that bring 2013 into focus. Today, the number 10. That's how many cities and states have passed laws guaranteeing access to some kind of family leave this year, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. That group's long championed such leave policies. And joining us now to talk about such trends is Vicki Shabo, the partnership's director of work and family programs. Welcome.
VICKI SHABO: Thank you, Jennifer. It's so great to be here.
From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.
This year saw a major development in a story that NPR has been following since 2011. That's when a group of homeless disabled veterans filed a lawsuit seeking housing on a sprawling campus of the VA health care facility in West Los Angeles. The VA had taken no action on plans for housing homeless vets there. But NPR's Ina Jaffe found the department had made tens of millions of dollars renting out parts of the property to enterprises that had nothing to do with veterans. Hi, Ina.
We're going to check in now with the city of Moore, Oklahoma. Back in May, it was devastated by a mile-wide F5 tornado with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour. The day after the storm, Mayor Glenn Lewis told MORNING EDITION that rescue crews were still searching for survivors.
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MAYOR GLENN LEWIS: We're still looking for, you know, hopefully that one extra person that we missed that we're going to find. We're very optimistic about that. We did have quite a bit of loss of life.
Antarctica is one of the best places on Earth to spot these fallen stars.
Each winter — which is summer in down south — a team of geologists camps out on an Antarctic glacier in the middle of nowhere, often where no human has ever tread. It's kind of like a space voyage, but a lot cheaper.
And it's the meteorite that's done most of the traveling.
The Endangered Species Act, which turns 40 on Saturday, helped bring back iconic species such as the wolf, grizzly bear and bald eagle, after hunting, trapping and pesticides almost wiped those animals out.
But a very different kind of threat — global warming — is pushing some species like the polar bear to the brink of extinction.
One government biologist discovered the best way he could help save polar bears was to quit his job.
Thirty-four wildland firefighters died in the line of duty this year. Some of those fatalities were isolated incidents, but one event captured the nation's attention, sparking a larger conversation about the new dangers firefighters face.
That event unfolded in central Arizona the afternoon of June 30, a Sunday.
"I'm here with Granite Mountain Hot Shots. Our escape route has been cut off," says a crew boss on recently released radio traffic from the Yarnell Hill Fire. "We are preparing a deployment site, and I'll give you a call when we are under the shelters.
This was a busy year for Vice President Joe Biden: He was President Obama's point man on gun control; he traveled widely, pushing for infrastructure spending; and he recently returned form a trip to Asia, where he met with the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.
In 2014, Biden may face an even busier schedule, as he stumps for Democratic congressional candidates in advance of November's midterm elections and tries to decide whether to make another run for president himself.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, last Thursday. Reid has promised a vote no later than Jan. 7 on a measure to extend jobless benefits for three months.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 5:19 pm
Connecticut State Police have released an exhaustive report on last year's Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, offering some new details on the massacre that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.
Photographs taken by investigators of the home that 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza shared with his mother show "numerous rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, shot-up paper targets, gun cases, shooting earplugs and a gun safe with a rifle in it," The Associated Press writes.
On Feb. 21, Alexandra Wolff ate steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli for dinner. Later that night, sitting in her room, she spent 20 minutes scanning pictures in InStyle magazine.
She remembers those things, just as she remembers that on Aug. 2 she stopped at Target and bought Raisin Bran; and on April 17 she wore a white button-down shirt; and on Oct. 2 she went to TGI Fridays and spoke to the hostess, who was wearing black leather flats with small bows on them.
It's not been a good year for Florida's citrus industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, for the second year running, the orange crop is expected to be almost 10 percent lower than the previous year.
The culprit is citrus greening, a disease that has devastated Florida's oranges and grapefruits, and has now begun to spread in Texas and California.
North Dakota and western Canada are producing crude oil faster than it can be shipped to refineries.
Rail car manufacturers can't make new tank cars fast enough, and new pipeline proposals face long delays over environmental concerns. So energy companies are looking for new ways to get the heavy crude to market.
One proposed solution is to ship the oil by barge over the Great Lakes — but it's a controversial one.
The law that protects endangered species turns 40 tomorrow and perhaps the most controversial thing the government has done under the law is to reintroduce the gray wolf. Ranchers and hunters strongly opposed the move and now the federal government wants to take the gray wolf off the endangered species list. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, this time, it is the scientists who are protesting loudly.
ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Ecologist Carlos Carroll is walking through the snow in a wide valley in Northern California.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
Car companies have already begun to design cars that can drive themselves. But to make these smart cars really useful, they'll also need smart roads. As part of his series, "Joe's Big Idea," NPR science correspondent Joe Palca has this story about some computer scientists who were designing a smart traffic intersection. How smart? Well, it can keep traffic flowing at least 10 times faster than old-fashioned intersections.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. A stunning court disagreement today over the National Security Agency's mass collection of telephone records. Just one week after a D.C. federal judge found it unconstitutional, New York federal Judge William Pauley determined concluded the opposite. The program, he says, is lawful. The conflicting opinions came in response to two challenges to the NSA's phone data collection.
Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.
But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
"It could be days before power is restored to swathes of the country after a ice storms plunged homes and businesses from Michigan to Maine and into Canada into darkness, utility officials say." (NBC News)