U.S. News

Shots - Health News
12:36 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

How To Make Sense Of Confusing, New Blood Pressure Advice

Some people with only slightly elevated blood pressure might be able to relax a bit, if they're doctors go along new treatment guidelines.
iStockphoto

If you're confused about the latest recommendations for treating high blood pressure, take heart. Doctors are confused, too.

On Wednesday, a panel of specialists called the Eighth Joint National Committee published guidelines saying that many people over 60 don't need to start taking medications to lower blood pressure until it's above 150/90 millimeters of mercury.

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Education
10:26 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Nation's Report Card Shows Improvement, But Race Still Divides

Cities across the country are receiving the latest numbers on how well their 4th and 8th graders are doing in reading and math. Results are positive, but there's only been incremental changes when it comes to race, gender, and income gaps. Host Michel Martin finds out more.

Education
10:25 am
Thu December 19, 2013

School Leaders On What Determines Student Success

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, it is the season of giving - along with really corny ads reminding you about that. In a few minutes, we'll talk about the best and worst of charity video campaigns according to one advocacy group. That's coming up.

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The Salt
1:00 am
Thu December 19, 2013

This Stanford Ph.D. Became A Fruit Picker To Feed California's Hungry

Sarah Ramirez runs an organization that brings excess produce to the hungry. Here, she gleans apples from a front yard.
Scott Anger KQED

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 8:16 am

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Planet Money
3:49 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

A Tiny Taper, In 2 Graphs

Tapir
Flickr

In the past five years, the Federal Reserve has created roughly $3 trillion out of thin air.

The Fed uses the money it creates out of thin air to buy bonds. The idea is to drive down interest rates, which encourages people and businesses to borrow and spend money. It's called quantitative easing.

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Politics
3:46 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Push For Release Of CIA Interrogation Report Continues

Mark Udall of Colorado is one of the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee pressing for the so-called torture report to be declassified.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:31 pm

For more than a year, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA have been engaged in a tug of war over the release of the so-called torture report.

Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, says the $40 million, 6,000-page report demonstrates that CIA treatment of detainees was all but useless in terms of gathering actionable intelligence.

For its part, the CIA says the classified committee report contains significant errors and that no one at the agency was interviewed by Senate investigators.

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Education
3:46 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Decade-Long Study Of Big City Schools Finds Better Math, Reading

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:34 pm

Ten years after education researchers began focusing on big city school systems and monitoring their math and reading scores, there's good news to report. Today, fourth and eighth graders in many of the nation's largest cities have made impressive gains. Surprisingly, school systems with large numbers of low income children have exceeded the national average in both subjects .

The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Top SAC Capital Manager Guilty Of Insider Trading

Michael Steinberg (left) departs federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday after being found guilty on charges that he traded on insider information.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:42 pm

Michael Steinberg, a top portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors, has been found guilty of insider trading — the latest conviction stemming from a years-long federal investigation into the hedge fund's activities.

Steinberg was found guilty on five counts of conspiracy and securities fraud.

Reuters writes:

"Prosecutors said he traded on confidential information that was passed to him by an employee, who later admitted to swapping illegal tips with friends at other firms."

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World
3:46 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Obama, Biden Won't Go To 2014 Olympics, But Gay Athletes Will

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Senate Approves Budget Deal, Reducing Chances Of A Shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), walks to the chamber for the final votes on the bipartisan budget deal on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 4:24 pm

The Senate passed a two-year bipartisan budget deal aimed at easing automatic spending cuts and avoiding a government shutdown, following a House vote on the measure last week.

The vote by a simple majority was absent the partisan brinksmanship that has become a hallmark of budget deals in recent memory.

The appropriations committees in both chambers must now set in stone a $1.012 trillion fiscal 2014 spending bill before current spending authority expires. Congress also faces a spring 2014 to raise the debt ceiling — another potential partisan standoff.

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It's All Politics
3:31 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

What Santa Gave Your Senator This Year

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:12 pm

In a year that featured divisive fights over the budget, health care and presidential nominations, the United States Senate took a break from partisan bickering Tuesday night to get in the Christmas spirit.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Intelligence Panel Recommends Limits On NSA Surveillance

The National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:31 pm

(This post was updated at 6:30 p.m. ET)

A panel looking into U.S. electronic surveillance activities in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations has recommended removing the NSA's authority to collect and store Americans' telephone data.

The key recommendation was one of dozens that the panel put forward; however, it did not propose a wholesale scaling back of domestic spying by the National Security Agency and other intelligence branches.

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Code Switch
2:30 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Seeking Wonderful Young Adult Novels That Deal With Race

What books about race or culture would you recommend to a not-so-bookish teen?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 2:49 pm

At Code Switch, we receive a whole bunch of emails and messages from readers and listeners. And many times, folks ask questions that get us buzzing during our editorial discussions.

One Code Switch reader sent us a note seeking book recommendations for a multiracial teen. The emailer described the teen as not very "bookish" but still a good reader.

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It's All Politics
2:14 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Obama's Jab At Russia In Keeping With Olympic Tradition

Team USA celebrates its 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the semifinal Men's Ice Hockey event at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Feb. 22, 1980. The game was dubbed "the Miracle on Ice."
Steve Powell Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:40 pm

When it comes to the Olympics, politics intrudes more often than not.

President Obama has decided not to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February. The official U.S. delegation will not include a president, vice president, first lady or former president for the first time since 2000.

Instead, Obama asked athletes including openly gay tennis great Billie Jean King and two-time hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow to represent the country. American gay-rights groups, angered by an anti-gay law Russia enacted in June, applauded the move.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Kerry Says He Regrets Treatment Of Indian Diplomat In New York

Indian workers in New Delhi remove a barricade Tuesday that had been erected outside the main entrance of the U.S Embassy as a safety measure.
Saurabh Das AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 2:56 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry has telephoned a top official in New Delhi to express regret for the strip-search of an Indian diplomat after her arrest last week in New York on charges of visa fraud.

"As a father of two daughters about the same age as [Indian diplomat] Devyani Khobragade, the Secretary empathizes with the sensitivities we are hearing from India about the events that unfolded after Ms. Khobragade's arrest," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a written statement, relating Kerry's conversation.

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Shots - Health News
10:22 am
Wed December 18, 2013

15-Year-Old Wants Braces: Will Obamacare Cover Them?

Hey, Mom, can I get braces like that guy?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 11:58 am

It turns out that readers of all ages — from teenagers to seniors — have questions about the health law. We try to answer the latest batch.

I'm 15 years old, and I really want braces. If my mom signs me up for Obamacare, will it cover it?

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Sports
9:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Brain Injuries Cause For Concern In Baseball Too

Reports show former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel, who took his own life last year, suffered from a degenerative brain disease. Injuries like that are usually associated with the hard knocks of football. Host Michel Martin talks with sports writer Pablo Torre about the prevalence of brain injuries in other sports.

Race
9:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Why Black College Football Players Fall Behind In Education

New research raises concerns about low graduations rates for black college football players. Host Michel Martin finds out more from education reporter Emily Richmond, and professor Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

Around the Nation
1:03 am
Wed December 18, 2013

A 'Tale Of Two Cities' As Detroit Looks To 2014

Detroit's Midtown neighborhood is reviving in the midst of the larger city's decline.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:13 am

The streets outside Avalon Bakery in Detroit's Midtown are a snowy, slushy, mostly unplowed mess, and all these customers want to do is pay for their loaf of Motown Multigrain or Poletown Rye.

But Detroiters are a gracious, if weary, bunch. So when they see yet another reporter sticking a microphone in their faces, asking what they think of all this media attention, they answer politely.

And even if they're not always crazy about the way their city is portrayed, no one argues with the fact that Detroit had a newsworthy year.

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The Salt
12:58 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Amid Fields Of Plenty, A Farmworker's Wife Struggles To Feed Her Family

Food banks have become a primary source of nutrition for rural farmworker communities in the Central Valley.
Scott Anger KQED

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:25 am

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It's All Politics
5:43 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Retirement Flurry Creates Openings For Both Parties In 2014

Republican Rep. Tom Latham speaks in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 9. Latham and two other congressmen announced Tuesday they will not seek re-election in 2014.
Justin Hayworth AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:21 pm

Congress got a jolt Tuesday when three House members announced they will step down at the end of their terms, creating 2014 pickup opportunities for both parties.

The retirements of Republican Reps. Frank Wolf of Virginia and Tom Latham of Iowa came as welcome news to Democrats, who need a net gain of 17 seats to capture a House majority in the midterm elections.

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Number Of The Year
4:44 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Prices Are Low, And That Could Be Bad

Superlow inflation means workers often don't see big raises and consumers may delay buying, thinking prices will drop some more.
Kevork Djansezian Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:34 pm

2.

That's the number the Federal Reserve Board's policymakers wanted to see this year. Having an annual inflation rate of 2 percent would confirm that the U.S. economy is strengthening — workers are getting raises and companies are seeing enough customer demand to mark up prices.

But the 2 percent target turned out to be too high.

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It's All Politics
4:15 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Red State Retirement Takes Democratic House Seat Out Of Play

Utah Rep. Jim Matheson delivers a speech in October 2012. The veteran Democrat says he'll retire at the end of his seventh term.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 5:57 pm

Rep. Jim Matheson announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of his term, providing Republicans with a likely House seat pickup in 2014.

With a tough re-election fight looming in his conservative Salt Lake City-area district, the Utah Democrat decided against seeking another term in the House.

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All Tech Considered
3:38 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

How This Bay Area Tech Boom's Different From The Last One

San Francisco's median home price hit $1 million this year.
Patrick Shyu Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:22 pm

This week, we're exploring the San Francisco Bay Area and the way income inequality is affecting the region. Check out the other pieces of the week, aggregated on this page.

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Number Of The Year
3:28 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

A Majority In U.S. Favor Legal Pot, But Will That Stick?

Partiers celebrate marijuana legalization in Washington state at a pot party in Seattle earlier this month.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:49 pm

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. They're numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we live in.

This year, for the first time, national polls show a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Gallup has been asking the question for four decades, and now it says 58 percent favor legalization.

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20 Years Of NAFTA
3:28 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

What Has NAFTA Meant For Workers? That Debate's Still Raging

An auto worker tightens bolts on a Focus at a Ford plant in Michigan in October. Labor unions predicted in 1993 that NAFTA would send many U.S. manufacturing jobs to Mexico, and they continue to argue that the pact prompted a race to the bottom for workers.
Mira Oberman AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

Two decades ago, the strongest critics of the North American Free Trade Agreement were members of labor unions. They warned that the trade deal would mean the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and lower wages for U.S. workers.

Today, 20 years since NAFTA's passage, unions feel as strongly as ever that the deal was a bad idea.

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Around the Nation
2:43 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Diary Of Influential Nazi Given To Holocaust Museum

A page dated Feb. 2, 1941, from the diary of German Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg is displayed at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Tuesday.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

A long-lost diary kept by a top aide to Adolf Hitler was formally transferred to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday. Scholars say the 425-page document gives a glimpse into the mind of Alfred Rosenberg, and a view of his role in shaping the Nazi regime's genocidal policies.

Rosenberg's meticulous script runs straight as a ruler across the sepia-colored pages. The notes are from 1936 through 1944.

Museum Director Sara Bloomfield says it took years — and the help of many — to procure the diary.

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National Security
2:43 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Snowden's Document Leaks Shocked The NSA, And More May Be On The Way

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

That lawsuit over NSA surveillance would likely never have happened if former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hadn't leaked classified documents that showed what the agency was doing. Snowden also revealed that the U.S. government was monitoring the communications of foreign leaders, among other secret activities. Intelligence officials say they're still coping with the ramifications of all these unauthorized disclosures.

NPR's Tom Gjelten has been covering the Snowden leaks since they became known in June, and he joins me now.

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National Security
2:43 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Judge Rules Against NSA Bulk Collection Program

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're going to focus now on the National Security Agency. It's had a bad year, at least publicly. In a moment, we'll take a broader look at the significance of the thousands of documents that Edward Snowden leaked this year on NSA surveillance. Those leaks have raised big questions about whether the agency is violating the Constitution.

Well, yesterday, a federal judge here in Washington, D.C., ruled that the NSA's program to collect the phone records of virtually every American likely crosses that line.

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Around the Nation
2:43 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Now You Can Buy Your Occupy Wall Street Poster From Wal-Mart

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:44 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And finally this hour, an unlikely twist in the story of Occupy Wall Street. For the past several years, the movement has critiqued everything from the structure of banking to low wage pay. Well, now, you can own a part of Occupy. It's a large panoramic poster of protesters camped out in New York's Zuccotti Park. And as NPR's Margot Adler reports, you can only buy it online at Wal-Mart.

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