U.S. News

The Edge
3:05 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Can This 'Perfect Match' Dance Their Way To Gold?

Meryl Davis and Charlie White compete in the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston earlier this month.
Jared Wickerham Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 10:47 am

At the Arctic Edge skating rink 30 miles northwest of Detroit, the team that's won every major ice dance competition in the past few years is leaving the ice separately. But Meryl Davis and Charlie White are never far apart for long.

"It's freaky, I mean, how often that we are just reading each other's minds and, like, say the same thing at the exact same time," says White.

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Shots - Health News
5:48 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Cutting Spousal Benefits Might Not Save Firms Money After All

UPS has told workers that it will no longer offer health coverage for spouses who have their own job-based insurance. Above, a UPS driver makes a delivery in North Andover, Mass.
Elise Amendola AP

One of the latest trends for employers looking to save money on health care benefits is to cut back on coverage of their employees' spouses.

Some companies are simply charging more for spouses who work and are eligible for coverage at their own job. Others, like UPS, are dropping spousal coverage entirely.

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Health
3:04 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

West Virginians Confused About Water Safety, Despite State's All Clear

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 5:53 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Kelly McEvers.

This week, the company responsible for a toxic chemical leak into the Elk River in West Virginia announced that a second previously undisclosed chemical was present and may also have slipped into the water supply - this after people in and around Charleston, West Virginia, had already spent days avoiding the tap water only to have officials declare it's safe for drinking last week.

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The Two-Way
10:46 am
Sat January 25, 2014

3 Dead In Shooting At Baltimore-Area Shopping Mall

Police move in from a parking lot to the Mall in Columbia after reports of a multiple shooting, on Saturday, in Howard County, Md.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 7:10 pm

Updated 9 p.m. ET

Three people are dead after an assailant armed with a shotgun entered a suburban Baltimore shopping mall on Saturday and shot two store employees before killing himself, police said.

"We were able to identify three victims at an upper level store," Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon told reporters. "One of the victim appears to be the shooter."

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Politics
7:41 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Eyes On 2016, GOP Revisits The Rebranding

Mike Huckabee, left, sits with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus before Huckabee spoke at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington on Thursday,
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 10:14 am

Republican Party leaders gathered in Washington this week for their annual winter meetings. They approved new rules for the 2016 presidential primaries designed to create a more orderly path to the GOP nomination — and, the party hopes, to the White House.

But this week's meeting also provided an opportunity to see how far Republicans have come in an effort begun a year ago to reach out to new voters — especially young people, minorities and women.

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The Two-Way
6:27 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Police Make Arrest In Fatal Shooting At SC State University

This image provided by the Orangeburg-Calhoun Regional Detention Center shows Justin Bernard Singleton, 19, of Charleston, who is charged with murder in the death of university student Brandon Robinson.
Uncredited AP

Police arrested a suspect early Saturday in connection with the fatal shooting of a student at South Carolina State University.

A news release issued by police says Justin Bernard Singleton, 19, of Charleston, was arrested in a parking lot of an apartment complex in Orangeburg, where the campus is located and has been charged with murder in the death of Brandon Robinson, 20, who was shot and killed on Friday.

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Around the Nation
3:23 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music — Literally

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes received 6,700 weapons from the Mexican government, from which he sculpted instruments.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 10:14 am

Pedro Reyes says being Mexican is like living in an apartment where an upstairs neighbor has a leaking swimming pool.

"Just what is leaking," says Reyes, "is hundreds of thousands of guns."

He wants people to think about the availability of guns in the United States, and the impact that has in Mexico.

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The Two-Way
7:02 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

NFL Fines Seattle's Richard Sherman Nearly $8,000

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been fined by the NFL for unsportsmanlike behavior after his team's win over San Francisco in the NFC title game. He's seen here on the sideline after tipping a pass that led to a game-clinching interception.
Otto Greule Jr Getty Images

Days after his conduct in the NFC title game sparked a wide-ranging controversy, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been fined $7,875 for what the NFL calls unsportsmanlike conduct and taunting at the end of that game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Sherman famously tipped a pass into the hands of a teammate late in that game, sealing the win for Seattle. And then he equally famously launched into a brief, but excited and loud, rant about his abilities with sideline reporter Erin Andrews.

NPR's Richard Gonzales reports for our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
6:04 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Student Shot And Killed At S.C. State University

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:30 am

Police are looking for four suspects in Orangeburg, S.C., where a student was shot and killed in an attack on the campus of South Carolina State University Friday afternoon. Officials identified the victim as Brandon Robinson, 20, a member of the school's football team.

The shooting took place at a dormitory around 1:30 p.m. The campus was locked down for hours afterward; the search for the suspects is still underway off-campus, officials said.

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Around the Nation
5:03 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

String Of Oil Train Crashes Prompts Push For Safety Rules

A fireball goes up at the site of an oil train derailment in Casselton, N.D., in December.
Bruce Crummy AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:29 pm

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for the swift enactment of tough new standards on trains carrying crude oil. And in an unprecedented move, the NTSB made its recommendations jointly with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

With the huge increase in oil shipped by train across North America, the agencies warn another major disaster could be looming.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Judge Tells Hospital To Take Pregnant Woman Off Life Support

Erick Munoz is escorted by attorneys as he walks to court in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday. A judge ordered a hospital to take Munoz's wife, who is 22 weeks pregnant, off life support.
Tim Sharp AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 6:10 pm

A North Texas judge has ordered a Fort Worth hospital to remove life support from a woman who is 22 weeks pregnant. Her family says Marlise Munoz, 33, is brain-dead. She has reportedly not been awake since November, when she was discovered unconscious in her home. Doctors say she had suffered a pulmonary embolism.

At that time, Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant. Since then, a debate has raged about whether she should be kept alive. Many of the questions center on the details of Munoz's condition, and on state laws about terminating the life of a pregnant woman.

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Health Care
4:04 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Texas Sets Up Roadblock For Health Care Navigators

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Although the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, there are ongoing fights in many states over how to carry it out. One conflict concerns navigators, the insurance counselors who are supposed to help people learn about the law. This week saw two major developments: a federal judge put a strict Missouri law on hold, saying the state didn't have the right to regulate the work of navigators. But in Texas, state officials did just that this week.

Carrie Feibel of member station KUHF in Houston reports on the new rules in Texas.

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Commentary
4:04 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Week In Politics: Bob McDonnell & The State Of The Union

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:29 pm

Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators, EJ Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times. They discuss the latest on the charges faced by former Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell and the upcoming State of the Union address.

Politics
4:04 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

An Unconventional Contender Emerges As GOP Ponders 2016 Convention

Visitors crowd the Las Vegas Strip to celebrate the new year.
Glenn Pinkerton AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:29 pm

Every four years a handful of cities battle to host the big nominating conventions for the major political parties. The competition for 2016 has already begun, with a surprising and aggressive player making a bid for the Republican National Convention: Las Vegas.

Certainly it's a place that knows how to host a big convention, but for the GOP to give Vegas the nod, the party will have to look past the city's well-earned reputation as "Sin City."

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The Two-Way
3:58 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

New Study Shakes Up Science On Midwest Quake Zone

Map showing seismic activity in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 5:44 am

One of the biggest earthquakes in U.S. history didn't occur in California. Or Alaska. It happened in the country's midsection some 200 years ago in an area where today seven states straddle the Mississippi River Valley.

And seismologists from the United States Geological Survey believe they've uncovered evidence that the New Madrid Seismic Zone, as the area that spawned the 1811-12 quakes is known, is still alive and kicking.

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The Two-Way
3:10 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Holder Favors Pot Banking, And Legal Dealers Shrug

A marijuana bud and cash at a shop in Denver. An owner of marijuana stores in the city says of his company's bank account, "We treat it like gold."
Ed Andrieski AP

When I heard late Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder had come out in favor of bank accounts for state-sanctioned pot businesses, I assumed the industry would react with cheers. After all, they've long complained about being black-balled by banks, which are justifiably afraid of violating federal laws against handling drug money.

But when I started calling around today, the reactions ranged from "That's nice" to "Meh."

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Shots - Health News
2:24 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

The Healthy, Not The Young, May Determine Health Law's Fate

Insurers get paid more for older people under the Affordable Care Act, even if they're healthy.
Tony Ding AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 10:37 am

Now that the problems with the balky HealthCare.gov website are largely fixed, the Obama administration is finally feeling comfortable enough to launch some of the outreach it planned for last fall.

Its top target: young adults, specifically those between 18 and 35.

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Fri January 24, 2014

How An 18-Year-Old Code Was Cracked On The Web In 13 Minutes

A fascinating story that our friends at Minnesota Public Radio posted about earlier this week seems to be spreading fast and resonating with many.

Here's how The Associated Press, which picked up on the news a day after MPR's Bob Collins and some others, begins its account:

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Fri January 24, 2014

At Least 3 People Killed In 40-Vehicle Pileup In Indiana

Emergency crews work at the scene of a massive pileup Thursday involving more than 40 vehicles, many of them semitrailers, along Interstate 94.
AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 9:12 am

More than 40 vehicles, many of them semitrailers, were involved in a massive pileup on a slippery stretch of Interstate 94 in northwestern Indiana that killed at least three people and injured 23 others.

The accident occurred near Michigan City, Ind., about 60 miles from Chicago around 3:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.

The Associated Press reports:

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Shots - Health News
1:42 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Life-Support Battle Over Pregnant Texas Woman Heads To Court

Erick Munoz stands with an undated family photograph of himself, his wife, Marlise, and their son Mateo. Erick Munoz is now fighting to have a Texas hospital remove his pregnant wife from life support, saying she is brain-dead.
Courtesy Munoz Family MCT/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 6:38 am

The case of the Texas woman, 22 weeks pregnant and being kept on life-support machines at a Forth Worth hospital against her husband's wishes, goes before a judge in North Texas on Friday.

Marlise Munoz has been on respirators and ventilators since she was found unconscious in her home in November, when she was 14 weeks pregnant.

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Planet Money
1:40 am
Fri January 24, 2014

When A $65 Cab Ride Costs $192

Update: Several readers commented on the route shown in the map above. Lisa Chow took the car for purposes of this story, and chose a route that began and ended near NPR's New York offices.
Lisa Chow

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 8:37 am

I was in the car for about an hour, rolling around Manhattan in the middle of a snowstorm. The ride normally would have cost me $65. But when it came time to pay, my driver, Kirk Furye, was concerned for me.

"Are you going to get in trouble with NPR?" he asked. "You are almost at three times the [normal] amount."

Final cost of a one-hour cab ride: $192.00.

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Parallels
1:35 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Russians Fear A Sochi Legacy Of 'Black Widows,' Not Gold Medals

Shoppers at a department store in Sochi, Russia, pass an information banner with photos of suspected terrorists wanted by police. The color photo shows Ruzanna Ibragimova, the 22-year-old widow of an insurgent. Police say she has been spotted in recent days in central Sochi.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 6:51 pm

Two weeks before the Winter Olympics, Russian security forces are reportedly searching for potential suicide bombers, at least one of whom may already be in the host city of Sochi.

The suspects are thought to be linked to Islamist militants who are fighting to throw off Russian control and create a fundamentalist Muslim state in Russia's North Caucasus Mountains.

Police have been circulating leaflets at hotels in Sochi, warning about women who may be part of a terrorist plot.

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The Two-Way
6:33 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Conservative Writer D'Souza Indicted On Campaign Fraud Charges

Prominent conservative writer and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza has been indicted in New York on charges that he broke campaign finance laws. D'Souza, a vocal critic of President Obama, is accused of contributing thousands of dollars over the legal limit in a 2012 Senate race.

Another charge alleges that D'Souza, 52, made false statements about the contributions, which he is accused of routing through third parties. That charge carries a possible maximum punishment of five years in prison.

NPR's Peter Overby filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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It's All Politics
6:05 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Latest 'Rising Stars' Highlight GOP's Outreach To Women

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day (third from right) introduce the group's latest "rising stars" Thursday in Washington: Alison Howard (from left), Chelsi P. Henry, Monica Youngblood, Kimberly Yee and Alex Smith.
Andrew Harnik The Washington Times/Landov

As if to underscore GOP efforts at outreach to female voters, a breakout session of the Republican National Committee's latest "rising stars" at the group's winter meeting Thursday in Washington, D.C., entirely comprised young women.

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The Edge
5:22 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

A Baby Didn't Bump These Moms Out Of Competition

Malaysian shooting athlete Nur Suryani Taibi was eight months pregnant in 2012 as she prepared for the Summer Olympics in London.
Rebecca Blackwell AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 3:32 pm

Let's be clear: Olympians handle the physical challenges of childbirth differently than most of the rest of us.

Aretha Thurmond is a discus thrower who'd already competed in two Olympics when she went to the hospital in labor.

"So I get there and they're like, 'Yeah, whatever, you're 4 centimeters dilated. Go walk around the hospital and come back,' " she says.

Thurmond's hospital was part of a university, so she headed straight for its track, where she power-walked for the next two hours. Then the school's discus throwers came out.

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Economy
5:09 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Study: Upward Mobility No Tougher In U.S. Than Two Decades Ago

The study did reveal widespread disparity in upward mobility based on geography. For those hoping to climb the economic ladder, San Francisco is one of the best places to live, the study found.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 3:32 pm

A new study finds that contrary to widespread belief, it's no harder to climb the economic ladder in the United States today than it was 20 years ago.

But the study did find that moving up that ladder is still a lot more difficult in the U.S. than in other developed countries.

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The Two-Way
4:05 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

In Seattle, No Simple Answers For A Stalled Tunneling Machine

In this photo made with a fisheye wide-angle lens, "Bertha" is shown in July as it prepares to begin tunneling in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:38 am

Ever wonder what happened with Bertha — the world's biggest tunneling machine, stuck under Seattle? We last checked in on the story right before Christmas, when engineers were preparing to send down inspection teams to identify the blockage. People (OK, the media) were having a grand time, floating ridiculous guesses about what the mysterious object might be. An old ship? Dinosaur bones? Bigfoot?

One month later, there's still no clear answer. Certainly nothing headline-grabbing.

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It's All Politics
3:21 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Virginia Gay Marriage Shift Generates Sharp Response

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring speaks at the Virginia Capitol in Richmond on Dec. 18. Herring's announcement Thursday generated strong partisan responses.
Steve Helber AP

Political reaction to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's announcement Thursday that he won't defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage was strong and swift — and fell squarely along party lines.

Herring told Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep that he had concluded the 2006 constitutional amendment is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.

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The Salt
2:45 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Potential Carcinogen In Colas Has FDA Reviewing Data

4-MEI, a chemical created during the manufacturing of caramel color used to dye sodas brown, is under new scrutiny.
iStockphoto

A new study from Consumer Reports finds varying levels of a chemical compound classified as a possible human carcinogen in many popular brands of soda.

The findings have prompted the Food and Drug Administration to take a new look at the compound, 4-methylimidazole — or 4-MEI for short. It is found in the caramel color that soda makers use to dye the drinks brown.

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Law
2:43 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

The Law Behind The Texas Life Support Controversy

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 3:32 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Tomorrow, a Texas court will hear the lawsuit of Erick Munoz who wants a Fort Worth Hospital to take his wife, Marlise, off life support. Ms. Munoz suffered what's believed to have been a pulmonary embolism in November. She's been unresponsive ever since. The hospital, John Peter Smith Hospital, will not release a diagnosis to the public. But her husband says she is brain dead and he says the Munozes, both paramedics, had discussed such a possibility in the past and he says that she did not want to be kept alive by machines.

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