Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 1:45 pm
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who became a nationally known figure as he led his department's response to last April's bombings at the Boston Marathon, announced Monday that he's stepping down after seven years in the job.
"It's time for me to try other things," the 57-year-old Davis told reporters. Among the first opportunities he said he may take advantage of is a fellowship at Harvard.
Pregnant women hear a lot about things they should avoid: alcohol, tobacco, chemical exposures, stress. All of those have the potential to affect a developing fetus. And now scientists are beginning to understand why.
One important factor, they say, is something called epigenetics, which involves the mechanisms that turn individual genes on and off in a cell.
John Hewitt is a neuroscientist who studies the biology of intelligence. He's also a parent. Over the years, Hewitt has periodically drawn upon his scientific knowledge in making parenting decisions.
"I'm a father of four children myself and I never worried too much about the environments that I was providing for my children because I thought, well, it would all work out in the end anyway — aren't the genes especially powerful?" Hewitt says.
Claudia Felder lives in Chino, Calif., with her parents. It's a wholesome scene: nice house, three dogs and a parrot and happy family pictures everywhere.
You'd have no idea that the composed, cheerful, articulate young woman got off to a rough start in life.
Felder spent much of her childhood in foster care, starting when she was 3 years old. She's 21 now, and has been living happily with her adoptive family. But memories of an abusive past still haunt her.
Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, the first-ever national academic standards for students. But opposition is growing, and some lawmakers are having second thoughts about their states' support.
Meanwhile, proponents of the standards are still struggling to explain the initiative to parents, many of whom say they've never even heard of Common Core.
Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 2:24 pm
Cyclist Jacob Landis, who rode more than 10,000 miles on his bike this year to raise money for cochlear implants, will miss out on the final miles of his ride after being hit by a truck. Landis had planned to ride his bike to every Major League Baseball stadium this season. Despite the crash, he says he'll still go to the final game on his schedule.
For Democrats running in coal-producing states like Kentucky and West Virginia, the Environmental Protection Agency's new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants provide a carboniferous chance to demonstrate independence from President Obama.
Those Democrats will probably take advantage of every chance they get to separate themselves from the president in voters' minds, since their Republican opponents will be working overtime to portray them as reliable Obama votes if they're elected to Congress.
A U.S. Navy helicopter has crashed in the Red Sea, carrying a crew of five, the military service says. The status of the crew is not yet known; a search and rescue effort was begun after the crash Sunday, using boats and aircraft.
"The crash was not due to any sort of hostile activity," the Navy says. "The incident is under investigation."
The helicopter, a MH-60S Knighthawk, had been on operations with a guided-missile destroyer, the USS William P. Lawrence. It is part of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Six.
The death of a long-time, part-time professor in Pittsburgh is gathering the attention of instructors nationwide. The trend of relying on part-time faculty has been in the works for decades, and Margaret Mary Vojtko's story is seen by some as a tragic byproduct.
Last spring, months before her death, Vojtko showed up at a meeting between adjunct professors at Duquesne University and the union officials who had been trying to organize them. The professors are trying to organize a union affiliated with the United Steelworkers.
Our first show from NPR West in Southern California coincides with another grand occasion, the reopening of the iconic Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. It's been refurbished and reconfigured. And as NPR's Sam Sanders reports, it has a new name too.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell...
SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Since 1927, stars have been parading down the red carpet and making their marks here.
For the third year in a row, the poverty rate has remained stuck at about 15 percent. Nearly one in six Americans was living in poverty in 2012, according to a new report by the Census Bureau. Despite a slow-moving economic recovery, these latest numbers show that for poor Americans, there are few signs of any recovery.
The government said this week that more than 46 million Americans, about one in seven, are poor. Correspondent Pam Fessler covers poverty for NPR. Recently, she's been reporting from New York and it was there that she discovered the gulf between herself and the people's whose stories she tells.
Yesterday, Syria sent the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons an initial declaration, detailing its trove of chemical weapons. The declaration is now being reviewed by that organization's verification division. The U.S.-Russian agreement reached last weekend calls for inspectors to be on the ground in Syria by November, and all chemical weapons to be removed from the country or destroyed by the middle of next year.
The House has passed a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open through Dec. 15. It passed almost entirely along party lines: In addition to funding the government, it calls for defunding of the Affordable Care Act.
The White House has said President Obama would veto the bill, were it to come to his desk in this form. And it most likely won't. Democrats, who control the Senate, won't pass a bill that defunds Obamacare.
Here's some food for thought: One-third of the world's food goes to waste every year. In the U.S., about 40 percent of our food gets thrown out. It's happening on the farm, at the grocery store and in our own homes.
President Obama took his fiscal fight with congressional Republicans to America's heartland Friday. Speaking at a Ford assembly plant near Kansas City, Mo., Obama warned that the federal government could turn into a "deadbeat" unless Congress passes a stopgap spending bill and agrees to raise the debt limit within the next few weeks.
A white supremacist has plans to take over a tiny town in North Dakota and turn it into one for whites only. This weekend, members of one of the nation's largest neo-Nazi organizations will descend upon the town in a step toward making that vision a reality — and several residents are trying to stop them.
An official assessment of the damage caused by news leaks about government surveillance programs suggests that terrorist groups are changing their communication methods in response to the disclosures, according to officials at the National Security Agency.
As the host of the United Nations, the U.S. is supposed to let everyone come to the annual U.N. General Assembly, not just the people it likes.
But this year, the proposition is being put to the test. Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, was indicted three years ago by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges stemming from the mass killings in Sudan's western Darfur region.
Bashir has also applied for a visa to the U.N. meetings next week.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 1:57 pm
A Pennsylvania police chief who gained national attention for Internet videos in which he fired high-powered rifles while shouting obscenities against liberals, Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations has been fired.
The Gilberton, Pa., borough council voted to suspend Mark Kessler in July. On Thursday, lawmakers handed Kessler his pink slip.
"Legitimate concerns about the authenticity of the guitar purportedly signed by Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen" have led the U.S. Marshals Service to cancel an auction of the goods forfeited by former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill.
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Later in the program, we'll head into the Barbershop to ask the guys about the video game Grand Theft Auto - once so controversial, now so lucrative. The new version is breaking sales records all over the place, and we'll hear what the guys have to say about that.