U.S. News

Digital Life
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Tug Of Authority Over Legal Gap In Online Privacy

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 3:32 pm

Even the most mundane online tasks require us to hand over sensitive data. Privacy policies pass by with an easy click. Yes, each company has its own legal language about the risks we take on, but the standards for consumer protection are murky.

"There is no one law in the United States that mandates that websites and phone applications have good data security," says law professor Woodrow Hartzog, who focuses on the area of privacy law and online communication.

So if there isn't one set of rules, who's working to keep your personal information safe?

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

In Newtown, Making Promises To Transform A Tragedy

Ian and Nicole Hockley are parents of Dylan Hockley, one of 20 first-graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary last year. Nicole helps lead Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit seeking to prevent the causes of gun violence.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 5:18 pm

Nicole Hockley says she used to be the kind of person who knew where she was going in life. Then, last Dec. 14, her 6-year-old son, Dylan, was one of the 26 victims killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"Every plan I had went out the window, and I just kind of lost my way in terms of where do you go from here, how do you pick yourself up and move forward and find a new path," Hockley says.

The phone kept ringing at home, and media outlets sent flowers with cards asking for interviews.

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World
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Iranian Comedian Tries The U.S., Again

British-Iranian comedian and actor Omid Djalili gained a degree of fame in the United States talking about and even joking about issues of terrorism and the Middle East following 9/11. After several years and success in Britain, he's coming back to the States.

Business
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

A Woman Takes The Wheel At GM

For the first time, a woman has been named CEO of a major U.S. automotive company. Mary Barra, 51, breaks a glass ceiling in one of the most male-dominated industries in the nation. But women buy more than half the cars in America, so the question is why it took so long.

U.S.
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Government Pensions Aren't What They Used To Be

The latest budget deal from Washington includes provisions that would make new federal workers contribute more toward their retirement. And changing the rules for public pensions has been happening for a while at the state and local level.

Around the Nation
11:43 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Tornado Victims Find Snapshots Of Solace In Far-Flung Photos

Darin Repp found this photo in a forest preserve in the southwest Chicago suburbs, about 100 miles from where they came from in Washington, Ill. Overall, he's found about 80 photos and has been able to return 35 of them. This one coincidentally belonged to a close friend of his cousins in Washington.
Courtesy of Darin Repp

The tornado on Nov. 17 missed the house of Darin Repp's cousins in Washington, Ill. But less than a half-mile away, it flattened rows of homes, uprooted trees and flung cars around the neighborhood like a child with a temper tantrum.

In the following days, Repp noticed posts on Facebook about people finding — and returning — photos that belonged to Washington residents. Eager to help his cousins' community, he drove out to a forest preserve along the storm's path.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Rape Accusation Still Shadows Heisman Finalist

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston faced an accusation of rape, but the state of Florida decided not to press charges following an investigation.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 1:22 pm

On Saturday night, there's a very good chance Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will win the Heisman Trophy, awarded each year to the best college football player in the country.

For Winston, family, friends, teammates and Seminole fans, undoubtedly it'll be a shining moment, but a discordant note continues to run through this tale of football glory.

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Around the Nation
5:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

A Common Story: Bullet's Trajectory Interrupts Child's Path

Ka'nard Allen, twice a victim of gun violence, started at a new this fall in New Orleans. Administrators say he's just like any other fifth-grader, despite all the adversity he's faced in his life.
Keith O'Brien for NPR

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

Murders are down in New Orleans this year, bucking a national trend. Still, gun violence remains a problem — and children can't escape it. They're left with scars both physical and emotional.

What happens after the bullets stop flying? How does a child get up after being gunned down?

One boy's story shows the tragedy of gun violence and a community's efforts to heal its victims.

Caught In The Crossfire

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Politics
5:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

White House Hires A Crisis Manager, Easing Democratic Worries

John Podesta was Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff from 1998 to 2001, helping the president survive impeachment.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

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

It's not big enough to be called a shakeup, but the new hire announced this week at the White House is important: John Podesta will come on board in January as a counselor to the president.

Podesta is a Democratic wise man, the founder of the Center for American Progress, a policy and personnel incubator for Democratic administrations, and he just started a new think tank on income inequality — the problem President Obama says will animate his second term.

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Politics
5:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Senate Takes a Break After 48-Hour Debate

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky heads to the Senate floor to vote on Friday.
Susan Walsh AP

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

After pulling two consecutive all-nighters, a bleary-eyed Senate is taking a breather on Saturday.

The fractious 48-hour session that ended Friday was fallout from a decision that the chamber's ruling Democrats made last month to move stalled nominees.

This week's session was the first since Democrats detonated the "nuclear option" and eliminated the GOP minority's ability to filibuster most nominations.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
3:11 am
Sat December 14, 2013

A Grieving Newtown Mother's Motto: 'Love Wins'

Jimmy Greene holds a picture of his daughter, Ana, as he kisses his wife Nelba Márquez-Greene, at a January news conference in Newtown, Conn. They try to remember the good days with their daughter. "It is what brings me great comfort and great joy," Márquez-Greene says.
Jessica Hill AP

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

As much as Dec. 14 will forever be a day of unfathomable grief for Nelba Márquez-Greene, Dec. 13 will be one of unending gratitude.

"I will never forget that day," she says.

On that day, Márquez-Greene stopped the usual frantic drill: rushing to activities and errands, worrying about the dishes and laundry, even cleaning up the mess on the floor.

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It's All Politics
5:03 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Newtown Anniversary Marked By Gun Control Stalemate

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, at a gun show in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in October. Giffords was shot in the head in a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson. She and Kelly have since founded a political action committee to push for tougher gun laws.
Tim Roske AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:44 pm

In the wrenching days and weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, many on both sides of the gun control debate thought that horror had so shifted the political winds that stricter federal gun laws would surely result.

That, of course, didn't happen.

On the surface, it may look like the gun lobby ultimately won the political battles that mattered in the past year. After all, Congress failed to pass tougher gun laws. But the reality is more mixed; the result was more of a stalemate.

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Around the Nation
4:56 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

States Settle Into Wooing War With Bids For Boeing Plane Plant

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Negotiations between Boeing and the machinists union in Washington State broke down again last night. The union rejected Boeing's latest contract offer. The deal would've guaranteed that production of the new 777X airplanes would stay in the Seattle area. Now, the aerospace giant may be taking those planes and thousands of jobs elsewhere.

Other states are eagerly courting them. But Michael Tomsic of member station WFAE in Charlotte reports that landing the aerospace company won't come cheap.

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Around the Nation
4:56 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Newtown Mother And Surviving Son Find Forgiveness After Tragedy

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:45 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In the meantime, Newtown, Connecticut, is still grieving nearly a year since a mass shooting there took place. Scarlet Lewis feels the loss every day. Her son Jesse was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting. Lewis and her other son have struggled to deal with their grief. Craig Lemoult of member station WSHU reports that they found solace by reaching out to others, some who are halfway around the world.

CRAIG LEMOULT, BYLINE: On every wall and in every corner of Scarlet Lewis' living room are gifts from around the world.

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Middle East
4:56 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

U.S. Reassesses Relationship With Rebel Groups In Syria

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Around the Nation
4:15 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Student Opens Fire At Colo. High School, Wounds 2, Kills Self

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:28 pm

A student armed with a shotgun opened fire at a Colorado high school, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said Friday. Police said the shooter injured two fellow students at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., before killing himself.

Around the Nation
3:36 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

For Many Urban Schools, Gun Violence Remains A Daily Reality

Trevor Watson, 14, says he hears gunshots in his Oakland neighborhood so often that "it doesn't even affect me anymore."
Brett Myers Youth Radio

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:56 pm

With its colorful box-style buildings with big windows, Castlemont High in Oakland, Calif., looks like any other school. But inside, teacher Demetria Huntsman and Joseph Hopkins, 16, are deconstructing a shooting that happened out front just 30 minutes before.

"We just, like, heard gunshots," Joseph explains. "We just ... turned around and started running. That's the closest I've ever came to almost, like, actually getting shot."

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It's All Politics
3:19 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Cost Of Battling Filibuster Rules: No Sleep Or Fundraising

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:31 pm

When Senate Democrats voted last month to limit the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees, inside-the-Beltway hand-wringing commenced.

The Senate would never be the same without a 60-vote threshold on controversial matters! Just wait and see the dysfunction! The retribution!

Gregory Koger, historian and pre-eminent expert on the filibuster, was not among the doomsayers.

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It's All Politics
2:07 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Is Sen. John Cornyn Conservative Enough For Texas?

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the Senate minority whip, questions Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius before the Senate Finance Committee on Nov. 6.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Being an incumbent ain't what it used to be.

Texan John Cornyn is the No. 2 man in Senate GOP leadership and by most measures holds high conservative ratings — according to National Journal's rankings, he was the second most conservative senator in the last Congress.

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Shots - Health News
1:35 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

FDA Warns Against Test Touted As Mammogram Alternative

When it comes to taking care of the girls, mammograms are still the way to go.
iStockphoto

Mammograms are no woman's idea of fun, but if someone suggests that you could skip that aggravation just by vacuuming a little bit of fluid from the breast, think again.

Nipple aspirate tests being offered in doctors' offices are no substitute for mammograms, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

White House: American Seized In Iran Wasn't On CIA Payroll

A photo provided by Robert Levinson's family shows the retired FBI agent in captivity in April 2011.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:37 pm

A day after The Associated Press reported that an ex-FBI agent who went missing in Iran nearly seven years ago was on a rogue mission for the CIA, the White House has reiterated its long-held position that Robert Levinson was not on the U.S. payroll when he disappeared.

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All Tech Considered
12:26 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Week That Was: Cookie Hacking, Phone Unlocking, Year-Enders

Unlocking phones allows the devices to be used on another carrier's network.
Flickr Scallop Holden

Happy Friday! That means it's time for our weekly roundup of headlines from here at NPR and beyond.

ICYMI

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Environment
5:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Scientists Battle Over Fate Of Yellowstone's Grizzlies

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The North America's grizzly bear is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Its population was virtually wiped out in the lower 48 states. One group of bears, though, may soon lose that protection - the Yellowstone grizzly. Some scientists say that group is thriving. Others disagree. NPR's Christopher Joyce has more on the battle over the bear.

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Shots - Health News
2:48 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Promises To Fix Mental Health System Still Unfulfilled

Rheanna Kathleen Morris hugs her mom, Peggy Sinclair-Morris.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 8:23 am

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., one year ago sparked a national conversation about the country's troubled mental health system. Politicians convened task forces and promised additional funding and new laws. But today, despite those promises, patients and advocates say treatment for mental health is still in shambles.

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Opinion
2:48 am
Fri December 13, 2013

A Baby Who Saved Her Family From 'The Dark Moments'

Francisco Vasquez says his niece, Ellie, and his sister's battle with cancer have transformed his life "forever."
Courtesy of Maria Vasquez-Rojas

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 12:34 pm

Three years ago, Maria Vasquez-Rojas received news to celebrate: After many attempts to conceive, she was going to have a baby. But while pregnant with her daughter, Ellie, Maria was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.

"If I had not gone in for that ultrasound they would have never caught it. [Ellie] saved my life," Maria tells her brother, Francisco Vasquez, on a visit to StoryCorps in Los Angeles.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
2:48 am
Fri December 13, 2013

One Year After Newtown, Still No Answer To 'Why'

A crime scene photo provided by the Connecticut State Police shows a rifle in the master bedroom in Adam Lanza's house.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:52 am

As Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy sped from Hartford to Newtown nearly a year ago, the death toll kept rising. When he arrived on the scene, he found himself in charge — and it fell to him to answer the question: How long should family members have to wait to learn that their loved ones were gone?

Malloy decided that he was going to do what he thought was right. Still, standing in front of more than two dozen families gathered in a firehouse, he doubted that it was.

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The Two-Way
7:11 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Chinese Ag Scientists Charged With Stealing Patented Seeds

Two agricultural scientists from China have been accused of trying to steal patented seeds from a biopharmaceutical company in Kansas.

Separately, six men from China, including the CEO of a seed corn subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate, were charged Thursday with conspiring to steal patented seed corn from two of the nation's leading seed developers, prosecutors said Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

It wasn't immediately clear if the arrests were related, but The AP wrote of the group of six charged:

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The Two-Way
6:05 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

American Who Disappeared In Iran Reportedly Worked For CIA

A "proof of life" photo provided to the family of ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson in April 2011.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:05 am

The Associated Press reports in an investigative piece that an ex-FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 and was last seen in a "proof of life" photograph more than two years ago had been working for the CIA, despite official denials from the U.S.

Robert Levinson, who would now be 65, vanished after traveling in March 2007 to the Iranian island of Kish, described by The Associated Press as a resort "awash with tourists, smugglers and organized crime figures."

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All Tech Considered
5:45 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Wireless Companies, FCC Reach Deal On 'Unlocking' Cellphones

U.S. wireless carriers reached a deal with the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday that will make it easier for consumers to "unlock" their mobile phones and use them on a competitor's network.

The deal came in the wake of a consumer rebellion over the policy of locking cellphones to a carrier. A petition that garnered more than 114,000 signatures landed at the White House, and the Obama administration sided with the petitioners.

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The Two-Way
4:49 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

House Approves Budget Deal; Compromise Heads To Senate

House Speaker John Boehner leaves a news conference Thursday, after criticizing conservative groups that he said held too much sway in Republican politics, "pushing our members in places where they don't want to be."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:05 am

The House has approved a bipartisan budget deal to cut around $23 billion from the federal deficit over 10 years while removing the threat of a possible government shutdown until 2015. A shutdown deadline had loomed for Jan. 15.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 also sets spending levels for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, which its backers say will add more stability to both the U.S. economy and the government's operations.

Update at 6:35 p.m. ET: The Vote Tally

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