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Middle East
6:20 am
Sat April 7, 2012

U.N. Team Arrives In Syria Amid Heightened Violence

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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It's All Politics
5:35 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Partisan Fight For Female Vote Uses Monthly Jobs Report As Weapon

Job seekers in Boston in February, 2012.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 6:18 pm

With the possibility that women voters might prove decisive in November's presidential election, each major party is obviously looking for opportunities to argue why its policies are better for women and the opposition's worse. The latest came Friday with the release of the March jobless figures.

The report was a surprise on the downside because the economy added far fewer jobs for the month — 121,000 — than economists had forecast even as the jobless rate declined a tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent.

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The Two-Way
5:31 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Bill Gates: Making Teacher Evaluations Public 'Not Conducive To Openness'

Bill Gates addresses an energy innovation summit in Maryland in February. The Microsoft chairman told NPR in an interview for Weekend Edition that teachers should be evaluated, but that the reviews should not be made public.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Bill Gates is of course better known as the co-founder of Microsoft. But his foundation, The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, which contributes to NPR, is known for pouring millions into education reform.

Gates made a splash back in February when he came out against making Teacher Data Reports — or evaluations — public in New York City. Los Angeles Public Schools released similar data.

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Media
5:19 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

News Corp. Coverage: A Climate Change Case Study

News Limited is the Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire.
Tim Winborne Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 6:27 pm

Part 4 of four

Some weeks ago, I paid a visit to an eggshell-blue house in Newtown, a neighborhood on the west side of Sydney, to Wendy Bacon and her husband, Chris Nash.

As we sat on the porch of their book-lined home, they pointed with pride to the Australasian trees and blooms defining their interior courtyard.

And then Bacon delved into her own harvest: the results of a case study about how the country's newspapers handled a pressing and contentious issue.

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Election 2012
4:46 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

In General Election Ads, It's Game On Over Gas Prices

In a campaign video, the Mitt Romney campaign accuses President Obama of "spending millions to sling mud — or oil — at Mitt Romney."
MittRomney.com

The Republican presidential primaries may not officially be over, but political ads on both sides have moved on to the general election.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:21 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

FDA's Stance On Online Pharmacies May Go Too Far, Study Says

Each year, millions of Americans don't fill their prescriptions because they can't afford to.
Maya Kovacheva Photography iStockphoto.com

The Food and Drug Administration has warned people about the many dangers of buying medications from foreign pharmacies over the Internet. While some sites might offer high-quality medicines, there are plenty that sell bogus and potentially dangerous products.

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The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Current TV Answer Keith Olbermann's Lawsuit With One Of Its Own

Keith Olbermann hosted a commentary show on Current TV.
Current TV

Current TV has filed a countersuit against its former lead anchor Keith Olbermann. As we reported, Current fired Olbermann last week. Olbermann, who also abruptly left MSNBC, went on the offensive, bad-mouthing his former employeer on Letterman and eventually filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination yesterday.

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Music Interviews
3:59 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Rascal Flatts: 'Rekindling The Fire' Of Its Country Roots

Rascal Flatts is one of the most popular country groups of the last decade.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:16 am

Rascal Flatts is one of the most successful country crossover acts of the past decade. The award-winning trio has released eight studio records in 10 years and sold more than 21 million albums.

So why did the group recently consider breaking up?

"We had reached a crossroads to where we needed to dig deep to see if we, in fact, had the fire and hunger that we did when we first started out — to keep trying to forge ahead and be better than we'd been and push ourselves to be creatively energized again," bass player Jay DeMarcus says.

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The Two-Way
3:52 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Grandmother In High-Profile Shaken Baby Case Has Sentence Commuted

Shirley Ree Smith, whose prison sentence was commuted by California Gov. Jerry Brown, began creating greeting cards for her grandchildren while she was incarcerated. While she was out of custody after a series of legal appeals, until today, she still faced the possibility of returning to prison.
Courtney Perry for NPR

A California grandmother convicted of shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death will not return to jail, because Gov. Jerry Brown has commuted her sentence.

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Law
3:49 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Faith In Seattle Police 'Shaken' By DOJ Investigation

Protesters demonstrate at City Hall in Seattle on Feb. 16, 2011, after the announcement that police officer Ian Birk would not face charges for the fatal shooting of John T. Williams.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 5:23 pm

Police departments have come under increased scrutiny from the Obama administration as the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division steps up investigations of corruption, bias and excessive force.

Some of the targeted law enforcement agencies have had ethical clouds hanging over them for years — the New Orleans Police Department being the prime example — but others, like the Seattle Police Department, aren't exactly usual suspects.

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Movie Reviews
3:42 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

To Be Or Not To Be (The Pope) Is The Question

IFC Films

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 6:01 pm

When the College of Cardinals gathers in the Vatican to choose a new church leader — formally the Bishop of Rome — it announces its selection with the Latin phrase "Habemus papam" ("We have a pope").

But suppose that, when a cardinal steps out onto a balcony in St. Peter's Square to utter those fateful words, the gentle soul in white sitting behind him, out of sight of the crowd, develops stage fright.

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It's All Politics
3:37 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

When It Comes To Delegates, Santorum May Have A Math Problem

Rick Santorum speaks in Mars, Pa., on Tuesday, after Mitt Romney swept primaries in Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. In his speech, Santorum declared that it's "halftime" in the race for delegates and the GOP nomination.
David Maxwell EPA/Landov

In presidential nominating contests, the delegate count really matters — right up until the moment where it doesn't.

Unfortunately for Rick Santorum, that moment seems ever more imminent in this spring's Republican presidential race.

Mitt Romney's overwhelming wins this week in three states (including Wisconsin, where Santorum not too long ago had been leading in the polls) seem to have reconfirmed the sense that he has cleared all the major hurdles, and the rest is mere formality.

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Music Interviews
3:23 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Gotye: 'Less Of A Musician, More Of A Tinkerer'

Australian pop singer Wouter "Wally" De Backer is better known as Gotye.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 9:47 am

The Australian artist Gotye has been big in his home country for several years, but this winter, one particular song started an avalanche. "Somebody That I Used to Know," from the album Making Mirrors, has been a massive hit everywhere it's landed: the U.K., Germany, South Africa, Israel and now here in the U.S. It even inspired a YouTube cover that's become a runaway hit all its own.

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Strange News
3:16 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Small Town's Police Blotter Is A Riot

Unalaska's Sgt. Jennifer Schockley has earned fans worldwide for her local police blotter.
Alexandra Gutierrez KUCB

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:16 am

In one Alaskan fishing village, crime is a laughing matter. It's not the crimes that have residents chuckling so much as how they're written about. The Unalaska crime report is full of eagle aggression and intimate encounters gone awry in the Aleutian Islands.

When Sgt. Jennifer Shockley heads out on patrol each day, she's got the police blotter on her mind. Her goal is to paint a detailed picture of the town's often ridiculous crimes.

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The Salt
3:12 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Indian Engineers Build A Stronger Society With School Lunch Program

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a nonprofit based in Bangalore, partners with the government to make close to 1.3 million nutritious meals a day for schoolchildren throughout India.
Ryan Lobo for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:54 am

At a government-run public middle school in Bangalore, the blackboard's cracking, the textbooks are tattered and most of the students are barefoot.

But with all those challenges, the biggest obstacle that teachers face in keeping kids in school is hunger. Many students show up at school having had nothing to eat for breakfast.

On mornings one student comes to school hungry, the thought of school makes her break down, she says.

"When I had to get on the bus, I would start crying," says K. Suchitra, 13.

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The Two-Way
2:24 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

With Some Profanities Edited, 'Bully' Receives PG-13 Rating

Alex, one of the kids who struggles with bullies in Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully.
Lee Hirsch The Weinstein Company

The Motion Picture Association of America and The Weinstein Co. have finally come to an agreement: After editing some profanities, the MPAA walked back its R-rating and Bully, a documentary about school bullying, will be released on April 13 with a PG-13 rating.

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Europe
2:20 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Homelessness Becomes A Crime In Hungary

Two homeless men lie on mattresses in central Budapest in 2010. Hundreds of people live on the streets in the Hungarian capital; many refuse to stay in night shelters for fear of having their goods stolen.
Karoly Arvai Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 9:25 pm

Hungary's new anti-vagrancy laws — the toughest in Europe — now mean that homeless people sleeping on the street can face police fines or even the possibility of jail time.

Advocacy and human-rights groups are alarmed by the new efforts to crack down on and effectively criminalize homelessness, where the ranks of the needy have increased during the country's dire financial crisis.

Debt, joblessness and poverty are on the rise. The country's bonds have been downgraded to "junk" status, and the nation's currency, the forint, has dropped sharply against the euro.

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Toy Companies Debut Bald Dolls For Cancer

A lineup of the bald Bratz and Moxie Girlz dolls that are scheduled to hit store shelves this summer.
MGA Entertainment

Barbie is best known for her curvy figure and long blond hair — but Mattel plans to produce a doll that's a dramatic departure from that classic image.

This Barbie will be bald.

Mattel decided to make the doll after a campaign by Jane Bingham, a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Philadelphia. She started a Facebook group with her friend called "Beautiful and Bald Barbie." She tells Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered, that they wanted the toymaker to create a doll for kids who have cancer or have lost their hair for medical reasons.

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The Salt
1:44 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Guerrilla Grafters Bring Forbidden Fruit Back To City Trees

Guerrilla grafter Tara Hui grafts a fruiting pear branch onto an ornamental fruit tree in the San Francisco Bay Area. She doesn't want the location known because the grafting is illegal.
Lonny Shavelson for NPR

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 6:00 am

Spring means cherry, pear and apple blossoms. But in many metropolitan areas, urban foresters ensure those flowering fruit trees don't bear fruit to keep fallen fruit from being trampled into slippery sidewalk jelly.

But a group of fruit fans in the San Francisco Bay Area is secretly grafting fruit-bearing tree limbs onto those fruitless trees.

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Book Reviews
1:03 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

100 Years Later, Titanic Lives On In Letters

The ill-fated Titanic rests at Harland and Wolff's shipyard, Belfast, in February 1912.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 5:23 pm

When I hear the word "Titanic," I picture a tuxedoed Leonardo DiCaprio, waiting at the bottom of a gilded staircase while the voice of Celine Dion swells in my mind. It's all Edwardian glitz and glamour, decadence and passionate love, the kind best enjoyed in a dark theater with plenty of popcorn. And then I quickly remember that the ship sinks, and that Titanic is more than just an epic film from my youth. On April 15, a century will have passed since the ship plummeted into the icy Atlantic, and it is the tragedy we should remember, not just the mythology surrounding it.

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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
12:59 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Company Ties Shoes And Ethics Together

Gideon Shoes co-founder Matt Noffs with youth from The Street University, the nonprofit youth center that launched the fair trade company.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:16 am

You don't go through corporate communications to meet the executive steering committee at Gideon Shoes.

Instead, you walk through a basketball court with graffiti-covered walls and into a sound studio. There, Gideon employees are warming up their talking points: rap lyrics.

"There's no excuses in this life, so I'm fighting on. ... The flame inside my heart is more like a firestorm," they rap.

The team is made up of Suhkdeep Bhogal from India, Thane Poloai from Samoa and Allan from New Zealand, who doesn't want to give his last name.

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Economy
12:49 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

For Long-Term Unemployed, Help Is Running Out

Job seekers line up to enter a career fair in Los Angeles. Both Congress and states are cutting back on unemployment benefits.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Diane Turner can't find work. She spent 30 years managing dental practices in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, but lost her last job in that field a couple of years ago.

She worked for a while greeting customers at an auto body shop, but lost that job a year ago. "It was very depressing," Turner says. "I always worked, and I was always able to get a job."

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Shots - Health Blog
12:19 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Spotting Dyslexia May Be Possible Even Before Kids Learn To Read

How to test reading ability in children who can't read has been a problem for researchers.
f_ iStockphoto.com

For people with dyslexia, problems recognizing words can make life difficult. Children usually aren't diagnosed until elementary school, when it becomes clear they're struggling with reading. But scientists say it could be possible to diagnose and help kids much earlier by identifying problems with visual attention — long before they learn to read.

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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Reports: F-18 Fighter Jet Crashes In Virginia Beach

The burning fuselage of an F/A-18 Hornet lies smoldering after crashing into a residential building in Virginia Beach, Va. on Friday.
AP

A Navy fighter jet crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach on Friday afternoon. Television images showed thick, black smoke billowing near a row of apartment buildings.

Update at 8:24 a.m. ET April 7. No Fatalities, Officials Confirm

Fire officials say they have accounted for everyone who lived at an apartment complex in Virginia where a Navy fighter jet crashed on Friday.

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

New York City's Mayor Is A Geek At Heart

Did you know Mayor Michael Bloomberg has an engineering degree and built a ham radio as a child? The mayor talks about his passion for science and how it shapes the way he thinks. He also discusses plans for an applied sciences campus in New York and potential spin-offs from the project.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

How Homo Sapiens Became 'Masters Of The Planet'

The first Homo sapiens appeared on the planet some 200,000 years ago. But even though they looked fully human, they didn't act fully human until they began creating symbolic art, some 100,000 years later. Paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall discusses those human origins in his book Masters of the Planet.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Taking A Walk On New York's Wild Side

New York City has been referred to as a concrete jungle. But researchers say it is more 'jungle' than you might think. A panel of experts discuss the plant and animal life found in city waters and green spaces. They also discuss the impact of urbanization and climate change on a city's biodiversity.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Coyotes Come To The Big Apple

Coyotes were first spotted in New York City in the 1990s. Now they are thought to be permanent residents of the Bronx, and have been seen in Queens and Manhattan. Wildlife biologist Mark Weckel, of the Mianus River Gorge Preserve, is documenting their immigration through camera traps in New York City parks.

The Two-Way
11:40 am
Fri April 6, 2012

VIDEO: Rapping Federal Worker Adds To Evidence Of Waste And Excess

From the GSA employee's rap video.
House Oversight & Reform Committee

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The Two-Way
11:29 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Poll: Opinion On Trayvon Martin Case Divided Along Racial Lines

Shirley Jackson (right), a teacher in Miami Dade school system, joins hundreds of other people in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood during a rally on Wednesday in Miami, Florida.
Angel Valentin Getty Images

Opinion about the Trayvon Martin shooting is sharply divided by race, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds.

The divide is clear, when pollsters asked if George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot and killed the black, unarmed teenager, was guilty of a crime.

A little more than half of the African Americans polled said he was "definitely guilty," while only 15 percent of non-blacks shared the same opinion.

The poll also found:

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