KUNM

NPR News

Palestinians say they still plan to seek recognition of their statehood from the U.N. Security Council this week, throwing more than a wrench into the diplomatic works for the Obama administration.

President Obama has promised to veto the move in the Security Council. That puts the U.S. on sound footing with Israel, but on a collision course with European and Middle Eastern allies who support the Palestinians' bid.

After years of appeals and controversy, Troy Anthony Davis is scheduled to be executed in Georgia on Wednesday. Georgia's board of pardons turned back Davis' appeal for clemency Tuesday, despite high-profile support for his claim that he did not kill a police officer in 1989.

Several witnesses have changed their testimony since Davis' trial; tens of thousands are protesting the execution. Former president Jimmy Carter, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu and more than 50 members of Congress are among those who have asked Georgia to commute Davis' death sentence.

A Do-It-Yourself Approach To The Electric Car

Sep 20, 2011

Jack Rickard and Brian Noto have developed something of a cult following on their webcast EVTV, or Electric Vehicle Television, produced from their garage in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Every week, they talk in soul-crushing detail about the intricacies of how to gut a gas-guzzling road warrior and convert it into an all-electric vehicle. On Wednesday, they host the Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention at the Cape Girardeau airport.

Later this week, a retired NASA satellite the size of a school bus will finally fall back towards Earth after orbiting the planet for two decades. Most of it will burn up in the atmosphere. But about two dozen pieces are expected to hit the ground — somewhere.

And the biggest piece will weigh about 300 pounds.

If that's got you worried, NASA emphasizes that in the history of the space age, there have been no confirmed reports of falling space junk hurting anyone. But that doesn't mean no one has ever been hit.

'Operation Twist,' Explained In 4 Easy Steps

Sep 20, 2011

Note: Robert Smith has an Operation Twist explainer on Wednesday's Morning Edition. That story is attached above.

The interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds is 1.95 percent. This is crazy low. It's lower than inflation. But the Federal Reserve may be about to push the rate even lower.

Author Joe McGinniss has been out this week promoting his new book about Sarah Palin — a book widely condemned for gossipy allegations by anonymous sources. The book is getting attention in part because Palin might be running for president.

This summer, Palin certainly looked like a presidential candidate as she rode through Iowa and New Hampshire in a red-white-and-blue bus, but as time ticks away the pressure is building on Palin to make her candidacy official.

Football season has hardly started and fans are already grousing about sideline reporters. To be sure, sideliners now exist in most all sports, and a handful of them –– notably Craig Sager of Turner, who was apparently in town the day the clown died, and thus got all his clothes –– are downright famous. While Sager is best known for basketball, it is football sideline reporters who are most identified with the sport.

Up to now doctors couldn't tell a man much about his chances of maintaining sexual function after surgery or radiation for prostate cancer.

"We'd say about half recovered or maintained their function," says Dr. Martin Sanda of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "And we'd be able to turn that up or down a little bit based on age."

As the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy went into effect, we heard many stories out about how service members are marking the occasion. But one of them has emerged as particularly personal.

The Dozen Richest Men And Women In Congress

Sep 20, 2011

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) barely made our list at No. 13, but here are the richest dozen men and women in Congress who could be affected by the Buffett Rule. The rankings, by average net worth, were released on Tuesday by the Center for Responsive Politics.

How do you come up with a plan to help millions of people around the world avoid a chronic disease? For starters, don't treat the food companies that sell the products that contribute to those diseases as partners in the process. At least, that's what public health advocates argue — even as the accused companies say they're committed to making healthier products for the masses.

Al-Jazeera Director Announces Resignation

Sep 20, 2011

Al-Jazeera's top executive, Wadah Khanfar announced he was resigning today. The network announced that it had appointed Sheikh Ahmad bin Jasem al-Thani, a member of the Qatari ruling family, which owns Al-Jazzeera, as its new director general.

The once-polluted and often ridiculed Los Angeles River is now open to kayak and canoe adventures. City officials and the Army Corps of Engineers are running a pilot program that allows people to explore the river.

In the South American rain forest, I once paddled in a dugout canoe through the lush Amazon River, filled with pink dolphins and flesh-eating piranhas. So the thought of navigating down the Los Angeles River at first seemed almost ridiculous.

Maryland Man's Robocall Scam Nets Him $4M

Sep 20, 2011

From the annals of ingenious scams, comes this report from the AP:

A pay phone owner is being charged with using his Washington-area phones to ring in $4 million in fraudulent 50-cent calls.

There's been a sea change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's almost as if the cerebral, detached president went into a phone booth and came out a fighting Democrat.

In the Rose Garden on Monday, as President Obama laid out his vision for how the congressional supercommittee could find trillions in savings, he was no longer above the fray. He was right in the fray. And he made it clear he has given up on his so far fruitless search for common ground with the Republicans.

Hollywood Seen Through Paparazzi-Colored Glasses

Sep 20, 2011

Since its debut six years ago, TMZ has fed millions of fans a steady diet of celebrity news on its highly trafficked blog. There's also the TMZ TV show, syndicated on hundreds of stations. And now, for the truly TMZ obsessed, there's a TMZ Tour of Hollywood.

The traditional Hollywood tour has been around almost as long as Hollywood itself.

For decades, tourists have come here to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars — or at least a glimpse of where they eat.

President Obama met Libya's interim leader Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and held up the country as a model of what the U.N. can do to protect civilians from atrocities.

Obama also pledged continued support and encouraged Libya's new leaders to keep their promises to forge a just, democratic society.

Libyan rebels have yet to find ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi and fighting continues in the country. Still, Obama went to the meeting with a hopeful message.

Less than two months after nearly shutting down the federal government as they argued over the best way to reduce the budget deficit, there's word that Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are again at odds and that another shutdown showdown is possible.

Politico reports that:

Today, the Canadian press picked up on a video that seems to have been making the rounds on car sites for a few days. Here's how the Toronto Sun introduces it:

Zahir Rana wanted to give spectators at the Targa Newfoundland rally a show they'd never forget — he did just that after putting a $1.5 million Ferrari into the Atlantic Ocean.

Time again for film critic Bob Mondello's recommendation for your home-viewing queue. This week, to prepare for the start of NBC's new TV series Prime Suspect, he suggests you look back at the original PBS series, starring Helen Mirren.

The year was 1991, and a new British police procedural had what then counted as a gimmick: Its star — smart, forceful, and assertive — was a woman, which was a big deal.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says he will submit his formal request for Palestinian statehood and U.N. membership on Friday, immediately after addressing the General Assembly.

This has already touched off intense diplomatic wrangling, and even more is expected in the weeks and months that follow.

"I don't remember any event in the last 25 to 30 years where it was so difficult to predict what will happen," says Yoram Peri, director of the University of Maryland Institute for Israel Studies.

Melissa Block and Lynn Neary learn from Kevin Allan of The University of Aberdeen King's College in Scotland that women remember better when spoken to in a low-pitch voice. This helps women to pick a suitable partner.

The ban on gays serving openly in the military ends Tuesday. A look at the reaction — at the Pentagon and from around the country.

Lucas Santtana: Bossa Nova With A Brand-New Beat

Sep 20, 2011

Lucas Santtana is a Brazilian artist who has been hiding in plain view for years. I came across a record by Santtana back in 1999, EletroBenDada, which updated the experimental and political pop music of the 1960s and '70s Brazilian Tropicalia movement for a new generation. I heard nothing more from Santtana for more than 10 years, but it turns out he's been busy making great music in Brazil, even if hasn't been making it up to North America. His latest record, Sem Nostalgia, has just been released in the U.S.

FDA Confirms Source Of Cantaloupe Contamination

Sep 20, 2011

There's closure in the investigation of a multistate outbreak of listeriosis linked to cantaloupes.

A BBC report this week about a project in the Philippines that has brought virtually free light to dark homes in some of that country's poorest neighborhoods brightened our day so much that we went looking to find out more.

For the past week, Wired's Danger Room has been following a thread on how the FBI trains its agents on the subject of Islam. It started last week, when the national security blog obtained presentation materials that painted Muslims as a whole with the broad brush of violence and terrorism.

Here's how Wired introduced its first piece:

The notion of "beauty" can mean many different things to artists. For the Brothers Quay — identical-twin filmmakers — it often means dimly lit black and white images of animated dolls, screws, cogs — any manner of inanimate object brought to life. They're so good at it that fellow filmmaker Terry Gilliam called the Quays' Street of Crocodiles one of the best animated films of all time.

A few seconds doesn't seem like much, but scientists say an early detection system that gives the public five, 10, up to 40 seconds of warning before an earthquake could save lives.

The AP reports today that the United States is working on a system that does just that:

After years of lagging behind Japan, Mexico and other quake-prone countries, the U.S. government has been quietly testing an earthquake early warning system in California since February. ...

Perry To Israel: 'Help Is On The Way'

Sep 20, 2011

The prospect of a United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood did not escape the notice of the Republican contenders for president as Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday hurled himself into the debate over Middle East policy with a public address on the subject in New York City.

Pages