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National Security
2:58 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Director Mueller Told Senate Panel FBI Uses Drones

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good Morning.

In one of his final appearances on Capitol Hill, normally media-shy FBI Director Robert Mueller made some news. Mueller, who's retiring in September, acknowledged that the FBI has started to deploy unarmed drones in the U.S. Still, he played down how often agents use those drones.

NPR's Carrie Johnson has more.

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Business
2:34 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Founder Of Men's Wearhouse Fired By Company's Board

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's report on some changes in the American clothing world. George Zimmer, of Men's Wearhouse, might still like the way he looks, but we can guarantee he doesn't like this. The famous face - and gravelly voice - and founder of the company, is out. The company gave no reason for the abrupt firing. But Zimmer is speaking out, as NPR's David Schaper reports.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: His graying beard is instantly familiar. And he speaks with that signature deep, gravelly voice when delivering this famous tagline:

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Economy
2:34 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Fed Warns Stimulus Package Will Be Ratcheted Down

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Those Chinese figures helped Asian markets to take a big tumble today, as did yesterday's comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. He said the Fed will likely begin slowing down its economic stimulus later this year. The Fed's massive bond buying program - which is a major part of that stimulus - is seen as a big reason behind recent rallies in the financial market.

NPR's John Ydstie has more.

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Remembrances
2:34 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Actor James Gandolfini Dies Suddenly While On Vacation

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:25 am

The 51-year-old actor died on Wednesday in Rome. Reports attribute his death to a heart attack. Gandolfini had been a character actor for years before he was given a chance to read for Tony Soprano in a new series about a New Jersey mob boss HBO was producing in the late 90s.

Planet Money
1:03 am
Thu June 20, 2013

A Surprising Barrier To Clean Water: Human Nature

Rodan Gatia gets water from a spring. A chlorine dispenser is behind her.
Jacob Goldstein NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 8:38 am

In many parts of the developing world, drinking a glass of water can be deadly — especially for young children, who can die of diarrheal diseases contracted from dirty water.

So getting clean water to people in the developing world has been a top priority for aid groups for a long time. But it's been a surprisingly hard problem to solve.

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Business
1:02 am
Thu June 20, 2013

If Supplies Of Oil Are Up, Why Is Gas Still Pricey?

Jim White of Pennsylvania pumps gas at a BP station in Ocala, Fla., in April. The price of gasoline remains stubbornly high, which may put a crimp on summer travel plans.
Doug Engle Ocala Star-Banner / Landov

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 6:00 pm

Supplies of oil have been surging this year, and U.S. drivers, who have been switching to more fuel-efficient cars, are using less gasoline.

That would seem to be the right economic combination to push down prices at the pump, but gasoline prices have remained stubbornly high this summer.

Even some people in the industry are wondering whether the law of supply and demand somehow has been repealed.

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It's All Politics
1:01 am
Thu June 20, 2013

How Ted Cruz's Father Shaped His Views On Immigration

Ted Cruz celebrates his victory in the Texas Senate race with his father, Rafael, and daughter Caroline on Nov. 6, 2012, in Houston.
David J. Phillip AP

As the Senate debates a massive overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, one of its newest members has emerged as a leading opponent of the bill's most controversial feature: a path to citizenship for millions living in the country unlawfully.

The views of that freshman senator — Texas Republican Ted Cruz — have been significantly colored by the saga of his own father, an immigrant from Cuba.

"In my opinion, if we allow those who are here illegally to be put on a path to citizenship, that is incredibly unfair to those who follow the rules," Cruz has said.

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Movies
1:00 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Translated Into Navajo, Star Wars Will Be

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 10:44 am

When Dave Nezzie met his future wife, Amanda, they quickly fell in love over a galaxy far, far away.

"I think that was one of the first things that bonded Dave and I together, was our love for Star Wars," says Amanda Nezzie. "Our children have also caught the Star Wars bug."

The family lives in Albuquerque, N.M., and one of the biggest struggles they've had living off the reservation is teaching Dave's native Navajo language to their kids.

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Research News
1:00 am
Thu June 20, 2013

What Makes Rituals Special? Join Us For A Google+ Conversation

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:30 am

Click play on the video player above to watch my Google+ conversation with Harvard behavioral scientist Francesca Gino and Slate's Human Nature correspondent William Saletan about the role of ritual in human life.

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Parallels
12:58 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Can This Dominican Factory Pay Good Wages And Make A Profit?

Aracelis Upia Montero works at the Alta Gracia garment factory in the Dominican Republic. She says she was desperately poor before she began working at the factory, which pays much higher than usual wages. "I'm now eligible for loans and credits from the bank because I earn a good salary," she says.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 8:37 am

Aracelis Upia Montero bounds through the front door of her wood and cinderblock house, calling out for her children. The bubbly 41-year-old Montero — whom everyone calls Kuki — proudly shows guests around her cramped single-story home in Villa Altagracia in the Dominican Republic.

Montero points out her new living room furniture. In the past couple years, she has added two bedrooms and now has indoor plumbing. She has also built a little apartment at the end of her dirt driveway that she rents out.

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All Tech Considered
12:57 am
Thu June 20, 2013

In More Cities, A Camera On Every Corner, Park And Sidewalk

Micaela Torres and 2-year-old Jakai Johnson swing underneath a surveillance camera at Miwok Park in Elk Grove, Calif. The city's police department collects more than 100 video feeds from across the city.
Steve Henn NPR

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:07 am

This report is part of the series NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century.

Surveillance cameras, and the sophisticated software packages that go with them, have become big business. Many small- and medium-sized cities across American are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on cameras and software to watch their residents.

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The Salt
12:56 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Gourmands Through The Ages: 'A History Of Food In 100 Recipes'

Detail from a painting found on the walls of a 4,000-year-old tomb in Luxor, Egypt, that depicts bread making.
Werner Forman Archive

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 8:58 am

Think our current culture has become food-obsessed? Take a look at this wall painting from ancient Egypt.

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NPR Story
8:18 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

'Sopranos' Actor James Gandolfini Dies At Age 51

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The actor James Gandolfini has died. He played dozens of parts over decades of his career. But there is one role that he'll be remembered for, a troubled mobster with an anxiety problem: Tony Soprano.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SOPRANOS")

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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Microsoft Responds To Fan Outcry, Changes Xbox One Policies

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 5:16 pm

Fans spoke, and apparently Microsoft listened.

In a reversal of the company's previous position, Microsoft announced Wednesday that its forthcoming Xbox One gaming console would no longer require a regular Internet connection and would not restrict used or shared games.

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It's All Politics
4:15 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Capitol Hill's Partisan And Racial Divide Cast In Bronze

Vice President Biden joined congressional leaders at the Capitol Hill dedication ceremony for a statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Carolyn Kaster AP

A 7-foot-tall statue of famed, lion-maned abolitionist Frederick Douglass that was dedicated Wednesday on Capitol Hill is perhaps best understood as a bronze symbol of the partisan divide in Washington and of racial politics.

The ex-slave, who later became a friend of President Abraham Lincoln, was a federal official and an important journalist of his day. It took years for a statue of him to land a spot because it became a proxy in the fight over voting rights and statehood for Washington, D.C.

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The Two-Way
4:14 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Federal Agents Accuse Two Of Plotting Deadly X-Ray Weapon

Two men in upstate New York have been arrested for planning to build a "radiation particle weapon" that could be mounted on a vehicle and used to target people, according to a report by the Albany Times-Union Wednesday. The men allegedly planned to sell the device to either the Ku Klux Klan or Jewish groups.

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The Two-Way
4:11 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A Day After Making List, One Of FBI's Most Wanted Caught

Just a day after being added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, a former University of Southern California professor was arrested in the Mexican beach resort of Playa del Carmen.

Reporting for our Newscast unit, NPR's Carrie Kahn says 64-year-old Walter Lee Williams had been pursued by the FBI since 2011.

She says the indictment against Williams alleges he used his position as a professor of gender and sexuality studies to travel internationally and prey on underage boys.

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Economy
3:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

G-8 Nations Pledge To Crack Down On Corporate Tax Evaders

Leaders take part in the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland on Tuesday. Their discussions included tax-avoidance issues.
Ben Stansall WPA Pool/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:18 pm

The world's wealthiest nations are promising to fight what they call the scourge of tax evasion. This week's meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized countries concluded with a pledge to end the use of tax shelters by multinational corporations.

But there are still big questions about how they will make a dent in the problem.

In the aftermath of the global recession, countries all over the world have struggled with budget shortfalls. More and more of them have come to blame part of their revenue problems on one culprit — tax avoidance.

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Around the Nation
3:16 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A Dry Reservation Clashes With Its Liquor Store Neighbors

Oglala Lakota activist Debra White Plume (left), tribal president Bryan Brewer (center) and other protesters create a blockade to prevent trucks from delivering beer to a liquor store in Whiteclay, Neb. The town, which borders the Pine Ridge Reservation, has been the site of recurring protests over alcohol.
Charles Michael Ray/SDPB

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:18 pm

At the Pine Ridge Reservation just outside the town of Whiteclay, Neb., an upside-down American flag flies on a wooden pole next to a teepee. About 60 people gathered here Monday to protest as beer truck drivers unloaded cases into a Whiteclay liquor store a few hundred yards away.

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Around the Nation
3:16 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

To Rebuild NYC's Beaches, A Native Plant Savings And Loan

Heather Liljengren, a field taxonomist with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, examines the seed pods of the Virginia spiderwort at Oakwood Beach, Staten Island. Liljengren collects seeds from across the region for a seed bank of native plants.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:18 pm

Across the New York region, people are still working to rebuild homes and businesses after the havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy. But the storm also devastated the dunes and native flora of New York's beaches.

When the city replants grasses on those dunes, it will be able to draw on seeds from precisely the grasses that used to thrive there. That's because of a very special kind of bank: a seed bank run by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Pitchman Who 'Guaranteed' Our Look Fired By Men's Warehouse

George Zimmer founded the Men's Wearhouse clothing store in 1973. The company announced Wednesday that he'd been fired.
Thomas J. Gibbons Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 6:04 pm

He might like the way you look, but may no longer be able to guarantee you will.

Men's Wearhouse Inc. announced Wednesday that George Zimmer, founder and executive chairman of the company, has been fired.

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Snowden Reportedly In 'Informal' Asylum Talks With Iceland

Edward Snowden, the man commonly called "the NSA leaker" for his role in publishing documents that exposed a secret U.S. surveillance program, would reportedly not receive special treatment from the United Nations if he applies for asylum. The AP says Snowden is in "informal talks" with Iceland about applying for asylum there.

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Parallels
2:42 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

U.S. Wants Global Trafficking Report To Hit Home

Prostitutes arrested in Guatemala City in 2012, as part of an operation against human trafficking.
Johan Ordonez AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. State Department releases its report on human trafficking every year, naming the countries it believes aren't doing enough to combat modern-day slavery.

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Shots - Health News
2:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Infections From Contaminated Injections Can Lurk Undetected

Spinal MRIs similar to these found infections that many patients hadn't realized they had.
Stefano Raffini iStockphoto.com

People who think they didn't get sick from a nationwide meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid injections used to treat back pain may want to think again.

Doctors at hospitals in Michigan did MRI scans of people who had been given tainted injections but didn't report symptoms of meningitis afterwards.

About 20 percent of the 172 people tested had suspicious-looking MRIs, and 17 ended up needing surgery to treat fungal infections in or around the spine.

The patients had gotten steroid injections about three months before the MRI, in mid to late 2012.

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It's All Politics
1:50 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Nina Totenberg Answers Your Supreme Court Questions

This artist rendering shows Supreme Court Justices (from left) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan in 2012.
Dana Verkouteren AP

With the Supreme Court expected to hand down big decisions this month — including rulings on voting rights, affirmative action and

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Around the Nation
1:46 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

After A Marine's Suicide, A Family Recalls Missed Red Flags

Anna holds the flag that was draped over Nick's coffin at his memorial service. She and her husband, Michael, have created a shrine to Nick in their dining room.
Courtesy of Long Haul Productions

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:18 pm

Last year, more U.S. service members took their own lives than died in combat. And despite the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan, the pullout in Iraq, and hundreds of new programs designed to help troubled servicemen and women, the number of suicides continues to rise.

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Shots - Health News
1:46 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Vaccine Against HPV Has Cut Infections In Teenage Girls

A 13-year-old girl gets an HPV vaccination from Judith Schaechter, a pediatrician at the University of Miami, in 2011.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:18 pm

A vaccine against human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection and the cause of almost all cervical cancer — is dramatically reducing the prevalence of HPV in teenage girls.

The first vaccine against HPV, Merck's Gardasil, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006. Cerverix, from GlaxoSmithKline, was approved in 2009.

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The Salt
1:41 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

And The Winner Of The World Food Prize Is ... The Man From Monsanto

James Finley AP

Ever heard of the World Food Prize? It's sometimes called the "Nobel Prize for food and agriculture," but it has struggled to get people's attention. Prize winners tend to be agricultural insiders, and many are scientists. Last year's laureate, for instance, was Daniel Hillel, a pioneer of water-saving "micro-irrigation."

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Tropical Storm Barry Heads Toward Mexico, Forecasters Say

Tropical Storm Barry, the second named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, is expected to hit Mexico's southeastern coast.
NOAA

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 6:58 pm

The National Hurricane Center has issued coastal warnings in the Gulf of Mexico regarding Tropical Storm Barry. The second named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, Barry is currently in the southwest corner of the gulf; it is expected to make landfall in Mexico Thursday morning.

The center says an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft determined Wednesday that the storm, formerly called Tropical Depression Two, had strengthened. Barry is currently about 75 miles east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico.

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Monkey See
1:15 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

From Classic Toys To New Twists, Kids Go Back To Blocks

Legos and other interlocking toys are only one kind of blocks that remain popular with kids.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 11:39 am

I visited Toy Fair in New York City hunting for ideas for our summer series about kids' culture. One of the big takeaways was the increasing popularity of construction games such as Legos. Sales shot up nearly 20 percent last year. Now, it seems, every major toy manufacturer is scrambling to add new games geared toward kids building things.

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