Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Residents of Portland, Maine, said they found Robert Smith a little too obviously cheerful. Mr. Smith had a habit of whistling while standing outside of homes and businesses. A city ordinance lists whistling as disorderly behavior, with a fine of up to $500. But the Portland Press-Herald reports Smith reached a compromise with police. He agreed to whistle only while in motion, not standing in one place.
Few can say they've reached the summit of Mt. Everest, and even fewer can say they've done it twice. And only one woman can say she's done it twice in one month. Her name is Chhurim, a 29-year-old Sherpa from Nepal. She made the climb last May, came down for a few days and then turned around and went up again. This week, she climbed into the Guinness Book of World Records.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 12:08 pm
The final death toll has not yet been determined, but the number is high. A hot air balloon carrying tourists on a flight over historic sites around the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor caught fire Tuesday. It then plunged to the ground.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Today, a federal judge in New Orleans hears from witnesses to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A civil trial of BP opened yesterday in a case to determine blame and financial liability for the environmental disaster that was the worst disaster in U.S. history.
If you were to open a new brick-and-mortar bookstore, New York City would be a very pricey place to do it. Manhattan boasts some of the world's most valuable land - and, as it turns out - air. And that is our last word in business this morning.
Syrian opposition leaders say they plan to attend a conference this week in Rome. They want to see what the new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has to offer to help them bring an end of President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The opposition leaders had been threatening to boycott the meeting, but Kerry is promising he won't leave them dangling in the wind. NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with Kerry this week on his first trip overseas as secretary of state. She filed this report from Berlin.
Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:44 am
The country has been debating gun regulations for months. Later this week, a Senate committee will start work on various proposals, including a background check on every gun sale and a ban on assault weapons.
But this debate over guns goes beyond disagreements about policy. Advocates on both sides quite literally disagree on the terms of the discussion — as in, the words they use to describe it.
Ask "gun control advocates" to describe what this debate is about, and they'll say "control" really isn't the word they prefer.
In three years, the federal government is expected to open the skies for the civilian use of drones. But before that, the Federal Aviation Administration will set up six drone test sites around the country. Stiff competition to get one of the sites is anticipated — driven by hopes of attracting thousands of new jobs.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Tuesday in a case that could throw a monkey wrench into the widespread use of DNA testing — a case that pits modern technology against notions of personal privacy.
Twenty-eight states and the federal government have enacted laws that provide for automatic DNA collection from people at the time of their arrest. The question is whether it is unconstitutional to do that without a warrant, for the sole purpose of checking the DNA against a national DNA crime scene database.
Years into the economic recovery, hiring remains slow. Many businesses learned to do more with less during the recession, so they don't need to bring on as many people now.
These new efficiencies have led to what economists call "labor displacement," which is taking place around the country. One business in Rockville, Md., is doing the same amount of work with half its original staff.
Two things are noticeably absent from the offices of Mid-Atlantic Builders: people and paper.
For Darden Restaurants, the company behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster, its earnings projections out last week were not pretty. Sales will fall, it said, and company CEO Clarence Otis called higher payroll taxes a "headwind."
After a two-year tax break, the payroll tax, which funds Social Security payments, went back up to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1. The 2-percentage-point increase is an extra $80 a month in taxes for someone earning $50,000 a year.
C. Everett Koop was the most outspoken and some would argue the most influential of all U.S. surgeon generals. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The correct plural form of the word is surgeons general.] He wore the uniform throughout most of the 1980s, and he turned an office with little power into a mighty platform - to educate Americans about AIDS prevention and the dangers of smoking.
C. Everett Koop died today at his home in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was 96. NPR's Joseph Shapiro looks back on his career.
It's been nearly two years since Oprah ended her daily show, and Chicago's been adjusting to the loss of the daytime talk queen. Although she left a huge void, there's no need to write an obituary for the TV talk genre in Chicago.
In the lobby of Chicago's NBC Towers, the crowd of excited fans gathered for a TV taping is reminiscent of the Oprah days of old. But instead of Oprah, they're lined up to see veteran comedian Steve Harvey's show.
"I like Steve's energy. I like his shows. He's funny. He covers all topics," says fan Deloris Neal.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is facing a storm of criticism after he dressed as an African-American basketball player in blackface. Hikind wore the costume to a party at his house celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim.
He posted a picture of himself on Facebook wearing an afro wig and an orange jersey.
Now, a story about heat, the sweaty, miserable kind. Heat plus humidity. Working outdoors or playing sports on a hot, muggy day can be dangerous, even deadly. And as the climate continues to warm, being outside will become even more challenging. Those are the findings of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.
As Kenya prepares for a presidential election next Monday, it's trying to prevent a recurrence of the last such poll, in December 2007, when more than 1,000 people were killed in postelection violence.
Last time, technology helped incite that violence. This time, the hope is that technology will help prevent a similar outburst.
Last time around, a text message came on Dec. 31, 2007, four days after a presidential election that many people in the Kalenjin tribe thought was rigged.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm
To understand what's happening with federal judge vacancies, consider this: The Senate voted Monday night to approve the nomination of Robert Bacharach to sit on the federal appeals court based in Denver.
Bacharach had won support from both Republican senators in his home state, and his nomination was approved unanimously. But he still waited more than 260 days for that vote.
Fauja Singh has decided, at the age of 101, to put his feet up and rest.
Or, at least, to stop participating in long-distance races.
The Indian-born British citizen known as the "turbaned tornado" was among the competitors Sunday at a 10-kilometer race in Hong Kong. According to Sports Illustrated, he completed the 6.2-mile course in 1 hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds.
Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 12:22 pm
The McDonald's menu is a sacred document, like the Constitution. You can't just add things willy-nilly. It took hard work and sacrifice to add the Fourth Amendment, the McRib, and the Twenty-third Amendment, the Snack Wrap. Now, a new item called Fish McBites seeks ratification.
Miles: Fish McBites — for the bottom feeder in all of us.
Ian: I can't wait to wash this down with McDonald's new Chumrock Shake.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 2:53 pm
The remains of a small continent have been hiding right under our noses for the past 85 million years or so.
That's according to a new study published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience. Scientists looked at lava sands from beaches on Mauritius to determine when and where the material might have originated.