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Theater
1:47 am
Tue January 8, 2013

A Vet's Haunted Homecoming In 'Water By The Spoonful'

Liza Colon-Zayas plays a troubled character named Odessa Ortiz, who finds her better self online. She's pictured above with Bill Heck, as Fountainhead.
Richard Termine

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:06 am

The cliche about writers is they should write what they know, and that old saw has certainly worked for Quiara Alegria Hudes. The 35-year-old playwright has mined her Puerto Rican family's stories into a series of plays, a musical and even a children's book. Now, her Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Water by the Spoonful, is being brought to life in the first New York production of the play, opening off-Broadway on Tuesday evening.

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Latin America
1:42 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Ill In Cuba, Chavez Likely To Miss His Swearing In

A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a heart-shaped sign that reads in Spanish "I vote for Chavez!" and a picture of Chavez outside the National Assembly in Caracas over the weekend. On Thursday, Chavez is scheduled to be sworn in for a fourth term. Government officials are suggesting the ceremony could be delayed as the president recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 7:10 am

In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."

Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.

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Energy
12:38 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Drilling Rig's Thick Hull Helps Prevent Oil Spill

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Shell oil drilling rig that ran aground off Alaska last week is now anchored in a quiet harbor so divers can assess the damage. Wildlife officials say they have seen no evidence of a spill from the vessel, which was carrying tanks of diesel fuel. But the accident does raise questions about Shell's plans to drill for oil in the remote and fragile ecosystem of the Arctic.

NPR's Richard Harris reports.

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Music News
12:03 am
Tue January 8, 2013

2 Pi: Rhymes And Radii

Jake Scott (a.k.a. 2 Pi), with student.
Courtesy of Jake Scott

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 3:29 pm

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Shots - Health News
4:13 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Health Spending Increases Remain At Record Lows

Orcea David iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:57 pm

For the third straight year, spending on health care in 2011 grew at a historically slow rate, government researchers report.

According to a study published in the January issue of the policy journal Health Affairs, U.S. health spending rose 3.9 percent in 2011. That's statistically almost identical to the rate of increase in each of the two previous years.

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U.S.
4:09 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

New Regulations Could Treat Virginia Abortion Clinics Like Hospitals

Protesters appeal to members of the Virginia Board of Health after their decision to impose new building regulations on abortion clinics in Richmond, Va., on Sept. 14.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 8:00 am

This month marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the famed and widely cited case that legalized abortion. Yet across the country, states are continuing to approve restrictions.

With little fanfare, Virginia and Michigan Republican governors recently signed new abortion bills into law. Virginia's Bob McDonnell, in particular, quietly approved clinic regulations adopted by the state's Board of Health three months ago that hold abortion clinics to the same building standards as hospitals.

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All Tech Considered
3:45 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Why Is Google Exec Interested In North Korea?

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (left) arrives at Pyongyang International Airport on Monday. There is speculation that Schmidt's presence in North Korea could have an upside for Google by positioning Schmidt as the company's global ambassador.
David Guttenfelder AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:39 pm

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has landed in North Korea. His trip there is a bit of a mystery.

Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has been a vocal proponent of providing people around the world with Internet access and technology. North Korea doesn't even let its citizens access the open Internet, and its population is overwhelmingly poor — so it's not exactly a coveted audience for advertisers.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

The $1.76 Million Tuna: Great For Publicity, Bad For The Species

Sushi chain owner Kiyoshi Kimura poses with a bluefin tuna in front of his Sushi Zanmai restaurant in Tokyo on Saturday. He paid more than $1.7 million for the fish.
Shuji Kajiyama AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 3:52 pm

It's become an annual tradition: bidding up an outrageous price for a Pacific bluefin tuna during the first auction of the new year at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market.

And on Saturday, a bluefin tuna big enough to serve up about 10,000 pieces of sushi fetched a mind-boggling price: $1.76 million. That's about three times as much as last year's tuna and equates to about $3,600 per pound for the 489-pound fish.

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It's All Politics
3:42 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Why Hagel? Let Us Count The Reasons

President Obama nominates former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be defense secretary Monday at the White House.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 7:02 am

So why did President Obama choose Chuck Hagel to be his new defense secretary?

First, Hagel is Obama's kind of Republican. The former senator from Nebraska is a realist and pragmatist who hasn't been afraid to buck the orthodoxy of his chosen party, for instance when Hagel opposed the Iraq War.

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Shots - Health News
3:38 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Why Didn't Your Doctor Prescribe A Generic? Look In The Mirror.

Generic or brand?
iStockphoto.com

We're living in the golden age of generic drugs.

Eight in 10 prescriptions are filled with generics rather than brand-name drugs these days.

The generics are usually inexpensive. Think $4 for a month's supply of the depression drug fluoxetine (or Prozac) at Wal-Mart. If you have insurance that covers pharmaceuticals, your copay will be lower with a generic than a brand-name drug, too.

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

'Latin@' Offers A Gender-Neutral Choice; But How To Pronounce It?

In Spanish, most nouns default to masculine or feminine, as do the adjectives that describe them. So if you're referring to a group of people that includes a man, the word you'd use for that group would be masculine — even if that group is mostly made up of women.

(For a handy explainer on how words in languages become gendered, check out the "When Nouns Grow Genitals" episode of Slate's Lexicon Valley.)

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National Security
3:34 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

CIA Nominee Brennan Has Obama's 'Complete Trust'

John Brennan speaks in the East Room of the White House on Monday, after President Obama announced his nomination of Brennan to run the CIA. Obama also announced his choice of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (left) to head the Department of Defense.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

President Obama's choice of John Brennan to lead the CIA appears to be less controversial than his decision to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.

The top Republican on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said in a statement Monday that he looks forward to working with Brennan at the CIA. Still, the Brennan nomination will raise questions about Obama's national security policy.

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Afghanistan
2:58 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

As Karzai Visits U.S., What Are The Prospects For Afghan Peace?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will meet with President Obama and other senior U.S. officials in Washington this week. Many analysts remain skeptical about the prospects for a negotiated peace in Afghanistan. He's shown here speaking in Kabul last month.
Massoud Hossani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 5:16 pm

As Afghan President Hamid Karzai comes to Washington to meet with President Obama and other U.S. officials this week, there is renewed discussion in Afghanistan about the possibility of a negotiated end to the country's war.

Recent talks hosted by France have rekindled hopes for some sort of reconciliation between the Taliban and Karzai's government. But given the decades of war in Afghanistan, many think the prospect of a peace deal remains nothing but talk.

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Commentary
2:48 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Online 'Shaming' A New Level Of Cyberbullying For Girls

Sixteen-year-old Rookie Reporter Temitayo Fagbenle says at her school girls are often the victims of "slut shaming," having explicit photos and videos of themselves posted online and shared with their peers.
Joerg Koch AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

Many teenagers are living half their lives on social media sites, and they're writing the rules as they go. One online trend 16-year-old Temitayo Fagbenle finds disturbing is something she calls "slut shaming" — using photos and videos to turn a girl's private life inside out. Temitayo reported this story as part of the Radio Rookies program at member station WNYC.

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The Two-Way
2:31 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

What Lance Armstrong, And The USADA, Might Gain From A Confession

Lance Armstrong, seen here at a LIVESTRONG Challenge Ride in October 2012, might be willing to confess to doping — in exchange for an easing of his lifetime ban, according to reports.
Cooper Neill Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:23 am

The news that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong might be willing to confess to the doping charges he spent years denying has reopened interest in his case — and in the question of whether his lifetime ban from competitive sports could be eased in exchange for Armstrong's cooperation.

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Asia
2:07 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

China Pledges Reforms To Labor Camps, But Offers Few Details

Ren Jianyu poses for a photograph at a restaurant in Chongqing, China, on Nov. 19, 2012, after being freed from a labor camp. The village official was sentenced to a "re-education through labor" camp after he criticized the government.
STR Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 6:23 pm

China has indicated that it will stop handing down sentences to its controversial labor camps, which allow detention without trial for up to four years. According to Chinese media, some 160,000 prisoners were held in "re-education centers" at the end of 2008.

Critics of the system greeted the announcement — which was slim on details — with cautious optimism.

Pressure to change the system has been mounting after a number of high-profile cases, including that of Ren Jianyu, who had been a young village official.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

'Gun Appreciation Day' Is Jan. 19, Conservative Groups Declare

At the Great Southern Gun and Knife Show in Birmingham, Ala., over the weekend, rows of weapons drew a record crowd.
Joe Songer AL.COM /Landov

Saying they're following the example of last year's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, a coalition of "gun rights" activists announced today that they're calling on like-minded Americans to visit gun stores, gun ranges and gun shows on Jan. 19 in a show of unity they're calling "Gun Appreciation Day."

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Europe
1:15 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Berlusconi Plots His Comeback: 'You Italians Need Me'

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (left) has returned to Italy's political scene in advance of next month's election. Also in the race is the current Prime Minister Mario Monti (right). They are shown here in November 2011 as Monti took over for Berlusconi.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

With elections in Italy just weeks away, polls show leftist parties with a comfortable lead. Yet attention is focused on the battle between the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and the current prime minister, Mario Monti, an austere technocrat.

Monti's platform calls for continued austerity, budget cutting and labor reforms.

While Berlusconi and Monti are the two big names in next month's race, the expected winner is the leader of the leftist Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani.

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The Two-Way
1:12 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Aurora Shooting Suspect Looked Like A Fellow Officer, Police Say

James Holmes faces multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the July 20 theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. Here, he's seen in a photo from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.
AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

Moments after a deadly attack that turned an Aurora, Colo., movie theater into a scene of panic and tragedy, the police officer who found suspect James Holmes at first took him for a fellow police officer, due to the body armor Holmes was wearing.

But he noticed that Holmes was "just standing there" and had no sense of urgency — despite the pandemonium at the theater, as people continued to stream out.

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The Salt
12:58 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Steak And Kidney Pie

You say Steak & Kidney Pie, I say Gravy Volcano.
NPR

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 1:16 pm

[Note: Peter sends this disgusting dispatch from a family vacation in London.]

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Kilograms With Weight Problems May Get High-Tech Cleanings

Back in 2009, as Morning Edition reported, some scientists were worried that the small metal cylinder used as the world's standard for what a kilogram should be might be losing weight.

But there were also those who thought the problem might have nothing to do with that carefully sealed away cylinder in Paris — that the real problem might be that the 40 replicas sent around the world are gaining weight.

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The Two-Way
11:01 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Obama Nominates Hagel For Defense, Brennan For CIA

The nominees: John Brennan (left), who is President Obama's choice to head the CIA; and former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who the president has asked to be secretary of defense.
STAFF Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 12:16 pm

  • NPR coverage of the Hagel/Brennan nomination announcements

President Obama this afternoon nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

In those two, the president said, he has chosen men with experience in the field and who "understand the consequences of decisions we make in this town" on the men and women who serve America around the world,

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Kulluk Drilling Rig Being Towed To Shelter In Alaska

The 266-feet-wide Kulluk oil rig, seen here as it sat aground last Thursday, is being towed 30 miles to the north.
Kulluk Response

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:06 am

The Kulluk, the Shell oil-drilling rig that washed aground last weekend, is afloat and being towed to shelter on Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. The craft began its 30-mile trip late Sunday night. Examinations of the vessel have not found any signs of a leak.

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Shots - Health News
10:06 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Pregnancies Way Past Due Date Are On The Decline

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:03 am

Ask any obstetrician, babies want to come out only when they're good and ready.

At least 39 weeks after conception is the goal. But some babies bust out early, and others take longer — sometimes much longer.

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The Two-Way
9:57 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Big Banks Agree To Pay $8.5 Billion To Settle Foreclosure-Abuse Claims

April 2011: A foreclosure sign in front of a home in Richmond, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:26 pm

Ten of the nation's major mortgage servicing companies, including household names such as Bank of America and Citibank, have agreed to pay $8.5 billion to resolve claims that they abused some homeowners when they foreclosed on mortgages during the recent housing crisis, the Federal Reserve and the Comptroller of the Currency announced late Monday morning.

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Secretary Clinton Back At Work

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (at right, in front) in a photo released today (Jan 7, 2013) by the State Department. A spokesman says it was taken around 9:15 a.m. ET at a meeting with the department's assistant secretaries.
State Department

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 10:49 am

After nearly a month of health problems that culminated with a stay in a New York City hospital for treatment of a blood clot in a vein between her brain and her skull, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was back in her office Monday morning.

The State Department released a photo of the 65-year-old, soon-to-be-retired Clinton chairing a weekly meeting of assistant secretaries.

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The Salt
9:26 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Skinny Isn't All That: Survey Finds Fewer American Women Are Dieting

Fewer women are dieting — and fewer people agree that thinner necessarily equals more attractive, according to NPD's latest survey of national eating trends.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:41 am

Our perceptions about dieting and our attitudes about overweight people are shifting, according to a new survey by the NPD Group.

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The Two-Way
9:08 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Amid Pandemonium, Court In Indian Rape Case Is Closed To Public

Inside the courthouse in New Delhi today, there were chaotic scenes leading up to a hearing for men accused in the rape and death of a young woman. Outside, Indian police stood watch.
Sajjad Hussain AFP/Getty Images

The five men accused in the rape case that has reverberated around the world were brought before a New Delhi magistrate for the first time today — but only after she sealed the proceedings.

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Lee Harvey Oswald's Apartment Building Is Coming Down, Dallas Declares

Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 23, 1963, after his arrest for President Kennedy's assassination. The next day, Oswald was shot and killed as he was being moved from a Dallas police station to the local county jail.
dpa /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 3:25 pm

After more than a year of legal wrangling, the city of Dallas has apparently decided enough is enough.

It is sending contractors to an apartment building once lived in by presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to tear the dilapidated structure down.

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Top Stories: CIA Nomination; Aurora Shooting Hearing; Football

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III reinjured his right knee during Sunday's playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Washington lost 24-14.
Al Bello Getty Images

Good morning.

Our first two headlines of the day were on news that broke this morning:

-- Counterterrorism Adviser Brennan To Be Tapped For CIA.

-- Bank Of America To Pay Fannie Mae $3.6B, Buy Back $6.75B In Mortgages.

Other stories making headlines:

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