It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Seems like only a month or two ago that some pundits saw almost no way that Mitt Romney could easily sew up his party's nomination, and they spun out elaborate scenarios of a contested convention. Actually, it was only a month or two ago that some pundits were saying that. But now Romney's nomination is assumed, especially after he won five primaries this week. And that leaves him a full half year to make his case against President Obama.
Now f or Jessica Evers Jones, the anniversary of the LA riots is also a birthday. Jessica entered the world dramatically. On that first day of the riots, her pregnant mother, Elvira Jones, was shot in the stomach outside her home. Elvira was rushed to the hospital and Jessica was delivered by emergency C-section. Surgeons removed a bullet from her elbow. She was famous before she was a week old.
Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:33 am
It may have been "inexcusable," as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said this week, but the prostitution scandal that has embroiled the Secret Service in recent weeks should not affect the agency's readiness going forward.
The number of agents involved is relatively small, compared to the size of the agency. And the sunken costs involved in losing trained agents may not be especially noticeable, considering the fact that the presidential detail regularly loses agents due to turnover.
The walls of the Clock Shop in downtown Frankfurt, Germany, are lined with timepieces of every kind, from cuckoo clocks to digital watches. It's a testament to the store's 55-year history as a functioning business.
One of the things that has remained constant for much of that time is the store's relationship with its bank, owner Basia Szlomowicz says.
Government regulators take up a rule with wide political implications Friday. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on a proposal requiring TV stations to post online information about the campaign ads they air.
Stations are already compelled to keep those records in public files. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says it's time to make that information available on the Internet. But TV stations are resisting.
Four years ago, Marco Ferreira was riding his motorcycle down an isolated road in Los Angeles when he hit some grout and had an accident.
Though he was wearing a full helmet, leather pants and jacket, Ferreira suffered a traumatic brain injury.
When he woke from a six-week coma, his wife, Wendy Tucker, was there.
"You didn't walk, you didn't talk, and you couldn't feed yourself for seven months," she says during a visit with the 48-year-old Ferreira to StoryCorps in San Francisco. "Since then, it's just been getting better all the time."
When Janie Guice looks at the Mississippi Delta she sees a vast, flat flood plain home to cotton fields and catfish farms. She also sees desperate rural health problems and a deep shortage of doctors to offer care. Her job: to find doctors to fill that void.
"Who is the one that is going to go back and live in a community that maybe doesn't even have a Wal-Mart? And yes, there are a lot of communities in Mississippi that don't have a Wal-Mart yet!" Guice laments.
National Guardsmen watch a business go up in flames in South Los Angeles on April 30, 1992. The riots erupted after a mostly white jury acquitted police officers accused in the beating of black motorist Rodney King.
Commentator John Ridley moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago, not long before the riots.
Look, I was always going to end up in Los Angeles. From the time I was a kid in Wisconsin, for me, L.A. was the city. It had sunshine, palm trees, a black mayor, even a police force whose legend was preached nightly on hit TV shows.
It has been 20 years since four police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King, and L.A. erupted in race-fueled riots. Many in Los Angeles, including students who weren't born when the riots hit in April 1992, are reflecting on those days of anger, looting and destruction, asking why it happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Residents of Cañada Real stand near recently demolished shacks on March 5. The settlement is separated into different sections and tends to be segregated by ethnic groups: Roma in one section, Arabs in another, for example.
Credit Susana Vera / Reuters /Landov
A digger demolishes a shack as a boy walks nearby in one section of the sprawling CaÃ±ada Real slum on the outskirts of Madrid on March 5. After decades of turning a blind eye to Europe's largest illegal settlement, cash-strapped authorities are demolishing homes there and taking back the land.
Credit Lauren Frayer for NPR
Cañada Real is built on a traditional livestock path and dry riverbed that has been public land for 700 years. Dwellings have existed here for up to 40 years.
Europe's largest illegal settlement lies on the edge of Madrid. As the Spanish capital has grown, the city's limits have moved ever closer to the shantytown known as Cañada Real, a sprawling tangle of tents and cement houses. And as the economy has tanked, a growing number of people are calling it home.
Now the city is eyeing the property for possible development.
The roads in Cañada Real are unpaved. Houses are made of corrugated metal or cement. Some lots are just piles of garbage.
If the job of the vice president is, as John Adams so famously put it, "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived," what must it be like to be lieutenant governor?
And, to go a step further, what about a lieutenant governor facing recall?
Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 4:40 am
There was more bad news for Europe's attempt to rebuild its economy: Standard & Poor announced Thursday that it was downgrading Spain's long-term sovereign credit rating by two notches – from "A" to "BBB+." The agency also lowered Spain's short-term sovereign credit rating to "A-2" from "A-1," and said the outlook on the long-term rating is negative.
In Iowa, President Obama's re-election campaign is already in gear, with staff and volunteers on the ground.
The Obama campaign hopes its head start over the campaign of Republican Mitt Romney — who until recently had been focused on fending off GOP opponents — will make the difference in November in this swing state.
The Obama campaign headquarters in Des Moines is a former Blockbuster Video store, where this week a couple of dozen 20-somethings tapped away at laptops, painted signs by hand and worked the phones.
Commuters immersed in their smartphones ride the subway in Beijing.
Credit Evan Agostini / AP
Actress Isabelle Fuhrman, one of the stars of The Hunger Games, kicks it old school when it comes to communication: "I don't like to text; I use it to make plans with people, but I prefer to call. You can hear the intonation in their voice and you can really connect to them."
I know it's strange to be thinking about October right now, but whenever I write, in a way that's always where I am. Growing up in Connecticut, it always held a special place in my heart — "a rare month for boys," as Ray Bradbury begins Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:21 pm
The United States has never won an Olympic medal in table tennis. China has long dominated the sport, winning almost every medal since 1992. That's not likely to change at this year's Summer Olympics in London, but a group of young American women may be on their way to competing at the sport's highest levels.
Ariel Hsing, 16, already has the attributes of a fine table tennis player — quick hands, perfect balance and strong lungs. While she plays, she'll often shout "Sa!" — a meaningless word — to help relieve stress, something she's been dealing with a lot lately.
North Carolina is the only Southern state without a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But that could change next month.
On May 8, voters will decide whether to change the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, as well as civil unions and domestic partnerships. Leading Republican lawmakers think it's one of the most important issues facing voters.
But some conservatives worry that the measure goes too far.
Germany plans to take all of its nuclear power plants offline by 2022, which means coal-fired power plants like the Kraftwerk Westfalen, in Hamm, Germany, will be a key component of the country's energy infrastructure.
Energy ministers from around the world met in London this week and got a scolding. The International Energy Agency warned the ministers that they are falling way behind in their efforts to wean the world from dirty sources of energy. Nations are nowhere near being on track to avert significant climate change in the coming decades.
It turns out that right now, just about everything is conspiring to make it harder to clean up the world's energy supply.
There is not a lot to sing about in Norway these days. The right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik has been unrepentant during his trial for killing 77 people. But today, the people of Norway were singing a children's song. And as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, they sang it for Breivik.
Amr Moussa, the front-runner in the Egyptian presidential race, speaks during a press conference in Cairo on Apr. 22. The country's election commission said Thursday that Moussa and 12 other candidates are eligible to compete in next month's election.
Credit Amr Nabil / AP
Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, will be allowed to take part in Egypt's presidential race. The country's election commission said Thursday that he is eligible, one day after he had been ruled ineligible. In this photo, he's shown speaking at a news conference in February 2011.
Dale Miller spends his days on the streets of downtown Denver selling a newspaper called The Homeless Voice. He's been having some health problems, but he can't afford to see a doctor on the $10 to $15 a day he makes selling papers.
A local charity clinic called the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless recently helped him get a CT scan at no cost to him. Miller fully understands, though, that someone has to pay for his care.