During his trip to Detroit, yesterday, President Obama visited the Henry Ford Museum and had the opportunity to sit in the bus where in 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to make way for a white customer. That moment sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and fueled the civil rights movement that made it possible for Barack Obama to become president.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed a task force on Thursday charged with reviewing the state's gun laws, including the so-called "stand your ground law," that came into controversial focus after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:39 am
Activity cuts the risk of Alzheimer's disease and slows cognitive decline, even in the very old, according to a new study.
There's been plenty of evidence for the "use it or lose it" theory of brain capacity. But this study is one of the first to show that activity of all sorts benefits people over age 80, even if they're not "exercising."
The DREAM Act calls for a path to citizenship for some undocumented students. In the past, Republicans have opposed versions of the bill, but some prominent figures like former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales say the GOP needs to find its own voice on the issue. He speaks with host Michel Martin.
Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 8:24 am
Think flossing and brushing is helping to fight off heart disease and stroke? Think again.
An expert panel of dentists and cardiologists, writing in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, says there is no evidence that treating or preventing gum disease has any direct effect on heart health.
That's a big turnaround. For the past decade, the medical establishment has been telling people that cardiovascular disease can be caused by poor oral hygiene. Why the change?
Syrians walk through a badly damaged neighborhood in the central city of Homs on Sunday. Despite a declared cease-fire, fighting has continued in a number of Syrian cities, and peace efforts are at risk of collapsing.
Credit Mohammad Hannon / AP
Syrian opposition fighters stand watch in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, on April 6. A cease-fire was declared several days later, but shooting has continued.
Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:31 am
In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the Syrian government is not living up to its end of the bargain on a week-old cease-fire deal.
Ban says the government has failed to keep its pledge to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from cities, but adds that he still thinks there is "opportunity for progress."
The Secretary General's letter comes as the U.N. and Syria apparently worked out details of an observer mission to monitor the shaky deal meant to end more than a year of bloodshed that has killed an estimated 9,000 people.
A Dutch magician has threatened to tell the secret behind one of Penn & Teller's most famous bits. In this shadow illusion, an untouched rose falls apart as Teller cuts at the shadow with a knife. Teller tried to make the offer disappear by paying the Dutchman the $3,000. When that was refused, Teller sued.
John Brennan of Portland, Ore., was going through airport security when he was pulled aside for a closer look. So he removed all of his clothes, saying it was an act of protest. Facing charges, Brennan argues he was "nude but not lewd."
Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:53 am
The $760 million factory is part of Ford's plan to double its production there by 2015. The new factory should up Ford's production in China to 1.2million cars — about half of what it produces in the U.S.
This is MORNING EDITION, frpm NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.
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The Secret Service scandal has now cost three men their jobs. The government says they were involved in misconduct in South America, and they are leaving the agency. Agents, as well as military personnel, allegedly hired prostitutes in advance of President Obama's recent trip to Colombia.
NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson has been following this story. She's in our studios. Good morning.
Pakistani army soldiers work Wednesday at the site of a massive avalanche that buried 140 people, including 129 soldiers, April 7 at the Siachen glacier. Pakistan's army chief called for the peaceful resolution of the Himalayan glacier dispute with rival nuclear power India.
Credit Julie M. McCarthy / NPR
Pakistani army soldiers work Wednesday at the site of a massive avalanche that buried 140 people, including 129 soldiers, April 7 at the Siachen glacier.
Credit Julie M. McCarthy / NPR
Pakistani soldiers work Wednesday at the site of an avalanche that buried 140 people, including 129 soldiers, April 7 on the Siachen glacier. The incident revived debate in Pakistan over the price of patrolling the frozen area in the Kashmir region along the Indian border.
Credit B.K. Bangash / AP
Pakistan's army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, talks with reporters after visiting the avalanche site on the Siachen glacier Wednesday. Kayani has called for the peaceful resolution of the regional dispute with India.
In the chill of the world's highest combat zone lies the prospect of warmer relations. Pakistan's army chief said Wednesday that there's a need to resolve the conflict that has Indian and Pakistani troops facing off at frigid altitudes of up to 20,000 feet in the Himalayan Mountains. An estimated 3,000 Pakistani soldiers have died from the atrocious weather conditions since deployments on the Siachen glacier began in 1984.
Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 5:39 am
There is one more week left in the lockout-shortened, action-packed NBA regular season. Chicago, Miami and Oklahoma City head toward the finals with strong records — as do the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.
Proponents of the death penalty often argue that the threat of being executed acts as a deterrent that prevents people from committing murder. But those who oppose capital punishment challenge that claim. And some researchers argue that state-sanctioned execution might actually increase homicide rates.
Now, a panel of independent experts convened by the prestigious National Research Council has taken a look at this question and decided that the available research offers no useful information for policymakers.
Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan., on Feb. 21. The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.
The Environmental Protection Agency's new air pollution rules for the oil and gas industry may seem like odd timing, as President Obama has been trying to deflect Republican criticism that he overregulates energy industries. But the rules weren't the Obama administration's idea.
Several years ago, communities in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming complained about air pollution from natural gas booms in their local areas.
We imagine the lobbyist stalking the halls of Congress trying to use cash to influence important people. But it doesn't always work that way. Often, the Congressman is stalking the lobbyist, asking for money.
Many Web users have little idea about how, or when, they're being tracked. In this 2011 photo, Max Schrems of Austria sits with 1,222 pages about his activities on Facebook — the company gave him the file after he requested it under European law.
Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a sprawling facility of offices, residential buildings and therapy rooms set between a noisy boulevard and a golf course.
Some 400 people with developmental disabilities live at Fairview. And while minor scratches and bruises are not uncommon for these patients, over the years, the center has seen scores of serious injuries and even deaths.
Fairview is one of five state-run developmental centers in California — homes for people with developmental disabilities who are unable to care for themselves.
The news business has changed a lot in recent years, and that's especially true of political news. But when you ask about a book that captures what it's like to report on a presidential campaign, one decades-old classic still rules: The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse.
The rough-and-tumble account of the reporters who covered President Richard Nixon's re-election against George McGovern back in 1972 is part of a Morning Edition series on political history.
This November 2011 photo provided by The American Quarter Horse Journal shows Rita Crundwell of Dixon, Ill., at the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. FBI agents arrested Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller, on charges she misappropriated more than $30 million since 2006 to finance a lavish lifestyle.
The top financial official for the small city of Dixon, Ill., is accused of stealing more than $30 million from city coffers over the past six years. It's a staggering amount of money for the city of just 15,000 residents in northwest Illinois, and federal prosecutors allege she used the funds to finance a lavish lifestyle that included horse farms and a $2 million luxury motor home.
Anoushka Shankar is the daughter and protege of the renowned Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, who is credited with introducing Indian classical music to Western audiences. Now, Anoushka Shankar carries on this tradition in more ways than one. On her new album, Traveller, she goes back in time to make the connections between India and Spain.
Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:37 pm
Ever since Ronald Reagan posed the killer question to voters in a 1980 debate with then-President Jimmy Carter — "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" — challengers to incumbent presidents have tried to repeat the Reagan magic.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks with a staffer on the night of the Florida primary in January. Now that he's pivoting away from the primaries to the general election, Romney is expected to quadruple his staff soon.
Now that he's all but certain to be the Republican challenging President Obama in November, Mitt Romney has begun to expand his operations. In the past week, he's named a top aide to head his vice presidential selection team, and his paid staff is expected to soon quadruple in size.
With the president's campaign well-staffed and spread across the map, it's become a game of catch-up for Romney.
There are Republican primary contests in five important states next Tuesday, but with Rick Santorum's departure from the race, they've gotten little attention.
Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:22 pm
Three agents accused of cavorting with prostitutes during a trip to Cartagena as part of the "advance" team working on President Obama's trip to Colombia are leaving the agency.
The AP reports:
"Of the three workers forced out in the scandal, one is a supervisor who was allowed to retire. Another is a supervisor who has been designated for removal for cause, which requires that the employee be given 30 days' notice and a chance to respond with the help of a lawyer; and a third employee, not a supervisor, has quit.
I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"
The 150 passengers aboard the National Geographic Explorer cruise ship arrive in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, on April 16. It's reportedly the largest group of tourists to visit the country since the 1970s.
Credit Tamasin Ford for NPR
A cultural troupe dances for tourists arriving on the National Geographic Explorer in Monrovia, Liberia, this week.
Liberia has been better known for conflict than tourism the past couple of decades.
But this week, a group of 150 tourists, many of them Americans, arrived for a brief stay in the small nation on Africa's West Coast. When their cruise liner docked in the capital of Monrovia, they became the largest group of tourists to visit the country in many years, probably since the 1970s.
Dock workers in Monrovia usually unload cargo ships full of secondhand clothes or rice — not a cruise ship full of American tourists.