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The Two-Way
10:08 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Postal Service Reports Record $15.9 Billion Loss

An employee loads flat trays onto a truck at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Merrifield, Va.
Andrew Harrier Bloomberg via Getty Images

The United States Postal Service reported a record $15.9 billion loss in fiscal year 2012. That compares to a $5.1 billion loss last fiscal year.

Bloomberg reports that the postal service is forecast to run out of cash by Oct. 15, 2013 when it is scheduled to make a workers compensation payment to the Labor Department. The Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe painted a grim picture when he announced the loss.

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Shots - Health News
10:05 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Twitter Chat: States Face Deadline On Health Insurance Exchanges

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens to a question in Trenton, N.J., Tuesday. He has refused to tip his hand on whether New Jersey will set up a federally mandated health insurance exchange or let the federal government handle the chores.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 6:24 pm

Update 8:20 p.m: Late Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius extended the deadline until Dec. 14 for states to decide whether to run an exchange on their own.


Come Friday, states will have to decide whether they will run their own insurance exchanges under President Obama's sweeping health law.

These exchanges will be where people and small businesses go to shop for insurance.

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Thu November 15, 2012

New Syrian Opposition Group Gets Thumbs-Up From Facebook Users

Moaz al-Khatib, a Muslim cleric, is the leader of the newly formed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition. The opposition is working to build support inside Syria through Facebook and other social media.
Karim Jaafar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 11:02 am

Facebook is the bulletin board for the Syrian revolt.

When a newly formed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, got some 18,000 "likes" within 48 hours, it was a sign that support is building for a group formed Sunday after a week of negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

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It's All Politics
9:03 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Meet The New GOP, Same As The Old GOP?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus rides the Mitt Romney campaign bus days before the presidential election. Despite Romney's loss and other GOP failures, Priebus, who helped the party raise huge sums of money in 2012, may seek a second term.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 2:16 pm

There has been no dearth of post-election Republican self-flagellation.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, on the eve of heading out to a meeting of Republican governors in Las Vegas, warned the GOP to "stop being the stupid party." At the gathering Wednesday night, he leveled more harsh criticism at party presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

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Shots - Health News
8:43 am
Thu November 15, 2012

A Peek Inside Rappers' Brains Shows Roots Of Improvisation

Some rappers have an impressive ability to make up lyrics on the fly, in a style known as freestyle rap.

These performers have a lot in common with jazz musicians, it turns out.

Scientists have found artists in both genres are using their brains in similar ways when they improvise.

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The Two-Way
8:41 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Update: United Airlines Says It's Back In Operation

United Airlines jets in San Francisco earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 9:08 am

Update at 11:05 a.m. ET: "Our system is up. We're resuming operations for affected flights," United Airlines says. There's no word yet on how long it will take to get everyone where they need to go.

Our original post:

If you're headed to the airport and planning to fly on United today, be aware:

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Thu November 15, 2012

What Are They Smoking In Seattle? Check Out Police Dept.'s Guide To Pot Use

A young cannabis plant at grows at The Joint Cooperative in Seattle, Washington Jan. 27.
Cliff DesPeaux Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 10:11 am

We love when police departments put some personality and pizzazz into their public statements.

So the Seattle Police Department's blog post headlined "Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle," definitely got our attention.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Sends Jobless Claims Up Sharply

The line was long last week at a job fair in Chicago.
Scott Olson Getty Images

There were 439,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 78,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. Behind the big increase: Superstorm Sandy, which threw some people in the Mid-Atlantic onto the unemployment rolls and shut down state unemployment offices the week before — meaning that some claims were postponed into last week.

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The Two-Way
5:49 am
Thu November 15, 2012

BP Pleads Guilty, Will Pay $4 Billion In Criminal Penalties For Gulf Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:32 pm

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET: Oil giant BP has agreed to plead guilty to criminal misconduct related to the 2010 Gulf Oil spill and will pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties, the company just confirmed. And it will pay $525 million in civil penalties in a resolution with the Securities and Exchanges Commission. BP will make the payments over six years.

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Europe
5:43 am
Thu November 15, 2012

French Tax Would Raise Price Of Nutella

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. First, they taxed the rich, and the people said nothing. Then they went after the Nutella. The French Senate approved a measure tripling the tax on palm oil and other vegetable oils. It would sharply raise the cost of making Nutella, a popular chocolate and hazelnut spread. The tax is meant to cut down on obesity, but has prompted an outcry from Nutella lovers. And the maker of the spread promises the recipe will not change. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
5:39 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Goat Chases Paper Boy Up A Tree

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Here's a story from Utah about a missing paperboy. A goat named Voldemort butted a paperboy off his bike, treed(ph) him, and sat under the tree glaring. The standoff lasted until the goat saw some girls passing by and chased them. Jaxon Gessel, hero paperboy, climbed out of the tree, caught the goat and wrestled it to the ground. Cops looking for Jackson found the boy, grabbed the goat and solved the case of two kids. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
5:28 am
Thu November 15, 2012

In Israel And Gaza Strip: More Explosions, Deaths On Both Sides

An Israeli soldier lies on the ground as missiles are fired from an Iron Dome anti-missile station on Thursday near the city of Beer Sheva, Israel. The Iron Dome was activated to intercept incoming rockets launched from Gaza.
Ilia Yefimovich Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:21 am

  • Anthony Kuhn talks with Linda Wertheimer on 'Morning Editon'

Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. Firing Continues:

"Intensive fire" has continued through the day across the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, correspondent Linda Gradstein, who is in Jerusalem, tells our Newscast Desk.

Hamas has now fired more than 130 rockets toward southern Israel and the Israeli military continues to fire at targets in Gaza. Palestinian officials report at least 13 deaths on their side of the border. The death toll in Israel remains at three.

White House spokesman Jay Carney today told reporters that:

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NPR Story
3:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Scandal Shines Light On Tampa Social Scene

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 3:29 am

Along with the news about the Gen. David Petreus scandal, we've been hearing about lavish social events given in the Tampa, Fla., area. A lot of military brass from MacDill Air Force Base, where U.S. Central Command is headquartered, go to these events. Linda Wertheimer talks to Ben Montgomery, a reporter with the Tampa Bay Times, about how the scandal is playing out around Tampa.

Economy
3:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Studies Vary On How Many Jobs Will Be Lost If Taxes On The Wealthy Ride

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:07 am

Republicans claim President Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy will cost the economy 700,000 jobs. Another study from the Congressional Budget Office puts the number of lost jobs as 200,000. But both studies also assume millions of new jobs will be created.

NPR Story
2:46 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:21 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with Twinkie trouble.

Hostess Brands, famous for processed treats like Twinkies and Ding Dongs, says it will go into liquidation if striking bakers do not return to work this afternoon. This could see the layoffs of nearly 18,000 workers. The bakers walked out over wage and benefit cuts. Analysts say the company's most iconic brands would likely be bought by other companies if Hostess goes out of business. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Politics
2:05 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Obama's Visit To Myanmar: Too Much, Too Soon?

A newspaper with a front-page photo of President Obama is displayed at a press house in downtown Yangon, Myanmar, on Thursday, ahead of Obama's visit.
Soe Than Win AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 6:15 pm

When President Obama sets off to Asia this weekend to highlight his so-called pivot to the region, he will make a bit of history: Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar.

The country, also known as Burma, was a pariah state for decades, ruled by a ruthless military dictatorship. That is changing, and the Obama administration has encouraged a dramatic reform process in the country. But it may be too early for a victory lap.

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Planet Money
2:04 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Why Coke Cost A Nickel For 70 Years

An oilcloth sign advertising Coca-Cola from 1905.
The Coca-Cola Company

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 12:04 pm

Prices change; that's fundamental to how economies work.

And yet: In 1886, a bottle of Coke cost a nickel. It was also a nickel in 1900, 1915 and 1930. In fact, 70 years after the first Coke was sold, you could still buy a bottle for a nickel.

Three wars, the Great Depression, hundreds of competitors — none of it made any difference for the price of Coke. Why not?

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The Two-Way
10:00 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

As Xi Jinping Takes Top Post In China, Hopes Of Reform Fade

Chinese leader Xi Jinping earlier today in Beijing.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 7:10 am

  • Louisa Lim on 'Morning Edition'

Though new Chinese leader Xi Jinping "didn't once mention Marxism or Mao Zedong" today as he stepped into his new role, the make-up of the "gang of seven" that he now heads "will disappoint those hoping for sweeping reform," NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing.

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It's All Politics
4:04 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Obama Says He Has One Mandate: To Help The Middle Class

President Obama acknowledges reporters after his White House news conference on Wednesday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:49 pm

A president just re-elected has arguably the most political capital he's likely to have during his entire second term.

And President Obama clearly has some capital, though he didn't overtly refer to it or vow to "spend it," as his predecessor George W. Bush famously said upon his 2004 re-election.

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Shots - Health News
3:57 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Lawmakers Clash With FDA Over Meningitis Outbreak

New England Compounding Center co-owner Barry Cadden went to Capitol Hill for a congressional hearing Wednesday on the fungal meningitis outbreak. Choosing to take the Fifth Amendment, Cadden did not testify.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:17 pm

Members of a House subcommittee clashed repeatedly Wednesday with U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Margaret Hamburg over the outbreak of meningitis caused by contaminated steroid injections.

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Shots - Health News
3:55 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Health Care Cuts Are Coming. Here's Where Liberals Say You Can Slice

Two new studies and a proposed class-action lawsuit settlement all have the potential to change dollar signs as lawmakers address the impending fiscal cliff.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 7:12 pm

A liberal think-tank closely allied with the Obama administration is proposing a health care spending plan it says could save hundreds of billions of dollars in entitlement spending without hurting middle- and low-income patients.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:29 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

For Some Sandy Survivors, Medicine's The Big Worry

Pharmacy and medical services stores closed in Coney Island.
Reema Khrais NPR

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:15 pm

In Coney Island, on the southern end of Brooklyn, long lines of EMS trucks and buses of National Guardsmen rolled down the roads this week — trekking from residential building to building.

Since Friday, dozens of troops and officials from the City Health Department have been dropping in at the hardest hit areas of New York, making sure all residents are equipped with the essentials: Do they have food? Water? Do they need medical attention?

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It's All Politics
3:29 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

As FEMA's Sandy Cleanup Continues, Questions Arise About Long Term Help

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo meets Nov. 10 with residents of the Far Rockaways section of Queens, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Cuomo is seeking $30 billion in federal assistance to help rebuild his state at a time when Congress is already consumed with reducing the deficit.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:15 pm

Political leaders from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have not been shy about their intent to seek as much federal funding as possible for their storm-struck states. Damages and lost economic activity as a result of Hurricane Sandy have been estimated as high as $50 billion.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., wants $30 billion in federal assistance to help rebuild his state. This request, and others, come at a time when Congress is already consumed with reducing the deficit.

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Shots - Health News
3:29 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Recurring Lyme Disease Rash Caused By Reinfection, Not Relapse

Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks like this one. A study finds that some people can be reinfected many times with the bacteria that cause the disease.
Lauree Feldman Getty Creative Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 3:30 pm

In recent years, a disease spread by ticks has become more common across the country.

Lyme disease causes a skin rash, and in some cases, more serious symptoms. The rash usually goes away with antibiotics, but some people say they have other symptoms that persist for months or years.

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Health Care
3:29 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Liberal Group Proposes Reduced Medicare Spending

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:46 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

As the White House and Congress debate taxes and entitlement reform, an influential liberal think-tank is offering what appears to be an olive branch. It comes at a time when many Democrats are trying to protect entitlements, such as Medicare. At the same time, Republicans say those entitlements are too expensive in their present form.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Egypt Recalls Its Ambassador To Israel, Over Gaza Airstrikes

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:20 am

The Egyptian president has recalled his ambassador to Israel in protest of Israel's airstrikes on the Gaza Strip today, his spokesman said on state television. The strikes have killed at least 10 people including the commander of the military wing of Hamas.

Reporting from Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report to our Newscast unit:

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Music Interviews
3:01 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Charlie Watts On What Makes 'Satisfaction' So Satisfying

Charlie Watts says "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," The Rolling Stones' 1965 hit, "sums up the whole period" in the band's development.
Pierre Verdy AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:15 pm

This week, All Things Considered is talking to The Rolling Stones one by one, in honor of the band's 50th anniversary. Each of the Stones was asked to pick one song from their archive to discuss. Drummer Charlie Watts — at 71, the eldest statesman in the bunch — chose the song that gave the group its first No. 1 hit in the U.S.

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World
2:57 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Obama Defends U.N. Envoy Amid Republican Attack

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is considered a leading candidate to become the next secretary of state. Leading Senate Republicans say they would seek to block her if she's nominated.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:16 pm

President Obama sounds like he's in for a fight over the woman who could be the next secretary of state. Republicans have been blasting U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for the way she characterized the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11.

But the president came to her defense in his news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me," he told reporters.

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It's All Politics
2:54 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Maine Independent Angus King To Caucus With Senate Democrats

Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine (far right) joins newly elected Democratic senators and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. From left: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Reid, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Harry Hamburg AP

Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine, who cruised to victory last week running as an independent, said Wednesday that he will caucus with Senate Democrats.

King's announcement means the Democrats will have in essence a 55-45 seat advantage in the Senate next year.

The Senate's other independent, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, also caucuses with the Democrats.

King was elected last week to replace the retiring moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
2:35 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Foreclosed Homeowners Getting Back In The Market

Millions of U.S. families have a recent foreclosure on their record. Typically, that means waiting at least seven years before securing another home loan. But some families say they are having luck buying again — sometimes in as few as three years.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:15 pm

Buyers are coming back into the housing market after losing their homes during the financial crisis — returning to homeownership more quickly than lenders have typically allowed.

With millions of families with recent foreclosures on their records, some report that they are having luck buying a house — in some cases within three years.

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