David Greene talks to Rick Knabb, the newly named head of the National Hurricane Center. Knabb is currently the Weather Channel's resident hurricane expert. When he previously worked at the National Hurricane Center as a meteorologist, he was one of the lead forecasters for Hurricane Katrina.
Today is Memorial Day, the day we remember the men and women who've died while serving in the Armed Forces. In Kabul, Afghanistan, the top U.S. commander, General John Allen, laid a wreath at a garden across from his headquarters. And he read a letter written by Marine Sergeant William Stacey to his parents in Seattle.
Vietnam veterans never got the homecoming many feel they deserved. On Monday, a group of veterans, the Department of Defense and others will begin the first of many ceremonies to honor those who served and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War. Events will be planned over the next 13 years, concluding with the fall of Saigon. Many will gather Monday at the Vietnam Memorial Wall for a wreath ceremony, including President Obama.
Many young people expect to spend some time couch-surfing when they're just starting out. For Eric Simmons, the couch came courtesy of an unsuspecting AOL. Simmons had been enrolled in an incubator program at the tech firm's Palo Alto campus. And when the program ended, the card that gave him access to the building kept working. That key card unlocked the solution to his housing problem.
The United Nations special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, is in Damascus today to urge the Syrian government to abide by a ceasefire that most agree has been a failure - this after a horrific massacre over the weekend that left more than 100 people dead, nearly half of them children. Witnesses say Syrian army troops shelled a residential area, and then pro-government militias moved in and went on a killing spree. NPR's Kelly McEvers joins us from Beirut. And, Kelly, what happened in this village?
Vatican authorities have charged Pope Benedict XVI's butler with illegally possessing secret documents. His arrest is the latest embarrassment for the Vatican. David Greene talks to NPR's Sylvia Poggioli for the latest on the investigation.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
The soldier's motto is leave no man behind. And one very visible symbol of that promise is the bracelet worn by many Americans to honor a prisoner of war or a service member missing in action. One bracelet created a rare bond between two people. Both had lost a close family member in service overseas. On this Memorial Day, here's Curt Nickisch of member station WBUR.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A Memorial Day weekend combines honoring those who served with backyard barbecues. And some are getting an early start. Police in Boxford, Massachusetts responded to a call about six party crashers - cows. The Tri-Town Transcript reports the cows crashed a backyard gathering, chased away partiers, and drank their beer. Said a police sergeant, the thirsty cows, quote, "just went in and helped themselves." It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A town in Germany once had a legendary rat problem. Hamelin was the setting for the tale of the Pied Piper, who lured its rats into a river, and then led away its children when he wasn't paid. Some 700 years later, the rats have returned and chewed through the electric cable powering the town's fountain. Could be a job for another Pied Piper, or tourists could just stop scattering bread crumbs for birds near the fountain. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Moviegoers watch a 3-D IMAX movie at a Beijing theater run by the Chinese company Wanda, which recently announced it was buying AMC movie theaters for $2.6 billion. The move is seen as part of a larger effort by the Chinese conglomerate to move into the U.S. market.
Many small-business owners have had difficulty securing loans in recent years. One website grades the nation's banks by the ratio of small-business loans to deposits — and finds that community banks are often most friendly to small business.
Zimbabwe now uses the U.S. dollar as its main currency, though the bills are often extremely dirty and falling apart due to constant use. Here a cashier holds U.S. dollars in good condition at a supermarket in the capital Harare in 2009.
Credit Kate Holt / Bloomberg via Getty Images
After hyperinflation in 2008, Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency, which included notes of 50 billion Zimbabwe dollars and even trillion-dollar notes. The main currency is the U.S. dollar, though the South African rand (on right) is also used in some places.
Credit Anders Kelto for NPR
Many of the U.S. dollars used in Zimbabwe have changed hands so often they are falling apart. But there are some new bills in circulation as well.
Four years ago, Zimbabwe experienced one of the worst cases of hyperinflation in history. The country abandoned its own currency and switched to the U.S. dollar — a move experts say prevented a complete economic collapse.
But using American dollars has created a host of bizarre issues. The bills are filthy, crumbling and often in short supply. There are no U.S. coins to make change, so chocolate is handed out instead. There is, oddly, an abundance of $2 bills.
More than 200,000 people crossed the bridge the day it opened in 1937. Many walked. Others ran, tap-danced, roller-skated, unicycled, or strode on stilts.
Credit Courtesy of Edgar Stone
Edgar Stone (left), Marshall Weigel and Stuart Greenberg were exhausted after walking across the Golden Gate Bridge on the day it first opened. A photographer snapped them for this image, which appeared in The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin.
Credit Courtesy of Edgar Stone
This certificate, which belongs to Edgar Stone, was given to everyone who walked on the bridge on opening day.
On May 27, 1937, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge opened, connecting bustling San Francisco to sleepy Marin County to the north. The Oakland-Bay Bridge had opened six months earlier — but the Golden Gate was an engineering triumph. It straddles the Golden Gate Strait, the passage from the Pacific Ocean into the San Francisco Bay, where rough currents prevail and winds can reach 70 mph.
Nurses are the backbone of the hospital — just ask pretty much any doctor or patient. But a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds 34 percent of patients hospitalized for at least one night in the past year said "nurses weren't available when needed or didn't respond quickly to requests for help."
Since nurses provide most of the patient care in hospitals, we were surprised at the findings. We wanted to find out more. We wanted to know what was going on from nurses themselves. So we put a call-out on Facebook.
During World War II, Harrison Wright served with the Army in Europe. And as he recalls during a visit to StoryCorps with his grandson Sean Guess, he was sent on a very special assignment to mark the end of the war.
Wright was drafted in March 1943.
"I was an 18-year-old boy," he says. "I blew the bugle in our outfit," he adds, largely because he had played the trumpet in high school.
Ryan Young saw a pregnant woman being kicked by her boyfriend. He leaped out from behind the meat counter and intervened. Safeway suspended him, citing a zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence. But after the union took up his cause and people boycotted the store, Safeway reinstated Young, calling his action "commendable."
Chuck Shriner was about to receive his diploma from Fort Myers Catholic School in Florida when he dropped to one knee, and struck the praying pose made famous by quarterback Tim Tebow. Shriner won a $5 bet but lost the chance to get his diploma onstage.
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The first free presidential election in Egypt is in its second day. Thirteen candidates are vying to replace Hosni Mubarak in what many there say is a wide-open race. The last election in 2005 saw Mubarak winning 87 percent of the vote against another candidate, a candidate he later threw in jail. Voter turnout yesterday was so strong, election officials kept polling stations open across Egypt for an additional hour.
Mitt Romney laid out his education agenda on Wednesday. In a speech in Washington, he compared the American public education system to that of a third world country. But Romney's plan to deal with what he called a national education emergency does not appear to be a major departure from the policies that have been in place since 2001, under both Presidents Bush and Obama. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.
The world's leading PC manufacturer has announced it will lay off 27,000 workers over the next two years — a third of those job cuts will be in the U.S. The CEO of Hewlett-Packard says the layoffs are part of a restructuring that will include greater spending on research and development.
Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers resumed this morning in Baghdad. The United States and its allies are pressing Iran to freeze its production of highly enriched uranium, but are refusing to offer the kind of easing of economic sanctions that Iran is seeking as a concession. These talks are described as long and hard, and NPR's Peter Kenyon is covering them in Baghdad, Iraq. Hi, Peter.
OK. So as we've heard, one big question is whether Egyptian voters will give the presidency to an Islamist candidate. The leaders in pre-election polls include a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood, as we've heard, and there's another leading candidate who used to be in the Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood already has the biggest share of seats in Egypt's parliament. And now leaders of this 84-year-old party face the challenge and the possibility of winning the presidency.
American customers have not been able to buy a new Chevrolet Caprice since 1996. Now the car is back, as a police car. The 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV and Detective goes beyond the old black-and-white. Its computer system is voice activated, "Knight Rider"-style. It has eight cameras positioned to scan thousands of license plates per shift, which police computers can then check against a database to find if drivers have outstanding warrants or tickets.
Historically, the veteran and military vote has gone Republican. In 2008, for example, while losing the presidency, John McCain — a war hero — won 55 percent of this vote.
This year, the Obama campaign thinks it can close the gap.
For one thing, neither candidate is a veteran. And the campaign is hoping to capitalize on a generational change in the military. Four years ago, although he lost the veteran vote overall, President Obama won among vets under age 60.
None of the Ramones were actually related, but they all changed their last names to Ramone. They wore matching skinny jeans and leather jackets, and their songs were short and to the point, with hooks that are still impossibly catchy. The band's first album stunned listeners and critics. Joey Ramone described its influence in a 1991 interview in Finland that's posted on YouTube.