And to talk more about T-Mobile's new pricing strategy, we reached Rich Jaroslovsky. He's technology commentator for Bloomberg News and a regular guest on our program. And Rich sounds busy there in the Bloomberg newsroom in San Francisco. How are you?
RICH JAROSLOVSKY: I'm fine.
GREENE: Let's talk about what we're hearing from T-Mobile. I mean, how radical a change is this for a U.S. carrier?
The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle recently said they will start charging readers for online content, joining big papers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Some large papers have made it work because they offer a lot of unique content.
There once was a wise old basketball coach named Arad McCutchan who led the Evansville Purple Aces to five national championships in the small-college division, dressing his Purple Aces in bright orange T-shirts. I've been reminded of this recently as a number of grubby athletic directors have sold out to the sporting goods companies, allowing their teams to be costumed in the most hideous outfits.
Last week, scientists announced they had sequenced the full genome of the most widely used human cell line in biology, the "HeLa" cells, and published the results on the web. But the descendents of the woman from whom the cells originated were never consulted before the genetic information was made public, and thus never gave their consent to its release.
Let's turn to news this morning in Italy. In a surprise ruling, Italy's highest court has ordered a retrial of American Amanda Knox. She's the former exchange student who, along with her former boyfriend, was charged in the murder of her British roommate. Today's ruling overturned the 2011 acquittal of the two defendants after they spent four years in jail.
We're joined by NPR's Sylvia Poggioli on the line from Rome. Good morning, Sylvia.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. The movie "Argo" told the story of a fake film that was a cover to get hostages out of Iran. Well, think of this as the "Argo" of tax fraud. Five people have been jailed in the U.K. for orchestrating quite a tax scam. The group pretended to make a movie to secure millions in tax credits from the British Film Commission.
As snow blanketed parts of the country yesterday, many turned their anger towards a weather predictor. Last month, Punxsutawney Phil forecast an early spring. One shivering Ohio prosecutor filed a lighthearted criminal indictment against Phil for fraud. But the president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club says it's not Phil's fault. He says he misinterpreted the groundhog's message, which has the prosecutor reconsidering charges.
And out next business story fits in the category of what were they thinking? Ford Motor Company is apologizing for ads sketched up by an agency in India - ads that have been decried as demeaning to women. They are cartoon drawings showing off how spacious a Ford trunk can be. One spoofs Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. He's at the wheel, and in the trunk, three women, tied up.
Now to a debate over abortion that has escalated after some recent moves by states. The North Dakota legislature just passed a series of bills, including the strictest abortion ban in the country. And lawmakers there voted to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot next year which would end abortion entirely. Earlier this month, Arkansas passed a 12-week ban. NPR's Kathy Lohr reports that more states are debating stricter laws with hopes of getting one of them before the U.S. Supreme Court.
GREENE: OK, it's just a fantasy. But actually, in some countries taxpayers can sign up to receive simply a bill. The government sends you a tax bill, you pay it and, voila, that's it.
Now, there was an effort to bring return-free filing to the United States, but that effort came up against stiff opposition. And to find out why, we called Liz Day of ProPublica. She's been digging into this issue.
Loneliness hurts, but social isolation can kill you. That's the conclusion of a study of more than 6,500 people in the U.K.
The study, by a team at University College London, comes after decades of research showing that both loneliness and infrequent contact with friends and family can, independently, shorten a person's life. The scientists expected to find that the combination of these two risk factors would be especially dangerous.
Since the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law optional last year, states' decisions have largely split along party lines. States run by Democrats have been opting in; states run by Republicans have mostly been saying no or holding back.
It's a visual no parent wants to picture: a child describing what it's like to live in a house with no power for lights, heat or cooking. For many middle-class American parents, it's hard to imagine their family ever facing a situation like that. But a new HBO documentary suggests that many seemingly prosperous parents are only a few misfortunes away from dark houses and empty refrigerators.
Outside the Supreme Court, lines began forming nearly a week ago. By Monday, the line had snaked down the court steps and to the corner, with people braving freezing temperatures and snow in anticipation of the historic arguments on same-sex marriage on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The justices are first hearing a constitutional challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage. A second day is devoted to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples married in the nine states where such unions are legal.
Our panel of public-radio music obsessives has five more favorites to share. KCRW music director Jason Bentley can't get enough of the new Frightened Rabbit album. Alisa Ali, a DJ for New York's The Alternate Side indie-rock channel, picked a great new track by the promising Glasgow act CHVRCHES. Baltimore's Friday-night hip-hop show Strictly Hip Hop highlighted the new jam by Joey Bada$$.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. We've been hearing a lot of stories of the new pope's modesty, and now this. The pope called a Buenos Aires newspaper kiosk to cancel his own subscription. The shocked kiosk owner thought it was a joke until his holiest customer said, seriously, I'm calling you from Rome. The news vendor told an Argentine daily of another humble habit. The then-cardinal always collected and once a month returned the rubber bands from his newspapers. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Secretary of State John Kerry is putting his diplomatic skills to the test this week. He is dealing with some difficult partners and trying to revive Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. Kerry spent the day yesterday in Baghdad and today he made an announced trip to Afghanistan to try to smooth over the latest disputes with President Hamid Karzai. NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with the secretary and joins us now from Kabul. Hey, Michele.
Pro golfer Sergio Garcia hit a ball into a tree at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend. The easy choice: Just take a one-stroke penalty. Drop the ball to the ground. But Garcia did it the hard way. He climbed 15 feet up the tree and played the ball from there. Balancing himself with one hand on the club, he somehow knocked the ball onto the fairway. Well, what is the best club in such a situation? One PGA announcer suggested a tree iron.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 6:34 am
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And police in Britain are piecing together the final days in the life of a Russian oligarch named Boris Berezovsky. They hope this may shed light on his sudden death this last weekend. Berezovsky used to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Russia. Then he fell out with the Kremlin and sought asylum in Britain. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.
Both housing and the stock market have been on the upswing in recent months. But a full recovery in the housing market would be more significant to the overall economy. That's because more Americans have something at stake in home values than in stock prices.
Despite the enormous destruction Hurricane Sandy caused to the Jersey Shore, realtors who specialize in the region say business has been steady. Plenty of home buyers and investors appear eager to jump into the market. Damaged homes and lots have been selling for discounted rates, while prices are inching up on houses that survived since there are simply fewer properties available.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case worth billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies and American consumers. The issue is whether brand-name drug manufacturers may pay generic drug manufacturers to keep generics off the market. These payments — a form of settlement in patent litigation — began to blossom about a decade ago when the courts, for the first time, appeared to bless them.
As far back as he can remember, George McCann lived in fear. When he was asleep he would have horrific nightmares filled with violent images. When he was awake, he often felt threatened by people, including members of his own family. And when he felt threatened, he would become aggressive, even violent.
George spent his childhood certain that something very bad was going to happen. And when he was 12, it did. His unrelenting fears led to a violent outburst at school. And George landed in a psychiatric hospital.