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Television
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Will Fans Return To A Nicer 'Idol'?

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

"American Idol" is back for its 12th season tonight. The show's huge success gave rise to an entire genre of reality talent shows on TV. For the last few seasons, though, ratings for "American Idol" have been off. So they've freshened up the format and brought in some new judges. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans says "American Idol" is trying something new: being nice.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

The Minnesota Orchestra's Labor Dispute Is Over. What's Next?

The Minnesota Orchestra musicians and management have finally bridged their long and bitter labor dispute.
Ann Marsden Minnesota Orchestra

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

After 15 months of acrimony, the longest labor dispute at a major American symphony orchestra has ended. The Minnesota Orchestra and its musicians reached an agreement last night and players will return to work on February 1. While all sides are relieved, most admit the hard work of rebuilding some seriously damaged bridges is just about to begin.

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Health Care
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Meet The Health Care First-Timers

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Millions more Americans now have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Much of the focus has been on coverage gaps, increased premiums and the clumsy rollout of the new law. But 6.1 million Americans, many of whom would not otherwise have health insurance, are now enrolled.

NPR's Nathan Rott has been talking with some of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF BABY)

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Shots - Health News
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

After Checking Blood Pressure, Kiosks Give Sales Leads To Insurers

SoloHealth owns 3,500 health screening kiosks like this one in San Francisco. In some states, the company sells customer contact information to insurers.
April Dembosky

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:56 pm

Those machines in drugstores and supermarkets that let people check their blood pressure also may be selling people's contact information to insurance companies trolling for new customers.

One of these kiosks sits in Aisle 10 of a Safeway in a city near San Francisco. Sitting down at the machine is like slipping into the cockpit of a 1980s arcade game. There are a big plastic seat and footrest for measuring weight and body mass index, a window for testing vision, and a blood pressure cuff. The kiosks don't charge people for the blood pressure measurement.

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National Security
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Senate Committee Lays Blame For Benghazi With State Department

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Senate Intelligence Committee today delivered its analysis of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in that attack, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. It's a bipartisan report. Democrats and Republicans on the committee agreed, among other things, that the attack might have been prevented if the State Department had taken better precautions at the Benghazi post.

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Economy
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Fed Vice Chairman Nominee Taught Bernanke And Many Others

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In other personnel news, the president has nominated Stanley Fischer to serve as the next vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. He would replace Janet Yellen, who's been promoted to chairman of the central bank. Yellen reportedly recruited Fischer personally to serve as her deputy. He spent much of the last decade running Israel's central bank.

As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, Stanley Fischer is credited with helping that country weather the financial crisis better than most and with training many of the world's top economists.

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Asia
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Bangkok Protests Roil The Thai Economy

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

The prime minster of Thailand says she plans to go ahead with next month's elections, despite opposition protests that have blocked much of the center of Bangkok. The anti-government demonstrators want the current, caretaker prime minister to step down, to be replaced with an unelected "people's council". The political turmoil is also impacting the local economy.

Law
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Justices Appear Divided On Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones

Pro-life demonstrators stand outside the U.S. Supreme Court following oral arguments in the case dealing with a Massachusetts law imposing a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics for demonstrations and protests.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a case testing laws that establish buffer zones to protect patients and staff going into abortion clinics. In 2000, the court upheld 8-foot buffer zones that move with individuals as they walk into clinics. But now the issue is back before a more conservative court, and the conservative chief justice appears to hold the outcome in his hands.

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Around the Nation
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Even As Ban Lifts, Many Remain Wary Of Tap Water

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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Africa
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Reports Of Arrests And Torture Under Nigeria's Anti-Gay Law

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Human rights advocates in Nigeria are reporting that dozens of gay men have been arrested under a new law that makes homosexual clubs or associations illegal. That law also criminalizes same-sex marriage. Gay men who have been arrested have reportedly been tortured into giving up the names of others. Michelle Faul with the Associated Press has been writing about this and she joins us now from Lagos.

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Economy
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Obama Unveils New Plans To Encourage Manufacturing Jobs

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. President Obama has been talking a lot lately about income inequality. Today, he visited a factory in North Carolina and announced new steps that he said would create more good-paying, middle class jobs. He plans to do that by boosting American manufacturing and at the center of that plan is a big idea: a new, federally-funded innovation institute.

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The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

IMF's Lagarde: Any U.S. Budget Deal Is Better Than None

Christine Lagarde, who heads the International Monetary Fund, offered some positive comments about Congress on Wednesday.

Her assessment was a shade better than "faint praise," but something less than "Attaboy!"

Speaking at the National Press Club, Lagarde said she was pleased to see U.S. lawmakers have been moving forward "in a more orderly fashion" as they work on spending legislation.

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World Cafe
3:39 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Bear's Den On World Cafe

Bear's Den.
Ty Johnson Courtesy of the artist

The British folk trio Bear's Den (Joey Haynes, Andrew Davie and Kev Jones) has put out a string of EPs in the U.K., the latest being Agape, for the label owned by Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett. Hear the rich harmonies and warm vibe of Bear's Den in this session for World Cafe.

The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

House Republicans Join In Passing $1 Trillion Spending Bill

House Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders face reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:19 pm

The House on Wednesday passed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill — a compromise that appeared to get past the bitter partisan showdowns that have caused an unpopular federal government shutdown and nearly tipped the U.S. into default.

The 359-67 vote was a sign of considerable support from Republicans, thanks to a bipartisan deal worked out last month laying out spending for the next two years.

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The Salt
3:19 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

German Farmers Fear For Europe's Bacon With U.S. Trade Deal

German farmer Rudolf Buehler and other opponents of the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement protest with 17 pigs in front of the chancellor's office building in Berlin on Wednesday.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:12 pm

When German farmers and activists descended upon Chancellor Angela Merkel's office building Wednesday morning, they brought along some special guests — 17 pigs. The stunt was the latest European backlash against a proposed free trade deal with the U.S. that could lift restrictions on American meat sold in Europe.

Under the watchful eye of German police officers, the pigs munched happily on straw strewn across the pavement to keep the herd from running amok.

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Politics
2:46 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Why The GOP Is Winning The Statehouse War

Texas is one of 23 states in which Republicans have control of both the state legislature and the governor's office.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:18 pm

While the federal government is divided and gridlocked, some states have become political monopolies where one party controls both the state legislature and the governor's office.

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Reports Of New Video Showing U.S. Soldier Held In Afghanistan

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl watches as one of his captors displays his identity tag in the first of several videos of the soldier, in July, 2009.
Reuters/Landov

U.S. officials have reportedly received the first "proof-of-life" video in three years of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2009 and is believed held by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network.

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NPR Story
2:09 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Peru Now The Biggest Cocaine Producer

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:32 pm

Peru has taken over as the world’s top producer of cocaine, overtaking its neighbor Colombia.

Colombia drastically reduced cocaine production there with a multi-billion dollar effort to eradicate the coca leaf that is used to produce cocaine.

The BBC’s Robin Lustig traveled to Peru to see that nation’s effort to stall cocaine production.

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NPR Story
2:09 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Increases to Public Health Funding in Omnibus Spending Bill

Aerial photo of the NIH Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, Bethesda, Maryland. (Wikimedia Commons)

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:32 pm

The National Institutes of Health, the FDA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will all be spared from further cuts if Congress passes the omnibus spending package.

The NIH specifically would get $29.9 billion, a $1 billion increase from 2013.

This increased funding would help Americans and patients get preventative care, including amplified efforts toward mental health programs.

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The Record
2:06 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

A Long Road To 'High Hopes': An Interview With Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen performing in November at Madison Square Garden.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:48 pm

  • Listen To Ann Powers Interview Bruce Springsteen

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NPR Story
2:04 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

DJ Sessions: Rare Soul Gets Some Love

The Four Tops were among the American soul singers who became popular in the U.K.'s "Northern Soul" scene. (Wikimedia Commons)

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:32 pm

Americans who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s are probably familiar with soul artists like Marvin Gaye and Al Green.

But a number of artists who didn’t make it big in the U.S. went on to become stars in Northern England years later.

And to mark the 40th anniversary of the first Northern Soul All Night Dance Party in Northern England, KALW in San Fransisco curated a 24/7 music channel online devoted to the style.

One of the DJs behind the effort is Ashleyanne Krigbaum of KALW in San Francisco.

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

U.S. Official: Afghanistan Could Become 'Narco-Criminal State'

Soldiers in the Afghan National Army's 6th Kandak (battalion), 3rd company, search a local farmer's poppy field during a joint patrol with U.S. forces in Kandahar province in March of last year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:50 pm

Despite a $7 billion effort to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan, poppy cultivation there is at its highest level since the U.S. invasion more than a decade ago, sparking corruption, criminal gangs and providing the insurgency with hard cash, says John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

In testimony before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, he warns Wednesday that Afghanistan could degenerate into a narco-criminal state.

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Shots - Health News
1:50 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Blood Pressure Ruckus Reveals Big Secret In Medicine

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 2:35 pm

There has been a carefully guarded secret in medicine: Evidence is often inconclusive, and experts commonly disagree about what it means.

Most medical decisions aren't cut and dried. Instead they're usually made with uncertainty about what is best for each person.

This uncertainty secret has been revealed in a very public disagreement among experts about who should be treated for high blood pressure. The controversy hinges on the level of blood pressure that should serve as a trigger for treatment.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

5 Years Ago Sully Landed On The Hudson And Twitter Took Off

Jan. 15, 2009: As the U.S. Airways jet they had been on sinks into the Hudson River, passengers are rowed away. This isn't the iconic (and now copyrighted) photo that helped transform Twitter. But it does give a sense of what it was like that day, 5 years ago.
Bebeto Matthews AP

This day shouldn't pass without a mention of the "miracle on the Hudson."

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The Two-Way
1:48 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

What's America's Problem? 1 In 5 Says It's The Government

Dissatisfaction with America's government headed the list of problems cited in a new Gallup poll. Here, dusk falls on the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 30 — the eve of the federal shutdown that further frustrated many citizens.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:05 pm

The biggest problem the United States faces is not unemployment or the economy — it's the country's government, according to a plurality of Americans cited in a recent Gallup poll. Among Republicans, Democrats and independents, dissatisfaction with the U.S.'s political leadership topped all other issues.

The open-ended question they answered in the monthly poll of American attitudes was, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?"

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All Tech Considered
12:40 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

How Virtual Currency Could Make It Easier To Move Money

The world's first Bitcoin ATM opened at a Canadian coffee shop in Vancouver last year. But, Bitcoin use is far from mainstream at the moment.
David Ryder Getty Images

Virtual money could have very real effects for companies that help people transfer money.

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Parallels
12:36 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

The 'Downton Abbey Law' Would Let British Women Inherit Titles

Cawdor Castle is often called Macbeth's Castle because it's the place of a murder in Shakespeare's Macbeth. The castle was built long after Shakespeare died. Lady Liza Campbell, who was raised at the castle, is pushing to revise the law to allow women to inherit titles and estates.
Hans Wild Time

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Centuries before the U.S. was colonized, the British were handing down estates and titles from father to son. Never from mother to daughter.

Then came the royal pregnancy last year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate, had a boy, George. But before the prince was born and his sex known, Parliament changed British law so a first-born girl could inherit the throne. And a group of female aristocrats began fighting to apply the principle more broadly.

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Code Switch
11:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

In Search Of Great Questions About Cross-Cultural Romance

Yogendra Joshi Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 1:38 pm

Consider this your invitation to join us for a month of exploring interracial and cross-cultural romance. This Wednesday through Feb. 13, the Code Switch team will be holding Twitter chats, conducting Q&As and writing posts about many different ways love and attraction intersect with race, ethnicity and culture.

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Bipartisan Report Calls Benghazi Attacks 'Preventable'

An armed man waves his arms as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11, 2012.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:02 pm

In a report signed off on by Democrats and Republicans, the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, "were likely preventable."

The panel finds fault with both the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies for not taking steps beforehand to boost security.

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Shots - Health News
11:37 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Biceps Curls And Down Dogs May Help Lower Diabetes Risk

Great-looking guns and lower diabetes risk, a nice twofer.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:04 pm

Women who work out with weights an hour a week cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and yoga or stretching exercises count, too, according to a study that tracked the health of almost 100,000 women.

Doctors have long known that regular exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, but that's always been translated as aerobic exercise like jogging or brisk walking.

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