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It's All Politics
10:32 am
Wed December 18, 2013

5 Things We Learned From The Budget Debate

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., takes a break from the Senate floor Tuesday after a bipartisan budget compromise cleared a procedural hurdle.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:08 pm

Now that the bipartisan budget agreement has passed the Senate and is headed for the president's desk, it's a good time to consider some of the takeaways from the past two weeks of congressional Sturm und Drang.

Here are five:

Congress still works, sort of.

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Gays In U.S. Olympic Delegation Will Send Message To Russia

Sept. 25: Police detain a gay rights activist in Moscow. The poster, adorned with Olympic rings, reads "Homophobia is the shame of Russia!"
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:58 pm

Tennis great Billie Jean King and ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow are certainly qualified to be members of the U.S. delegation at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

One is a winner of 39 "grand slam" tennis titles and has been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. The other is a two-time Olympic medal winner with Team USA.

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Beauty Shop
10:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Is Beyonce Still The Queen?

Pop star Beyonce's new surprise album has been getting a lot of buzz, but is it all it's cracked up to be? Beauty shop ladies Bridget Johnson, Aisha Harris, Danielle Belton and Anne Ishii weigh in.

Games & Humor
10:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

African-American Woman To Run Humorous 'Harvard Lampoon' Magazine

The humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon was founded in 1876, but for the first time, an African-American woman will run things. Host Michel Martin talks with President-elect Alexis Wilkinson and Vice President-elect Eleanor Parker about their plans for the magazine.

Sports
10:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Brain Injuries Cause For Concern In Baseball Too

Reports show former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel, who took his own life last year, suffered from a degenerative brain disease. Injuries like that are usually associated with the hard knocks of football. Host Michel Martin talks with sports writer Pablo Torre about the prevalence of brain injuries in other sports.

Race
10:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Why Black College Football Players Fall Behind In Education

New research raises concerns about low graduations rates for black college football players. Host Michel Martin finds out more from education reporter Emily Richmond, and professor Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

Alt.Latino
10:21 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Alt.Latino Listeners Pick The Best Music Of 2013

Flor De Toloache is New York City's premier (and perhaps only) all-female mariachi group.
Andrei Averbuch Courtesy of the artist

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Best Music Of 2013
10:05 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Wayne Shorter And The Year's Other Passing Scenery

Wayne Shorter, who turned 80 in 2013, won the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll by a large margin.
Robert Ashcroft Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:00 pm

It says a lot about his enduring hold on jazz listeners that over a half century into his career, the descriptive phrases most commonly put in front of Wayne Shorter's name — along with "the great saxophonist and composer" — remain "the elusive" and "the enigmatic." The inside tray card to Shorter's Without a Net, the runaway Best Album winner in this year's NPR Music Jazz Critics P

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Best Music Of 2013
10:05 am
Wed December 18, 2013

The 2013 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Wayne Shorter.
Robert Ashcroft Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 3:09 pm

NPR Music is pleased to present the results of a poll asking well over 100 jazz critics to pick their favorite recordings of 2013.

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The Two-Way
9:17 am
Wed December 18, 2013

'Great Train Robber' Ronnie Biggs Dies; Was Famed Fugitive

Ronnie Biggs, showing off his notoriety in 1994 while he was living in Brazil.
AFP/Getty Images

He was "a petty criminal" who joined a gang responsible for one of the 20th Century's most notable heists.

Ronnie Biggs, who went to jail for his role in the U.K.'s "great train robbery" of 1963 — but was more famous for his flamboyant life during 36 years as a fugitive following his escape from prison in 1965 — died Wednesday.

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Monkey See
8:07 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Two Ways Of Seeing An iPhone Christmas

Screen shot

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:44 pm

Apple recently released a Christmas ad it calls "Misunderstood."

In it, a kid — maybe 14 or so? — spends Christmas with his family. He seems to be always looking at his phone when everybody else is decorating the tree, making a snowman, skating, or whatever else they're doing. He smiles, but he sets himself apart.

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The Two-Way
8:03 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Already Down 50 Percent, Will Bitcoin Bite The Dust?

How low will they go?
Jens Kalaene DPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:00 am

Talk about a fall:

"Prices of virtual currency bitcoin fell 20% Wednesday and are now down more than 50% from their record high hit two weeks ago amid worries that China is moving to block the purchase and use of the currency by its citizens," The Wall Street Journal writes.

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Book News: New 'Dragon Tattoo' Novel Coming From New Author

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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U.S.
7:04 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Diplomat's Arrest In N.Y. Sparks Anger In India

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:53 am

Financial Times New Delhi correspondent Amy Kazmin speaks with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about the case of an Indian diplomat arrested in New York for allegedly paying her maid below minimum wage. The diplomat was strip-searched and jailed, touching off an angry reaction in India.

The Two-Way
6:47 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Student Is Charged In Harvard Bomb Scare

University police, FBI agents and Cambridge, Mass., officers all responded on Monday when Harvard received messages claiming that bombs had been planted in four buildings. None were found and a student has been charged in the hoax. he allegedly wanted to avoid taking a test.
Josh Reynolds AP

The initial suspicion of many — that Monday's bomb scare at Harvard University was the work of a student who wanted to avoid taking a test — may have been correct.

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The Affordable Care Act, Explained
6:16 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Your Questions About The American Health Care Act

There are many questions about the new health care law. Here are some answers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:37 am

In recent months, NPR staff has published a series of questions-and-answer stories related to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Now we've compiled them into an interactive so you can explore answers that are most relevant to you.

There are nearly 80 questions, ranging from who's eligible to how much insurance might cost, among two dozen topics. Filter the list by selecting categories or asking questions.

Did we miss an important question? Let us know.

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Ga. Woman Claims 1 Of 2 Winning Mega Millions Tickets

Holding a dream: Customers lined up Tuesday at a shop in Tallapoosa, Ga., to buy Mega Millions tickets.
Erik S. Lesser EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 9:19 am

Updated 5:40 p.m. ET: Georgia Woman To Get $123 Million

A Georgia woman will split the $363 million jackpot in the Mega Millions drawing with an as yet unidentified winner in California.

Georgia lottery officials on Wednesday announced that Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Ga., purchased one of two winning tickets in Tuesday's drawing, among the largest U.S. lottery jackpots ever.

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Around the Nation
5:47 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Why N.Y. Mets Should Avoid Donning Santa's Suit

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:02 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene.

Here's why most New York Mets avoid standing-in for Santa at the team holiday party. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Santa suit is cursed. Consider these former Santa Mets: Center-fielder Mike Cameron got badly injured, right-fielder Jeff Francoeur was traded, pitcher John Maine, career tanked. The list stretches back a decade.

Around the Nation
5:34 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Jersey City Spends Big To Find Out What's Inside Safe

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:02 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. So a new boss comes in and wants to clean house. For Jersey City's new mayor that meant cracking some dusty old safes in City Hall. What would he find? Ill gotten gains? Sepia photos? Local pols were guessing a stash of cash. New mayor Steven Fulop hired a locksmith. The city spent about 1,000 bucks to open the safe to reveal - drum roll, please - an extension cord. At least it's useful. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Television
4:37 am
Wed December 18, 2013

'60 Minutes' Criticized For NSA Report

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:02 am

CBS is once again facing criticism over a story aired on 60 Minutes — this one about the National Security Agency. This new controversy over the show's journalism comes on the heels of a false story the show aired on the attacks against the U.S. diplomatic installation in Benghazi, Libya.

Around the Nation
4:37 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Fla. School To Change Name Tied To Ku Klux Klan Leader

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:02 am

A school board in Jacksonville, Fla., has decided that one of its schools should no longer be named after Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was also a general in the Civil War. Nathan Bedford Forrest High School received its name in the 1950s, and for decades the decision has been debated.

Business
4:37 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Law Schools See Drop In First-Year Students

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 12:18 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Could we be facing a shortage of lawyers? It hardly seems possible. But according to the American Bar Association, law schools are seeing their lowest number of first-year students since the 1970's.

NPR's Ina Jaffe has more.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: This year, there were fewer than 40,000 first-year law students, which still seems like a lot. But it's an 11 percent drop from last year, and about a 24 percent drop from 2010, when new enrollments hit an all-time high.

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Health Care
4:37 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Questions Persist Regarding Affordable Care Act

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:02 am

The federal government's health care website seems to be working much more smoothly. But many people still have questions about the Affordable Care Act. For answers, they can go to NPR.org/ACA.

Europe
4:37 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Protesters In Ukraine Agitated By Economic Deal With Russia

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:02 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Yesterday, Ukraine got a big holiday present from its neighbor, Russia, in the form of a multi-billion dollar bailout. And now everyone is trying to figure out what strings Russia attached, and whether this could be a sign that Ukraine, a country of some 45 million people, is aligning itself more closely with the East than the West.

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NPR Story
3:54 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Religious Groups Challenge Calif. Transgender Law Over Privacy

High school senior Pat Cordova-Goff would be allowed to use the girls' bathroom under a California law slated to go into effect next year. The law's critics call it the "co-ed bathroom bill."
Courtesy of Pat Cordova-Goff

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 11:14 am

A coalition of churches and religious groups are trying to overturn a California law that aims to accommodate transgender students.

The law, slated to go into effect next year, allows students to use the restrooms and participate on the sports teams of their gender identity rather than their biological sex. But those who oppose the law see it as a threat to students' privacy.

'Nowhere To Go'

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NPR Story
3:54 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Want More Holiday Music? Ring Up Dial-A-Carol

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:02 am

Missing the Christmas spirit? Dial-a-Carol may help you get into the holiday mood.

NPR Story
3:54 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Fed's Final 2013 Meeting Could Indicate Course For Early 2014

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:02 am

Federal Reserve officials end a two-day meeting on Wednesday amid signs that the U.S. economy is slowly mending. David Greene talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about the Fed's last meeting of the year.

The Salt
2:05 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Is A 500-Year-Old German Beer Law Heritage Worth Honoring?

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:56 am

Germans are serious about their beer. Serious enough for the European country's main brewers association to urge the United Nations to recognize that fact.

The brewers association wants a five-century-old law governing how German beer is made to become part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. It would join the Argentinian tango, Iranian carpet weaving and French gastronomy, among other famous traditions, that are considered unique and worth protecting.

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All Tech Considered
2:04 am
Wed December 18, 2013

What It's Like To Live On Low Pay In A Land Of Plenty

Manny Cardenas, seen here with his 5-year-old daughter Zoe, has earned $16 an hour as a part-time security guard at Google.
Laura Sydell NPR

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:11 pm

This week, we're exploring the San Francisco Bay Area and the way income inequality is affecting the region. Check out the other pieces of the week, aggregated on this page.

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Food
2:03 am
Wed December 18, 2013

The Stars Come Out For Holiday Bakers

T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:21 pm

As a young woman, I had an attack of nostalgia for a possibly imaginary cookie. It was prompted by a walk up New York's Third Avenue, where I saw in the bakery case of a local delicatessen a stack of small round cookies, covered in the tiny rainbow sprinkles known as nonpareils. Instantly, I was ambushed by a flashback to the tiny Italian pastry shop of the small riverside town just north of Manhattan where I grew up, and where, I felt sure, I had been given star-shaped sprinkle cookies of a similar kind as a reward for my excellent behavior.

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