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House & Senate Races
1:02 am
Wed May 16, 2012

'Joe The Plumber' Race A 'Microcosm' Of 2012 Politics

Republican congressional candidate Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber," talks with supporters in Rocky River, Ohio, in February.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:47 am

In Ohio, a new congressional district that stretches along Lake Erie between Toledo and Cleveland has become a political portrait of polarized America.

The 9th District is one of the results of Ohio's loss of two representatives following the last census. The primary for the redrawn district pitted two longtime Democratic incumbents against each other. Now the victor, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, is taking on a Republican known for his role in the 2008 presidential election.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:02 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Poll: Americans Show Support For Compensation Of Organ Donors

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:47 am

The shortage of organs for transplant continues to grow, despite years of work to get more donors on board.

Facebook jumped in this month by making organ-donation status something you could add to your profile. And the social media giant made it easy to connect with a registry to sign up as a donor.

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It's All Politics
1:00 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Coming To A Political Campaign Near You: Outside Money, And Lots Of It

Yard signs supporting U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock in Columbus, Ind., on April 23. Mourdock went on to beat incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar in a primary race that received national attention, and a flood of money from outside Indiana.
Curtis Tate MCT /Landov

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 8:29 am

It's happening in several congressional races, in states like Nebraska, Montana and Ohio — millions of dollars from out-of-state donors and outside groups are fueling candidates' war chests.

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Sweetness And Light
8:03 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

The American Way: Winners And Losers, And No Ties

Real Salt Lake's Jonny Steele (right) trips Chicago Fire's Sebastian Grazzini during a Major League Soccer matchup. The game ended without a score — one of 11 ties each MLS team is likely to record this season.
John Smierciak AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 6:13 am

Politicians love to boast about American exceptionalism: how special we are from all the merely ordinary, everyday, run-of-the-mill countries around the globe. I would say that what sets us apart, more all the time, is that we Americans don't like ties.

I don't mean four-in-hands or bow ties, but the ties in games, the ones that somebody once said are "like kissing your sister." Boy, do I agree — and I never even had a sister. Nothing about me is more American than that I don't like ties.

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Remembrances
7:48 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

In Writing, Fuentes Shed Light On Poverty, Inequality

Mexican author Carlos Fuentes poses for a photo after a news conference in Mexico City on March 12. Fuentes died Tuesday at a hospital in Mexico City. He was 83.
Alexandre Meneghini AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 8:08 am

Carlos Fuentes was the son of a Mexican diplomat and spent years living abroad, including in the United States. But Mexico — the country, its people and politics — was central to his writing.

Fuentes, one of the most influential Latin American writers, died Tuesday at a hospital in Mexico City at the age of 83. He was instrumental in bringing Latin American literature to an international audience, and he used his fiction to address what he saw as real-world injustices.

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Remembrances
5:32 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Carlos Fuentes Was A 'Renaissance Man'

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

One of Mexico's greatest writers has died: Carlos Fuentes. He was 83. Fuentes was a central figure in the Latin American literary boom of the 1960s and '70s. And he was publishing fiction and essays until the end, including an essay published today in the Mexican newspaper Reforma. I'm joined by Ilan Stavans, professor of Latino Studies at Amherst College. And, Professor Stavans, give us a sense of the broad sweep of Fuentes' career and what made his work so important.

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The Two-Way
4:35 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Report: GM Will No Longer Buy Ads On Facebook

The Facebook thumb.
Paul Sakuma AP

According to The Wall Street Journal and CBS News, General Motors is planning to pull its ads from Facebook.

That would be a big move because GM has spent about $10 million in Facebook ads and the news comes just days before Facebook goes public on Friday.

The Journal reports:

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Shots - Health Blog
4:10 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

U.S. Funding Of HIV/AIDS Fight Overseas Carries Other Benefits

A mother and child wait to receive treatment at the HIV clinic in Nyagasambu, Rwanda, in Feb. 2008. The clinic was built by the Washington-based Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation with a grant from the PEPFAR program.
Shashank Bengali MCT/Landov

U.S. government spending to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries is also preventing death from other diseases, a new study finds.

Some experts worry the billions of dollars the United States spends to treat people with HIV in poor countries may crowd out prevention and treatment of other illnesses.

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Business
3:46 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Shareholders Press JPMorgan Over Risk-Taking

Protesters are seen behind a banner with a picture of JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon outside a shareholders meeting Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase faced more critics Tuesday, this time from some of its own shareholders at its annual meeting in Tampa, Fla. This comes after the bank disclosed it lost at least $2 billion last week in a bungled trading strategy.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the surprise loss, and the Justice Department has now reportedly opened a preliminary probe.

JPMorgan executives let shareholders do some venting at Tuesday's meeting.

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Remembrances
3:46 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Remembering Mexican Writer Carlos Fuentes

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

One of Mexico's greatest writers has died: Carlos Fuentes. He was 83. Fuentes was a central figure in the Latin American literary boom of the 1960s and '70s. And he was publishing fiction and essays until the end, including an essay published today in the Mexican newspaper Reforma. Our own book critic Alan Cheuse knew Fuentes and reviewed many of his novels. Hi, Alan.

ALAN CHEUSE, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.

SIEGEL: And first, give us a sense of the broad sweep of Carlos Fuentes' career, and what made his work so important?

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It's All Politics
3:22 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Court Action May Lift Anonymity For Some Campaign Donors

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 3:46 pm

Nonprofit groups that want to run campaign ads within two months of the general election have to reveal the names of their donors. That's the result of a federal appeals court action on campaign finance law.

Several weeks ago, a federal court in Washington told the Federal Election Commission it could not allow the buyers of tens of millions of dollars' worth of ads to remain anonymous.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

PHOTO: David Beckham Takes A Ribbing At The White House

President Obama gets a laugh after mentioning soccer superstar David Beckham's (right) line of underwear while congratulationg the Major League Soccer champions Los Angeles Galaxy in the East Room of the White House.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama welcomed the Los Angeles Galaxy to the White House today in celebration of their Major League Soccer title.

The team, which has won three cups, is star studded. But there is no one bigger than David Beckham and president Obama took advantage of the opportunity to give the international soccer star a ribbing.

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Europe
2:43 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

For New French President, Germany Is First Stop

Francois Hollande stands up in his car Tuesday as he rides up the Champs-Elysees after taking the oath of office as the new president of France. Shortly afterward, he flew to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and discuss the continent's economic woes.
Regis Duvignau AP

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 3:46 pm

As soon as new French President Francois Hollande was sworn in on Tuesday, he observed a postwar custom and reached out to Germany, in a move intended to underscore European solidarity and the importance of the alliance.

But it wasn't a relaxing social visit. Hollande's plane was struck by lightning en route to Berlin and had to return to Paris as a precaution. He then took another plane.

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Monkey See
2:16 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Home Video Picks: 'Being John Malkovich'

John Cusack and Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich.
Criterion Collection

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 3:46 pm

Time now for a home viewing recommendation from our film critic Bob Mondello. This time Bob urges taking the plunge from the seven-and-a-half-th floor into the Criterion Collection's Blu-ray release of Being John Malkovich.

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Planet Money
2:01 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Is Facebook Worth $100 Billion?

Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 10:56 am

When Facebook goes public this week, the company will be valued at roughly $100 billion.

It will be the highest valuation ever for an initial public offering of a tech company. Is Facebook really worth this much money?

One way to frame the question is to consider a single fraction.

The number on top of the fraction is the total value of the company. The number on the bottom is the company's profits over the past year. This fraction is called the price-to-earnings ratio. It's widely used by investors in stocks.

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Carlos Fuentes, Legendary Mexican Writer, Dies

Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes takes part in a tribute to Mexican writer and anthropologist Fernando Benitez in December 2011.
Alfredo Estrella AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 3:36 pm

Carlos Fuentes, one of the most prolific and best known Spanish-language authors, has died. His death was reported on Twitter by Mexican president Felipe Calderon. The Mexican daily Reforma, which Fuentes often wrote for, reports the author died after experiencing heart problems.

He was 83.

"I am profoundly sorry for the death our loved and admired Carlos Fuentes, writer and universal Mexican. Rest in peace," Calderon wrote on Twitter.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:49 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

You May Be Among The Things That Go Bump In The Night

She's not alone.
iStockphoto.com

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I've ever walked in my sleep. There's a family story that I'd like to label fiction about a somnolent bathroom run that ended in a closet. But if it ever happened, I don't remember it.

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The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers
1:33 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

'Close Encounters' With Gas Well Pollution

NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:54 am

Living in the middle of a natural gas boom can be pretty unsettling. The area around the town of Silt, Colo., used to be the kind of sleepy rural place where the tweet of birds was the most you would hear. Now it's hard to make out the birds because of the rumbling of natural gas drilling rigs.

The land here is steep cliffs and valleys. But bare splotches of earth called well pads are all over the place.

"That's the one I'm worried about because it just went in," says Tim Ray.

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National Security
1:30 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Why Do Terrorists So Often Go For Planes?

Despite the multiple layers of security at airports, terrorists still often target planes. But terrorism analysts say they are also concerned about soft targets. Here, a Transportation Security Administration agent looks at an identity card at the Portland International Airport earlier this month.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 2:22 pm

Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, airports have probably been the most heavily guarded sites when it comes to preventing terrorist attacks.

And yet the most recent terrorism plot in Yemen involved an attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner with a bomber wearing a difficult-to-detect explosive bomb in his underwear, according to U.S. officials.

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The Salt
1:16 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Vermont Beer Makers Bring Back Old-Time Maple Sap Brews

This farmer, pouring maple sap into his pail near Wilmington, Vt., in 1954, may have turned the dregs of the season's sap into beer.
Robert F. Sisson National Geographic/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 6:33 am

In Vermont, the last sap in the spring maple sugaring season isn't considered good for much. It's too dark and strong to use for commercial maple syrup — people tend to like the light and clear stuff.

But long ago, that late season sap was used in a potent dark beer that offered some cool relief to farmers when the hay was cut in the heat of summer.

Now some local microbreweries are bringing the historic drink back from extinction.

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Music Reviews
1:15 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Lisa Marie Presley: Rock's Princess Finds Her Voice

Lisa Marie Presley has weathered personal storms with grace. On her new album, she establishes her own distinct identity.
Troy Paul

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 6:21 pm

Lisa Marie Presley is a curiosity. Famous from birth, she is rock's only real princess. Her face is a stunning combination of her parents' best features. Her marriages have been, well, unusual. Who could forget her awkward television kiss with then-husband Michael Jackson? Or the few months of wedded bliss to actor and Elvis fanatic Nicolas Cage? She has led a colorful life — one that overshadowed her music career when she started making records in 2003.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Tue May 15, 2012

She's 100 (Almost) And Still Swimming: Another Centenarian To Admire

Marie Kelleher.
U.S. Masters Swimming

We have a fondness for stories about centenarians, we have to admit.

There was Fauja Singh, the 100-year-old "Turbaned Tornado," who finished the Toronto Marathon last year.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Tue May 15, 2012

NATO Invites Pakistani President To Chicago Summit

NATO has just asked the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to attend the May 20-21 summit in Chicago. The AP says the overture signals that the rift between NATO and Islamabad may be coming to a resolution.

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The Two-Way
11:34 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Bomb In Bogotá Kills At Least Two In Assassination Attempt

Police officers inspect the remains of vehicles on Tuesday after an explosion ripped through a crowded area of Bogotá injuring at least 10 people according to the mayor's office.
Guillermo Legaria AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 3:36 pm

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said a bomb detonated in the middle of Bogotá, the country's capital and largest city, was intended to kill former interior minister Ferdnando Londoño Hoyos.

El País reports that Santos condemned the attack, saying the bomb exploded next to the armored vehicle Londoño was travelling in.

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It's All Politics
11:02 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Ron Paul Spokesman: Candidate Unlikely To Ever Endorse Romney

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas (right), talks with chief strategist Jesse Benton in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 13.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 11:31 am

Presidential candidate Ron Paul is not expected to ultimately endorse presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Paul's chief strategist said Tuesday.

"Never say never, but I don't believe that's likely," said Jesse Benton, during a half-hour-plus give-and-take with reporters.

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Asia
10:53 am
Tue May 15, 2012

The Price Of A Swift Pigeon: Try $328,000

Xing Wei, who raises pigeons for lucrative races in China, is shown in Beijing with his favorite bird, Ike. He sells Ike's offspring to wealthy buyers for $15,000.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 3:46 pm

To the average observer, they look like ordinary pigeons, caged into a balcony in a high-rise Beijing apartment. But make no mistake. These cooing birds, according to breeder Yang Shibo, are like top-of-the-line sports cars.

"These are the Ferraris of the bird world," he says. "They're the most expensive, and the fastest."

The price of racing pigeons is soaring sky-high, pushed up by wealthy Chinese buyers.

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Aletta Becomes Western Hemisphere's First Tropical Storm Of 2012

Aletta spins off the Mexican coast.
NOAA

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 10:55 am

Aletta — a modest tropical storm spinning of the western coast of Mexico with 40 mph winds — is already special because of two reasons: It the first tropical storm in the Western Hemisphere and it has now broken a 41-day streak in which Earth did not see a cyclone.

Jeff Masters at Weather Underground provides a little more detail:

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It's All Politics
10:36 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Americans Elect Could Field Third-Party Candidate – But For The Candidate

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 11:15 am

Americans Elect, the nationwide effort to launch a credible third-party presidential campaign, has money, media attention and — most importantly — access to the ballot in dozens of states.

What it doesn't have is a candidate for president.

So if it follows its own rules, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization won't field a presidential candidate alongside President Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Nov. 6, it announced Tuesday.

But the group also left the door open to bending those rules.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Reports: Justice Dept. Probing JPMorgan's Big Loss

Standing behind a banner with a picture of J.P. Morgan Chairman and CEO James Dimon, protesters gathered outside the bank's annual meeting today in Tampa.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 10:45 am

  • Two soundbites from CEO Jamie Dimon at today's shareholders meeting

The Justice Department has begun looking into JPMorgan Chase's $2 billion-and-counting loss from a hedge account, The Wall Street Journal reports. It cites "a person familiar with the matter" as its source.

The Journal adds that "the probe is at an early stage and it isn't clear what possible legal violation federal investigators may be focusing on."

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Education
9:45 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Why So Many Ph.D.s Are On Food Stamps

The number of people with graduate degrees — master's degrees and doctorates — who have had to apply for food stamps, unemployment or other assistance more than tripled between 2007 and 2010.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 6:16 pm

With the economic troubles of the past few years, it's no surprise that the number of people using food stamps is soaring. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that an average of 44 million people were on food assistance last year; that's up from 17 million in 2000.

What might be surprising, though, is one subgroup that's taken a particularly hard hit.

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