NPR News

Pages

Movie Reviews
9:53 am
Thu May 3, 2012

'The Avengers': A Marvel-ous Whedonesque Ride

Thor (Chris Hemsworth, left) and Captain America (Chris Evans) join up with Iron Man and the Hulk to save the Earth in The Avengers.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 4:29 pm

Two spheres merge in The Avengers: the Marvel Comics universe and the Whedonverse, fans' name for the nerdy wisecracking existentialist superhero world of writer-director Joss Whedon.

The Whedon cult is smaller but maybe more fervent, inspiring academic conferences on such subjects as free will vs. determinism in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I find a lot of Whedon's banter self-consciously smart-alecky, but I love how he can spoof his subjects without robbing them of stature.

Read more
Television
9:47 am
Thu May 3, 2012

The Man Who Revitalized 'Doctor Who' And 'Sherlock'

Steven Moffat is the co-creator of Sherlock. He's also the lead writer and executive producer for the British science-fiction TV show Doctor Who.
Toby Canham Getty

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:35 am

TV writer and producer Steven Moffat specializes in injecting new life into old, familiar characters and stories. He first worked his magic on the revived edition of Doctor Who, leading to several BAFTA and Hugo Awards for the series.

More recently, he has turned his eye to the world's greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes. As the co-creator of the critically acclaimed BBC series Sherlock, Moffat is responsible for updating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous fictional creation for a modern-day audience.

Read more
Television
9:40 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: From 'Seinfeld' To 'Veep'

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won several awards, including Emmy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe.
Melanie Acevedo Courtesy of Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:35 am

Julia Louis-Dreyfus will forever be known to millions as Elaine Benes, the character she played for nine seasons on Seinfeld. But she was also an early cast member of Saturday Night Live, and she won the Emmy for Best Comedy Actress while starring in the CBS series The New Adventures of Old Christine, which ran for five seasons after Seinfeld.

Read more
World
8:31 am
Thu May 3, 2012

A Look At Bin Laden's Letters To Confidants

Some of the documents found during the raid on Osama bin Laden's hideaway in Pakistan were released Thursday. West Point's Combating Terrorism Center has been reviewing those documents.

Shots - Health Blog
8:09 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Energy Drinks Can Take Teeth On An Irreversible Acid Trip

Drinks like Red Bull contain citric acid, which can strip away the enamel that protects teeth from decay.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:28 am

Drinks with a lot of sugar will rot your teeth, right? That's the conventional wisdom.

But what about the acid? It's not something we think much about, but dentists say it's high time we start, especially when it comes to the river of energy drinks we — and young people in particular — are consuming.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:04 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Militia Leader Reportedly Involved In Shooting Deaths Of Four In Arizona

J.T. Ready is a reputed neo-Nazi who has been conducting heavily armed patrols to catch illegal aliens in the Arizona desert.
J.T. Ready AP

A man fatally shot four people Wednesday outside of Phoenix before being found dead, authorities say. Among the victims was a girl between 1 and 2 years old. There are concerns about possible hazardous materials in 55-gallon drums in the backyard, The Associated Press reports, slowing the investigation.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:51 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Coming Up: Bin Laden Documents To Go Online

Osama bin Laden.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 11:59 am

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was frustrated with "regional jihadi groups and his seeming inability to exercise control over their actions" in the last few years before he was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs.

That's "the most compelling story to be told," according to an analysis of some documents seized from bin Laden's Pakistani compound in the May 2011 raid that ended with his death, West Point's Combating Terrorism Center reported today.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:38 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Jobless Claims Dropped By 27,000 Last Week

There were 365,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week, down 27,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

Read more
Interviews
6:30 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Chen: 'I Didn't Really Understand What Was Happening'

In this photo released by the U.S. Embassy Beijing Press Office, Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (center) is seen with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (right) and U.S. State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh before leaving the U.S. Embassy Wednesday for a hospital in Beijing.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:01 am

The Chinese activist who left the U.S. Embassy but then had a change of heart tells NPR from his hospital bed that he wasn't prepared for what would happen after leaving diplomatic protection.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:20 am
Thu May 3, 2012

No Note, No Firm Clues So Far In Junior Seau's Death

Junior Seau in 2002, when he was with the San Diego Chargers.
Stephen Dunn Getty Images

While the signs so far point to suicide, there aren't yet any really revealing clues to why former NFL star Junior Seau apparently killed himself Wednesday.

About all there is so far is a hint that, in retrospect, Seau may have said some goodbyes. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that:

Read more
Europe
6:00 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Angry Greek Voters May Lash Out In Sunday's Polls

A member of the Golden Dawn far-right political organization takes part in a demonstration in Peraia, a suburb outside Thessaloniki, on April 26. Some polls indicate that in the national elections May 6, Golden Dawn may surpass the 3 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament.
Sakis Mitrolidis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 9:50 am

Greeks go to the polls Sunday in a climate of intense voter anger at the politicians they blame for turning their country into an international economic pariah. Protest votes could fill Parliament with an array of new parties, and most surprising is the growing popularity of the xenophobic Golden Dawn, which espouses a neo-Nazi ideology.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:49 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Computer Glitch Summons Too Many Jurors

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:42 am
Thu May 3, 2012

San Francisco Transit Worker Fired For 'Good' Deed

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Two-Way
5:33 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Chinese Activist Wants To Leave With Clinton; U.S. Diplomats Back In Touch

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (in wheelchair) held the hand of Gary Locke (at right) the U.S. ambassador to China in Beijing as he arrived at a hospital in Beijing on Wednesday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 6:07 pm

  • Chen speaks with NPR
  • Michele Kelemen talks with Steve Inskeep

The fate of Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng remains uncertain one day after he left the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

Read more
Business
4:51 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Take Over Moves By Bolivia, Argentina Angers Spain

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Bolivia and Argentina's nationalization of Spanish companies hasn't gone over well in Madrid. Spanish officials say Bolivia and Argentina will pay the price in the long run, as investors become weary of doing business if their assets could ultimately get seized.

Business
4:51 am
Thu May 3, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Last night at the Sotheby's auction house in New York, there was something to scream about. Our last word in business is: "The Scream."

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

As we reported yesterday, the Expressionist masterpiece by Edvard Munch went up for sale. There are four versions of this composition, but just one had been privately held by an heir of one of Munch's patrons.

Read more
Politics
4:51 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Plenty Of Gingrich Campaign Memorabilia Left Over

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Newt Gingrich officially pulled out of the Republican presidential race Wednesday. So what happens to the leftover T-shirts and campaign buttons?

Around the Nation
4:12 am
Thu May 3, 2012

States Looking To Make Some Taxes Less Inevitable

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin proposed slashing state income tax rates this year and eventually phasing out the tax.
Sue Ogrocki AP

North Dakota may be about to go where no state has gone before. On June 12, voters will decide the fate of a ballot measure that would eliminate all property taxes in the state.

"We think it's a horse race," says Bob Harms, spokesman for a coalition of business, local government and farm groups that are opposed to the measure. "It has a real possibility of passing."

Read more
NPR Story
4:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Afghans Fear Their Country Will Fall Back Into War

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Our own Renee Montagne is in Afghanistan at a moment when its relationship with the United States is turning a corner. And for the next couple of weeks, Renee is going to be bringing us a range of voices and also opinions about what lies ahead. Renee joins us now from Kabul.

Renee, good morning.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Morning, David.

Read more
NPR Story
4:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

How The Valdez Oil Spill Shaped ExxonMobile

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:13 am

Steve Inskeep talks to Steve Coll about his new book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. In it, Coll delves into the business model of one of the country's largest and most profitable corporations. He explores how the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 shaped the culture at the company for years to come.

NPR Story
4:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Activists Changes His Mind About Staying In China

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 9:26 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Read more
Remembrances
4:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Seau's Death Being Investigated As A Suicide

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The sports world is mourning the death of a great football player, and by many accounts a great man. Junior Seau was only 43 years old when he died yesterday of a gunshot wound to the chest. Police in Oceanside, California, where Seau lived, and died, say they're investigating the death as a suicide.

Junior Seau played in the NFL for 20 years - 13 of them for the San Diego Chargers. He established himself as one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history. Joining me now is NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman.

Read more
Asia
4:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

U.S. Tries To Clarify What Chinese Activist Wants

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk about this more with NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen. She's traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She's in Beijing. And Michele, how did this seem to go so wrong so quickly?

Read more
News
1:41 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Trayvon Martin Case 2.0: Digital Trial Before Jury

People hold signs during a small April rally in Sanford, Fla., that was billed as an opportunity to show support for the constitutional rights of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 11:33 am

If the parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin can use social media and the Internet to demand justice, so, too, can the boy's killer.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:06 am
Thu May 3, 2012

That New Friend You Made On Facebook? He Might Be Named Mitt Or Barack

An image from the Republican National Committee's Facebook page advertises its new "Social Victory Center" app.
RNC via Facebook.com

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

As the presidential campaigns refocus on November, they're zeroing in on digital domains. In fact, the Obama campaign has spent six times as much money advertising online as it has on TV so far, though that's certain to change.

And Republicans are fighting back with a new Facebook app called the "Social Victory Center." (You have to be a Facebook user to access the site.)

Read more
Presidential Race
1:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Gingrich Out Of The Race, But Still In Debt

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pauses while announcing that he is suspending his presidential campaign Wednesday in Arlington, Va.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 9:42 am

Newt Gingrich is officially out of the presidential race. The former House speaker said Wednesday that he's suspending his campaign, and he's ready to help the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, battle President Obama. But Gingrich might have a more pressing problem: His campaign has about $4 million in debt.

In Gingrich's exit speech, he opened by thanking people — first his family, then his financial backers.

"I also want to single out, first of all, the over 179,000 donors who helped us at Newt.org and who helped make the campaign possible," he said.

Read more
Humans
1:04 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Put Away The Bell Curve: Most Of Us Aren't 'Average'

Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's record for career home runs as he hits No. 715 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, on his way to a career 755 home runs. Research suggests that in a wide variety of professions, including collegiate and professional sports, a small but significant number of individuals perform exceedingly well and the rest of individuals' performance trails off.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 9:06 pm

For decades, teachers, managers and parents have assumed that the performance of students and employees fits what's known as the bell curve — in most activities, we expect a few people to be very good, a few people to be very bad and most people to be average.

The bell curve powerfully shapes how we think of human performance: If lots of students or employees happen to show up as extreme outliers — they're either very good or very bad — we assume they must represent a skewed sample, because only a few people in a truly random sample are supposed to be outliers.

Read more
Commentary
1:02 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Watching 'The Avengers' In India, With A Twist

In The Avengers, the Hulk lives in Calcutta — and doesn't lose his temper over the city's traffic and other problems. That might not ring true to anyone who's been there, says Sandip Roy.
Marvel

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:31 am

When I went to see The Avengers the very day it was released, I texted a friend in San Francisco. It seems kind of unfair, I said, that because of the 12-hour time difference, I get to see The Avengers before you do.

Turns out I was a week off. The Avengers actually released in 39 countries around the world, including India, a week before it opens in America.

Read more
Arts & Life
12:18 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Colorful Visions At African-American Art Exhibit

Gene Young American Art Museum

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:50 am

The African-American experience is reflected, right now, on the walls of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Exuberant dancing in Chicago. Laundry on a line in the nation's capital. A girl smiling out from her father's warm jacket — all captured in photographs, paintings and sculptures from the 1920s through the 1990s.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:34 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Could Electoral College Calculus Give Obama An Edge?

AP

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 6:27 pm

Now that President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney are pivoting to the general election, campaign watchers are handicapping the race that counts this fall — the Electoral College.

And right now, the Electoral College map is looking better for the president than the (generally very close) national polls, says NPR's senior Washington editor, Ron Elving.

Read more

Pages