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All Tech Considered
4:21 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Troubled Sony Pins Hopes On PlayStation Vita

Sony's PlayStation Vita and its predecessor, The PlayStation Portable.
Reed Saxon AP

Sony launched the PlayStation Vita, its first hand-held gaming device in seven years, Wednesday. Vita, of course, is the Latin word for "life." And after suffering a series of tough blows — from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami to a relentlessly strong yen and a significant hacking attack — a bit of new life is just what the struggling company needs.

The Vita went on sale at a Best Buy in Los Angeles Wednesday morning. Despite the company's $50 million marketing campaign, only about a dozen gamers were on hand.

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Law
4:19 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Supreme Court Considers Case On Military Honors

The Supreme Court engaged in a lively debate Wednesday when it heard oral arguments in a case testing whether the 2006 Stolen Valor Act is constitutional. The law makes it a crime to lie about military honors.

Shots - Health Blog
3:59 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

High Court Punts On California Medicaid Ruling

A key legal case challenging cuts in Medicaid pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmacists is heading back to California.
Keith J. R. Binns iStockphoto.com

The Supreme Court has officially declined to decide one of its bigger cases of the term: whether or not doctors, hospitals and other health care providers can sue a state to challenge cuts in the Medicaid health program for the poor.

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News
3:53 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

A Long Time Coming: Glimpse Inside The Upcoming African American Museum

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:00 am

At the groundbreaking on the National Mall on Wednesday, President Obama said the newest Smithsonian museum has been has "a long time coming" and will serve "not just as a record of tragedy, but as a celebration of life." The National Museum of African American History and Culture is expected to open in 2015.

The Two-Way
3:42 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Mail Containing Harmless Powdery Substance Sent To Congressional Offices

Three different congressional offices have received mailings that contained a suspicious powdery substance.

Terrance W. Gainer, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, sent an email to congressional staff saying that a Senate State office and House District office received a mailing yesterday and a Senate State office received a letter today. Gainer said the letters were postmarked in Portland and the substance was found to be harmless.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Was Einstein Wrong? Error Could Account For Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

A 2010 light installation entitled 'Speed of Light' in London.
Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 3:25 pm

Remember last year, when we reported that Italian scientists claimed to have broken the speed of light? Remember the mystical implications of that? The possibility that Einstein was wrong? That our very basic idea of physics was challenged? The idea that you could be shot before a bullet left a gun?

Then you also remember that our friend and astrophysicist Adam Frank warned that these results should be looked at with great suspicion.

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Science
3:01 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Climate Scientist Admits To Lying, Leaking Documents

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 8:30 pm

Peter Gleick is not just any scientist. He got his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley and won a MacArthur "genius" award. He is also an outspoken proponent of scientific evidence that humans are responsible for climate change.

And earlier this week, he confessed that he had lied to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a group that questions to what extent climate change is caused by humans.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:53 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Diet Drug Qnexa Gets Thumbs-Up From FDA Panel

A new weight-loss pill could be coming to the menu.
Luis Pedrosa iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 5:29 pm

A key federal panel Wednesday recommended the Food and Drug Administration approve the first new weight-loss drug in more than a decade.

At the conclusion of a day-long hearing, the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 20-2 to endorse a request from Vivus to approve the drug Qnexa. The same panel gave a thumbs-down to Qnexa in 2010.

Qnexa is a combination of two generic drugs that are already on the market:

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The Two-Way
2:31 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

In Speech, Top Pentagon Lawyer Defends Targeted Killing Program

The top lawyer at the Pentagon offered a strong defense of the Obama administration's targeted killing program Wednesday, arguing the use of lethal force against the enemy is a "long-standing and long-legal practice."

In a speech at Yale University's Law School, Jeh Johnson said there's no real difference between high tech strikes against members of al-Qaida today and the U.S. military decision to target an airplane carrying the commander of the Japanese Navy in 1943.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:18 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Whooping Cough Vaccine Recommended For Seniors

Nurse Susan Peel gives a whooping cough vaccination to a student at Inderkum High School in Sacramento, Calif., in 2011. Now it seems likely such shots will become routine for senior citizens, too.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Now just about everybody should be getting vaccinated against whooping cough.

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending all adults 65 and older be immunized against whooping cough, or pertussis.

The panel is expanding an earlier recommendation that seniors be vaccinated if they have contact with very young infants. Adults and teens have been on the recommended list for years already.

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Reporter's Notebook
1:59 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

'We Crush The Cars': Inside The Monster Truck Arena

The Grave Digger team of monster trucks, considered to be one of the most influential monster trucks of all time, is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary and racing in the United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) Monster Jam series.
Doriane Raiman NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:01 am

It's that time of year again — the time when the sports world starts to zone in on basketball's March Madness, hockey's playoff push, baseball's spring training ... and monster trucks. That's right, it's prime time for four-wheeled contraptions that specialize in crushing each other.

While it may be hard to get past the deafening radio ads, a funny thing can happen on the way to a Monster Jam show. It turns out that young fans' giddiness over the awesome destruction they're about to witness can be pretty contagious.

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It's All Politics
1:54 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Pro-Obama SuperPAC Hits Romney On Auto Bailout In Michigan Ad

Priorities USA Action, a superPAC backing President Obama, has unveiled a new ad running in Michigan in advance of that state's GOP primary next week. It takes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to task for opposing the auto industry bailout.

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The Salt
1:46 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Panda Express Takes Sweet And Sour Beyond The Food Court

An employee packs a customer's takeout order at a Panda Express restaurant in Los Angeles.
Fred Prouser Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 5:29 pm

Not all that long ago, many Americans thought of Chinese food as fried rice, chow mein and orange chicken. And one reliable place to find it was at the mall, at places like Panda Express.

But food court mainstay Panda Express is now in the midst of a major transformation. That means moving from mall basements to stand-alone restaurants and keeping pace with an increasingly sophisticated American palate.

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Asia
1:28 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

On Tibetan Plateau, A Sense Of Constant Surveillance

Ethnic Tibetan pilgrims walk on a road during Tibetan New Year in Langmusixiang, Sichuan province, in western China, Feb. 22. Celebrations are subdued in the Tibetan areas of China this year, after a string of self-immolations and protest against Chinese control.
Carlos Barria Reuters /Landov

Wednesday marks the traditional Tibetan New Year, but many Tibetans won't be celebrating. They'll be mourning the almost two-dozen people who set themselves on fire in the past year as a protest against Chinese rule. Eyewitnesses say the town of Aba, site of many of the self-immolations, resembles a Chinese military camp, with soldiers and riot police every few feet. NPR's Louisa Lim traveled elsewhere on the Tibetan plateau to cover the story and sent this dispatch.

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The Two-Way
1:23 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

IAEA Team Returns From Iran Empty Handed

Herman Nackaerts (center), deputy director general and head of the Department of Safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is interviewed as he arrives after his flight from Iran at Vienna's Schwechat airport on Wednesday.
Ronald Zak AP

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 3:55 pm

A team of United Nations nuclear experts has returned from Iran empty-handed. In a statement today, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran refused the team access to a military site at Parchin.

The statement read in part:

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

'Pepper Spray Cop' Suit Filed

Nov. 18, 2011: Occupy protesters get sprayed at University of California Davis.
YouTube

Some of those Occupy protesters who famously got face fulls of pepper spray last November on the campus of University of California Davis have now filed suit in federal court.

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Around the Nation
12:59 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

African American Museum Breaks Ground In D.C.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is expected to open in Washington, D.C., in 2015.
Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup Courtesy Nationa African Museum of African American History And Culture

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:01 am

President Obama spoke Wednesday at the formal groundbreaking for the Smithsonian's newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The museum, Obama said, has been "a long time coming" and will serve "not just as a record of tragedy, but as a celebration of life."

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It's All Politics
12:47 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Then There Were ... Still Four: Buddy Roemer Leaves GOP Presidential Race

Buddy Roemer announces an exploratory committee for a 2012 White House bid last March in Baton Rouge, La. On Wednesday, he announced that he would drop his GOP candidacy to seek third party avenues.
Gerald Herbert AP

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer seems to have finally hit on how to get noticed in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination: drop out of the race.

Or, more specifically, redouble his efforts to get to the White House by switching to the nascent "Americans Elect" movement while at the same time seeking the nomination of the Reform Party.

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Gov. Christie To Warren Buffett: 'Write A Check And Shut Up'

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is making some waves, today, after expressing some harsh words about billionaire Warren Buffett in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan last night.

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The Salt
12:14 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

FDA Says Brazil's Orange Juice Is Safe, But Still Illegal

Oranges for sale at a market in Rio de Janeirol.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

If you happen to notice sometime later this year that you're suddenly paying a lot more for orange juice, you can blame America's food safety authorities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after several weeks of deliberation, has blocked imports of frozen, concentrated orange juice from Brazil, probably for the next 18 months or so, even though the agency says the juice is perfectly safe.

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The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

UPDATED: Occupy Working Group Plans National Conference In Philadelphia

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 10:37 am

A group affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement is planning a national conference in Philadelphia this summer. According to the group, which is dubbed "The 99% Declaration," an online election will decide on the 876 delegates — a man and woman from each Congressional district — who will gather in Philadelphia on July 4th.

Of course, the date and place is a nod to the delegates who met in Philadelphia in 1776 to declare independence from the British monarchy, who the founding fathers said had failed to address the grievances of Americans.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

'A Long Time Coming,' Obama Says Of African-American Museum

An artist's conception of what the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture will look like when it's finished in 2015. The Washington Monument is in the background.
Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup Courtesy of the museum

A museum first proposed in 1915 by black veterans from the Civil War is finally, officially, under construction on the National Mall in Washington.

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News
11:48 am
Wed February 22, 2012

What's Driving The Backlash Against Traffic Cameras

Across the country, fed up drivers are fighting back against traffic cameras that target motorists who speed or run red lights. In Los Angeles, technician Charles Riggings services a traffic camera in 2010.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Have you ever opened your mail and found a traffic ticket sticking you with a not-so-small fine? If so, your reaction might well have been, "What the [expletive]?"

Then maybe you looked carefully at the enclosed photo and realized the vehicle shown (allegedly) running a red light or speeding was, in fact, yours.

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National Security
11:26 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Dealing With Dictators, The U.S. Playbook Varies

The U.S. has taken very different approaches to authoritarian rulers in recent years. President Obama has called for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad, shown here in Damascus on Jan. 11, but has resisted calls for the use of U.S. military force against the Syrian regime.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 2:44 pm

What is America's policy when it comes to dictators? Well, it depends.

The U.S. has adopted different approaches toward different dictators and authoritarian regimes in recent years. In some cases — notably Iraq and Afghanistan — the U.S. military invaded to change the leaders of those countries.

But American presidents have also hosted friendly visits with leaders from undemocratic countries with questionable human rights records.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Mubarak Verdict Due On June 2

Outside the court in Cairo where former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been on trial, a man earlier today held a sign saying there was a noose waiting for Mubarak.
Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 11:00 am

As the case against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak came to a close today, the trial judge announced he expects to deliver a verdict on June 2.

According to al-Jazeera:

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The Salt
10:47 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Can Gardening Help Troubled Minds Heal?

Women's Correctional Community Center inmate Lilian Hussein checks on ti leaves she planted as part of the prison's farming and gardening program in Kailua, Hawaii. The green ti leaves are often used to wrap food or weave into leis.
Jennifer Sinco Kelleher AP

If you haven't noticed, gardens are popping up in some unconventional places – from prison yards to retirement and veteran homes to programs for troubled youth.

Most are handy sources of fresh and local food, but increasingly they're also an extension of therapy for people with mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; depression; and anxiety.

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World
10:00 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Still No End To Killings In Syria, Tumult In Libya

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 10:36 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Shots - Health Blog
9:57 am
Wed February 22, 2012

In Women, Heart Attacks Often Strike Without Chest Pain

Yvan Dub iStockphoto.com

There's yet another difference between the sexes.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Sales Of Existing Homes At Highest Level In Nearly Two Years

There were 4.3 percent more existing homes sold in January than in December, and the 4.57 million annual rate was the highest since May 2010, the National Association of Realtors reports.

Sales have gone up three of the past four months.

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Movie Reviews
8:53 am
Wed February 22, 2012

After 'Putin's Kiss,' A Young Girl's Change Of Heart

The documentary Putin's Kiss charts four years in the life of Masha Drokova, who became famous as the girl who publicly kissed Vladimir Putin.
Courtesy of the filmmaker

There's a great moment in Tom Stoppard's play Jumpers when a husband tries to convince his wife that an election has been democratic. "I had a vote," he tells her, to which she replies, "It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting."

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