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Asia
1:17 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Desire For Stability Keeps China, N. Korea Allies

Trucks loaded with Chinese goods head across the Yalu Bridge and into North Korea one day after the memorial service for the late leader Kim Jong Il, at the Chinese North Korean border town of Dandong on December 30, 2011.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 3:50 pm

Chinese leaders made a rare condolence visit to North Korea's embassy in Beijing last month.

Broadcast on China Central Television, the leaders – dressed in black suits — bowed in unison towards the portrait of Kim Jong Il. Why show so much respect to a man who caused so much misery?

One reason: fear of something worse.

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Theater
10:01 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Up Close and Personal: Introducing Intimate Theater

The Theater for One capsule, big enough for one performer and one audience member, was inspired by such intimate spaces as confessionals, peep show booths and psychiatrist offices.
Danny Bright Theater For One

Theatergoers are used to being anonymous, hidden in the darkness, part of a crowd. They're free to fidget, yawn, even tune out; the actors won't know. But in an innovative kind of theater popping up at fringe festivals and independent venues the spotlight shines on the audience.

Intimate theater relies on tight spaces and unconventional stages to collapse the distance between performer and viewer.

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Science
10:01 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Biotech Firms Caught In Regulatory No Man's Land

Companies making genetically modified animals face a regulatory morass in this country. It's not always clear which federal agency has responsibility for regulating a particular animal, and even when one agency does take the lead, the approval process can drag on for years.

The companies say this uncertainty means their technologies may die without ever being given a chance.

Take the case of the British company Oxitec. It has developed a genetically modified mosquito that the company says can be used to combat a disease called dengue.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

What Vietnam Taught Us About Breaking Bad Habits

U.S. soldiers at Long Binh base, northeast of Saigon, line up to give urine samples at a heroin detection center in June 1971, before departing for the U.S.
AP

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 1:49 pm

It's a tradition as old as New Year's: making resolutions. We will not smoke, or sojourn with the bucket of mint chocolate chip. In fact, we will resist sweets generally, including the bowl of M &Ms that our co-worker has helpfully positioned on the aisle corner of his desk. There will be exercise, and the learning of a new language.

It is resolved.

So what does science know about translating our resolve into actual changes in behavior? The answer to this question brings us — strangely enough — to a story about heroin use in Vietnam.

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Middle East
10:01 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Egypt, Tunisia Try To Turn Elections Into Democracy

Egypt is holding parliamentary elections, but the military remains the most powerful force in the country. Here, election officials take away ballot boxes from a polling station in Cairo on Nov. 29, 2011.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

One year ago, the people of Tunisia and Egypt rose up against their autocratic rulers and forced them from power. Those revolutions spread across the Arab World, leading to the region's biggest upheaval in decades. It's still not clear how these seismic changes will play out, and so far, the results have been mixed. Today, NPR begins a six-part series looking at where the region stands today. In our first story, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports on the elections in Egypt and Tunisia as these countries struggle to build democracies.

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Education
2:47 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

An Amazing Trickeration?: Banished Words For 2012

During the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles on Aug. 28, 2011, singer Beyonce Knowles rubbed her stomach in the middle of the performance to reveal her baby bump. "Baby bump" is one of the words on Lake Superior State University's list of banished words this year.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

On New Year's day in 1977, Lake Superior State University in Michigan released its first "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness". Every year since then, it has taken nominations for words and phrases we should quit using in the coming year. Last year's list included such anti-favorites as "viral," "epic" and "refudiate."

In Washington, D.C., pedestrians nominated "ping me", "literally" used incorrectly, "bro," "hater," "hating," "totes" and "amazing."

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U.S.
2:24 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

A Quick Look At The Year Ahead

As the new year gets under way, we take a quick temperature check on some key areas to see what the prognosis might be. The topics: politics — domestic and global — and economics.

Education
1:45 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Physicists Seek To Lose The Lecture As Teaching Tool

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 4:32 pm

The lecture is one of the oldest forms of education there is.

"Before printing someone would read the books to everybody who would copy them down," says Joe Redish, a physics professor at the University of Maryland.

But lecturing has never been an effective teaching technique and now that information is everywhere, some say it's a waste of time. Indeed, physicists have the data to prove it.

When Eric Mazur began teaching physics at Harvard, he started out teaching the same way he had been taught.

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Movies
1:44 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

2012: The Year Of The Smart Superhero Movie

Though last year was the year of the "staggeringly disappointing superhero movie", according to NPR arts and entertainment reporter Neda Ulaby, 2012 may mark the year of the smart superhero movie with releases of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

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Election 2012
1:44 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Will Republicans Sweep The 2012 Elections?

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., speaks to young Hispanic voters at a Nevada Democratic Party event on Nov. 11 in Las Vegas. Campaign staff and volunteers for President Obama are pushing the Hispanic vote in swing states like Nevada, which can help congressional candidates like Berkley in her run for re-election.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Sun January 1, 2012 2:15 pm

It's still too early to call the 2012 elections, but some political analysts are predicting that the odds are against congressional Democrats in 2012, though the presidential race may still be a toss-up.

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Economy
1:44 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Global Economy Might Improve In 2012

Originally published on Sun January 1, 2012 2:26 pm

What's the economic prognosis for 2012?

"It's kind of a meh, it's a B-minus," says Annie Lowrey, an economic policy reporter for The New York Times. "It's not going to be very good, but it's also not going to be very bad."

Lowrey says that most of the trends seen at the end of 2011 will continue into 2012. The unemployment rate is high, but improving. Economists are excited about the housing market because the low cost of housing has started a house-building mini-boom.

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World
1:44 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Expect The Unexpected: Global Politics In 2012

The world will see big political changes with leadership shifts in China, Mexico, Russia, Europe, Egypt and particularly in the Middle East during 2012, according to David Rothkopf, a contributor to Foreign Policy Magazine.

"We're halfway through the initial wave of these [Middle Eastern] revolutions," says Rothkopf, adding that much more change is to come.

But it is possible that one of the biggest political changes won't happen in a physical location, but on the Internet. Rothkopf thinks that we could see a big escalation of cyber wars between nations.

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Author Interviews
10:49 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Left-Handedness: No Longer Suspect; Still A Mystery

iStockphoto.com

There's a handful of people — roughly 10 percent of the global population — that has something in common.

Many mysteries and misconceptions surround this group. Its members have been called artistically gifted and self-reliant, but also untrustworthy and insincere. Most recently, several of them have been called the president of the United States.

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Theater
10:41 am
Sun January 1, 2012

New 'Clear Day' A Test For Harry Connick Jr.

Harry Connick Jr. (far right) on the set of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, alongside co-stars David Turner and Jessie Mueller.
Nicole Rivelli

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 9:40 am

The new Broadway production of the musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever has been billed as a "reincarnation" rather than a revival. The premise is the same as before: A psychiatrist, Mark Bruckner, falls in love with the "past life" of one of his hypnotized patients. But this version replaces Daisy, the charming young patient first played in the 1960s by Barbara Harris, with Davey — a gay man harboring a female alter ego deep in his subconscious.

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The Two-Way
7:31 am
Sun January 1, 2012

New Year? How About A New Calendar?

About 430 years ago, Pope Gregory XIII gave the West a calendar which divided 365 days into what was to be called a "year." With 12 months and 7 days bundled into so-called "weeks," the Gregorian calendar was hailed as a marvel of medieval accuracy. We use it today, despite its occasional messiness — drifting days, leap years and 28-day months.

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Middle East
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Arab Women Rising: An Uncertain Future

2011 was a year of protest across the Middle East and North Africa. Amid each uprising, women were visible, fighting not just for the rights of their country, but often for rights of their own. Host Audie Cornish talks with Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations about women in the Arab uprising and their role going forward.

Health Care
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

A New Year's Forecast For The Health Care Bill

One of the biggest political question marks going into 2012 is the fate of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Audie Cornish speaks with Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times about what's ahead for Americans in terms of health care in the new year, including a constitutional challenge to the law's mandatory health care provision.

Presidential Race
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

GOP Candidates Join Another Party For New Year's

Originally published on Sun January 1, 2012 8:53 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

Even though seven Republican presidential candidates ushered in the New Year, a new poll by the Des Moines Register in Iowa makes it look like a three-person race. We'll fill you in on the latest shuffle of front-runners in a moment. But first, how did the Republicans candidates spend New Year's Eve?

So we sent NPR's Sonari Glinton to find out.

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House & Senate Races
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

2012 Elections May Settle Scores In The Senate, Too

While all focus on has been on the future of the White House, the fate of the Senate hangs in the balance of 2012 as well. Host Audie Cornish talks with Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report about what's at stake in the U.S. Senate.

Europe
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Debt Crisis Just History In The Making To Some French

These are gloomy times for debt-burdened France, but in the countryside some are taking a longer view. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.

Asia
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

A New Era In North Korea, Yet Little Has Changed

It's been only three days since the funeral for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. In that time, his son, Kim Jung Un, has been elevated to the rank of supreme commander of the North Korean army. Meanwhile, North Korea has issued a series of scathing attacks on the government of South Korea. NPR's Mike Shuster reports it all looks like business as usual.

Business
3:41 am
Sun January 1, 2012

2012: A Better Year, Unless Europe's Debt Blows It Up

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses journalists at EU headquarters in Brussels in December. It's possible that European leaders will come up with ways to manage the region's debt crisis in the new year, but the worst case scenarios are dire.
John Thys AFP/Getty Images

Last New Year's Day, most economic forecasters were predicting a good year ahead. But 2011 turned out to be another disappointment for stock investors and home sellers, and a discouraging time for job seekers.

Now, as 2012 begins, economists are hoping their crystal balls are working a bit better. Most are seeing a brighter picture.

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The Salt
3:40 am
Sun January 1, 2012

For Some Tribes, New Year's Foods Provide A Sacred Link To The Past

Edna Kash-kash, a Native American from Oregon, sits in front of a tepee circa 1900. In Eastern Oregon, a tribal celebration of first foods offers a connection to ancestors.
Lee Moorhouse/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

Around the world last night, revelers marked the start of the new year. But in the Northwest corner of the U.S., some Native American tribes began their celebrations early.

On Dec. 20, just before the winter solstice, tribes in Eastern Oregon held a ceremony called kimtee inmewit, a welcoming of the new foods.

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Food
3:40 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Artisanal And Authentic, The Flavors Of The New Year

Rustic and local are some of the words describing menus in 2012, Weekend Edition food commentator Bonny Wolf says.
iStockphoto.com

Come 2012, there's a new food vocabulary: authentic, craft, small batch, artisanal, rustic and, of course, local. It's the opposite of processed, mass produced and factory farmed.

What might be called urban neo-ruralism has apartment dwellers canning tomatoes, keeping bees and churning butter.

The small farmer is the new gastronomic superhero, sourced on restaurant menus. Independent butcher shops are opening across the country with unfamiliar cuts like Denver steak, petite tender, flat iron. Expect more specialty meats, too, like bison, elk, goat and rabbit.

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The Salt
3:39 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Haitians Mark The New Year With A Belly Full Of Soup

Haitians celebrate their independence from France on Jan. 1 each year with a traditional squash soup called soup joumou.
Courtesy of Whole Foods

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:36 pm

Nine years ago, on New Year's Day, David Gunther faced a mini-epidemic. He's a family doctor, and at his old job in Somerville, Mass., just north of Boston, many of his patients were from Haiti.

"Ten or 12 patients all complained of pretty similar symptoms – belly pains, including some diarrhea," he says. "They weren't terribly ill, but it was clear that there was some kind of a pattern."

Gunther almost alerted the Department of Public Health to this mild gastrointestinal outbreak. But then, one of those patients with the stomach trouble figured out what was going on.

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Economy
3:38 am
Sun January 1, 2012

In Brazil, Economic Opportunity Beckons Westerners

People crowd Saara, a popular market in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is one of the world's largest economies and is attracting job seekers from around the world.
Vanderlei Almeida AFP/Getty Images

The beaches of Brazil lure in foreigners, but fortune-hunters are more interested in the opportunities offered by the rapidly developing South American state.

The global economic downturn is starting to affect Brazil, but the country has not nearly been as hard-hit as Europe and the U.S. The emerging economy is enticing to young, highly trained and educated workers like David Bailey of Britain.

Bailey plays piano as he and his roommates prepare for a party in Rio de Janeiro. They're all foreigners — from France, Switzerland, Spain — and all of them are here for work.

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Mitt Romney
3:37 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Romney Meets Friendly Crowd In Ice Cream Capital

Supporters seek autographs from Mitt Romney during a campaign event at the Family Table Restaurant Saturday in Le Mars, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

A little over three hours outside Des Moines, Iowa, in the northwest corner of the state, is the city of Le Mars. A sign proclaims this is the Ice Cream Capital of the World.

Saturday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spoke in Le Mars at the Family Table restaurant. His speech, like all Romney campaign speeches, was about President Obama.

"This is an election to decide whether we're going to go further and further down the path of becoming more and more similar to a European welfare state, or whether instead we're going to remain an exceptional nation," he said.

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The Two-Way
10:00 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy new year, everyone!

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It Was A Good Year For...
5:18 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

No Excuses: Robots Put You In Two Places At Once

The two "eyes" on the Anybot are actually a camera and a laser. The camera "sees," the laser points, and the person on the screen controls it all.
Anybots.com

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 11:11 am

Mike Fennelly isn't easily surprised by cutting-edge technologies, but when he started as an IT guy at a Silicon Valley startup called Evernote, he was caught off guard by a robot rolling around the office.

"It was slightly disturbing for not really knowing what the robot was for at the beginning, and then going, 'Oh, OK. That's Phil,' " he says.

CEO Phil Libin is also known as the company's "robotic overlord." Libin himself isn't actually a robot, but when he's out of town, his robot keeps an eye on things.

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It Was A Good Year For...
3:18 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

2011: An Extraordinary Year For Gay Rights

Phyllis Siegel (right) kisses her wife, Connie Kopelov, after the two exchanged vows at the Manhattan City Clerk's office. The couple were the first same-sex pair to tie the knot in New York City after the state's Marriage Equality Act went into effect on July 24.
Michael Appleton AP

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 4:46 pm

This year was an extraordinary one for many things — especially gay rights. In September, the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy allowed gay, lesbian and bisexual people to serve openly. And just this month, two female sailors became the first to share the Navy tradition of a "first kiss."

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