American Idol, The Sing-Off, The Voice — there's no shortage of over-the-top, glitzy, ratings-driven music competitions on TV. And now Aretha Franklin is getting in on the singing contest circuit, but she's turning her searchlight on the world of classical music. That's right — the Queen of Soul is searching for the next great opera singer.
South Korea's president delivered this message yesterday to North Korea: It will respond strongly to any provocations under North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong-un. However, in a televised speech, Lee Myung-bak also promised that North-South relations could improve if Pyongyang halts its nuclear weapons program.
Reporter Doualy Xaykaothao recently hit the streets of Seoul, to find out what South Koreans think of the power shift in the north. And for many the answer is simple: They don't care.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. All of the attention that Iowa has gotten in the past year comes to a head tonight. Nearly 2000 precincts across that state will record the first votes in the presidential nominating contest. At most sites, Iowans will write a name on a blank piece of paper and put it in a box.
The Taliban announces it will soon open a political office in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The move could set the stage for negotiations on an end to the Afghan war. But the State Department reiterated that the process will only succeed if the Taliban renounces violence, severs ties with al-Qaida and abides by the Afghan constitution.
The Federal Reserve will now tell the public its expectations for short-term interest rates. In the minutes of the Fed's Open Market Committee Dec. 13 meeting , the Fed said it would update that forecast four times a year, beginning after its Jan. 24-25 meeting.
A major medical group issued ethical guidelines on Monday that take the provocative position of urging doctors to consider cost-effectiveness when deciding how to treat their patients.
The American College of Physicians, the second-largest U.S. doctors' group after the American Medical Association, included the recommendation in the latest version of its ethics manual, which provides guidance for some 132,000 internists nationwide.
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 12:23 pm
We knew defense cuts were coming, but The New York Times is reporting that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will unveil $450 billion in cuts this week. With the announcement, reports the Times, will also come a new philosophy for the Pentagon.
Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 3:45 pm
On the last day he'll have New Hampshire to himself, GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, who bypassed the Iowa caucuses, plans to travel from Pembroke to Peterborough in search of enough votes to break into the top three in next week's Granite State primary.
With his presidential opponents scrambling for last-minute support in advance of Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, Huntsman has been methodically wooing New Hampshire voters in nearly 150 events over the past few weeks.
Most everyone's spirits are a bit deflated after the holidays. So, as a literary antidote, I recommend a just-published anthology called New York Diaries: 1609 – 2009. Editor Teresa Carpenter has collected four centuries worth of diary excerpts written by people, great and small, who've lived in or just passed through one of the greatest cities in the world.
Iran issued a threat to a U.S. aircraft carier, today, which further complicates the tense relationship between the two countries. The threat comes just a day after Iran performed naval maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz.
Make a list of the world's most popular scientists, and Stephen Hawking's name will be near or at the very top of the list.
Hawking, the author of A Brief History of Time and a professor at the University of Cambridge, is known as much for his contributions to theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity as for his willingness to make science accessible for the general public, says science writer Kitty Ferguson.
"It's not dumbing down [science]; it's really making it accessible, hopefully, to a lot of people," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Republican presidential candidates prepared Tuesday for their first major test of the primary season, making last-minute whistle-stops throughout Iowa in hopes of swaying many undecided caucus-goers.
Later tonight, Iowa Republicans will gather to cast ballots for the person they want to stand against President Obama in November. But after a bruising months-long campaign, more than a third of those participating in the caucuses say they still haven't made up their minds.
More than half of American public schools don't have a full-time nurse, and the situation is getting worse as school systems further cut budgets. This year, 51 were laid off in Philadelphia's public schools, 20 in a Houston suburb, 15 in San Diego and dozens more in other school systems nationwide.
Other schools have reduced their school nurse staffing.
After months of campaigning, it's finally caucus day in Iowa. Polls still show a fluid race, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum heading the pack.
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 8:21 am
The man police called "the most dangerous arsonist in Los Angeles County," may have been angered by the immigration hearing of a family member.The Los Angeles Times reports that Harry Burkhart, a 24-year-old from Germany who was arrested and charged in connection to a string of arson fires in Los Angeles, went on an anti-American tirade recently.
A maker of Scotch whiskey plans to start selling its product in a can. You can buy a 12 ounce can — 80 shots of 80 proof whiskey — in a container that cannot be re-sealed. The company says it hopes to eventually develop a can you can close.
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 10:22 am
Today, Iowa kicks off the 2012 presidential race in earnest. As, you've no doubt heard by now, the Republican presidential contest is still very fluid: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum could all win the season's first contest.
Bob Anderson was an Olympic fencer, and was a major fight choreographer for saber-rattling movies including: The Princess Bride and The Lord of the Rings. He was nearly 60 when he did Darth Vader's light saber fighting. Anderson died Sunday at 89.
Steve Inskeep talks to filmmaker Mike Mills for the latest in the Watch This series about recommended movies and television shows. Mills directed the film Beginners starring Christopher Plummer as an elderly father who comes out of the closet.
Big changes in 2011 — from the Arab Spring to the death of North Korea's dictator — create opportunities for 2012. But change can be scary, even when the regimes to be replaced are unpopular or repressive, because there's never a guarantee the new regime will be better.
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 11:57 am
The next sounds you hear will be Iowa Republicans rendering their judgment for 2012. The road to the magic number of 1,145 — delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination — begins Tuesday. The caucuses, all 1,774 of them, start at 7 pm Central time (8 Eastern), and results may start to trickle in within the hour.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
For this new year, Congress gave President Obama the power to impose new sanctions on Iran.
WERTHEIMER: The sanctions would target Iran's central bank. Though the president has some flexibility on the timing, the mere threat escalated tensions. Iranians have spoken of stopping oil tankers passing through the vital straits of Hormuz.
The big bowls are underway. The five games in the Bowl Championship Series stand out in the crowded college football postseason. They command the largest national television audience and pay out the most money. They also generate the most controversy, although yesterday, the first two BCS bowl games generally created nothing but thrills.
Oregon beat Wisconsin 45 to 38 in the Rose Bowl and Oklahoma State won a 41-38 nail-biter over Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us with more.
An Iraq war veteran who is suspected of killing a park ranger has been found dead in a snowy stream at Washington's Mount Rainier National Park. The park had been closed since Sunday while authorities searched for Benjamin Barnes.