NPR News

Hungary's new anti-vagrancy laws — the toughest in Europe — now mean that homeless people sleeping on the street can face police fines or even the possibility of jail time.

Advocacy and human-rights groups are alarmed by the new efforts to crack down on and effectively criminalize homelessness, where the ranks of the needy have increased during the country's dire financial crisis.

Debt, joblessness and poverty are on the rise. The country's bonds have been downgraded to "junk" status, and the nation's currency, the forint, has dropped sharply against the euro.

Toy Companies Debut Bald Dolls For Cancer

Apr 6, 2012

Barbie is best known for her curvy figure and long blond hair — but Mattel plans to produce a doll that's a dramatic departure from that classic image.

This Barbie will be bald.

Mattel decided to make the doll after a campaign by Jane Bingham, a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Philadelphia. She started a Facebook group with her friend called "Beautiful and Bald Barbie." She tells Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered, that they wanted the toymaker to create a doll for kids who have cancer or have lost their hair for medical reasons.

Spring means cherry, pear and apple blossoms. But in many metropolitan areas, urban foresters ensure those flowering fruit trees don't bear fruit to keep fallen fruit from being trampled into slippery sidewalk jelly.

But a group of fruit fans in the San Francisco Bay Area is secretly grafting fruit-bearing tree limbs onto those fruitless trees.

When I hear the word "Titanic," I picture a tuxedoed Leonardo DiCaprio, waiting at the bottom of a gilded staircase while the voice of Celine Dion swells in my mind. It's all Edwardian glitz and glamour, decadence and passionate love, the kind best enjoyed in a dark theater with plenty of popcorn. And then I quickly remember that the ship sinks, and that Titanic is more than just an epic film from my youth. On April 15, a century will have passed since the ship plummeted into the icy Atlantic, and it is the tragedy we should remember, not just the mythology surrounding it.

You don't go through corporate communications to meet the executive steering committee at Gideon Shoes.

Instead, you walk through a basketball court with graffiti-covered walls and into a sound studio. There, Gideon employees are warming up their talking points: rap lyrics.

"There's no excuses in this life, so I'm fighting on. ... The flame inside my heart is more like a firestorm," they rap.

The team is made up of Suhkdeep Bhogal from India, Thane Poloai from Samoa and Allan from New Zealand, who doesn't want to give his last name.

Diane Turner can't find work. She spent 30 years managing dental practices in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, but lost her last job in that field a couple of years ago.

She worked for a while greeting customers at an auto body shop, but lost that job a year ago. "It was very depressing," Turner says. "I always worked, and I was always able to get a job."

For people with dyslexia, problems recognizing words can make life difficult. Children usually aren't diagnosed until elementary school, when it becomes clear they're struggling with reading. But scientists say it could be possible to diagnose and help kids much earlier by identifying problems with visual attention — long before they learn to read.

A Navy fighter jet crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach on Friday afternoon. Television images showed thick, black smoke billowing near a row of apartment buildings.

Update at 8:24 a.m. ET April 7. No Fatalities, Officials Confirm

Fire officials say they have accounted for everyone who lived at an apartment complex in Virginia where a Navy fighter jet crashed on Friday.

Opinion about the Trayvon Martin shooting is sharply divided by race, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds.

The divide is clear, when pollsters asked if George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot and killed the black, unarmed teenager, was guilty of a crime.

A little more than half of the African Americans polled said he was "definitely guilty," while only 15 percent of non-blacks shared the same opinion.

The poll also found:

March Jobs Report Offers Mixed Messages

Apr 6, 2012

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Deal Might Be The Key To Save Detroit

Apr 6, 2012

The city's leaders agreed to a compromise with state officials this week, that may save Detroit from bankruptcy. But Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley tells host Michel Martin that a lot more work needs to be done to save the struggling city. They're also joined by NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax.

It's All Politics, April 5, 2012

Apr 6, 2012

Mitt Romney's sweep in Tuesday's primaries essentially signals the beginning of the general election campaign. And President Obama joins the fray, attacking Romney by name in a speech to news editors; the former Massachusetts governor returns the favor a day later. Paul Ryan draws attention from the president as well as those speculating on the GOP ticket. NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin have the latest in this week's political roundup.

This interview was originally broadcast on August 18, 2011.

Brad Ausmus has spent most of his career in a squatting position. As a major league catcher, he crouched behind home plate for roughly seven months a year while playing with the San Diego Padres, the Detroit Tigers, the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

How did he practice for games? Even more squats.

We're seeing headlines today about an entire college championship team moving from one school to another. And though the story's about two months old, it's still so unusual and has enough interesting angles to warrant passing along.

Some years back, I was driving across the South with a German friend, leaving early Sunday morning from Athens, Ga., and heading to Louisiana. I turned on the radio and found a black church service in progress, and a woman with a remarkable voice singing. "Who's that?" my friend asked. I told him I had no idea. "But with a voice like that, she must be famous," he said. Some miles down the road, when the station had faded out, he still didn't believe me.

It sounds like the plot of a Dan Brown thriller: A powerful medieval pope makes a secret pact to prop up the fishing industry that ultimately alters global economics. The result: Millions of Catholics around the world end up eating fish on Fridays as part of a religious observance.

Terence Davies' films aim for and often achieve a state of music, the camerawork in harmony with the soundtrack, the images connected by emotion rather than narrative.

Adapting Terence Rattigan's 1952 play The Deep Blue Sea, he throws out the drama's tidy structure and much of the dialogue, and shows the events through the eyes of the adulterous Lady Hester Collyer, played by Rachel Weisz.

Math teachers know that fractions can be hard for the average third-grader. Teachers at a public school in San Bruno, Calif., just south of San Francisco, are trying something new. They're teaching difficult math concepts through music, and they're getting remarkable results.

At Allen Elementary School, a roomful of third-graders sits facing music instructor Endre Balogh, their backs straight, eyes ahead, beating a mouse pad with drumsticks. As Balogh taps a rhythm, the students follow.

Acute appendicitis generally means a speedy trip to the hospital for surgery. But British researchers say antibiotics might be a safe and effective alternative in uncomplicated cases.

"The general consensus was that the appendix has to be taken out the moment you feel it was inflamed," Dr. Dileep Lobo, professor of gastrointestinal surgery at the University of Nottingham and Queen's Medical Centre, tells Shots.

Earl Albert Moore, who in April 2011 on the 12th anniversary of the Columbine school shootings placed a pipe bomb in a nearby Colorado shopping mall, has been sentenced to life in prison.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

Let's talk about the surprisingly weak jobs report that came out from the Labor Department today. The numbers for March show just 120,000 new jobs were added to U.S. payrolls. That's considered a disappointment, even though the unemployment rate did decline slightly, to 8.2 percent.

NPR's John Ydstie is here to talk with us about what all this means. Hi, John.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.2 percent in March from 8.3 percent in February, but only 120,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this morning in a report that was less positive about the labor market's health than economists had expected.

Prior to the news, forecasters had predicted BLS would say about 200,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month.

This story is part of Planet Money's series on money in politics. This post was originally published on March 30. It was updated on April 6.

Most of the nitty-gritty action in Congress happens in committees.

Not surprisingly, campaign contributions flow to members of the committees that big donors are really interested in — like, say, the ways and means committee, which oversees the tax code.

Close your books, America. It's time for a pop quiz.

Do you believe Barack Obama is:

a) The best of presidents? A blogger who goes by the name Troubadour on Daily Kos, Brian Altmeyer, pretty much makes the claim in a recent post: "Barack Obama is either the best President we've ever had, or more humbly, equal to the best Presidents we've ever had (and thereby one of their number)."

A U.S. Marine sergeant who posted "contemptuous" comments and images about President Obama on the Web should be dismissed and given an other-than-honorable discharge, a Marine Corps administrative board recommended late Thursday evening.

The case against Sgt. Gary Stein, 26, has raised questions about how far the military can go to restrict the First Amendment rights of its personnel.

The morning's major news, if all goes as planned, will be the 8:30 a.m. ET release of the March jobs and unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to Reuters, economists expect we'll hear that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent and that private and public employers added about 200,000 jobs to their payrolls. The jobless rate's recent peak was 10 percent, in October 2009.

Jailer Takes Inmate On Golfing Trip

Apr 6, 2012

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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