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Opinion
7:11 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Weekly Standard: Syria Hearing Worth Listening To

In this photo taken during a government-organized tour for foreign diplomats and the media, US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford covers his nose from the smell of the dead bodies during his visit with other foreign diplomats to a mass grave, in Jisr el-Shughour, north of Syria, on Monday, June 20, 2011.
Bassem Tellawi AP

Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration

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Opinion
7:09 am
Thu August 4, 2011

New Republic: The Rhetoric Isn't Helping Syria

A young Syrian who lives in Greece shouts slogans during a protest outside the Syrian embassy in Athens, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. About 80 people gathered outside the embassy as Syrian troops killed nearly 100 people in two days, firing at worshippers heading to Ramadan prayers in the city on Hama, an opposition stronghold.
Thanasssis Stavrakis AP

David Schenker is the Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Japan Takes Action To Weaken The Yen

A money trader reacts in front of the yen-dollar exchange rate at a money market brokerage firm in Tokyo.
Shuji Kajiyama AP

Originally published on Thu August 4, 2011 8:08 am

During the early morning hours, Japan sold yen and bought dollars in order to stop the yen from strengthening. Dow Jones estimates that Japan may have spent as much as $20 billion to $30 billion in the transactions, pushing the yen 3.8 percent lower against the dollar.

The AP reports:

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Opinion
7:01 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Weekly Standard: A Dem Challenge Obama? Get Real

President Barack Obama talks with supporters after arriving at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011.
Paul Beaty AP

Jay Cost is a staff writer for The Weekly Standard.

Froma Harrop wrote a column this week, arguing that Democrats should primary Obama:

"Ed Rendell, do you have plans for 2012? Hillary Clinton? If you, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, or you, the secretary of state, are free next year and wouldn't mind, would you please launch a primary challenge against President Obama?"

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Opinion
6:58 am
Thu August 4, 2011

The Nation: Time For The White House To Push Back

Democrats and Republicans are locked in a contentious battle even after agreeing to spending cuts and raising the debt ceiling.
iStockphoto.com

Ari Berman is a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation.

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Middle East
6:54 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Turkey Undergoes A 'Silent Revolution'

Turkish Chief of Staff General Isik Kosaner during a military ceremony in Ankara on Aug. 28, 2010. Kosaner stepped down on July 29, and the entire military command has resigned in a dispute with the government.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

Politics in Turkey have just undergone a profound shift.

For decades, Turkey's military leaders repeatedly launched coups and other interventions to bring about an end to civilian governments they felt were straying too far from the country's secular traditions.

But with the resignations last week of the top Turkish commanders — including the chiefs of staff of each service branch — civilian authorities have, for the first time in the nation's history, clearly gained the upper hand.

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Jerry Lewis Will No Longer Host MDA Telethons

Jerry Lewis speaks during "The Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis" panel at Television Critics Association Tour in Beverly Hills.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced last night that comedian Jerry Lewis will no longer serve as the organization's chairman, nor as the host of its annual Labor Day telethon. Lewis has hosted the telethons since 1966.

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The Two-Way
6:13 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Haiti Faces Tropical Storm; Tiger Woods Makes Comeback

Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner arrives before U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House on August 2.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Good morning!

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Latin America
3:01 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Business Booms On Mexican Border Despite Violence

Mexican federal police man a checkpoint in downtown Juarez, Mexico, on July 13. Despite being hard hit by drug violence, Mexican border cities remain attractive to foreign businesses seeking cheap labor and easy access to the U.S.
Jesus Alcazar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 4, 2011 7:01 am

Over the last four years of the Mexican drug war, the country's northern border has become one of the most violent parts of the country. Yet recently that same part of Mexico has been booming economically.

The duty-free maquiladora assembly plants along the border are rapidly adding jobs, and exports to the United States are reaching record levels.

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America's Mayors: Governing In Tough Times
3:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Progress And Promise For A Town Once In Crisis

Wayne Seybold of Marion, Ind., grew up in a trailer park on the factory side of town. As mayor, he's downsized the city's government and expanded the business community.
Noah Adams NPR

Part 5 of a 6-part series

Let's say you're the mayor. It's your city, it's where you wake up. But are you thinking about Washington each morning, or do you zip out of the house in your mayor's outfit with your smartphone, and see what you can get done yourself?

If you're Wayne Seybold, the mayor of Marion, Ind., it's a bit of both.

The 47-year-old Republican is now in his second term. His city, in north-central Indiana, is home to 30,000 people who've been though a tough economy.

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Business
3:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

The Economic Legacy Of Atlanta's Olympic Games

This Olympic Village housing for athletes taking part in the 1996 Centennial Olympics is located on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
AFP/Getty Images

Bringing the 1996 Summer Olympic Games to Atlanta was a long shot. Athens, Greece was the sentimental favorite to host the centennial games, and tension was palpable as IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch made the announcement back on September 18, 1990.

"The International Olympic Committee has awarded the 1996 Olympic Games to the city of ... Atlanta," Samaranch revealed.

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Politics
2:59 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Debt Deal May Erode Independent Support For Obama

During Washington's heated debate over the debt ceiling, President Obama and others in the administration canceled several campaign fundraisers as work on a compromise dragged on. But Wednesday night, Obama, who turns 50 Thursday, went out raising money at a pair of birthday-themed events in Chicago. The election is a long way off, but the country's long-term financial obligations seem certain to become a prime issue.

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Law
2:57 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Obama Gets High Marks For Diversifying The Bench

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, shown with President Obama in this file photo, became the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice during the Obama administration, one of a number of judicial diversity milestones the White House has made.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

When it comes to this White House and judges, there's a string of firsts. The first Hispanic on the Supreme Court. The first openly gay man on a federal district court. And the first women nominees who are Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Obama administration officials say that's by design.

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Europe
2:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Berlusconi Speech Falls Flat As Crisis Looms In Italy

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attends a debate on the Italian economic situation Wednesday at the Parliament in Rome. In a speech aimed at soothing concerns over a possible debt crisis, he said, "We have solid economic fundamentals. Our banks have liquidity and are solvent."
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 4, 2011 10:35 am

Alarm is spreading through international markets as Italy, the eurozone's third largest economy, risks being sucked into the debt crisis. After a long silence, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi addressed Parliament — and insisted that the country's economy is strong, while rebuffing opposition calls for his resignation.

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Africa
2:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Relief, Anger In Egypt As Mubarak Trial Starts

Many Egyptians doubted that ex-president Hosni Mubarak would ever appear in court to face the charges against him. But he was in a courtroom Wednesday, lying in a hospital bed that was wheeled into the prisoner's cage. The scene was witnessed by millions of Egyptians as the proceedings were aired live on state television. Mubarak spoke only to deny the charges against him, but for many in Egypt just seeing him in those circumstances was hard to believe.

Middle East
2:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

War Or Compromise: What's Next For Yemen?

After months of massive anti-government protests and increasing bouts of violence involving a dizzying array of combatants, Yemen seems on the brink of total collapse and all-out war. But some in the Arabian country are still holding out hope for a negotiated solution, including the departure of longtime leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Middle East
2:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Condemnation But No Resolution From U.N. On Syria

The U.N. Security Council has again failed to reach agreement on a resolution condemning the Syrian government for its violent crackdown on protesters there. Instead, the council president issued a much milder statement. The U.S. and the international community have a few options to increase the pressure on Bashar Assad's government.

The Two-Way
4:29 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

The Swiss Franc Soars As Markets Dip, And That Worries The Swiss

When the Swiss franc hit a historic high of buying .70 euros in May 2010, people lined up at a Geneva exchange office to get rid of their euros. This week, one Swiss franc bought .90 euros.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

The currency of Switzerland has soared to record highs against the U.S. dollar and the euro. And that has the Swiss government worried, as a stronger franc also makes the country's exports more expensive.

Investors have rushed to buy Swiss francs, seeing them as a safe haven. In much the same way, gold prices have soared in recent times of economic uncertainty. Gold hit a new record this week, trading at $1,661 an ounce.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:56 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

The Good And Bad News On HIV In The U.S.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a mixed picture for HIV/AIDS in this country.

While the number of people infected with HIV each year is relatively steady — approximately 50,000 new infections each year — there was a 48 percent increase in the number of young HIV-infected African American men who have sex with men from 2006 to 2009.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:25 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

In Swimming Pool Season, Time To Check Chlorine And pH Levels

Chlorine and pH have to be in balance to kill germs that can make swimmers sick.
iStockphoto.com

'Tis the season of the swimming pool, and here at Shots we've been patronizing our local public pools to escape the heat. One can't, however, frequent a pool without eventually contemplating its cleanliness, especially during a heat wave, when it's packed with people of all ages.

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The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

As FAA Shutdown Continues, Workers Miss Pay, Medical Coverage

The FAA's partial shutdown doesn't affect air traffic controllers (above). But the impasse has left some 47,000 workers without a paycheck.
John Moore Getty Images

The FAA's partial shutdown will be coming up on the two-week mark Saturday, and there's little sign of movement on the issue. Here's a collection of recent developments to keep you updated:

The shutdown doesn't include air traffic controllers. But it has left 4,000 FAA employees, and an additional 70,000 contractors, either furloughed or fired outright.

NPR's Richard Gonzales spoke to Richard Zemlok, an electrician in Oakland, Calif., who was one of those left without a paycheck:

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U.S.
2:04 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Airport Contractors Feel Sting Of FAA Shutdown

Construction equipment sits idle at the work site of a half-completed 236-foot FAA control tower at Oakland International Airport.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The stalemate in Congress over funding for the Federal Aviation Administration means the suspension of more than 200 airport expansion and renovation projects around the country, which is putting tens of thousands of people out of work.

Electrician Richard Zemlok is one of 60 engineers and contractors who were laid off in Oakland, Calif., as a result of the dispute.

He's no stranger to layoffs. A taut, barrel-chested man in his 50s, Zemlok spent 22 years at a local Toyota assembly plant before it was shut down last year.

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Animals
1:46 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

How Blood-Sucking Vampire Bats Aim Their Bites

Let's say you're a vampire bat, and you are trying to decide where to bite your victim. You want a spot rich in blood, right? But how do you find such a spot?

Turns out, vampire bats have a kind of remote sensing ability that can tell them where there is a warm patch of skin on a nearby animal. And a warm patch of skin means there are blood vessels just below the skin surface. And now scientists have identified the molecular basis for this remote sensing ability.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:42 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Multiplying Media Make It Harder To Manage Kids' Screen Time

She's probably on her way to watch TV.
iStockphoto.com

Watching a lot of TV makes for fatter kids, but media multitasking has taken the place of television in most kids' lives. So parents and pediatricians might want to rethink how they manage children's screen time.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Biologist Explain How An African Rat Makes Itself Poisonous

An African crested rat.
YouTube

East Africans have always known that crested rats are poisonous. They know that the dogs that tend to attack the foot-long mammal end up viscously sick and deathly scared of the creature.

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Conflict In Libya
1:25 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Rebel Leader's Death Puts Eastern Libya On Edge

Libyans shout slogans at a rally in rebel-held Benghazi, in eastern Libya on July 31. The rally was held to pay respect to Abdel-Fattah Younis, the Libyan rebels' slain military chief. Now, his family, tribesmen and supporters are demanding answers from the rebel authorities about his death.
Sergey Ponomarev AP

Originally published on Thu August 11, 2011 11:07 am

In eastern Libya, the rebel stronghold of Benghazi is filled with tension following the murder last week of the rebels' top military commander.

Abdel-Fattah Younis was killed in mysterious circumstances. Now, members of his family and his tribe — one of the most powerful in Libya — are accusing the rebel authorities of dragging its feet in the investigation.

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Politics
1:23 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Procrastination Nation: The Out Years

President Barack Obama walks back to the Oval Office after speaking in Rose Garden of the White House, Aug. 2, after the Senate passed the debt ceiling legislation.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Ah, the Out Years.

During the recent debt-ceiling debate, the phrase became a recurring motif. "You've got to look at the deficit not just in the next 10 years," White House political adviser David Plouffe told NPR, "but does it also produce savings in the out years."

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) told the Los Angeles Times that enforcement of the plan will be the key to its success, but "it's always in the out years and it never happens."

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Politics
1:17 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Despite Business Ties, Daley Struggled In Debt Talks

William Daley with President Obama when he was named White House chief of staff in January.
JEWEL SAMAD AFP/Getty Images

When White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley joined President Obama's team at the beginning of the year, he was expected to bring stability and a centrist approach to managing a sometimes chaotic White House.

His close connection to the business world was one of the strongest selling points as chief of staff. Daley built close friendships with business leaders during his years at JP Morgan Chase, and the White House hoped he could undo some of the bad blood that developed between Obama and business leaders during the first two years of the term.

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The Picture Show
12:08 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Simultaneous Sunset And Moonset: NASA's Image Of The Day

The moon, seen from the International Space Station, on July 31.
NASA

Peer out from an International Space Station window, and you might be greeted by this spectacular view, selected as NASA's image of the day. It's a simultaneous sunset and moonset; because the space station orbits the earth every 90 minutes, the crew experiences this about 16 times a day. Not bad.

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Chinese City Bans Dogs, Telling Owners To Turn Them In

A sign reading "No Entry For Dogs" is posted near the Confucius Temple in a file photo from Nanjing, China. The city sought to remove stray dogs in 2007, prompted by fears of rabies.
China Photos Getty Images

Officials in Jiangmen, China, are banning residents from keeping dogs, in a move that will take effect at the end of August, according to Chinese media. In one week, owners can begin taking their dogs to drop-off centers, where they will be either adopted by residents of rural areas or euthanized.

The ban targets dogs in densely populated sections of Jiangmen, a city with a population of 3.8 million. Any owners who wish to keep their dogs must apply for a license, reports China Daily.

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