NPR News

Pages

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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:

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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."

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Asia
12:05 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Plagiarism Plague Hinders China's Scientific Ambition

Helen Zhang's University of Zhejiang scientific journal was the first in China to use CrossCheck text analysis software to scan for plagiarism. She discovered that over a two year period, 31 percent of all papers showed unreasonable copying or plagiarism. The results are a symbol of the country's uphill battle to become a global leader in innovative scientific thought.
Louisa Lim NPR

Last in a three-part series

For a decade, Helen Zhang has had a dream: to run an international scientific journal that meets international standards. So she was delighted to be appointed journal director for Zhejiang University in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

In 2008, when her scientific publication, the Journal of Zhejiang University-Science, became the first in China to use CrossCheck text analysis software to spot plagiarism, Zhang was pleased to be a trailblazer. But when the first set of results came in, she was upset and horrified.

Read more
History
12:00 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

The Long, Hot Road To Modern Air Conditioning

A nurse adjusts the air conditioning for the comfort of the patient in a hospital room during the 1950s. By 1953, over 1 million air conditioning units had been sold in the U.S.
Three Lions Getty Images

For some inventions, say the light bulb, everyone knows who invented it.

But at the U.S. Capitol on a hot July day, no one seemed to know who invented the air conditioner. Even as the statue of a man many call the air conditioner's inventor stood just down the hall.

After an hour or so of searching, Mike Veselik, from Chicago, came close to knowing.

"I know that a doctor from Florida came up with it, trying to stop people from having fevers I think it was," Veselik said.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:56 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Justice Department Charges 72 In Connection With Major Child Porn Ring

The Justice Department announced today that it had made 52 people and charged 72 in connection with an international child pornography ring with members in countries from the United States to Serbia.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the operation was the largest of its kind and took almost two years to complete.

NPR's Carrie Johnson reports:

Read more
Space
11:32 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Early Earth May Have Been Orbited By Two Moons

This artist's illustration shows a collision between the moon and a companion moon. Scientists say the collision could be responsible for the moon's asymmetric shape.
Martin Jutzi and Erik Asphaug Nature

The early Earth had two moons instead of just one — our familiar moon, as well as a smaller companion moon that also rose and set in the sky for tens of millions of years.

That's according to a new theory that says this smaller moon eventually went careening into our moon and is still there, in the form of mountains on its far side.

Scientists have long puzzled over those mountains, and the fact that the two sides of our moon are very different. The near side has flat lowlands, while the far side is high and mountainous.

Read more
National Security
11:24 am
Wed August 3, 2011

White House Unveils Counter-Extremism Plan

Originally published on Thu August 4, 2011 9:56 am

The White House unveiled its strategy to counter radicalization today, ending months of speculation about how President Obama intends to tackle the problem of violent extremism in this country.

Read more
It's All Politics
11:19 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Obama, Democrats 'Pivot' To Jobs But May Be Hamstrung

What Washington was worried about and what many Americans have been haunted by has seemed out of synch in recent weeks.

The fiery Washington debate was about the debt-ceiling, while the concerns of millions of Americans was about jobs, either finding or keeping one.

For Washington Democrats, the debt ceiling debate was a distraction from the jobs message they view as key to their re-election efforts.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:16 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Study About The Intelligence Of Internet Explorer Users Likely A Hoax

Alexander Hassenstein Getty Images

It turns out the ones with a below average IQ are a number of people in the news media — including us — who were fooled by an elaborate hoax that claimed users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser were slow. We fell for it and so did others like the BBC, CNN, Forbes as well as the IT publication The Register, which we quoted.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
10:33 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Do Hospitalists Cost More Than They Save?

Chances are, if you're admitted to the hospital, the doctor in charge of your care won't be your own. He or she will be a hospitalist, a relatively new type of specialist whose sole job is to oversee the care of hospitalized patients.

Read more
Africa
10:00 am
Wed August 3, 2011

As Famine Rises, So Do Political Hurdles

During East Africa's worst drought in 60 years, tens of thousands have already died and millions urgently need food. The United Nations is warning that the crisis will worsen if aid is not increased. Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai says government systems have severely lagged in helping locals and solving environmental problems. She tells host Michel Martin what else should be done to bring relief to the region.

World
10:00 am
Wed August 3, 2011

International Supermodel Revisits Refugee Past

Alek Wek is among 60 refugees sharing personal stories on the 60th anniversary of the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention. She says stigma should never be attached to the term "refugee," and shares her struggles, triumphs and advocacy work with host Michel Martin. The United Nations' Larry Yungk also discusses the intent of this week's "First Refugee Congress."

Pages