NPR News

New York's Finger Lakes region is named for its 11 long, thin lakes that run north to south below Lake Ontario. As it turns out, the hills surrounding these lakes are fertile ground for grapes, and the region is starting to gain recognition for its wines.

But because of the nature of marketing and selling new wines, it's still pretty tough to buy a bottle from the Finger Lakes region.

The area does have a long history of growing grapes: There have been wild grapes there for untold centuries. The vines are hardy and able to withstand occasional subzero temperatures.

In a dramatic day that took him from captivity in the Gaza Strip to his home village in northern Israel, soldier Gilad Shalit was freed Tuesday after more than five years as a prisoner of Palestinian militants.

His release was cause for celebration in Israel, and nowhere more so than in Mitzpe Hila, where he was welcomed by several hundred neighbors and close friends who had long pressed for his release.

Analysts Point To Several Factors In Wheldon's Death

Oct 18, 2011

When the race cars began to collide Sunday on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Dr. Terry Trammell immediately muted his television. He watched in silence to focus on the signs of injury based on car positions and how the safety crew was responding. When he saw the helicopter arrive, he knew that someone was severely injured. Dan Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, was pronounced dead two hours later.

Yes, the drug war has created an image problem. But Mexico has launched an aggressive publicity blitz to try to attract more tourists, and it seems to be succeeding.

Even President Felipe Calderon is involved in the full court press to tout the wonders, delicacies and marvels of Mexico to potential visitors.

On the PBS program The Royal Tour of Mexico, Calderon serves as the on-camera guide for TV host Peter Greenberg. The president leads a zip-line tour across a rain forest, rappels into a cave, climbs Mayan ruins and snorkels along a coral reef.

As Republican presidential candidates gird for their eighth debate, this one in Las Vegas, Nev., Tuesday evening, a central question is: how will the Herman Cain phenomenon shape the event?

With the one-time pizza company CEO near or at the top of the GOP field depending on which poll you consult, he's likely to draw more attention from the other candidates at the debate than was true in any of their previous meetings. The two-hour debate will be carried by CNN at 8 pm ET.

As Mark has reported, BlackBerry users faced a text messaging outage for three days straight last week. Yesterday, BlackBerry offered some customers $100 in free apps as an apology.

States across the country continue to fight the spread of a dangerous new drug: bath salts.

They aren't anything like those soothing crystals you pour into the tub — they're synthetic stimulants, so-called designer drugs that cause paranoid, psychotic, often violent behavior in users.

Bath salts can still be purchased legally in some states and, in some cases, over the Internet.

One of the federal government's few success stories when it comes to policing corporate crime in recent years comes from a post-Watergate law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA.

Prosecutors have used the law to get more than $1 billion in bribery fines out of huge companies like Siemens and DaimlerChrysler.

But now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pushing back: It has hired former Justice Department leaders to make the case that the law is out of date.

Critics: Law Has Huge Consequences

"The Marine Corps is ending its controversial ban on bracelets honoring U.S. troops killed in combat," Marine Corps Times is reporting.

Since Gallup started asking Americans in 1969 whether use of marijuana should be legal, most have said no. But in a Gallup poll released yesterday, half of Americans said the government should legalize pot use.

That is a record high.

Here's Gallup's historical chart for the question:

And here's how they characterize the shift in public opinion:

President Obama's bus tour rolled into Virginia on Tuesday afternoon, after a day and a half in North Carolina.

The president has been using the tour to promote his jobs plan and to criticize an alternative plan put forward by Senate Republicans.

Another Day, Another Diner

Earlier Tuesday, the president stopped at Reid's House Restaurant in Reidsville, N.C., bypassing the special — spaghetti and Texas toast — in favor of a cheeseburger and sweet tea.

As we've seen before this year, when a "haboob" rolls over a city the results can be awesome — and not in a good way if you're caught in it.

Monday afternoon in Lubbock, Texas, a massive dust storm turned day into night in less than a minute. Check this video from local TV station KLBK and The Associated Press (which loops once).

After decades of disappointment, researchers think they're finally on track to unleash the first practical vaccine against malaria, one of mankind's ancient scourges.

In the world's first large field trial of an experimental malaria vaccine, several thousand young children who got three doses had about 55 percent less risk of getting the disease over a year than those who got a control vaccine against rabies or meningitis.

Bank of America's report of a $6.2 billion profit in the third quarter, as we said earlier, has many analysts pointing out that it was mostly due to one-time accounting changes and asset sales. Still, BofA's stock is up slightly at this hour.

Environmental hazards sicken or kill millions of people — soot or smog in the air, for example, or pollutants in drinking water. But the most dangerous stuff happens where the food is made — in peoples' kitchens.

That's according to the World Health Organization, which says that the smoke and gases from cooking fires in the world's poorest countries contribute to nearly two million deaths a year — that's more than malaria.

There's a new DeLorean DMC-12 coming out — or rather, there's a new version of the same stainless steel wedge of a sportscar that became an icon (and perhaps the lone representative) of '80s cool. But it won't run on gas — it'll be electric.

And unlike the DeLorean that played a vital role in Back to the Future, this one won't require a nuclear reaction that generates 1.21 gigawatts.

We here at Shots have long considered our trips to the hair salon to be good for our mental health: A pampering head massage in the shampoo chair can be amazingly relaxing.

Public officials think hair stylists could play a vital role in physical health, too, by helping spot potentially cancerous skin lesions on their clients' scalp, neck and face. Research published Monday in the Archives of Dermatology suggests some stylists and barbers are already informally performing these skin cancer exams on clients.

Tipping the board over and telling mom that "he's cheating!" wasn't an option, so:

Making Sense of Your Medical Math

Oct 18, 2011

In their new book, Your Medical Mind: How To Decide What Is Right For You, oncologist Jerome Groopman and his wife, endocrinologist Pamela Hartzband, offer a roadmap to help people make the best medical decisions they can.

Though the number is huge — $6.2 billion — this morning's third-quarter profit news from Bank of America is generating a lot of "yeah, but" analyses.

As in:

A Justice Department lawyer has returned to the unit that prosecutes sensitive public corruption cases after being transferred more than two years ago in the aftermath of the botched case against the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

There was a 0.8 percent increase in wholesale prices from August to September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

Much of the gain was due to higher costs for fuel and food. Without those two volatile sectors, prices went up 0.2 percent.

Good morning.

Our earlier headlines on breaking news were:

-- Israeli Soldier Released, Exchange Of Prisoners Begins.

-- Secretary Clinton Is In Libya To Unveil New Aid, Hail Country's Freedom.

And we also posted on this odd report:

"A truck filled with President Obama's podiums and audio equipment," including a teleprompter from which he reads prepared remarks and the presidential seal he stands behind, was stolen from a hotel parking lot in Henrico, Va., on Monday, local WWBT-TV reports.

The vehicle was discovered a short time later outside another local hotel. The TV station says it isn't yet known whether everything inside was recovered.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Tripoli today and while in Libya will both congratulate the Libyan people on their freedom from Moammar Gadhafi and announce several new types of aid headed their way from the U.S., NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

A "dazed ... thin and pale" Gilad Shalit is home in Israel today after more than five years as a prisoner of Hamas, while Palestinians are joyously celebrating in Ramallah as Israeli authorities begin releasing some of the hundreds of prisoners who are being set free in exchange for the Israeli soldier's release.

Thousands of people jammed the tiny hometown of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Tuesday to celebrate his arrival after more than five years in the captivity of Hamas militants.

Shalit was freed hours earlier in exchange for the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in the most lopsided prisoner swap in Israel's history.

Members of the United Auto Workers finish voting Tuesday on a new contract with automaker Ford that would mean nearly 6,000 new jobs in U.S. Ford and the UAW both say it's a good deal for the company and its union employees, but many workers remain unconvinced

In its 87 years, Ford's Chicago assembly plant, which is on the city's South Side, has made an array of Fords from to the Model A to the Model T to the latest Ford Taurus.

Orlando Mendoza, who has worked at Ford for 19 years, says he opposes the proposed contract.

Income Disparity And The 'Price Of Civilization'

Oct 17, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been criticized for lacking focus — but its main slogan seems to be resonating. That slogan, "We are the 99 percent," highlights the issue of income disparity. It's something economist Jeffrey Sachs has been tracking for a long time.

The top 1 percent of U.S. households now take about a quarter of all income, according to Sachs. And wages for the average American male peaked in 1973, he says.

Mark your calendars: The world is ending on Oct. 21.

This announcement comes from Harold Camping, the doomsday prophet who said Judgment Day would come on May 21, 2011. On that day, a rolling earthquake was supposed to devastate the world. True believers would join Jesus in heaven. Unbelievers would be tormented for the next five months.

So, when May 21 came and nothing happened, Camping had some explaining to do. Two days later, Camping, the head of Family Radio Network, announced he had been right about the date of God's wrath — just not the method.

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