NPR News

U.S. Scientist Pleads Guilty To Espionage Charge

Sep 7, 2011

A scientist who worked for the federal government pleaded guilty to attempted espionage on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Stewart David Nozette tried to pass classified information to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer.

Nozette admitted in federal court that he tried to provide Israel with top secret information about satellites, early warning systems, ways of retaliating against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information and major elements of defense strategy.

Brazil Hopes To Add Oil Wealth To A Booming Economy

Sep 7, 2011

When people say Brazil won't be the next Saudi Arabia, they mean it in a good way.

Brazil has discovered enormous oil reserves far off its coast, but the country's robust and varied economy means it shouldn't become dependent on oil.

"Brazil is not just going to be an oil exporting country," says Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. "That's not all it's going to do."

NASA needs to hire a few more astronauts. That's according to a panel of outside experts enlisted by the agency to review the size of the astronaut corps now that the space shuttles are retired. (The panel's report is posted here.)

Med Schools Fall Short On LGBT Education

Sep 7, 2011

How well are medical schools preparing the next generation of doctors to care for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients? Not too well, it seems.

In a survey of medical school deans in the U.S. and Canada, a group of researchers found that the median number of teaching hours dedicated to LGBT content during an a four-year medical education was just five hours. While the researchers said there was a lot of variation between schools, they noted that five hours as a median was "small."

If the wildfires in his home state don't change his plans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is scheduled to make his national debut Wednesday in his first debate with seven fellow candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Shoppers Entangled In War On Terror

Sep 7, 2011

Mall of America officials say that thousands of mall visitors have been stopped and questioned in recent years. The interviews at the mall are part of a counterterrorism initiative that acts as the private eyes and ears of law enforcement authorities but has often ensnared innocent people, according to an investigation by NPR and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Finding Meaning In Suspicious Activity Reports

Sep 7, 2011

The suspicious activity reports submitted by the Mall of America's security team frequently land at the Minnesota Joint Analysis Center, one of 72 "fusion centers" in the United States started with federal funding.

The reports are routed through various law enforcement and intelligence networks, often ending up in front of local analysts and the FBI.

Those networks include local police databases and state fusion centers that collect and disseminate homeland security intelligence, along with systems run by the FBI and other federal agencies.

Since Sept. 11, the nation's leaders have warned that government agencies like the CIA and the FBI can't protect the country on their own — private businesses and ordinary citizens have to look out for terrorists, too. So the Obama administration has been promoting programs like "See Something, Say Something" and the "Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative."

Mubarak Trial Resumes Amid 'Circus' Atmosphere

Sep 7, 2011

The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resumes today following scuffles inside and outside the courtroom. Libyan officials loyal to Moammar Gadhafi reportedly fled to neighboring Niger. And Turkey announced it was "totally suspending" all trade, military and defense ties with Israel. Guest host Jacki Lyden discusses the latest news in the Middle East and North Africa with Al Jazeera International's Abderrahim Foukara and NPR Foreign Correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson.

Ralph Swagler was in his family's barbecue restaurant in Carson City, Nev., Tuesday morning when he heard gunshots outside and saw a man armed with what authorities say was an AK-47 walk into a nearby IHOP restaurant.

Jet Carrying Russian Hockey Team Crashes

Sep 7, 2011

A Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashed while taking off Wednesday in western Russia, killing at least 36 people and leaving one critically injured, officials said.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed as it was trying to take off from Yaroslavl airport, about 185 miles east of Moscow. It said one person survived the crash with grave injuries.

The weather was sunny and clear at the time.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin immediately sent the nation's transport minister to the site, 10 miles east of Yaroslavl.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) has been among the more outspoken members of Congress calling for major reductions in federal spending to reduce the budget deficit.

Our friend Frank James over at It's All Politics will be watching the action, but we do want to at least take note of tonight's Republican presidential debate and pass along the coordinates in case you want to check it out.

A key story line, according to the conventional wisdom: How will the new "front runner," Texas Gov. Rick Perry, do in his first appearance with the other seven?

As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks draws closer, we're pointing to some of the stories being told about that day and the days since.

Madeleine V. Leckie Elementary School in Washington, D.C., has a strong, painful connection to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reported earlier on Morning Edition.

By the end of September, the U.S. Postal Service will be on the brink of defaulting on its employee pension obligations, unable to borrow more money and have just enough cash to cover operations for a week.

Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe issued the warning to a Senate committee on Tuesday as he pleaded with Congress to intervene before Sept. 30 by granting him unprecedented authority to make radical changes that could steer the agency from financial ruin. He said the Postal Service could report losses of up to $10 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

Good morning.

The news we've already posted about today:

-- Reports: Obama To Propose $300 Billion Package Aimed At Boosting Jobs

-- Wildfires Still Raging In Texas, Arson Suspected In One, Two More Deaths

As for other stories making headlines, they include:

"As wildfires continued to torch homes and the drought-stricken landscape across Central Texas on Tuesday, officials said two bodies had been found among the charred ruins of the fires in Bastrop County," Austin's American-Statesman reports.

President Obama will propose "$300 billion in federal spending and tax cuts" when he addresses the nation Thursday night during a joint session of Congress, The Associated Press and other news outlets are reporting.

The AP says that:

"According to people familiar with the White House deliberations, two of the biggest measures in the president's proposals for 2012 are expected to be a one-year extension of a payroll tax cut for workers and an extension of expiring jobless benefits. Together those two would total about $170 billion. ...

For Now, Shoes Still Come Off At Airport Security

Sep 7, 2011

Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted Tuesday that airline passengers in the future will no longer be instructed to remove their shoes at airport security checkpoints, but she said the technology to scan shoe-wearing passengers for bombs does not yet exist and may not be available soon.

No technology meets government standards to screen shoes for explosives at airports while passengers wear them. Officials have not been able to say for certain that this technology will exist in the future, though they are working to develop it.

Faith Community Helps Steady Cathedral After Quake

Sep 6, 2011

The National Cathedral has hosted some of the most memorable prayer services and state funerals from the past 100 years. President Obama will speak there on Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11; he also held his inaugural prayer service at the historic church, like many presidents have done.

But the structure was hit hard by last month's 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast. Now, it could take years for the landmark to recover.

Crumbling Masonry

A school founded by Americans in Iraq before the Saddam Hussein era is an emblem of a time when the United States was known in the Middle East not for military action, but for culture and education. That's the view of Puliter Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, who recently wrote an essay about the school, titled "The American Age, Iraq."

As war grinds on in Afghanistan, there is increasing talk about finding a negotiated solution. It's a complicated proposition that would presumably involve the Afghan government, the United States, Pakistan, the Taliban and potentially others as well.

One man who would be a key figure in any negotiation is Umar Daudzai.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has made Daudzai his chief negotiator with the Taliban.

Who Will Buy Hulu?

Sep 6, 2011

For people who watch TV and movies over the Internet rather than the airwaves or cable, Hulu is one of the most popular sources of content. The company has offered streaming, on-demand access to select television shows and movies since it launched in 2008. Now,the site's owners are looking to cash in, and some big guns — including Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Dish Network — are showing interest.

Republican presidential hopefuls gather Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in California for perhaps the first critical debate of the primary election season.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has publicly doubted the science of climate change and says creationism should be taught alongside evolution, is the new front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. He's not alone in these views. If the topic of science comes up during the debate, the views of all of the GOP presidential candidates will be on display before a national audience.

It used to be that opposition to publicly funded birth control was linked to abortion.

Either the birth control in question allegedly caused abortion, or the organization providing the birth control (read: Planned Parenthood) also performed abortions. But that's changing.

These days, more and more voices are opposing the provision of birth control for its own sake.

Years ago, it was an occasional debate among press box sociologists about which sport was more attractive to members of the two political parties.

The consensus was that football was more for Republicans, baseball for Democrats — the general reasoning being that GOP types were more militarily inclined, as is the gridiron game, and that since football had long been more a college sport, and more Republicans had gone to college, football had a greater Republican tradition.

Miami's City Manager Suspends Police Chief

Sep 6, 2011

We first told you about the long-running feud between Miami's mayor and the city's police chief back in June. Today, NPR's Greg Allen reports the tension reached a climax, when the city manager called Police Chief Miguel Exposito into his office and suspended him.

Greg filed this report:

Was that a jobs plan Mitt Romney unveiled Tuesday or a Steve Jobs plan?

Wanting voters to see him as the political version of the black turtleneck-clad business visionary, Romney compared himself not only to Jobs but to someone using a smartphone (President Obama was still in the coin-operated payphone world, Romney said.)

Lockerbie Bomber 'Very Sick' Says Son

Sep 6, 2011

The BBC was given access to the Libyan home of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.

In a controversial move, al-Megrahi was released from prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds. Al-Megrahi was flown to Libya and since then families and relatives of some of the 259 people who died have complained al-Megrahi was not really sick and he was let go because of politics.

Paintball Injury? Your Hospital Has A Code For That

Sep 6, 2011

Maybe, like me, you're one of the few who missed the recent report on injuries caused by BB and paintball guns that showed how often mishaps lead to emergency room visits. I'm surprised my mom didn't call me personally just to say she told me so.