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World
1:07 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Piecing Together 'The World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle'

Roland Jahn, a former East German dissident, is now Germany's federal commissioner of the Stasi archives. His agency is painstakingly piecing together the shredded documents of the former East German secret police. Jahn is shown here in March 2011 at a former Stasi prison at Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen.
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 2:35 am

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, frantically tore up millions of files gathered during decades of spying on its own citizens.

More than two decades later, the vast array of secret papers collected by the Stasi is still in huge demand. So far this year, 70,000 people have applied for access to the Stasi archives.

Many are young Germans — some searching for information about relatives, others just eager to know more about their country's past.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:06 am
Mon October 8, 2012

When Should Seniors Hang Up The Car Keys?

More elderly drivers will hit the road in the next decade, but family members wonder: When is it time for elderly loved ones to move to the passenger seat?
Martin Novak iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 2:35 am

With a growing population of baby boomers, officials are bracing for a surge in senior drivers. Statistics tell us that accidents increase after the age of 65, and fatal accidents are more likely after the age of 75.

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Music Interviews
12:03 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Kenny Rogers: 'I Take Great Pride In Not Writing Hits'

Kenny Rogers performs at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, Calif., earlier this year.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 2:35 am

In the mid-1970s, a man approached singer Kenny Rogers after a performance in the lounge at the Las Vegas Hilton. The mysterious stranger simply said, "Hey, man, I really like your music." Rogers learned later that the fan at the dressing-room door had been Elvis Presley.

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Music Interviews
5:43 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Anat Cohen Bends The Spectrum On 'Claroscuro'

Anat Cohen's new album, her sixth as a bandleader, is called Claroscuro.
Jimmy Katz

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:57 am

Born in Tel Aviv, Anat Cohen came to New York two decades ago to study the masters of jazz. In so doing, the clarinetist and saxophonist started a bit of a stampede: Today, Israel is exporting some of the most vital jazz out there.

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Presidential Race
5:39 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Presidential Politics: Does Likeability Matter?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event in St. Petersburg, Fla. Slate Magazine's John Dickerson says likeability doesn't matter as much in a presidential campaign as you might think.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:32 am

William Lowndes was a congressman from South Carolina who served in the early part of the 19th century. He was once asked to describe who should serve as chief executive.

"The presidency is not an office to be either solicited or declined," he said.

In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes didn't even vote for himself. He saw it as unseemly. And in 1916, Woodrow Wilson called campaigning "a great interruption to the rational consideration of public questions."

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Games & Humor
5:39 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Three-Minute Fiction: 'No Down Time'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 6:11 pm

Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction. The new judge this round is thriller writer Brad Meltzer. And the new challenge this round, participants had to write a story in 600 words or less that revolved around a U.S. President--fictional or real. Nearly 4,000 storied were submitted. Host Guy Raz presents one of the favorites selected by our readers, "No Down Time" by Fiona Von Siemens of Los Angeles, Calif. You can read the full stories below along with other stories at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.

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World
2:51 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Cricket Star Imran Khan Leads Anti-Drone March Into Volatile Pakistan Region

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 5:43 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

We turn now to Pakistan where a big motor convoy has been snaking across the map. It was led by Imran Khan, a former cricket star who is now a top politician. Khan and his supporters set out yesterday from the capital Islamabad and headed for South Waziristan in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. The plan was to hold a demonstration there against U.S. drones. But as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, it didn't work out that way.

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Latin America
2:51 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Venezuela Election Critical Test For Divided Nation And President Chavez

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 5:43 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Thousands of Venezuelans turned out to vote today in a presidential election that pits longtime leader Hugo Chavez against a younger, more moderate rival in Enrique Capriles. Chavez, the fiery left-wing leader, has irritated Washington with his anti-American rhetoric, but he's also won support among many poor Venezuelans for his social programs.

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Science
2:14 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

New Dinosaur Was A Small, Fanged Vegetarian

Pegomastax africanus stood less than two feet tall and sported sharp fangs and a beak.
Todd Marshall

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 9:10 pm

A small, fanged dinosaur called Pegomastax africanus was identified this week, more than half a century after its skeleton was dug up in South Africa. The dinosaur looked like a fierce cross between a chicken and a porcupine, and had long fangs which it used to eat plants and compete for mates. Pegomastax was a diminutive beast, standing less than two feet tall and weighing no more than a small house cat.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
12:52 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

The Movie Queen Latifah Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Sally Field and Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 8:21 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

For actress Queen Latifah, whose credits include Living Out Loud, Chicago, Beauty Shop and the new Lifetime TV remake of Steel Magnolias, the movie she could watch a million times is 1989's Steel Magnolias.

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Author Interviews
12:38 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

The Wild Adventure Continues In 'Under Wildwood'

Precocious seventh grader Prue McKeel looks over a City of Moles under siege in a scene from Under Wildwood.
Carson Ellis Balzer & Bray

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 12:04 pm

Colin Meloy is best known as the front man for the band the Decemberists. His music is praised for its lyrical quality and the stories the songs tell, so it may not be a surprise to learn Meloy is also a writer.

His newest book is a collaboration with his wife, illustrator Carson Ellis. The book is intended for young readers, the second in a series called Wildwood Chronicles.

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Music Interviews
12:36 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Anat Cohen Bends The Spectrum On 'Claroscuro'

Anat Cohen's new album, her sixth as a bandleader, is called Claroscuro.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 2:58 pm

Born in Tel Aviv, Anat Cohen came to New York two decades ago to study the masters of jazz. In so doing, the clarinetist and saxophonist started a bit of a stampede: Today, Israel is exporting some of the most vital jazz out there.

Read more
World
12:22 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Stateless And Stranded On American Samoa

Mikhail Sebastian lived in Los Angeles before his fateful trip to American Samoa.
Courtesy Mikhail Sebastian

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 8:14 am

For many of us, no matter where we go, we'll always have a home. We'll always be from somewhere. But what if that somewhere no longer existed?

That is the strange position in which Mikhail Sebastian finds himself. Officially, he is from nowhere and has nowhere to go. The 39-year-old is stateless and stranded on American Samoa, a U.S. territory in the South Pacific.

Sebastian is an ethnic Armenian born in what is now Azerbaijan, but back then was part of the Soviet Union. When war broke out in the late 1980s, Sebastian says his aunt was stoned to death and he fled.

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It's All Politics
10:35 am
Sun October 7, 2012

What If They Held A Debate And Nobody Won?

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney greet one another before Wednesday's debate in Denver.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 12:06 pm

For most people reacting to last week's presidential debate, their first thought was probably not about who made the best arguments or told the most truths. Rather it was likely deciding who won.

The answer this time around was unusually definitive: Mitt Romney, by virtually every account and measure.

But in presidential debates — and the vice presidential version, which takes place on Thursday — does there need to be a winner?

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Shots - Health Blog
9:22 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Spinal Surgery Company To Give Tissue Proceeds To Charity

The maker of a new product for spine surgeons wants to make a splash by donating proceeds to two charities.
Spinal Elements

When a California company developed a product to be used in spinal fusion surgeries, the firm's president said he knew it faced a new "ethical dilemma," even noting a recent NPR news investigation questioning the high profits some firms were making from donated human tissue.

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The Two-Way
4:50 am
Sun October 7, 2012

The U.N.'s 'Superhero Man': A Rocking Tribute To A Humanitarian

A Norwegian comedy duo managed something rare: to get concert goers cheering for a U.N. official.
YouTube.com

It is not often that a United Nations official gets the crowds roaring. But a Norwegian comedy duo managed to get concert goers cheering for Jan Egeland in this video posted on YouTube, describing Egeland as "a United Nations superhero man" and "a peacekeeping machine":

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Environment
4:10 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Restore California Delta! To What, Exactly?

Wetlands are returning naturally at Liberty Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California. The state plans to restore more than 100,000 acres of habitat in the area.
Lauren Sommer for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:24 am

In California, state officials are planning a multibillion-dollar environmental restoration of the inland delta near San Francisco Bay. There's only one problem: No one knows what the landscape used to look like. Ninety-seven percent of the original wetlands are gone, so the state is turning to historians for help.

This detective story begins on a sunny day in a dry field of corn, about an hour east of San Francisco.

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Solve This
4:06 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Afghanistan Deadline Awaits Next U.S. President

Afghan children run to school on Sept. 24. Whoever takes over as the next U.S. president will have to determine how many troops will remain after the December 2014 deadline to help with long-term security.
Jeff Pachoud AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:24 am

How does a president bring the war in Afghanistan to an end? There are 68,000 American troops serving in the country as the war enters its 12th year.

The war hasn't been a major issue in the presidential campaign, and polls show American voters are tiring of the war. But the next commander in chief will find the Afghan war among the most difficult of many foreign policy challenges.

Both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney appear to agree on a date: the last day of December 2014. That's when the Afghan security forces are scheduled to takeover.

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It's All Politics
4:06 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Massachusetts Senate Race Gives New Meaning To Gender Politics

Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (left) answers a question during a debate against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren on Monday at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, Mass.
Matt Stone AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:24 am

Despite its liberal reputation, the home of Jack Kennedy and Tip O'Neill has never elected a woman as governor or senator. And in Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown's tight re-election race with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, gender could prove the difference.

When Brown won his Senate seat in a special election in 2010, he came away unscathed by something his female opponent at the time would have had a much harder time explaining away. He posed nude for Cosmopolitan when he was 22 to help pay for law school.

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Economy
4:05 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Reading Between The Candidates' Economic Lines

A for-sale sign hangs in front of a Homestead, Fla., home. In terms of the housing market, the presidential candidates differ most on regulation.
J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 11:17 am

As we approach the presidential election in November, Weekend Edition is seeking your questions about issues and candidates in a new segment called Reporter Hotline. This week, we answer inquiries about the candidates' policies on housing and taxes.

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Presidential Race
4:04 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Taxes Are Certain, But What About Romney's Cuts?

Supporters watch Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speak on Friday in Abingdon, Va. Romney started off his campaign calling for big tax cuts, but has backed off that somewhat.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:24 am

Republican Mitt Romney started his campaign calling for big tax cuts, but now he has changed course. He's warning middle-class families not to raise their hopes too high.

Romney couldn't have been more emphatic than he was last November at a candidates' debate in Michigan.

"What I want to do is help the people who've been hurt the most, and that's the middle class," he said. "And so what I do is focus a substantial tax break on middle-income Americans."

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Economy
3:29 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Unemployment Numbers Are Kept Under Guard

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

And undoubtedly, the president and Governor Romney were up early Friday morning reading and eagerly awaiting the unemployment numbers. Almost immediately after they were announced, theories began to circulate that maybe, just maybe, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was cooking the books to help the president's re-election.

Back in August, Caitlin Kenney of NPR's Planet Money team went to investigate just why those numbers are such a closely held secret.

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Presidential Race
3:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

The NPR Third-Party Candidate Debate

Moderator Jim Lehrer sits at his desk before last Wednesday's debate between President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Denver. For third-party candidates, getting into a presidential debate is practically impossible.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 1:00 pm

What's it like to be a third-party candidate running for president? Ralph Nader can tell us.

"You're excluded from the debates," he says. "You spend an exhausting amount of time, until Labor Day, trying to get over the ballot access barriers. Your petitioners are harassed in the streets; you're subjected to baseless lawsuits by one party or another."

Nader has run for president three times – four if you count the time he ran unofficially. In 2000, he managed to win almost 3 percent of the national vote.

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Politics
3:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Defense Companies Hold Off On Pink Slips, For Now

Air Force F-22 Raptors, made by Lockheed Martin, are prepared for flight operations at Langley Air Force Base. Despite the looming defense spending cuts that would go into effect in January if Congress does not pass a deficit reduction plan, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors announced this week they would not issue layoff notices.
Gary C. Knapp AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

Major defense companies said this week they will not send out layoff notices to warn of big job cuts in January, taking away the prospect of embarrassing layoff notices right before the November elections.

That's led to charges that the White House overstepped when it told the industry the notices are not needed.

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Music Interviews
3:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Ultraísta: Radiohead's Knob-Twister Takes Off

Detail of the cover art from Ultraísta, the debut album from Nigel Godrich's new trio.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:58 pm

At the beginning of 1997, Nigel Godrich was a relatively unknown recording engineer. He'd been looking for a band that would trust his instincts as a producer, and he'd finally gotten his chance — with the band Radiohead. By the end of 1997, Godrich was one of the most talked-about names in music.

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Business
3:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Why Companies Use Software To Scan Resumes

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

The Labor Department announced on Friday the lowest unemployment rate since January 2009. Most big companies use software to screen resumes and ultimately move that unemployment number. These programs can be a big help for hiring departments, but a hindrance for job searches everywhere.

Economy
8:18 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Jobs Report Has Surprising Results

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The jobless rate fell sharply to 7.8 percent in September, which happens to be exactly where it was when President Obama took office. That's according to the U.S. Labor Department's latest monthly jobs report. But even though the unemployment rate dropped, the Labor Department's payroll survey reveals that businesses did not significantly hire new people. NPR's Yuki Noguchi has this report on how experts are interpreting the numbers.

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Author Interviews
8:18 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Fallen 'Lion': How The 'House Of Assad' Came Down

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Asia
8:18 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Former Cricket Star Leads Pakistan Drone Protest

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We spoke with Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan's Justice Party yesterday. We contacted him at his home in Islamabad before he set off on his march to protest drone attacks. Mr. Khan, thank you very much for being with us.

IMRAN KHAN: My pleasure.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Why are you leading this march?

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Simon Says
6:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Does Voting Early Prompt Hasty Choices?

Voters cast their ballots during early voting in Bowling Green, Ohio. Early voting began Oct. 2 in the battleground state, five weeks before Election Day on November 6.
J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Nov. 6 is 32 days away, but for millions of Americans, there is no longer an Election Day.

Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now have early voting, which is under way even now in eight states. Hundreds of thousands of votes have already been cast, most before this week's presidential debates or Friday's jobs report, and all ahead of the three future debates and any unforeseen October event that might test the mettle of a candidate.

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