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2:41 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Islamists Failed To Quiet Mali's Music

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 9:33 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Hey, Mississippi can righteously proud of the part it played as the cradle of America's quintessential music, the blues. American music by way of Africa. One place in particular, Mali, has long laid claim to giving birth to the blues.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Here the legendary Ali Farka Toure.

Mali's musical tradition was threatened this past year when Islamist militants took over the vast deserts of Northern Mali and immediately banned music - an incredibly painful experience for Malians.

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Africa
12:21 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Kenya's Graffiti Train Seeks To Promote A Peaceful Election

"This is something that's never been done in Africa," says artist Swift9. "People will have to pay attention. And they'll have to think about it, when they go to vote."
Mark Brecke for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 9:33 am

Kenya's peace train is ready to roll.

Kenyan graffiti artists received permission from the Rift Valley Railway to spray-paint a 10-car commuter train with peace messages and icons. It may be the first train in Africa with officially authorized graffiti.

The train will travel through the massive Nairobi slum of Kibera, one of the largest in Africa, where young gangs torched, looted and killed in the spasms of violence that followed the 2007 Kenyan presidential election.

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Law
12:17 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Prisoner's Handwritten Petition Prompts Justices To Weigh Government Immunity

The U.S. Supreme Court
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 9:33 am

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court's landmark decision requiring the states to provide lawyers for poor people accused of committing crimes. Clarence Gideon, the defendant in that case, wrote his own petition to the high court in longhand, and Tuesday, the Supreme Court is hearing the case of another defendant who, in the longest of long shots, filed a handwritten petition from prison asking the justices for their help.

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Environment
12:14 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Forecasting Climate With A Chance Of Backlash

Jim Gandy, chief meteorologist for WLTX, in Columbia, S.C.
Brian Dressler Courtesy of WLTX

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 2:31 pm

When it comes to climate change, Americans place great trust in their local TV weathercaster, which has led climate experts to see huge potential for public education.

The only problem? Polls show most weather presenters don't know much about climate science, and many who do are fearful of talking about something so polarizing.

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Education
12:04 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Cyberbullying Law Shields Teachers From Student Tormentors

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 9:33 am

Ganging up on classmates online can get students suspended.

But sometimes teachers are the target of cyberbullying, and in North Carolina, educators have said enough is enough. State officials have now made it a crime to "intimidate or torment" teachers online.

Chip Douglas knew something was up with his 10th-grade English class. When he was teaching, sometimes he'd get a strange question and the kids would laugh. It started to make sense when he learned a student had created a fake Twitter account using his name.

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All Tech Considered
12:01 am
Tue February 19, 2013

As 3-D Printing Become More Accessible, Copyright Questions Arise

A 3-D printed bust of Yoda is one of the more popular digital designs shared on Thingiverse.
Courtesy of StruveDesigns.com

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 1:13 pm

Many people think 3-D printing could help spark a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. — even President Obama highlighted this technology in his State of the Union address last week.

But as 3-D printers and 3-D scanners get cheaper, this nascent industry could be roiled by battles over intellectual property.

Not so long ago, a good 3-D scanner that could create accurate digital models of objects in the real world cost more than $10,000. Then, Microsoft released the Kinect — the video game controller that allows you to play games by just waving your hands.

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Politics
11:59 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Get A Social Security Check? Treasury Says It's Time To Go Electronic

U.S. Treasury checks are run through a printer.
William Thomas Cain Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 9:33 am

Every month, the government sends out about 5 million checks to Americans who receive federal benefits. On March 1, the Treasury Department is making those paper checks a thing of the past.

Since May 2011, all new Social Security recipients are required to get direct deposit of their benefits. Some 93 percent of all recipients now do.

But there are still holdouts, so the Treasury Department started a campaign and a website, Go Direct, in an effort to convince the remaining 7 percent.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Israel's 'Prisoner X' May Have Passed State Secrets

The story of "Prisoner X" is dominating the media in both Australia and Israel.
William West AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 5:49 am

Last week we told you about "Prisoner X," the mysterious Israeli-Australian citizen who worked for Israel's spy agency Mossad. Australian media broke the story of how the man identified as Ben Zygier languished for months in an Israeli prison until he was found dead of an apparent suicide. Now we have new details on the case.

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Chinese Students Wore Uniforms With Cancer-Causing Dyes

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:45 pm

Students in 21 schools in the Chinese city of Shanghai have been ordered to stop wearing uniforms that were found to contain a dye that causes cancer.

NPR's Frank Langfitt is reporting on the story for our Newscast unit. Here's his report:

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Middle East
1:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Newly Displaced Syrians Head For Turkish Border

Syrian people wait at a customs gate at the Turkey-Syria border near Reyhanli, Turkey, last week. Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing central Syria, heading to southern Turkey.
Gaia Anderson AP

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:01 pm

A new surge of Syrian refugees is swamping humanitarian aid agencies in southern Turkey, where official refugee camps are full.

But the newcomers may be just the tip of the iceberg. In central Syria, civilians under attack by combat jets, tanks and artillery have fled towns and villages north of the city of Hama, and thousands are on the move.

"What they do now, they burn everything ahead of them. They bomb this area with everything they've got," says Hossan Hamadah, a Syrian-American from Texas.

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It's All Politics
1:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

How New Jersey's High-Flying Sen. Menendez Ran Into Turbulence

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, shown in June, has come under scrutiny before, but has never been charged.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 2:12 pm

These should be good times for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.

New Jersey voters re-elected him last fall in a landslide, and he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a few weeks ago. But along the way, Menendez has come under scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee and perhaps other government investigators — and certainly the media — for his connections to a longtime friend and generous campaign donor.

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U.S.
1:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

What Happens When Someone Else Gets Your Tax Refund

Todd Macy, a banker from Marin County, Calif., was the victim of identity theft. Nearly a year after filing his return, he's still waiting for his federal tax refund.
Courtesy of Todd Macy

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 3:27 pm

If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.

The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.

Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.

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Movie Interviews
1:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Quvenzhane Wallis: "If I Have To Be Fierce, I'll Be Fierce"

Quvenzhane Wallis plays Hushpuppy in the film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 2:38 pm

Quvenzhane Wallis was just 5 years old when she auditioned for a role in the Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild, and 6 when she shot the movie. Now, at age 9, she is the youngest ever to receive a best actress Oscar nomination.

In the film, Quvenzhane plays a wild child named Hushpuppy, who lives with her sick father in a ramshackle, isolated community called the Bathtub, on the fringes of the Louisiana coast.

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Around the Nation
1:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Maker's Mark Reverses Course On Lower Alcohol Content

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 2:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

An update now to a story we reported last week, a story about a dramatic change in the lives of whiskey drinkers. Well, some of them at least - the ones who drink Maker's Mark bourbon, because Maker's Mark cut its alcohol content, watered it down from 90-proof to just 84. They said it was because they had to meet bigger demand.

JERRY RODGERS: People just went bananas.

BLOCK: This is Jerry Rodgers, who knows his Maker's.

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Remembrances
1:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Longtime Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies At 80

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 3:02 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The basketball world lost both a huge fan and one of its most innovative team owners today. Jerry Buss turned the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA's glamour franchise and won 10 championships. Buss died early this morning at the age of 80. NPR's Ted Robbins has this remembrance.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Jerry Buss once said: I don't just want winners, I want champions. And, boy, did he get them. Yet when Buss was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he remembered feeling humbled back in 1979 when he bought the Lakers.

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The Two-Way
1:19 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Sen. Mike Johanns Says He Won't Seek Re-Election

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:39 pm

Mike Johanns, the Republican senator from Nebraska, announced Monday that he won't seek another term in the Senate.

Here's more from the Omaha World-Herald:

"Johanns said it was time to 'close this chapter' in his life. He noted that he and his wife, Stephanie, have spent 32 years in public life and that they want to spend more time with family.

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Europe
11:58 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Greece's Economic Crisis Reveals Fault Lines In The Media

People read newspaper headlines in Athens. In 2009, there were 39 national dailies, 23 national Sunday papers, 14 national weekly papers and dozens of TV and radio stations for a population of 11 million.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:05 pm

Three years of spiraling economic crisis in Greece have devastated every sector of the economy. The Greek media are among the hardest hit. Many newspapers and TV outlets have closed or are on the verge, and some 4,000 journalists have lost their jobs.

Many people believe the country's news media have failed to cover the crisis — and lost credibility along the way. And many Greek journalists acknowledge that a massive conflict of interest sooner or later had to explode.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
11:50 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Disabled Residents Displaced By Superstorm Sandy Back At Home

Jagdesh Trivedi believes his green card and Social Security card were stolen, along with more than $200 and two pairs of shoes.
Fred Mogul WNYC

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 2:01 pm

When Superstorm Sandy crashed ashore in October, thousands of residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers and adult homes evacuated to various facilities, many of them overcrowded and ill-prepared for the influx.

The evacuees have slowly trickled back to those homes that can be repaired.

One group recently returned to an adult home for the mentally ill and physically disabled in Queens, but many residents weren't happy with what awaited them.

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Book Reviews
10:20 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Under Ogawa's Macabre, Metafictional Spell

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:23 pm

It used to be a truism among critics of British poetry that Keats and most of his fellow Romantic poets worked in the shadow of John Milton. I'm not making a perfect analogy when I suggest that most contemporary Japanese writers seem to be working under the shadow of Haruki Murakami, but I hope it highlights the spirit of the situation.

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Poetry
9:53 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco: 'I Finally Felt Like I Was Home'

Richard Blanco reads his poem "One Today" during President Obama's second inaugural, on Jan. 21.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:40 am

"I just got the phone call one day," is how poet Richard Blanco describes to Fresh Air's Terry Gross how he learned he had been selected to write and read the inaugural poem for President Obama's second swearing-in on Jan. 21.

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