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Strange News
4:29 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Japan Plucks Sweden's Ukelele World Record

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

Japan has edged out Sweden for a world record. No, not the Olympics but the Guinness Record for largest ukulele ensemble. More than 2,000 people in Yokohama went to the street to strum their tiny Hawaiian instruments. Trying to top the record is becoming a sport in its own right. Earlier this month in Cairns, Australia, people took on the Swedish record, but they missed the mark by a 150 strummers.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

The Two-Way
4:22 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Long Legal Process Begins For Colorado Shooting Suspect

James Holmes, in an Arapahoe County, Colo., court on July 23.
AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:46 am

  • Kirk Siegler on 'Morning Edition'

Months of pre-trial legal arguments begin in earnest this morning when James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others in a July 20 shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., appears in an Arapahoe County, Colo., court.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
4:02 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Olympic Swimming Records Smashed, Hopes Dashed

American Dana Vollmer celebrates after her gold medal win Sunday in the women's 100-meter butterfly swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 2:16 pm

The opening weekend of the Summer Olympics was marked by highs and lows, of course, and the swimming pool had its share of both. World records, a stunning loss and a medal for the home team — and that was all in just one afternoon.

Before American Dana Vollmer answers how a 55.98-second 100-meter butterfly — the fastest time ever, and worth a gold medal — feels, consider this: Vollmer was diagnosed as a teenager with two life-threatening heart conditions that prompted her mom to carry a defibrillator to Dana's races.

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Middle East
2:59 am
Mon July 30, 2012

In Syria, Building Up For An Extended Battle

Syrian rebels patrol the streets near Aleppo, Syria.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 2:11 pm

Government troops are battling rebels for control of Syria's largest city, Aleppo. The government launched a major offensive over the weekend to retake neighborhoods held by the Free Syrian Army. Both sides appear to be preparing for an extended battle that could prove crucial to the outcome of the 17-month-old uprising.

After days of massing troops and weapons, the government assaulted rebel-held neighborhoods with tanks, helicopters and artillery, as heard in an amateur video uploaded to YouTube.

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Technology
2:04 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Samsung Fight Among Many In Apple's Patent War

Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S (left) and Apple's iPhone 4 are displayed at the headquarters of South Korean mobile carrier KT. Apple claims some of Samsung's designs violate its patents.
Ahn Young-joon AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 6:01 am

An epic battle between the two biggest smartphone makers begins Monday in a federal district court in San Jose, Calif., where computing giant Apple is asking for more than $2.5 billion from rival phone maker Samsung for patent violations.

The suit would be the most expensive patent violation in history, and it's just one front in Apple's war against phones running Google's Android operating system.

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Crime In The City
1:58 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Writer Has A Down-Home Feel For Atlanta's Dark Side

Writer Karin Slaughter has seen the fallout of some of Atlanta's most gruesome crimes and most dramatic transitions.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:24 am

Best-selling crime novelist Karin Slaughter (yes, that's her real name) grew up just south of Atlanta in the 1970s and '80s, when the city saw some of its most gruesome crimes: A rash of child murders in which dozens of African-American children disappeared, their bodies turning up in nearby woods and rivers. The realization that horrid crimes can happen even to children changed Slaughter's life.

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Book Reviews
1:58 am
Mon July 30, 2012

A Portrait Of A Country Awash In 'Red Ink'

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:15 pm

As the federal debt balloons, reducing it would seem more and more pressing. Yet policymakers remain far apart. Debt, deficit and budget rhetoric is often accompanied by numbers cherry-picked to support a particular political view.

But a new book by Wall Street Journal economics writer David Wessel lays out the numbers that both political parties face.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:57 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Magnets May Pull Kids With Sunken Chests Out Of Operating Room

A cross-sectional X-ray shows what's called a "sunken chest." The bright circle near the bottom is the spine; the gray blob on the right is the heart.
Living LLC Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:24 am

You may not have heard of pectus excavatum — or "sunken chest," as it's commonly known — but there's a good chance you know someone who was born with it.

It's the most common deformity of the chest wall, affecting roughly one in 500 people — boys much more often than girls. And while sunken chest can be corrected with surgery, the procedure is invasive and very painful. Many families won't do it.

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Health
1:56 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Cheer Up, It's Just Your Child Behind The Wheel

When it comes to learning how to drive, your teen is probably as harried as you are. Research shows that scare tactics meant to instill caution, though, are less effective than kind words.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 12:41 pm

One rite of passage most teenagers look forward to and parents dread is learning how to drive. Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens by far, on the order of five times more than poisoning or cancer. Does that mean you should scare the daylights out of teens to encourage safe driving? Traditional driver education classes tend to do exactly that, with gruesome videos and photos of fatalities and smashed-up cars.

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The Aurora Theater Shootings
1:50 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Murder Charges Expected In Aurora Hearing

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 2:17 pm

Authorities will file formal charges in the Aurora, Colo., theater shootings Monday. It's widely assumed that prosecutors will file dozens, if not more than a hundred, first-degree and attempted murder charges against 24-year-old James Holmes, the lone suspect in the July 20 attack.

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Poetry Games
7:33 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

'Lifting,' And Lifted By, Words

Ron Tanovitz

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 7:13 am

Poet Ouyang Yu comes to NPR's Poetry Games representing two continents: Asia, where he was born (in China); and Australia, where he moved in 1991. He is a prolific writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, literary translation and criticism in English and Chinese.

Of his poem "Lifting," he writes: "Much as I admire weightlifting heroes or heroines, I can't help reminding myself that, however powerful a weightlifter is, he or she can't lift himself or herself up. The magic of the word is that, when well lifted, it has the power to transform."

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Politics
4:36 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

Eye On The Jewish Vote, Romney Commits To Israel

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney places a prayer note as he visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:58 am

Speaking from Israel on Sunday, presumptive GOP nominee for president Mitt Romney said that he would respect the nation's "right to defend itself" against Iran. He said the United States also has "a solemn duty and a moral imperative" to prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons.

Romney's trip and his speech are typical of presidential candidates, who every four years work to outdo one another when it comes to credentials on Israel and U.S. relations with the Jewish state.

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World
3:12 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

Cars For Clunkers: Myanmar Swaps Old Rides For New

An old taxi is pushed toward a vehicle license office to be exchanged for an import permit in Yangon, Myanmar. As many Burmese citizens take cars as an investment, many imports are sold and resold with a higher markup.
Soe Zeya Tun Reuters/Landov

Nowhere are the many recent reforms in Myanmar, also known as Burma, so evident as on city streets. Until this year, they were often choked with ancient jalopies because for most of the past half century ordinary Burmese citizens weren't allowed to purchase imported cars.

But the country's car import policies are now undergoing a lurching sort of liberalization, whose speed, quirks and unintended consequences offer a window on Myanmar's reforms.

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Movie Interviews
1:42 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

Matthew McConaughey's Year Of Acting Dangerously

Killer Joe (2012) is the latest film from William Friedkin, the director of The French Connection and The Exorcist. The movie, which stars Matthew McConaughey, earned an NC-17 rating for its violent content.
LD Entertainment

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 3:12 pm

This may be the year of actor Matthew McConaughey.

At the very least, fans will remember 2012 as the year that McConaughey revolutionized his career. He's starred in five different independent films, taking on smaller, character-actor parts in place of his usual roles as the sly-grinning heartthrob in romantic comedies.

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Music
12:42 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

Olympic Mashups Make The Mood In London

Spectators at the 2012 Olympic Games in London are likely to hear one of DJ Earworm's pop pairings that span genres and generations.
Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 3:12 pm

You might not be able to hear it on television, but in the Olympic stadiums and arenas of London over the next weeks, games-watchers will be treated to some exclusive new tracks from world-renown mashup artist Jordan Roseman, better known as DJ Earworm.

"Out of the blue, there was an email," Roseman tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "They wanted these mixes."

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The Torch
12:10 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

Olympic Flame Missed From London Skyline

London's flame stands inside Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on Friday.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 12:51 pm

Enduring symbols of the Olympics are everywhere in London, and I'm not just talking about ATMs for Visa, a ubiquitous Olympic sponsor.

The five Olympic rings grace every wall, walk, sign, banner and building in and around the Olympic Park and other venues.

But the Olympic flame, the other most recognizable symbol of the Olympics, is invisible to all but a relative few.

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It's All Politics
10:32 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Cheney: Picking Palin Was A 'Mistake'

"I like Gov. Palin," Cheney told ABC News in an excerpted interview on Sunday. But she wasn't ready to be vice president, he said.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 6:46 am

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is calling Sen. John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 a "mistake."

In an excerpted interview with ABC News' This Week on Sunday, Cheney said it's important that Romney not repeat the fumble. The list of potential VP picks is a big one, he says, but there's a shorter list, too:

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The Two-Way
9:29 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Heavy Weapons Pound Syrian Rebels As Nations Accuse Each Other

A Free Syrian Army fighter looks out from the window of a burnt-out police station in Aleppo after it was overrun by rebel fighters last week.
Pierre Torres AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:39 am

Fighting continues in Aleppo, Syria's largest city on Sunday while accusations of meddling – and pleas to meddle more – are flying on the international stage.

According to Guardian correspondent Luke Harding, reporting from Aleppo province, the rebels are holding their own but are ultimately outmatched against government forces using heavy weaponry. He quotes a rebel commander who "was relatively pessimistic about the Free Syrian Army's chances of fending off repeated attacks":

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The Torch
9:27 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Empty Seats Have Olympic Committee Playing Defense

Empty seats and spectators are pictured during the dressage event of the eventing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Greenwich Park, London on Sunday.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

Today, London Olympic organizers find themselves beating back insults like serves in a gold medal table tennis match.

On Day 1, there were empty seats at wildly popular events like beach volleyball and gymnastics. And even at the Aquatics Center, where Ryan Lochte smoked everybody in the men's 400 individual medley.

Fans who would've gladly paid the exorbitant ticket prices were fuming. British politicians worried that the empty seats made the country look uninterested.

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The Torch
8:53 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Surprises: American Gymnast Weiber Fails To Qualify; Marathoner Radcliffe Injured

U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber performs on the beam during the women's qualification of the artistic gymnastics event of the London Olympic Games on Sunday.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:17 am

Two big disappointments this morning: American gymnast and defending world champion Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the all-around finals.

The AP reports that it was nonetheless a great day for other Americans, who are favorites for gold:

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