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Technology
9:53 am
Sat January 11, 2014

A First Look At New Tech Products To Hit The Market

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

The biggest show in Vegas this week wasn't Celine Dion or DJ Afrojack. It was the Consumer Electronics Show. The annual show where buyers, journalists and consumers get a first look at new tech products that are about to hit the market. Snoop Dogg was there, Secretary of Commerce Pritzker was there. And so was NPR's Steve Henn, who joined us as the show was packing up, from the floor of the Consumer Electronic Show on Friday. Steve, thanks so much for being with us.

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Politics
9:22 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The War Over Poverty: A Deep Divide On How To Help

Homeless women sit amid their belongings in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. Democrats and Republicans say income inequality is a problem, but they disagree over a solution.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 3:51 pm

All this week, Majority Leader Harry Reid declared over and over on the Senate floor that there's a downside to the recovering economy.

"It's true," he said. "The rich are getting a lot richer, and the poor are getting poorer."

That observation may not be surprising, coming from a Democrat. Less expected, perhaps, is a similar lament made the same day by the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.

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Movie Interviews
9:22 am
Sat January 11, 2014

'Osage' Hits Close To Home For Writer Tracy Letts

From left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis star in August: Osage County.
Claire Folger The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

The movie August: Osage County has just opened, with its all-star cast.

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and more play various members of the Weston clan. They converge on their Oklahoma home when the patriarch, Beverly, who is a poet somewhat past his rhymes, goes missing.

His wife, Violet, gobbles pills, some of which are for the pain of mouth cancer and some of which are just because.

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National Security
8:31 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Gates Memoir Tests Civilian-Military Rules Of Engagement

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he didn't want to wait until Obama's term was up before releasing his memoir because the issues were too urgent.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:52 am

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book, Duty, Memoirs of a Secretary at War, paints a picture of a White House suspicious of military leaders and their motives.

In the book, Gates criticizes both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden over issues like the Afghanistan war. It's a case study of civilian-military tensions that are as old as the Republic.

A President Wary Of Being Boxed In

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Sports
8:31 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Will The Colts Run Out Of Luck Against Patriots?

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

Saturday's NFL playoffs pits Tom Brady's Patriots against the Colts and the Seahawks against the Saints. Over on the other side of the world, will Serena serve herself into history — again? NPR's Scott Simon talks with Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, about the sports stories of the week and sports to come.

Middle East
8:31 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Al-Qaida-Linked Group Faces Backlash In Iraq

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, the war in Syria jumped two borders - East into Iraq and west into Lebanon. And the combatants come in at all three countries, but belong to an extremist group affiliated with al Qaida, know by the name ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. Now, they claimed a car bombing in Lebanon and seized parts of two towns in Iraq's Anbar Province. But in Syria, the homegrown rebel groups mounted a surprising challenge to the extremists, kicking them out of some safe havens in Northern Syria.

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Middle East
8:31 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Israel's Ariel Sharon: A Man Of War's Journey Toward Peace

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. I'm going to take this moment to remember the life of Ariel Sharon, Israel's former prime minister. Mr. Sharon suffered a devastating stroke in 2006 at the height of his political power. He died today after spending years in a coma. Former ambassador Dennis Ross has played a leading role in shaping U.S. policy on Israel and the Middle East and he first met Ariel Sharon in 1982, and joins us now. Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for being with us.

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Health
8:31 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The Cigarette's Powerful Cultural Allure

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So people still smoke in spite of the many good reasons not to. It certainly is addictive, but the cigarette also has a certain allure. Think of a man leaning into to light a lady's cigarette, or the pack preferred in a tense moment. Cigarettes are part of our culture. Richard Klein has written a book about that, "Cigarettes are Sublime." He joins us from New York City. Thanks so much for being with us.

RICHARD KLEIN: It's my pleasure.

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Health
8:31 am
Sat January 11, 2014

50 Years After Surgeon General's Warning, Smokers Still Light Up

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Fifty years ago, the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health came out, and said that smoking is bad for you. So much has changed since then. Cigarette jingles and commercials, gone now from the airwaves. Warnings are on cigarette packs; taxes on cigarettes are huge in many states.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:31 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Oppression To Opera: Could A Woman's Courage Change Pakistan?

Left to right: Kamala Sankaram as Mukhtar Mai, Steve Gokool, Theodora Hanslowe, Leela Subramaniam, Kannan Vasudevan, Manu Narayan.
Prototype Opera Festival

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

Mukhtar Mai is from a small tribal village in Pakistan. In 2002, her brother was accused of sexually molesting a woman from a wealthy land-owning clan. What happened next was horrifying, says singer and composer Kamala Sankaram.

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The Protojournalist
8:12 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Tell Us The 6 Songs Of Your Life

.sarahwynne. Flickr

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 10:09 am

Music. It's been there with us from the beginning — sometimes in the background, sometimes centerstage. We listen. We sing. We play along. We compose. We remember.

We are a species deep into music. And the music is deep into us — especially those of us at NPR, where music is an essential element of everyday existence.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The Other Political Scandal: New York Mayor De Blasio And 'Forkgate'

In this image taken from video and provided by New York City Hall, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio eats pizza with a fork at Goodfellas Pizza in the Staten Island on Friday.
AP

You may have been too busy still pondering New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's epic, two-hour press conference to pay any attention to the political scandal brewing just across the border in New York City.

Here's the video that got the city's brand new, populist mayor into his first controversy on Friday:

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Hundreds Of Thousands Still Without Water In W. Va.

Shelves at Krogers remain empty after running out of water in Kanawha City a neighborhood of Charleston on Friday.
Tom Hindman Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:59 pm

(This post was last updated at 4 p.m. ET.)

For the third day in a row, hundreds of thousands of West Virginians are unable to drink, cook or wash with the water in their homes.

During a press conference, West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre, who oversees the states largest water treatment plant, said it could be days before the water is safe for use.

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Simon Says
7:10 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Rodman's Tour Of North Korea: Diplomacy Or Propaganda?

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman leaves a sports arena after a practice session for North Korean basketball players in Pyongyang in December 2013.
David Guttenfelder AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

There's been a publicity circus trailing Dennis Rodman to North Korea to present a big, bouncing birthday present of a basketball game to Kim Jong Un. But did you see the score of the game?

The U.S. team of former NBA players lost the first half, 47 to 39, before the sides were combined.

Well, if you play a team sponsored by a ruthless leader who recently had his own uncle iced, losing is probably the smart move.

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Around the Nation
7:05 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The Church Bathroom That Stood As A Monument To A Segregated Past

The old bathroom building behind Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in rural Vacherie, La. The structure was demolished in October.
Pam Folse Our Lady of Peace

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

The old bathroom building behind Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in rural Vacherie, La., was little more than a shack. Hurricane Rita almost knocked it down in 2005. It finally got bulldozed in October.

Some members of the parish say that was long overdue.

When the bathroom building went up in 1959, one set of doors was painted white; the others were a different color. Ushers would follow black parishioners outside to make sure they entered the correct door.

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Fresh Air Weekend
6:02 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Emma Thompson, Gary Shteyngart, 'Babylon' And 'Detective'

In Saving Mr. Banks, Emma Thompson plays Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, who, Thompson says, hated the whole idea of having her book made into a film.
Francois Duhamel Disney Enterprises

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:25 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Middle East
5:30 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Ariel Sharon, Whose Life And Career Shaped Israeli History, Dies

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks during a news conference in his offices on Nov. 21, 2005, in Jerusalem. Sharon announced his split from his right-wing Likud party to form a new political party, Kadima. He was on the way to re-election in 2006 when he suffered a stroke and fell into a coma from which he never awoke.
David Silverman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 9:09 am

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a towering figure in the history of Israel as a soldier and politician, died on Saturday. He was 85.

His death was announced by Shlomo Noy, the director of Sheba Medical Center where Sharon was being treated. Sharon had been in a coma since he suffered a massive stroke in January 2006 during the last Israeli election campaign, in which he was assured of re-election.

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The Two-Way
5:28 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Dies At 85

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 11:21 am

Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel, has died, Shlomo Noy, the director of the Sheba Medical Center, where Sharon was being treated, said during a televised press conference.

The AP reports that during earlier statements, Sharon's son Gilad Sharon said, "He has gone. He went when he decided to go."

Haaretz reports that Sharon died Saturday after spending eight years in a coma.

He was 85.

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Architecture
2:25 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Historic House Is Yours Free, But There's A Catch

Architects at Paolasquare International are giving away this historic house in Arlington, Va. for free.
Sarah L. Voisin The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 9:53 am

This little house is looking for a home.

In the past five years, 600 single-family homes have been demolished in Arlington, Va., many to make way for larger houses, according to a preservation group. One architectural firm is so determined to save one 1920s Sears kit house from demolition, it's giving the house away for free. But there's a catch: the buyer would need to pay to move it to a new location.

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Code Switch
2:25 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Who Gets To Be A Superhero? Race And Identity In Comics

Orion Martin reimagined several iconic X-Men covers, recasting the superheroes as people of color. The move sparked a discussion on race in comics, both on the page and in the writers' rooms.
Orion Martin

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 4:20 pm

The X-Men comic franchise has proven remarkably sturdy in the half-century since its launch. They've spawned dozens of animated series and four major Hollywood films with a fifth due out this summer. A big part of that is due to its central premise — a minority of superpowered humans called mutants are discriminated against by their government and fellow citizens — which has functioned as a sci-fi allegory for everything from the civil rights movement to the AIDS crisis.

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