<p>Grieving families may chip shots out of the rough, or the sand trap, as well as putter on the green. </p>
Credit Courtesy Sunset Hills Memorial Park
<p>Memorial Golf Park creator Arne Swanson stands on its putting green — an ossuary with enough capacity to hold 600 former avid golfers. Families can purchase a spot on the solemn "leader board" to preserve the loved one's standing for all eternity. </p>
Americans aren't going for coffins like they used to. Cremation is becoming more popular and many families opt to dispose of the ashes somewhere other than a cemetery.
That's not good news for the funeral and cemetery business. Arne Swanson, market director for Dignity Memorial Service Corporation International, recalls watching a family spreading the ashes of a loved one on the fairway of a golf course.
"I thought, 'There must be a better way,' " he says. "There just simply was not a product to meet the needs of this family."
"Markets plunged Tuesday on fears that Europe's plan to save the euro was already unraveling after the shock decision by Greek Prime Minister to call a referendum on the country's latest rescue," The Associated Press writes.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain was consistent Monday in saying he has "never sexually harassed anyone." But some parts of his response to a Politico report about past allegations had shifted by day's end.
<p>Craig and Linda Black sit at a table in the yard of their home in Vacaville, Calif. They are desperately trying to hang on to their home after falling behind on their mortgage payments.</p>
Credit Richard Gonzales / NPR
<p> Robert Frazier of Suisun City, Calif., is seen at home with a prototype of "The Pouch," a sleeping bag attached to a fitted sheet, so that both fit over a mattress. He has a patent, but he doesn't want to take production to China or India.</p>
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a case that sounds more like a John Grisham novel than a Supreme Court case.
The issue is whether police investigators have total immunity from being sued for giving false testimony before a grand jury. The case has all the elements of a spooky saga, involving power, influence and money — all used to silence the critics of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, the largest hospital in Albany, Ga.
<p>Santa Marta is one of the many slums that dot the hillsides of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio, host of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, is now trying to remake these slums, or <em>favelas</em>, long wracked by poverty and violence.</p>
Credit Vanderlei Almeida / AFP/Getty Images
<p>New services and infrastructure for Rio de Janeiro's <em>favela</em>s include cable cars, such as this one in the Complexo de Alemao slum. </p>
Credit Silvia Izquierdo / AP
<p>Police officers of the Peacemaker Police Unit program, UPP, patrol the Morro dos Macacos slum last year. The city has stepped up efforts at community policing in order to rid the <em>favelas</em> of drug traffickers.</p>
On a recent day in Rio de Janeiro, police radios crackle in Providencia, a warren of cinder-block homes and narrow walkways where drugs and violence were once common.
But these days, it's just routine chatter. All is safe in this favela, one of the hundreds of slums built chockablock on the city's steep hills. A Rio advertising company is leading a tour for its employees and representatives of other companies.
Among those who have come is Raoni Lotar, a 30-year-old Carioca — resident of Rio.
Starbucks is teaming up with a network of community-based financial institutions to help create jobs. Beginning Tuesday anyone can make a tax-deductable contribution at a Starbucks store or online to the Create Jobs for USA Fund. The money will go to companies so they can hire or retain American workers.
<p> U.S. Border Patrol vehicles drive from a checkpoint in December 2010, as teams of border officers comb the Arizona desert about 10 miles north of Mexico in search for a suspect in the fatal shooting of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in the rugged terrain in Rio Rico, Ariz. </p>
A top political appointee in the Obama Justice Department says he made a "mistake" when he didn't flag questionable tactics used by federal agents in a gun-trafficking case for his superiors last year.
Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division, told NPR he found out in April 2010 that agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had let more than 400 guns connected to suspicious buyers cross the Southwest border during the Bush years, but he didn't tell senior leadership at the Justice Department.
<p>The world's population has just hit 7 billion people and continues to grow. Population experts are concerned about the rise in consumption that will accompany the increase in people. One California home builder, ZETA Communities, designs and builds small, highly energy-efficient homes.</p>
Credit Zeta Communities
<p>At the ZETA Communities factory, modular homes are built in assemblies of floors, walls and ceilings, rather than piece-by-piece. A 1,500 square-foot home can be built in a single day. </p>
Credit ZETA Communities
<p>Some of ZETA's units are as small as 300 square feet. Architect Taeko Takagi designs small spaces with very simple things: "I like to provide a large sink, so that the person who's using it doesn't feel like they're lacking or living smaller and everything is miniaturized."</p>
The planet may not feel any different today, but there are now 7 billion people on it, according to the United Nations.
That number will continue to rise, of course, and global incomes are likely to rise as well. That means more cars and computers, and bigger homes: the kinds of things Americans take for granted. It's that rise in consumption that has population experts worried.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou says he will ask the public to vote in a referendum on last week's European debt deal. His surprise announcement could throw a wrench into the bailout agreement. The bankers holding Greek debt agreed to accept losses on Greek bonds on the assumption that the country would carry out austerity measures. For the latest, Steve Inskeep talks with reporter Joanna Kakissis in Athens.
MF Global, the securities firm run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, was forced to file for bankruptcy protection Monday. The company, at Corzine's urging, made big investments in European sovereign debt. Those bets turned out to be losers. Analysts don't believe MF Global is a harbinger of bad things to come. It was much more exposed to European debt than most U.S. financial companies. Zoe Chace reports for NPR's Planet Money.
Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 7:05 pm
The U.S. Supreme Court has once again rebuked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in California. This time, the court, by a 6-to-3 vote, reinstated the conviction of a California grandmother for shaking her baby grandson to death. The court's unsigned opinion, provoked a strong dissent from three of the justices, who accused the court majority of using a "tragic case" to "teach the Ninth Circut a lesson."
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in two cases testing whether a lawyer's mishandling of a plea bargain offer should be sufficient reason for a defendant to get a second chance to accept the offer.
Both cases involve defendants who got prison terms much longer than they would have under plea bargains offered by the prosecutor. In one case, the defendant's lawyer never told his client about the offer. In the other, the defense lawyer advised against taking the offer based on a clearly erroneous understanding of state law.
Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 8:40 am
The United States Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling that ordered the removal of 12-foot high crosses placed along highways in Utah to commemorate state troopers killed in the line of duty.
The court acted without comment, but Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a 19-page dissent.
<p>President Obama signed an executive order Monday directing the Food and Drug Administration to take steps to reduce drug shortages. The order is one of several similar actions the president has taken in recent weeks.</p>
Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 8:30 pm
President Obama, faced with what he described as an "increasingly dysfunctional" Congress, has turned repeatedly in recent weeks to the time-honored, but often controversial executive order to unilaterally make policy.
On Monday, Obama signed an executive order designed to require drug companies to report anticipated manufacturing shortages in advance. Last week, he said he would issue an executive order designed to help ease home-refinancing rules. And earlier in the same week, the president issued a directive to cap student loan payments.
Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 3:00 pm
From 2008 to 2010, children's and teens' exposure to television ads for soda doubled, according to a new report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University. And beverage companies targeted black and Hispanic kids more than others in recent ads, the report found.
Commercials for Coke and Dr. Pepper products led the increase. Pepsi actually showed young audiences 22 percent fewer commercials for its products in that same time period.
<p>U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment and the Afghan National Army provide cover as they move out of a dangerous area after taking enemy sniper fire during a security patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, in November 2010. During its seven-month deployment, the 3/5 sustained the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the Afghan war, losing 25 men.</p>
Credit Cpl. David R. Hernandez / U.S. Marine Corps
<p>Lt. Col. Jason Morris (right), the commanding officer for 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, discusses the Marines' progress during Operation Golden Shillelagh in Malmand, Afghanistan, on March 12, with 1st Lt. Charles Broun.</p>
Credit Staff Sgt. Ryan Smith / marines.mil
<p>Ashley and Sgt. Ian Tawney (seen here on their wedding day) had known each other since they were children. Ian Tawney was killed Oct. 16, 2010, by an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol in Sangin. Ashley says she doesn't know how she made it to the door the day Marine officers came to her house to tell her that her husband was dead.</p>
Credit Courtesy of Ashley Tawney
<p>Cpl. Marcus Chischilly patrols near Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge in October 2010, near Kajaki, Afghanistan. This photo was taken a day before he stepped on an IED, losing his left leg and suffering other shrapnel damage.</p>
Credit Scott Olson / Getty Images
<p>Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment salute during the playing of taps at a memorial ceremony on April 29 at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Moments before, the Marines fired a 21-gun salute in honor of the 25 fallen warriors of the battalion.</p>
A year ago, nearly 1,000 U.S. Marine officers and enlisted men of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. By the time their tour ended in April 2011, the Marines of the 3/5 — known as "Darkhorse" — suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the past 10 years of war. This week, NPR tells the story of this unit's seven long months at war — both in Afghanistan and back home.
Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 11:50 pm
Republican presidential front-runner Herman Cain has stumbled before, and on big issues ranging from his position on legal abortion to the effects of his radical flat tax plan on the poor and middle class.
But his response to a Politico report that he faced two sexual harassment complaints that were settled with cash payments more than a decade ago presents a new kind of threat to his cometlike ascendancy in the Republican race.
What may be the most expensive Honda Civic in the world can be found in Havana. There's nothing especially luxurious about the car: It's a red 2005 model, with 60,000 miles on the odometer.
But what is special about this Civic is that there are few like it on the supply side of Cuba's used car market. And that's why Acela Claro says she's had plenty of interest, even though she's offering it for $65,000.
Earlier this year, Wisconsin received lots of attention after passing a law slashing the power of public employee unions.
But soon after, Ohio legislators went even further.
In March, Gov. John Kasich and Republican lawmakers pushed a sweeping plan to slash union negotiating clout. It would ban strikes by all of Ohio's 350,000 government workers, require all public employees to pay at least 15 percent of their health care premiums, and use merit to decide pay and layoffs.
Now, Ohio is getting attention because voters there will decide that law's fate on Nov. 8.
Businessman Herman Cain recently entered the top tier of Republican presidential candidates. A story published Sunday evening by Politico alleges that Cain harassed two female employees when he ran the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. On Monday, Cain appeared at two public events, a discussion of his 9-9-9 tax plan at the American Enterprise Institute as well as a speech and Q-and-A session at the National Press Club.