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Governing
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

N.H. Lawmakers Consider Rolling Back Gay Marriage

Couples Gretchen Grappone and Rose Wiant (left). and Wendy Waterstrat and Holly Henshaw hold hands before their civil union, in front of the Statehouse in Concord, N.H., on Jan. 1, 2008.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.

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Asia
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Opposition Leader Bets On Myanmar Reforms

Ethnic Karen women welcome opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to War Thein Kha village. The area is in Kawhmu Township, which Suu Kyi is campaigning to represent in Myanmar's parliament.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

The military-backed government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, has surprised many skeptics with the pace of its political reforms — releasing political prisoners, easing censorship and making peace with ethnic insurgents.

But none of these reforms have won it as much praise as its efforts to mend fences with opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. After nearly two decades under house arrest, Suu Kyi is now aiming to work for democracy within the system by running for a seat in parliament.

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Middle East
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Syrian Activists Live Stream Their Revolution

Activists say this image, taken from a video uploaded to YouTube, shows Syrians outside a field hospital in Homs last week.
AFP/Getty Images

Syrian troops have fired rockets and mortars at neighborhoods in the city of Homs that have most fiercely resisted the government throughout the uprising.

Mainstream journalists are barred from entering Homs, so a team of activists decided to record the offensive themselves. The activists positioned their cameras atop buildings in the city. Each morning the view is blue sky, a minaret, a sea of rooftops. Then come the booms.

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The Salt
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Coming Soon To Your Grocery Aisle: Organic Food From Europe

Edgar Jaime (right) and his brother Jose Luis unload organic vegetables from their farm in Santa Monica, Calif. Now that U.S. and European organic standards are equivalent, more American organic farmers will be able to export to Europe.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:46 pm

If you buy organic products, your options may be about to expand. The U.S. and the European Union are announcing that they will soon treat each other's organic standards as equivalent. In other words, if it's organic here, it's also organic in Europe, and vice versa. Organic food companies are cheering because their potential markets just doubled.

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Sweetness And Light
12:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Looking For Lin In All The Wrong Places

Jeremy Lin chases the loose ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis. Lin is one of the few Asian-Americans in NBA history.
Jim Mone AP

By now, most everybody knows Michael Lewis' story of Moneyball — best-selling book or Oscar-nominated film — about the poor little franchise in Oakland that learned how to compete against the big-city rich teams by discovering overlooked players.

The maestro of this policy, Billy Beane, is an endearing character, but I've never been all that charmed by the story, because Beane was just employing cold statistics. Oh, he was right, but it was like rooting for a guy at the blackjack tables who counts cards.

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The Two-Way
6:04 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Pro Basketball's First Asian-American Player Looks At Lin, And Applauds

Wat Misaka dribbles the ball in a gym at the University of Utah, where he helped the Utes win the NIT in 1947. The victory drew the attention of the New York Knicks, who chose him in the draft.
The Misaka Family

Linsanity is buzzing through the sports world, as New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin has come off the bench to emerge as a star. The unlikely story of an NBA player of Taiwanese descent who attended Harvard — and who, at 6 feet 3 inches, outscored Kobe Bryant to beat the Lakers — has won him many admirers.

There aren't many players like Lin. But in Utah, there's a man who knows something about what he's experiencing. Like Lin, Wat (for Wataru) Misaka is an Asian-American who became an unlikely star and played basketball for the Knicks. But he did it in the 1940s.

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The Salt
5:51 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Why California Almonds Need North Dakota Flowers (And A Few Billion Bees)

Almond trees rely on bees to pollinate during their brief bloom for a few weeks in February.
Winfried Rothermel APN

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:27 pm

This is one of those stories that reminds us that everything really is connected to everything else.

Here's the web of connections: a threat to California's booming almond business; hard times for honeybees in North Dakota; and high corn prices.

Confused?

OK, let's start with the almonds. They come from an old-world tree that migrated to California and prospered in the hands of farmers like James McFarlane, who lives right outside the city of Clovis.

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Space
5:48 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

New Telescope To Make 10-Year Time Lapse Of Sky

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, seen in this artist's rendering, will be built on the peak of the Cerro Pachon mountain in Chile and will survey every patch of the night sky. The data the telescope will collect will allow researchers to "answer fundamentally different questions about the universe," says one astronomer.
Todd Mason LSST Corp.

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:30 pm

Every 10 years, about two dozen of this country's top astronomers and astrophysicists get together under the auspices of the National Research Council and make a wish list. The list has on it the new telescopes these astronomers would most like to see built. At the last gathering, they said, in essence, "We most want the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope."

Here's why. A synoptic survey is a comprehensive map of every square inch of the night sky. The Large Synoptic Survey — LSST — will do that multiple times.

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It's All Politics
5:43 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

The TV Battle in Mich.: Santorum's True Conservative Vs. Romney's Native Son

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 3:28 pm

Both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have new ads up in Michigan as they try to shape their images for voters with the state's primary approaching in two weeks.

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Food
5:24 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Corn Prices Making Life Difficult For N.D. Bees

The northern plains, especially the Dakotas, are home to about half of the country's honey bee hives during the summer. It's been a good place for bees because they can gather nectar and pollen from so many wildflowers. But the landscape of the area is becoming less bee-friendly, and the consequences could be felt as far away as the almond groves of California, which depend on those same bees for pollination.

Shots - Health Blog
5:09 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Got A Sinus Infection? Antibiotics Probably Won't Help

Go ahead and blow, but resist the antibiotics for a typical sinus infection.
iStockphoto.com

If you've ever had a painful sinus infection, all you want is relief — fast!

So off to the doctor you go, and, as often as not, you get a prescription for an antibiotic.

Three days later, you start to feel a little better. "Thank goodness for amoxicillin!" you might say. Well, probably not quite like that, unless you're a nerdy health blogger, but you'd be saying something nice about getting a prescription from your doctor.

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Asia
5:08 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

A Primer On China's Military

Melissa Block speaks with Eric Heginbotham — senior political scientist at RAND — about China's military capability today, how it's developed over time and what the Chinese make of ramped-up attention from the US.

Middle East
4:56 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Egyptians Harbor Suspicions About U.S. Aid Groups

An Egyptian soldier on an armored vehicle guards an exchange office in Cairo on Monday. Tensions between the U.S. and Egypt are rising over Cairo's investigation of aid workers, many of them American. An Egyptian Cabinet minister, Faiza Aboul Naga, recently accused the U.S. of directly funding pro-democracy groups in order to create chaos in Egypt.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

The Egyptian government has further escalated tensions with Washington by accusing U.S. officials of directly funding nonprofit groups to create chaos in the Arab country.

The latest comments were made by an Egyptian Cabinet member to prosecutors conducting a criminal probe into the activities of 43 aid workers, many of them American.

Such claims anger U.S. officials, who have threatened to hold back more than $1 billion in military aid if the crackdown on private, pro-democracy organizations doesn't end.

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The Salt
4:55 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Why The Best Chocolate Is The One You Eat Last

If that Hershey's Kiss is your last, researchers say it's likely to taste better.
John Rose NPR

It's predictable, and hokey, to bring up chocolate and romance in one Valentine's Day post, but hang on — this is fascinating.

A study suggests that your preferences in chocolate may help explain how you pick out or judge potential romantic partners.

No, it's not that people who love dark chocolate are simpatico with others who love dark chocolate. That would be far too pat.

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Music Reviews
4:09 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Dr. Dog: A Standout Among Stereotypes

Dr. Dog's sixth studio album is titled Be the Void.
Chris Crisman

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

Sometimes I wonder: Do the members of young indie-rock bands know that they're walking stereotypes? There's the scruffy dude who's obsessed with everything vintage and analog, the Pavement-worshiping, whiny-voiced lead singer, the rhythm section that knows its way around every oddity recorded by The Kinks. That's pretty much how I pegged the Philadelphia sextet Dr.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:58 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need? Not Such A Mystery After All

Here's one clue that your child may not be getting enough sleep.
iStockphoto.com

Are doctors really clueless on how much sleep children need?

That was the provocative premise of a study we reported on yesterday.

It sparked a lot of attention from parents like me, who were left wondering where pediatricians come up those recommendations for hours of nightly sleep.

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Europe
3:56 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

In Russia, A Debate Over How To Set The Clock

Moscow's city center at dawn. Some Russians are upset that President Dmitry Medvedev put the country on daylight saving time year-round, which means it doesn't get light until 9 a.m. or later in winter.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

In just a few weeks, most of the United States will shift back to daylight saving time — and Americans will lose an hour of sleep but gain an extra hour of light in the evening.

That won't be happening in Russia, though, where President Dmitry Medvedev has put the country on permanent summer time.

Medvedev's decree, issued last fall, means that it doesn't get light in Moscow now until around 9 a.m. Back in January, it was dark until 10 in the morning.

This has become an issue in Russia's presidential election next month.

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National Security
3:35 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

As China's Military Grows, U.S. Assesses Risks

At the White House on Tuesday, President Obama greeted China's Vice President Xi Jinping and called for cooperation between the two nations.

Later in the day, the Chinese vice president crossed the Potomac to visit the Pentagon, where the U-S military may hope for cooperation, but has to plan for possible confrontation.

The Pentagon's new budget request, unveiled Monday, signals a shift for the US military, with a greater focus on the Pacific.

China is building more ships and aircraft, and is now patrolling hundreds of miles out into the Pacific.

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The Two-Way
3:17 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Warm Winter Leads To Early Blooms In Northeast

Kristin Schleiter, of the New York Botanical Garden, in front blooming red camellias.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

If you live in the Northeast, this has been a wacky winter: It has been deathly cold in Eastern Europe, as flowers bloom in New York City and temperatures rise to the high 40s and even 50s.

I went in search of flowers in bloom and was not disappointed. There were bushes of red camellias, and gorgeous yellow flowering Adonis. Kristin Schleiter is the acting director of outdoor gardens at the New York Botanical Garden. She took me to an outdoor test garden.

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Afghanistan
3:15 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Snowstorms Take A Toll In Afghan Refugee Camps

Aw Muhammad, a resident of a refugee camp in western Kabul, pulls back a shade as one of his six surviving children looks out on the snow. Afghanistan is suffering one of its harshest winters in many years.
Quil Lawrence NPR

Kabul's fourth snowstorm in the past month brought children out to play across the city, including those in the Charahi Qambar refugee camp in the western part of the capital.

Many of the children in the camp don't remember any other life outside of this mud-brick shantytown. Most of their parents fled the southern province of Helmand when the war heated up there four years ago.

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Iran Can Disrupt Key Waterway — But For How Long?

The USS Abraham Lincoln sailed from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday. This photo was taken from the bridge of the aircraft carrier and shows U.S. aircraft parked on its flight deck. In the background, a U.S. destroyer patrols.
Hassan Ammar AP

The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.

This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Westminster Set To Name Top Dog; Out West, A Dog's Star Rises

Miu Miu, a Chihuahua, poses for photographers at a fashion show held before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.
Michael Nagle Getty Images

The Westminster Kennel Club dog show is under way, and that means dogs are being pampered, brushed and cajoled to walk before the event's judges. First held in 1877, the Westminster show claims to be second only to the Kentucky Derby in terms of continuously held sporting events.

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Winter Songs
3:02 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

A Skating Rink's 'Ribbon In The Sky'

hey.kiddo via Flickr

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

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The Salt
2:31 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

McDonald's Teams Up With Humane Society To Phase Out Pig Crates

Score one for the pigs. The news that McDonald's will require its U.S. pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestational crates should add a lot more momentum to efforts to end the practice of confining sows while pregnant.

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It's All Politics
2:16 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Romney's Hard Line On U.S. Auto Industry Good For Primary But Trouble Beyond

Mitt Romney is sticking by his position, first taken in 2008, that the Obama administration should have let GM and Chrysler file for bankruptcy.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Mitt Romney, self-proclaimed "son of Detroit," appears to be in serious trouble in Michigan, falling behind to rival Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in new polls.

Despite that, he's standing firm on his position that the Obama administration should have allowed two iconic car companies — GM and Chrysler — to enter the regular corporate bankruptcy process three years ago.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:10 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Family Acceptance Key In Preventing Gay Youths From Considering Suicide

A new study pinpoints signs that an LGBT teens may be at risk for suicide and suggests how to intervene.
Ben Goode iStockphoto.com

Chances are you've seen a YouTube video featuring _______ (fill in a celebrity's name) telling America's gay teens that "it gets better."

There are a slew of them promising that the bullying will eventually subside and that life will improve, if teens can just hang in there.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Fans, Senators Ask FCC To Scrap Sports Blackout Rule

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 2:05 pm

A coalition of fans and five U.S. senators are urging the Federal Communications Commission to scrap its so called Sports Blackout Rule. The policy allows the NFL to block local broadcasts of games that don't sell out.

The rule has been in place since 1975, and the Sports Fan Coalition says it is outdated and "fan-unfriendly."

Broadcasting & Cable reports on the filing, which was entered with the FCC on Monday:

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

'Un-Fair' Anti-Racism Ads Draw Mixed Reactions

One of the posters from the Un-Fair Campaign's anti-racism effort. Click to see more.
Un-FairCampaign.org

In January, a group of residents in Duluth, Minn., launched an anti-racism effort called the Un-Fair Campaign. They created ads, posters and billboards aimed to raise awareness about racial injustice and asking white people to recognize institutional racism.

The posters have prompted thoughtful discussion in some circles and backlash in others.

The organizers are also planning other events — a series of discussion, speeches and films, around the city.

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NPR Story
1:42 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Writers Explore The Meaning Of 'Black Cool'

Writer Rebecca Walker set out to create a "periodic table of Black Cool."
Amanda Marsalis

'Cool' is a word that has come to mean so much more than just a temperature. It can be an attitude, a style or a sound. The word continues to evolve and has a variety of meanings.

In a new collection of essays, Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness, writers explore the definition of coolness within African-American culture. Writer Rebecca Walker edited the book and compiled a series of essays aimed to build a "periodic table of Black Cool, element by element," to explain the myriad meanings of blackness in the United States today.

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The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

In France, Drivers Face Gas Prices Of $8 A Gallon

Gas prices in France have topped more than $8 a gallon in some areas. In this photo from January, a woman rides her bike past a gas station in Paris.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 2:12 pm

Prices for gasoline are hitting record highs in France, where a gallon now costs more than $8 in some areas. That's the word from Eleanor Beardsley, who filed a report for our Newscast unit:

"Prices are up because of problems with two of France's main oil suppliers. Nigeria is racked by civil unrest, and European Union sanctions bar France from importing oil from Iran."

"A lower euro has also raised the price of gasoline because crude oil prices are denominated in dollars."

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