From NPR News

Pages

The Two-Way
10:37 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Capping Worst Year On Record, Sales Of New Homes Drop In December

2011 was the worst year on record for sales of new homes. The dismal year was capped by a drop in home sales in December.

The AP reports:

"The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.

"About 302,000 homes were sold last year. That's less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making 2011 the worst year on records dating back to 1963.

Read more
The Salt
10:31 am
Thu January 26, 2012

The (Un)usual Suspect: Why Organic Spices Aren't Always Safe

These celery seeds look safe, but could be tainted. Even if they're organic.
iStockphoto.com

The new food safety recall for salt really got our attention. How could salt be contaminated with salmonella?

If your blog's named The Salt, you've just got to find out. So we dug into the story, and found that it's a collision of two distressing trends: contamination of herbs and spices, and safety issues with organic products.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:50 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Australian Prime Minister Rescued From Angry Protesters

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is bundled out of a restaurant by security service agents after it was surrounded by furious Aboriginal rights protesters in Canberra on Thursday.
Lukas Coch AFP/Getty Images

Australia Day ended with a tense showdown between aboriginal protesters and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:45 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Unemployment Claims Up Slightly; Business Spending Increased

Over the past week, 21,000 more Americans claimed unemployment benefits, the Labor Department reports. Like most economic news, that's the bad news. The good news, reports the AP, is the that the four-week average is down 2,500, which "still signals a healthier job market."

The Commerce Department also has some good news on the economy: Orders for durable goods rose 3 percent, last month.

The AP reports that this marks a gain for the second straight month. The AP adds:

Read more
It's All Politics
8:44 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Could The Crowd At The Final GOP Debate Make The Difference In Florida Vote?

Newt Gingrich greets supporters during a rally at Wings Plus in Coral Springs, Fla. on Jan. 25. The GOP candidates meet in Jacksonville Thursday night for a final debate before Tuesday's primary.
CARLINE JEAN MCT /Landov

As the Republican presidential hopefuls head into their final televised confrontation Thursday night at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville (at 8 p.m. ET on CNN), NPR's Ari Shapiro reports that the debate could sway the outcome of the close race.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:26 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Ahmadinejad: Iran Is Ready For Nuclear Talks

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks to the press prior upon his arrival at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Jan. 14.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today that his country is ready to talk with the West about its nuclear programs.

"They have this excuse that Iran is dodging negotiations while it is not the case," he said. "Why should we run away from the negotiations?"

Read more
The Two-Way
7:57 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Arizona Gov. Brewer Says She 'Was Not Hostile' In Meeting With Obama

Usually, there is lots of formality and protocol when a president steps off Airforce One and walks onto a tarmac. But, yesterday, when President Obama landed at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, he was greeted by Gov. Jan Brewer and very quickly the welcome turned into a serious and tense discussion.

Read more
Around the Nation
7:17 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Standard Military Eyeglasses Get A Makeover

Standard issue military eyeglasses are considered so unflattering, service members have an acronym for them: BCGs or Birth Control Glasses. For the first time in more than 20 years, the military is updating its look. Instead of those thick brown plastic frames, recruits can get sleeker black plastic specs.

Animals
7:12 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Dog In 'The Artist' To Retire

Fans of Uggie in the silent movie The Artist were outraged when the dog didn't get an Oscar nomination. Now Uggie's owner tells a magazine that movie was the Jack Russell terrier's last. He's retiring the 10-year-old animal. Uggie wants to relax.

The Two-Way
7:03 am
Thu January 26, 2012

President Obama Will Unveil Energy Plans

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 8:23 am

President Obama will flesh out the energy goals he laid out during his State of the Union address today. He'll start talking about natural gas in a UPS Facility in Nevada and continue on to the Buckley Air Force base in Aurora, Colo., where the Air Force is installing a one-megawatt solar array.

Reuters reports that in Las Vegas, Obama will propose a tax credit that helps offset the upfront costs of buying natural gas trucks.

Read more
Election 2012
4:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

On The Road, Obama Pushes U.S. Energy, Manufacturing

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 6:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Take a map of the United States and stick pins in every state President Obama visits this week, and you would have a partial picture of how he hopes to win re-election. The president is visiting states he hopes to win this fall.

Read more
Election 2012
4:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Spanish-Speaking Vote Up For Grabs In Florida

Cuban-Americans are an important part of the Republican presidential electorate in Florida. Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have reached out to these voters in Spanish-language TV and radio ads. Romney, in particular, has racked up many endorsements from prominent Cuban-American political figures.

Analysis
4:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Gingrich Accused Of Dishonestly Challenging Voter Resentment

Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are scrambling to tie up votes in Florida, which holds its winner-take-all primary next Tuesday. Steve Inskeep talks to conservative writer David Frum about the state of the GOP race.

Business
4:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Business News

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Amazon and taxes.

They say two things are certain: death and taxes. But Amazon is still hoping to avoid at least one of those things. The online retailer is reportedly promising Florida lawmakers it will create up to 3,000 jobs in the state and build new distribution centers in Florida, if lawmakers give Amazon a two-year break from collecting state sales tax.

Read more
Business
4:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Indiana To Adopt 'Right-To-Work' Measure

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 5:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's go next to my home state of Indiana, where state lawmakers now look certain to pass controversial right-to-work legislation.

Democrats have been trying to block that bill. But yesterday it passed the state's Republican-controlled House. And so Indiana is poised to become the first state to approve this kind of legislation in a decade.

We have more from Brandon Smith of Indiana Public Broadcasting.

Read more
Business
4:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 6:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today comes from Alaska Airlines. The carrier has been putting prayer cards on the meal trays it serves passengers since the 1980s. Flying can be nerve-wracking and the airline figured people might find comfort in a psalm from the Old Testament, along with the soothing image of a beach or the mountains.

It was also a marketing strategy so the airline could differentiate itself from competitors. Many passengers didn't mind.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Movies
4:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' Shines At Sundance

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 5:27 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Sundance Film Festival wraps up this weekend in Park City, Utah. Movies and more movies have been on offer at the gathering, famously backed by Robert Redford. Our own Kenneth Turan is taking it all in and joined us from member station KPCW in Park City.

Good morning.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Well, let us begin with the dramatic films. What stands out for you this year?

Read more
Health
4:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Kids Have A Say In Louisville's School Lunch Menu

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The federal government has come out with its new standards for school meals - less fat, less salt, less sugar and more fruits, grains and vegetables. Devin Katayama from member station WFPL reports on how the Louisville, Kentucky school district is trying to comply with the guidelines and satisfy student tastes.

DEVIN KATAYAMA, BYLINE: Meet fourth grade food critic Jackson Schleff.

Read more
Election 2012
12:01 am
Thu January 26, 2012

'President Gingrich' Promises Permanent Moon Base

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich made campaign stops on Florida's Space Coast on Wednesday, saying space is part of America's destiny and outlining what he called a bold plan to send Americans to the moon and beyond. Here, the former House speaker delivers remarks outside a restaurant in Coral Springs, Fla.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 10:18 am

Newt Gingrich, a self-described space nut, has long been a supporter of the U.S. space program. Now the Republican presidential hopeful is proposing what he calls a bold program that would send Americans back to the moon and beyond.

During a campaign event on Florida's Space Coast — hard-hit by the recession and the space program's uncertain future — Gingrich talked about coming of age at the time of Sputnik, the first satellite, launched in 1957 by the Soviet Union. He recalled reading science-fiction author Isaac Asimov and Missiles and Rockets magazine.

Read more
Middle East
12:01 am
Thu January 26, 2012

For Turkish Journalists, Arrest Is A Real Danger

Hundreds of journalists protest the arrests of members of the media, including Ahmet Sik (poster on the right) and Nedim Sener (center) in Ankara, Turkey, in March 2011. Critics say the government is trying to stifle dissent by arresting journalists — for doing their job.
AP

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 11:42 am

In the wake of the Arab Spring, some Muslims in North Africa are looking across the Mediterranean to Turkey as a potential model of a state that can be modern, Islamic and democratic.

But some analysts in the region say that model is flawed, and they are questioning Turkey's human-rights record and its dealings with the press.

Read more
Business
12:01 am
Thu January 26, 2012

To Grow Business, Starbucks Thinks Outside The Cup

Barista Nicole Adams serves up a drink in March at a Starbucks in downtown Seattle. The company is expanding its coffee options to include a light roast and plans to create a new health and wellness brand.
Ted S. Warren AP

Just four years ago, Starbucks seemed to be losing its mojo. Howard Schultz, the man who made Starbucks a household name, returned to the company as CEO. He closed hundreds of stores, streamlined operations and set the company on a path to record revenues and strong profits.

Starbucks serves 60 million beverages a week, which adds up to big profits. The company reports its earnings Thursday. In a bid to further expand its consumer base, Starbucks has a new roast and plans to produce more retail products to sell outside of its coffeehouses.

Read more
Middle East
12:01 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Growing Pressures Prompt Plunge In Iranian Currency

An Iranian man counts banknotes after exchanging a gold coin for cash in Tehran on Monday. Gold coins were being exchanged for over 10 million rials as the Iranian currency continues to lose value against the U.S. dollar.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

The value of Iran's currency — which had been sliding steadily for months — took another plunge this week. Faced with new economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe, the rial now seems to be in free fall.

But at least part of the dive could be linked to currency manipulation by the government itself in an effort to fund candidates in upcoming elections.

In images posted on the Internet, hundreds of Iranians are seen gathered outside the headquarters of the Bank Melli in Tehran Monday. They wanted to buy dollars, but there were no dollars to be had.

Read more
Planet Money
12:01 am
Thu January 26, 2012

No, Hedge Funds Can't Foreclose On The Acropolis

DIMITAR DILKOFF AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 12:12 pm

Greece is broke. But there's no blueprint for a country to declare bankruptcy, so Greece's creditors are sort of making things up as they go along.

"You're taking some sort of loss," Hans Humes of Greylock Capital Management told me. "But it's like, how much of a loss do you take? There's this thing called sovereign immunity. You can't go in and take the Acropolis."

Read more
Space
12:01 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Want To Make A Giant Telescope Mirror? Here's How

Giant Magellan Telescope
Giant Magellan Telescope

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:05 am

The world's largest mirrors for the world's largest telescopes are made under the football stadium at the University of Arizona.

Why there? Why not?

"We wanted some space, and it was just used for parking some cars, and this seemed like a good use," says Roger Angel.

Angel is the master of making big mirrors for telescopes. For 30 years he has been using a method called spin casting to make the largest solid telescope mirrors in the world.

Read more
Business
12:01 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Quiznos Gives Up Control To Stave Off Bankruptcy

A man walks by a Quiznos franchise in New York City. The sandwich chain has given up part of its ownership to a private equity firm in order to restructure its debt and avoid bankruptcy.
Rob Kim Landov

Quiznos narrowly avoided bankruptcy this week when the sandwich chain shifted ownership to private equity firm Avenue Capital in exchange for erasing some debt.

The recession and poor management have hit the Denver-based sub-maker hard. The company once boasted more than 5,000 restaurants, but 40 percent of them have now shut their doors.

Andre Bonyadian owns nine Quiznos franchises in and around Los Angeles.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:40 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Dick Tufeld, Voice Of The Robot in 'Lost In Space,' Has Died

The man who made "danger, Will Robinson!" a phrase that some of us will never forget has died.

Dick Tufeld, the voice of the robot in the classic '60s TV show Lost in Space, passed away Sunday in Los Angeles, The Associated Press reports. He was 85.

Read more
Music Interviews
6:35 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Michelle Kwan's Slow And Steady Workout Jams

Michelle Kwan performs at an exhibition in 2005.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 29, 2012 8:13 pm

This month, we're creating The Ultimate NPR Workout Mix. As many of us head back to the gym in the new year, we're asking people what music makes them move.

Today: the figure skating legend Michelle Kwan. For exercise, she says she runs and does Bikram yoga and Pilates. But there's one thing Kwan says she still enjoys more than anything else.

Read more
The Salt
6:20 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Alice Waters: Picture Perfect As The Constant Gardener

Chefs Jose Andres and Alice Waters pose along side her newly installed portrait, by photographer Dave Woody, at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, on Jan. 20, 2012.
John Rose NPR

Alice Waters has moved from the kitchen to the garden to the soap box in her 40 years as a pioneer of the sustainable and locally grown food movement. But on one recent night, The Salt found her "hanging" in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.

Read more
Business
6:01 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Shoe Company Practices Insourcing For The Sole

Keen's Portland, Ore., factory is equipped to build up to 1.5 million pairs of shoes a year.
Courtesy of Keen

The American economy lost more than 5,000 jobs to offshore outsourcing in 2010, and in Tuesday's State of the Union address President Obama made it clear that he wants them back.

"We can't bring every job back that's left our shores," he said. "But right now, it's getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive."

Read more

Pages