From NPR News

Pages

The Two-Way
10:05 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Women In Combat: Inevitable?

American soldiers Kris Kuntz (left) and Hayley Barner in Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, last October.
Tauseef Mustafa AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 7:43 pm

  • NPR's Tom Bowman reports

The word that Pentagon rules may soon "catch up a bit with reality" as the military considers formally allowing women to do something that they've already been asked to do in Iraq and Afghanistan — serve close to the front lines but technically not "in combat" — raises a question.

As NPR's Tom Bowman reports, the new rules still wouldn't allow women to serve in front line combat jobs such as infantry, armor or Special Forces.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
9:42 am
Thu February 9, 2012

International Meeting On Controversial Bird Flu Research Draws Near

H5N1 avian flu viruses (seen in gold) grow inside canine kidney cells (seen in green).
Cynthia Goldsmith CDC

The World Health Organization has just one week left to prepare for a highly anticipated meeting on controversial bird flu research. One official says that 22 invitations have gone out and the WHO is still waiting to hear back from some of the invitees.

Recent experiments involving the H5N1 bird flu virus have caused a furor in the science community, and the WHO was urged to convene an international discussion.

Read more
It's All Politics
8:51 am
Thu February 9, 2012

With Lull In GOP Race, Candidates Fan Out And Regroup

Mitt Romney took his campaign to Newt Gingrich's turf on Wednesday with a rally in Atlanta.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 9:38 am

After a surprise sweep of Tuesday's three election contests by Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney headed to Georgia on Wednesday for a fundraiser and rally in Atlanta.

As NPR's Kathy Lohr reports on Morning Edition, heading to Georgia — Newt Gingrich country — was "a bold move" for Romney. "Before a packed crowd at a local tile and flooring company, Romney talked about creating jobs and reducing government spending — and he also took aim at his GOP opponents," Lohr reports.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:38 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Jobless Claims Drop By 15,000

The number of Americans who filed first-time claims for jobless benefits dipped to 358,000 last week, down by 15,000 from a revised 373,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

At 358,000, claims were the lowest they've been since March 2008.

The "four-week moving average" number of claims was "366,250, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised average of 377,250."

Read more
The Two-Way
8:10 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Settlement Reached With Banks On Relief For Some Homeowners

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 12:46 pm

"After negotiating through the night," NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, states attorneys general, federal officials and five major banks have agreed on a plan that will provide about $26 billion in mortgage relief and aid to homeowners who got crushed when the housing bubble burst.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:35 am
Thu February 9, 2012

More Deaths Today In Syrian City Of Homs, Residents Say

A Syrian rebel runs for cover during an exchange of fire with army troops in Idlib, Syria.
AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:23 am

"Syrian forces fired mortars and rockets Thursday in the rebellious city of Homs, the latest salvo in a weeklong assault that has killed hundreds as President Bashar Assad's regime tries to crush increasingly militarized pockets of dissent," The Associated Press reports.

Relying on reports from activists and residents in Homs, the AP and other news outlets say it appears that a brutal crackdown continues.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:05 am
Thu February 9, 2012

AP: First 10 States Granted Waivers From 'No Child Left Behind'

Following up on a plan he unveiled last September to let states apply to be exempt from basic elements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law, President Obama will today announce the first 10 states that have qualified for such exemptions.

Read more
Around the Nation
7:04 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Wisconsin Couple Marks 80 Years Of Marriage

Roy Fleming, 100, was 20 when he exchanged vows with his bride Dorothy, who was 15. The secret to their long marriage? Dorothy jokes that she's the boss.

Games & Humor
7:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

British Awards Honor Year's Best Jokes

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Does Russia Have A Cogent Middle East Strategy?

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 11:27 am

Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad has put it at odds with other countries in the Arab world.

Russia drew a lot of flack from Arab countries and the West when it vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at pressuring Assad to stop his crackdown on protesters. That has some analysts in Russia doubting whether the Kremlin really has a cogent strategy for the Middle East.

The dilemma for Russia policy in the Arab world can be illustrated by two very different events that took place this week.

Read more
NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 7:25 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The big Swiss bank UBS awarded some of its investment bankers millions of dollars in bonuses for their work last year. Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, it's taking some of that money back.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Or clawing it back. That's our last word in business today. Claw back provisions implemented after the financial crisis allow banks to recover bonuses from employees. A trading scandal last year cost UBS more than $2 billion and pushed it into the red.

Read more
NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Obama To Hold Talks With Italy's Prime Minister

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And that settlement is, of course, a priority for President Obama. But so is the debt crisis in Europe. Today, he hosts Italy's new prime minister, the technocrat who succeeded the controversial-but-flamboyant Silvio Berlusconi last fall. Mario Monti has not yet turned around Italy's economy, but as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, he's changed the government's image abroad.

Read more
NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Business News

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an austerity deal for Greece.

Read more
Election 2012
4:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

After 3 Wins, Santorum Campaigns In Texas

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:33 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Rick Santorum headed in a different direction after his wins on Tuesday.

Here's NPR's Wade Goodwyn in Dallas.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: North Texas was a good choice for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum to keep his campaign's momentum going. He met with evangelical pastors in the morning, Tea Partiers in the afternoon and a Republican women's group at night.

(SOUNDBITE OF MEETING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It is our pleasure to introduce to you Rick Santorum. Give him a Texas welcome.

Read more
Business
4:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

States Agree To Bank Settlement

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Read more
Afghanistan
4:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

U.S. Strategy For Afghan War Reaches Critical Stage

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're going to look now at American military strategy for the war in Afghanistan. There's been some confusion lately about whether American forces would end their combat mission sooner than planned and also about how long the U.S. will remain in Afghanistan. So to try to make sense of it all, we're joined by NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.

Good morning.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Arizona Lawmakers Target Public Workers' Unions

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:21 am

Labor unions plan to rally in front of the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday afternoon to protest four bills quickly moving through the state Legislature that could make last year's Wisconsin labor laws look modest by comparison.

Three of the four bills restrict the way unions collect dues and the way workers get paid for union activities. The fourth bans collective bargaining between governments and government workers: state and local. Unlike Wisconsin, it affects all government employees, including police and firefighters.

Read more
Asia
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

China Laces Up Its Chuck Taylors

Chuck Taylor All Stars are common on the streets of Shanghai. Xuan Zhihui, 62, a retiree from a state-owned factory, wears her daughter's hand-me-down sneakers, which are 15 years old. She says they're really comfortable.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Stroll along a street in downtown Shanghai for very long, and you're likely to run into someone wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. One recent afternoon, Xu Jing was heading back from lunch to her job at an ad company in a pair of raspberry-colored Chuck Taylors.

"They have a young image, upbeat and outdoorsy, sporty," said Xu, 27, explaining the appeal. "Young people with an artistic sense prefer Converse."

Xu was accompanied by Chen Xiaolei, a co-worker who owns three pairs of Chuck Taylor high-tops.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Tai Chi May Help Parkinson's Patients Regain Balance

In a study, patients with Parkinson's disease, a progressive nervous-system disorder, had fewer falls after taking up Tai Chi.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:35 pm

Tai chi, the Chinese martial art involving slow and rhythmic movement, has been shown to benefit older people by maintaining balance and strength. Now, researchers have found that tai chi also helps patients who suffer from Parkinson's disease.

Leona Maricle was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago. At the time, she was teaching math, and she says she had experienced the telltale tremors of Parkinson's for a number of years. She learned how to cope.

Read more
Presidential Race
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Powerful GOP-Linked SuperPAC Has Clear Agenda

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 9:00 am

As some superPACS throw millions of dollars into the Republican primaries, others, such as American Crossroads, are quietly preparing for the day after the primaries end.

Read more
Planet Money
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

What Do The Dow's Daily Swings Mean? Not Much.

Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:22 pm

Turn on the news on any given day, and you're likely to hear about the Dow Jones industrial average. It is the most frequently checked, and cited, proxy of U.S. economic health. But a lot of people — maybe most — don't even know what it is. It's just the stock prices of 30 big companies, summed up and roughly averaged. That's it.

And what does the daily movement of this number have to do with the lives of most Americans? Not much.

Read more
Crisis In The Housing Market
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Potential Conflicts At Freddie Mac Draw Scrutiny

In December, Freddie Mac CEO Charles Haldeman (from left), FHFA acting Director Edward DeMarco and Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams testified on Capitol Hill about the Federal Housing Finance Agency's performance.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

A federal Inspector General's office confirmed Wednesday it is looking into Freddie Mac investments that act as bets against homeowners being able to refinance.

In addition, U.S. senators are expected to probe Freddie Mac's investment practices at a hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Freddie Mac, based in northern Virginia, is the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant whose public mission is to make homeownership more affordable for Americans.

Read more
Middle East
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

What Do Democracy Promoters Actually Do?

Members of the Egyptian military stand guard as officials raid the offices of a nongovernmental organization in Cairo. Egyptian investigating judges referred international NGO workers to trial for allegedly being involved in banned activities and illegally receiving foreign funds, security officials said.
Mohammed Asad AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:33 am

American lawmakers are furious about a mounting diplomatic crisis in Egypt, where dozens of nongovernmental workers, including 19 Americans, could face trial.

The United States says Egypt needs to let pro-democracy groups continue their work to help the country's transition, but Egypt accuses them of operating illegally.

The work of democracy promotion groups has raised suspicions in many countries, but Lorne Craner, who runs the International Republican Institute, says he has never seen anything like what's going on now in Egypt.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:30 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Fabio Capello Quits As Manager Of England's National Soccer Team

England's Italian manager Fabio Capello attends a training session at London Colney, England in May of 2011.
Glyn Kirk AFP/Getty Images

In a surprise twist for one of the world's premiere national soccer teams, Fabio Capello resigned as England coach, today.

The resignation followed an hour-long meeting with top Football Association officials. The association made the news official in a press release posted on its website. The statement read in part:

"The discussions focused on The FA Board's decision to remove the England team captaincy from John Terry, and Fabio Capello's response through an Italian broadcast interview.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
6:17 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

'Congress Will Act': Fight Over Birth Control Coverage Moves To The Hill

House Speaker John Boehner says Congress will intervene if President Obama doesn't reconsider a decision to compel church-affiliated employers to cover birth control in their health care plans.
Pete Marovich Getty Images

You didn't have to look hard to see this one coming.

Catholics and GOP candidates have attacked the Obama administration's plans to require most employers — including religious hospitals and schools — to provide coverage of prescription contraceptives. Now the debate is moving to Capitol Hill.

Read more
The Salt
6:12 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Does Offering Smaller Portions At Restaurants Help People Eat Less?

About one-third of diners who were offered a smaller portion of noodles or rice at a Chinese takeout restaurant chose it.
iStockphoto.com

A server offers you the option to downsize the fried rice side in your Chinese takeout order by half. She tells you that if you accept her offer, you'll save at least 200 calories.

Do you take it?

Read more
It's All Politics
6:06 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Buoyant Santorum Takes Campaign To Texas — And Corrals Some Perry People

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the Bella Donna Chapel in McKinney, Texas, on Wednesday.
Rex C. Curry Associated Press

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 7:09 pm

Fresh off his hat trick in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum campaigned in Texas on Wednesday, speaking to a group of pastors at Bella Donna Chapel in the town of McKinney.

Forty miles north of Dallas, where black prairie dirt meets the fresh poured concrete of suburbia, this is Rick Santorum country.

This used to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry country.

Read more
National Security
5:38 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

A New Weapon Against Nukes: Social Media

This satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, taken in 2010, shows the Yongbyon nuclear complex in North Korea. The Institute for Science and International Security monitors satellite images for updates to nuclear facilities.
DigtialGlobe AP

Here are two things you don't often hear mentioned in the same sentence: social media and nuclear weapons.

Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state for arms control, quickly links those two unlikely partners in conversation. She's behind a campaign to discover how new communications tools can help rid the world of some of the dangers of nuclear weapons.

Crowdsourcing Nuclear Problems

Gottemoeller is an avid user of Twitter, and it made her wonder how Twitter and other methods of crowdsourcing a problem can help her in her work.

Read more
Asia
5:05 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Home Of Noted Beijing Architect Reduced To Rubble

Liang Sicheng, known as the father of modern Chinese architecture, lobbied Mao Zedong to preserve ancient buildings in Beijing. Despite efforts to have his former courtyard home in Beijing preserved as a cultural relic, it was recently demolished.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 7:09 pm

Down a quiet Beijing alleyway on a recent day, as the winter wind whistles, two men stand guard over a pile of bricks hidden behind a corrugated iron fence.

The pile of rubble was once the home of the man known as the father of modern Chinese architecture, Liang Sicheng. The Orwellian reason for its demolition? "For maintenance," according to a Xinhua news agency report, citing the developer, Fuheng Real Estate company.

Read more

Pages