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Environment
6:29 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

What Countries Are Doing To Tackle Climate Change

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 11, 2011 10:49 am

While nations wrangle over a new global treaty on climate change, the question on many minds is: What happens next?

Key portions of the Kyoto Protocol are set to expire at the end of 2012. But many of the world's major greenhouse gas emitters have already set national targets to reduce emissions, and they're forging their own initiatives to meet those goals.

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U.S.
5:43 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Congress Won't Recess To Block Obama Appointments

The U.S. Capitol is seen above in 2009 as senators worked late into the night on legislation. The light signifying that Congress is in session may remain on this holiday season as well, since House Republicans have said they will remain in a pro-forma session.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 6:45 am

Senate Republicans blocked confirmation votes on two of President Obama's most high-profile nominees this week — one for a seat on a federal appeals court, the other to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Traditionally, the end-of-the-year holidays have allowed presidents to bypass Congress and give such thwarted nominees recess appointments. But an angry President Obama is quickly leaning that this might not be the case this year.

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The Two-Way
5:38 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Scientists Find Studying For Test To Become London Cabbie Enlarges Brain

A taxi driver stands outside his cab in London, England.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 5:42 pm

To become a cab driver in London, you have to acquire "The Knowledge," which is their fancy way of saying that you have to memorize all the streets in London. It's quite a process that takes most three to four years to complete.

Now, scientists have found that studying for the test makes your brain bigger. The U.K. Press Association reports:

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The Salt
5:05 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

The Surprising Ingredient In Raw Cookie Dough That Could Make You Sick

So tempting, but don't do it. Raw cookie dough can indeed make you sick.
iStockPhoto.com

Cookie dough may be one of the joys of the holiday season, but it's dangerous, at least for people who nibble it raw.

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Music Interviews
4:12 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Classical Contemporaries Perform With A Ghost

Cellist Zuill Bailey and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian reanimate the late composer Manuel de Falla on The Spanish Masters.
Dario Acosta Photography / Lisa Marie Mazzucco

What's it like to perform with a ghost?

"There was no pianist breathing or cueing me," cellist Zuill Bailey says. "The good news is that he was very consistent." Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian adds, "It's absolutely true — it takes a little bit of adjusting."

Bailey and Bayrakdarian are talking about their accompanist: the late — very late — Manuel de Falla, who died in 1946. With the help of new recording technology, the two have performed de Falla's Seven Popular Spanish Songs for a new release, The Spanish Masters.

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Music Interviews
3:59 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

A Jazz Pianist Gets His Big Break — At Age 85

Boyd Lee Dunlop was discovered in a Buffalo nursing home, wrestling music from a dilapidated piano. His debut album is called Boyd's Blues.
Brendan Bannon

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:56 pm

Back in the 1930s, Boyd Lee Dunlop taught himself to play music on a broken piano left out on the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. Only half the keys worked.

He also taught his little brother Frank to play the drums while they were growing up. Frankie Dunlop went on to record with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, among other jazz greats. Boyd Lee Dunlop went to work in the steel mills and rail yards of Buffalo, occasionally playing piano at local clubs.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Russian Government Says It Will Permit Massive Protest This Weekend

Riot police officers detain a man in a mask depicting Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during an opposition protest in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
Olga Maltseva AFP/Getty Images

In an unusual move, the Russian government announced today will allow the opposition to host a massive protest in Moscow this weekend.

RIA Novosti, the government's official English-language outlet, said the protesters will be allowed to remain the streets for four hours. RIA Novosti adds:

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The Salt
3:44 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

When Smugglers Try To Transport Drugs In Cheese

Seven pounds of methamphetamine hidden into nacho cheese and jalapeno containers were seized by customs officials at the border crossing in San Ysidro, Calif. this week.
Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

There's a river of nacho cheese flowing north from Mexico to the United States. This week, a would-be drug smuggler thought 7 pounds of methamphetamine might go unnoticed in the stream.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Netherlands Apologizes To Indonesia For 1947 Massacre

Indonesian widow Wanti Dodo, 93, whose husband Enap was killed during the 1947 massacre in Rawagede by Dutch troops.
Rome Gacad AFP/Getty Images

We were immediately struck by this picture:

It's of Wanti Dodo, 93, an Indonesian woman who lost her husband in a 1947 massacre. Dodo was in the audience in Rawagede, West Java when the Netherlands offered an official apology to Indonesia, today.

The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia Tjeerd de Zwaan apologized for the massacre that killed at least 150 boys and men. The Jakarta Globe provides a bit of history:

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

U.S. Faces Financial Troubles As Egypt Needs Aid

The U.S. has poured $28 billion of economic assistance into Egypt in recent decades. But now when Egypt's needs are the greatest, the U.S. and Europe are cash strapped. The Obama administration is trying to quickly reprogram aid to make sure it helps bolster democratic forces in the country and creates jobs to help ease the country's transition. The International Monetary Fund's chief Christine Lagarde says her door is open as well, but countries like Egypt need to ask for aid, which does come with some conditions. Meanwhile, leading members of Congress say the U.S.

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Baseball Faces Busy Off-Season

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Time for some hot stove baseball now. Yes. Even in chilly December, there's still reason to talk about the nation's pastime. For instance, one of baseball's biggest stars is changing uniforms.

Albert Pujols is leaving the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. He's been with the Cards for 11 seasons and two World Series rings, but money talks and Pujols is on his way to L.A. and the other league. He'll be playing for the Angels.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Ron Paul Surges In Iowa Polls

Ron Paul is surging in the polls — at least in Iowa — reflecting the implosion of other candidates, his memorable debate performances and eclectic libertarian positions. He's for ending the wars — as well as what he calls the "socialist big government." What is his role in the GOP nomination race? Who is he hurting and helping? Could he conceivably win the nomination? Does he want to be president?

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

E.U. Moves Ahead With Economic Reforms Package

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary. European officials are moving ahead today with a new package of economic reforms. That's after a long night of talks in Brussels. The effort to address the unyielding debt crisis has threatened European unity and one important country, the United Kingdom, has refused to sign off on the reforms. More on that in a moment, but first we hear about the new rules from NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Romney Returns To Iowa

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Mitt Romney was also in Iowa today. His campaign has spent the past several days on the offensive against Newt Gingrich. As Iowa Public Radio's Kate Wells reports, the former Massachusetts governor is facing a bigger challenge than he planned.

KATE WELLS, BYLINE: Remember when Mitt Romney wasn't supposed to really need Iowa?

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

MITT ROMNEY: Thank you, Tom. Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Britain Skeptical About Euro

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

More insular than ever - so says the French newspaper Le Mon, and it was referring to Britain and that country's decision not to join the effort to forge a new European pact. Today, nearly every European leader expressed support for that pact, but not the British prime minister, David Cameron. NPR's Philip Reeves explains.

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Technology
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

A Look At Mobile Technology Used In Retail

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Here's another challenge for traditional retailers. Companies like Amazon and eBay now offer apps for your Smartphone that take a lot of the legwork out of comparison-shopping. While you're in a store, just take a picture of an item or scan the barcode on the box. You'll find out where else to get it and you might even get an extra discount for buying it on the spot.

Stephen Hoch teaches marketing at the Wharton School of Business and consults for some retailers.

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From Our Listeners
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Letters: Stilts; 'People's Mic'; Backseat Book Club

Robert Siegel and Lynn Neary read emails from listeners.

National Security
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Questions Surround FBI Agent's Disappearance

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary. The family of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran, is appealing for his return.

DAVID LEVINSON: My name is David Levinson, and I'm speaking on behalf of my mother, Christine Levinson, and my entire family. Please tell us your demands so we can work together to bring my father home safely.

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Economy
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Maryland County Rethinks The Shopping Mall

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Lynn Neary.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The shopping mall is in trouble. That fixture of the suburban landscape has been hit hard by the recession. Even as business picks up, malls must compete with the rush to shop online.

NPR's Larry Abramson takes us to one shopping mall that's trying to escape the dustbin of retail history.

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National Security
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Brennan Discusses Defense Authorization Bill

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 runs hundreds of pages. It authorizes hundreds of billions in defense spending. And as it stands, the version of the bill approved by the Senate is facing a veto by President Obama.

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Politics
2:52 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

New Rules Turn Up Heat On Florida's Redistricting

History shows us that elections can turn on details — a momentary lapse during a debate, the design of a butterfly ballot, who oversees a recount. That's why so much attention is being paid this year in state capitals to redistricting.

Every 10 years, congressional and state legislative districts are redrawn to reflect changes in population.

Although many states have already finished redistricting, Florida is just getting started. And it's turning into a heated political battle.

Defining 'Gerrymandering'

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Latin America
2:51 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Mexico Busts Drug Cartels' Private Phone Networks

Mexican soldiers stand guard behind communication radios seized from alleged drug-cartel members in Veracruz, Mexico, Nov. 23.
Lucas Castro AFP/Getty Images

The Mexican military has recently broken up several secret telecommunications networks that were built and controlled by drug cartels so they could coordinate drug shipments, monitor their rivals and orchestrate attacks on the security forces.

A network that was dismantled just last week provided cartel members with cell phone and radio communications across four northeastern states. The network had coverage along almost 500 miles of the Texas border and extended nearly another 500 miles into Mexico's interior.

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The Two-Way
2:45 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse On Saturday, Western States Get Rare View

The reddish hue during the December 2010 total lunar eclipse.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

The last total lunar eclipse of 2011 — and the last one until April 15, 2014 — occurs Saturday morning.

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Books
2:45 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

At The High Court, A Tribute To A 'Chef Supreme'

Frozen Lime Souffle is Justice Ginsburg's favorite dessert.
Occasions Caterers

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 2:13 pm

Walk into the Supreme Court gift shop, and there, among all the books on the history of the court, is a cookbook — yes, a cookbook. Put together by the spouses of the Supreme Court justices, it is a tribute to a master chef, the late Martin Ginsburg, husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

By day, Marty Ginsburg was one of the nation's premier tax law professors and practitioners. By night, he was one of the nation's most innovative and accomplished amateur chefs.

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Arts & Life
2:40 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Bolo Tie Goes High-Brow At Arizona Art Exhibit

This silver Navajo bolo tie features coral, jade, shell and other stones. It is on display at the Heard Museum in Phoenix as part of the bolo tie exhibit.
Courtesy of the Heard Museum

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 7:42 pm

Arizona celebrates its centennial next year, and to help get folks spruced up for the occasion, the Heard Museum in Phoenix recently opened an exhibition featuring the state's official neckwear — the bolo tie.

The roots of the bolo tie aren't known for sure. But the story goes like this: Back in the 1930s and '40s, when Western swing was in full swing, a cowboy and silversmith in Wickenburg, Ariz., named Vic Cedarstaff was out riding his horse. The wind picked up, and to keep his silver hatband safe, Cedarstaff looped it around his neck.

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Malawi Will Review Its Ban On Homosexuality

The government of Malawi announced, yesterday, that it would review its ban on homosexuality. The announcement comes just days after the United States said it would use its foreign aid to advance gay rights. President Obama also directed his agencies to "to find ways to deter countries from criminalizing homosexuality."

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Shots - Health Blog
1:27 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

A Deadly Fire That Changed How Hospitals Are Built

Rescue workers carry a hospital bed through a flooded corridor at Hartford Hospital in 1961.
The Hamilton Archives at Hartford Hospital

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:12 am

Fifty years ago it was still OK to smoke in hospitals.

And on Friday, Dec. 8, 1961, someone, nobody knows who, dumped smoldering cigarette ashes down a trash chute at Hartford Hospital, igniting a ferocious fire that killed 16 people.

The fire began at 2:38 p.m. Within minutes a ball of flame zoomed from the basement to the ninth floor, blowing out a rickety trash chute door and engulfing much of the floor in flame and smoke.

An investigation into the fire and how it spread led to changes in fire codes for hospitals across the country.

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The Picture Show
1:21 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Russia By Rail: Getting Into Hot Water

The hot water boiler on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a social gathering place, as well as a convenient way to prepare tea, coffee, oatmeal or instant meals.
Laura Krantz NPR

In American offices, it's the water cooler.

On Russian trains? The boiler.

It's where passengers gather to make tea, coffee, oatmeal, soup, instant pasta or instant anything whose preparation demands hot water.

The boiler – standing proud and tall near the train attendant's compartment in each rail car – is a metal canister keeping water scalding and available at any hour.

Occasional passengers - including myself - refer at times to the appliance as a "samovar."

But this risks offending traditionalists.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Japan's Prime Minister Says Crippled Nuke Plant Will Be Stable By Year's End

This file handout picture shows workers spraying water to cool down the spent nuclear fuel in the fourth reactor building at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO via AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 3:54 pm

Japan's prime minister said that the Fukushima nuclear power plant crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in March is on schedule to be stabilized by the end of the year.

The AP reports:

"Temperatures of the three melted reactor cores have fallen below the boiling point and radiation leaks have significantly subsided, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Inbreeding To Blame For Bedbug Renaissance

Presenting at a meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, researchers said bedbugs can survive many generations of inbreeding, allowing one pregnant female to cause a building-wide infestation. Biologist Rajeev Vaidyanathan discusses that study, and another on pesticide resistance.

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