The Iranian government continues to deny U.N. nuclear inspectors access to a military base where some believe they tested atom bomb parts. But Iran also says it's willing to resume talks with the United States and five other big powers, though skeptics argue Tehran is just playing for time. At a news conference yesterday, President Obama stressed diplomacy but added time for talks is running out.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. More good unemployment numbers today, oil prices tick down, positive news even about the housing market. Yes, many millions are still out of work, banks continue to process foreclosures, overall economic growth remains sluggish. But right now anyway, some sectors are doing better, a few are actually booming.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison sentence in a Colorado prison. Former Missouri state senator Jeff Smith served a year in federal prison on obstruction of justice charges. He offers sober advice to Blagojevich on what to expect, and what and what not to do behind bars.
A Pentagon official is downplaying the Afghan president's call for the United States to confine its troops to military bases by next year.
The AP says an unnamed "defense offical" told reporters the United States does not believe that's what President Hamid Karzai is seeking.
"We believe that this statement reflects President Karzai's strong interest in moving as quickly as possible to a fully independent and sovereign Afghanistan," Pentagon spokesman George Little said, according the AP.
An alert for all those who were caught up in the excitement last year when the Decorah Eagle Cam was streaming as a pair of bald eagles in Iowa watched over their three eggs and as the eaglets hatched:
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to check in on a number of important international stories today. In a few minutes, we will tell you about what could be a significant ruling by the International Criminal Court. The court issued the first conviction in its history. It was against a former Congolese rebel fighter who was found guilty yesterday, of forcing children to serve as soldiers. We'll take a closer look at the verdict and what it could mean in a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, she's been called China's Elizabeth Taylor and the honors keep on coming. Joan Chen is being recognized at the International Asian-American Film Festival, which wraps up this weekend in San Francisco. We'll speak with her in just a few minutes.
Now, we want to turn to an important issue from this country that found the international spotlight this week. Yesterday, members of the NAACP, one of this country's oldest and most prominent civil rights organizations, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council about new voter ID laws. More than 30 states now have laws requiring people to show a government-issued ID in order to vote, that according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Federal health officials unveiled a graphic new anti-smoking campaign featuring testimonials from ex-smokers about the toll of tobacco on their health.
These aren't the usual public service announcements. The $54 million "Tips from Smokers" campaign marks the first time the federal government plans to pay to run anti-smoking ads nationwide, officials said.
In a "blistering" 500-page report released this morning a special prosecutor concludes that Justice Department lawyers "intentionally withheld" information that could have bolstered then-Sen. Ted Stevens' defense during the Alaska Republican's 2008 trial on corruption charges, NPR's Carrie Johnson tells us.
In the wake of the alleged killing of Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he wants all NATO troops moved onto existing large bases and a faster handover of security responsibilities to his nation's forces. This dovetails with growing opinion in the U.S. that the withdrawal of American troops happen sooner than scheduled.
Mississippi, a deeply red Southern state that is part of the Supreme Court case against the health law, is moving full speed ahead with one of the key provisions of that law: an online health insurance exchange.
Unlike Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and other conservative states in the South, Mississippi is well on its way to having an insurance exchange ready for operation by the 2014 deadline laid out by the health overhaul law.
Vice President Joe Biden wears a lot of different hats in the Obama administration. He's a longtime Senate insider who can negotiate with Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell. He's a foreign policy veteran who helped to lead the transition in Iraq.
And one other thing to keep in mind, whenever there's idle political gossip about replacing Biden on the ticket with Hillary Cinton: He serves as a kind of White House ambassador to the middle class.
"In the week ending March 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 351,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 365,000. The 4-week moving average was 355,750, unchanged from the previous week's revised average of 355,750."
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Afghanistan on a long-planned trip that has turned into something of a fence-mending mission. A U.S. soldier is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. That attack is the latest in a series of negative events involving U.S. forces.
Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 9:35 am
The priest who was put on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Washington following a much-talked-about incident in which he denied communion to a lesbian woman attending her mother's funeral, has issued a long defense of his action and has said the church isn't being candid about the reason for its decision to put him on leave.
And today's last word in business is: barbershop battle.
Barbers and beauticians are splitting hairs over the swirling red, white and blue striped pole that traditionally stands outside a barber shop. Barbers in several states are pushing legislation to prevent shops without a licensed barber from using the striped pole.
Many hair stylists say that they offer the same services as a licensed barber. But barbers say there are differences. For instance, only they can give shaves with a straight razor.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai Thursday. A U.S. soldier is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in Kandahar on Sunday. The incident has raised questions about the future of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
A new ABC series, called "Missing," debuts tonight. It features Ashley Judd as a woman tracking her teen son in Europe who's mysteriously disappeared. TV critic Eric Deggans says the series is part of a new TV trend this spring: shows that are more experimental and edgy.
ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Would you believe Ashley Judd as a mom who works as a florist, but also used to be a deadly CIA operative?
Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai leaves after the third plenary meeting of the National People's Congress at The Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 9. Bo had been seen as a leading contender to access the top rungs of power in China, but in a dramatic reversal of fortune, he was sacked Thursday amid a rare public scandal.
In a moment of high political drama, China has removed flamboyant politician Bo Xilai from his post as party secretary of the major southern city of Chongqing. The sacking comes as Beijing approaches a once-in-a-decade power transition this fall, offering a glimpse of the Machiavellian political struggle behind the scenes.
When Greg Smith quit his job at Goldman Sachs, he slammed his former employer in a blistering newspaper essay. People don't often quit with such a public display of vitriol. But when they do, it certainly gets attention.
There is little question that rising gas prices are making life miserable for lots of motorists. But for small rural transit systems, it's both good and bad news. Good because it brings more riders on board. Bad because the cost of transporting them is busting budgets. Charlotte Albright from Vermont Public Radio has this report.