From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Smithfield Foods, one of the country's biggest meat producers is being sold to a Chinese company, the price $4.7 billion. If approved by regulators, this will be the biggest acquisition in history of a U.S. corporation by a Chinese company. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government forces aren't the only concern for Syria's rebels. The opposition coalition is struggling with deep and perhaps irreconcilable differences within its own ranks. Diplomats from the U.S., Europe, and Arab states have converged on an opposition meeting in Istanbul in what appears to be a last-ditch attempt to resolve some of those differences. If the effort fails, observers fear it will mean an end to efforts to convene direct talks between the opposition and Assad's government.
Another big piece of President Obama's new national security vision is a rethinking of how the U.S. uses drones. Last night, for the first time since the president laid out new stricter conditions for their use, the U.S. launched a drone attack. It appears to have killed a top military commander in the Pakistani Taliban. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports.
In other words, it's time for your letters. And first, some clarifications.
SIEGEL: First, we got a date wrong on Monday. All week we've been remembering people who served during World War II. And in our story about Jake McNiece, we said he died this past February. In fact, he died in January. Our apologies.
Tea Party favorite and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann announced that she would not run for re-election to her Minnesota House seat. Bachmann was facing a tough fight, having barely beaten an unknown Democrat in a district that Republican nominee Mitt Romney carried by 15 points.
House prices are going up. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller house price index in March, prices were up nearly 11 percent over the past year in the 20 cities surveyed. That's the fastest increase in seven years.
The cities with the three biggest increases were Phoenix, San Francisco and Las Vegas. For Vegas, prices have risen over 20 percent. It reminded me of touring ample vacant housing there with realtor Terri Monroe about a year-and-a-half ago.
Democrats and Republicans both have a political interest in passing immigration reform as a way to appeal to the growing number of Latino voters. More than 70 percent of Latinos who voted last year backed President Obama. Well, now the president has tapped the political director of his campaign to lead the government's personnel office and if confirmed, Katherine Archuleta would be the first Latina to hold the title. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
Free introductory copies of the Baton Rouge <em>Advocate</em>'s new New Orleans edition are seen next to copies of <em>The</em> <em>Times-Picayune</em> at Lakeside News in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in September. The Baton Rouge newspaper started its own daily edition to try to fill the void left when <em>The</em> <em>Times-Picayune</em> scaled back its print edition to three days a week.
Credit Gerald Herbert / AP
A year later, these friends are still gathering to talk over the paper, but it's not <em>The Times-Picayune.</em> From left: Sue Paraski, Sharon Morrow, Eric Hartman, Joe Mole.
Prescription painkillers are among the most widely used drugs in America. In the decade since New York Times reporter Barry Meier began investigating their use and abuse, he says he has seen the number of people dying from overdoses quadruple — an increase Meier calls "staggering."
"The current statistic is that about 16,000 people a year die of overdoses involving prescription narcotics. ... It's a huge problem. The number of people dying from these drugs is second only to the number of people that die in car accidents," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
If Snigdha Nandipati, the 14-year-old who won last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee, had been asked to define her winning word, "guetapens," things might have turned out differently.
This year, a vocabulary test with word definitions is, for the first time in the bee's 86-year history, part of the competition. Preliminary and semifinal contestants must pass the test to get to the finals of the grueling competition.
Earlier this month, we told you about a U.N. report that makes the case for insects to improve global food security: They're cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Now, the coming of the 17-year cicadas provides East Coast Americans, for whom bug eating is considered novel at best, with an opportunity to try local insect cuisine.
A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.
Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.
The Stray Birds' members make their first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon. The trio, based in rural Lancaster Penn., features fiddlers Maya de Vitry and Oliver Craven, with Charles Muench on bass — and all three sing lead.
The band's own original songs include "My Brother's Hill," which Craven wrote for bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley. The Stray Birds' set also includes de Vitry's "Railroad Man," which was not heard in the radio broadcast. The group's self-titled debut came out last year.
The idea behind microcredit is that if you give poor people in developing countries access to credit, the ability to borrow, they will use that money to start or expand businesses which will eventually help them pull themselves out of poverty. But ever since these programs boomed in the early 2000's, questions have been raised about how effective they are.
A few weeks ago, we asked you to take the last minute of Stravinsky's famous music for The Rite of Spring, transform it into something new and post your creations to YouTube. And boy, did you guys deliver, just in time to mark the ballet's 100th anniversary — it premiered May 29, 1913 — in brilliant fashion.
Of the many mysteries of modern physics, few compare to "nonlocality" in quantum physics. Nonlocality means that far away objects can influence one another instantaneously (or, at least, much faster than the speed of light). It is as if space and time didn't exist!
"Influence" may not be the right word here; in fact, we don't have a good word for it given that words are devices we create to express experiences anchored in our sensorial perception of reality.
Tuesday night on The Voice, Adam Levine — who's the lead singer of Maroon 5 when he's not judging reality television — had two of the singers on his team eliminated. To understand this, just know that each of the four judge-coaches (Levine, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton) starts out with a team of singers they're mentoring, and as they go through the competition, the coaches get pretty attached to the folks on their team and try to help them win. If one of your singers wins, you're sort of the "winning" coach for that season.
A new Pew study finds that in a record 40 percent of all households with kids under 18, mothers are either the sole or primary source of income. In 1960, that share was just over 10 percent. These breadwinner moms number in the millions, but about three-quarters of all adults say that the prominence of women's economic role makes it harder to raise children. Half say it's made marriage harder to succeed. If you're one of these breadwinner moms, call, tell us what we don't know about the tradeoffs.