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Research News
12:54 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

The Hunt For Meteorites Begins In Antarctica

The most abundant meteorites found in Antarctica are called chondrites. They are some of the oldest objects known in the solar system.
Katherine Joy Antarctic Search for Meteorites Program / Case Western Reserve University

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 10:07 am

Antarctica is one of the best places on Earth to spot these fallen stars.

Each winter — which is summer in down south — a team of geologists camps out on an Antarctic glacier in the middle of nowhere, often where no human has ever tread. It's kind of like a space voyage, but a lot cheaper.

And it's the meteorite that's done most of the traveling.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:03 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

As The Year Closes, A Concert Hall Remains Empty

Because of a bitter labor dispute, the Minnesota Orchestra has not played a single performance in its concert hall this year. The orchestra's music director, Osmo Vanska (pictured here), resigned in October.
Greg Helgeson Minnesota Orchestra

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 6:54 pm

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Environment
10:10 am
Sat December 28, 2013

A Scientist's New Job: Keeping The Polar Bears' Plight Public

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:43 pm

The Endangered Species Act, which turns 40 on Saturday, helped bring back iconic species such as the wolf, grizzly bear and bald eagle, after hunting, trapping and pesticides almost wiped those animals out.

But a very different kind of threat — global warming — is pushing some species like the polar bear to the brink of extinction.

One government biologist discovered the best way he could help save polar bears was to quit his job.

A New Kind Of Conservation Problem

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Number Of The Year
9:48 am
Sat December 28, 2013

A Tragic Year For Wildland Firefighters Ends In Reflection

The wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz., last June destroyed homes and killed 19 firefighters. Experts say expansion into wildfire-prone areas has created new challenges for firefighters.
Andy Tobin AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:22 am

Thirty-four wildland firefighters died in the line of duty this year. Some of those fatalities were isolated incidents, but one event captured the nation's attention, sparking a larger conversation about the new dangers firefighters face.

That event unfolded in central Arizona the afternoon of June 30, a Sunday.

"I'm here with Granite Mountain Hot Shots. Our escape route has been cut off," says a crew boss on recently released radio traffic from the Yarnell Hill Fire. "We are preparing a deployment site, and I'll give you a call when we are under the shelters.

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Politics
9:27 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Up Next For Joe Biden, A Busy Year — And A Choice

Joe Biden has a light-hearted moment in the Old Senate Chambers in January. The vice president has not ruled out running for president in 2016.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 4:24 pm

This was a busy year for Vice President Joe Biden: He was President Obama's point man on gun control; he traveled widely, pushing for infrastructure spending; and he recently returned form a trip to Asia, where he met with the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.

In 2014, Biden may face an even busier schedule, as he stumps for Democratic congressional candidates in advance of November's midterm elections and tries to decide whether to make another run for president himself.

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Health
9:03 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Helping Families Have The Most Difficult Conversation

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. I hope that most of the people listening to us today have been with their families and friends during this holiday season. We've all had nice dinners and nice talks, but maybe there is one more talk we ought to have and the subject maybe won't sound quite right for the holidays.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Our Favorite Books, TV, Movies And Music Of 2013

Hear an interview with Spacey and Fincher." href="/post/fresh-air-weekend-our-favorite-books-tv-movies-and-music-2013" class="noexit lightbox">
Kevin Spacey (left) and Robin Wright star in House of Cards, directed by David Fincher. The Netflix series, which follows a Machiavellian politician, is an adaptation of a BBC series of the same name. Hear an interview with Spacey and Fincher.
Patrick Harbron Netflix

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:17 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Africa
9:01 am
Sat December 28, 2013

In Conflict-Torn Africa, Senegal Shows A Way To Religious Harmony

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:35 am

Inter-religious tensions have been in the headlines in parts of Africa lately. Christian-Muslim clashes have left many dead in places like Nigeria and Central African Republic. But there are also examples of peaceful inter-religious co-existence in Africa, such as Senegal.

Sports
9:00 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Injuries Tilt The Balance In NBA, NFL

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: The NBA hoped to bring out its brightest stars on Christmas Day, but another injury to Kobe Bryant cancelled his duel with LeBron James. And in the NFL, division titles and playoff spots are up for grabs, but there too injuries might make the difference. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins us now from the studios of New England Public Radio. Welcome, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: And good morning, Linda. How are you?

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Arts & Life
8:55 am
Sat December 28, 2013

As The Lead Cools, Some See Their New Year Take Shape

Is that a cross? A ship with a figurehead? What future do you see in these lead shapes? In one New Year's tradition, fortune-seekers drop molten lead into cold water and guess what the shapes portend.
Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 4:31 pm

As we approach the threshold of a new year, it's only human to wonder what's ahead. In Germany and a few nearby countries, the answer to this age-old existential question is found in molten lead.

When Gesine Krätzner had some scraps of lead left over from a roofing project last winter, she knew just what to do with them. Krätzner lives in Portland, Ore., but grew up in Germany. As a kid, she would melt bits of lead with her family for a New Year's Eve tradition called Bleigiessen.

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Around the Nation
8:53 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Final Newtown Report Unlikely To Answer 'Why?'

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Linda Wertheimer. In Connecticut, state police have released the final report into last year's Newtown School shooting. It doesn't do much to explain what motivated gunman Adam Lanza, but as Jeff Cohen from member station WNPR explains, parts of the report offer some insight into Lanza's mental health.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Sat December 28, 2013

More Than 1 Million Americans Lose Unemployment Benefits

Job seekers read pamphlets as they wait in line to enter a job fair in San Jose, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 5:04 pm

About 1.3 million Americans lost their long-term unemployment benefits today. This means anyone who has been out of work and getting benefits for than six months will stop receiving their weekly check.

As The New York Times frames the story, beyond drastically curtailing a safety-net for jobless workers, allowing the benefits to expire sets up a "major political" fight for the coming new year. The paper adds:

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Bonus Round: Ask Me Another
8:37 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Day 4: Mind Your Out-of-Date Manners

Ophira Eisenberg doesn't need your stinkin' etiquette rules. She makes up her own.
Becky Harlan NPR
  • Listen to 'Mad Men's Guide To Etiquette'

This is the fourth day of Ask Me Another's 12 Days of Xmas series.

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Shots - Health News
8:25 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Despite the Stress, Suicides Don't Spike Over The Holidays

Worth living for: George Bailey, center, played by James Stewart, is reunited with his wife, Mary, played by Donna Reed, and his children in the final scene of Frank Capra's 1946 classic, It's A Wonderful Life.
AP

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:57 pm

In the holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life, a despondent George Bailey considers suicide on Christmas Eve, thinking that he will be worth more dead than alive to his family because of his life insurance. Suicide is widely thought to be an increased risk around the holidays. But there's plenty of data to show that's just not true.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
8:08 am
Sat December 28, 2013

A Young Seminarian Found Comfort In 'Giovanni's' Melancholy

I was a shy boy of 11, soon to be withdrawn from a Catholic Seminary where I had been bullied and lonely and unhappy, when I found Giovanni's Room. I was on summer holiday; I used to spend my days reading from my parents' extensive library, usually on the rattan lounger on the second-floor porch of our house in the small town of Afikpo. I remember feeling a kinship with James Baldwin — not so much with his characters, whom I couldn't often relate to, but with this melancholy that seeped through his pages.

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National Security
6:06 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Four U.S. Military Personnel Detained, Released In Libya

Four U.S. military personnel investigating potential evacuation routes in Libya were taken into custody at a checkpoint and then detained briefly by the Libyan government before being released, U.S. officials said Friday night.

These four military personnel were operating in an area near the coastal city of Sabratha in northwestern Libya as part of security preparedness efforts when they were taken into custody, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. Sabathra, about 40 miles west of Tripoli, is a popular tourist area with its ancient Roman ruins.

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Around the Nation
5:02 am
Sat December 28, 2013

On The Trail Of A Mountain Lion, Hunters Hope To Help

Mountain lion 38F perches in a tree before getting a tracking collar from the Santa Cruz Puma Project.
Peter Lollo KQED

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 7:00 pm

After centuries of hunting and eradication, mountain lions are slowly making a comeback in the lower 48 states. But as their numbers grow, so do conflicts with people.

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Author Interviews
5:02 am
Sat December 28, 2013

'Havisham' Offers A Peek Behind That Decaying Wedding Veil

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:35 am

The enigmatic Miss Havisham has haunted the popular imagination for more than 150 years. She appeared in Great Expectations, one of Charles Dickens' best-loved novels: It's been read widely since its publication, and was made into several immensely popular movies.

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Parallels
5:00 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Rushing Toward Chaos: Covering The Aftermath Of Typhoon Haiyan

A boy stands in the ruins of the leveled a neighborhood in Tacloban. Food and water supplies were almost nonexsistent in the days immediately after the storm.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 7:00 pm

It felt like a dream.

The Marines kept flying over us all night long. Their hulking C-130 cargo planes rattled the tarp we'd jerry-rigged above our heads. NPR photographer David Gilkey and I were lying in sleeping bags next to the runway of the destroyed Tacloban airport. We'd arrived a few hours earlier in the back of one of those military aircraft. Now we were just waiting for daybreak.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:03 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Chopin's Favorite Piano Factory Plays Its Final Chord

The Pleyel piano factory, which once supplied instruments to Frederic Chopin, will close its doors at the end of the year.
Francois Guillot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:47 pm

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