It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
A commuter train derailed as it was heading into Manhattan this morning, killing four people and injuring more than 60. Witnesses say the train appeared to be going too fast as it rounded a curve just north of a train station in the Bronx. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to piece together what happened.
Calling the improvements "night and day" from October, the Obama administration says it has met its goal of getting the troubled HealthCare.gov site working for a "vast majority" of users. But that's only part of a complex technology system that is designed to end with insurance companies providing coverage for millions of consumers.
Jon Taffer is the king of the bar business. Over the past three decades, he has managed dozens of bars and nightclubs, and is a consultant for bar owners all over the country.
Most recently, he has put his expertise to use as the host of the popular reality show Bar Rescue. Bar and nightclub owners with failing businesses ask Taffer for his help. In return, Taffer brings a team of bartenders, chefs and designers with him to revamp every part of the operation. On the show, as in person, Taffer is a tough, no-nonsense guy.
Now to a mode of transportation better suited to the budget of a public radio reporter - bicycling. If you think cyclists are not among the toughest athletes, well, you haven't been to Pittsburgh. The city has some brutal hills which actually attract a certain breed of cyclists. As Liz Reid from member station WESA reports, cyclists have been attacking those hills for 30 years in an event called the Dirty Dozen.
THRESHOLD CHOIR: (Singing) Can I stand here for you? May I use my heart as a gift?
ARUN RATH, HOST:
Those are the voices of the Northern California Threshold Choir, an a cappella group that brings music to a very specific audience. Kate Munger founded the Threshold Choir, and she explains what the organization does.
KATE MUNGER: Threshold Choir is a group of singers that go, when invited, to bedsides of people who are dying.
Actor Paul Walker has died. He was best known for his role in the "Fast & Furious" movie series. The 40-year-old actor was a passenger in a car that crashed in North Los Angeles. Walker was working on the seventh installment of the "Fast & Furious" series. And as NPR's Nathan Rott reports, he was also working on a life post-acting.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: The Paul Walker that you probably know was this one...
Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 2:38 pm
The 100-day-old female panda cub at the National Zoo in Washington, now has a name: Bao Bao (宝宝) — meaning precious or treasure — was the most popular of the five names put up for a popular vote by Zoo.
The name was announced during a ceremony at the Zoo on Sunday afternoon.
Cui Tiankai, ambassador of the People's Republic of China, wrote the name in calligraphy on scrolls, which were unfurled at the ceremony.
An early morning commuter train derailed in New York City on Sunday, killing at least four people and injuring 63. Five cars went off the track as the train took a large curve in the Bronx burough of the city. Host Rachel Martin gets the latest from NPR's Jim Zarroli.
An early morning commuter train derailed in New York City on Sunday, killing at least four people and injuring 63. Five cars went off the track as the train took a large curve in the Bronx burough of the city. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Joe Stepansky of the New York Daily News, who's at the scene.
Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 11:07 am
White House officials say the government's health insurance website, which has been plagued with problems ever since it launched in October, is now working smoothly for most users.
"The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity with greatly improved performance," Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the site, said during a telephone conference with reporters on Sunday. The bottom line, said Zients, is that Healthcare.gov is "night and day" from what it was at launch.
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
The U.S. Congress doesn't usually weigh in on domestic politics in other countries, but a resolution recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Keith Ellison is designed to put pressure on Narendra Modi, the front-runner to be India's next prime minister.
With the last of the autumn leaves clinging to their branches, botanical gardens and even cemeteries are wonderful places to visit. NPR's Noah Adams has a favorite - cemetery, that is - and he takes us there as part of our Wingin' It series, finding places that might surprise you. Here's Noah's postcard from Dayton, Ohio.
In 1961, at the height of the civil rights movement, Langston Hughes wrote the musical play "Black Nativity." It featured an entirely black cast, and it was the first play to incorporate a real gospel choir.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
CHOIR: (Singing) I'm coming home for you, you think (unintelligible).
On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is a game of categories based on the word "thank," in honor of Thanksgiving weekend. For each category, name something beginning with each of the letters T, H, A, N and K. For example, if the category were "U.S. States," you might say Tennessee, Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada and Kentucky.
Last week's challenge: Name a tree whose letters can be rearranged to spell two herbs or spices. Hint: The tree has a two-word name. What tree is it, and what are the herbs or spices?