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All Tech Considered
4:44 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Profit, Not Just Principle, Has Tech Firms Concerned With NSA

Google and five other companies sent a letter last month to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee supporting legislation to reform NSA surveillance programs.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:51 pm

Along with the privacy advocates and the national security establishment, there is another set of players with strong views on NSA surveillance programs: U.S. tech companies.

Google and five other companies weighed in on the surveillance debate last month, sending a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, supporting legislation to reform National Security Agency surveillance programs.

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Around the Nation
3:18 am
Wed November 20, 2013

The Art Of Letter-Writing Isn't Lost On These Scribblers

Do you write letters anymore? A few determined people are doing their best to keep them arriving in U.S. mailboxes.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 11:00 am

When was the last time you wrote a letter?

If the answer is "not recently," then you can count yourself among the millions of Americans who just don't write letters anymore. The post office says the average American home receives only one personal letter about every two months.

But there are a few determined people who are doing their best to wreck that average.

"It's becoming a lost art," says Deb Bruzewski.

Every day she curls up on her plaid couch in her home in Auburn, Mich., to write a few of her 60 letters for the week.

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Africa
3:16 am
Wed November 20, 2013

In Nigeria's Bloody Fight, Who's Gaining The Upper Hand?

Men walk amid rubble after Boko Haram militants raided the town of Benisheik in northeast Nigeria, on Sept. 19. The Islamist group has been waging an insurgency in northern and central Nigeria for the past four years and was recently placed on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 10:51 am

For four years, the Islamist militants of Boko Haram have been waging a deadly campaign in northern and central Nigeria, killing thousands of people. In response, the Nigerian military is cracking down on the group, and the United States last week designated Boko Haram a terrorist organization.

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Sweetness And Light
3:00 am
Wed November 20, 2013

In Basketball, It's Always About What's Next

This year, there are three college players being called "the next LeBron James." Meanwhile, many are speculating about where the first LeBron James, now playing for the Miami Heat, will be next season.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:51 pm

College basketball seems to get started sooner every year, like puberty in American children. Why does everything have to begin so early now, before you have time to get ready for it?

Things move so fast in college basketball that there are three players this year who are being called "the next LeBron James. " In the NBA, most of the talk is already about where the superstars will be next season.

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The Two-Way
2:47 am
Wed November 20, 2013

First Satellite Developed By High Schoolers Sent Into Space

NASA's PhoneSat, a 4-by-4-inch CubeSat satellite, will use an Android smartphone as its motherboard. It was among the 29 satellites launched Tuesday from Wallops Island, Va. Another miniature satellite, developed by high school students, also was on board.
Dominic Hart AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:51 pm

The first satellite ever developed by high school students to make it to space is believed to be orbiting Earth after getting a ride aboard a U.S. military rocket Tuesday night from Wallops Island, Va.

Fittingly, perhaps, you can send it a text message.

The satellite, using a voice synthesizer, is built to transform that text into an audio message that can be heard over certain radio frequencies around the globe, and in different languages.

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Kitchen Window
12:03 am
Wed November 20, 2013

You Can't Judge A Celery Root By Its Looks

T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 12:59 pm

Imagine how celery root feels at the vegetable beauty pageant. Everyone's falling over the tomato, that smug beauty queen. The cameras love elegant long carrots and parsnips, and the radishes blush in the spotlight. People coo over the potatoes even though they're not much to look at, because they're in it for the fries.

But homely celery root hovers by the concessions table with big, unremarkable rutabaga and antennaed kohlrabi.

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The Two-Way
6:10 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Florida Rep. Trey Radel Charged With Cocaine Possession

Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel, R-Fla., shown on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 8:22 pm

Florida Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel is being charged with cocaine possession and faces arraignment on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Authorities say the freshman Republican was found in possession of cocaine on Oct. 29, a misdemeanor offense, but provided no other details.

NPR's Tamara Keith says the charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of 180 days of imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000.

Radel, 37, represents Florida's 19th District, which covers parts of the Gulf Coast, Fort Myers and Naples.

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The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Postal Service Hopes 'Harry Potter' Stamps Spell Revenue

The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service hopes its new Harry Potter stamps will spark enthusiasm among a new generation of stamp collectors.
USPS

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 6:10 am

Hold onto your owls, Harry Potter fans. The U.S. Postal Service is hoping you'll send your letters with one of 20 new Potter-themed stamps it unveiled Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
6:01 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Robert Conley, First Host Of 'All Things Considered,' Dies

Robert Conley celebrated the 40th anniversary of NPR's All Things Considered in the network's Studio 2A.
Coburn Dukehart NPR

Robert Conley, the first host of NPR's All Things Considered, died over the weekend.

It was Conley who on May 3, 1971, set the tone for NPR's flagship newsmagazine. As one of the show's current hosts Robert Siegel explains, Conley established that the program would be different.

To begin that first broadcast, for example, Conley launched into an unscripted, five-minute riff that introduced a 23-minute piece covering a massive anti-war protest in Washington.

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Parallels
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Londoners Urged To Cycle, But Commute Can Be Treacherous

Cyclists negotiate rush hour traffic in central London on Nov. 15. Fourteen London cyclists have died so far this year, all in accidents involving heavy goods vehicles.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 7:30 pm

London's colorful mayor, Boris Johnson, has made it a priority to get more of his constituents on two wheels. But a series of deaths on the city's roads have shaken cyclists and noncyclists alike.

The number of Londoners cycling to work has more than doubled in the past decade. On some roads, cyclists now make up more than half the rush hour traffic.

And for years, Johnson has been among them. Many think the London mayor has his eye on Prime Minister David Cameron's job.

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Afghanistan
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Afghan Elders Will Decide Future Of U.S. Troops After 2014

Some 3,000 Afghan elders will assemble on Thursday in Kabul to consider a new security agreement with the U.S. The document will spell out the rules for American forces in Afghanistan troops after their combat mission ends in December 2014. U.S. officials say between 6,000 and 9,000 US troops would remain to train Afghan security forces and conduct counter-terror missions against al-Qaeda and other anti-government forces. That counter-terror mission remains a sticking point, though most other issues — like potential criminal liability of Americans in Afghanistan — have been resolved.

Europe
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Death Of British Spy Found Shoved Into Bag Ruled Accidental

In 2010, British spy Gareth Williams was found dead, naked, and stuffed inside a duffel bag in his bathtub. Although a coroner initially suspected foul play, London police have determined that his death was probably an accident. Robert Siegel talks to spy historian Nigel West about the case.

Middle East
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Cautious Optimism As Iran Nuclear Talks Resume

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 9:03 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Negotiators for Iran and six world powers returned to Switzerland to discuss limiting Iran's nuclear program. After reportedly coming close to a first-step deal earlier this month, some officials say an agreement is within reach this week. But critics warn a deal would be dangerous.

NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Geneva and has this report.

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Europe
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

One-Fifth Of Norwegians Tune In To Watch Rock Star Chess Champ

Norwegian chess player Magnus Carlsen is competing in the 2013 World Chess Championships. Melissa Block speaks with Joran Jansson, president of the Norwegian Chess Federation, for more on his rise to a number one ranking and what his popularity means for the game of chess.

Around the Nation
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Iconic Sheep Return To Tucson Mountains, But Is It For Good?

The last desert bighorn sheep that roamed the mountains above Tucson, Ariz., died in the 1990s, the victim of human encroachment, mountain lions, and fire suppression. Now, the iconic Southwest animal — picture the Dodge Ram's grille — is back. A herd of 31 was released Monday morning after being transplanted over the weekend from the Yuma area in the far west of the state. Why would the sheep survive this time?

Energy
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

California, Colorado Consider Tough Oil And Gas Regulations

Colorado and California both just proposed new regulations for oil and gas production in their states. Both states have been pushed by environmental concerns to establish rules tougher than federal requirements. If Colorado's proposal goes ahead, it would be the first state in the nation to directly regulate methane. California also says its proposed rule would be the toughest in the nation. It regulates the engineering technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Business
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Landmark Deal Will Force JPMorgan To Help Fight Blight

A portion of the $13 billion JPMorgan Chase mortgage settlement will go to anti-blight measures across the country. One of the groups that might receive some of those funds is the Thriving Communities Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. Melissa Block talks with the non-profit's director, Jim Rokakis, about how the group tries to fight blight by establishing land banks, demolishing vacant properties and finding new ways to use the land.

Business
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

JPMorgan, Feds Finalize Record $13 Billion Mortgage Settlement

A long-awaited deal between JP Morgan Chase and the Justice Department was finalized Tuesday. The bank — one of Wall Street's largest — agreed to pay a total of $13 billion to resolve a number of legal issues stemming from mortgage securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.

History
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Short Speech Still Resonates: The Gettysburg Address Turns 150

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. A few appropriate remarks. That was the invitation extended to President Lincoln. Would he formally consecrate the National Cemetery at Gettysburg with a few appropriate remarks? Lincoln's speech, delivered 150 years ago, the Gettysburg Address, is, of course, now considered among the most famous in U.S. history.

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Health Care
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Mixed Messages On Cancelled Health Plans Leave Consumers Confused

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This week, millions of Americans in the private insurance market are scratching their heads, trying to figure out where they stand. Last week, President Obama reversed course and said insurance companies could continue to sell policies that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act for another year.

NPR's John Ydstie talked to several people whose policies were cancelled, but now could be re-instated.

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