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5:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Supreme Court Questions Labor-Management 'Neutrality' Pacts

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 8:01 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court, which has been somewhat hostile to unions in recent years, on Wednesday examined a key union organizing tool. At issue: neutrality agreements, under which employers pledge to remain neutral during union organizing campaigns, and in exchange, the union promises not to picket, boycott or strike.

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Code Switch
4:38 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Fox Says Diversity Leads To Good Ratings And Better Business

Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison play Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane in Fox's new show Sleepy Hollow.
Courtesy of Fox

It's easy, when writing about network TV, to be cynical.

For example, when I heard the Fox network had been holding annual conferences on diversity, telling top show producers their casts and crew had to feature more people of color, I remained skeptical. What's the catch, I wondered?

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This Is NPR
4:31 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

As Good As Gold: NPR Headquarters Earns LEED Gold Certification

Justin Winn NPR

We're wearing gold to celebrate NPR Headquarters earning an official LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

NPR is proud to join the more than 900 other LEED certified buildings in Washington, D.C. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a world-wide certification program for buildings and communities seeking to be environmentally friendly. Our building was planned, constructed and currently operates in ways designed to lessen its impact on the environment.

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

More Than 106,000 Chose Health Plans Under Affordable Care Act

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a report Wednesday revealing that 106,185 Americans selected a health plan in the new marketplace from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:47 pm

More than 106,000 Americans selected health plans in the first reporting period of open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplace, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

That number is only "about 20 percent of the government's October target," as NPR's Scott Horsley reports for our Newscast unit.

Less than 27,000 people used the federal HealthCare.gov site to select a plan. The overall number includes enrollments made via federal and state marketplaces from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2, the agency says.

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Shots - Health News
3:57 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Can Young People Get Obamacare For $50 A Month? Sometimes

President Barack Obama speaks in Boston about the Affordable Care Act. Obama and his supporters have often said the health care law would allow half of single Americans under 35 to get insurance for less than $50 a month.
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 2:56 pm

For Obamacare to succeed, it's crucial for young people to sign up.

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Code Switch
3:53 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

How Can A White Supremacist Be 14 Percent Sub-Saharan African?

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All Songs Considered
3:50 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Results? The Albums Everyone Can Love

Bettmann/CORBIS

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 10:07 pm

A while back (a long while back), Bob Boilen and I were sitting around the office, chatting like we do about music and life, and got to wondering: Is it possible to come up with a top ten list of albums that everyone can agree on?

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The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Police: British Spy's Strange Death Was 'Probably An Accident'

Scotland Yard says it believes a British spy whose naked, decomposing body was found padlocked inside a gym bag in a bathtub three years ago, probably died accidentally.

Gareth Williams, 31, was working for Britain's MI6 spy agency when his body was found at his home in August 2010.

Last May, a coroner concluded that Williams was probably murdered, but on Wednesday London Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt told reporters that the death was "most probably ... an accident."

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All Tech Considered
3:36 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Flooded And Powerless: When Lights And Cellphones Go Dark

Typhoon survivors line up Wednesday to charge their mobile phones using power outlets provided by a cellular service provider in Tacloban, Philippines.
Dita Alangkara AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 10:35 am

Updated Nov. 14 at 10:30 a.m. ET.

It's hard to imagine what would happen when, in the wake of destruction, lights go dark and cellphones become useless. For many inhabitants of the Philippines this past week, that was reality.

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The Salt
3:13 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Could Hunger Make Us More Charitable?

Researchers have a hunch that because we often had to share food to survive, we're inclined to be more interested in giving when we're hungry.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:44 pm

Hunger can make people emotional, that's for sure. Some people get "hangry" when their blood sugar levels drop and their irritability rises. Others get greedy.

But new research suggests that we may have another, innate response to hunger: a desire to encourage others to share what they have.

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Book Reviews
2:44 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

A 'Marriage', A Divorce, A Dying Dog And Essays Done Right

iStockphoto.com

Pity the poor essay collection. Unlike its close, more creative neighbor — the short story collection — or its snooty relation, The Novel, the humble essay collection is the wallflower of the literary world. And, when an essay collection is composed — as Ann Patchett's new volume partly is — of pieces previously printed in fashion and pet lovers' magazines, it really might seem like a grab bag of minor material — as, admittedly, a few of the pieces here are.

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The Record
2:13 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

'12 Years A Slave' Is This Year's Best Film About Music

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 3:02 pm

12 Years a Slave is the most compelling film about music to be released this year, maybe this century. It's so many other things, too, as others have noted: a corrective to the weird cocktail of piety and cartoonishness that Hollywood usually supplies when depicting slavery; a gorgeous art film and an actor's hellish paradise; a cultural highlight of the Obama administration.

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Politics
2:04 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Death Penalty Delayed But Not Denied By Drug Problems

An April 2005 photo of the death chamber at the Missouri Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon has halted the execution of convicted killer Allen Nicklasson, citing concerns about the use of propofol as an execution drug.
JAMES A. FINLEY AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 7:48 pm

Like many states, Missouri is struggling to obtain the drugs it normally uses to carry out the death penalty.

Last month, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon stayed an execution under pressure from the medical community and the European Union, which threatened to hold up supplies of propofol, the anesthetic the state intended to use.

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The Two-Way
1:56 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Obama's Surveillance Review Panel Issues Initial Findings

Former chief counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke is a lead member of a panel appointed by the president to review the country's surveillance policies.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 3:34 pm

A team appointed by President Obama to review U.S. spying policies in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations about National Security Agency programs has delivered an interim report to the White House.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in an email to news organizations that the review group "has orally provided their interim report to the White House, with their final report due by Dec. 15." She said the results would be made public "in some way" once the finished review is submitted.

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Author Interviews
1:27 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Christmas Lights Make Slippers In Global 'Junkyard' Economy

A woman worker sorts used plastic bottles at a recycle center in Mumbai, India.
Rajanish Kakade AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 7:01 pm

When you think of recycling, you probably think of cans, plastic bottles and newspapers. Well, think a little bigger.

There are businesses devoted to recycling metal, paper, plastic, oil, textiles, cell phones, computers, motors, batteries, Christmas lights, cars and more. The hidden world of globalized recycling and reclamation, and its impact on the environment and the global economy, is the subject of the new book Junkyard Planet by journalist Adam Minter.

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Parallels
1:24 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

By The Numbers: A Typhoon's Devastation

Residents collect gasoline at a damaged gas station in Tacloban, Philippines, on Wednesday.
Lui Siu Wai Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:06 pm

Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on Friday, packing winds of close to 200 mph. Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, devastated the city of Tacloban and the surrounding areas. At the time of impact, it was being called the "strongest tropical cyclone on record."

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The Salt
12:18 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Why Can We Taste Bitter Flavors? Turns Out, It's Still A Mystery

The first taste of an olive can be a bit shocking. But eventually, many of us start to enjoy bitter fruits, nuts and beverages.
Screenshot from TEDxTalks/Youtube.com

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:08 am

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Code Switch
12:13 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

A Windfall For A New Jersey Man And The Dominican Republic

Pedro Quezada, the winner of a $338 million Powerball jackpot, sent $57 million of his winnings to the Dominican Republic, according to his lawyer.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:50 pm

Pedro Quezada, winner of a $338 million Powerball lottery prize in March 2013, is being sued by his ex-girlfriend for a greater share of the winnings. In the course of the legal proceedings, Quezada's lawyer made public an interesting tidbit: Quezada has sent a whopping $57 million to the Dominican Republic. It's a high-profile and big-ticket example of an everyday phenomenon where immigrants to the U.S. send a total of billions and billions of dollars back to their country of origin.

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Toronto Council Asks Mayor Ford To Temporarily Step Aside

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford during Wednesday's contentious City Council meeting.
Mark Blinch Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:10 pm

Toronto's City Council voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to call on Mayor Rob Ford to take a leave of absence after he admitted to purchasing and using illegal drugs.

In a final plea before the vote, Ford apologized to Council members, acknowledging that "I really 'effed up.' "

The vote came after a tumultuous afternoon chronicled in our original post, which we pick up here:

-- Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to purchasing illegal drugs in recent years, while also insisting that, "I am not an alcoholic ... I am not a drug addict."

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Parallels
12:05 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Despite Western Efforts, Afghan Opium Crop Hits Record High

Afghan farmers collect raw opium earlier this year in a poppy field in the Khogyani district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul. Afghanistan's opium production surged in 2013 to record levels, despite 12 years of international efforts to wean the country off the narcotics trade, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 12:20 pm

The amount of land under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is at a record high, the United Nations said in a report released Wednesday.

Opium production in 2013, meanwhile, rose 49 percent over 2012, according to the 2013 Afghanistan Opium Survey. The country is the world's No. 1 poppy producer.

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