From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. It's time now for All Tech Considered.
(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)
BLOCK: Forget technology for the moment, good old pen and paper is the way many Americans are now signing up for the new health insurance exchanges. That's because of problems that continue to plague the healthcare.gov website that was supposed to be a one-stop shop for health coverage.
So what is going on behind closed doors? Just how do these top-level congressional talks work? We're going to get some inside dope now from a former insider, Jim Manley who was a top adviser to Senator majority leader Harry Reid and, before that, press secretary to Senator Ted Kennedy. Jim Manley, welcome.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
President Obama says he's hoping for a new spirit of cooperation to end the two-week old government shutdown and avoid a crippling default. And there are some encouraging signs this afternoon. Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate say they're optimistic a deal can be reached soon. The President had summoned congressional leaders to the White House this afternoon, but that meeting was postponed to allow more time for talks to continue on Capitol Hill.
A red pickup rolls into a 1,000-acre pasture of dry grassland on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in northern Montana. Mark Azure, director of the reservation's fish and wildlife department, is out looking for buffalo when he spots about two dozen of the furry beasts gathering around a watering hole.
The animals are "grazing, wallowing, drinking, checking us out," Azure explains. He says the tribes have been working to see these bison here for years.
"This is their home, this is where they came from," he says.
A literary critic once remarked, "The greatest story Jack London ever wrote was the story he lived." In his brief life, London sought adventure in the far corners of the world, from the frozen Yukon to the South Pacific, writing gripping tales of survival based on his experiences — including The Call of the Wild, White Fang and The Sea Wolf.
Abu Anas al-Libi, a suspected leader of al-Qaida who was seized by U.S. special forces during a raid in Libya earlier this month, is now on American soil and will face trial in New York on charges related to 1998 bombing attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa, a U.S. official tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.
A man who is suspected of being a notorious pirate in Somalia has been arrested in Belgium, after an apparent sting operation that included a ruse that investigators were making a film. The pirate nicknamed "Big Mouth" is believed to have made millions in ransom money by hijacking ships off east Africa's coast.
From Brussels, Teri Schultz filed this report for NPR's Newscast:
Nowhere is the temptation to use technology to monitor a child greater than when that child is learning to drive.
Auto accidents are still the leading cause of death among teens in the U.S. And while fatalities are dropping, giving a teen the keys to a car is still one of the most terrifying things most parents ever do.
Tuesday in Geneva, negotiators from six nations will sit down to talks with Iran over that country's nuclear program. At the heart of the negotiations are Iran's centrifuges: machines that can be used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants, or for use in a bomb. This double role of centrifuges has negotiators in a bind.
Fifty years ago, President Kennedy hosted a Columbus Day ceremony in the Rose Garden, and I was there. Fourteen-year-old me, with my family. This was a fluke. The President had cracked a politically uncool Mafia joke a few days before. Not wanting to offend Italian-American voters, the White House quickly mounted a charm offensive — inviting government workers like my dad, with Italian surnames like Mondello, to celebrate a great Italian explorer, with the president himself.
For 29 years, Alcatraz — the notorious prison off the coast of San Francisco — housed some of the nation's worst criminals: Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Birdman Robert Stroud.
Today, 50 years after it closed, it's a museum. And earlier this year, the National Park Service gave Bill Baker, a former inmate, special permission to stay the night in his old cell. He was 24 when he was transferred to The Rock. Today, he's 80.
Scientists who study why species vanish are increasingly looking for ancient DNA. They find it easily enough in the movies; remember the mosquito blood in Jurassic Park that contained dinosaur DNA from the bug's last bite? But in real life, scientists haven't turned up multi-million-year-old DNA in any useable form.
Fortunately, a team at the Smithsonian Institution has now found something unique in a 46-million-year-old, fossilized mosquito — not DNA, but the chemical remains of the insect's last bloody meal.
As a bilateral security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan begins an approval process, the Taliban's leader urged Afghans to reject the deal, calling it a colonial arrangement with elements of slavery.
The message came in an email on the eve of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. In it, Mullah Mohammad Omar told Afghans to keep fighting, as NPR's Sean Carberry reports for our Newscast unit:
It's no exaggeration to call Bill Monroe one of the most influential and important musicians America has ever produced. He's the undisputed father of bluegrass music: The style itself was created by and named for his band, The Blue Grass Boys, in the late '40s.
This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of the new album, "The Blow" by the music and performance are duo called The Blow which was conceived by its singer, Khaela Maricich. Melissa Dyne plays a more behind the scenes role, arranging, mixing and co-producing much of this new collection. The music made by The Blow can be broadly labeled as electro pop, but Ken says it goes further than that.
In his new book The Everything Store, Brad Stone chronicles how Amazon became an "innovative, disruptive, and often polarizing technology powerhouse." He writes that Amazon was among the first to realize the potential of the Internet and that the company "ended up forever changing the way we shop and read."