Fifteen years after tobacco companies agreed to pay billions of dollars in fines in what is still the largest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history, it's unclear how state governments are using much of that money.
So far tobacco companies have paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of the 25-year, $246 billion settlement.
The scene: Two men in a chilly Soviet apartment converse in whispers, careful to protect their plans from enemy ears. Little do they know, the benign-looking raven outside their window is not merely a city scavenger hunting for food, but a spy for the U.S. government.
Woodstock didn't just bring together some of the most important musical acts of the late 1960s: It showed that a music festival could be a truly historic event.
These days, leave any pasture open long enough and someone will start setting up amps and concession stands. The outdoor music festival is ubiquitous in 2013. But so far, there has been no Woodstock for comedy.
If you've ever been to Los Angeles, no doubt you've sent a selfie with a Hollywood sign in the background. If that is you, you're not alone. The iconic sign is one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. Over the last few years, social media and GPS have only multiplied the number of visitors. Now, homeowners in the area say that's wreaking havoc in their neighborhood. NPR's Sam Sanders reports.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
The Occupy Wall Street movement called attention to the huge gap between the rich and poor in America. But when it comes to wealth inequality, the U.S. has nothing on Russia where 35 percent of the entire country's wealth is owned by just 110 people. How on earth did a country go from communism to oligarchy so fast?
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
Let's talk chili peppers. It's harvest time in New Mexico where the iconic crop has been grown for centuries. New Mexico still produces more chili peppers than any other American state. But production in the U.S. is a fraction of what's produced in India and China, countries with large pools of labor.
NPR's Ted Robbins reports that farmers in New Mexico could increase their harvest if they had the people to do it.
Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 6:15 pm
The federal government shutdown is in its 13th day, with little sign of a budget deal that could win the approval of both houses of Congress, as well as the White House. The debate now includes efforts to avoid a default if the government's debt limit isn't raised by Thursday.
Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 3:32 pm
The International Committee of the Red Cross says seven of its workers have been abducted in northwest Syria. The team, which includes one Syrian Red Crescent volunteer, was taken by gunmen as they drove to Damascus on Sunday morning.
The workers were seized in Idlib province, where rebels have clashed with government forces this month.
"We call for their immediate release," the relief agency said.
Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 3:52 pm
A crowd of demonstrators converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall on Sunday morning, protesting the government shutdown that has included blocking full access to monuments in Washington.
The "Million Vet March," protest was organized by groups including the Brats for Veterans Advocacy, which called on military veterans and others to march against the barricading of the memorial, which its website calls "a despicable act of cowardice."
Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 4:40 pm
Indian officials are reporting far fewer casualties than had been feared when the large and powerful cyclone Phailin struck the country's east coast Saturday. But the storm, which forced the evacuation of nearly 1 million people, has left flooding and destruction in its path.
Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 4:29 pm
Months ahead of the Winter Olympics in Russia, where controversy surrounds a law that targets homosexuality, the U.S. Olympic Committee adds protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation to its policies.
"The fact that we do not think it is our role to advocate for a change in the Russian law does not mean that we support the law, and we do not," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.
Two days of talks between U.S. and Afghan officials have yielded a partial security agreement between the two countries. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Hamid Karzai held discussions Friday and Saturday on a deal to keep the U.S. military in the country beyond the 2014 pullout date for most U.S. and NATO troops.
The next step for the tentative bilateral security agreement is for it to be reviewed by Afghanistan's parliament and the Loya Jirga, an assembly of public and tribal leaders.
Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 4:27 pm
At least 89 people reportedly died in a stampede Sunday at a temple in central India, where 25,000 people had crowded onto a bridge. Police believe a rumor that the bridge was collapsing sparked panic and confusion, according to local media.
On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is an insider's test. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name with the consecutive letters T-E-S-T. Specifically, the first word will end with -TE and the second word will start ST-. For example, given "sheer force," you would say "brute strength."
A massive evacuation effort appears to have saved many lives, but Cylcone Phailin flooded villages and destroyed homes. Financial Times South Asia bureau chief Victor Mallet speaks with host Rachel Martin about the extent of the damage.
In marathon talks in Kabul, Secretary of State John Kerry persuaded the reluctant Afghan president to agree to a deal on the planned withdrawal of American troops next year. While some questions about the agreement remain unresolved, it marks a diplomatic victory for Kerry. Now it is up to Karzai to sell it to his people.
Ali Zeidan was abducted and then released last week after the U.S. raided Tripoli to capture a senior al-Qaida suspect. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin speaks with professor Dirk Vandewalle, author of A History of Modern Libya, about Zeidan's many opponents and the role of militias in Libya.
The dismal Jacksonville Jaguars play the formidable Denver Broncos today, a match-up that makes for the biggest point spread ever and possibly the worst regular season NFL game in a long time. NPR's Mike Pesca joins host Rachel Martin and can talk of nothing else.
The band Darkside is made up of two men - two halves really. Dark, scary electronics and a funk, rhythmic guitar line. The electronic half is Nicholas Jaar. He got noticed as a laptop music prodigy when he was a student at Brown University. And up until a year or two ago, he mostly worked alone. Then, the other part of Darkside entered the picture - Dave Harrington, a composer and jazz bassist. Now, they've got this first album out together. It's called "Psychic." Nicholas Jaar explains why he chose a bass player as his guitarist.