As the Olympic Games get closer, athletes like figure skater Jeremy Abbott are focusing on making Team USA. With only two slots on the U.S. men's figure skating team, the competition is tough. But the three-time U.S. champion — who has yet to deliver on the world stage — wants 2014 to be the year he takes a medal in Sochi, Russia.
Abbott, 28, has been in ice skates since he was 2 years old. He's already been to one Olympics, placing ninth at the 2010 games in Vancouver.
On the train, in the park, on the famed medieval Plaza Mayor — the Spanish capital of Madrid is famous for its street performers.
And with more than a quarter of Spaniards out of work, more people than ever before have been crisscrossing the city with their violins and voices, for extra cash. People squeeze giant accordions onto the metro, and roll amplifiers on carts across cobblestones.
The street performers are a tourist attraction. But Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, says the clamor has reached its limit.
New Year's Day marked the halfway point to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act for coverage this year.
And after a dismal start, things seem to be going a lot better on the HealthCare.gov website. Federal officials say more than 1 million people enrolled in coverage by the Christmas Eve deadline for coverage that began January 1.
Hal Faulkner is 79 years old and he's already lived months longer than his doctors predicted.
"I don't know what to say, it's just incredible that I'm still here," Faulkner says in a halting voice made gruff by age and cancer.
Faulkner joined the Marines in 1953, and served in the Philippines. In 1956, he got kicked out with an "undesirable discharge" for being gay. His military papers said "homosexual" on them, quite an obstacle in the 1950s.
Still, Faulkner moved on, and had a successful career in sales.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:34 am
It's tempting — and, really, accurate — to describe Rosanne Cash's new album as a literary effort. The singer-songwriter is also a published author, and her last album, 2009's The List, was a writer's game: Its 12 tracks abridged her famous father Johnny's 100-song lexicon of essentials, which he gave to his then-teenaged daughter as a legacy and a challenge.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:33 am
For veteran soul singer Sharon Jones, 2013 was a year of frustration, fear and false starts: She'd just announced the summer release of her fifth album, Give the People What They Want, when she was diagnosed with cancer and had to put her career on hold. Tours were canceled, while the finished record had to be shelved until she'd recovered to where she was in a position to promote it. Anyone who's seen Jones live knows how much she pours into performing, so fans appeared to be in for a long wait.
Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:43 pm
It's a testament to singer-songwriter Damien Jurado's versatility that he's made nearly a dozen albums of largely inward-looking folk and rock music, and yet has never made two records that sound the same.
In this week's podcast of Weekends on All Things Considered, what customs agents at border searches are really looking for, one of the world's biggest puzzles and the outlandish expense of the Sochi Olympics.
"Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through. Good luck."
That message, signed "3301," appeared on the underground message board known as 4chan two years ago. It was mysterious, cryptic and sparked a global Internet mystery that has yet to be answered to this day.
All over California, signs in restaurants, parking garages and other businesses warn that you could be exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer.
The disclosure is mandated by 1986 state law. If a company fails to warn consumers, it can be sued.
But a lot has changed since the law was passed: The list of toxic chemicals is longer and the lawsuits are more prolific. In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an amendment to ease the burden on businesses.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Arun Rath.
About a million travelers enter the United States every day. You might be familiar with the process. Regardless of citizenship, people who legally enter the U.S. face some sort of screening by Customs and Border Protection. But exactly what rights do people have at the borders? And when searching for drugs or contraband, is the government also allowed to look through the data on people's phones or laptops?
Most firearms in the U.S. start out in a state of perfect legality, sold by a manufacturer to a federally licensed dealer. But somewhere along the way, some of them cross the line and become what are called "crime guns."
At 71, Margaret Ann Wolf Harris heard her father's voice for the first time in her adult life.
Her dad, Sgt. Cody Wolf, died in World War II when his plane was shot down over Germany on Jan. 11, 1944. But a couple of weeks before his death, he contributed to a Christmas broadcast, produced by war correspondents of the Maryland newspaper The Baltimore Sun.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
During World War II, a group of women took a bold step in aviation. While male pilots were sent overseas, the Women Air Force Service Pilots took up the war effort on the home front. From 1943 to 1944, they logged over 60 million miles across the U.S., flying 77 types of military aircraft to haul supplies and conduct training exercises.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
Russia is spending $51 billion on the Sochi Winter Olympics, the most expensive Olympic Games ever by a wide margin. The preparations have not gone smoothly. Construction has been delayed repeatedly and marred by accusations of political corruption. The outlandish price tag for the games has turned into an embarrassment for Russian officials.
In The Spoils of Babylon, Will Ferrell plays a "nonexistent author of a nonexistent best-seller." His book, written in the 1970s, was supposedly made into a television miniseries that never saw the light of day — until now.
The story begins in the 1930s, and spans about 50 years, following the powerful Morehouse family.
The series is a parody of the big, bloated miniseries of the 1970s and '80s (like The Thorn Birds or The Winds of War), filled with family drama in a changing America.
Sao Paulo holds the title of the biggest city in Latin America, with an estimated 22 million people in its metropolitan area. But when it comes to local, organic food, the pickings are pretty slim: The city has just 20 organic farmers' markets.