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Middle East
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Arab Women Rising: An Uncertain Future

2011 was a year of protest across the Middle East and North Africa. Amid each uprising, women were visible, fighting not just for the rights of their country, but often for rights of their own. Host Audie Cornish talks with Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations about women in the Arab uprising and their role going forward.

Health Care
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

A New Year's Forecast For The Health Care Bill

One of the biggest political question marks going into 2012 is the fate of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Audie Cornish speaks with Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times about what's ahead for Americans in terms of health care in the new year, including a constitutional challenge to the law's mandatory health care provision.

Presidential Race
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

GOP Candidates Join Another Party For New Year's

Originally published on Sun January 1, 2012 8:53 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

Even though seven Republican presidential candidates ushered in the New Year, a new poll by the Des Moines Register in Iowa makes it look like a three-person race. We'll fill you in on the latest shuffle of front-runners in a moment. But first, how did the Republicans candidates spend New Year's Eve?

So we sent NPR's Sonari Glinton to find out.

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House & Senate Races
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

2012 Elections May Settle Scores In The Senate, Too

While all focus on has been on the future of the White House, the fate of the Senate hangs in the balance of 2012 as well. Host Audie Cornish talks with Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report about what's at stake in the U.S. Senate.

Europe
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Debt Crisis Just History In The Making To Some French

These are gloomy times for debt-burdened France, but in the countryside some are taking a longer view. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.

Asia
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

A New Era In North Korea, Yet Little Has Changed

It's been only three days since the funeral for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. In that time, his son, Kim Jung Un, has been elevated to the rank of supreme commander of the North Korean army. Meanwhile, North Korea has issued a series of scathing attacks on the government of South Korea. NPR's Mike Shuster reports it all looks like business as usual.

Business
3:41 am
Sun January 1, 2012

2012: A Better Year, Unless Europe's Debt Blows It Up

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses journalists at EU headquarters in Brussels in December. It's possible that European leaders will come up with ways to manage the region's debt crisis in the new year, but the worst case scenarios are dire.
John Thys AFP/Getty Images

Last New Year's Day, most economic forecasters were predicting a good year ahead. But 2011 turned out to be another disappointment for stock investors and home sellers, and a discouraging time for job seekers.

Now, as 2012 begins, economists are hoping their crystal balls are working a bit better. Most are seeing a brighter picture.

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The Salt
3:40 am
Sun January 1, 2012

For Some Tribes, New Year's Foods Provide A Sacred Link To The Past

Edna Kash-kash, a Native American from Oregon, sits in front of a tepee circa 1900. In Eastern Oregon, a tribal celebration of first foods offers a connection to ancestors.
Lee Moorhouse/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

Around the world last night, revelers marked the start of the new year. But in the Northwest corner of the U.S., some Native American tribes began their celebrations early.

On Dec. 20, just before the winter solstice, tribes in Eastern Oregon held a ceremony called kimtee inmewit, a welcoming of the new foods.

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Food
3:40 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Artisanal And Authentic, The Flavors Of The New Year

Rustic and local are some of the words describing menus in 2012, Weekend Edition food commentator Bonny Wolf says.
iStockphoto.com

Come 2012, there's a new food vocabulary: authentic, craft, small batch, artisanal, rustic and, of course, local. It's the opposite of processed, mass produced and factory farmed.

What might be called urban neo-ruralism has apartment dwellers canning tomatoes, keeping bees and churning butter.

The small farmer is the new gastronomic superhero, sourced on restaurant menus. Independent butcher shops are opening across the country with unfamiliar cuts like Denver steak, petite tender, flat iron. Expect more specialty meats, too, like bison, elk, goat and rabbit.

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The Salt
3:39 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Haitians Mark The New Year With A Belly Full Of Soup

Haitians celebrate their independence from France on Jan. 1 each year with a traditional squash soup called soup joumou.
Courtesy of Whole Foods

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:36 pm

Nine years ago, on New Year's Day, David Gunther faced a mini-epidemic. He's a family doctor, and at his old job in Somerville, Mass., just north of Boston, many of his patients were from Haiti.

"Ten or 12 patients all complained of pretty similar symptoms – belly pains, including some diarrhea," he says. "They weren't terribly ill, but it was clear that there was some kind of a pattern."

Gunther almost alerted the Department of Public Health to this mild gastrointestinal outbreak. But then, one of those patients with the stomach trouble figured out what was going on.

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Economy
3:38 am
Sun January 1, 2012

In Brazil, Economic Opportunity Beckons Westerners

People crowd Saara, a popular market in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is one of the world's largest economies and is attracting job seekers from around the world.
Vanderlei Almeida AFP/Getty Images

The beaches of Brazil lure in foreigners, but fortune-hunters are more interested in the opportunities offered by the rapidly developing South American state.

The global economic downturn is starting to affect Brazil, but the country has not nearly been as hard-hit as Europe and the U.S. The emerging economy is enticing to young, highly trained and educated workers like David Bailey of Britain.

Bailey plays piano as he and his roommates prepare for a party in Rio de Janeiro. They're all foreigners — from France, Switzerland, Spain — and all of them are here for work.

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Mitt Romney
3:37 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Romney Meets Friendly Crowd In Ice Cream Capital

Supporters seek autographs from Mitt Romney during a campaign event at the Family Table Restaurant Saturday in Le Mars, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

A little over three hours outside Des Moines, Iowa, in the northwest corner of the state, is the city of Le Mars. A sign proclaims this is the Ice Cream Capital of the World.

Saturday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spoke in Le Mars at the Family Table restaurant. His speech, like all Romney campaign speeches, was about President Obama.

"This is an election to decide whether we're going to go further and further down the path of becoming more and more similar to a European welfare state, or whether instead we're going to remain an exceptional nation," he said.

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The Two-Way
10:00 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy new year, everyone!

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It Was A Good Year For...
5:18 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

No Excuses: Robots Put You In Two Places At Once

The two "eyes" on the Anybot are actually a camera and a laser. The camera "sees," the laser points, and the person on the screen controls it all.
Anybots.com

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 11:11 am

Mike Fennelly isn't easily surprised by cutting-edge technologies, but when he started as an IT guy at a Silicon Valley startup called Evernote, he was caught off guard by a robot rolling around the office.

"It was slightly disturbing for not really knowing what the robot was for at the beginning, and then going, 'Oh, OK. That's Phil,' " he says.

CEO Phil Libin is also known as the company's "robotic overlord." Libin himself isn't actually a robot, but when he's out of town, his robot keeps an eye on things.

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It Was A Good Year For...
3:18 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

2011: An Extraordinary Year For Gay Rights

Phyllis Siegel (right) kisses her wife, Connie Kopelov, after the two exchanged vows at the Manhattan City Clerk's office. The couple were the first same-sex pair to tie the knot in New York City after the state's Marriage Equality Act went into effect on July 24.
Michael Appleton AP

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 4:46 pm

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It's All Politics
2:17 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

What Does Santorum's Iowa Rise Mean? Likely Not Much

Rick Santorum with news media after a campaign stop in Indianola, Iowa.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 7:04 pm

Because the news media abhor the absence of drama as much as nature supposedly detests vacuums, Rick Santorum's rise in recent polls of likely Iowa Republican presidential primary caucus voters definitely scratches a journalistic itch.

Santorum's ascent to the top three in Iowa polls, along with Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, has spiced up the race, especially after the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania spent so many months stuck in the caboose of GOP candidates.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

Banana-Sam At Large: Monkey Stolen From S.F. Zoo

The reward for Banana-Sam is now up to $5,000. The squirrel monkey was abducted from his cage, officials say, and the San Francisco Zoo is beefing up security to keep an eye on the rest of their animals.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Banana-Sam was likely stolen late Thursday or early Friday by vandals who cut two holes in the mesh wall of his cage. The remaining 17 squirrel monkeys are now being kept indoors until the pen can be fixed.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

2011: A Big Year For Space Exploration

Some might be inclined to think 2011 was a pretty bad year for space, what with the U.S. space program shutting down. While the Atlantis marked the last mission in NASA's decades-long space shuttle program, the agency still managed to have other significant launches this year. Crafts visited Mercury, a massive asteroid known as Vesta, and the moon. Another left for Jupiter, and the Voyager 1 spacecraft sailed out of our solar system. Guest host Rebecca Sheir talks to Neil deGrasse Tyson, head of the Hayden Planetarium, about whether all that made 2011 a good year for space exploration.

It Was A Good Year For...
10:23 am
Sat December 31, 2011

For Lab Mice, The Medical Advances Keep Coming

Takashi Yokoo, head of a project researching kidney regeneration at Tokyo's Jikei University School of Medicine, holds a mouse at his laboratory.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

When scientists want to test new therapies for cancer or heart disease, they frequently turn to mice for help. For most mice, this isn't the best thing that could happen to them. Being a research subject has definite disadvantages, at least for mice.

But most people prefer a new therapy be tested in a rodent rather than making a human patient the guinea pig — if you'll forgive the twisted metaphor.

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Around the Nation
8:04 am
Sat December 31, 2011

The Changing Face Of America's Chinatowns

A vendor sells seafood at a market in East Broadway in New York City's Chinatown. There was a 17 percent drop in the population of New York City's Chinatown over the past decade, and some say it's a sign that Chinatown is becoming more of a symbolic touchstone.
Rebecca Sheir NPR

The Chinese New Year begins on Jan. 23. On that day, people will celebrate the Year of the Dragon in Chinatowns across the country.

The neighborhoods known as Chinatowns sprang up in the U.S. during the Gold Rush. But since then, they've seen gradual yet significant changes — not so noticeable to the average visitor, perhaps, but quite drastic to those who've called these communities home.

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Music Lists
6:32 am
Sat December 31, 2011

The Year In Pop — From Iceland And Lebanon

The Icelandic singer-songwriter Mugison performs in Los Angeles. Mugison had one of the most popular songs in his home country this year with "Stingum Af."
Michael Tullberg Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 7:14 pm

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Middle East
6:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

Syrian Protestors Seek Out Arab League In The Streets

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 8:05 am

Transcript

JACKIE LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jackie Lyden. In Syria yesterday, activists on called on people to come out in force to show visiting monitors from the Arab League the depth of opposition to President Bashar al Assad's regime. They say hundreds of thousands of people responded despite the presence of security forces. Nearly two dozen people were reportedly killed. This adds to the 5,000 people the UN says have died in the popular uprising since it began in March.

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Media
6:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

The Top 20 Deadliest Countries For Journalists

Transcript

JACKIE LYDEN, HOST:

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Around the Nation
6:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

Take The Day Off. In Fact, Take A Month

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Like many American workers, you might be using up your vacation time over the holidays but starting tomorrow. employees at Wedding Wire don't have to worry about rationing their leave. They can take off as many days as they like, just as long as their work gets done and the manager gives the OK. Jenny Harding is the Human Resources director for the web-based event planning company. She says Wedding Wire's new unlimited vacation policy will actually be good for productivity.

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Sports
6:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

Sports: Eyes On The Playoffs; Showdown In Ky.

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 8:05 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LYDEN: It's the last week of the NFL season and a handful of teams are still trying to edge their way into the playoffs. The NBA season is just wrapping up its first week, but already the Miami Heat look to be steamrolling it past straight to those playoffs. And there's a playoff-worthy college basketball game today in Lexington, Kentucky. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the magazine joins us now. Howard, welcome and Happy New Year.

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Sports
6:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

How To Fix College Sports

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 8:05 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Now, to Howard's point with the stories out of Penn State and Syracuse this year, it's almost hard to remember when a scandal in college sports referred to grade fixing or dishonest boosters. But some say that what should be considered a scandal is the billions of dollars generated by college football and men's basketball with hardly any of that revenue actually going to the players.

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The Impact of War
6:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

Veterans' New Mission: Taking Care Of Their Own

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 8:05 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. After nine years, the official U.S. military involvement in Iraq ended this month. The withdrawal of U.S. troops has meant a shift in focus for a veterans group who that opposed the war. Iraq Veterans against the War says it will now turn its attention to ensuring that vets are not forgotten as they try to reintegrate into civilian society. Elizabeth Fiedler of member station WHYY in Philadelphia spoke with a couple of those veterans and they begin her story.

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Performing Arts
6:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

'The Enchanted Island' A Mashup Of Classic Masters

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 8:05 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Tonight, New York's Metropolitan Opera will premiere a new piece with music that's hundreds of years old. It's called "The Enchanted Island" and it features arias by several Baroque composers, including Handel and Vivaldi, and mashes up the plots from two Shakespeare plays. And, oh yes, it stars Placido Domingo as the sea god Neptune. Jeff Lunden has still more.

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Author Interviews
6:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

'The Real Elizabeth' As Friends And Family Know Her

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

In February of the New Year, the British will prepare a major celebration. It's not another Royal wedding. It's the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, marking the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. It's an exceptionally long reign; only one other British monarch has reigned as long, her Royal Majesty Queen Victoria.

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The Salt
5:39 am
Sat December 31, 2011

The Average American Ate (Literally) A Ton This Year

What did American eat this year? Some 31 pounds of cheese a person. A lot of it went on top of pizza.
John M. Scott iStockphoto.com

Yeah, yeah, we know. Coconut water, beets, meatballs, ethnic food trucks — they were all the rage this year. Lots of people discovered them or rediscovered them and quickly grew to love them.

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