NPR News

Pages

Dead Stop
12:57 am
Fri August 17, 2012

How Congressional Cemetery Got Its Name

Congressional Cemetery was founded in 1807, when Washington, D.C., was a new town. The 35-acre historic burial ground is located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, overlooking the Anacostia River.
Blake Lipthratt NPR

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 9:06 am

Back at the turn of the 19th century, Uriah Tracey was something of a trendsetter. The Connecticut senator was one of the first to fight in the Revolutionary War — and then one of the first to attempt secession from the Union. And in 1807, he was the first member of Congress buried in what later became known as Congressional Cemetery, in Washington, D.C.

Read more
Animals
12:57 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Swarming Up A Storm: Why Animals School And Flock

A school of Blue Tang fish swimming together off the Caribbean island of Bonaire. It has long been assumed that the schooling behavior of fish evolved in part to protect animals from being attacked by predators.
David J. Phillip AP

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 9:06 am

By tricking live fish into attacking computer-generated "prey," scientists have learned that animals like birds and fish may indeed have evolved to swarm together to protect themselves from the threat of predators.

"Effectively, what we're doing here is we're getting predatory fish to play a video game," says Iain Couzin, who studies collective animal behavior at Princeton University. "And through playing that game, through seeing which virtual prey items they attack, we can get a very deep understanding of as to how behavioral interactions among prey affect their survival."

Read more
Law
12:47 am
Fri August 17, 2012

When The Lawyer Becomes The Object Of Prosecution

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer says Charles Daum, a longtime lawyer, betrayed his profession.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 9:06 am

For more than 30 years, Charles Daum made a living by defending people accused of run-of-the-mill crimes. Then he met a charismatic Washington, D.C.-area man charged with distributing cocaine.

What happened next is a plot worthy of a television crime drama.

The accused drug dealer, Delante White, turned the tables and helped convict his own defense lawyer of manufacturing evidence and putting on false testimony to help the drug dealer's case.

Read more
Economy
12:46 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Low Mortgage Rates Boost 'Serial Refinancers'

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 12:35 pm

Refinance activity continues to boom, fueling the home-loan market. Low interest rates have created a class of "serial refinancers" — those lucky enough to borrow at lower rates — and given them new opportunities to spend their freed up cash.

Settlement attorney Robert Gratz never used to be on a first-name basis with his clients.

"In the past, our practice was such that you'd see people, and that was the end of it," he says.

Gratz now sees the same faces all the time, of clients refinancing again and again — these days in the mid-3 percent range.

Read more
Planet Money
12:44 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Competing Against The Nicest Guy In Town

Hondo (left) and Dizz.
Chana Joffe-Walt NPR

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 12:36 pm

For more: Why does the government subsidize crop insurance in the first place? We try to answer that question in our latest podcast.

The federal government spends about $7 billion a year on crop insurance for U.S. farmers. Policies are sold by private companies, but the government sets the rates, so the companies can't compete on price.

Read more
Europe
12:42 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Belgian Town May Sue Over Soggy Weather Forecasts

People enjoy a sunny day on the beach in Knokke, on Belgium's North Sea coast, in April 2011. This summer, the weather hasn't been as nice — and resort owners and officials are feeling litigious over a pessimistic weather forecast.
Nicolas Maeterlinck EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 9:06 am

Parts of Europe are experiencing extremely rainy weather this summer. But some tourist towns in Belgium and the Netherlands say their season has been blighted too — not by bad weather but by bad weather forecasting.

The mayor of the Belgian seaside resort of Knokke says it's a crime that tourism there is down this year. He means that literally.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:56 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

To Combat West Nile, Dallas Will Spray Pesticide From Planes

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, center, holds a news conference in front of a plane that will be used for aerial spraying in Dallas.
LM Otero AP

Residents of Dallas received this robo call today:

According to The Dallas Morning News, that's Dallas City Hall Spokesman Jose Luis Torres warning residents to stay inside this evening, because the city has decided to spray pesticides from airplanes.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

South African Police Open Fire On Striking Miners, More Than 30 Killed

Police surround miners killed in Marikana, South Africa, on Thursday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 5:03 am

Update at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 17. Death Toll Increased:

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
4:33 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Global Smoking Survey Paints A Grim Picture

A man smokes a bidi on "No Tobacco Day," May 31, in Allahabad, India. These small, hand-rolled cigarettes are popular in India and Bangladesh because they are far cheaper than regular cigarettes.
Rajesh Kumar AP

Today we have a fresh look at smoking rates around the world, and the news isn't good.

A survey covering 60 percent of the world's population shows high rates of tobacco use in some countries, with more than 50 percent of men in Russia, China and Ukraine smoking between 2008 and 2010.

Although the statistics for women are better — only 11 percent of woman reported using tobacco — the number of people quitting is shockingly low, dropping below 20 percent in China and India.

Read more
All Tech Considered
4:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

What's In Your Wallet? Wait, You Don't Need One

A barista processes a customer's payment using Square, a device that turns a mobile device into a card swiper. More businesses are using the devices to simplify credit card payments. Others are embracing technology that allows consumers to pay with their cellphones.
Jeff Wheeler MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:39 pm

Most Americans pay with plastic or cash when they visit the grocery store, buy their daily coffee, or fill up the gas tank. But a growing number of large companies are trying to change that.

Google, Starbucks and Wal-Mart are among the many firms that are eager to replace consumers' wallets and stores' cash registers, with smartphones and other mobile devices.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:57 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

United Nations Will End Observer Mission In Syria

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:16 pm

With a political solution seemingly out of reach, the United Nations will begin recalling its military observers. They will, however, set up a political office in Damascus.

NPR's Michele Kelemen sent this report to our Newscast unit:

Read more
The Salt
3:25 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Coffee Is The New Wine. Here's How You Taste It

Samantha Kerr prepares coffee at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore, MD.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:03 am

The "know your farmer" concept may soon apply to the folks growing your coffee, too.

Increasingly, specialty roasters are working directly with coffee growers around the world to produce coffees as varied in taste as wines. And how are roasters teaching their clientele to appreciate the subtle characteristics of brews? By bringing an age-old tasting ritual once limited to coffee insiders to the coffee-sipping masses.

Read more
Europe
3:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Raid In Russia Brings Underground Sect To Light

Gumar Ganiyev opens the gates of the compound where members of the Islamic sect he belongs to have lived in seclusion since the early 2000s outside Kazan, capital of the Russian province of Tatarstan, earlier this month.
Nikolay Alexandrov AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:41 pm

The recent headlines in the Russian press were sensational: Members of a reclusive Islamic sect were said to be living in an isolated compound with underground burrows, some as deep as eight stories underground, without electricity or heat.

Reporters have descended on the compound, on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, but have had only limited access and have not been able to confirm all the allegations by Russian officials.

Read more
Politics
3:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Rebutting Tax Criticism, Romney Gives A Number

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:19 pm

Mitt Romney told reporters Thursday that he has never paid less than a 13 percent tax rate over the past decade. Until now, the presumptive Republican nominee had sidestepped questions about his personal income taxes. Romney has come under withering criticism over the tax issue from President Obama's campaign and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

From Our Listeners
3:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Letters: The Liberal Ayn Rand?

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:57 pm

Melissa Block reads letters from listeners about a conversation with Yale history professor Beverly Gage about her article for Slate, which asks, "Why is there no liberal Ayn Rand?"

Middle East
3:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Attack In Pakistan Puts Government On Defense

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 11:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Pakistan last night, Taliban militants attacked an air base near the capital. The attack came amid reported preparations for a Pakistani military offensive. The target of that offensive: the militants' hideouts along the border with Afghanistan.

NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Islamabad.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Nine Taliban men in army uniforms and suicide belts battled Pakistani troops for more than two hours, killing of security official before being gunned down themselves.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:16 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

After Review, 'Time Magazine' Will Reinstate Fareed Zakaria's Column

Fareed Zakaria.
Emmanuel Dunande AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:22 pm

Time Magazine says it has completed a review of Fareed Zakaria's work and it has decided to reinstate his column.

A Time spokesman sent this statement to reporters:

Read more
The Two-Way
2:56 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

EBay Says Users Will No Longer Be Able To Sell Magic, Potions, Curses

A "powerful" love potion for sale on eBay. The "buy it now" price is $21.
eBay

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 3:04 pm

It's a tough day for the Harry Potters among us: Ebay said today that beginning in September it will no longer allow the sale of some, um, metaphysical products.

Among them: advice, spells, curses, hexing, conjuring, magic, prayers, blessing services, magic potions and healing sessions.

The Los Angeles reports:

Read more
It's All Politics
2:32 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Romney Says He Paid A Tax Rate Of At Least 13 Percent

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney writes on a whiteboard during a news conference Thursday in Greer, S.C.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 3:15 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday revealed a bit more about his tax history, telling reporters: "I never paid less than 13 percent" in the past 10 years.

The Obama campaign's response: "Prove it."

Romney's statement came during an appearance in South Carolina and followed weeks of demands — mostly from Democrats, but also from some Republicans — that Romney release several years of his tax returns.

Read more
Mom And Dad's Record Collection
2:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Loving An Album To Death Makes A Music Fan For Life

Little Darrin Wolsko spent a chunk of his childhood playing his father's copy of The Beatles self-titled album, best known as The White Album, over and over.
Courtesy of the Wolsko family

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:19 pm

All this summer, All Things Considered is digging into the record collections of listeners' parents to hear about one song introduced by a parent that has stayed with you.

Among the many records Darrin Wolsko spun while donning a red cape around 1985, The Beatles' self-titled release best known as The White Album got the most plays — "to the point where I destroyed the album. I shredded this album to pieces," Wolsko says.

Read more
NPR Story
2:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Third Time's Still A Charm For Mariners

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:52 pm

Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game Wednesday in a 1 to 0 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays. That makes it the third perfect game this season. Melissa Block has more.

NPR Story
2:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Recording Hepatitis C: A Patient's Treatment Journal

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Ana Johnson of San Marcos, Texas, underwent treatment for hepatitis C last year. She believes she contracted the disease after receiving a blood transfusion during a C-section. Johnson lived with the diagnosis for 17 years before seeking treatment. She says her mind changed because her treatment options changed.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

News Media's Credibility Ratings Have Slipped Sharply, Survey Says

Pew Research Center

"Believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports today.

Its latest national survey signals that "the falloff in credibility affects news organizations in most sectors: national newspapers, such as The New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, as well as the broadcast TV networks and NPR."

Read more
Environment
1:21 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

When This Oil Spills, It's 'A Whole New Monster'

An oil sheen appears along the shore of the Kalamazoo. More than 800,000 gallons of oil entered Talmadge Creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Heavy rains caused the river to overtop existing dams and carried oil 30 miles downstream.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:19 pm

Sometime in the next few months, David Daniel probably will have to stand by and watch as bulldozers knock down his thick forest and dig up the streams he loves.

His East Texas property is one of more than 1,000 in the path of a new pipeline, the southern stretch of what is known as the Keystone XL system.

For years, Daniel has tried to avoid this fate — or at least figure out what risks will come with it. But it has been difficult for him to get straight answers about the tar sands oil the pipeline will carry, and what happens when it spills.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Facebook Shares Battered As Insiders Are Allowed To Sell

An illustration of an Apple iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen in front of the login page.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:42 pm

At one point today, Facebook's stock price sunk to a new low. At about $19.69, it was worth about half of what it was initially sold for in May.

Bloomberg explains that what is happening is that early investors in the company — including founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg — were allowed to sell some of their stocks for the first time today.

Bloomberg adds:

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
12:36 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Testing For All Boomers

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:19 pm

Listen up, baby boomers. The government wants every one of you to get tested for the hepatitis C virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a sweeping recommendation official amid growing concern about the estimated 2 million boomers infected with the virus, which can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. The advice was published in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:40 am
Thu August 16, 2012

More Of The Nation Is Getting The Worst Of The Drought

This week's drought map.
National Drought Mitigation Center

The drought gripping much of the nation is "exceptional" — the most severe classification — in an area covering 6.26 percent of the lower 48 states, according to the latest data from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

That's up from 4.21 percent the week before.

The center's latest map shows increases in size of the areas in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri that are experiencing exceptional drought conditions.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:39 am
Thu August 16, 2012

A Gift From The Interwebs: A Brilliant Auto-Tuned Burger Review

A screenshot from a YouTube video.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 11:42 am

Read more
Movie Interviews
11:39 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Frank Langella Embodies Wicked In 'Robot & Frank'

In Robot & Frank, a robot cares for an aging ex-burglar who has dementia. Frank Langella, who plays the burglar, says his character "becomes fond of the robot only because it is a tool for his wicked, wicked ways."
Samuel Goldwyn Films and Stage 6 Films

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 8:07 am

Frank Langella's career has not been an upward trajectory of success — and he likes it that way. He's had memorable roles on stage and screen, and times when he couldn't find work, or even an agent.

Now at 74, Langella is as busy as ever, and, as he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, he's never been hungrier to act.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:55 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Bahrain Sentences Prominent Activist To 3 Years In Jail

A man walks past a picture of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and Arabic that reads, "freedom to human rights defender Nabeel Rajab."
Hasan Jamali AP

The government of Bahrain, today, handed down a three-year jail sentence for prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Center For Human Rights.

Rajab, reports The Guardian, was already serving a three month sentence for posting for his anti-government comments on Twitter. The government said the three-year sentence is a result of his participation in an "illegal demonstration."

Read more

Pages