Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the new Kindle Fire tablet in New York, on September 28, 2011. The Fire's strong holiday sales were part of a trend that now has nearly a third of all American adults owning an e-book reader or tablet computer.
A few weeks ago, Mike Wendlinger bought himself a Christmas present — a Nook Simple Touch e-book reader. And when he did, he joined a wave of Americans who have combined to make e-readers and their more powerful bretheren, tablet computers, into genuine mass market devices.
Here's your interesting numbers story of the day: Based on The Washington Post's analysis of Internal Revenue Service records, about 98,000 federal employees — including those from the post office — owed $1.03 billion in unpaid taxes. It's a number that has been reported before but this year, while the number of delinquent employees fell, the total amount owed ballooned by $32 million or 3 percent.
Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 2:48 pm
Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich today made the case that those who have been collecting jobless benefits for extended periods of time should be required to enroll in job-training programs, saying that "we shouldn't give people 99 weeks to do nothing," our colleagues at WUSF in Tampa report.
John Hawkes' conversation with Melissa Block on today's All Things Considered begins as many of his conversations might: with her noting that when she told people she was coming to talk to him and rattled off his credits, she got a response that he undoubtedly gets a lot: "Ohhh, he's that guy."
Women consistently say they suffer more intense pain than men — about 20 percent more on average, even from seemingly gender-neutral ailments like sinus infections.
That's the word from a big new study that tracked reports of pain from people diagnosed with the same medical conditions. So much for the old cliche that women handle pain more easily than men. Or maybe this backs another cliche, that guys are tough and unfeeling.
The case of a U.S. marine accused of killing 24 unarmed civilians in Haditha, Iraq came to a surprising end today. Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich reached a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of three months in confinement.
A plea deal has been reached in the court martial case of Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich. He was the last person facing charges in the killings of 24 Iraqis at the village of Haditha in 2005. Monday, he admitted to one charge of dereliction of duty. The case became a touchstone for criticism of the Iraq war. Originally, several Marines were charged with murder in the case. But the Marines who killed the Iraqi civilians that day claimed that their actions were tragic — but legal under the official rules of engagement in a complex war fought in and among the people.
The South is cleaning up from yet another round of devastating tornadoes. The storms started first in Arkansas, then brought baseball-sized hail, heavy wind and lightning to parts of Tennessee and Mississippi. But it was Alabama that saw the worst of it. At least two people died with 100 more injured.
As NPR's Russell Lewis reports, the overnight storms hit communities still struggling to recover from a series of devastating tornadoes last year.
A former CIA officer was charged on Monday with leaking secrets to reporters — and then lying about it.
The Justice Department has accused John Kiriakou of violating the Espionage Act by outing his colleagues and passing sensitive details about counterterrorism operations to reporters for The New York Times and other media outlets.
Kiriakou, 47, of Arlington, Va., appeared in federal court in Virginia on Monday, where he was released after posting a $250,000 bond.
Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is stepping down from her seat. She made the announcement Sunday, and Monday she spent time with the people who were with her last January when she was shot through the head at a community event in her home district.
Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:44 am
The issue of immigration, which barely simmered during the first three Republican presidential contests, could reach a boil now that the candidates have arrived in Florida for the state's Jan. 31 primary.
Florida, with its large and influential Latino population, provides the earliest gauge of the difficulty facing any eventual GOP nominee in courting Hispanic voters, who increasingly view Republicans' rhetoric about immigration as anti-Hispanic.
Life came full circle for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords today. A little more than a year after she was shot in the head at a community meet-and-greet she organized, she met with others who survived the rampage.
At her office in Tucson, the Arizona congresswoman met with Daniel Hernandez, her former intern who is credited with helping to save her life by containing her bleeding.
The U.S. military wants Afghan troops to begin taking the lead role in combat operations. Here, Afghan cadets who are joining the army are shown at their graduation ceremony on Dec. 18 in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Credit Johnannes Eisele / AFP/Getty Images
A U.S. soldier with a sniper rifle provides instruction to Afghan troops in the eastern province of Paktika last September.
Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 6:03 am
American commanders in Afghanistan are preparing for a major shift in their mission this year.
U.S. troops are expected to move away from their lead role in combat operations in most areas. Instead, they'll advise Afghan forces to take the lead in both operations and security duties throughout much of Afghanistan.
Sue Freeman, 78, checks her e-mail at her home in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Saturday. An experimental stem-cell procedure last July led to a marked improvement in her eyesight.
Credit Melissa Forsyth for NPR
Sue Freeman, 78, washes Brussels sprouts at her home in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Saturday. Prior to getting an experimental stem-cell procedure last July, Freeman couldn't cook, read or recognize faces.
Credit Melissa Forsyth for NPR
Sue Freeman at her home in Laguna Beach, Calif. "It was pretty amazing," she says of the improvement in her vision. "I was like kind of looking at everything new again, just sort of going around and first not believing it."
Two women losing their sight to progressive forms of blindness may have regained some vision while participating in an experiment testing a treatment made from human embryonic stem cells, researchers reported today.
The report marks the first time that scientists have produced direct evidence that human embryonic stem cells may have helped a patient. The cells had only previously been tested in the laboratory or in animals.
Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 9:09 am
Most housing set up to help the homeless comes with a strict no-booze policy.
But a study on a controversial complex in Seattle that allows chronic alcoholics to keep drinking suggests the lenient approach can work too.
Homeless people with alcohol problems decreased their consumption over two years at the facility, called 1811 Eastlake. The average amount of alcohol consumed on a typical drinking day by the 95 study participants had decreased by about 25 percent at the end of the two-year study.
Saying it was a "blatant interference in its internal affairs," Syria rejected an Arab League plan that the organization hoped would bring an end to the violence.
According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the official state news agency, the government condemed the plan and accused the Arab League of arming terrorist groups, which they say are responsible for killing civilians and attacking state facilities.
Booksellers and publishers are worried that Amazon is going to devour their industry. The giant online retailer seems to have its hands in all aspects of the business, from publishing books to selling them — and that has some in the book world wondering if there is any end to Amazon's influence.
Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 9:32 am
Mitt Romney is reeling. Newt Gingrich is surging. Rick Santorum is hanging on. And Ron Paul continues to zig while others zag.
So goes the rollicking but inconclusive — so far — Republican presidential contest, as it moves from small ball to big time in Florida for a Jan. 31 primary in which some 4 million state Republicans are eligible to vote.
Perspective? More Florida Republicans have already cast early ballots than all New Hampshire votes tallied for the top three finishers in that state's Jan. 10 GOP primary, about 197,000.
Using strong words, Pakistan's military officially rejected a U.S. report, which concluded a NATO strike that killed 24 Pakistani troops was undertaken in self defense. Pakistan's military said parts of the report were "factually not correct."