NPR News

Pages

Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Full Of Complexity And Ambivalence, 'American Sniper' Shows The Cost Of War

Bradley Cooper (right) plays Chris Kyle in American Sniper. The film has become a cultural phenomenon and has spawned knee-jerk squabbling.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

In the years following the invasion of Iraq, it became a truism that Americans simply didn't want to hear about the war — especially at the movies. While there were scads of films about Iraq, including Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, none was able to attract a big audience. Until American Sniper.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:49 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

A Saint With A Mixed History: Junipero Serra's Canonization Raises Eyebrows

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:56 pm

The name Junipero Serra is well known in California: Schools and streets are named in his honor, and statues of the 18th century Spanish missionary still stand. But Native American activists are far less enamored with the friar, saying Serra was actually an accomplice in the brutal colonization of natives. They object to Pope Francis' recent announcement that he will canonize Serra when he travels to the U.S. this fall.

Read more
Goats and Soda
2:43 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

India Grows, Russia Shrinks: Mapping Countries By Population

Can you find Australia and Canada? The cartogram, made by Reddit user TeaDranks, scales each country's geographic area by its population. (Click through to see the high-resolution map.)
TeaDranks via Imgur

World maps distort. It's inherent in their design.

Take a spherical object (the Earth) and try to represent it on a flat plane (paper). Some parts of the sphere are going to get distorted. (On most maps, Canada and Russia get puffed up, while countries along the equator get shrunk.)

Every now and then, though, you stumble across a map that enlightens.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:42 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains

Dr. Frances Jensen is a professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Teens can't control impulses and make rapid smart decisions like adults can — but why?

Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. In a teenager, the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls decision-making, is built, but not fully insulated — so signals move slowly.

"Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, 'Oh, I better not do this,' " Dr. Frances Jensen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Read more
NPR Story
2:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Brisket Shortage Has BBQ Lovers Gnashing Their Teeth

Drought conditions are forcing ranchers to thin their cattle herds, and that means there’s a shortage of brisket, the front-end cut of beef that’s emblematic of Texas barbecue.

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that higher commodity prices have even forced one best-in-state barbecue restaurant to close down recently.

Read more
NPR Story
2:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

$4.5 Million, 30 Seconds, 1 Super Bowl Ad: Priceless?

The Super Bowl ad from the glue maker Loctite involves people dancing with fanny packs. (YouTube)

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:18 pm

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, which means the biggest and most expensive advertising night of the year. Several of this year’s ads are already available online, in part or in full.

Television is far from the only way to advertise during the game these days, so at $4.5 million for 30 seconds, is it still worth it?

Here & Now’s media analyst John Carroll joins host Lisa Mullins to discuss that question and some of this year’s ads.

Read more
NPR Story
2:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Disability Advocates Fight Disabled Governor

Texas Governor-Elect Greg Abbott listens to questions from the press after a meeting at the White House December 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:18 pm

For the first time since 1987, one of the nation’s governors is in a wheelchair. Texas Governor Greg Abbott won the race by promising to fight the federal government with his literal “spine of steel,” but disability advocates are saying that he hasn’t fought for them.

Read more
Parallels
1:34 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

China Continues To Push The (Fake) Envelope

Some fake Apple stores like this one in Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan province, were so authentic-looking that even some of their employees didn't know they were fake.
Stephen Shaver UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:46 pm

Nobody does fake like China. In 2011, a fake Apple store popped up in the southwestern city of Kunming. It looked so authentic, even some employees thought it was real.

This year, three farmers in central China set up a fake local government.

This month, police shut down a fake bank in the eastern city of Nanjing, where depositors reportedly lost nearly $33 million.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

2 Israeli Soldiers Killed In Attack Near Lebanese Border

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:00 pm

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded during an attack near the Lebanese border on Wednesday.

Hezbollah, a long time Israeli rival in Lebanon, claimed responsibility for the attack and Israel told the United Nations that it would take necessary steps to defend itself.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:02 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Is It OK To Pay Pregnant Women To Stop Smoking?

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, stillbirth and infant death.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:42 pm

Women who smoke while they're pregnant are more likely to have health problems, and their babies are at risk, too. But attempts to get women to stop smoking while pregnant usually fail.

When pregnant women in Scotland got paid to quit, 23 percent of them managed to stop smoking, compared with 9 percent who quit after they got counseling, support calls and free nicotine replacement therapy, according to a study published Tuesday in The BMJ.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:36 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Judge Throws Out Friendship 9's Civil Rights-Era Conviction

Five members of the Friendship Nine — Willie Thomas Massey (from left), Willie McCleod, James Wells, Clarence Graham and David Williamson Jr. — sit at the counter of the Five & Dine restaurant in Rock Hill, S.C., on Dec. 17. A judge in South Carolina has thrown out the convictions of the nine black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in 1961.
Jason Miczek Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:04 pm

Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET

A judge in South Carolina has thrown out the convictions of the Friendship Nine, nine black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in 1961, at the peak of the civil rights movement.

"We cannot rewrite history, but we can right history," Judge John C. Hayes III said before signing the order that vacated their trespassing convictions. (Hayes is the nephew of the judge who handed down the original sentence.) The prosecutor apologized to the eight surviving members of the Friendship Nine who were in the courtroom.

Read more
The Salt
11:08 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It?

Clean Water Services held a brewing competition in Sept. 2014, inviting 13 homebrewers to make beer from its purified wastewater (as well as water from other sources). Now the company is asking the state for permission for brewers to use its wastewater product exclusively to make beer.
Courtesy of Clean Water Services

Just when we thought craft beer couldn't get any zanier, we learn that Oregonians want to make it with treated wastewater.

Clean Water Services of Hillsboro says it has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water. The company, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, wants to show off its "high-purity" system by turning recycled wastewater into beer.

Read more
Goats and Soda
10:57 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Mr. Taxi Driver, You Are GOING TOO FAST!!!!

One of five stickers pasted in Kenyan passenger vans as part of a Georgetown University study to promote safe driving.
Courtesy of Georgetown University

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:17 pm

The worst traffic accident I've ever seen happened on a highway in Kenya.

A friend and I were returning to Nairobi from Lake Naivasha when the cars in front of us came to a halt. I pulled onto the shoulder and spotted a 15-passenger van — a matatu in local speak — on its side, split open like a coconut. Another matatu was sideways in a ditch, its front end smashed inward. People were stopping, getting out of their vehicles and rushing to help.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:59 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Mexico Officially Declares 43 Missing Students Dead

A relative holding a picture of one of the missing students, wipes a tear from her face during a press conference in Mexico, City.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

Mexico's attorney general made it official last night: The 43 college students who went missing last fall are dead.

That's the conclusion they've reached based on confessions of the alleged perpetrators and forensic evidence.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:57 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Smithsonian In Talks Over London Outpost — Its First Overseas

The London 2012 Olympic Stadium at sunset at the Olympic Park in London. The Smithsonian Institution is working to establish its first international museum outpost in London as that city redevelops its Olympic park.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:56 pm

Updated at 12:08 p.m. ET

Along with Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, London may soon be home to a Smithsonian outpost.

The institution's Board of Regents has authorized museum officials to explore the Smithsonian's first international gallery outpost. Its home: near the site of London's Olympic Park.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:04 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Jordan Says It's Willing To Swap Prisoner For Hostage Held By ISIS

Passersby watch a TV news program Wednesday in Tokyo reporting on a video posted on YouTube by extremists that purports to show Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 12:07 pm

Jordan says it is prepared to meet the demands of Islamic State militants in order to save the life of a Jordanian hostage.

On Tuesday, the Sunni extremists released a video in which they demanded that Jordan release a woman who was sentenced to death over an attack in Amman that killed 60 people. If the release didn't happen in 24 hours, the militants said, they would kill a Jordanian pilot and a Japanese journalist.

The AP reports:

Read more
Around the Nation
7:37 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Mayor Gets Worked Up As Storm Headed Toward New York City

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:09 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sports
7:37 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch Shows Up For Media Day, Kinda

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:09 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
7:11 am
Wed January 28, 2015

As Nor'Easter Lifts, Life Slowly Gets Back To Normal In Hard-Hit Areas

Students play football at the Quad, on the campus of Harvard University on Tuesday in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Maddie Meyer Getty Images

A day after a monstrous winter storm spun its way across the Northeast, life is slowly getting back to normal.

Some residents of Massachusetts are digging out of almost 3 feet of snow. The AP reports that a travel ban has been lifted and Boston's highways are filling up with traffic.

Still, the AP adds:

Read more
Politics
5:17 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Obama Moves To Cement His Environmental Legacy

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 7:02 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
5:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Judge To Exonerate 'Friendship 9' Activists 54 Years After Arrest

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:09 am

Nearly 54 years after their arrest, some of the first civil rights protesters to serve prison time for sitting at an all-white lunch counter were back in court Wednesday. A judge in Rock Hill, South Carolina cleared them of their convictions for trespassing.

In 1961, a group of nine college students from Friendship College walked into McCrory's Five and Dime Drugstore and sat down in protest to legal segregation in restaurants. Blacks were forbidden from sitting at the lunch counter so they were quickly taken to jail.

Read more
NPR Story
5:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Chicago Twins Who Snitched On Drug Cartel Get Reduced Terms

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:13 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
5:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

White House Won't Seek To End 529 College Tax Break

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:05 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
5:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

New Anti-Austerity Party Gathers Support In Spain

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:04 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
3:36 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Officers Ask Map App To Remove Police Tracking

The logo of mobile app Waze is displayed on a table. Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 12:57 pm

Waze, the popular navigation app boasting more than 50 million users worldwide, has a new critic: police officers. Over the past few weeks, law enforcement officials have been urging the app and its owner, Google, to disable a feature that allows users to report when they've spotted a police officer, in real time, for all other Waze users to see.

Sergio Kopelev, a reserve sheriff in Orange County, Calif., is one of the law enforcement officials behind the push to remove Waze's police tracker. He says he first discovered the feature through his family.

Read more
Sweetness And Light
3:32 am
Wed January 28, 2015

The Tennis Court Offers A Good Lesson For The NFL

Rafael Nadal (right) shakes hands with Tim Smyczek after winning a match at the Australian Open on Jan. 21.
Rob Griffith AP

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:06 pm

More than half a century ago, there was a best-selling book — and then a movie — titled The Ugly American. The title was a twist, because the plot featured attractive Americans who were, however, boorish and haughty, acting most unattractively when they were sent abroad to represent the country at a time (post-World War II) when the United States had never been richer or more powerful.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:30 am
Wed January 28, 2015

VA Steps Up Programs As More Veterans Enter Hospice Care

A hospital bed is draped with a flag after a veteran died in the hospice ward at St. Albans VA in Queens, N.Y.
Quil Lawrence NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 11:25 am

Ask Americans if someone in their family served in the military, and the answer is probably no. After all, fewer than 1 percent of Americans serve these days.

But ask if one of their grandfathers served, and you'll likely get a different answer. Between World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam, millions of men were drafted into service — and both men and women volunteered.

Read more
Parallels
3:26 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Singing The Blues, A U.S. Envoy Hopes To Boost Ties With Ecuador

Adam Namm (left) is the U.S. ambassador to Ecuador and a member of Samay Blues Band. He performs regularly with the group and says its a way to breakaway from traditional diplomacy.
Alejandro Reinoso for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 12:31 pm

Shortly before taking the stage at a bar in Quito, Ecuador's capital, the local band Samay Blues plugs in for a sound check.

Among the audience are a number of Americans. That's because the word is out: U.S. Ambassador Adam Namm will be sitting in on keyboards.

"I'm glad to get out of the office once in a while," Namm tells a patron. "Thanks for coming."

In a region where many left-wing leaders are hostile to the United States, Namm has found a novel way to reach out to his host country.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:25 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Homeless Man Encourages Others On The Streets To 'Get Up'

Tony Simmons leads a group of Johns Hopkins University students on a "justice walk" in downtown Baltimore, during which they learn about public policy, providing services, and the connections between income inequality and health.
Gabriella Demczuk for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 10:57 am

This story begins an occasional series about individuals who don't have much money or power but do have a big impact on their communities.

Sometimes, the people you'd least expect are those who do the most. People like Tony Simmons, a homeless man in Baltimore who helps others get off the street. Simmons says he does it as much for himself as for anyone else.

Read more
Parallels
3:24 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Tiger Skins And Rhino Horns: Can A Trade Deal Halt The Trafficking?

Coleen Schaefer (left) and Doni Sprague display a tiger pelt that was confiscated and is being stored at the National Wildlife Property Repository on the outskirts of Denver. Some 1.5 million items are being held at the facility. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is still under negotiation, would punish wildlife trafficking.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:36 pm

If you want a sobering look at the scale of wildlife trafficking, just visit the National Wildlife Property Repository on the outskirts of Denver. In the middle of a national refuge is a cavernous warehouse stuffed with the remains of 1.5 million animals, whole and in parts.

They range from taxidermied polar bears to tiny sea horses turned into key chains. An area devoted to elephants is framed by a pair of enormous tusks.

Read more

Pages