National Security
5:19 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

With Eye On Budget, Hagel Seeks Pentagon Changes

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:50 pm

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in his first major policy speech, laid out Wednesday how to deal with threats in an era of tight defense budgets.

Hagel has ordered the Pentagon to take a hard look at how many soldiers and sailors it needs and what types of weapons it buys. He says the Pentagon is at war with itself: There are competing and spiraling costs within the military — for aging weapons, and for health and pension benefits for military personnel and retirees.

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Europe
5:19 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Ex-Diplomats: U.S.-Russian Relations Not As Dire As They Seem

Former U.S. and Russian diplomats gather at RIA Novosti in Moscow on Tuesday. From left: former Russian or Soviet ambassadors to the U.S. Vladimir Lukin, Alexander Bessmertnykh and Viktor Komplektov; Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute of USA and Canada; and former U.S. ambassadors to Russia James Collins, Jack Matlock, Thomas Pickering and John Beyrle.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 1:11 am

Relations between the United States and Russia are testier than they have been in years. The two nations are at odds over human rights, the civil war in Syria and even the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.

But former American diplomats say things aren't as bad as they may seem. They say the two countries should work together on economic and security issues.

Four former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and Russia were in Moscow this week for talks with their counterparts, former Russian ambassadors to the United States.

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It's All Politics
5:07 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Sen. Landrieu's First GOP Rival Sets In Motion Key 2014 Contest

Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. (right), poses with his family and House Speaker John Boehner at the start of the new Congress, on Jan. 3. On Wednesday, Cassidy announced that he would challenge Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 5:44 pm

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, considered among the most vulnerable of the Senate's red-state Democrats facing 2014 re-election, now has at least one potential Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, whose congressional district includes Baton Rouge.

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Shots - Health News
5:03 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Side Effects Prompt Patients To Stop Cholesterol Drugs

Lipitor and other statin drugs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 2:57 pm

With one-quarter of adults over age 45 taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, it figures that more than a few people would have trouble sticking with the program.

More than a few, actually.

A big new study of statin use in the real world found that 17 percent of patients taking the pills reported side effects, including muscle pain, nausea, and problems with their liver or nervous system.

That's a lot higher than the 5 to 10 percent reported in the randomized controlled trials that provided evidence for regulatory approval of the medicines.

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NPR Story
4:47 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Private Foundations Start To Edge Out Some Countries In International Aid Donations

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's been a significant shift in international aid in recent years. Less money is coming from large donor nations and more is coming from private foundations, corporations, even countries that only a few years ago were recipients of aid themselves.

NPR's Jason Beaubien tells us more.

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The Two-Way
4:21 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Responding To North Korea, U.S. Sends Missile Defenses To Guam

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks at the National Defense University at Ft. McNair in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 4:24 pm

The United States said it was sending its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System to Guam in the coming weeks.

The move to deploy the missile defense system comes in response to continued heated rhetoric from North Korea. The BBC reports:

"The Pentagon said in a statement the missile system would be moved to Guam as a 'precautionary move to strengthen our regional defence posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat.'

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Dozens Killed In Taliban Attack On Afghan Courthouse

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 3:57 pm

At least 53 people were killed today in Afghanistan after "suicide bombers disguised as Afghan soldiers stormed a courthouse in Farah province in a failed bid to free more than a dozen Taliban," USA Today reports.

The New York Times explains:

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Music
3:37 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Night Beds On World Cafe

Winston Yellen of Night Beds.
Jarrod Renaud Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:09 pm

Night Beds is the work of Winston Yellen, who originally started making music in his hometown of Colorado Springs. But he traveled to Nashville to write the songs for Night Beds' debut album, Country Sleep, in a pre-Civil War cabin once owned by Johnny Cash.

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World
3:34 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Official On Deck To Succeed Castros Still A Question Mark To Many Cubans

Newly elected Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel attends a tribute to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in March. Diaz-Canel is expected to eventually succeed Raul Castro as the island nation's leader in 2018.
Desmond Boylan Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:50 pm

Within 10 days of Miguel Diaz-Canel's big promotion to vice president of Cuba in February, he was already being tapped as a stand-in for reticent, 81-year-old President Raul Castro. It was Diaz-Canel, not Raul or Fidel Castro, who gave Cuba's first public condolences when the communist government lost its best friend and benefactor, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

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Europe
3:34 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

A Renaissance For 'Pigsticking' In Spain

Ramiro Maura hunts wild boar at his ranch near Madrid in February.
Lauren Frayer NPR

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:50 pm

An ancient hunting ritual is making a comeback in modern Spain: the practice of hunting wild boar on horseback with spears — and no guns. The sport dates to Roman times, and was recently approved and added to Spanish hunting regulations.

Just a 20-minute drive from Spain's capital, you're in the dehesa — oak woodlands, where wild boar, deer and mountain goats roam. Madrid's skyscrapers are on the horizon, but in the forest, ancient traditions still reign.

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