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Asia
3:20 am
Mon December 10, 2012

A Tumultuous Year, Seen Through North Korean Eyes

North Korean soldiers march during a military parade to mark 100 years since the birth of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang on April 15. It was supposed to be the year North Korea would become a "strong and prosperous" nation. That hasn't exactly been the case.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 7:39 pm

North Korea is preparing to launch a long-range rocket as it rounds off a tumultuous year marked by the sudden death of leader Kim Jong Il last December, the ascension of his 20-something son, and the humiliating failure of a rocket launch in April.

NPR recently interviewed five North Koreans in a northern Chinese city, gaining a rare glimpse of that eventful year through North Korean eyes. They were all visiting China legally, having left North Korea within the past few months.

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The Two-Way
6:42 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

This Is The World's Most Expensive Whisky

Glenfiddich's Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve. The last bottle goes up for auction on Tuesday.
Courtesy Glenfiddich

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 7:48 pm

Update at 10 a.m. ET, Dec. 11. We Were Wrong:

Though Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman told Weekend All Things Considered that he thought the $94,000 paid for a bottle of his company's Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 55 Year Old whisky was a record, it appears he was mistaken.

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The Two-Way
6:32 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

Obama, Boehner Meet At White House Over 'Fiscal Cliff'

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner at the White House on Nov. 16. Administration officials say the two men met Sunday to discuss the "fiscal cliff."
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 6:45 am

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House on Sunday to discuss the impasse over the "fiscal cliff."

NPR's Kirk Siegler reported on the closed-door meeting between the two men, the first positive signs in days that the negotiations may be moving forward.

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Race
6:01 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

The End Of Affirmative Action? What Could Be Next

Abigail Fisher, the Texan involved in the University of Texas affirmative action case, accompanied by her attorney Bert Rein, right, talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in October.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 7:09 pm

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Around the Nation
5:06 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

Ill. Considers Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar speaks to reporters at the Illinois State Capitol on Dec. 4, before a Senate vote on a law that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 7:09 pm

Illinois could become the third state — after Washington and New Mexico — where undocumented immigrants can obtain driver's licenses. The legislation is halfway there. A bill that passed the state Senate 41-14 last Tuesday has bipartisan support.

Before the Senate vote, leaders from both parties, including Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican former Gov. Jim Edgar, spoke out in favor of the legislation. Supporters say that the roads will be safer if undocumented immigrants can pass the tests and get driver's licenses.

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U.S.
4:29 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

Baltimore Says, 'Immigrants Welcome'

Hundreds gather in Baltimore's harbor Sept. 22 to witness the naturalization of nearly 50 new Americans.
Acacia Squires NPR

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 7:09 pm

Hundreds of people gathered in September at Baltimore's harbor as the wind gusted off the water's edge. Nearly 50 of them were about to be sworn in as U.S. citizens. Some were young, some old. There were uniformed members of the U.S. military, parents and children. There were immigrants from El Salvador, China, Honduras and countries in between. They raised their right hands, recited the naturalization oath to the United States, and were declared fully American.

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Literature
4:26 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

'Torn': Living As An Openly Gay Christian

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 12:50 pm

Justin Lee was raised in a conservative Southern Baptist home. He had two loving parents, and was deeply committed to his faith. In school, classmates even referred to him as "God Boy" because of his devotion.

But, as he was entering high school, Lee's whole world began to change, as he came face-to-face with feelings that he'd tried for many years to suppress.

"I didn't know I was gay at first, because I was the kid who was preaching against folks accepting themselves as gay," he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

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Science + Technology
4:26 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

Forget Extinct: The Brontosaurus Never Even Existed

This photograph from 1934 shows the Carnegie Museum's Apatosaurus skeleton on the right — wearing the wrong skull.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 7:09 pm

It may have something to do with all those Brontosaurus burgers everyone's favorite modern stone-age family ate, but when you think of a giant dinosaur with a tiny head and long, swooping tail, the Brontosaurus is probably what you're seeing in your mind.

Well hold on: Scientifically speaking, there's no such thing as a Brontosaurus.

Even if you knew that, you may not know how the fictional dinosaur came to star in the prehistoric landscape of popular imagination for so long.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:04 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

A Bald Mezzo And Three Shades Of Violin: Classical Favorites From 2012

On Silfra, violinist Hilary Hahn improvises with prepared pianist Hauschka.
DG

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 7:09 pm

From mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli's ambitious revival of the early Baroque composer Agostino Stefani (and yes, she's got another outrageous album cover) to three very different roles for the violin, here's a clutch of classical albums I returned to again and again this year for sheer delight and aural inspiration. Bartoli lavishes extravagant attention on the music of a fascinating but forgotten link in the history of opera.

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Music
2:42 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums Of 2012

Stephanie d'Otreppe NPR

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:23 am

This is how we sum up 2012: beats, harmonies, struggles, breakdowns, recoveries, party starters, raw-voiced rallying cries, song suites, storytellers, pop experimenters, never-more-devastating septuagenarian poet-crooners, never-more-devastating 285-year-old oratorios, epic statements, perfect miniatures, instant classics, hard-won achievements and explosions of joy. The albums we loved in 2012 — presented here in alphabetical order — spanned genres and borders, and each one got its hooks into us. We hope you find something here that does the same for you.

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Music
2:39 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

How The Wolf Survived: 40 Years Of Los Lobos

Los Lobos.
Drew Reynolds

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 11:21 am

  • Hear Los Lobos Play Guest DJ

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Music
2:38 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

'Mellon Collie' Mystery Girl: The Story Behind An Iconic Album Cover

The dreamy cover image of The Smashing Pumpkins' landmark 1995 album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is the work of illustrator John Craig.
EMI

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 11:50 am

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

Egyptian Opposition Calls For Protests Against Referendum On Constitution

Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.
Petr David Josek AP

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 3:20 pm

Egypt's main opposition group has called for mass protests against President Mohammed Morsi's decision to go ahead with a referendum on the country's draft constitution.

"We do not recognize the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," said Sameh Ashour, who spoke on behalf of the National Salvation Front, the main umbrella group for opposition parties.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

American Doctor Rescued From Captors In Afghanistan

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 6:03 pm

U.S. forces rescued Sunday an American doctor who was kidnapped in Afghanistan last week.

Dr. Dilip Joseph of Colorado Springs, Colo., was kidnapped Dec. 5 along with two other aid workers who were returning from a visit to a rural medical clinic outside Kabul. All three worked for Morning Star Development, a Colorado-based nonprofit.

NPR's Sean Carberry reported on the rescue for our Newscast Unit. Here's what he said:

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Afghanistan
5:10 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Afghan Contractors Feel Pinch Of Drawdown

Laborers work on a building in Kabul, Afghanistan. Following the drawdown of U.S. troops and NGOs, many construction companies are without projects and being forced to close offices and downsize.
Musadeq Sadeq AP

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 3:27 pm

The Afghan construction industry has been one of the big winners since the fall of the Taliban. NATO and the international community have pumped billions of dollars into building roads, schools and bases.

With the drawdown of troops and NGOs, however, comes a drawdown in construction spending, and that has Afghan contractors scrambling to find new business.

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Your Money
5:09 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Leaves Accountants Hanging, Too

With major tax changes still undecided, accountants and other financial professionals must advise their clients on various possible scenarios.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 2:53 pm

The expiration of Bush-era tax cuts. A patch to the alternative minimum tax. An increase in capital gains taxes.

As the "fiscal cliff" approaches, all of these are possible, but none certain. That uncertainty solicits many questions from anxious taxpayers. But, for accountants and financial planners, there are a few definitive answers.

Financial professionals who spoke with NPR say they are not strangers to uncertainty. When the Bush tax cuts were up for expiration two years ago, for instance, the feeling was similar.

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World
5:06 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Spain's Economic Woes Take A Toll On The Media

El Pais journalists demonstrate outside the newspaper's headquarters in Madrid last month.
Dominique Faget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 10:53 am

Three years of euro-zone recession have badly hurt Spain's media sector, where some 8,500 journalists have lost their jobs. Dozens of newspapers have closed and the remaining publications are sharply cutting back as ads plummet.

That's led to warnings from journalists, who see a threat to press freedom at a time when Spaniards want to understand why their financial stability is unraveling.

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It's All Politics
3:53 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Add This Group To Obama's Winning Coalition: 'Religiously Unaffiliated'

President Obama walks with his daughters Sasha, foreground, and Malia as they leave St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, on Oct. 28. An analysis of exit polls shows that those who claim no specific religious affiliation were a key Obama voting bloc in the presidential race.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

The big demographic story out of the 2012 presidential election may have been President Obama's domination of the Hispanic vote, and rightfully so.

But as we close the book on the election, it bears noting that another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term.

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Europe
3:33 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Greek Hospitals Suffer In Ailing Economy

A hand-painted banner decrying drastic cuts to the health care budget is draped on the main entrance of the Regional Hospital of Serres in northern Greece.
Joanna Kakissis for NPR

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 2:36 pm

The economic crisis in Greece is strangling the country's hospitals, where budgets have been slashed by more than half. As a result, nearly all doctors in both public and private hospitals have seen their pay cut, delayed or even frozen.

"On top of that, we lack basic supplies to do our jobs," says Vangelis Papamichalis, a neurologist at the Regional Hospital of Serres in northern Greece and a member of the doctors union here. "We run out of surgical gloves, syringes, vials for blood samples and needles to sew stitches, among other things."

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Business
6:03 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

Not Just Patriotic, U.S. Manufacturing May Be Smart

General Electric's Appliance Park has been in Louisville, Ky., since 1951. But it's putting new power behind its U.S. production.
General Electric Co.

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 8:12 pm

  • As Heard On Weekends On 'All Things Considered'

The advantages to making products in the U.S. are starting to stack up — and companies are taking notice. Among them are Apple, which announced Thursday it plans to start producing some of its Mac computers here instead of in China, and General Electric, which is making big investments at home.

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