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It's All Politics
11:35 am
Thu February 28, 2013

How Washington Chose Not To Be Careful With Spending Cuts

Under sequestration, federal agencies don't have the flexibility to choose to spare popular programs or services by making administrative cuts elsewhere.
Tatiana Popova iStockphoto.com

Inconveniencing the public is part of the plan.

It may never have been intended to play out in quite this way, but the automatic spending cuts set to take effect for most federal programs Friday leave little room for preserving the most visible and popular programs.

"The law basically says the cuts have to be across-the-board by 'project, program and activity,' " says Stan Collender, a federal budget expert with the communications firm Qorvis. "That was specifically written to take away flexibility from the administration."

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The Two-Way
11:23 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Mastermind Of Great Train Robbery Dies

The Great Train Robbers (from left): Buster Edwards, Tom Wisbey, Jim White, Bruce Reynolds, Roger Cordrey, Charlie Wilson and Jim Hussey, with copies of their book The Train Robbers in 1979.
Michael Fresco Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:26 pm

Bruce Reynolds, the brains behind the Great Train Robbery of 1963, has died at the age of 81, nearly five decades after he and his partners in crime made off with 2.6 million pounds at Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, England.

Reynolds was part of the gang that executed an elaborate scheme to swipe the cash from the Glasgow-to-Euston mail train. The clockwork nature of the crime, along with the fact that the bulk of the loot was never recovered and some of the robbers never captured, has made it a favorite subject of television and films, as well as popular music.

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The Salt
11:22 am
Thu February 28, 2013

China's Horses May End Up In Russia's Kabobs

The great horse meat scandal infographic.
via The Australian Institute of Food Safety

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:15 pm

China isn't a good place to be a horse, if your goal is to avoid ending up as the Russian kabobs known as shashlik.

China exports the most horse meat to the global market, while Russia has the biggest appetite for horseflesh, according to a new infographic on the continuing European scandal over horse meat sold as beef.

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Shots - Health News
10:17 am
Thu February 28, 2013

New York Medical School Widens Nontraditional Path For Admissions

iStockphoto.com

Should students who want to attend medical school have to slog through a year of physics, memorize the structures of dozens of cellular chemicals or spend months studying for the MCAT? Not necessarily.

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Science + Technology
10:15 am
Thu February 28, 2013

First Space Tourist Sets Sights On A Mars Mission

Space tourist Dennis Tito celebrates after his landing near the Kazakh town of Arkalyk on May 6, 2001.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:23 pm

The world's first space tourist is financing a project that aims to launch an American man and woman on a mission to fly by Mars in 2018.

Back in 2001, businessman Dennis Tito shelled out about $20 million to ride a Russian spaceship up to the International Space Station. Now he's unveiled a new nonprofit group called the Inspiration Mars Foundation.

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Milwaukee Finds Its Missing Link; 'Guido The Racing Italian Sausage' Turns Up

Guido the Racing Italian Sausage in action during Game Two of the National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 6:30 pm

Team mascots across the nation are heaving exaggerated sighs of relief this morning.

The front-page news in Milwaukee is that "Guido, the Klement's racing Italian sausage costume last seen a couple weeks ago adorning a bar hopper in Cedarburg, was returned Wednesday night."

According to the Journal Sentinel:

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Thu February 28, 2013

The Meaning Of 'Regret': Journalist Bob Woodward, White House Disagree

Bob Woodward speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Watergate in Washington in June.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:39 am

It all depends on how you interpret the phrase "you will regret doing this." That piece of advice coming from a parent might be taken far differently than it would as a line from a Joe Pesci movie.

Where it falls on a spectrum from friendly advice to outright threat is apparently a matter of opinion. Bob Woodward, The Washington Post reporter of Watergate fame, and the Obama White House disagree on more than just the sequester story.

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The Two-Way
8:47 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Better Than Nothing? GDP Revised From Slight Drop To Slight Gain

It's not much of a change, but at least it's in the right direction.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday morning that it now thinks the economy grew at a 0.1 percent annual rate in fourth-quarter 2012. A month ago, BEA thought GDP shrank at a 0.1 percent annual rate in those last three months of the year.

Obviously, in an economy that now produces nearly $16 trillion worth of goods and services annually, a 0.2 percentage point revision is basically a blip.

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Countdown To The Sequester: 3 More 'Should-Read' Stories

Will the clouds part, the sun shine and a sequester solution be found?
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov
  • NPR's Tamara Keith on where things stand
  • NPR's Brian Naylor on the sequester and aviation safety
  • KCUR's Frank Morris on meat inspections

Friday's deadline looms, and as we heard earlier today on Morning Edition: "Oh, it's gonna happen."

The "it" is sequestration — $85 billion worth of across-the-board federal spending cuts that are due to start kicking in at the end of Friday unless Republican and Democratic leaders somehow bridge their differences.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Thu February 28, 2013

U.S. To Give Syrian Opposition $60 Million More In Non-Lethal Aid, Kerry Says

Secretary of State John Kerry during a news conference Thursday in Rome.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration will ask Congress for an additional $60 million in aid to help the Syrian opposition council provide basic goods and services in areas under rebel control, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday in Rome.

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The Two-Way
7:39 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Book News: 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Author Says Next Book Will Be Tamer

Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James on the set of the French TV show Le Grand Journal.
Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:25 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Queen of kink E.L. James told the New York Post that her next book "won't be nearly so raunchy" as Fifty Shades of Grey, and that she will "probably write it under another name." Her "inner goddess" is probably tired after all of that merengue-ing.
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Around the Nation
7:28 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Princeton University To Give Away Free Homes

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with news for folks looking to acquire a new home. Princeton University is giving some houses away for free. They are fixer-uppers, offered as is, but did I mention they're free? The old houses, which have been used as offices, need to be taken off campus to make room for a new art and transit project. Prospective owners will need to pick up their new homes. So a free house, delivery not included. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
7:13 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Benedict's Time Is Over; He's No Longer The Pope

A final blessing: Pope Benedict XVI as he blessed those gathered outside his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo on Thursday. He's not expected to make any more public appearances.
Tony Gentile Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 2:11 pm

  • Sylvia Poggioli on 'Morning Editon'

(We last updated the top of this post at 2 p.m. ET.)

Precisely on time, under dark skies but with the lights of cameras from news outlets around the world illuminating the scene, Swiss Guards on Thursday closed the doors of the palazzo at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome — marking the official end of Pope Benedict XVI's time as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

For the first time in about 600 years, a pope has voluntarily stepped down. His final moment as leader of the church came at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET).

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Around the Nation
7:12 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Tooth Fairy Survey: Rate Went Up 15 Percent in 2012

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne with an economic indicator found under children's pillows.

The latest Tooth Fairy survey shows the average rate for lost teeth went up 15 percent last year. Illinois based provider Delta Dental says the gain is similar to the jump the S&P 500 saw last year. The average Tooth Fairy gift was just over $2.40. The real moneymaker is the first lost tooth, worth a full dollar more.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Politics
6:31 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Democrats Move To Reinstate Assault Weapons Ban

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

A hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday included tears, cheers and a recording of bursts of gunfire. It was all part of a new push by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, a ban that expired nearly a decade ago.

NPR's David Welna was there.

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Business
6:06 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Job Applicants Are Wary Of Firms' Resume Sorting Software

Companies rely on software to search for new employees, especially when there's a large number of job applicants. But those seeking employment say it puts them at a disadvantage when the software hones in on key terms that don't fit on their resumes.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 1:32 pm

With unemployment still high, hiring managers continue to be inundated by job applications. Some big companies are coping with the deluge by using talent management software that winnows pools of job applicants before a human lays eyes on their resumes.

Human resources teams say in today's economy, the systems, which have been around for decades, are crucial. But job hunters like Tim Woodfield often find the software overly aggressive.

Woodfield is an information technology expert, but, ironically, computers became his nemesis during his job search.

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Politics
6:06 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Sequester Cuts Could Affect Air Safety

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

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Business
4:42 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Experts Boil Telecommuting Decisions Down To Flexibility Vs. Serendipity

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:04 pm

Yahoo touched off a debate about the effectiveness of telecommuting when it told employees last week that they may no longer work from home. The policy change was made, according to the company's internal email, to enhance workplace collaboration.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who happens to be a new mother, drew fierce criticism from those who say she should embrace, rather than reject, flexible work arrangements.

What exactly is lost and what's gained when people work from home?

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Health
3:42 am
Thu February 28, 2013

What Happened To The Aid Meant To Rebuild Haiti?

Many homes that were rebuilt after the earthquake in 2010 are even more dangerous than the original ones. This three-story home was put up after the quake but is already slated for demolition to make way for an 18-unit housing project.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 4:39 pm

After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, governments and foundations from around the world pledged more than $9 billion to help get the country back on its feet.

Only a fraction of the money ever made it. And Haiti's President Michel Martelly says the funds aren't "showing results."

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