LATEST FROM NPR

Pages

Health
3:02 am
Thu May 2, 2013

New York Tobacco Regulations Light Up Public Health Debate

The New York City Council is considering a number of regulations on cigarettes, including raising the minimum age for buying cigarettes to 21.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 10:09 am

If you're under 21, you may soon have a hard time lighting up in New York City. Public health officials in New York want to raise the minimum age for buying cigarettes.

The initiative is one of three proposed tobacco regulations the City Council will debate at a hearing Thursday afternoon.

"We think if we can prevent people from taking up the habit before they're 21, we might just be able to prevent them from taking it up at all," says New York Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:00 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Imagine A Flying Pig: How Words Take Shape In The Brain

Although a flying pig doesn't exist in the real world, our brains use what we know about pigs and birds — and superheroes — to create one in our mind's eye when we hear or read those words.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:20 pm

This is a story about a duck. More precisely, it's a story about what your brain just did when you read the word "duck."

Chances are, your brain created an image of a web-footed waterfowl. It also may have recalled the sound of quacking or the feel of feathers. And new research suggests that these mental simulations are essential to understanding language.

Read more
The Changing Lives Of Women
3:00 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Lady Mechanic Initiative Trains Women For 'The Best Job'

Students at the Lady Mechanic Initiative in Lagos, Nigeria, work on cars in their open air workshop.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton NPR

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 10:09 am

The young women training to be mechanics at Nigeria's Lady Mechanic Initiative wear navy overalls and work boots and their hair is tucked under customized red caps as they repair vehicles in a garage. Customers come and go, dropping off and collecting their cars. Trainee Enogie Osagie says she faced great resistance at home when she started.

Read more
Education
2:58 am
Thu May 2, 2013

A Rhodes-Like Scholarship For Study In China

The Schwarzman Scholars program, planned for the campus of Beijing's Tsinghua University, is described as "a 21st century college designed to inspire interchange."
Artist's rendering courtesy of Robert A.M. Stern Architects

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 10:09 am

If you're interested in studying in China, a new scholarship program could help you on your way. Rivaling the prestigious Rhodes scholarships, the new Schwarzman Scholars program was announced recently by Stephen Schwarzman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone Group, one of the world's biggest private-equity firms.

The financier says he plans to raise $300 million, including $100 million of his own money, to fund a new program aimed at bringing students from around the world to study at Beijing's Tsinghua University.

Read more
Music Interviews
2:03 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Iggy Pop: 'What Happens When People Disappear'

Iggy & The Stooges just released a new album, Ready to Die.
David Raccuglia Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:55 pm

Of the many things made in Michigan that have become part of the fabric of American culture — the auto industry, Motown — punk rock is often overlooked. In 1967, years before The Sex Pistols performed incendiary anthems, Iggy Pop and his band The Stooges created an explosive new sound in Detroit that would influence generations of musicians.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:12 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

FBI Asks For Public's Help In Benghazi Investigation

The FBI is seeking information about these individuals.
FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking the public for help in finding three individuals who were on the grounds of the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the day an attack killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

"These individuals may be able to provide information to help in the investigation," the FBI said in a short release.

Read more
The Salt
6:40 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Bones Tell Tale Of Desperation Among The Starving At Jamestown

The four cuts at the top of this skull "are clear chops to the forehead," says Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley. Based on forensic evidence, researchers think the blows were made after the person died.
Donald E. Hurlbert Smithsonian

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

"First they ate their horses, and then fed upon their dogs and cats, as well as rats, mice and snakes."

So says James Horn of the historical group Colonial Williamsburg, paraphrasing an account by colony leader George Percy of what conditions were like for the hundreds of men and women stranded in Jamestown, Va., with little food in the dead of winter in 1609.

They even ate their shoes. And, apparently, at least one person.

Read more
The Salt
6:29 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Who Paid For Last Summer's Drought? You Did

Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field near Fritchton, Ind., last summer.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:10 pm

Say the words "crop insurance" and most people start to yawn. For years, few nonfarmers knew much about these government-subsidized insurance policies, and even fewer found any fault with them. After all, who could criticize a safety net for farmers that saves them from getting wiped out by floods or drought?

Read more
The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Bolivian President Evo Morales Expels USAID

Bolivian President Evo Morales sings his national anthem during the annual May Day march in La Paz on Wednesday. He announced during a speech that he was expelling the U.S. Agency for International Development from the country.
Juan Karita AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 8:45 pm

Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development from his country, accusing it of undermining his government.

"We have decided to expel USAID from Bolivia," Morales said in a May Day speech outside the presidential palace in La Paz.

He said he'd ordered the country's foreign minister, David Choquehuanca, to notify the U.S. Embassy of the decision.

Read more
Business
5:59 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Deal To Protect Bangladeshi Factory Workers Still Elusive

NPR

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

This week, major retailers including Wal-Mart, Gap and others met with labor activists in Germany, hoping to hammer out a deal to improve working conditions in Bangladesh.

The meeting came less than a week after a devastating building collapse in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, killed more than 400 workers. At the meeting, activists pushed retailers who use factories in Bangladesh to start spending their own money to make those workplaces safer.

Read more
U.S.
5:23 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

U.S. Aims To Track Foreigners Who Arrive, But Never Leave

A Customs and Border Protection officer explains to arriving international passengers at Los Angeles International Airport how to provide their fingerprints. While visitors are fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival in the U.S., they are currently not tracked upon departure.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 9:02 am

Nearly half the people now in the U.S. illegally didn't climb walls, wade across the Rio Grande or trek through the desert to get here. They arrived legally, with tourist or student visas. And when those visas expired, they just never left.

Like the rest of the 11 million undocumented people in the United States, they are part of the underground economy and the government doesn't know where they are. The Senate immigration bill now before Congress tries to address this problem — though not as richly as it does border security.

Read more
Shots - Health News
5:10 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Second Thoughts On Medicaid From Oregon's Unique Experiment

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

Two years ago, a landmark study found that having Medicaid health insurance makes a positive difference in people's lives.

Backers of the program have pointed to that study time and again in their push to encourage states to expand the program as part of the federal health law.

Read more
World
4:46 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Why Chemical Weapons Have Been A Red Line Since World War I

Soldiers with the British Machine Gun Corps wear gas masks in 1916 during World War I's first Battle of the Somme.
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

President Obama has said that the use of chemical weapons could change the U.S. response to the Syrian civil war. But why this focus on chemical weapons when conventional weapons have killed tens of thousands in Syria?

The answer can be traced back to the early uses of poison gas nearly a century ago.

In World War I, trench warfare led to stalemates — and to new weapons meant to break through the lines.

Read more
Africa
4:45 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

S. African Leader Under Fire After Awkward Visit With Mandela

In this image taken from video, South African President Jacob Zuma sits with ailing anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela on Monday. Mandela was hospitalized in late March with a lung infection, and in images from the visit, appeared largely unresponsive.
SABC AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

In South Africa, controversial images of a frail and ashen Nelson Mandela being visited by South Africa's current president aired on national television this week. Some people claimed it was a political publicity stunt.

The footage is fueling fresh debate about what is proper and what constitutes invasion of privacy regarding the ailing, 94-year-old former president and anti-apartheid legend.

President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by two other top officials of the governing ANC party, visited Mandela at his Johannesburg home on Monday.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:37 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

A Sleep Gene Has A Surprising Role In Migraines

Bates experienced migraines as a child. She made this painting to depict how they felt to her.
Courtesy of Emily Bates

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 10:33 am

Mutations on a single gene appear to increase the risk for both an unusual sleep disorder and migraines, a team reports in Science Translational Medicine.

The finding could help explain the links between sleep problems and migraines. It also should make it easier to find new drugs to treat migraines, researchers say.

And for one member of the research team, Emily Bates, the discovery represents a personal victory.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:37 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

The Federal Deficit Is Actually Shrinking

The Treasury Department announced this week it will pay down some of its debt for the first time in six years.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 1:33 pm

During the housing bust, taxpayers were forced to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But thanks to the real estate recovery, Fannie Mae could end up paying tens of billions of dollars back to the Treasury this summer.

That's just one of the factors behind a better bottom line for the federal government. This week, the Treasury Department announced it will pay down some of its debt for the first time in six years.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Justice: Prison Compassionate Release Programs Inconsistent

Inmates file by a guard tower at California's Chino State Prison in 2010.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:18 pm

"Compassionate release" programs that free inmates with terminal illnesses and limited life expectancies are poorly run and lack clear standards, the Department of Justice's inspector general said on Wednesday.

The Associated Press reports:

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:20 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Mate Doesn't Have Your Back? That Boosts Depression Risk

Having a special someone won't fend off depression if that person doesn't have your back.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 9:21 am

Having a mate is supposed to be good for your mental health.

But if that mate is critical or can't be counted on when the going gets tough, that's worse than having no mate at all, researchers say.

"The quality of your relationships matters more than quantity when it comes to depression," says Dr. Alan Teo, a psychiatrist at the University of Michigan who led the study.

Read more
Afghanistan
3:16 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Secret Cash To Afghan Leader: Corruption Or Just Foreign Aid?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged a report this week that the CIA has regularly been sending him money. Afghans seem to have mixed feelings. The president is shown here speaking at an event in Kabul on March 10.
S. SABAWOON EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

After a report in The New York Times this week, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that the CIA has been secretly delivering bags of money to his office since the beginning of the war more than a decade ago.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

NASA Details Space Telescope's Cosmic Near Miss

This diagram shows Fermi and Cosmos 1805 on a collision course.
NASA

A new video reveals just how close NASA came last year to losing its $500 million Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in a narrowly averted collision with a defunct, Cold War-era Soviet spy satellite.

On March 29, 2012, Julie McEnery, the project scientist for Fermi, received an automatically generated email warning that the two satellites were due in just a few days to pass within 700 feet of one another as their respective orbits crossed.

Read more

Pages