NPR News

NPR Story
1:53 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Federal Reserve Will Keep Interest Rates At Record Low

The Federal Reserve is signaling that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low for a considerable period because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar.

The Fed says it plans to keep its benchmark rate near zero as long as inflation remains under control, until it sees consistent gains in wage growth, long-term unemployment and other gauges of the job market.

Additionally, the Federal Reserve announced that it will stop buying bonds to prop up the US economy.

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NPR Story
1:53 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Playwright Israel Horovitz Turns Filmmaker

Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith in a scene from the film "My Old Lady"(Cohen Media Group)

Israel Horovitz has written over 70 plays. He’s had some 50 of them produced in France, which bestowed on him its Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Now he’s directed his first feature film, “My Old Lady” based on his 2002 play. “My Old Lady” tells the story of Mathias, played by Kevin Kline, a down on his luck New Yorker who inherits an apartment in Paris from his father.

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NPR Story
1:53 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

NASA Picks Companies To Launch US Astronauts Back Into Space

Members of a panel announce NASA's choice of Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station during a news conference at the Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 16, 2014, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (John Raoux/AP)

 

NASA said it will give more than $6 billion to private space companies that will launch Americans into orbit.

Since the demise of the shuttle program in 2011, the United States has had to buy seats on Russian vehicles to get crew members to the International Space Station.

NASA announced this week that Boeing and SpaceX would have their own space vehicles ready to launch in 2017.

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Parallels
1:44 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

After A Long Wait, Syrian Rebels Hope The Weapons Will Now Flow

Syrian rebel fighters in the northern city of Aleppo in August. The Obama administration has been vetting rebel groups and decided that more than a dozen are moderate enough to arm.
Zein al-Rifai AFP/Getty Images

President Obama has long been reluctant to provide substantial aid to Syria's so-called moderate rebels, often dismissed as weak and disorganized. But the rapid rise of the Islamic State has changed many calculations.

The CIA has been running a small-scale covert weapons program since early this year, according to rebels who been trained and are now receiving arms shipments. The modest program has strengthened moderate battalions according to Western and regional analysts, even as rebel commanders complain about the meager arms flow.

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Parallels
1:19 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

From Quebec To Kashmir, Separatists Watch Scotland Vote

These supporters of Scottish independence are saying yes, and separatist groups in other parts of the world hope it will give them a boost as they seek to break away.
David Cheskin AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 2:04 pm

Scotland's referendum on independence Thursday could resonate far beyond the borders of the United Kingdom. There are many places with separatist movements, like the militias in eastern Ukraine who have been battling the Ukrainian government this year.

Here's a look at some of the other places with separatists who want to break away from their current rulers, from Canada to Spain to Belgium to India.

Quebec

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Shots - Health News
1:13 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Kids' Perception Of Parents' Favoritism Counts More Than Reality

If a child feels like the odd person out, it could mean more problems in the teenage years, psychologists say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:37 pm

We all know which kid Mom and Dad liked best, and odds are you're thinking it's not you.

But does that really make a difference? It can, researchers say, but not always the way you might think.

Less-favored children are more likely to be using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as teenagers, according to researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

But what matters is not how the parents actually treat the children, but how the kids perceive it.

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All Tech Considered
1:12 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

3.7 Million Comments Later, Here's Where Net Neutrality Stands

Nuala O'Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, testifies on net neutrality issues before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:57 pm

Now, we wait.

The window for the public to weigh in on how federal rule-makers should treat Internet traffic is closed, after a record 3.7 million comments arrived at the FCC. The Sunlight Foundation analyzed the first 800,000 and found that fewer than 1 percent were opposed to net neutrality enforcement.

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Goats and Soda
12:00 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Who's Giving What: Nonprofits Step Up Anti-Ebola Efforts

Direct Relief has been shipping medical supplies to West Africa.
Courtesy of Direct Relief

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:44 pm

"Charities and individual philanthropies have given generously and they can make a big difference," President Obama emphasized yesterday during his announcement of U.S. plans for addressing Ebola.

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Iran's Foreign Minister: U.S. 'Not Serious' About Defeating Islamic State

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a recent news conference in Rome. Zarif told NPR that the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to dealing with the self-declared Islamic State.
Fabio Campana EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:56 pm

Iran's foreign minister says the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to combating extremist groups in Iraq and Syria and that President Obama needs a reality check on the subject of defeating the Islamic State insurgency.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep in an interview to air on NPR, said the United States is "not serious" about defeating the Sunni extremists.

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Shots - Health News
11:16 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Colorado Tries Hard To Convince Teens That Pot Is Bad For You

This human-scale lab rat cage is parked near a skate park in Denver, Colo., to make a point about the lack of science on marijuana.
Richard Feldman Studio/Sukle Advertising and Design

Colorado's new campaign to deter teen marijuana use tries to make the case that weed is bad for your brain.

One TV ad shows a group of teens lighting up inside a dark car as moody music plays in the background. The commercial cites a Duke University study that found a link between regular marijuana use and a lower IQ.

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Obama Rules Out Another Ground War In Iraq

President Obama speaks at U.S. Central Command, at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:13 pm

President Obama reiterated that he will not commit U.S. troops to fight another ground war in Iraq, adding that U.S. airstrikes, combined with expertise, would be more effective in defeating the group that calls itself the Islamic State.

"As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq," Obama said at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

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The Salt
10:20 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Mistura Food Fest Gives Peruvian Cuisine A Chance To Shine

Cuy, or guinea pig, one of the traditional dishes from the Andes.
Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:08 pm

Every September, Peruvian restaurants and famous chefs from around the world gather in Lima for a celebration of Peruvian cuisine. The word mistura means "mixture" in Portuguese. And the cuisine served at Mistura, the biggest food festival in Latin America, certainly reflects a fusion of cultural dishes.

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Shots - Health News
10:02 am
Wed September 17, 2014

How Catholic Insurance Companies Outsource Contraceptive Coverage

Contraceptive coverage has long been required by state laws or sought by nonreligious employers the religious health plans serve.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:16 pm

Catholic and other religious hospitals and universities have been arguing in federal court for much of the past two years that they shouldn't have to offer or facilitate birth control as part of their employee health plans because it violates their religious beliefs.

But what happens when the insurance company is itself Catholic? It turns out that Catholic health plans have for years been arranging for outside firms to provide contraceptive coverage to their enrollees.

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Parallels
9:55 am
Wed September 17, 2014

For Scotland's 16-Year-Olds, The First Vote Will Be On Independence

Scotland lowered the voting age to 16 for Thursday's referendum on whether to remain part of the United Kingdom or opt for independence. It was widely assumed the teenagers would overwhelmingly vote for independence, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Scott Heppell AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:05 pm

It's lunchtime at Drummond Community High School in Edinburgh. The kids are all wearing the uniform of a smart black blazer, white shirt and blue tie. Some 16- and 17-year-olds are here with their cheese sandwiches and their baked potatoes.

They get to cast ballots Thursday in what looks to be a close vote on whether Scotland will become independent or remain part of the United Kingdom.

Here's what some of them are saying:

"Scotland will be a richer country if there's a 'yes' vote" for independence, says Calum Preston. "It's just a fact."

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The Protojournalist
9:17 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Growing Business — Show Us Your Desk Plant

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 10:12 am

Post a photo of the plant on your desk in the Comments section below.

That's right: The plant the boss wants you to take home ...

Now you can explain — with some research to back you up — that having greenery in your workspace makes you more productive. And how a ficus near the phone or a lily by the laptop helps grow business.

And maybe your supervisor will make like a plant — and leave.

Rooting Out The Problem

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The Two-Way
8:22 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Bangladesh Court Commutes Islamist Leader's Death Sentence

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:03 pm

Bangladesh's Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence of an Islamist leader who was convicted last year by a war crimes tribunal for his role in the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

Delwar Hossain Sayedee, now 74, will instead spend the rest of his life in prison, a five-member panel of judges ruled today.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Wildfire Threatens More Than 1,500 Homes In Northern California

A photo from Sunday shows a wildfire as it approaches the shore of Bass Lake, Calif. Several blazes are being fueled by record drought conditions.
Darvin Atkeson AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 11:42 am

Updated at noon ET.

The largest of several wildfires in California, the so-called King Fire in the Sierra Nevada forest east of Sacramento, is threatening 1,600 homes as it continues to spread almost unchecked.

According to the latest information, the King Fire, one of several that California firefighters are battling, has engulfed more than 18,500 acres and is only 5 percent contained.

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Police Hunt For Armed 'Survivalist' In Pa. Trooper Shooting

This undated photo of Eric Frein was released Tuesday by Pennsylvania State Police. Frein, 31, is being sought in connection with last week's killing of a state trooper and the critical wounding of another.
AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 10:54 am

Authorities have identified a suspect in last week's shooting death of a state trooper and the wounding of another officer at a police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania, warning the public to be on the lookout for a heavily armed man described as a "survivalist."

Police have launched a manhunt for the suspect, Eric Frein, 31, of Canadensis, Pa.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

House Poised To Vote On Arming, Training Syrian Rebels

House Speaker John Boehner has expressed cautious support for the White House plan. He and other House GOP leaders are backing a measure to authorize the arming and training of moderate Syrian rebels.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 10:28 am

Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET

President Obama will meet today with military officials at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., to discuss the fight against the militants calling themselves the Islamic State, as House lawmakers prepare for a vote to authorize training for moderate rebels to oppose the extremist group.

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World
5:19 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Royal Canadian Air Force Tries To Keep Aging Fleet Flying

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 5:46 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Europe
5:04 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Police Try To Nab Thief Who Steals Flowers From Graves

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 5:46 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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NPR Story
4:25 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Sen. Kaine's Bill Would Limit Obama's Options Against ISIS

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 5:46 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
3:02 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Congress Thrust Into Election-Year Debate Over ISIS Plan

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defend the president's strategy before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 5:46 am

With just days to go until Congress is expected to go home until November, the House and Senate are moving quickly to pass legislation that would authorize the Obama administration's strategy to fight the so-called Islamic State group. The election year debate over the president's request is showing divisions that go beyond party lines.

There are Republicans like Rep. Chris Gibson of New York, who says he can't support a plan with language drafted by members of his own party. Gibson says right now, there's no political partner in Syria to broker an agreement with.

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NPR Story
3:02 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Gaza's Fate Rests On Whether Hamas And Fatah Can Co-Exist

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 5:46 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Parallels
2:17 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Not Every Afghan Institution Is Efficient; This One Is

An Afghan firefighter emerges from the smoke from a fire in a Kabul clothing market in 2012. The fire department is remarkably professional in a city where few institutions function.
Mohammad Ismail Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 8:19 am

There are certain sounds you don't ever want to hear in life — in Afghanistan or elsewhere. One is the sound of sirens and a fire truck pulling up outside your house.

But, when flames are roaring out of your garage and are lapping at the side of the house, the sirens are a welcome sound of hope.

It must have started, we think, when our aging generator caught fire. The flames don't even flinch at the spray of our household fire extinguishers.

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Goats and Soda
2:15 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Will Obama's Plan Bring The Ebola Outbreak Under Control?

President Obama meets with Emory University doctors and health care workers during his visit Tuesday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 9:32 am

It is the biggest anti-Ebola effort yet.

After months of calls by aid workers for the global community to do something about the escalating crisis, President Obama has announced plans for a massive international intervention.

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National Security
2:14 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Unregulated Skies: Keeping Watch On America's Vertical Borders

Agents at the Air and Marine Operations Center at an Air Force Reserve base in Riverside, Calif., track 20,000 to 25,000 flights a day for suspicious activity.
Master Sgt. Julie Avey AMOC

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 8:52 am

Inside a cluster of nondescript buildings on a military base in Southern California, the big radar room at the Air and Marine Operations Center looks vaguely like NASA Mission Control.

Thirty-two federal agents sit at Dell PCs, each one watching a different region of the country, monitoring private planes that might be carrying drugs or terrorists.

They don't find many. But they watch everything larger than an eagle that moves in U.S. airspace.

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Shots - Health News
2:11 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Top Scientists Suggest A Few Fixes For Medical Funding Crisis

Dr. Harold Varmus, a Nobel Prize winner, cancer biologist and director of the National Cancer Institute.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 9:53 am

Many U.S. scientists had hoped to ride out the steady decline in federal funding for biomedical research, but it's continuing on a downward trend with no end in sight. So leaders of the science establishment are now trying to figure out how to fix this broken system.

It's a familiar problem. Biomedical science has a long history of funding ups and downs, and, in the past, the system has always righted itself with the passage of time and plumper budgets.

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The Two-Way
1:06 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Vikings Now Say Adrian Peterson Is Banned From Team Activities

Andy Clayton-King AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 9:55 am

Updated at 7:15 a.m. ET:

The Minnesota Vikings announced early Wednesday morning that they had placed running back Adrian Peterson on the exempt/commissioner's permission list.

The change to Peterson's status "will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved," according to a statement issued by the team.

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Boeing And SpaceX Win $6.8 Billion In NASA Contracts

In an image provided by NASA, astronaut Randy Bresnik prepares to enter Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft for an evaluation at the company's Houston Product Support Center. NASA awarded Boeing with a $4.2 billion contract Tuesday.
AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:29 pm

NASA has chosen Boeing and SpaceX to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, putting the two American companies on a course to take over a job that NASA has recently relied upon Russia to perform: carrying out manned space flights.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says vehicles from the two companies are expected to be ready for service by 2017.

Announcing its decision Tuesday, the space agency included these details:

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