NPR News

Code Switch
7:41 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

As First Black American NHL Player, Enforcer Was Defenseless Vs. Racism

Val James of the Toronto Maple Leafs takes warmup prior to a preseason game against the Boston Bruins at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1986.
Graig Abel Collection Getty Images

The first black American hockey player in NHL history is telling his story almost 30 years after he retired.

Val James was a revered and feared fighter β€” known in hockey as an enforcer β€” during short stints for the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1980s. But he was defenseless to the racist taunts and slurs that showered down on him from opposing teams' fans.

James and his wife, Ina, dropped off the map after an injury forced him out of hockey.

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National Security
5:14 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Families Of Sept. 11 Victims Watch Guantanamo Hearings With Mixed Feelings

Relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks are periodically flown down to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to witness court proceedings against five men accused of plotting the attacks. For the witnesses of the most recent court session, the experience raised questions about justice, humanity and the ethics of the death penalty.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:42 pm

Thad Rasmussen, 36, lost his mother, Rhonda, in the Sept. 11 attacks; she died at the Pentagon. This month, he sat in a courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and looked at five men accused of planning those attacks.

"It was very difficult to see them as humans," he says.

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Parallels
4:11 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

For One Parliamentarian, A Stronger Jordan Is Key To Fighting ISIS

Jordan's election laws make it impossible for any one political party to build a strong bloc in Parliament. Observers say that's one reason for the country's weakness β€” and for the growing appeal of the messages used by militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Khalil Mazraawi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:42 pm

There's a election law implemented in 2010 in Jordan known as "one person, one vote" that advocates of reform and democratization there regard, surprisingly, as a big step backward.

That's because of the strong ties Jordanians feel to family, clan and tribe, says Omar Razzaz, an economist and banker in Amman, the Jordanian capital.

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Cities Project
4:11 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Living Small In The City: With More Singles, Micro-Housing Gets Big

Jay Austin's tiny house in Washington, D.C., has 10-foot ceilings, a loft bed over the bathroom and a galley-style kitchen.
Franklyn Cater NPR

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:42 pm

Back in 2012, something unusual got started in an alleyway in an already tightly developed part of northeast Washington, D.C.

On an 11th-of-an-acre lot next to a cemetery, behind a block of row houses, tiny houses started to go up. And not just one little house in backyard, like you might see in many places. The builders billed this as an urban tiny house community.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Ahead Of Netanyahu's Speech To Congress, Hints Of A Thaw

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 6:25 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly meet with Sens. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Harry Reid, D-Nev., the chamber's top Democrat, after his March 3 speech to Congress.

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Music News
3:09 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

A Wrong Note Sets The Right Mood In 'House Of Cards'

House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey as the ruthless politician Frank Underwood.
David Giesbrecht Netflix

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:42 pm

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Middle East
3:09 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

ISIS's 'Jihadi John' Revealed As Londoner Born In Kuwait

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:42 pm

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Washington Post contributor Souad Mekhennet. The Post broke the news about the identity of "Jihadi John," the masked man with a British accent who has beheaded several hostages held by the Islamic State and who speaks directly to the camera in ISIS videos. The identity was revealed as Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated college with a degree in computer programming.

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Will The Dietary Guidelines Consider The Planet? The Fight Is On

A government-appointed panel concluded in a recent report that Americans should eat less red meat and processed meat. A more plant-focused diet is better for health and the environment, it found.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 5:40 pm

When it comes to eating well, we should consider the health of our bodies and the planet. This was the recommendation coming from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on Feb. 19.

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The Two-Way
2:17 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

In Video: The Great Llama Drama Of 2015

A pair of llamas were on the run in Sun City, Ariz., for about an hour.
Fox 46 via YouTube

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 4:28 pm

A pair of llamas on the loose in Sun City, Ariz., riveted the nation this afternoon.

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

South Korea Decriminalizes Cheating, Shares Of Contraceptive Companies Rise

Park Han-chul (center) president of South Korea's Constitutional Court, sits with other judges prior to the ruling on the country's adultery law Thursday in Seoul.
Lee Jin-man AP

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 5:59 pm

Extramarital sex is no longer a crime in South Korea, giving shares of contraceptive companies a boost.

On Thursday, South Korea's Constitutional Court struck down a decades-old law that made adultery a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn tell our Newscast unit that "roughly 100,000 people have been convicted of adultery since the law was passed in 1953, but conviction rates have recently fallen to below 1 percent."

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Banksy's Murals Turn Up In Gaza Strip

A mural is seen on the remains of a house that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.
Suhaib Salem Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 3:45 pm

Banksy's work is now in the Gaza Strip.

The artist, who uses public spaces for his often-provocative murals, posted images that he said were of art he created in the Gaza Strip, along with a two-minute video of life in the Palestinian territory, titled "Make this the year YOU discover a new destination."

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Saudi Man Convicted Of Conspiracy In 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings

Khalid al-Fawwaz, a Saudi man who the U.S. says was Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant in Britain, has been convicted on all four conspiracy charges tied to the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The AP reports that Al-Fawwaz's trial started a month ago in a fortified courthouse in New York. The trial focused on al-Qaida's early days. The AP adds:

"Al-Fawwaz stood expressionless as the verdict was read, pursing his lips briefly. He could face life in prison.

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NPR Story
12:55 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

For A Glimpse At A GOP Presidential Hopeful, Head To CPAC

Volunteers walk by a stand at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C. on February 26, 2015. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 2:03 pm

The Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, usually attracts the country’s most die-hard conservative activists. This year it’s also attracting nearly a dozen – depending on how you count – Republican presidential hopefuls for 2016.

NPR’s Don Gonyea is there and joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to talk about who’s at CPAC to show off their stuff, and how they might try to win hearts and minds.

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NPR Story
12:55 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Employees Beware: That Political Bumper Sticker Could Cost You Your Job

(kenudigit/Flickr)

β€˜Tis the season to speculate who’s going to run for president, who will make it through the primary, who will ultimately end up in Oval Office.

But before you slap a bumper sticker on your car, or hang a political cartoon at work, you might want to think twice. Because it turns out that either of those could get you fired. And in most states in the country, labor laws will not protect you.

While federal law bars employers from firing workers for race, religion or gender, there is no protection for freedom of political speech or action.

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NPR Story
12:55 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Remote Mexican Villages Build Their Own Cell Networks

Peter Bloom of Rhizomatica meets with the authorities in Tlahuitoltepec Mixe, Oaxaca. Rhizomatica is a non-profit group in Oaxaca city that has helped 16 remote villages install and operate their own cell phone networks. (rhizomatica.org)

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 2:26 pm

Cellphones are just about everywhere these days. But in remote, rural places the key ingredient – a cell network – is often missing. In the U.S., long-distance users pay a surcharge into the Universal Service Fund, which the government uses to pay network operators to provide affordable phone access in rural or low-income areas.

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The Salt
11:49 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Alaska Farmer Turns Icy Patch Of Tundra Into A Breadbasket

Tim Meyers on his four-acre vegetable farm in southwestern Alaska. Behind him: an endless sea of tundra, and a glimpse of the town of Bethel.
Eugenie Frerichs for NPR

The Alaskan tundra might not seem like much of an agricultural hotspot, but one farmer in the frigid town of Bethel believes he's found America's newest breadbasket.

For the last 10 years, Tim Meyers has been coaxing an enviable quantity of fruits and veggies from just four acres of land. Last year, he produced 50,000 pounds of potatoes, beets, carrots and other vegetables. He sells it at his year-round biweekly market and to local grocery stores.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Senate Panel OKs Loretta Lynch Nomination As Attorney General

Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 28. The panel voted Thursday to send her nomination to be U.S. attorney general to the full Senate.
Ron Sachs DPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 6:03 pm

Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee for attorney general, cleared a major hurdle Thursday to succeed Eric Holder as the country's top law enforcement officer. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 to send the nomination to the full chamber, which is expected to confirm her nomination.

Three Republicans joined the panel's Democrats to vote "yes." Those opposed to her nomination cited President Obama's executive actions on immigration.

"We should not confirm someone to that position who intends to continue that unlawful policy," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

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The Two-Way
11:23 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Astronomers Discover A Supermassive Black Hole Dating To Cosmic Dawn

A supermassive black hole, like the one illustrated here, has been discovered 12.8 billion light years away, at the center of an exceptionally bright quasar.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 3:15 pm

SDSS J0100+2802 is the rather understated name scientists have given to an exceptionally luminous, newly discovered quasar. It's 12.8 billion light years away and shines as brightly as 420 million suns. At its center, there's a super-sized black hole β€” as massive as 12 billion suns β€” that formed some 900 million years after the Big Bang.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Judge Throws Out Cover-Up Allegations Against Argentine President

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed allegations by prosecutors that Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, seen here Feb. 11, tried to cover up the alleged involvement of Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 6:38 pm

Last month, an Argentine prosecutor who was due to testify about an alleged cover-up in the investigation into the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires was found dead.

Alberto Nisman had accused President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's government of covering up Iran's alleged role in the bombing that killed 85 people to push through a grains-for-oil deal with Tehran. After Nisman's death, the investigation was continued by prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita.

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The Two-Way
10:43 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Pew Study On Religion Finds Increased Harassment Of Jews

Boys in Uppsala, Sweden, read supportive messages placed at the entrance of a mosque following an attack in January. A new Pew study finds that religious intolerance is a global problem, with Muslims facing more hostility from individuals, and Christians from governments. Targeting of Jews, the study found, has gotten worse over in recent years.
Anders Wiklund AP

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:42 pm

Updated at 2 p.m. ET.

This week, a man was sentenced to die in Saudi Arabia because he renounced his faith in Islam; a Hindu leader in India made a new accusation against Mother Teresa; a mosque near Bethlehem was set on fire.

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It's All Politics
10:38 am
Thu February 26, 2015

What We're Watching At The Conservative Political Action Conference

Ben Carson talks with media after his CPAC speech.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 5:48 pm

This week's Conservative Political Action Conference has drawn a huge crowd of activists and politicos, per usual β€” but it's also a prime spot for 2016 presidential hopefuls. The GOP's potential candidates β€” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. Bobby Jindal β€” are rolling on and off the main stage, hoping to fire up the conservative audience. And how well they do with this crowd β€” an important part of their base β€” may say a lot about 2016. Here are five things I'll be watching for at CPAC:

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Thu February 26, 2015

James Bond Meets His Match β€” The Roman Cobblestone

Pedestrians cross the cobblestone Via dei Fori Imperiali in front of Rome's Colosseum.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 3:54 pm

The headline in today's La Repubblica was, "The streets of Rome bring Bond to a standstill β€” car hits pothole, Craig suffers head injury."

The newspaper reported that the accident occurred while actor Daniel Craig, reprising the role of the suave British spy in the 24th James Bond thriller, Spectre, was driving one of the movie's four custom-made Aston Martins on a narrow cobblestone street near the Vatican.

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Shots - Health News
9:51 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Doctors Join Forces With Lawyers To Reduce Firearms Deaths

Closing loopholes in background checks for gun purchases would reduce the risk of death and injury, doctors' and attorneys' groups say.
Alexa Miller Getty Images

Each year more than 32,000 people die in the United States as a result of suicides, homicides and accidents with firearms.

For years doctors have tried to reduce the toll by addressing gun injuries and deaths as a public health issue; there's ample evidence that ease of access to is linked to the number of suicides and homicides. But those efforts haven't gained much traction.

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NPR History Dept.
9:16 am
Thu February 26, 2015

How Black Abolitionists Changed A Nation

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 2:52 pm

This year we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution β€” abolishing slavery. So it's worth pointing out that the emancipation movement in 19th century America was pushed forward by many different forces: enlightened lawmakers, determined liberators of captive slaves and outspoken abolitionists β€” including an influential number who were black.

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Thu February 26, 2015

NASA Sees 'Bright Spots' On Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System

An image of Ceres taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows that the brightest spot on the dwarf planet has a dimmer companion.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 2:50 pm

Scientists are puzzled by a new image taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which found two bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. The spots are noticeably brighter than other parts of the surface, which looks to be rocky and pockmarked.

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The Two-Way
6:31 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Ukraine Starts Withdrawing Heavy Weapons From Front Lines

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 6:13 pm

A cease-fire that seemed on the verge of collapse is showing signs of taking hold in Ukraine, where the government says it's withdrawing artillery weapons from the front lines of battle with Russian-backed separatists and their allies. The news comes as combat deaths have fallen to zero.

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Race
5:52 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Ferguson Lawyer To Represent Family Of Latino Man Shot 17 Times By Police

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:38 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Ed
5:03 am
Thu February 26, 2015

5 Lessons Education Research Taught Us In 2014

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 12:30 pm

Studies, research papers, doctoral dissertations, conference presentations β€” each year academia churns out thousands of pieces of research on education. And for many of them, that's the end of it. They gather dust in the university library or languish in some forgotten corner of the Internet.

A few, though, find their way into the hands of teachers, principals and policymakers. Each year the American Educational Research Association β€” a 99-year-old national research society β€” puts out a list of its 10 most-read articles.

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The Two-Way
4:57 am
Thu February 26, 2015

ISIS Extremist Who Beheaded Prisoners Is Identified As Man From London

A central figure in videos released by the self-declared Islamic State has been identified as a man from West London. He's seen here dressed in black, threatening Japanese captives Haruna Yukawa (right) and Kenji Goto.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 11:44 am

The man who has been recorded in videos threatening and killing several Western hostages in the name of the self-proclaimed Islamic State is Mohammed Emwazi. He is from London and is a British citizen of Kuwaiti descent.

British security services have been aware of the identity of the militant many have dubbed "Jihadi John," the BBC says, adding that "they chose not to disclose his name earlier for operational reasons."

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Europe
4:50 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Police In Sweden Get A Call About ISIS Party

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 5:52 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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