NPR News

The Two-Way
6:43 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Tech Giants Settle Wage-Fixing Lawsuit

Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt speaks at the Chinese University in Hong Kong in November of 2013.
Philippe Lopez AFP/Getty Images

Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe have decided to settle a lawsuit brought by 64,000 employees, who accused the companies of conspiring on a scheme that would drive down wages.

The lawsuit claims that the companies agreed not to recruit each others' employees. The Wall Street Journal reports that while the terms of the suit were not revealed, it has learned it involves a $325 million payout.

The paper adds:

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The Two-Way
6:09 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Feds Rescind Washington State's 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver

Washington has become the first state to have its "No Child Left Behind" waiver revoked by the Obama administration. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan notified the state of his decision today, which will restrict Washington's flexibility in spending federal education dollars.

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The Two-Way
5:00 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Kerry Says Window For Russia To Change Course In Ukraine Is Closing

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:34 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a strongly worded warning to Russia on Thursday, saying the U.S. is ready to impose more sanctions if Russia refuses to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.

"The window to change course is closing," Kerry said. If Russia doesn't change course, "the world will make sure the costs for Russia will only grow."

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All Tech Considered
4:30 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Life Outside The Fast Lane: Startups Wary Of Web Traffic Plan

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the Internet startup Reddit, says he and his partner had no connections and little money when they started the now-popular site.
Tanya Kechichian Courtesy of Hachette Book Group USA

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 6:01 pm

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is offering up some new rules to govern traffic on the Internet. The draft document could allow some Web companies to pay more for faster access.

It's the latest attempt by the FCC to adjust so-called network neutrality rules, initially intended to make sure that all traffic on the Internet moves at the same speed.

The new rules won't be made public until May, but some members of the startup world are already worried.

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Politics
4:29 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

On The Ballot In Georgia This Year: JFK

A campaign sign for John F. Kennedy, a Republican running for office in Georgia, by the railroad tracks outside the city of Forsyth.
Adam Ragusea/GPB

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 6:42 pm

Voting for this year's midterm elections is already underway in some states that hold early primaries. In Georgia, a field of seven GOP candidates is locked in a bitter fight for the nomination to succeed retiring Senate Republican Saxby Chambliss.

But another race that's turning heads in Georgia is one for state Senate that involves a candidate with a very familiar name: Kennedy.

Yes, his name is John F. Kennedy.

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Shots - Health News
4:19 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Why The U.S. Is Worried About A Deadly Middle Eastern Virus

Fearful of catching the MERS virus, workers wear masks during a soccer match on April 22 at King Fahad stadium in Riyadh.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:27 pm

The latest medical acronym to fear is MERS: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The virus has killed 83 people in the Arabian Gulf since first emerging in 2012 and now looks as if it could pose a global threat.

This week, the number of new cases rose at a rate that causes concern, the World Health Organization said in a statement.

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The Two-Way
4:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Radioactive Leak At U.S. Waste Dump Was Preventable, Report Says

A worker drives an electric cart past air monitoring equipment inside a storage room of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M., shown in this undated photo.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:02 pm

A February accident at a nuclear waste dump that resulted in the contamination of 21 workers resulted in part from "poor management, ineffective maintenance and a lack of proper training and oversight," a Department of Energy report concludes.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel says the report, released Thursday, says the release of radioactive material into the environment from the Feb. 14 accident at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., could have been prevented. The facility is a repository for defense-related nuclear waste.

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The Two-Way
3:48 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Yankees Pitcher Suspended Over 'Foreign Substance' On Neck

Home plate umpire Gerry Davis checks out the hand of Michael Pineda of the New York Yankees in front of teammate Derek Jeter before throwing him out of the game in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox.
Jared Wickerham Getty Images

Major League Baseball issued a ten-game suspension against Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda for "possessing a foreign substance on his person" during a game against the Boston Red Sox.

As Major League Baseball reports, after the Sox's manager complained to home plate umpire Gerry Davis, he went out to the mound to inspect Pineda.

Davis found some tar on Pineda's neck.

Pineda was ejected and if he doesn't appeal the suspension, he'll begin serving it tonight.

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Shots - Health News
3:18 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Rural Hospitals Weigh Independence Against Need For Computer Help

Dr. Billy Oley (left) talks with Dr. William George in the Beartooth Billings Clinic in Red Lodge, Mont. The hospital became part of the Billings Clinic system in exchange for help with its digital medical records.
Eric Whitney for NPR

One of the biggest challenges American hospitals face right now is moving to electronic medical records from old-fashioned paper files.

The switch is costing tens of billions of dollars, eating up tons of staff time, and it's especially tough for the country's 2,000 rural and small-town hospitals.

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Business
3:16 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Recall Woes Push Along GM's Cultural Reinvention

General Motors has yet to explain why it took 10 years to recall a faulty ignition switch. Some blame the culture. GM says it's working on that.
Uli Deck DPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 4:27 pm

General Motors has announced a big hit to first-quarter earnings, largely due to costs for recalls. Profits dropped nearly 90 percent from last year, with the company making a razor-thin profit of $100 million, GM said Thursday.

Meanwhile, GM has yet to explain why it took 10 years to issue one of the recalls for a defective ignition switch. Some critics believe the automaker's dysfunctional culture is to blame.

But the recall crisis could speed up a culture shift that's already underway. 

Customer-Focused

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Strange News
3:14 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

The Man Who Would Own All The World's 'Speed' — But Only On VHS

Ryan Beitz has a goal: Collect every VHS copy of the movie Speed known to man. He has over 500 of them now, he says. But the man pushes on, scouring the earth for more.

U.S.
3:03 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Postal Workers Protest At Staples Over Shift In Jobs

Postal workers take part in a march in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to protest the opening of U.S. Postal Service counters at Staples stores.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 4:16 pm

U.S. postal workers took to the streets Thursday to protest in front of Staples office supply stores around the country. At issue is a decision to open Postal Service counters in Staples stores — something they say is siphoning away union jobs.

The postal workers' grievances come as their employer faces pressures to find new avenues of business.

Both the American Postal Workers Union and the leadership of the U.S. Postal Service lay claim to be fighting for the same cause: safeguarding the long-term future of one of the largest employers in the country.

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Middle East
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Chemical Weapons Deadline May Be Met, But Results In Syria Are Mixed

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:03 pm

Syria will likely meet an upcoming deadline to hand over its declared chemical weapons. But the agreement seems to have emboldened the Syrian regime to use other brutal tactics, including a chemical not covered by the deal.

Asia
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Internet Freedom Debate Stokes Rivalry Between Turkey's Top Two

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:03 pm

Turkey has been roiled by street protests, a Twitter ban controversy and, most recently, a growing rivalry between the ruling party's top two figures, the president and prime minister.

News
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

NCAA Directors Decide To Allow More Freedom To Wealthier Schools

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:03 pm

Major changes are expected for the NCAA, whose board meets Thursday. Directors will consider giving the five power conferences more autonomy, as well as changing the way scholarships are administered.

News
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Report Decries A Cozy Relationship Shared By DHS And Watchdog

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:03 pm

A Senate panel released a report Thursday that criticizes the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security. It accuses him of repeatedly compromising his independence.

Europe
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Firefights And Fallen Separatists, As Ukraine Offensive Advances

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:03 pm

Early Thursday morning, the Ukrainian military moved into towns held by militants. Firefights and casualties have been reported at a number of different locations.

Middle East
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

In Answer To Palestinian Unity, Israelis Step Away From Peace Talks

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:03 pm

The Israeli government suspended peace talks with Palestinians, citing a unity agreement announced Wednesday by Palestinian leadership. The Israeli security cabinet came to the decision unanimously, angered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to end a seven-year schism with the Hamas movement.

Middle East
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

CIA Acts In Syria, Slipping Weapons To Rebels In Secret

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:03 pm

As diplomatic talks in Geneva have failed to resolve the three-year-old civil war in Syria, the U.S. is undertaking a new covert program to send weapons in support of rebel forces there.

The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Pacific Island Nation Sues U.S., Others For Violating Nuclear Treaty

The second atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll on July 25, 1946. The Marshall Islands, where Bikini is located, is suing the U.S. for what it calls a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:01 pm

The Marshall Islands, the Pacific chain where the U.S. carried out dozens of nuclear tests in the late 1940s and 1950s, has filed suit in the Hague against Washington and the governments of eight other countries it says have not lived up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens: Marijuana Should Be Legal

Former Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens likens making pot illegal to Prohibition. In his new book, Six Amendments, he proposes constitutional changes including a curb on an individual's right to bear arms.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 2:12 pm

  • Justice Stevens Talks About Marijuana
  • Justice Stevens Talks About Gay Marriage

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens made some news in an interview with NPR's Scott Simon on Thursday.

Scott asked him if the federal government should legalize marijuana.

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NPR Story
12:22 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Discovering Lost Sounds

The sound of a guillotine used for executions, like this one on display at a museum in Rudesheim, Germany, is one of the many "lost sounds" being preserved by Torsten Nilsson. His "preserved" sounds can be heard at the Museum of Work in Norrköping, Sweden. (FarinelliMoi/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:13 pm

Do you know what a guillotine sounds like? How about a Tiegel semi-automatic stop-cylinder printing press?

These are some of the sounds from past generations that have been lost (sometimes for the better). But the Museum of Work in Norrköping, Sweden, is preserving those sounds.

Here & Now’s Robin Young listens to some of these lost sounds with Torsten Nilsson, curator of the Museum of Work.

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NPR Story
12:22 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Sunday Morning Talk Shows Might Be On The Decline

Critics of Sunday morning political talk shows like "Meet the Press" say they don't pack the same punch they used to, focusing too much on sensationalism rather than hard news. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images for Meet the Press)

The Sunday morning talk shows once played a vital role in American politics. Shows like “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation” and “This Week” used to facilitate opportunities for news-making interviews that would set the national political agenda.

Now fans are criticizing such shows for being too gossipy or hosting the same guests repeatedly, and these once influential programs might be dying out.

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NPR Story
12:22 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

N.H. Hospital Offers Deals On Procedures To Uninsured

Richard Coll saw an advertisement for a flat-rate colonoscopy in his local paper. (Todd Bookman/NHPR)

Transparency and low cost aren’t exactly widespread when it comes to getting healthcare. But Elliot Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire, is trying to change that.

The hospital is offering “CareBundles,” an all-inclusive fee for procedures like colonoscopies and knee surgery. At this time, only the uninsured can get fixed price procedures. But while the initiative is in its infancy, some big companies are making similar low-cost deals with hospitals in other parts of the country.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Pope OKs Communion For The Divorced? Not So Fast, Vatican Says

Pope Francis as he celebrated Communion last July in Brazil.
Buda Mendes Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:38 pm

The Vatican on Thursday sought to tamp down speculation that Pope Francis wants to reverse church teachings and allow divorced and remarried Catholics and their spouses to take Communion.

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Shots - Health News
11:48 am
Thu April 24, 2014

A Measles Outbreak In The Philippines Travels To The U.S.

There today, here tomorrow: A mother holds her child for a measles vaccination in Manila, Philippines, in January. Travelers are bringing measles from the Philippines to the United States.
Noel Celis AFP/Getty Images

Measles cases in the United States have spiked in the past four months, driven mostly by people traveling from the Philippines, which is in the midst of an explosive outbreak of the highly contagious virus. By April 18, 129 cases have been reported, the most in that time period since 1996.

The situation is unusual enough that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday warned people to get their measles shots up to date, especially if they're planning international travel.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Long-Lost Wreck Off San Francisco Recalls Anti-Chinese History

The steamship City of Chester.
San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park K01.2.571PL

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:16 pm

Rewind to the year 1888: The 202-foot SS City of Chester, departing San Francisco harbor in thick fog, is nearly cut in two by the much larger liner Oceanic, arriving from Hong Kong. Within six minutes, the smaller ship disappears under the turbulent current near the site of the present-day Golden Gate Bridge, claiming 16 lives.

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Israel Halts Peace Talks After Palestinian Unity Move

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:35 am

One day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was calling off his side's participation in the next session of peace talks with Palestinian leaders, Israel's Cabinet has endorsed that decision and "unanimously decided to cut off contacts," The Associated Press writes.

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The Protojournalist
9:20 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Tweet Suits: Social Media And The Law

Levent Konuk istockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 12:55 pm

In the past several years, as more and more people are connected through more and more social media, the idea of turning personal grievances into class actions has been popping up, well, more and more.

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The Two-Way
9:07 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Lawyers Use High Court Petition To Highlight Prosecutorial Misconduct

Lawyers for a computer support technician convicted of possessing ricin to use as a weapon are asking the Supreme Court on Thursday to hear his appeal, as a way to send a message about widespread prosecutorial misconduct.

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