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NPR Ed
7:14 am
Wed September 17, 2014

These People Can Make Student Loans Disappear

It was an ordinary Friday. Courtney Brown, 24, of Kalamazoo, Mich., was busy looking for a job. "I've applied all kinds of places," she says. "Wal-Mart, Target, Verizon Wireless."

Then she got a strange letter in the mail. "'We are writing you with good news,'" she reads to me over the phone. "'We got rid of some of your Everest College debt ... no one should be forced to mortgage their future for an education.'"

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

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

Authorities have identified a suspect in last week's shooting death of a state trooper and the critical 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.

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

House Could Vote On $500 Million To Arm, Train 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 6:50 am

Updated at 8:35 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/.

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/.

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 Gets Thrust Into Election-Year Debate Over ISIS Plan

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

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

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:25 am

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

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 4:51 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 started, we believe, when our aging generator caught fire. The flames don't even flinch at the spray of our household fire extinguishers.

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Energy
2:16 am
Wed September 17, 2014

When The Power's Out, Solar Panels May Not Keep The Lights On

In Del Norte, Colo., Public Works Supervisor Kevin Larimore shows off solar panels that provide electricity for the town's water supply. Despite generating its own solar energy, the town is still at risk of a blackout if its main power line goes down.
Dan Boyce Inside Energy

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:25 am

The cost of solar panels is falling rapidly in the United States. And as the panels become more affordable, they're popping up on rooftops around the country.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is trying to find better ways to back up its power system against blackouts. And, while it may seem counter-intuitive, more solar power does not mean fewer blackouts — at least not yet.

The tiny town of Del Norte, in southwestern Colorado, is a perfect example. Despite being covered in solar panels, Del Norte is still at risk of losing power if its main power line goes down.

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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 healthcare workers during his visit yesterday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:25 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 in 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 4:47 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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Code Switch
2:12 am
Wed September 17, 2014

'Breaking Bad' Fans Get Their Fix In Spanish

In Metástasis, Diego Trujillo (center) plays Walter Blanco, a chemistry teacher who sells crystal meth with his former student José Miguel Rosas, played by Roberto Urbina.
Manuel Rodriguez UniMás

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

How do you remake the award-winning AMC series Breaking Bad in Spanish?

Well, all you need — as the show's chemistry teacher-turned-drug dealer, Walter White, might say — is "a little tweak of chemistry."

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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 3:02 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 5:46 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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Politics
3:33 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Rep. Gowdy To Lead New Benghazi Committee In First Public Hearing

Gowdy questions a witness during a May 2013 House committee hearing on Benghazi.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:21 pm

The Sept. 11 attacks two years ago on an outpost in Benghazi, Libya, will get a fresh look by House lawmakers Wednesday. The attacks took the lives of four Americans including a U.S. ambassador.

It will be the first public hearing since Speaker John Boehner announced the formation of the Select Committee on Benghazi and named Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the chairman in May.

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Economy
3:33 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

A 'Circle' Of Support Helps Families Stay Out Of Poverty

Cara Russo of Gettysburg, Pa., here with 9-year-old Shayla, one of her two daughters, has found success in a program geared to help struggling families navigate past some of the day-to-day obstacles that keep many poor.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:14 pm

Go around the country and you'll hear lots of frustration about just how difficult it is to get out of poverty — and more importantly, how to stay out. The official U.S. poverty rate may have gone down to 14.5 percent in 2013 according to new numbers out Tuesday, but still more than 45 million were poor.

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Goats and Soda
3:32 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Dr. Kent Brantly: Ebola Survivor Gives Testimony On The Hill

Dr. Kent Brantly was medical director at Monrovia's only Ebola treatment center when he fell ill with the disease in July. He survived after being evacuated and treated in the United States.
Courtesy of Samaritan's Purse

Dr. Kent Brantly, a U.S. medical missionary who contracted Ebola in July while working as a doctor in Liberia and survived the deadly disease after treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, appeared at a joint Senate hearing today examining the Ebola outbreak.

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Goats and Soda
3:13 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

More Birthdays For Kids Under 5 Around The World

Jung Ha-yoon, 2, and other children in Seoul, South Korea, enjoy playing around (and in) ceramic jars. The country's infant mortality rate dropped 91 percent between 1972 and 2012.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 6:12 pm

In 2013, 6.3 million children under the age of 5 died. That's a tragic statistic — yet it represents a 49 percent drop from 1990, according to data released Tuesday by the United Nations.

Dr. Mickey Chopra, the head of UNICEF's global health programs, spoke with us about the encouraging trend — and what still needs to be done in parts of the world where children's lives are threatened by unsanitary water, disease and malnutrition.

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The Salt
3:00 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Edible Packaging? Retailers Not Quite Ready To Ditch The Wrapper

A strawberry vanilla WikiPearl made with Stonyfield frozen yogurt.
Stonyfield and WikiPearl, Inc.

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:48 am

A handful of companies are trying to take an idea straight out of Willy Wonka and turn it into reality: edible packaging. I mean, why dump tons of waste into landfills when the container your food comes in could be a part of the snack?

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The Salt
2:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Thanks To Nutella, The World Needs More Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts, in all their glory.
Ingrid Taylar/Flickr

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:48 am

Nutella, that sinfully indulgent chocolate-hazelnut spread, turns 50 this year, and it's come a long way, baby.

There's even a "Nutella bar" in midtown Manhattan, right off Fifth Avenue, tucked inside a grand temple of Italian food called Eataly. There's another Nutella bar at Eataly in Chicago. Here, you can order Nutella on bread, Nutella on a croissant, Nutella on crepes.

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Shots - Health News
2:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

When Patients Set Science's Research Agenda, Who Loses?

Coalitions of patient advocates now help steer research funding toward particular projects.
Lilli Carré for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 4:33 pm

The federal government has poured more than $3 billion into breast cancer research over the past couple of decades, but the results have been disappointing. The disease remains a stubborn killer of women.

So the National Breast Cancer Coalition is trying something bold: The advocacy group has decided that it's not simply going to lobby for more research dollars. Instead, its leaders are sitting down at the table with scientists studying the disease and telling them how they'd like that money to be spent.

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All Tech Considered
2:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

The Kaypro II: An Early Computer With A Writer's Heart

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 4:45 pm

Commentator Andrei Codrescu remembers the first word processor he had — the Kaypro II in the 1980s. Its inventor, Andrew Kay, died Aug. 28, at the age of 95. The Kaypro II weighed in at a mere 26 pounds and was a favorite of early computer aficionados.

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Sports
2:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Vikings Allow Adrian Peterson Back Without Suspension

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 3:33 pm

Melissa Block talks with Minneapolis Star Tribune sports columnist Chip Scoggins about how Minnesota is reacting to the Vikings decision to allow running back Adrian Peterson to play after admitting to hitting his 4 year old with a switch.

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

The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Obama Gives New Details On America's Effort To Fight Ebola

President Obama spoke Tuesday about the U.S. plan to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, speaking at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The White House plan reportedly includes deploying 3,000 U.S. military personnel and training health care providers in Liberia.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 3:51 pm

President Obama announced details of his plan Tuesday to help contain the Ebola outbreak that has caused more than 2,400 deaths in West Africa. The strategy reportedly includes sending up to 3,000 military personnel to the region.

Obama spoke at the Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday afternoon.

Update at 4:18 p.m. ET: 'It Doesn't Have To Be This Way'

The president describes "a major increase in our response." Some details:

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Shots - Health News
2:05 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Americans' Waistlines Are Expanding, And That's Not Good Fat

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 6:57 pm

If your belt needs to be let out a notch, you're not alone. The average American waistline is growing even though obesity rates haven't grown, too. And excess abdominal fat increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

The collective American waistline grew by an more than inch from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Shots - Health News
2:03 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Colleges Brainstorm Ways To Cut Back On Binge Drinking

Frostburg State University police officer Derrick Pirolozzi, right, conducts a "knock and talk" at a house near campus, reminding students of laws on underage drinking and open containers.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:56 am

It's early Friday night, and Frostburg State University police officer Derrick Pirolozzi is just starting the late shift. At a white clapboard house he jumps out of his SUV to chat with four students on the front steps.

"S'up guys!" he calls out, assuring them he just wants to chat. All are underage but one, and that one tells Pirolozzi he's got a string of alcohol violations from past years. Pirolozzi banters a bit. He tells them to "call anytime," and reminds them not to walk around the street with open containers.

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Goats and Soda
1:12 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Which Contagious Diseases Are The Deadliest?

Do you know what the deadliest disease is? Hint: It's not Ebola (viral particles seen here in a digitally colorized microscopic image, at top right, along with similar depictions of other contagious diseases)
NPR Composite CDC

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 2:47 pm

No one knows what the death toll in the Ebola epidemic will be. As of Tuesday, nearly 2,500 people have died and nearly 5,000 have caught the virus, the World Health Organization says.

So how does this epidemic compare with the toll taken by other contagious diseases?

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The Two-Way
1:09 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Belgium Agrees To Euthanize Man Convicted Of Murder, Rape

Inmate Frank Van Den Bleeken, seen here in court last autumn, says he wants to die because he sees no progress in the mental problems that were linked to his crimes of murder and rape.
Herman Ricour AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 2:14 pm

In a country whose laws don't allow for the death penalty, the case of a Belgian man who sees himself as a threat to society — and wants to die — is putting new focus on Belgium's health care and justice system, as well as its laws allowing euthanasia.

After an appeals court in Brussels approved a deal allowing inmate Frank Van Den Bleeken to die from an assisted suicide, the country's justice minister cleared the way for his transfer to a hospital late Monday.

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