NPR News

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

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.

Movies
3:08 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Tracing One Life, Lost In The Desert

Gael Garcia Bernal narrates and travels in the documentary Who Is Dayani Cristal?
Kino Lorber

Who Is Dayani Cristal? attempts to humanize the many who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border by focusing on just one: a corpse found in the lethal Arizona desert with the words "Dayani Cristal" tattooed on his chest. The documentary follows the models of several genres of fictional films: the forensic procedural, the road movie, the man-who-wasn't-there mystery.

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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

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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All Tech Considered
3:03 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Tech Giants Pony Up Cash To Help Prevent Another Heartbleed

Google is among several companies putting money into a fund to help safeguard the Internet from possibly security flaws in open-source software.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Google, Intel, Facebook and many other tech giants are pooling their money together — for the first time — to fix a glaring hole in cybersecurity. They're launching a multimillion-dollar fund to protect open-source code — the code that anyone can use for free, and that often gets overused and under-protected.

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Movies
3:03 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

In 'Blue Ruin,' Revenge Is Not Served Cool

Macon Blair plays Dwight in the unsettling revenge thriller Blue Ruin.
Radius TWC

Revenge at the movies is a dish best served not cold, but cool. Homemade justice isn't just meted out by the wronged on screen; it's delivered with swagger, style, and steely-eyed bad-assery. Michael Caine as Carter, Uma Thurman as The Bride, Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey: these are all individuals who are suave under pressure and look pretty hip to boot, in well-tailored three-piece suits, canary yellow racing leathers, and black leather jackets. (Shotgun, katana, and .38 Special accessories definitely not optional.)

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Book Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

A Biography Of Your Cubicle: How This Became The Modern Workplace

empty cubicles
iStockphoto

I remember my first office desk well. It was the roaring '90s in Manhattan. "Silicon Alley," they called it. I was fresh out of college, working at a web design company. The office had an open layout. We all shared long tables. I did have a window that looked onto a stone wall. Otherwise I was given a computer, a drawer, and a fancy ergonomic chair.

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The Salt
2:37 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

California Farmers Finagle A Fig For All Seasons

Mouth watering yet? As of now, you can only get a pizza like this in the summer and fall. Farmers in California are trying to change that by growing figs at least from April through February.
Courtesy of California Fresh Fig Growers Association

True fig lovers are well-practiced in the art of patience. We watch the calendar, dreaming of summer and the fruit's silky, sappy flesh. The season lasts through June and July, with another crop from August to October. And then we're back to almost eight months of oranges, apples and, if we must, Fig Newtons.

But these figless days may be coming to an end.

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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

With New E-Cigarette Rules, FDA Hopes To Tame A 'Wild, Wild West'

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

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to expand its regulatory powers to e-cigarettes and other popular products containing nicotine.

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.

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.

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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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Obama: Japan's Administration Of Disputed Islands Shouldn't Change

President Obama speaks at a joint news conference with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Thursday. Obama reinforced the U.S.-Japan security commitment.
Junko Kimura-Matsumoto AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:27 pm

President Obama said Thursday that the U.S. believes Japan's administration of a contested island chain should not change "unilaterally," as he assured Tokyo that a U.S. security treaty "covers all territories administered by Japan."

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Saddened Students Return To Ferry Disaster Victims' School

Yellow ribbons hang from a fence outside Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea, as some students return Thursday for the first time since a ferry disaster claimed the lives of scores of their classmates.
Yang Ji-woong EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 10:30 am

Students at Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea, began the difficult process of resuming classes on Thursday, eight days after a ferry disaster claimed the lives of more than 200 of their classmates.

According to South Korea's Yonhap News, the seniors (or third-year year students):

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