NPR News

The Two-Way
4:57 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Flight MH17: U.S. Builds Its Case; Plane Wreckage Reportedly Cut Apart

Pro-Russian rebels move journalists away from Malaysian investigators and monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Tuesday. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was allegedly shot down by a missile Thursday; today, U.S. intelligence says it has verified that two rebel leaders spoke by phone about shooting the plane down.
Rob Stothard Getty Images

American analysts say they've verified several pieces of evidence that show pro-Russian separatist rebels shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, according to U.S. intelligence officials who briefed reporters Tuesday.

Here's a quick rundown of the officials' updates on what U.S. investigators have found, from notes taken by NPR's Pentagon reporter Tom Bowman:

  • A U.S. spy satellite detected the launch of a surface-to-air missile in the area just before the plane went down.
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Environment
4:51 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Maine City Council Votes To Keep Tar Sands Out Of Its Port

The oil tanker HS Electra unloading oil from the North Sea at the Portland Pipe Line facility in South Portland, Maine, in 2013.
John Ewing Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:26 pm

South Portland, Maine, is known as the place where Liberty ships were built by tens of thousands of workers during World War II. Now, the city's waterfront is home to an oil terminal and the beginning of a 236-mile-long pipeline.

For more than 70 years, the Portland Montreal Pipeline Corp. has pumped crude oil up through the pipeline, across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, to be refined in Montreal.

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It's All Politics
4:36 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

On Immigration, America's Concerns Are Fiery But Fleeting

Police officers separate demonstrators on opposing sides of the immigration debate outside a U.S. Border Patrol station in Murrieta, Calif., on July 4.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:21 pm

Americans today are most likely to name immigration the nation's biggest problem, but polling history suggests the alarm may have a limited shelf life.

In a Gallup survey released last week, 17 percent volunteered immigration as America's most pressing issue, narrowly topping concerns that weigh more consistently on the nation's mindset, like jobs and political leadership.

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Risk And Reason
3:39 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Pop Quiz: 20 Percent Chance Of Rain. Do You Need An Umbrella?

Will it rain or not? How you interpret the forecast could mean the difference between getting soaked or staying safe.
Maria Pavlova iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:04 pm

This week, All Things Considered is exploring how people interpret probability. What does it mean to us, for example, when a doctor says an operation has a 70 percent chance of success?

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The Two-Way
3:37 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

University Would Study Health Issues In Polluted New York Town

A view of the Tonawanda Coke plant in Tonawanda, N.Y., which was found to have emitted carcinogens at levels many times higher than the state's limit.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:13 pm

Residents of an upstate New York town who've long associated their illnesses with the air they breathe may finally get some answers about the health effects of living next to a toxic polluter.

The town of Tonawanda lies in the shadow of Tonawanda Coke Corp., whose ovens heat coal into material used for the iron and steel industries, and release toxic chemicals into the air.

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Around the Nation
3:23 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

D.C. Washington's Voice Shines On The Diamond In Nation's Capital

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:18 pm

During a recent visit to a Washington Nationals game, Robert Siegel was struck by the singer of the national anthem — by both his smooth baritone and his curiously apt name: D.C. Washington. So, he invited Washington into the studio for a conversation and a few songs.

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

Politics
3:12 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

VA Nominee Steps Before Senate Committee

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:18 pm

Robert McDonald, President Obama's nominee to run the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, is appearing before the Senate for his confirmation hearing. He faces the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, which will vote on whether to send his nomination to the Senate floor.

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

Europe
3:12 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Near Crash Site, Stories Of The Jet Cleave Closely To Russian Version

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:18 pm

Following the downing of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine, local residents have been talking about the event — but the picture is being distorted by a propaganda campaign in local media.

The Salt
3:11 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Glass Or No Glass? That Is The Grill Lid Question

A still from a video showing a glass top grill.
Schott Home Tech/YouTube

We love cooking on our grills, especially in the summertime. Keeping the house cool and avoiding the dish pile up are two major draws – not to mention the flavor of food cooked over fire.

When we saw a glass-topped grill, shining like Cinderella's slipper in a YouTube video posted by commercial glass maker SCHOTT, we were intrigued. But, we wondered, how the heck do you clean it?

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Tree Planted To Honor Beatle Is Killed By Beetles

A tree planted in Los Angeles to honor former Beatle George Harrison grew to more than 12 feet tall before succumbing to a bark beetle infestation
AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:13 pm

Flowers may grow so incredibly high, as the Beatles once sang, but trees — not so much.

Actually, a pine tree planted in Los Angeles a decade ago to honor former Beatle George Harrison reached a height of 12 feet before succumbing recently.

To an infestation. Of beetles.

"No one I think is in my tree" — a line from the song "Strawberry Fields Forever" — wouldn't seem to apply.

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Economy
2:39 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Inflation Came In Low Again, But Are There Bubbles?

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on July 15. She said the Fed is likely to keep interest rates low "for a considerable period" since inflation remains so tame.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Want to borrow money for a car or a home this fall?

Oddly enough, the interest rates available months from now for big-ticket items may be determined by the prices you pay today for everyday consumer goods. When store prices are rising rapidly, policymakers start pushing interest rates higher, too.

But for the moment, at least, inflation appears mild enough to keep interest rates low for a long while.

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Law
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Obamacare's Split Decisions Spell Law's Possible Return To Supreme Court

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:18 pm

Two different U.S. appeals courts issued opposing verdicts on the Affordable Care Act, one striking down a crucial component of the law while another upheld the same component. NPR's Mara Liasson unravels the political consequences of the conflicting decisions.

Law
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Obama's Health Care Law Has A Confusing Day In Court

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:10 pm

Another wild legal ride for Obamacare on Tuesday: Two U.S. Court of Appeals panels issued conflicting decisions on an issue with the potential to gut the health care overhaul.

The two rulings could lead to another U.S. Supreme Court showdown over the controversial law, all because of what one of the law's opponents initially called "a glitch."

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Middle East
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

In Cairo, First Steps Taken On Gnarled Path To Gaza Cease-Fire

Secretary of State John Kerry has finished his first full day in Cairo, where he's trying to help forge a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Middle East
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

As Rockets Encroach, Israel's Main Airport Sees Canceled U.S. Flights

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:18 pm

U.S. airlines have canceled flights to Israel after reports of Hamas rockets landing near Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv.

Law
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Newark Police Placed Under Federal Microscope For Rampant Misconduct

After a lengthy investigation, the U.S. Justice Department has found that the Newark Police Department, the largest in New Jersey, has frequently violated residents' civil rights and engaged in unreasonable use of force. Sarah Gonzalez of WNYC reports that the department will be placed under federal oversight.

Africa
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Amid CAR's Bloodshed, Thousands Dead And Little Help For The Living

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:18 pm

Sectarian violence erupted between Muslims and Christians in the Central African Republic just over a year ago. According to Sylvain Groulx of Doctors Without Borders, the conflict's casualty count is staggering: One in three families there have lost at least one family member.

Middle East
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

In A Crowded Gaza, A Growing Sense That Nowhere Is Safe

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:12 pm

Two weeks into the conflict in the Gaza Strip, more than 600 Palestinians — mostly civilians — and 29 Israelis have been killed. Two recent Israeli strikes, on a school and a hospital, reflect the scope of Israel's offensive.

Recipes
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

A Spicy Take On An Old Standby: This Ketchup's Ripe For Return

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:18 pm

When life gives you tomatoes, make ketchup. With those fruits of the vine in high season, All Things Considered reaches into the archives for an heirloom tomato ketchup recipe, which produces a spicy sauce you'll likely not to find anywhere else.

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

Europe
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

The Polish Case For Tougher Russia Sanctions

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:18 pm

In the wake of the Malaysian airliner's downing, many Europeans are now calling for tougher sanctions against Russia. Among them is Radek Sikorski, Poland's foreign minister, who explains to Robert Siegel why the West should ratchet up sanctions.

NPR Story
2:13 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Hong Kong Debates Independence From China

A child holds up a banner during a pro-democracy rally seeking greater democracy in Hong Kong on July 1, 2014, as frustration grows over the influence of Beijing on the city. (Dale De La Rey/AFP/Getty)

There have been huge protests in the former British colony Hong Kong recently. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to demand that Beijing honor China’s commitment to Hong Kong’s political and judicial independence.

As the BBC’s Juliana Liu reports, there is deep anxiety in Hong Kong that China has no intention of allowing people on the island to choose their next leader, but there are also protestors on the other side, with leanings more toward China.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Next iPhone To Offer Bigger Screen, But Will It Fit In Your Pocket?

Apple will manufacture iPhones with larger displays for its next model. (Photo Giddy/Flickr)

Apple is placing its bets on iPhones with bigger screens, and a whole lot of them. The company is asking suppliers to make between 70 and 80 million of the new models with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens by December 30, according to the Wall Street Journal. This is larger than the current models with 4-inch displays.

Apple had stuck with its smaller displays even as rival smartphone companies rolled out bigger screens and customers sought larger models. Now, Apple will join their ranks.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Remains Of Clovis Boy Reburied In Montana

During a special ceremony, scientists and representatives of six tribes reburied a 12,600-year-old Clovis child in a patch of sagebrush on Saturday June, 28, 2014, close to the site where he was accidentally unearthed almost 50 years ago. (Shawn Raecke/Livingston Enterprise)

Earlier this year, Here & Now told the story of the so-called “Clovis boy,” a young boy buried in what is now Montana, more than 12,000 years ago. His remains were discovered there in 1968 and eventually his DNA was analyzed, showing the boy was part of the Clovis culture, which existed in North America about 13,000 years ago.

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Goats and Soda
1:56 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Don't Pop That Bubble Wrap! Scientists Turn Trash Into Test Tubes

Clear and clean, bubble wrap is well-suited to serve as an array of tiny test tubes. Here a dye solution is injected into the bubbles to measure the hemoglobin concentration in blood.
American Chemical Society

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 3:47 pm

Hate to burst your bubble, glass lab gear. But plastic bubble wrap also works pretty well at running science experiments.

Scientists at Harvard University have figured out a way to use these petite pouches as an inexpensive alternate to glass test tubes and culture dishes. They even ran glucose tests on artificial urine and anemia tests on blood, all with the samples sitting inside bubble wrap.

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NPR Ed
1:38 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Charter Schools, Money And Test Scores

Putting charter school research under a microscope.
Flickr

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:40 pm

The University of Arkansas today released what it calls a "first ever" study exploring the relationship between charter school funding and student achievement.

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Remembrances
1:34 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Actress And Singer Elaine Stritch

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
1:19 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

As High School Lacrosse Surges In Popularity, So Does Injury Focus

Walt Whitman High School's Caroline Schweitzer runs through a host of Severna Park High School defenders during a semifinal game in Maryland's Class 4A/3A lacrosse tournament in May.
Toni L. Sandys The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:07 pm

Sometimes called the fastest game on two feet, lacrosse is also one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S.

Between 2008 and 2012, kids' participation in lacrosse climbed 158 percent to a little more than three-quarters of a million, according to a survey conducted by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association/Physical Activity Council. At the same time participation in baseball, basketball, football and soccer has either stagnated or declined.

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Goats and Soda
1:17 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Rumor Patrol: No, A Snake In A Bag Did Not Cause Ebola

Eerie protective suits and shiny body bags have fueled rumors about the origins of Ebola. Here, a burial team removes the body of a person suspected to have died from the virus in the village of Pendembu, Sierra Leone.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 3:04 pm

"A lady had a snake in a bag. When somebody opened the bag, that made the lady die."

That's the beginning of a story that Temba Morris often hears about the origins of Ebola. Morris runs a government health clinic in a remote village near Sierra Leone's border with Guinea. According to the story, somebody else then looked inside the bag.

"And the one who opened the bag also died," is what Morris hears next. The snake escaped into the Sierra Leone bush.

So there you have it: Ebola is an evil snake that will kill you if you look at it.

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The Two-Way
1:12 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Montana Judge Is Publicly Censured Over 30-Day Sentence For Rape

Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh was publicly censured by the state Supreme Court on Tuesday. The judge apologized for remarks he made about a rape victim last year.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:00 pm

Less than a year after his lenient jail sentence for an admitted rapist stirred outrage, a Montana judge was publicly reprimanded today. In giving a former high school teacher only a 30-day jail sentence, District Judge G. Todd Baugh said the man's victim, a student, seemed older than her age, 14.

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Shots - Health News
12:40 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

How A Tiny Fly's Ears Could Help You Hear Better

If you were a cricket, this little fly would make you very nervous.
Courtesy of Louisiana State Arthropod Museum

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:06 pm

Ormia ochracea is not a very likeable creature, even by fly standards.

This parasitic fly likes to leave its larvae on the backs of crickets. The larvae burrow inside the cricket and then proceed to eat the cricket alive.

But humans who have struggled with hearing loss might soon be thankful for at least one small part of this fly — its ears.

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