NPR News

The Two-Way
9:46 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Puerto Rico's Governor Wants Lenders To Wait For More Than $73 Billion Debt Payments

Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico, discussing the commonwealth's budget earlier in 2015.
Ricardo Arduengo AP

Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Monday that international creditors need to lighten Puerto Rico's nearly $73 million public debt burden.

In a televised speech, Garcia said, given the state of its economy, Puerto Rico's public debt is unpayable. He cited a report by a former chief economist of the World Bank that recommends lenders consider easier terms for the island. Padilla said he will go further and seek a multi-year moratorium on debt payments to allow the island time to rebuild its economy.

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It's All Politics
8:22 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

President Pitches Overtime Rule That Could Raise Wages For 5 Million

President Obama signs a presidential memorandum in March of 2014 that directed the Department of Labor construct a new set of overtime rules, with the goal of making more employees eligible for overtime pay.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

President Obama is expected to release this week a long-awaited rule governing overtime that could affect 5 million people as soon as next year, a source familiar with the plans confirmed to NPR.

The proposed rule would more than double the salary cap under which most workers would qualify for overtime pay whenever they work more than 40 hours a week, the source said. The cap would be raised from $23,660 to $50,440, and indexed to wage growth or inflation, ensuring the cap would move with the overall economy.

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All Tech Considered
5:09 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Apple Bets Big That You'll Start Paying To Stream Music

Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue speaks about Apple Music during the keynote at the annual developers conference.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 5:30 pm

Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Rdio, Rhapsody, Pandora — the list of streaming music service goes on and on. On Tuesday, Apple joins that lineup with the launch of its streaming service, Apple Music. Apple will give consumers a three-month trial, and then it will charge $9.99 a month.

But most music lovers still aren't sure why they should pay. Colin Barrett, 31, has tried a few of the streaming services, but he doesn't use them anymore.

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The Two-Way
4:53 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

California Legislature Passes 'Mandatory' Vaccine Bill, Sends It To The Governor

People who oppose vaccinating their children wouldn't be able to cite personal beliefs if the bill became law.
Irfan Khan LA Times via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 6:17 pm

A bill that would make vaccinations a requirement for nearly every schoolchild passed the California Legislature. The bill, SB 277, is now on its way to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. It's one of the toughest vaccination bills in the country, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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It's All Politics
4:27 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Lethal Injection Ruling Draws Out Justices' Passionate Opinions

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that under the majority's reasoning it would not matter if the prisoner was being "drawn and quartered, slowly tortured to death, or actually burned at the stake," as long as there was no more humane method of execution available. Justice Antonin Scalia orally rebutted Justice Stephen Breyer's dissent, calling it "gobbledygook."
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 5:02 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a major blow to death penalty opponents, upholding the use of a controversial drug as part of a three-drug execution cocktail. The vote was 5-4, with unusually passionate and sometimes bitter opinions from the majority and dissenting justices.

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Parallels
4:14 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Greeks Brace For The Fallout As Deadline Looms

A Greek demonstrator urges a "no" vote in Sunday's referendum on whether Greece should accept international demands for additional financial austerity. He is holding an old 1,000 Greek drachma bank note during a rally in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki on Monday. Some Greeks say the country should leave the eurozone and go back to the drachma.
Giannis Papanikos AP

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 4:36 pm

Giorgos Koronis is welcoming tourists from the U.S. and England at the old Olympic Stadium in Athens, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

Koronis, 50, has worked for the state for 25 years, mainly at ticket counters at various tourist sites around the Greek capital. But today he's struggling to smile.

He spent Monday morning at the ATM in line with a few retirees from his neighborhood, including his mother.

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U.S.
3:41 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

The Economic Reality Of The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Supporters of same-sex marriages gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28, in Washington, D.C.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 4:32 pm

At Pride events in New York City this weekend, the emotional excitement about marriage equality was evident. But many people also were thrilled about the practical considerations.

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Environment
3:41 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

U.N. Holds Climate Talks In New York Ahead Of Paris Meeting

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 4:32 pm

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Science
3:25 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Rules In Industry's Favor. What's EPA's Next Move?

A plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. in January 2015.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 4:37 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency made a mistake when it told electric power plants to reduce mercury emissions. The high court says the EPA should first have considered how much it would cost power plants to do that.

The decision comes too late for most power companies, but it could affect future EPA regulations.

Mercury in the air is a health risk. When you burn coal or oil, you create airborne mercury that can end up in fish we eat and cause serious health problems.

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Law
3:25 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Rules To Keep Texas Abortion Clinics Open

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 4:32 pm

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Politics
3:25 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Cruz: States Have 'No Obligation' To Accept Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 4:32 pm

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The Two-Way
3:23 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

If The Mess In Greece Is All Greek To You, Then Read This

The EU and national flags fly in the foreground of the Parthenon, as Greek voters prepare to decide whether to continue negotiating for more international loans.
Getty

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 4:12 pm

"It was Greek to me."

Shakespeare used that phrase in one of his tragedies to suggest that a complicated matter was beyond understanding.

Many Americans may be muttering those words again as this week's Greek tragedy plays out.

The situation in Athens really is complicated, but it's also important. So let's walk through the basics together, and then consider what it might mean to Americans.

Here's what has happened so far:

-- The Greek government has way too much debt, and can't pay its creditors.

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NPR Story
2:30 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

High Stakes Financial News: From Greece To China

A Chinese stock investor monitors share prices at a securities firm in Fuyang, in China's Anhui province on June 19, 2015. Shanghai shares plunged 6.42 percent on June 19, ending a torrid week as the benchmark index was hit by tight liquidity and profit-taking after a powerful surge over the past year. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

There are a number of dramatic economic stories in the news today. In Greece, banks and markets are closed, as the country edges towards a default and or exit from the eurozone.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s governor now says that the commonwealth cannot pay its $72 billion in debts. And in China, stocks have tumbled into a bear market, despite a move by the central bank there to cut interest rates to a record low.

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NPR Story
2:30 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Smart Meters: An Experiment In Power Grid Innovation

John Phelan with Fort Collins Utilities inspects the smart meter at his home. (Dan Boyce)

Our electricity system is changing rapidly around us. New sources of renewable power are meeting technologies that can crunch unprecedented amounts of data. It’s all leading to a major shakeup for how utilities do business. Dan Boyce from Here & Now’s contributor Inside Energy takes us to Fort Collins, Colorado, for a peek into our utility’s possible future.

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NPR Story
2:30 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

How Historic Was Last Week? A Historian Puts It In Context.

President Barack Obama sings "Amazing Grace" as he delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

President Obama won a series of huge victories in the Supreme Court last week, including health care and same sex marriage. And officials in South Carolina called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds after nine African Americans were gunned down in a Charleston church. Here & Now’s Robin Young asks historian Julian Zelizer to put the week into historical context.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Medical School Hopefuls Grapple With Overhauled Entrance Exam

Travis Driscoll, a medical school applicant from Berkeley, Calif., studies for the revamped MCAT.
April Dembosky/KQED

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 6:14 pm

It's T minus four days until exam day, and Travis Driscoll is practically living at his desk.

"Each day, I'm easily here for five hours," he says. "I haven't done much of anything else but studying for the last two months."

Driscoll is one of 13,000 medical school applicants across the U.S. taking the new Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT. He's got stacks of science books on his desk to help him prepare, and a rainbow of biochemistry charts pasted to the walls: glycolysis, citric acid cycle, electron transport chain, mitosis, meiosis and DNA replication.

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Africa
2:27 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Some Tourists Show Solidarity With Tunisia After Beach Attack

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 4:32 pm

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Latin America
2:27 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Dominican Deportations Reach Crisis Levels, Haitian President Says

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 4:32 pm

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The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Places A Stay On Abortion Law In Texas

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 3:28 pm

The Supreme Court has placed a stay on a lower court's ruling that upheld new abortion standards in Texas, to give opponents of a controversial 2013 law time to take their case to the nation's highest court.

The stay is temporary: If the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, the stay will be lifted and the law will take effect. If the justices agree to hear the case, the stay would remain in effect until a ruling is issued.

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The Salt
2:16 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Why You Should Thank A Caterpillar For Your Mustard And Wasabi

A cabbage butterfly caterpillar. For tens of millions of years, these critters have been in an evolutionary arms race with plants they munch on. The end result: "mustard oil bombs" that also explode with flavor when we humans harness them to make condiments.
Courtesy of Roger Meissen/Bond LSC

The next time you dab wasabi on your sushi or spread mustard on your hot dog, take a moment to thank a caterpillar. It may sound unlikely, but the critters play a critical role in creating the sharp, pungent flavors that give those condiments a savory kick.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

In Some States, Defiance Over Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

The Supreme Court ruled last week that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. The historic decision was welcomed by many, but there was much criticism, too, especially in some conservative states.

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Goats and Soda
1:26 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

The U.S. Now Has A 'Girls Count' Law. But Don't Boys Count, Too?

Children in Bangladesh display their birth registration cards.
Jannatul Mawa UNICEF

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 3:09 pm

The world needs to count its girls!

That's the message that President Obama sent earlier this month when he signed the Girls Count Act into law. Congress had previously approved the act by unanimous vote.

There are 220 million children around the world who are uncounted. They were not registered at birth, and they don't have birth certificates.

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Parallels
11:55 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Sri Lanka's War Is Long Over, But Reconciliation Remains Elusive

Manuel Udaya Chandra's 24-year-old son disappeared in 2008, shortly before Sri Lanka's civil war ended. She holds out hope that he's still alive, though a government commission looking into those who disappeared has moved slowly.
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 8:48 pm

Sri Lanka, a palm-fringed island in the Indian Ocean, is in the sixth year of peace. But as the country prepares for elections in August, the legacy of its long civil war still casts a shadow.

The intervening years have been especially painful for the families of the thousands who disappeared in three decades of conflict and remain unaccounted for.

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Music Reviews
11:31 am
Mon June 29, 2015

'BrotherLee Love' Offers A Fearless, Fresh Tribute To Trumpeter Lee Morgan

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Law
9:19 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Wraps Up Big Term With Death Penalty, Redistricting And More

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 10:22 am

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The Two-Way
9:11 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Backs Arizona's Redistricting Commission Targeting Gridlock

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 6:12 pm

U.S. states' efforts to counter extreme gerrymandering won a victory Monday, as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a bipartisan Arizona panel that draws the state's districts. The court's vote was 5-4; Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, as did Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the majority, in which her citations included James Madison writing in The Federalist Papers.

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The Two-Way
8:44 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Says Use Of Lethal Injection Drug Is Legal

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 11:47 am

Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion, says the sedative used in Oklahoma's lethal injection cocktail does not violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Here's the background to the case, in the words of SCOTUSblog:

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The Two-Way
7:22 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Taiwan Water Park Fire Claims First Victim

Police investigators inspect the stage area after an explosion during a music concert at the Formosa Water Park in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on June 28.
AP

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 12:28 pm

A 20-year-old woman who suffered burns to 90 percent of her body in Saturday's explosion at a music event in Taiwan has died, the first fatality in the disaster at the water park that burned 498 people. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the colored powder sprayed from the stage during a rap performance to catch fire.

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Animals
5:44 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Thousands Attend Funeral For Japan's Feline Stationmaster

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 10:22 am

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Europe
5:44 am
Mon June 29, 2015

German Distillery Is Unsympathetic To Greece's Debt Issue

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 10:22 am

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