NPR News

Education
9:45 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Why So Many Ph.D.s Are On Food Stamps

The number of people with graduate degrees โ€” master's degrees and doctorates โ€” who have had to apply for food stamps, unemployment or other assistance more than tripled between 2007 and 2010.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 6:16 pm

With the economic troubles of the past few years, it's no surprise that the number of people using food stamps is soaring. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that an average of 44 million people were on food assistance last year; that's up from 17 million in 2000.

What might be surprising, though, is one subgroup that's taken a particularly hard hit.

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Economy
9:45 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Can The Government Help Young People Find Jobs?

The school year is winding down, and lots of young people are in the market for a summer job. But finding one in this economy can be hard, especially for teenagers. Host Michel Martin speaks with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis about what the Obama Administration is trying to do to help.

The Two-Way
8:51 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Ron Paul Isn't Dropping Out, Spokesman Says

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul at a campaign event in Las Vegas on Feb. 3.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 9:20 am

Republican Ron Paul is not shuttering his presidential campaign, his chief strategist says in a memo sent this morning to supporters and the news media.

"Let me be very clear," said Jesse Benton, "Dr. Paul is NOT dropping out or suspending his campaign."

"As Dr. Paul has previously stated, he is in this race all the way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August," Benton said. The campaign will, though, be "maximizing our resources" by not investing in remaining primary states, he said.

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Questions About Another Texas Execution: Was Wrong Man Condemned?

Already in the spotlight over whether it executed one innocent man โ€” Cameron Todd Willingham โ€” in 2004, the state of Texas now faces questions about whether another man may have been wrongly condemned to death.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:43 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Cost Of Cancer Pills Can Be Hard For Medicare Patients To Swallow

Taking a pill for cancer can cost patients more than getting chemotherapy by IV.
iStockphoto.com

If you've got cancer, chances are you'd rather take a pill to fight the cancer cells than sit for hours hooked up to an IV line as the chemotherapy drips slowly into you.

The difficulty is, many of the new cancer pills, which often target cancer cells for destruction but leave healthy cells intact, are pricey, costing tens of thousands of dollars for a course of treatment. And how some insurers pay for treatments means that pills can wind up costing a patient more than chemotherapy given by IV.

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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Consumer Prices, Consumer Spending Both Flat In April

Two bits of economic news this morning:

-- Consumer prices overall were unchanged in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, thanks in large part to a 2.6 percent drop in the price of gasoline.

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Tue May 15, 2012

'Biggest Public Toilet In The World' Now Good To Go In Japan

The biggest public toilet in the world, officials claim. The flowers and plants will be put in the ground after the soil has settled properly, according to The Japan Times.
Ichihara City

It's only for women โ€” and only for one woman at a time, it seems.

But officials in Ichihara City, Japan, claim they've created the "biggest public toilet in the world."

As The Japan Times reports, outside the city's train station there's now a fenced-in, "200-sq.-meter plot of land" with flowers, plants, pathways and โ€” "smack in the middle" โ€” a toilet enclosed in a glass box.

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Around the Nation
5:39 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Amusement Park Rider Conquers Battle Of The Bulge

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene. People who are overweight often say there was that final moment - that's it; I'm sick of it. I'm making a change.

For Nat Ambrose, it was last year at King's Dominion, the Virginia theme park. He tried to get on his favorite ride, Volcano the Blast Coaster, but the harness wouldn't fit his 300-pound frame. He lost 30 pounds in a month. Tried again, still couldn't squeeze in. Finally, nine months later, 105 pounds lighter, Nat Ambrose has conquered the Volcano.

Around the Nation
5:28 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Super Glue Helps Man Go For Fist Pumping Record

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with congratulations to James Peterson who sought the world record for fist pumping. Yes. Mr. Peterson made this gesture of triumph for 16 hours. The Akron Beacon Journal says to maintain proper form he super glued his hand into a clenched fist. Yes. A video crew recorded this feat and sent it to the Guinness World Record people. If they do not accept the record we hesitate to think what gesture Mr. Peterson will try next. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Europe
5:22 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Stevenage: A Place Where You Can't Be From

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The town of Stevenage, England, 30 miles north of London, was once a small patch of farmland with a few thousand people. After World War II, the British government created a massive planned community there and hoped it would become a model for public housing for the world.

Gary Younge is a writer for the Guardian newspaper. He grew up in Stevenage and found it to be a mixed blessing. Younge wrote an essay about it for the spring issue of the literary magazine, Granta. We began our conversation by asking him to read us a passage.

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World
4:40 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Quebec Students Clash With Police Over Tuition Costs

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's turn our attention now north of the border to Canada. New austerity programs are creating the kind of unrest we most often associate with Europe these days. In the Province of Quebec, a plan to hike university tuitions by 75 percent over the next five years has led to weeks of violent street rallies, often involving tens of thousands of students and protestors.

North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports.

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Latin America
3:27 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Mexican Police Investigate Latest Atrocity

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

A news item last weekend reminded us that we live in a largely peaceful country right next door to a country at war with itself. In northern Mexico on Sunday, authorities found the bodies of 49 people. They were left on a highway outside Monterrey about 75 miles from Texas. They are described as victims of the Zetas crime syndicate. And the dumping of bodies like this is not unusual in Mexico.

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
1:07 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Paying For College: More Tough Decisions

Kelley Hawkins (center) smiles at her daughter Carley (left) as her other daughter, Chelsea (right), looks on, in their family home in Harrisburg, Pa.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:48 am

Middle age is prime time for saving money. From your late 40s through early 60s, you're supposed to squirrel away cash to cope with health care costs in your old age.

But for millions of Americans, middle age also is the time when children are seeking help with higher-education bills, and elderly parents may be needing assistance with daily care.

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The Salt
1:06 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Jetlagged By Your Social Calendar? Better Check Your Waistline

It doesn't take a transcontinental flight to end up out of sync with your body clock. It might just be that you stay up too late.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

It doesn't take a transcontinental flight to end up out of sync with your body clock. It might just be that you stay up too late.

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Europe
1:04 am
Tue May 15, 2012

From Iowa To Russia, Tractors Build Economic Bridge

Employees fit a tire to a John Deere W540 combine inside the company's Domodedovo manufacturing center near Moscow, Russia. The tractors are built in Waterloo, Iowa, and then taken apart and shipped to the Russian plant for reassembly.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 pm

The green is unmistakable at a plant in Russia as workers put together a John Deere tractor. The roughly 90 employees, however, don't actually make the tractors.

The engine, the drive train and the tractor itself are all built in Waterloo, Iowa. The completed tractor is tested, and then it is disassembled and prepared for shipment.

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The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers
1:03 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Sick From Fracking? Doctors, Patients Seek Answers

Michelle Salvini (left) and Terri DiCarlo take a break from work outside the Cornerstone Care clinic in Burgettstown, Pa. Mysterious fumes have repeatedly sickened clinic staffers, forcing them to evacuate the building several times.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:48 am

Kay Allen had just started work, and everything seemed quiet at the Cornerstone Care community health clinic in Burgettstown, Pa. But things didn't stay quiet for long.

"All the girls, they were yelling at me in the back, 'You gotta come out here quick. You gotta come out here quick,' " said Allen, 59, a nurse from Weirton, W.Va.

Allen rushed out front and knew right away what all the yelling was about. The whole place reeked โ€” like someone had spilled a giant bottle of nail polish remover.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:02 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Should Parents Be Able To Sue For 'Wrongful Birth'?

Arizona state Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, listens during a special budget briefing at the state Capitol in October 2008. Barto sponsored a new law that prohibits wrongful birth lawsuits. She says the bill "sends the message that all life is worth protecting."
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Several states, including Kansas and New Jersey, are debating so-called "wrongful birth" laws that would prevent parents from suing a doctor who fails to warn them about fetal problems.

Abortion rights activists say the laws give doctors the right to withhold information so women don't have abortions.

In Suffern, N.Y., Sharon and Steven Hoffman's son, Jake, was born with Tay-Sachs, a genetic disease that mainly affects Jewish families and is usually fatal by age 4 or 5.

"There's no treatment. There's no cure. There's nothing," Sharon says.

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
1:01 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Caring For Grandparent Matures A Young Man

Maryland resident Nicholas McDonald, 24, has briefly abandoned his musical aspirations to enter the workforce and contribute to the family's finances. "I'd like to give my mom $100 every now and then," he says.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:47 am

Nicholas McDonald grew up tempted by drugs and under pressure to hit the streets. Lacking male role models, the Maryland resident says he always saw his mom as "the apple of my eye."

Natasha Shamone-Gilmore tried to protect her son growing up. Now, 24-year-old Nicholas is doing his best to return the favor.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:33 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

To Fight HIV, Indian Health Workers Say Homosexuality Must Be Legal

Participants carry a rainbow flag during a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender parade in Mumbai, India.
Rajanish Kakade AP

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 7:20 pm

It's just after nightfall as Anandrag Davinder, an outreach worker among Mumbai's mostly hidden community of gay men, wanders down a dark alley beside a busy railway station in Mumbai. His stop is a squalid row of urinal buildings where gay men go to meet, hidden from public view. The stench inside is overwhelming.

"This is a loo. This is a cruising center," Davinder says, stepping into the crowded, nearly pitch-black room. "All the gays are standing here only and saying, 'I like these guys. I want to do sex with this person.' "

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The Two-Way
5:00 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Syrian Violence Spills Into Neighboring Lebanon

A Sunni gunman fires during clashes in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon on Monday.
Hussein Malla AP

For a third day in a row, the violence of Syria spilled into the northern city of Tripoli in Lebanon.

The AP reports that the Alawites, who support the regime of Bashar Assad, and the Sunnis, who support the Syrian uprising, traded fire in Lebanon using assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades. Five people were killed and 100 were wounded in Lebanon's second-largest city.

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National Security
3:44 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Military Looks To Redefine PTSD, Without Stigma

The U.S. military is trying to encourage service members and veterans to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The military is also seeking to remove any sense of stigma for receiving treatment. Here, military personnel attend a presentation on PTSD at Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2009.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 5:49 pm

The military and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they want more veterans and service members to get appropriate treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

That's why they're tweaking the way they define and treat PTSD. But if this approach works, it could add to the backlog of PTSD cases.

For years, the standard definition for post-traumatic stress disorder had a key feature that didn't fit for the military. It said that the standard victim responds to the trauma he or she has experienced with "helplessness and fear."

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The Salt
3:21 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

At Basque Cookings Clubs, Food And Fraternity Mix Heartily

Enrique Vallejo serves soup at the Amaikak Bat txoko in San Sebastian.
Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 3:52 pm

Spring crops like asparagus and sorrel are poking up all over the hemisphere. And in the autonomous region of Northern Spain known as Basque Country, people are taking that spring harvest to a txoko.

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All Tech Considered
3:15 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Draw Something App Reveals The Artistic Chimp In Us All

New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee tries his hand at illustrating the word "Travolta" using the Draw Something app.
Courtesy of Matthew Diffee

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 9:23 am

Every week, as part of a new tech segment, we'll be digging into our digital sandbox for some fun. New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee is starting things off with a review of Draw Something, a popular app that works a lot like Pictionary: Players pick a word, draw clues and then watch as their opponents guess the answer. But, as Diffee explains, the app's name is a bit misleading.

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Asia
3:13 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

India Debates Re-Banning Homosexuality

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 3:44 pm

India's Supreme Court is now weighing arguments by opponents and proponents of legal homosexuality. Same-sex relationships were decriminalized in 2009, but a number of political, social and religious groups are fighting to reinstate a colonial-era law that punished homosexual acts with prison time. Public health workers say legal recognition of India's gay community is critical in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Shots - Health Blog
2:56 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

In Talent Hunt, Some Businesses Offer Health Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

Reaction to President Obama's bombshell that he now supports gay marriage ran the gamut from profound to lighthearted.
The White House Getty Images

President Obama's pronouncement last week in favor of same-sex marriage has no legal effect on employers' decisions on whether to offer benefits to workers' domestic partners.

But some advocates say it could reinforce a decade-long trend toward coverage.

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Election 2012
2:54 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Obama's Gay Marriage Stand May Not Sway Latinos

President Obama speaks during a campaign fundraiser Monday at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. The event, co-hosted by gay- and lesbian-rights leaders and a Latino nonprofit, featured singer Ricky Martin.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 5:49 pm

President Obama is attending a campaign fundraiser Monday night co-hosted by gay- and lesbian-rights leaders and a Latino nonprofit. The event is being headlined by singer Ricky Martin.

Obama maintains a commanding lead over likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney when it comes to support among Latino voters. But those same voters are generally regarded as socially conservative, leading some to wonder how the president's support for same-sex marriage might affect the Latino electorate.

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Europe
2:42 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Europe's Austerity Plans Face Growing Backlash

Spanish protesters gathered in Madrid on Saturday as the country's economic problems continued to worsen. The country's banking system is seen as particularly vulnerable.
Pedro Armestre AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 9:45 pm

A political crisis in Greece and economic woes in Spain are again raising concern about the future of the eurozone.

In Athens today, Greek politicians tried again and failed to form a coalition government, though talks are ongoing. There is growing fear that Greece will not be able to remain in the currency union and avoid defaulting on its debts.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:42 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Garth Knox: One Viola And 1,000 Years Of Musical History

On Garth Knox's new album, Saltarello, the adventurous violist creates surprising musical juxtapositions.
Dรกniel Vass ECM Records

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 5:49 pm

Garth Knox was born to play the viola. As a youngster, he already had two sisters who played violin and a brother who played cello. "So for the family string quartet," Knox says, "it was very clear from the start which instrument I would play."

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Striking Deal With Israel, Palestinian Prisoners Will End Hunger Strike

Palestinians hold pictures of prisoners and Palestinian flags as they celebrate the end of a prisoners' hunger strike in Israeli jails, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday.
Majdi Mohammed AP

Originally published on Sun May 20, 2012 6:41 am

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners agreed to end a hunger strike, today. In exchange, Israel agreed to end solitary confinement for the detainees.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia Navarro filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Some of the hunger strikers have not been eating for more than 70 days, making this the longest hunger strike ever by Palestinians and certainly the largest.

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World Cafe
2:27 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Next: Said The Whale

Jonathan Taggart

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 2:55 pm

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