NPR News

All Tech Considered
3:18 pm
Sun November 16, 2014

Google's Lollipop Wants To Change The Way We Use Our Phones

Google

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 1:47 pm

If you're an Android user, there's a chance that earlier this week your phone or tablet alerted you about a new update to its operating system. Yearly system updates are a part of the modern smartphone experience, and, like clockwork, Apple and Google typically issue them every fall.

The newest version of Google's Android OS, codenamed Lollipop, is something a little different. Lollipop isn't just an update; it's Google's vision of how we should interact with the Web on our phones, tablets and computers.

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Parallels
3:15 pm
Sun November 16, 2014

In Oman, The Man Who Has Defined The Country Is Now Rarely Seen

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, 73, salutes during a military parade in the capital Muscat on Oman's national day in November 2013. Qaboos, who has ruled for 44 years, has maintained friendly relations with everyone from the U.S. to Iran. However, he has been abroad for months receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness.
Mohammed Mahjoub AFP/Getty

It's a festive time in Oman, the sleepy sultanate on the edge of the Persian Gulf. The national day is Nov. 18, marking Oman's liberation from Portugese colonization, and the capital Muscat is bedecked with banners, scarves and flags. The spicy-sweet smell of frankincense is everywhere, as are images of Oman's absolute monarch for the past 44 years, Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

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Remembrances
3:11 pm
Sun November 16, 2014

Producer Of 'Knight Rider' And 'Battlestar Galactica' Dies At 77

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 7:00 pm

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

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All Tech Considered
3:11 pm
Sun November 16, 2014

For Wearable Tech, One Size Does Not Fit All

Isabelle Olsson, the lead designer of Google Glass, says she is encouraging more women to enter the tech industry โ€” not just as designers, but in all capacities.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 12:36 pm

Silicon Valley companies big and small are racing to create the latest in wearable tech โ€” from now-familiar fitness trackers and smart watches to 3-D printed rings that serve as public transportation passes and smart shirts that measure your heart rate and movement.

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Sun November 16, 2014

Producer Of 'Knight Rider' And 'Battlestar Galactica' Dies At 77

Glen Larson, the writer and producer behind TV series such as the original Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, Magnum, P.I. and Quincy, M.E., has died. He was 77.
Rocco Ceselin AP

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 2:03 pm

Glen A. Larson, who produced some of the most iconic television shows of the '70s and '80s โ€“ including the Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, Magnum, P.I. and Knight Rider, died Friday at age 77.

The Los Angeles Times quotes the producer's son, James, as saying he died at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica of complications from esophageal cancer.

Prior to his television career, Larson was a singer in the The Four Preps.

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Goats and Soda
9:59 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Google Asks Users To Help Fight Ebola โ€” And They Answer With Cash

Google CEO Larry Page.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 10:26 am

When you think philanthropy, Facebook and Google don't usually come to mind.

But maybe in your travels across the Internet this week, you notice that both companies placed banners ads on their pages asking you to help end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Google pledged to match every dollar donated by its users with $2. The company has already reached its limit of $7.5 million โ€” $5 million from Google and $2.5 million from donors.

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The Two-Way
9:19 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Clearing Of MH17 Debris Begins In Eastern Ukraine

A pro-Russian rebel fighter guards an area of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site in the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, earlier this week. Investigators erect a "no trespassing" sign in the background.
Mstyslav Chernov AP

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 1:39 pm

Dutch investigators have begun clearing the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, four months after the Boeing 777 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 289 aboard in an incident that sparked international outrage against separatists blamed for the attack.

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Nigerian Army Retakes Chibok, Home Of Kidnapped Schoolgirls

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 1:39 pm

Nigeria's army says it has recaptured the northeastern town of Chibok from Boko Haram militants who claimed to have seized it the day before, six months after the rebels abducted hundreds of schoolgirls from the city.

Nigerian army spokesman Brig. Gen. Olajide Olaleye told the Associated Press that "Chibok is firmly in the hands of the Nigerian army."

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The Two-Way
6:52 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Female Afghan Lawmaker Survives Suicide Bomb Attack

Afghan parliamentarian Shukria Barakzai is an ally of newly elected President Ashraf Ghani and a women's rights advocate.
S. Sabawoon EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 1:39 pm

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

An outspoken female Afghan lawmaker was wounded in a suicide bomb attack on her vehicle in the capital, Kabul, that killed three bystanders and hurt more than 10 others.

Member of Parliament Shukria Barakzai, an ally of newly elected President Ashraf Ghani who has fought for women's rights in the male-dominated society, was only slightly wounded in the attack. Speaking from her hospital bed, she told Reuters "I survived because of my people's prayers."

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The Two-Way
6:17 am
Sun November 16, 2014

G20 Leaders Pledge Growth, Threaten More Sanctions On Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and other leaders at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.
Kay Nietfeld DPA/Landov

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 12:17 pm

President Obama departed the venue of the annual G20 summit in Australia today, declaring it had been a "strong week for American leadership."

The gathering wrapped up by promising to fight climate change and work toward boosting economic growth even as leaders made it clear that new sanctions would be imposed on Russia if Moscow doesn't back down in Eastern Ukraine.

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Around the Nation
3:48 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Yes, The Weather Is Polar. No, It's Not The Vortex

A bicycle messenger struggles through the snow in downtown Cleveland on Friday.
Mark Duncan AP

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 12:27 pm

Much of the country had to bundle up this week owing to some unusually cold weather. Even in the Deep South, residents struggled with temperatures in the low 20s.

With the big chill comes the revival of an ominous phrase: "the polar vortex."

The sinister-sounding label has been hard to escape on TV news. The Today Show warned of the vortex in its promo spots. Some cautioned that the phenomenon might already put the squeeze on holiday shopping.

Even The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon poked fun at the hype.

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Parallels
3:45 am
Sun November 16, 2014

In A Back-And-Forth Battle, An Iraqi Town Splits On Ethnic Lines

Iraqi Kurdish soldiers, or peshmerga, patrol an area in the recently recaptured town of Zumar, near Mosul in northern Iraq on Oct. 29. When the Islamic State captured the town in August, the Kurds fled. Now that the Kurds are in control, the Arabs are all gone.
STR EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 10:25 am

The mixed Arab and Kurdish city of Zumar in northern Iraq is a window into the fierce battles for territory between the Kurds and the Sunni extremist group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS.

The mountainous landscape is pockmarked with destruction. ISIS took control of the area in August and held it until late October. Then Kurdish forces, with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes, forced the militants back.

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Music News
3:41 am
Sun November 16, 2014

'Twinkle' Sparks Fireworks As Fiddler Guts Violin Method

Shinichi Suzuki makes a rare visit to Britain in 1980 to demonstrate the method he developed for learning to play the violin.
Ian Tyas Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 3:37 pm

If you're a parent, the sound of a small child sawing away at the strains of the "Twinkle Variations" may be all too familiar.

It's Song One, of Book One, of the Suzuki method, a musical pedagogy developed by Shin'ichi Suzuki in the 1960s.

But lately there has been discord among music educators, a feud over methods and credentials and accusations of fraud.

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Iraq
3:18 am
Sun November 16, 2014

ISIS Issues Video Showing Beheading Of American Aid Worker

Peter Kassig, who changed his first name to Abdul-Rahman when he converted to Islam, is shown with a truck filled with aid supplies for Syrian refugees.
Courtesy of Kassig family

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 2:37 pm

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

The White House has confirmed that a video released by the self-declared Islamic State that shows the beheading of hostage Peter Kassig, an American aid worker in Syria who was kidnapped in 2013, is authentic.

The radical jihadist group posted the video on social media early Sunday.

President Obama said in a statement that he offered his condolences to the family, describing the beheading as "an act of pure evil."

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My Big Break
4:03 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

How'd Karyn Parsons Get Her Gig On 'Fresh Prince'? Brattiness

Alfonso Ribeiro (from left), Will Smith and Karyn Parsons on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1991.
Ron Tom NBC via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 11:02 am

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

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Music Interviews
3:52 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

When The Lights Go Down, Who Will Hear 'The Last Transmission'?

Filmmaker and musician Melvin Van Peebles' new album with the London band The Heliocentrics is titled The Last Transmission.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 7:35 pm

A lot of popular musicians in the 1960s and '70s showed a passionate interest in getting extremely high โ€” higher than any human had ever been.

We're talking, of course, about space exploration. David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Sun Ra, Funkadelic; all contributed to our shared space mythology. That doesn't happen so much these days.

But a new record from London band The Heliocentrics is a welcome, and trippy, exception.

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Health
3:05 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

Despite Criticism, Affordable Care Act Soldiers On

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 3:27 pm

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

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Latin America
3:05 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

Questions Linger Regarding Bodies Of 43 Mexican Students

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 6:27 pm

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

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Politics
3:05 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

Why Did A Campaign Finance Reform Group Fall Short On Election Day?

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

The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

Ebola-Infected Doctor Arrives In Nebraska For Treatment

Health workers in protective suits transport Dr. Martin Salia, a surgeon working in Sierra Leone who has been diagnosed with Ebola, from a jet that brought him from Sierra Leone to a waiting ambulance in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 9:13 am

A surgeon who became infected with Ebola while in Sierra Leone, the West Africa country hard-hit by the virus, has arrived in Nebraska for treatment.

Dr. Martin Salia, 44, was being transported to the University of Nebraska Medical Center after landing at an Air Force base in Omaha.

Salia was diagnosed on Monday while still in Africa. His condition is considered critical. Nebraska Medical Center said in a statement that Salia is "possibly sicker than the first patients successfully treated in the United States."

The Associated Press says:

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Around the Nation
2:29 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

For Best-Selling Truck, Ford Bets Big On Aluminum

A 2015 F-150 rolls off the assembly line at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The aluminum-sided F-150 could set a new industry standard โ€” or cost the company its pickup truck crown.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 3:30 pm

The first 2015 Ford F-150 rolled off the assembly line this week, and it is no normal truck. The new F-150 pickup is the first with an aluminum body, making it hundreds of pounds lighter than its predecessors.

Ford isn't taking this gamble on just any truck โ€” the F-150 is the company's most important vehicle. Morgan Stanley estimates the F-Series truck line and SUV derivatives represent 90 percent of Ford's global profits.

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

Boko Haram Seizes Town That Is Home To Kidnapped Schoolgirls

#BringBackOurGirls" campaigners participate in a lamentation parade in Abuja, in early November, as more towns in Nigeria come under attack from Boko Haram.
Afolabi Sotunde Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 6:16 pm

Boko Haram, the Nigerian rebel group that kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in April, has seized the northeastern town where the girls were abducted.

The Guardian reports:

"The militants attacked at about 4pm on Thursday, destroying communications masts and forcing residents to flee, according to witnesses. One described running past bodies strewn on a street.

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Fresh Air Weekend
10:13 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Jon Stewart, Peter Mendelsund And A Review Of Bob Dylan

Rosewater is Jon Stewart's directorial debut. He filmed much of the movie in Jordan, and he says he grew a beard because after wearing a suit and shaving for most of his career, he wanted to let his "freak flag fly."
Laith Majali Courtesy of Open Road Films

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Putin Gets Frosty Reception At G20 In Australia

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks to his side during the family photo session of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, on Saturday. Putin was sternly criticized by Western leaders over Moscow's involvement in eastern Ukraine.
Rob Griffith AP

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 1:09 pm

President Obama and other Western leaders gave Russian leader Vladimir Putin an earful at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, today.

Obama said the United States is on the forefront of "opposing Russia's aggression against Ukraine," and referenced the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine โ€” a move widely blamed on pro-Russia separatists armed with surface-to-air missiles provided by Moscow.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Sat November 15, 2014

The Wondrous World Of Tom Thumb Weddings

Alex George and Lilliana Bremerkamp pretend to get married in a 2008 Tom Thumb wedding.
Robert LaRouche Courtesy of Holly Bremerkamp

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 7:20 am

When the "bride" and "groom" walk down the aisle in a Tom Thumb Wedding โ€” as they did just a few weeks ago at the Fellowship Baptist Church on Staten Island in New York โ€” they are:

1) Often not much taller than the backs of the church pews.

2) Paying homage to a pair of 19th century celebrities.

3) Acting out an American ritual with roots stretching back more than 150 years.

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The Two-Way
9:04 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Hong Kong Democracy Leaders Barred From Traveling To Beijing

Federation of Students representatives Alex Chow Yong-kang (second left), Eason Chung Yiu-wa (second right) and Nathan Law Kwun-chung (right) talk to the media before trying to board a plane to Beijing on Saturday. They were told that Beijing authorities had revoked their travel documents.
Jerome Favre EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 11:10 am

A group of Hong Kong pro-democracy student leaders were turned away at the airport as they sought to board a flight to Beijing in hopes of meeting with mainland officials to discuss greater freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory.

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The Two-Way
8:23 am
Sat November 15, 2014

In NPR Interview, Bill Cosby Declines To Discuss Assault Allegations

Entertainer Bill Cosby speaking during a Veterans Day ceremony, on Tuesday. After settling a lawsuit over accusations of sexual assault in 2006, a second woman has come forward with similar claims.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 2:42 pm

Updated on Monday, Nov. 17, at 4:40 p.m. ET.

In an NPR interview with Bill Cosby that aired today on Weekend Edition Saturday, the comedian discusses the loan of 62 pieces of African Art for an exhibition in Washington, D.C.

But there's one thing the 77-year-old actor would not comment on: accusations of sexual assault that have been leveled against him.

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The Two-Way
6:36 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Gen. Dempsey Lands In Iraq As U.S. Presence Starts To Grow

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey briefs reporters at the Pentagon in September about ongoing operations against Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

America's top military leader landed in Iraq today. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, goes to Iraq as the American military presence there ramps up once more.

NPR's Alice Fordham has more:

"The general is welcome in Baghdad, says spokesman Ghassan al-Husseini. Dempsey will have meetings with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and top generals to discuss how to retake areas of the country overrun by the so-called Islamic State and the U.S.-led air campaign, which has struck the extremists over the last two months.

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World
6:20 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Ukraine Conflict Disturbs G-20 Summit

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 5:55 pm

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

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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Simon Says
6:12 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Comet Lander, Firefighters Execute Dazzling Feats Above The Earth

Onlookers take cell phone pictures of stranded window washers hanging from scaffolding on the side of One World Trade Center.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 8:21 am

Everyone has days in which we wonder if much of anything works. Websites crash. Screens blink, go blank, or taunt: I'm sorry. Try later. We have an unusually high volume of calls. Download to update. Click here if you've forgotten your password.

But for a couple of hours on an afternoon this week, people got glimpses of excellence.

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