NPR News

The Two-Way
4:33 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Boehner Sends 'Fiscal Cliff' Counteroffer To White House

Speaker John Boehner leaves his office Tuesday and walks to the House floor to deliver remarks about negotiations with President Obama on the fiscal cliff.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The back and forth over the "fiscal cliff" continues: House Speaker John Boehner sent a new counterproposal to the White House on Tuesday that, according to a spokesman for the speaker, aims to "achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs."

Tuesday's offer from Boehner follows his remarks on the House floor in which he called on President Obama to identify what spending cuts the White House will accept as part of a "balanced approach" toward a deal.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:44 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

'Paris Hilton Tax' Vs. 'Death Tax': A Lesser-Known Fiscal Debate

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:34 pm

Ben Franklin famously observed that nothing is certain but death and taxes.

So far, Congress hasn't repealed the former, but the future of estate taxes — a largely overlooked piece of the "fiscal cliff" — remains uncertain as this year draws to a close.

Until now, most of the year-end tax debate has focused on the income tax, but another battle could be brewing over estate taxes.

Read more
Middle East
3:43 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

U.S. Doctors Provide Supplies, Training To Syrians

Dr. Mazen Kewara, an American vascular surgeon, trains Syrian doctors during a workshop in Antakya,Turkey.
Deborah Amos NPR

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:34 pm

Syria's health care system is collapsing after 21 months of revolt. According to a new report by the World Health Organization, half of the country's public hospitals have been destroyed in the fighting.

Pharmacies are running out of medicine for even the most basic care. In rebel-controlled areas, field clinics and hospitals are overwhelmed. A group of Syrian-American doctors has stepped in to help, bringing in crucial supplies and providing training.

Read more
Education
3:38 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Berkeley Receives $1M For Undocumented Students

Meng So, coordinator of the University of California, Berkeley's Undocumented Student Program, says students he helps are from low-income families with no experience navigating a university such as Berkeley. So calls undocumented students "underground undergrads."
Carol Ness UC Berkeley

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:34 pm

The University of California, Berkeley is taking the DREAM Act a step further. On Tuesday, the school announced a $1 million scholarship fund specifically for undocumented students.

Read more
The Salt
3:13 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Seafood Sleuthing Reveals Pervasive Fish Fraud In New York City

Farmed Atlantic salmon was sometimes labeled at "wild salmon," researchers found when the tested seafood sold in New York City.
iStockphoto.com

If you buy fish in New York City, particularly from a small market or restaurant, there's a pretty good chance it won't be the fish it claims to be.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Inscription On Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial To Be Removed

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar endorsed a plan Tuesday to remove the disputed "drum major" inscription from the memorial and replace it with a fuller version of the quote.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

The controversial paraphrased quote on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be removed.

A plan to remove the "Drum Major" inscription was approved Tuesday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Here's more from the statement announcing the move:

Read more
World Cafe
2:55 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Susanna Hoffs On World Cafe

Susanna Hoffs.
Jonathon Kingsbury Courtesy of the artist

Susanna Hoffs, best known as the lead singer of the all-female 1980s pop group The Bangles, has a history of playing well with others. After she and the band's other members parted ways — only to reunite a few years later — Hoffs wrote two solo albums. Soon enough, though, she found a new collaborator in Matthew Sweet, with whom she released two collections of covers.

Read more
World
2:12 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Spain's Civil Servants Draw Grumbles, And Envy

People queue up at a government job center in Madrid this month. The unemployment rate in Spain now tops 25 percent, but many government workers still enjoy job security and higher wages than their private sector counterparts.
Daniel Ochoa De Olza AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 2:54 pm

Antonio, Domingo and Pepe are old friends in their late 40s and 50s. All unemployed, they meet most mornings for coffee and cigarettes in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square and rant about the government.

The nation's civil service is a particularly attractive target. The men grumble about what they imagine is the life of a government worker — long coffee breaks, siestas and lots of paid time off.

"They earn much more than they're worth," Antonio says. "That's something that's got to change. They earn a lot, and they hardly do anything."

Jobs For Life

Read more
U.S.
1:44 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

In Freedom, Ex-Felon Becomes Probation Counselor

Clark Porter was 17 when he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for robbing a downtown post office at gunpoint. He spent 15 years in prison and today helps some of the toughest ex-offenders turn their lives around.
Courtesy of Washington Universtiy in St. Louis

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:34 pm

Every weekday, Clark Porter, a tall man with a sturdy build, walks into the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in St. Louis to work with tough ex-offenders. On the outside, he wears a suit and tie. But on the inside, he has more in common with the former felons than most.

Back in 1986, a skinny 17-year-old Porter went on trial there as an adult for robbing a post office at gunpoint. His sentence: 35 years.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:36 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Kids' Eating Binges Could Signal Other Problems Ahead

Did eating binges come first?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 2:20 pm

Who doesn't know that smoking pot can make you want to pig out?

Now researchers say it may work the other way around, too.

Children between the ages of 9 and 15 who went on eating binges at least once a week were roughly twice as likely to use marijuana or to show strong signs of depression as those who didn't.

Researchers found that 29 percent of adolescents who had episodes of binge eating later went on to use marijuana, compared with 17 percent of adolescents who never binge ate.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Rush Is In! The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, That Is

Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson (left) and singer/bassist Geddy Lee.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 2:30 pm

After all our whining, we have to pass along word that Rush has made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

And, yes, we know that some of this year's other inductees, announced today, may be more "important":

-- Heart.

Read more
Music Reviews
1:13 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Bruno Mars Goes Anyplace And Everyplace On 'Jukebox'

Bruno Mars draws inspiration from across the pop landscape on his second album, Unorthodox Jukebox.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:34 pm

Read more
The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Sick Of Year-End Lists Yet? Or Do You Love Them?

If we listed the sites that do the most lists, Gawker would be up there.
Gawker.com

Twitter's out with its take on what the tweets of 2012 supposedly tell us about ourselves. The "Golden Tweets" (most retweeted) were the "four more years" photo of President Obama and the first lady hugging, and the "RIP Avalanna.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

NFL Players' 'Bountygate' Suspensions Vacated

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Chris Szagola CSM /LANDOV

The four NFL players who were fined and given multi-game suspensions for their alleged parts in the New Orleans Saints' "bountygate" scheme that paid bonuses for injuring opposing players have had their punishments vacated, the league says.

Read more
Around the Nation
11:13 am
Tue December 11, 2012

'Operation Delirium:' Psychochemicals And Cold War

These gas masks were reconditioned at the Edgewood Arsenal for civilian defense use during World War II. Later, in the 1950s and '60s, the arsenal near the Chesapeake Bay was used for secret chemical weapons testing run by the U.S. Army.
Jack Delano Library of Congress

In the latest issue of The New Yorker, journalist Raffi Khatchadourian writes about a secret chemical weapons testing program run by the U.S. Army during the Cold War.

Throughout the 1950s and '60s, at the now-crumbling Edgewood Arsenal by the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, military doctors tested the effects of nerve gas, LSD and other drugs on 5,000 U.S. soldiers to gauge the effects on their brain and behavior.

Read more
Music Reviews
10:47 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Bass Note: Mingus And The Jazz Workshop Concerts

Jazz great Charles Mingus performs at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September 1964.
Ray Avery CTS Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 5:28 pm

On a new box set from mail-order house Mosaic Records, Charles Mingus, The Jazz Workshop Concerts 1964-65, the jazz legend's bands usually number between five and eight players. The bassist often made those bands sound bigger. He'd been using midsize ensembles since the '50s, but his new ones were more flexible than ever, light on their feet but able to fill in backgrounds like a large group.

Read more
Parenting
9:56 am
Tue December 11, 2012

The Deadly Return Of Whooping Cough

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 2:08 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. In a few minutes we'll hear more about singer and reality show star Jenni Rivera. She died in a private plane crash over the weekend. We'll hear about why she was such a big star on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. That's coming up.

But first, among other things, many of her fans admired about her, Jenni Rivera was a mom of five and on this program we check in every week with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy parenting advice.

Read more
Remembrances
9:56 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Remembering Jenni Rivera

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 2:08 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally, we want to take a few minutes today to remember Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. She died in a plane crash in Mexico on Sunday, flying from a concert to a show taping. She was 43 years old, a mother and a grandmother, and a major star on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Here's a bit of a popular song "La Gran Senora," where she tells her man's other woman to back off.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LA GRAN SENORA")

JENNI RIVERA: (Singing in Spanish)

Read more
The Salt
9:35 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Calorie Tracking Apps May Help Boost Weight Loss

Close Up Of Man Reading Shopping List From Mobile Phone In Supermarket
iStockphoto.com

If you happen to be a techie with weight loss goals, you've likely noticed the explosion in calorie-counting and exercise-tracking apps available on smartphones.

Read more
Shots - Health News
8:07 am
Tue December 11, 2012

How A Health Insurer's Overpayment Can Become Your Problem

Hey, give that back!
iStockphoto.com

If your health insurer pays too much for a claim, you might think that would be a good kind of problem. But it could turn out to be more of a headache than a windfall.

Just ask Lisa Dowden, who had gastric bypass surgery three years ago. In September, the 51-year-old lawyer got a bill from her insurer claiming she owed more than $9,100 because it had overpaid for the services of the surgeon who assisted on her operation.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:50 am
Tue December 11, 2012

World's Most Expensive Whisky? It's Not The One We Toasted

The record-holder, according to Guinness: A bottle of 64-year-old Macallan whisky in a Lalique Cire Perdue decanter. In 2010 it sold for $460,000.
Alpha /Landov

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:38 pm

On Sunday, Weekend All Things Considered aired an interview with Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman. He talked about the $94,000 that a buyer recently paid at auction for one bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 55 Year Old whisky.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:50 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Michigan Lawmakers Poised To Pass Right-to-Work Bill, Outraging Union Protesters

Union members from around the country rallied outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing as lawmakers voted on the right-to-work legislation.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:06 pm

Update at 6:00 p.m. ET:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law two controversial "right-to-work" bills passed earlier Tuesday by the state's House. This officially makes Michigan the 24th right-to-work state in the nation.

The two bills give both public and private employees so-called right-to-work protections — controversial pieces of legislation that have sparked protests in and around the state capitol in Lansing.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:09 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Today's Three Stories To Read About The 'Fiscal Cliff'

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the White House on Nov. 16.
Toby Jorrin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 10:18 am

As we've said now several times, "the White House and congressional leaders continue to talk about taxes, spending cuts and how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that arrives at midnight Dec. 31 — when Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect."

As NPR and others cover the story, we're pointing to interesting reports and analyses. Here are some of the latest.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:06 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Syrian Defector: Assad Will Use Chemical Weapons If He's Desperate

Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2009.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 12:25 pm

If Syrian President Bashar Assad gets desperate enough he will use chemical weapons against his own people, the former chief of staff for that country's chemical weapons tells NPR's Deborah Amos.

Maj. Gen. Adnan Sillu, who defected in July and is now in Turkey, is convinced that if rebel forces close in on Damascus, Assad will order the use of mustard gas, sarin or other chemicals in a "last desperate act," Deb reported today on Morning Edition.

Read more
Europe
5:39 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Noah's Ark Replica Docks In Netherlands

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 8:55 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene, with news that Noah's Ark has docked in the Netherlands. Well, sort of. Johan Huibers built a full-scale replica of the ark on a river, staying as true as he could to God's instructions to Noah. The giant floating hulk opened to the public with some real animals: rabbits and parakeets. The bison and tigers are life-sized sculptures. There are modern creature comforts, like two cinemas and a restaurant. And on opening day, by God, it rained. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
5:34 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Phoenix Man Lights Cactus To Celebrate Hanukkah

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 8:55 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The spirit of Hanukah is aglow in the desert. For the seventh straight year, a man in Phoenix is lighting up the tips of a giant cactus to celebrate the holiday. Mel Kline's cactus is called a saguaro. It has a middle trunk and eight arms, perfect for a menorah. And at 30 feet tall, it attracts hundreds of visitors. The Arizona Republic reports that Kline bought the cactus 35 years ago. His wife wanted a maple tree. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
4:36 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Right-To-Work Measure Expected To Pass In Michigan

A right-to-work protester walks past Michigan state police at the capitol in Lansing on Tuesday. The Michigan Legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday that would bar contracts requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 11:29 am

Michigan's Legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday that would bar contracts requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The proposed right-to-work law has infuriated union leaders in a state considered the heart of the union movement.

Republican leaders pushing the bill closely watched the fights over labor rights going on across the Midwest, but it wasn't Ohio or Wisconsin that prompted them into action. Many leaders in the public and private sector looked to their neighbor to the immediate south.

Read more
National Security
4:36 am
Tue December 11, 2012

U.S. Adds Syrian Rebel Group To Terror List

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 8:55 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Read more
Digital Life
4:36 am
Tue December 11, 2012

FTC: Apps For Children Raise Privacy Concerns

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 8:55 am

The Federal Trade Commission has released a report taking to task the makers of mobile apps for children. It says apps are not transparent enough about the personal information they collect. It's the latest sign the Obama administration is concerned about children's privacy online.

NPR Story
4:26 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Syrian Army Said To Be Readying Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 8:55 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The warnings have come from the White House, Western capitals and the U.N. Syria's president, Bashar al Assad, must not use chemical weapons against the rebels and his people.

Publicly, Syrian officials deny having a chemical stockpile. They insist they would never use one if they had one. But U.S. officials have said there are signs that the Syrian army is readying its chemical arsenal for use.

Read more

Pages