NPR News

The Two-Way
11:13 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Newtown Shootings Inspire '26 Acts Of Kindness' Campaign

A woman and child earlier this week at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:33 pm

The idea is simple:

Do "26 acts of kindness" — one for each of the 20 children and six adults killed last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Since NBC News' Ann Curry tweeted that idea earlier this week, it's taken off. Thousands have tweeted back to her about things they've done.

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Children's Health
9:53 am
Thu December 20, 2012

What Does Autism Have To Do With It?

Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza has been described as "quiet" and "different." Unconfirmed reports have suggested that he may have had autism or Asperger's syndrome. Host Michel Martin looks at the speculation about Lanza, and talks about the myths and truths about autism and Asperger's syndrome with two moms and a child psychiatrist.

The Two-Way
9:26 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Armored Backpacks, Volunteer Guards Among Responses To School Shootings

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Craig Pusley stood guard Wednesday at Hughson Elementary School in Modesto, Calif.
Ed Crisostomo MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:47 am

The latest stories about how the nation is reacting to last Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 first-graders and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, include:

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Shots - Health News
9:09 am
Thu December 20, 2012

The Gun Lobby's Favorite Part Of The Health Law

There's wide disagreement on whether firearms in your closet are your doctor's business.
iStockphoto.com

Did you know the Affordable Care Act stands up for gun rights? The "Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights" section says the health law's wellness programs can't require participants to give information about guns in the house. It also keeps the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from collecting data on gun use and stops insurance companies from denying coverage or raising premiums on members because of gun use.

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The Two-Way
6:31 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Blizzard Warnings In Upper Midwest; Possible Tornado In Alabama

A snow plow made its way down a county road in Waupun, Wis., earlier today.
Jeffrey Phelps EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:26 am

A winter storm that has brought blizzard conditions to parts of the Upper Midwest from Iowa into Minnesota and Wisconsin has authorities urging folks to stay off the roads and airlines warning of flight delays at Chicago's O'Hare and other airports in the region.

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The Two-Way
6:09 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Today's 'Plan B' Vote: Part Of Posturing Or A Push Over The 'Fiscal Cliff?'

Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:45 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Mara Liasson and David Greene

With the House set to vote this afternoon on Republicans' "Plan B" for avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff, the questions that have been asked every day for weeks are being asked yet again, with added urgency:

Are we headed over that "cliff" of automatic spending cuts, tax increases and expiring job benefits? Or are President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, closer to a deal than they're letting on in public?

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Sports
5:58 am
Thu December 20, 2012

'Bowie Over Jordan': A New Look At The Pick That Still Haunts Portland NBA Fans

Sam Bowie of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game circa 1984-1988 at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Bowie's NBA career is the subject of a new ESPN documentary airing Thursday.
Rick Stewart Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers chose Sam Bowie, a 7-foot-1 center from the University of Kentucky, with the second pick in the college draft. The Chicago Bulls then took Michael Jordan.

The words "Bowie over Jordan" are part of pro basketball lore, and are still a source of pain for many fans of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Bowie's tenure in Portland was marred by leg injuries; Jordan became a legend. ESPN recounts it all in a documentary about Bowie on Thursday night.

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Energy
5:02 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Coal Mining Museum Welcomes Solar Panels

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. It's the dawn of a new era at the Big Pit National Coal Mining Museum. The former mine in Wales celebrates the fossil fuel that sparked the Industrial Revolution. Now it's embracing solar energy. Renewable Energy World reports that 200 newly installed solar panels could save the property as much as $650,000 over 25 years on power. Put another way, the museum celebrating coal won't have to dig so deep to pay the electric bill. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Europe
4:55 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Dead Russian Parliament Member Voted 31 Times

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, honoring a devoted lawmaker. Some officials are slammed for missing votes, but Vyacheslav Osipov was there for vote after vote - or not precisely there. This member of Russia's parliament voted on 31 different measures, despite being dead. The rules allowed other lawmakers to cast votes for him by proxy. He is now off the voting roles, but set a political milestone. Usually the dead only vote to get people into office. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

NPR Story
3:04 am
Thu December 20, 2012

South Korea's New Leader Promises Moderate Path

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For the first time in its history, South Korea has chosen a woman as its leader. Park Geun-hye is promising reconciliation with her domestic opponents and dialogue with North Korea. She captured 52 percent of the vote in an election yesterday. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Seoul.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Sen. Warner On Gun Control Issues

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 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.

Every morning, the staff of this program sits around a table and talks through the news of the day. And yesterday, the talk grew a little heated. One of our colleagues noted that people talk about gun control after last week's shootings at a Connecticut school, but it's not always clear what different people mean by gun control or what could really work.

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The Salt
1:28 am
Thu December 20, 2012

The Paradox And Mystery Of Our Taste For Salt

Bali sea salt and a spoonful of Hawaiian red alae salt.
Jim Noelker AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Salt is one of those dangerously tasty substances. We add the magical crystals of sodium chloride to almost everything that we cook or bake, and according to many public health experts, we add too much.

They want us to cut back, to lower our risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Yet when you really start looking for ways to do this, you run into a paradox and a scientific puzzle.

First, the paradox. Too much salt may kill us, but our bodies need some of it to survive.

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Europe
1:25 am
Thu December 20, 2012

In A French Village, Protection From The Apocalypse

Doomsayers claim the French village of Bugarach, population 200, will be spared when the world supposedly ends Friday.
Guillaume Horcajuelo EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Friday is the last day of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar, sparking talk about the possible end of the world. About two years ago, a rumor began circulating on the Internet that the French village of Bugarach, population 200, would be the only place to survive this apocalypse.

But despite many news stories of people flocking to the village, less than two weeks before "doomsday," there was no one on the streets. Houses were shuttered against the cold.

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Music News
1:25 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Joe Strummer's Life After Death

Joe Strummer performs with his solo project, The Latino Rockabilly War, in 1989. The Clash frontman died of heart failure in December 2002.
Mark Baker Sony Music Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

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The Two-Way
1:24 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Maya Expert: The 'End Of Times' Is Our Idea, Not The Ancients'

Tourists are seen in front of the "Gran Jaguar" Mayan temple at the Tikal archaeological site in Guatemala, where ceremonies will be held to celebrate the end of the Mayan cycle known as Baktun 13 and the start of the new Maya Era on December 21.
Johan Ordonez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:05 pm

Update at 7 a.m. ET, Dec. 21: We're Still Here.

Our original post continues:

It is Dec. 20, 2012 — and citizens of Earth are panicking, consumed by the idea that the world will end Friday, something they say was predicted by Mayan astronomers. Of course, most people are not panicking, and Maya expert David Stuart says no one should. The calendar, he says, has plenty of room to go.

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It's All Politics
1:23 am
Thu December 20, 2012

FAA Pressured To Give E-Readers A Pass During Takeoff, Landing

The Federal Aviation Administration is under pressure to allow more widespread use of e-readers on commercial flights — including during takeoff and landing.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

As the holiday travel season approaches, the Federal Aviation Administration is under pressure to allow more widespread use of e-readers on commercial flights.

Passengers can now use devices such as Kindles, iPads and Nooks while in flight, but not during takeoffs and landings. The FAA says it is studying the matter, but the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and a U.S. senator say it's time to act.

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The Salt
4:44 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Unitaskers And Other Foodie Gifts We Don't Need Or Want

A man takes a closer look at kitchen appliances while shopping at a Bed Bath & Beyond store in New York.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 6:59 am

Call us Grinchy, but as Christmas rushes towards us, we at The Salt have been overwhelmed with foodie gift ideas that frankly give us pause. So if you're confronting a long Christmas list that will have to be dealt with at the last minute, we have some advice.

Resist the food baubles and frippery that await you on Amazon.com and in nearly every retail outlet.

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The Two-Way
4:22 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

News Of Sandy Hook's New Principal Brightens Parents' Day

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 4:44 am

When the students of Sandy Hook Elementary return to class after the holiday break, they'll be attending a different school. They'll also have an interim principal who will be a familiar face to some: Donna Page, who retired from Sandy Hook two years ago.

As NPR's Zoe Chace reports, the news was announced by a voicemail sent to the parents of Sandy Hook's students, in which Page (pronounced Pa-jhay), told them, "It is with a heavy heart full of love that I connect with you today. You may not know me, but I know you. I was principal of Sandy Hook School for 14 years."

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It's All Politics
3:58 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

With Nation's Eyes On Newtown, Washington Distracted By Fiscal Cliff

President Obama, with Vice President Biden at his side on Wednesday, at a news conference about gun violence that became dominated by questions of the fiscal cliff.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 4:34 pm

Anyone hoping that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre might change dynamics in the nation's capital when it comes to the issue of guns met some level of Washington reality on Wednesday.

President Obama held a news conference to announce his response to the Connecticut killings of 26 grade-schoolers and educators, including his naming of Vice President Joe Biden to head a team that will recommend in a month actions that might help prevent future Sandy Hooks.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
3:55 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

In Faith, Finding Answers To 'The Mystery Of Evil'

People gather for a prayer vigil at St. Rose Church in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14. In the aftermath of such tragedies, many people ask how a benevolent God and suffering can coexist.
Emmanuel Dunand Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 4:47 pm

When a human tragedy occurs on the scale of the Newtown shootings, clergy are invariably asked an ancient question: If God is all-knowing, all-powerful and benevolent, why does he allow such misfortunes?

There's even a word for reconciling this paradox: theodicy, or attempting to justify God's goodness despite the existence of evil and suffering.

A World Both Beautiful And Shattered

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The Salt
3:41 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Mealworms Beat Meat For A Place On The Menu In Environmental Study

A woman takes a bite of a mealworm pie in the Hague, Netherlands.
Ed Oudenaarden AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 7:04 am

Want to eat sustainably? Then eat bugs.

That's the word from the Dutch, who are doing their best to make a scientific case for the environmental benefits of insect proteins. Reduce greenhouse gases? Check. Produce more edible protein while using less land than more traditional livestock? Check.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Newtown Teacher And Students Remembered For The Light They Brought

A child peers through firefighters standing as the procession heads to the cemetery outside the funeral for school shooting victim Daniel Barden at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn.,
Charles Krupa AP

Mourners attended funerals for three children and a first-grade teacher in Newtown, Conn., Wednesday, the third day of services for the victims of a mass shooting that has reignited debate over gun control in the U.S.

Victoria Leigh Soto, 27, is the first Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher to be laid to rest.

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It's All Politics
3:05 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Robert Bork's Supreme Court Nomination 'Changed Everything, Maybe Forever'

Robert Bork, nominated by President Reagan to the Supreme Court, is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing, Sept. 15, 1987.
John Duricka AP

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 6:31 pm

Robert Bork, whose failed Supreme Court nomination provoked a lasting partisan divide over judicial nominations, died Wednesday at age 85.

A former federal judge and conservative legal theorist, he subsequently became a hero to modern-day conservatives. And as solicitor general in the Nixon administration, he played a small but crucial role in the Watergate crisis. In what came to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre, he fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox after the attorney general and deputy attorney general refused President Nixon's firing order and quit.

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Around the Nation
3:00 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

What Are The Odds Of Gun Control Changes?

A clerk peers out from a gun shop in Seattle on Wednesday.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 5:35 pm

Advocates of stricter gun control legislation are hoping that history will not repeat itself.

Last Friday's shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., have shaken the country, but it's unclear whether the intense feelings of the moment will translate into legislative action. Many times in the past, outrage over gun violence has dissipated before Congress has chosen to act.

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Shots - Health News
2:35 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

How The U.S. Stopped Malaria, One Cartoon At A Time

The U.S. Army distributed a monthly pinup calendar to GIs, which encouraged them to protect themselves from malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Cartoon by Frank Mack for the U.S. Army. Courtesy of the Images from the History of Medicine.

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:28 am

"Her business is robbery and coldblooded murder ... they call her Annie Awful ... She's a thief and a killer. She stops at nothing."

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World
2:29 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

In Pakistan, Tax Evaders Are Everywhere — Government Included

An investigative report found that less than a third of Pakistani lawmakers filed tax returns for 2011. The report said Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, photographed in Paris in December, did not file a return, though his spokesman says he did.
Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 6:32 pm

Tax evasion is a chronic problem in Pakistan — only about 2 percent of the population is registered in the tax system, and the government collects just 9 percent of the country's wealth in taxes, one of the lowest rates in the world.

But now a new investigative report is making headlines. It says that just a third of the country's 446 federal lawmakers bothered to file income tax returns last year.

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Commentary
2:06 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

When Someone You Know Loses A Child

The grief a bereaved parent feels resides deep within and is individually expressed. Different people respond in different ways.
Brendan Smialkowski Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 7:21 pm

Amid the aftershocks of the senseless shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., our ever-more-complex society goes on to publicly discuss what happened and how to avoid such tragedy in the future.

But there are also private considerations and quieter questions of how to respond — on a personal level — to suffering parents.

What can you say to parents who have lost a child? What can you do?

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Music Reviews
1:55 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Homeboy Sandman: A Rapper Leaves Law Behind

Homeboy Sandman's fourth album is called First of a Living Breed.
Gavin Thomas Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:43 pm

The bare facts of Homeboy Sandman's back story don't sound very hip-hop: prep school in New Hampshire, Ivy League B.A., even some pieces for The Huffington Post. But, as is often the case with class and race in America, bare facts don't tell the whole story.

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World Cafe
1:23 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Sea Wolf On World Cafe

Sea Wolf.
Courtesy of the artist

Alex Brown Church began performing under the name Sea Wolf in 2003, after writing a handful of songs that didn't fit the rock band he played with at the time. Although Church has roped in a supporting cast of musicians to perform his songs, Sea Wolf is still very much his baby.

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

South Korea To Get Its First Female Leader

South Korea's Park Geun-hye claimed victory Wednesday in the country's presidential election. Park, the daughter of a former military dictator, will be the first female leader of the country. Here, she greets supporters at party headquarters.
Kim Jae-hwan AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 4:47 am

Conservative candidate Park Geun-hye claimed victory Wednesday in South Korea's closely contested presidential election, an outcome that will make her the first woman to lead the Asian nation.

In addition, Park boasts a fascinating personal history that's deeply intertwined with South Korea's evolution in recent decades.

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