NPR News

Pages

NPR Story
4:08 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Tremendously Gratifying To Win 2 Pulitzers, 'Post' Editor Says

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:33 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Washington Post is celebrating a pair of Pulitzer Prizes this week. One is for a series on Americans who rely on food stamps. The other, a Public Service medal for stories based on the documents from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Read more
NPR Story
4:08 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Ex-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Criticizes Tax System

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:33 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And our last word in business today is: Tax Confusion.

Yesterday, of course, was the deadline for filing. And today, you're maybe feeling some uncertainty over whether you got everything right.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A lot of people complain that the tax code is just too complex, but usually not directly to the IRS. After all, you could be asking for an audit if you file that complaint. This does not seem to be the concern of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Read more
NPR Story
4:08 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Minority Tartars Consider Pragmatic Approach To Crimea Annexation

People in the newly annexed territory of Crimea are trying to figure out how to deal with their new status as part of Russia, rather than Ukraine. Tatars were vocal in their opposition to the Russian takeover of Crimea. That's because they remember their history of maltreatment under the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.

Science
2:43 am
Wed April 16, 2014

A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame

Pat Leiggi (right) of the Museum of the Rockies prepares to move a leg bone of the T. rex at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:33 pm

This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Read more
Paying For College
2:41 am
Wed April 16, 2014

How One Michigan City Is Sending Kids To College Tuition-Free

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:33 pm

Paying for college presents a tremendous hurdle to many families, from wading through paperwork and navigating financial aid to understanding the long-term implications of college debt.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:40 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While

Hundreds in California rushed to get health insurance just before the deadline.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:33 pm

After months of focusing on how many people have or haven't signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we now have a rough total (7.5 million), and everyone's keen to get to the bigger questions: How well is the law working? How many of those who signed up have paid their premiums and are actually getting coverage? How many were uninsured before they signed up? And just how big has the drop been in the number of uninsured people?

Unfortunately, the answers to some of these questions simply aren't knowable — or, at least, not knowable yet.

Read more
Around the Nation
2:40 am
Wed April 16, 2014

As La. Coast Recedes, Battle Rages Over Who Should Pay

Man-made canals built for the oil and gas industry cut through wetland. The industry argues those canals aren't to blame for coastal erosion.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:33 pm

Louisiana's coast is disappearing at the rate of about a football field an hour. Since the 1930s, the Gulf of Mexico has swallowed up an area the size of Delaware.

You can see the water encroaching in Delacroix in St. Bernard Parish, less than an hour southeast of New Orleans. Here, a narrow crescent of land known locally as the "end of the world" is where the road abruptly comes to a dead end; in the distance, you see the tops of now-submerged trees.

Read more
Around the Nation
2:37 am
Wed April 16, 2014

After Losing A Leg, Woman Walks On Her Own — In 4-Inch Heels

Heather Abbott of Newport, R.I., shows off her "high-definition" prosthetic leg, which allows her to wear high heels and skirts.
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:33 pm

Returning to watch the Boston Marathon was never a question for Heather Abbott. After losing her leg in the bombing last year, watching the race is just one item on a long list of things she did before and intends to do again. Also on that list: wearing 4-inch heels.

"Sometimes, I think: Why am I doing this to myself? Because I could just wear regular flat shoes," Abbott says. "I don't want to give things up that I love to do, so I'm going to get used to it and figure it out."

Read more
The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

NYPD Shuts Down Controversial Unit That Spied On Muslims

Men pray on the street before the start of the American Muslim Day Parade in 2010 in New York.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The New York Police Department said Tuesday it would disband a special unit charged with detecting possible terrorist threats by carrying out secret surveillance of Muslim groups.

The squad that conducted the surveillance, known as the Demographics Unit, was formed in 2003. It brought the NYPD under fire from community groups and activists who accused the force of abusing civil rights and profiling.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said his administration has promised "a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

In India, Landmark Ruling Recognizes Transgender Citizens

An Indian eunuch in the eastern city of Bhubaneswar dances Tuesday to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling recognizing a third gender category.
Biswaranjan Rout AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 5:08 am

India now has a third gender.

The Supreme Court has recognized the country's transgender community as being in a third neutral category — neither male nor female.

In handing down the ruling, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan said, "Transgenders are citizens of this country ... and recognition as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue."

Article 15 of India's Constitution guarantees that no state can discriminate against citizens on the basis of religion, caste, race or sex.

Read more
NPR Story
4:34 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

In Portugal, A Sales Receipt May Be Your Ticket To Win Big

A customer pays a vendor for her purchases at Feira da Ladra flea market in Lisbon, Portugal, in October 2013. The government has introduced a "Lucky Receipts" lottery to encourage people to ask for receipts — which will automatically be entered into a national lottery for fancy new cars. It's an effort to curb tax evasion and raise revenue.
Mario Proenca Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:51 pm

On Lisbon's cobblestone lanes, the Portuguese economy is hobbling along as it always has — in cash.

In a tiny, 100-year-old bar, Nuno Goncalves pours out glasses of ginja — a Portuguese sweet cherry liqueur — for his customers, mostly old men in flat caps. A small shot-glass full costs 50 cents — cash only. There is a cash register, but it doesn't print receipts.

Read more
Economy
4:29 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Sending Money On An Overseas Round Trip To Avoid Taxes

Round-tripping occurs when American citizens open bank accounts in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, funnel money into the accounts and then use it to buy stocks and bonds back in the U.S.
David McFadden AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:03 pm

Some investors avoid paying taxes in a move called round-tripping — sending money offshore, then investing it in U.S. stocks or bonds. A study estimates it costs the U.S. billions in lost revenues.

Recently, MIT professor Michelle Hanlon and two colleagues set out to find out all they could about round-tripping.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:29 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Risks Of Popular Anxiety Drugs Often Overshadowed

Xanax and Valium, prescribed to treat anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia, can be deadly when mixed with other sedatives.
Dean812 Flickr

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:40 pm

When actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an overdose in February, the New York City medical examiner ruled that his death was the result of "acute mixed drug intoxication." Heroin, cocaine and a widely prescribed class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or benzos, were found in his system.

Read more
Music Interviews
3:15 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Perennial Co-Writer Returns With An Album Of His Own

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:29 pm

Dan Wilson is your favorite songwriter's favorite co-writer, lending a pen to artists from Nas to Adele. But he also writes music for himself — and he joins the program to talk more about it.

Around the Nation
3:15 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Months Of Training And A Moment Of Silence As Marathon Draws Near

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:29 pm

Even as Boston pays tribute to the victims of the marathon bombing, runners are preparing to run in the race next week. NPR is following the stories of eight of these participants, dubbed the "NPR 8."

Around the Nation
3:15 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

The Long Wait On Safety Rules For The 'Soda Can' Of Rail Cars

Safety advocates have been pressuring Canadian and U.S. officials to create new safety standards for tank cars and to make old DOT-111s like this one more puncture-resistant.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:29 pm

Freight trains roll through the Chicago suburb of Barrington, Ill., every day, many pulling older tank cars known as DOT-111s. They're known as the "soda can" of rail cars, says village President Karen Darch, because their shells are so thin.

Many of the DOT-111s are full of heavy Canadian tar sands crude oil. Some carry ethanol. And more and more of them are loaded with light Bakken crude oil from North Dakota.

Read more
News
3:15 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Boston Mourns A Tragic Anniversary With Voices Of Victims

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:29 pm

One year has passed since bombs rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The city honored victims of the tragedy Tuesday with a tribute, including speeches from three of the victims themselves.

News
3:15 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Ukraine's Army Launches Campaign Against Eastern Militants

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:29 pm

Ukraine's army began a "special operation" in the east of the country Tuesday, moving against pro-Russian militants who are occupying government offices across the region.

The Salt
2:36 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Behold Ukrainian Easter Art: Incredible, Inedible Eggs

Ukrainians have been crafting elaborately decorated eggs for thousands of years.
Konstantin Chernichkin Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 3:50 pm

As Nancy Shute reported in 2012, Ukrainians have for centuries practiced an ancient form of art, drawing intricate patterns on eggs using a traditional method that involves a stylus and wax.

It's called pysanky, and it's alive and well in Ukraine and Ukrainian immigrant communities around the world.

Read more
It's All Politics
2:35 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Obama's Tax Rate Rose — And He Can't Blame Anyone But Himself

President Obama meets with faith leaders in the Oval Office on Tuesday — also known as Tax Day 2014.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 3:00 pm

President Obama, like many wealthy Americans, is paying more of his income to the IRS.

The White House released the president's tax return last week. It shows he and the first lady paid $98,169 in taxes for 2013 on income of $481,098. That's an effective tax rate of 20.4 percent.

Read more
NPR Story
2:17 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Talking Pot With Teens In Colorado

Adams City High in Commerce City, Colo., has about 2,000 students. During the 2010-2011 school year, 105 students were disciplined for drug or alcohol-related school offences. These students had almost twice as many unexcused absences, more than three times the number of days of school suspension, and almost a full grade point lower average GPA compared to students without drug/alcohol related offences. (Jenny Brundin/CPR)

When Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 back in November of 2012, they set in motion an effort that has focused on setting up a system for people to legally obtain recreational marijuana.

But there’s been less attention on how to keep pot away from those who aren’t supposed to use it — anyone under 21 years of age. Parents and educators are struggling to fill the void, with public health campaigns only in the planning stages.

Read more
NPR Story
2:17 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

'Philomena' DVD Brings Real Philomena To New Audiences

Today, the DVD of the Oscar-nominated film “Philomena” is being released. One of the special features contained on the DVD is an interview with the real Philomena Lee. Her life story of being forced to give up her son for adoption and her long search for him inspired the film.

We spoke with Philomena and her daughter Jane Libberton, who helped Philomena with her search, back when the film was in theaters, and today we revisit that conversation.

Read more
NPR Story
2:17 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Boston Marks First Anniversary Of Marathon Bombing

Flowers lie on the finish line of the Boston Marathon on the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, on April 15, 2014 in Boston, Mass. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A somber anniversary is being marked in Boston today. It’s the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The tribute is being held inside Boston’s Hynes Convention Center, just a few blocks from the marathon finish line where two bombs exploded on April 15, 2013.

Three people were killed and more than 260 people were injured, some losing limbs.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Deborah Becker of WBUR joins host Robin Young with details on the day’s events.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:14 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Despite Worries, Boston Survivor Heads Back To The Start Line

Carol Downing is still haunted by memories of last year's marathon. But she's excited about reuniting with other survivors.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 8:24 pm

At last year's Boston Marathon, Carol Downing was just a half a mile from the finish line when bombs exploded and injured two of her daughters. This year, she's going back to complete the race.

More than 36,000 runners hope to cross the finish line for the Boston Marathon this year. Downing plans to be among them. But she's worried.

"There's definitely some fear of going back," Downing says. "I know that for the whole time of the 26.2 miles, I'm going to be wondering if my family is safe."

Read more
The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Saturn Might Have A New Baby Moon Named Peggy

The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn's A ring in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft results from gravitational effects on ring particles by an object that may be replaying the birth process of icy moons.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:54 pm

It's not like Saturn needs another moon to look after — it's already got 53 officially, with nine more labeled as "provisional" (and those are just the ones we know about). But the tiny, icy object nicknamed "Peggy" could prove hard to resist.

Read more
Author Interviews
1:33 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Pakistan, The Taliban And The Real 'Enemy' Of The Afghanistan War

Children play at the demolished compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Aqeel Ahmed AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 6:42 pm

Carlotta Gall's new book opens in 2006, when undercover Pakistani intelligence agents punched her in the face, after breaking into her hotel room and confiscating her phone and computer.

It's just one example of how risky her job — covering Afghanistan for The New York Times — has been. Gall writes that over 12 years, she lost friends and acquaintances in suicide bombings and shootings and saw others close to her savagely maimed.

Read more
Television
1:33 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

FX's 'Fargo' Is Neither Remake Nor Sequel

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:05 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. The FX cable network premieres a new drama series tonight. It's called "Fargo" and has the same title as the 1996 Coen brothers movie. Our TV critic David Bianculli says it's a wonderful show in that same wacky spirit, but he says it's just as important to note what this new "Fargo" is not. It's not a remake, and it's not a sequel.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:26 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Gingrich 2012 Campaign Still Owes $4.7 Million

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich waves after addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting in National Harbor, Md., on March 8.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 2:13 pm

Newt 2012, the presidential campaign vehicle for Newt Gingrich last time around, couldn't bag the Republican nomination for him.

And now, the former House speaker's committee still owes $4.7 million from the attempt.

The campaign tells the Federal Election Commission that its debt on April 1, 2014, was just $14,507 less than the amount owed on May 31, 2012 — the month Gingrich officially suspended his White House bid.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:50 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Details On Abortion Coverage Still Elusive In Some Health Plans

Abortion coverage was a key sticking point during the congressional debate on the new health law. Lawmakers eventually agreed to let states decide.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 3:29 pm

If you bought health coverage through one of the online insurance marketplaces, you might have a tough time determining whether your plan covers abortion services.

Though Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius got an earful from members of Congress about the problem at a hearing last November, little's been done yet to clear up the confusion in some states.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:48 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Think You Can Mail Your Taxes At Midnight? Think Again, Gramps

Mailing your taxes in just before midnight: That's so 2002.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 3:42 pm

One of the least imaginative, but always popular, stories for an editor to assign in years past was the annual Tax Day frenzy at the local post office.

Younger Two-Way readers may not know this, but before e-filing was the thing to do, many procrastinators would wait until the last possible moment to finish their federal tax returns. And many post offices would keep staff on hand until midnight so that those returns could be postmarked before April 15 turned into April 16.

Now?

Read more

Pages