Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 6:00 am
Denzil Saldanha is over 80 but far from retired.
He takes orders on the phone, surrounded by workers, newspapers spread out in front of them, cutting slices of fruitcake with thick almond icing.
The family-run Saldanha Bakery and Confectionery is making 600,000 pounds of cake this Christmas. Denzil's daughter Debra Saldanha, who gave up banking to join the family business, says customers appreciate that it's all made to order.
"They get the smell of hot cake coming out of the oven and literally wafting in the air," she says.
Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 12:54 pm
Federal health officials are investigating an incident involving the mishandling of the Ebola virus at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's headquarters in Atlanta.
The incident involved the material used in an experiment with the Ebola virus, the CDC said in a statement released late Wednesday. The material was accidentally moved from a high-security lab to a low-security lab on Monday. As a result, there's a possibility that one lab technician may have been exposed to the virus. That person will be monitored for 21 days for any symptoms.
Provocative Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, who has been arrested twice this year on charges related to her design for a kayak that incorporates a 3-D model of her genitals, has been indicted on charges that she distributed "obscene" data.
The case has attracted wide attention, both for its unique circumstances and for its depiction of how Japan's pornography laws interact with cutting-edge technology and images of the female body.
Traffic came to a halt on Wednesday when bundles of new Hong Kong 500 dollar notes flew out of a security van. Drivers and passersby were not shy about taking advantage of the Christmas Eve windfall.
Video posted on the BBC shows people abandoning their cars and scrambling to pick up bills strewn across a busy eight-lane roadway. The cash blizzard littered the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong around lunchtime.
Four people were killed and at least 50 injured in Mississippi yesterday, when severe storms — and what is believed to have been a tornado — swept through the southern part of the state.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in Jones and Marion counties after the storms, which also knocked over trees, flipped cars, damaged homes and businesses and left thousands without power.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 1:14 pm
[Note: This show is from a previous interview that aired on May 27, 2014.]
When acclaimed journalist Ron Suskind’s son Owen was just shy of three years old, he suddenly stopped communicating with his family. Owen would sleep and cry a lot and his vocabulary dwindled to the single word “juice.”
Eventually Owen was diagnosed with autism.
Ron and his family tried all sorts of ways of reaching Owen but it was the Disney films that Owen loved that would prove to be the bridge.
For this week’s DJ session we sit down with Mike Haile, also known as “Mike in the Morning” and general manager at WHMS in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.
Jeremy listened to Mike in the morning when he was a kid, and Mike joins us for an annual tradition where he shares his favorite Christmas songs — from oldies, to newer takes on the Christmas classics.
Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 4:06 pm
California's health insurance marketplace, Covered California, has supported the development of more than 200 new storefronts at or near shopping centers across the state this year, each tasked with explaining the ins and outs of different health plans to holiday (and everyday) shoppers.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 1:06 pm
"This is a very, very depressing year for film," critic David Edelstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "because none of the great material came from Hollywood studios."
Studios, he says, direct their financial resources into sequels and comic-book movies, which leaves little room for "creative expression, and for doing something weird and potentially boundary-moving."
Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 3:54 pm
A government job in China used to be a gravy train: easy hours, little scrutiny and — usually — a chance to make good money through perks and corruption. This year, though, the 1.4 million candidates who signed up to take China's civil service exam marked a drop of more than 100,000 from the previous year.
Most people think the reason is the government's fierce anti-corruption drive, which has taken a lot of the profit out of public service. Recently, a low-level Shanghai official vented to NPR about life under China's toughest crackdown in modern memory.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 1:47 pm
Although it wasn't a great year for the shows themselves, it was a good year for programming, says TV critic David Bianculli.
"In terms of what was happening on television, in terms of new and old formats and new, exciting players coming into the mix — [it was] another good year," Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm actually kind of encouraged."
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 12:40 pm
Sony Pictures' The Interview, the comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, will be shown on streaming services starting today, the studio said in a statement.
Starting at 10 a.m. PST, the comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco will be available to rent in HD on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video and a dedicated website at a price of $5.99. The film can also be bought in HD for $14.99, the statement said.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 1:16 pm
The parents of Antonio Martin say their son was killed by police in Berkeley, Mo., last night. And while he had had problems, it "doesn't make any sense for them to kill my son like this," Toni Martin-Green tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She added, "I am trying to remain calm."
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 11:28 am
With the spread of Christianity among some Native Americans in the early 20th century came certain Christmas rituals — trees and presents and jolly old Santa Claus — that were folded into traditional wintertime celebrations.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 11:18 am
Alan Gross, the former USAID subcontractor who spent five years in a Cuban prison before his release last week, will get $3.2 million from the federal government, part of a settlement with the Maryland-based company for which he worked at the time of his arrest.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, in a statement, said it had finalized a settlement, agreed to in principle in November, with Development Alternatives, Inc.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 2:43 pm
One thing's for sure: Nikki Bollerman believes in her school and the kids who go there. How else to explain Bollerman, 26, giving a $150,000 windfall to the Boston area public charter school where she teaches third grade?
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 4:09 pm
Twenty-five years ago, the Communist leaders of Eastern Europe were falling like dominoes. And on Christmas Day in 1989, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed by firing squad. The deaths of the despised couple ended a quarter-century of iron-fisted rule that translated into oppression and misery for most Romanians.
Yet many in that country — including some of their opponents — question the summary nature of the Ceausescus' trial and sentence.
Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 7:46 am
On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration recommended a change in the discriminatory and unscientific policy that effectively prohibited men who have sex with men from donating blood for life. Those guidelines kept any man who had sex with another man — even just once — since 1977 from donating blood forever.
While gay discrimination has been reduced in so many other areas of life, up until now, there hasn't been enough medical or political will to intervene on the blood ban. That policy perpetuated stigma without improving safety.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 4:09 pm
On the outskirts of the Turkish capital, a new landmark looms over what was once Ankara forestland. It's a new presidential palace complex, with at least 1,100 rooms and an official price tag of $615 million — although critics suggest both figures are probably higher.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 7:59 am
A buddy flick about killing North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un will be shown on Christmas Day after all, at least in about 200 independent theaters. This kind of small-scale distribution model and the politics surrounding The Interview give what was once a big-budget Hollywood release the spirit of an art house film.
In the satirical film, which is at the center of a geopolitical tussle, Seth Rogen and James Franco play television producers who get an interview with Kim but are then hired by the CIA to "take him out."