The State Department is delaying a decision for at least a year on whether to approve the Keystone pipeline. The $7 billion pipeline would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, through the U.S. to Gulf of Mexico refineries. Nebraska's state government and environmental groups have put intense pressure on the State Department and White House to reject the pipeline's proposed route. NPR's Richard Harris talks with Robert Siegel about the project.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Fifteen years ago, Congress overwhelmingly approved the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. It said, while each state could decide how to define marriage, the federal government would only recognize the legal union of a man and a woman.
Since then, more than 130,000 same-sex couples have legally married in the U.S. and today, a congressional committee passed the very first measure to repeal DOMA. NPR's David Welna reports.
For the first time in 50 years, Cubans can now buy and sell homes. Here, a Cuban woman stands on the balcony of a dilapidated building earlier this month in Havana.
Credit Franklin Reyes / AP
Antonio Gonzalez repairs the facade of a house in Havana in May. The new law means many property owners are now updating long-neglected buildings. Well-kept single family homes in prime neighborhoods are listed at $100,000 or more.
The U.S. State Department is ordering the developer of a pipeline that would carry oil from western Canada to Texas to reroute it around environmentally sensitive areas of Nebraska.
That means possibly delaying a final U.S. decision until after the 2012 election.
The decision to order Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. to figure out a way around an area that supplies water to eight states will require an environmental review of the new section. That review probably would take at least a year.
Power plants that burn fossil fuels release carbon dioxide as well as a complex soup of chemicals, including nitrogen and sulfur. These chemicals in the air actually help keep global warming in check by reflecting sunlight back into space and by interacting with carbon dioxide. Above, the Bruce Mansfield Power Plant in Shippingport, Pa.
Cleaning up the air, while good for our lungs, could make global warming worse. That conclusion is underscored by a new study, which looks at the pollutants that go up smokestacks along with carbon dioxide.
These pollutants are called aerosols and they include soot as well as compounds of nitrogen and sulfur and other stuff into the air. Natalie Mahowald, a climate researcher at Cornell University, says so far, scientists have mostly tried to understand what those aerosols do while they're actually in the air.
Originally published on Thu November 10, 2011 2:42 pm
Credit Andrew Medichini / AP
Italian Premier Silvio Belrlusconi holds a pen on a note he wrote during Democratic party leader Pierluigi Bersani's speech on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Italy's Parliament cast a vote on a measure to approve the 2010 state finances. But it was no ordinary vote: It laid bare the fact that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had lost a majority. That vote would eventually lead to Berlusconi offering his resignation on Wednesday.
In all the news, we missed this interesting picture:
Wilson Ramos of the Washington Nationals during a game in Phoenix on June 2, 2011.
Wilson Ramos of the Washington Nationals appears to be the first Major League Baseball player to have fallen victim to what's become an alarming trend in Venezuela: the kidnapping and holding for ransom of the rich. He was grabbed Wednesday by gunmen and hasn't been seen since.
But he's not the first major leaguer to have been touched by the epidemic of kidnappings-for-ransom in Venezuela.
'Tis almost the season, and what would the holidays be without our favorite foods?
There are the traditional standbys — like turkey and cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, or latkes for Hanukkah. But many people also have a specialdish they eat only during the holidays. For example, one NPR reader raves about lefse, which she says is a potato-based staple for any traditional Norwegian-American holiday dinner. It's "best served hot with butter. Or cold with butter and sugar. Butter is key," she writes.
An illustration of a healthful meal drawing from the African Heritage Diet Pyramid and African culinary traditions.
The African Heritage Diet Pyramid, designed by Oldways for African-Americans.
Soul food has become the comfort food for a lot of Americans – not just the African-Americans whose ancestors invented it.
Now, food educators are looking closely at soul food's culinary roots for inspiration on how to eat healthfully today.
A group of culinary historians, nutritionists and health experts have put together the Oldways African Heritage Diet Pyramid, a new model for healthful eating designed specifically for African-Americans and descendants of Africans everywhere.
Spc. Dom Fredianelli rests during a cache sweep in Afghan village.
Dominic Fredianelli and his buddies signed up for the National Guard in exchange for a signing bonus and help with college tuition. A new documentary, Where Soldiers Come From by Heather Courtney, follows their path from carefree teens in Michigan to combat veterans facing battle in Afghanistan.
NEAL CONAN, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This week's report from the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog bolsters beliefs that Iran continues work on nuclear weapons and ballistic missile delivery systems. The United States, Britain, France and Germany all expressed varying degrees of alarm and vowed to find ways to pressure Iran.
A storm one National Weather Service meteorologist described as of "epic proportions" hammered the coast of Alaska Wednesday, knocking out power and forcing residents out of flooded areas. Carven Scott of the NWS talks about the storm and how residents are coping.
As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, many fear the rates of homeless vets could grow much worse. They tend to remain homeless longer than non-veterans and they're more likely to suffer from health conditions linked to early death, according to a recent survey by the 100,000 Homes Campaign.
Originally published on Thu November 10, 2011 4:12 pm
The Nixon Library and National Archives have released a trove of documents (.pdf and a big file) relating to former President Richard Nixon's grand jury testimony. The testimony, taken after Nixon resigned, was the first by a president. Nixon was interviewed at his California home on June 23 and 24, 1975, after he had been pardoned by President Gerald Ford. The release of documents was ordered by a federal judge back in July.
Police (center) had to move in to disperse the crowd in the streets of State College, Pa., Wednesday night after students and others gathered to protest the firing of football coach Joe Paterno.
With so much attention being given to the firing of football coach Joe Paterno and school President Graham Spanier, as well the long-term impact on the school from the sexual abuse scandal that came to light at Penn State this week, there's a danger of the alleged victims being forgotten.
Credit Keith Weller / Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine
Striking a pose like Hamlet, Kofi Boahene, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, peers through the natural opening under the cheekbone and above the jaw that he uses for surgery.
Add minimally invasive surgery through an opening between the cheek and jaw to the list of procedures I'm happy exist and that I hope I'll never have to endure.
A Johns Hopkins surgeon who is pretty handy with an endoscope has figured out how to operate in some hard-to-reach spots at the base of the skull through a natural opening that's above the jawbone, behind the back teeth and just below the cheekbone.
It requires a small incision inside the cheek, sure, but that's no biggie, really.
Forest worker Peter Otto carries two fir trees during the official opening of Christmas tree season in Stolpe, northern Germany.
It didn't take before the Obama administration backed down on a plan to tax Christmas trees this holiday season. Shortly after the USDA announced it had approved a 15-cent per tree fee, there was an uproar.
Floyd Landis, left, and then-teammate Lance Armstrong during the 2004 Tour de France.
Disgraced American cyclist Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title, today was convicted in absentia by a French court "for his role in hacking into the computers of a French doping lab," The Associated Press reports. Landis was given a suspended sentence of 12 months.
If you pay attention to the Emmys and Academy Awards, then you've probably seen those glamorous, haute couture gowns made by Kevan Hall. He's known for dressing A-listers like Vanessa Williams, Salma Hayek, Celine Dion — even first lady Michelle Obama.
Legendary football coach Joe Paterno was fired on Wednesday. Critics said he should have done more to address charges of child sex abuse that came to his attention. Penn State students staged violent protests after the announcement. Host Michel Martin speaks with USA Today Sports Columnist Christine Brennan and NPR Sports Correspondent Mike Pesca about the abuse case, firing, and 84-year-old Paterno's legacy.
A growing number of students are forgoing traditional careers to launch their own businesses. For many of them, social change is just as important as their bottom line. Amy Reinink recently wrote about this for The Washington Post Magazine. Host Michel Martin speaks with Reinink and James Li, an entrepreneur and Georgetown University student.
A new reality TV show debuting Sunday aims to shed light on a group of Americans who often feel misunderstood as they juggle nationality and faith. All-American Muslim focuses on five families in Dearborn, Mich., which is of the most established and largest communities of Muslim Americans in the U.S. Suehaila Amen, who's featured on the show, speaks with host Michel Martin.
Renowned Iraqi fashion designer Hana Sadiq has dressed both Queen Noor and Queen Rania of Jordan, as well as members of the royal families of Saudi Arabia.
For the past 25 years, Sadiq has shown her collections throughout the Middle East and Europe. Thursday night, she wraps up her first tour of the United States with an event at Washington, D.C.'s historic Lincoln Theatre. It's called "Turaath — A Celebration of Arab Culture in America," and it's sponsored by the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Credit Natasha Soto / The Clean Air Coalition of Western NY
Those taking samples can attach either a camping pump or a small electric vacuum to the top to help collect the sample.
Credit Natasha Soto / The Clean Air Coalition of Western NY
Using a bucket, a hose and pump, and a plastic bag, air samples are collected. The finished contraption can test for more than 70 gases and 20 sulfur compounds. The sample can then be sent to a state or independent laboratory for evaluation.
Jeani Thomson has been pleading with New York state officials for more than 30 years to protect her neighborhood from the foul-smelling "blue fog" that settles in her yard. She has long suspected the source is an industrial facility about a mile from her house called Tonawanda Coke.
Justine's well-planned wedding takes place as a planet called Melancholia heads directly towards Earth.
Credit Magnolia Pictures
Something New: As the world changes, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) starts to experience otherworldly phenomena.
Lars von Trier's Melancholia stars Kirsten Dunst as a depressed woman on her wedding day, just before the end of the world. "Melancholia" refers not only to the mood of the film, but to the name of a planet that's now heading for a direct collision course with the planet Earth.
When it looks like Melancholia is going to destroy the planet, everyone around Dunst's character Justine panics. But Justine remains eerily calm, seeming almost revitalized by the knowledge that all life on Earth might end instantaneously.
James Murduch, the son of Rupert Murdoch and his deputy CEO at News Corp., was defiant in his second appearance before British Parliament. Murdoch, whose company has been under fire after it was accused of hacking into the phones of royalty and victims of crime, said he did not know the extent of the illegal activity undertaken at his publications.
After NPR and Kaiser Health News reported yesterday on Wal-Mart's plans to become a big provider of primary care in the U.S., the retailer said its document that served as an invitation to partners for the effort was "overwritten and incorrect."
Alabama's Jefferson County has filed for what is the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. The county commission voted 4-1 in favor of seeking bankruptcy protection on Wednesday after a debt-restructuring deal fell apart.
As The Birmingham News reports the history of the more than $4 billion in debt spans a decade and mostly involves a failed sewer construction deal fraught with corruption. Jefferson County is home to Birmingham, Alabama's largest city.