NPR News

Pages

5:44pm

Wed January 11, 2012
National Security

Can Iran Close The World's Most Important Oil Route?

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 10:24 pm

A member of Iran's navy participates in a drill on Dec. 28, 2011, in the Sea of Oman. Tehran is threatening to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, in retaliation for new sanctions by the West.
Ali Mohammadi AP

As tensions rise between Iran and the West, Tehran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a transit route for one-fifth of the world's oil. Is it more than an empty threat?

"The simple answer is: Yes, they can block it," Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on CBS's Face the Nation on Jan. 8.

"They've invested in capabilities that for a short period of time block the Strait of Hormuz," he said.

Read more

5:30pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Pentagon Disgusted, Marines Investigating Disturbing Video

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:31 pm

"The Marine Corps is promising to investigate a disturbing web video that appears to show [four] Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the bloody corpses of [three] alleged Taliban fighters," Gannett Co.'s Marine Corps Times reports.

Read more

5:07pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Marathon Runners Face Low Risk Of Cardiac Arrest

Running long-distance races isn't going to hurt your heart any more than other vigorous sports, researchers say. Just make sure you're fit enough to attempt the feat in the first place.

In the past decade, nearly 11 million runners participated in long-distance races, but only 59 suffered cardiac arrests, according to findings just published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Most of the cases happened to be in runners with undiagnosed, pre-existing heart problems.

Read more

5:05pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Africa

Nigeria Rattled By Strikes, Sectarian Violence

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:59 pm

The Nigerian government removed fuel subsidies, which drove up prices and prompted nationwide strikes this week. Here, a young man protests in front of burning tires in the commercial capital Lagos on Tuesday.
Sunday Alamba AP

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan is facing the most sustained challenge to his presidency as he confronts crises on two fronts.

His government recently removed fuel subsidies, which has sent transportation costs soaring and prompted nationwide strikes that were in their third day Wednesday.

And a radical Muslim group is warning of renewed sectarian violence in a country that has a roughly equal split between Muslims and Christians.

Read more

5:03pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Business

Cadillac Gears Up To Take On German Automakers

Start Your Engines: With Cadillac's unveiling of the ATS — a compact luxury car — the Detroit automaker put itself in direct competition with BMW's 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz's C-Class.
Geoff Robins AFP/Getty Images

This year's auto show in Detroit could set the stage for a shake-up in the fiercely competitive — and hugely profitable — luxury car scene. That's because there's a new kid on the block, and its name is Cadillac.

The General Motors company says its new small, high-performance ATS will allow it to compete for the first time with Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. But getting a brand-new luxury car like the ATS ready for market can be a grueling process.

Read more

4:43pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Doctor Isolates Exercise Hormone; Tells People To Keep Exercising

What if your New Year's resolution to get more exercise could be fulfilled — by taking a pill? That's the far-flung idea suddenly brought much closer to reality by the discovery of a hormone called irisin, which is produced by the human body in response to exercise.

Irisin may hold some of exercise's key benefits that relate to obesity and Type 2 diabetes, researchers say.

Read more

4:40pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Ethics Committee Releases Report On Rep. Hastings, Probe Will Continue

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:57 pm

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Carl de Souza AFP/Getty Images

"The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it needs more time to consider sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)," The Associated Press writes, "but released a report in which the alleged victim detailed a pattern of sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted hugs."

Read more

4:17pm

Wed January 11, 2012
NPR Story

Study Links Hospital Water Wall, Legionnaires' Disease

Audie Cornish talks with Thomas Haupt, respiratory disease epidemiologist for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. He's the lead author of the study that helped uncover the source of a mysterious and large uptick in Legionnaires' disease. The study, "An Outbreak of Legionnaires Disease Associated with a Decorative Water Wall Fountain in a Hospital" was published in the online journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

3:47pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

The Primary Season, A Cappella

Tired of the nerve-rattling chorus of pundits and office-seekers? Try an a cappella playlist as an antidote.
Luis Davilla Getty Images

The next 40-some weeks or so are going to be a screaming tower of political babble, a cacophony of accusing and boasting, pandering and slandering. I watch the news these days with the mute button permanently depressed, lest I fall into a permanent depression myself. There's only so much contention and vitriol a sensitive soul can bear.

Read more

3:35pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

EPA Creates Website To ID Biggest Emitters Of Greenhouse Gases

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:39 pm

Ever wondered who the big greenhouse-gas emitters are in your neck of the woods? The answer is now just a click away.

The US Environmental Protection Agency today unveiled a new website that identifies most of the nation's biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. It lets you, for example:

Read more

3:30pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Nigeria Faces Double-Edged Crisis In Protests, Militant Group

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:45 pm

Protesters gather to protest against the end of gasoline subsidies in Lagos. Wednesday marked the third day of mass strikes by labor and civil society.
Pius Utomi Ekpei AFP/Getty Images

Parts of Nigeria are under a 24-hour curfew, after demonstrations against a government policy to end fuel subsidies turned into a fiery rampage in the city of Minna. The BBC reports that "hundreds of rioters set fire to government and political party offices and also targeted the homes of local politicians."

The AP lays out the basics of how we got here:

Read more

3:22pm

Wed January 11, 2012
It's All Politics

Expert: Pollsters Undersampled Paul's Young, Indie New Hampshire Voters

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 6:38 pm

Young voters at the University of New Hampshire listen to Rep. Ron Paul on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.
Evan Vucci AP

Did pollsters underestimate the strength of Rep. Ron Paul's New Hampshire support because they didn't include enough younger voters or independents in their samples?

Yes, argues Stefan Hankin, a Washington, D.C. based pollster in a piece on the Campaign and Elections website.

Read more

3:15pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

How's The Economy? Federal Reserve Reports 'Ongoing Improvement'

As we've said before, to figure out what the Federal Reserve means when it reports about how the economy is doing and whether policymakers think it's doing better or worse, you need to carefully compare the central bank's latest words to what it has said in preceding months.

Read more

3:09pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Afghanistan

Afghan Announcements Annoy U.S., Hurt Relations

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, shown here during a press conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Kabul last month, has become increasingly combative toward the U.S. recently.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

U.S.-Pakistan ties are virtually frozen. And now, relations between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Washington are once again getting frosty.

Over the weekend Karzai surprised the Americans with the demand that the largest U.S.-run prison be turned over to Afghan control much sooner that planned.

It's the latest in a series of announcements by the Afghan government that sometimes appear designed to embarrass and annoy U.S. officials, as well as complicate American plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Read more

3:05pm

Wed January 11, 2012
It's All Politics

Sign The End Is Nigh For Huntsman? In Hypothetical, Colbert Beats Him In S.C.

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:34 pm

Stephen Colbert.
Scott Gries PictureGroup

After a third-place finish in New Hampshire, the state he poured his heart and soul into and placed all his bets on, Jon Huntsman doesn't need any more bad news. Just a cursory look at the headlines, and you find they're mostly talking about the end. Even the Christian Science Monitor doesn't mince words, asking, "Is Jon Huntsman toast?"

Read more

3:05pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Do Nicotine Patches And Gum Help Smokers Quit?

There are new questions about the value of nicotine patches and gum in helping people quit smoking.
Patrik Stollarz AFP/Getty Images

Nicotine patches and gums have been helping smokers quit for decades. Right?

Even President Obama, once the Smoker in Chief, has kicked the habit with the help of nicotine replacement therapy, according to his doctor's latest report.

Read more

3:04pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Middle East

Death Of Iranian Nuclear Expert Adds To Tensions

Iranian security forces inspect the site where a magnetic bomb attached to a car by a motorcyclist exploded outside a university in Tehran on Jan. 11, 2012, killing nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan.
Sajad Safari AFP/Getty Images

An explosion in Tehran Wednesday killed an Iranian nuclear scientist while he was driving his car. It's the fifth such death in five years, and Iranian officials immediately blamed Israel. The attack is the latest manifestation of escalating tensions between Iran and the West.

Read more

2:59pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Latin America

Pope To Visit Cuba To Endorse Church's Growing Role

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:59 pm

Pope Benedict XVI will travel in March to Cuba, where he's expected to endorse the growing dialogue between the church and the state. Here, an employee from the Rome's Biopark zoo holds a rare Cuban crocodile Wednesday, as he meets the pontiff at the Vatican. The crocodile will be returned to Cuba around the time the pope visits the island.
Osservatore Romano AP

When Pope Benedict XVI goes to Latin America in March, Mexico is an obvious choice, with nearly 100 million Catholics.

But communist-run Cuba is also on his itinerary. The 84-year-old pontiff does not travel often, and this leg of his trip will be a strong show of support for Cuba's church leaders and their growing role in pushing President Raul Castro's government for change.

More than anywhere else in Cuba, the Santa Rita church in Havana's Miramar district is the place where religion and politics intersect.

Read more

2:51pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Election 2012

Election 2012 Moves On, And America Yawns

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 10:45 am

A man walks past campaign workers touting their candidates during voting in the New Hampshire primary, at Webster Elementary School in Manchester on Tuesday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Tuesday was an exciting night for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. In mid-Ohio, not so much.

By about 9 a.m. Wednesday, the bankruptcy of a local barbecue restaurant chain was one of several stories ranked higher in the "most popular stories" list on The Columbus Dispatch's website than anything coming out of the GOP primary.

For many people, the election so far just hasn't been that interesting — and it might be even less so if Romney again rakes in the chips in South Carolina next week, adding to the perception that his nomination is virtually a done deal.

Read more

2:48pm

Wed January 11, 2012
All Tech Considered

Man And Machines: Beyond Touch

A demonstration of Oblong's g‑speak SOE (spatial operating environment), technology that was featured in the film Minority Report.
oblong.com

Computer chips and technology are invading all sorts of previously dumb devices. Phones are now smart. Cars are becoming connected computers on wheels. Call it the computerization of everything. But how we interact with these machines is bound to evolve.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, touch pads are everywhere — in phones, in tablets and laptop screens. And Brad Feld has had enough.

Read more

2:26pm

Wed January 11, 2012
It's All Politics

In South Carolina, Perry, Gingrich Go On The Attack

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:32 pm

Newt Gingrich speaks during a campaign event at the Laurel Creek Club in Rock Hill, S.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

As we noted earlier, all the candidates today are in South Carolina, and it did not take long before the gloves came off. As Ron previewed earlier, the hardest punches came in relation to Mitt Romney's business ventures.

We've looked around for what the candidates are saying at their different campaign stops. Here's a roundup, which we'll add to as the candidates make more stops:

Read more

2:20pm

Wed January 11, 2012
NPR Story

Op-Ed: Make Hillary Clinton Obama's V.P. Candidate

Since the 2008 presidential campaign, many Washington watchers have advocated for an Obama-Hillary Clinton ticket. New York Times columnist Bill Keller says swapping Biden for the popular Secretary of State is the best way for President Obama to ensure re-election.

2:02pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Salt

FDA Cuts Off Orange Juice Imports Over Safety Concerns

Oranges for sale at a market in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
ANTONIO SCORZA AFP/Getty Images

When you think of your orange juice in its infancy, you probably envision neat rows of leafy green citrus trees in Florida or California — Tropicana and other companies' have helped seal that image in our minds.

But the reality is that a lot of our orange juice comes from Brazil — about 14 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more

2:02pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

'El Gordo,' Galaxy With Mass 2 Quadrillion Times The Sun's, Discovered

"El Gordo" — the "big" or "fat" one in Spanish — as seen in a composite image produced by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.
NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Hughes

Take the number 2. Put 15 zeroes behind it, as Space.com says:

2,000,000,000,000,000

Now, think about the news from this story at that website:

Read more

1:08pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Hundreds Of Pardons, Some For Killers, Spark Outrage In Mississippi

Just before he left office this week, outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) issued more than 200 pardons or sentence reductions — including more than a dozen to persons convicted of murder, manslaughter or other death-related crimes. And that has sparked outrage and calls for changes in the law that gives the state's governor such authority.

The list of Barbour's executive orders in the last four days before his departure from office on Tuesday is posted here.

Read more

1:00pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Africa

Ethiopia Invades Somalia In Fight Against Al-Shabab

In December, Ethiopian troops seized the city of Beledweyne, in Western Somalia, from al-Qaida-linked terrorist group al-Shabab, in an attempt to weaken their influence in the country. The decision to increase international presence in Somalia has raised serious questions among analysts about the effect armed intervention will have on the region.

1:00pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Politics

GOP Candidates Turn Attention To South Carolina

Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry all hope to derail Mitt Romney's front-runner status in the South Carolina primary. Former South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis joins NPR's Ken Rudin for a preview of the Palmetto State primary.

1:00pm

Wed January 11, 2012
NPR Story

Nuremberg, Tribunals And 'Justice And The Enemy'

In his book, Justice and the Enemy, British journalist William Shawcross says the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders after World War II created a template for the trial of future war crimes. He considers the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, who's being held in Guantanamo prison and will be tried in a military commission.

12:50pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Google Tweaks Search To Boost Google+, And Rivals Get Angry

A screengrab shows Google's new search feature, in which results from a user's Google+ community are promoted at the top of the page.
NPR

Social media has become a huge part of how people experience the web. So it's not surprising that Google's move to integrate "personal results" into its web searches — drawing from a user's Google+ profile — wasn't praised by the folks who run rival social networks.

Read more

12:19pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Lost Touch: Peace Corps In Search Of 100,000 Old Volunteers

The National Peace Corps Association says it's looking for about 100,000 good volunteers.

They're people who served in the overseas development program at some time in its 50-year history but later lost touch with their former colleagues.

NPCA President Kevin Quigley says there's no complete list of the 200,000 Americans who volunteered for the program, in part because key records were lost during its early days.

"When the agency was in its infancy [in the early 1960s], a lot of systems for tracking former volunteers just didn't exist," Quigley says.

Read more

Pages